The newest Guild Wars 2 festival is upon us. The Dragon Bash Festival is a couple week event centered mostly around Lion’s Arch and surrounding areas. It is beautiful, fun, and tiring all at once. There are some fantastic moments and rough edges as is likely to be expected in an MMO where new content is flying down from on high every two weeks.
The highest point of the festival is the art. Jeromai has a nice post with a lot of screenshots showing off the beauty of Lion’s Arch in dragon festival form. Bhagpuss also decided to post on the festival in screenshot form, albeit in a more comical sense. It is amazing, and I’ve stood around for many minutes just watching the holographic dragon. It’s so much to take in I keep finding neat little things all over the place even if it is just a placement of a dragon target or a new sign. If you haven’t signed in to Guild Wars 2 in awhile, I would say that updating and logging in just to walk around Lion’s Arch is worth it.
As players walk about they are going to find festival clickies. These abound in Guild Wars 2 festivals as kind of the busy activity. Bashing a dragon piñata (click) nets a Zhaitaffy, and there are fireworks launchers (click) located around the bay as well. Of course there are achievements for how many piñatas are bashed good and how many fireworks are launched, which leads many players into an unfun frenzy of grinding out the clickies. It’s ironic because I would guess many of these frenzied players are going to be active the whole festival, and I can guarantee they will run by many clickies well after they’ve ground out the achievement. I saw this happen to me in Halloween, and I’d rather backload the frenzy and see how many clickies I can get normally when I am just having fun around the city.
Out and about players will notice holographic projectors that when clicked will spawn 4 random dragon minions, in safe holographic form of course. Killing the minions always results in a Zhaitaffy drop, and there is a great chance to get one of the treasure boxes associated with the event where more than likely the player will get more Zhaitaffy. These are much like the Halloween portals from that past event, and they kind of go against that Guild Wars 2 feeling. Players rush to covet these respawned resource nodes since players have to race to get to them before a ‘zerk warrior takes down the 4 minions in a few seconds. It wouldn’t be so bad if this wasn’t the only way to kill holographic minions for the achievement and best drop rate of Zhaitaffy and chests.
And, I’ve said Zhaitaffy a lot. Zhaitaffy is the new commodity for this event. It’s tradable, salable, and eatable. I really like that almost every Dragon Bash activity is geared towards Zhaitaffy because it makes that reward structure very interesting. However, I feel that unlike the prior festival commodities, Zhaitaffy does not have as great a worth because it cannot be re-sold for chests. There is one extremely high cost item using 100,000 Zhaitaffies, which are the bat-like dragon wings, which are devalued in that they also drop extremely rarely and are tradable. I feel Zhaitaffy would have a lot more worth if say 10-15 could be turned in to a chest for at least another gamble. Regardless, extra Zhaitaffy should be turned in to food at the Dragon Bash merchant before the end of the event so that it can be used for later.
Finally there is the Dragon Ball Arena. It feels like Quake Team Deathmatch entering in to Guild Wars 2. It is really fast paced, fluid, and tons of fun when there aren’t AFK’ers in the match. Seriously ArenaNet if someone hasn’t entered a command for a whole minute (a very liberal amount of time in this PvP arena), kick them! There is also the issue that the rewards for Dragon Ball Arena are absolutely pitiful in comparison to the other Dragon Bash activities. Getting back to the good, though. Players start with one skill (the basic attack), and have to run around the arena to gather other utility skills like an AoE grenade or a stun-kick. Knowing the map is critical, and like a good Q3 deathmatch map getting to that health kit at the right time can make all the difference. There are also jump pads all around the arena making it really fun for maneuverability. The jump pads do not count as an evasion from attacks though regardless of how fast they move the player. I feel there is a lot of skill involved, and the designers did a great job getting that Quake arena vibe going.
This weekend there will be fireworks going off regularly in Lion’s Arch allowing people to get a couple horned combat helms. Next week seems to start a story surrounding Dragon Bash too. Overall it’s a great festival with a few rough edges. In comparison to the Secret of Southsun, I feel that this part of the Living World is perhaps the “downtime” break players needed to get in some more relaxing activities. Hints of the upcoming content definitely tell that this downtime will not last long.