While Guild Wars 2's first expansion Heart of Thorns was followed by a long content gap, ArenaNet has kept the updates coming at a steady pace since Path of Fire released last autumn. Today, the third content update since the expansion has gone live, and this latest update offers up some serious speed...
By far the biggest feature of this update is the addition of a new mount, namely the roller beetle. Known to fans of the original game from a holiday racing event, this spherical speed junkie is back in full force. With a top speed of about 210 km/h (!) the roller beetle is decidedly the fastest-moving mode of transportation in the game, and according to the developers, it will retain that title for the foreseeable future. Oh, and it's got a name: Petey!
Now, raw numbers aside, what does the roller beetle actually feel like to ride? Like the other mounts introduced with the Path of Fire expansion, the roller beetle has a unique weight and feel to it that naturally suits the kinds of movements it can perform. Instead of a jump you can boost to incredible speeds, using ramps and dunes in the environment to leap into the air. As you build up speed, the inertia keeps you from making tight turns and quick stops. To pull off such manoeuvres, you have to initiate a drift. You can also skip across small bodies of water without falling in, allowing you to cross rivers and ponds quickly. And if drifting and skipping over water wasn't cool enough already, if you get enough distance you can pull off tricks mid-air to refill your beetle's stamina bar and keep the speed boosts going. Simply put, the roller beetle is awesome!
The new episode also features a new map in the Kourna region, specifically Grandara The Moon Fortress and its surrounding area, where several Guild Wars Nightfall missions took place. The area is in serious trouble, with a scarab plague spread by Palawa Joko afflicting both crops and the local populace. The new story content also focuses on the now all-out war against Palawa Joko. All is not doom and gloom, however, as the new map features a set of sand dunes specifically designed to let players play around with their new mounts. The war can wait just a little bit while you're pulling off all those sweet tricks, we're sure.
In the depths of The Mists you also get to explore a new fractal. Deepstone is an ancient dwarven city, filled with long-lost treasure but abandoned by its Deldrimor architects for reasons you are soon to discover. The fractal is themed around using light to combat shadow creatures. As you delve deeper and deeper into the underground fortress the battles grow increasingly hectic, with players fighting on platforms that can disappear underneath their feet any moment. Deepstone is a really fun fractal, with a good balance between challenging combat encounters and environmental challenges.
Last but not least, there is the new legendary warhorn Verdarach. It's ghostly transparent when sheathed and sends out apparitions when you use skills.
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