ArenaNet did a few things differently this time around with the press preview for the upcoming Queen’s Jubilee. Instead of being granted full access, which allows some to write full guides and spoilers, ArenaNet prepared a private Twitch stream. The main reason seems to be that this next update is chock full of story happenings, and the team did not want anything spoiled. So my first impressions are going to be narrower than previous ones.
Anyway, the human queen decided that a hole in her capital city was not a good symbol of human resilience and triumph, and so she decided to make it in to a fierce battleground, the Crown Pavilion. The Crown Pavilion is a new sub-zone in Divinity’s Reach split up in to a 6-piece pie shape. All around the Pavilion are the mechanical representations of humanity’s enemies (the new Watchknights with a layer of mesmer magic).
Getting to the Pavilion is incredibly easy since there are hot air balloon towers all around Tyria that will warp players for free to the Crown Pavilion. It’s hard not to be attracted to these structures dominating the skylines, and it was the team’s goal to attract notice to the centerpiece of this update in a more organic way instead of relying on mail and Heralds as much. The hot air balloon towers will be found in every zone except Orr and Southsun.
The centerpiece of the update is to focus players to the Crown Pavilion, persistently. Seeing it reminded me of how the community came together for The Secret of Southsun to spectacularly farm the whole island. Except this time things are going to be significantly tougher because zerg breaking was kept in mind the whole time for design. Coupled with buffs received from the various racial (city) representatives (again similar to the buffs in Secret of Southsun), I think the Crown Pavilion is going to convey similar energy. One interesting mechanic added is that for each piece of the pie that is not conquered, all players in the Pavilion will have a small debuff. So even if a certain piece of the pie is relatively easy to conquer, it’s best to rotate around.
Players not as interested in joining a mass zerg (split as it will be along the pie) can go to the upper balcony area to the Queen’s Gauntlet to fight against a progression of one-on-one PvE fights. The first fight has an easy mechanic: don’t stand in front of the guy’s ground pound, while a later fight might light up the arena with tornadoes flying everywhere. I think this will be a great minigame, and unlike the activities in the Bazaar in the previous month, the Queen’s Gauntlet keeps people in the Crown Pavilion. Players can watch as their friends head in to the Gauntlet to cheer them on, give them tips, and rez and jeer at them when they fail.
As I was finishing up some content for Cutthroat Politics, I was a little dismayed that if I wanted to farm, there was no definitive answer this time around for where I would find the community. Cursed Shore had it’s usual, as did the dragon circuit. But, there was nothing coming close to the focal point in some of the updates. I think that this will not be the case. I expect that for the open-world excitement, the Crown Pavilion wll be the default for August. The community is going to be in Divinity’s Reach because that’s where the action and the rewards will be.
I’ll be happy to answer any questions below, but keep in mind that my preview was limited to a developer-run stream.