Scarlet is at it again. Apparently not happy with her other three armies, she bribed the krait with ancient relics to team up with Nightmare Court. A toxic alliance, which may portend ultimately another failure for Scarlet’s Doofenschmirtzian ability to craft coalitions. Then she destroyed half of Kessex Hills. It could have been worse if the Lady Kasmeer hadn’t cracked the gigantic mesmer illusion. Now, the free peoples of Tyria are on the attack. Only this is more of a containment phase since the tower is too poisonous to breach.
This is an interesting update because it completely changes a huge portion of a fairly well-traveled zone. ArenaNet further hints that there are more changes to come. It’s also an interesting update because the content is kind of light. There is plenty of activity in Kessex Hills now, but after a good hour of play most of the update’s content is apparent.
The biggest pieces of content are the Toxic Offshoot group events. The power of the Toxic Alliance tower is so strong that it’s creating offshoots. Since the good peoples can’t attack the tower itself the most they can do is contain the offshoots. These events while similar have a few changeups. One time players might be running explosives to the base of the offshoot; another time the players might be protecting artillery groups or a golem. They are fun and the scaling feels a lot smoother since ArenaNet is officially adding elite (silver ringed) mobs to the bunch.
Also with the enemies themselves the Nightmare Court going downed is a neat twist. It feels more organic than stomping on robots, and it is more similar to what would happen in a versus player scenario. The courtiers can get back up if they aren’t dealt with, and yay, personal stomp moves can be used! I like this in small bites. It’s cool if this is a feature significant to one or two armies of enemies because unlike the glee of pulling the kill switch on an actual player forced to see their impending doom, the move on a AI-controlled object will get rote. Their companions, the toxic krait, thankfully don’t get downed, which is a good decision by ArenaNet.
The effects of the Toxic Alliance also spills over to other surrounding regions of Kessex Hills, but all told I think the excitement of this update is going to diminish quickly. It looks like a lot of developer work went in to changing the zone, and it feels really good. However, it’s also feels like it’s part of the game. The core game. In a way it’s part of the background. It feels like the community has asked for it though. ArenaNet can probably punch out temporary content a lot faster than whole permanent changes where hearts, events, farm routes, etc. have to be considered. Permanency has a cost.
I think this is another good brush stroke applied by ArenaNet. This is what permanent change is going to feel like. There will be those who remember the greener Kessex Hills, and… well I’m not sure what is to come. I imagine we’ll get more toxic in the coming months.