Wintersday Patch Notes

I don't know if you have had a chance to read the patch notes for the Wintersday release yet. If not, or if you can not be bothered, here is a summary of some of the interesting changes I noticed in the notes. There may be things I miss, what I have highlighted below are those things that affect my game play. First up, are a bunch of Fractals of the Mist changes.
Ascended Rings and Fractal Weapon Skin drop rates now increase appropriately with player scale. Non-infused Ascended Rings will no longer drop after scale 24.  
A Pristine Fractal Relic has been added to the daily rewards for scale 10 and higher. 10 Pristine Fractal Relics can be turned in to Golem Merchant BUY-4373 for an Ascended Ring. 
The chest received when Shaman Lornarr Dragonseeker is defeated now contains rare crystal materials instead of dust. The chest received when the Raving Asura are defeated now contains rare corrupted materials instead of dust.  
Vials of Condensed Mists Essence no longer drop after scale 10. Globs of Coagulated Mists Essence no longer drop after scale 20.
All of these changes work towards making the loot rewards better, and fairer. The old system had people running level 10 FotM trying to get an ascended ring so that they could advance in difficultly. The problem is that even if you get a ring the chances of it match your stats are unlikely, and since the rings are non-tradable you are left grinding FotM trying to get a ring you want. I personally do not like FotM for this reason and for other reasons I may discuss in the future article. This change works towards fixing a problem the community identified though which is always a good sign. Now this dungeon works similarly to the others in that you can trade in your tokens for a reward.
Rare crafting materials and holiday materials can now be deposited into the collections tab in the bank.
Honestly, never thought we would see this. I thought Anet was going to make us pay for the bag space. In fact I just wrote an article discussing the cheapest ways to get bag space. I sold off most of my rare mats because I was sick of holding on to them. Now I can be a good little pack rat and horde all my rare mats. I wonder if this will have an effect on the prices of these goods by restricting the supply.
Increased the drop rate of Passion Flowers from Passion Vines. 
The quantity of vials of Powerful Blood, Vicious Fangs, and Elaborate Totems that drop from loot containers is now 1-2 instead of just 1.
Expect the prices of these goods to start falling due to the increase supply. Looking forward to seeing those prices drop, although, Vicious Fangs have been on a downward trend for a while now.
Permanent Bank Access, Permanent Trader Express, and Permanent Merchant Express items now drop twice as often from Black Lion chests. Though still extremely rare, they can now be traded until their first use. 
The Black Lion Chest drop chance for mystery tonics has been reduced from 100% to 25%. Tonics now have the same drop chance as “Heavy Bag of Coins,” “Unidentified Dye,” or one of three new Guild Influence items worth 50, 100, or 300 influence. 
“Heavy Bags of Coins” have been added to Black Lion Chests in the tonic and buff drop sections. Bags hold between 80c and 1g50s. 
“Glory Booster” has been added to the list of possible buff drops. Buff drops now occasionally drop the “booster multipack” triple buff. 
Rarity and proportion of all other Black Lion Chest drops have been rebalanced to reduce overabundance of some items.
That is a pretty large list of changes to the chests. Personally, I have never bought a key, and I do not think I ever will. I have just heard too many horror stories of people buying $50 of keys to end up with nothing of any value, what-so-ever. Guild Wars 2 cash shop is an area of the game in need of serious love. I kind of want to give Arena Net my money, but I do not really see anything in the cash shop that I would want to buy. There changes to the Black Lion chest do not change that. 
When a team owns few or no defensive structures for a set period of time, a breakout event will now trigger at the portal. 
Repairable walls and gates have been updated to rebuild at 10% health instead of rebuilding immediately. 
Characters that disconnect during combat grant rewards to their opponent, and suffer penalties as though they have been killed.
No new changes to WvW besides the ones we discussed last week. Also, the culling trial is over and we have gone back to the old system. Anet wants your feedback, so head over to the forums and say something even if it is, "I did not notice a change."
Map names on the world map now display completion status.
I have already completed my world exploration, but I bet this will be nice if I ever do it again. When I completed mine, I had to go from zone to zone trying to find the points I was missing. Being able to see that from the map beats going from zone to zone any day.

There are a number of new items added to the Black Lion Trading Post as well as changes to each class. If you are looking for this information just head over to the patch notes and check it out. There is too much for me to just copy and paste over here. Anet has also posted it's design philosophies for each class.
We normally try to employ metered and controlled balance changes with each pass, rather than huge reductions or improvements to classes. We want to get all classes on the same playing field, and we want to avoid “whack-a-mole” style balance. HUGE increases and HUGE decreases lead to meta instability, and thusly, we try to make multiple small tweaks rather than putting in massive changes that we have to later correct. When designing and balancing the classes, we try to make sure that class roles and identities stay intact. So, in doing so, we make sure that there are rules and boundaries outlining the capabilities and weaknesses of each class.
It makes for an interesting read, and I encourage you to head over and check it out. This has been another solid patch from Arena Net. It shows they are listening to players concerns and addressing them. It also shows that they have begun to work on quality of life things, which is always a sign of a healthy MMO. There are still some glaring problems in the game, which concern me. Patches like these relieve some of that concern because it makes me think they have a plan that they are working on in the background that we do not know about. Something spectacular that will eliminate all my concerns. We will just have to wait and see.

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