January Patch ~ Flame and Frost Prelude

I am going to hold off on the discussion I started yesterday on wealth growth, and instead I am going to discuss the news posted on the Guild Wars 2 main site. If you haven't seen the post already, head over and check it out. It details Arena Nets plans for the January patch and story. Today I will summarize the changes we know are coming in the January patch.

Flame and Frost: Prelude

Flame and Frost is the title Arena Net is using for the next portion of the Guild Wars 2 story. Whether this will include personal story elements is not known at this time, but it will definitely feature story arcs playing out in the dynamic world.
Flame and Frost: Prelude is the prologue to a multi-stage narrative that will bring big changes to Guild Wars 2 in the months to come.
It sounds exciting! As we read more we find out that the focus of the story will be in the north where "the sky falls and the ground shakes." The Char and Norn will be the hardest hit by this and in fact the first part of the story appears to focus on these two races in Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau. Is this the work of an elder dragon? Perhaps Jormag is involved some how? Only time will tell!

New Features

There are a ton of new features coming in this patch. A lot of the things a detailed in Arena Net's post on Flame and Frost, but some of the things we have heard about in other places are hardly mentioned. So what do we know will be in this patch?

In PvP we will see the addition of the 2 team tournament format. Also, we will see the Temple of the Silent Storm available for tournament play. For the first week it will be only available for the the 2 team tournament format, but at the end of the week it will be open for all tournament formats.

The new daily achievement system will go live on the 28th. This system will allow for different achievements each day. To start you will still have to complete all of the listed goals to complete the achievement but in the future you will only need to finish 4 of 6 of the listed goals. At that point this system will truly shine as they will be able to get more esoteric with the daily goals without having to worry about people not wanting to do something that specific. For example, we might see daily goals in WvW to capture a tower, or to complete a jumping puzzle. For now though, I wouldn't expect things to get to wild.

Also, some what relating to daily achievements, is the new Laurel System. This system was formerly called the crown system and we first heard about it last week in Colin's "big post". The way this works is as follows. For each daily (after Jan. 28th) and for each monthly (starting with February) you will receive 1 and 10 Laurel Tokens, respectively. You will be then able to take this Laurel's to a new vendor and trade them in for rewards. On offer will be gear packages designed specifically for your class, new cosmetic items, dyes, advanced collection tools, obsidian shards, ascended gear, and infusions. There will probably be more stuff as well, that is just what has been confirmed so far. In the future this system will be expanded to include more achievements.

Guesting will also go live on the 28th. This is something we have talked briefly about here before. There is also a blog post on the GW2 site with more details. Essentially the way the system will work is twice per day you will be able to pick another server in your region (NA or EU) and play on that server. This will work for everything except for WvW. Your home server is the only server you can WvW with. Once guesting is implemented you will no longer be able to switch servers for free. There will be a gem costs associated with switching, with more populated servers costing more to join. Make sure you select the server you wish to be locked into before the 28th.

There will also be some new items and gear added with the new patch. We will see five new "utility" infusions and thirty new ascend amulets. This new gear will be purchasable with Laurels, and most likely also available in fractals. Colin noted on the forums that "infused ascended gear" (that is a piece of ascended gear with agony resistance built in) will not be available for Laurels as that is a fractals specific mechanic. My guess is these new utility infusions will be more designed for PvE. All the ascended gear will be available in its non-infused version through the Laurel System, with infused gear still only available through fractals. I would expect that next month we will see ascended gear available in WvW through trading in Badges of Honor.

WvW and culling will also receive some fixes. Although there were no details in this new post from Arena Net, we did get details for another place. Aparently Colin Johanson did an interview with the site MMORPG.com (missed this completely until now). In the video the guys go over a bunch of other MMO news and Colin is present the entire time giving his feedback. It was cool to see him outside the GW2 world. The GW2 stuff starts at 18:00 into the video. Dulfy has a transcript up here. In this video Colin talks about improvements coming to WvW with respect to the culling. He says that we will see an improvement that will only load a low poly model first while the high poly model is loaded up. This should improve the culling issue so that you will be able to see the people attacking you, even if you can not read the expression on their face.

Also in this interview we find out that we will be definitely seeing changes to Orr coming. The idea is to thin out the native population of undead, make way points easier to access and active more often, and adding new rewards from drops and vendors. Also, there have been some changes to the temple fights to make them "more exciting for larger groups." In the GW2 live stream the guys also mentioned modifying Orr with new animations and effects as well as new events. How much of this will make it into the January 28th patch is up for debate.

Finally, last but not least, there will be new gem store items. What specifically we do not know... asides from the Quaggan Backpack pictured. Arena Net seems to have also learned from past mistakes and will not be making this item only available from RNG. Instead, confirmed on the forums, is that you will be able to buy it directly from the gem shop.


This sounds like a fabulous patch. If this is considered a "small patch" in comparison of things to come, then I have to say, I am really excited. There were a number of other things mentioned from different sources that may also make it into this patch, namely, the "rez rush" fix for dungeons mentioned in part one of my coverage of the GW2 Livestream and the "AoE nerfs" also mentioned in my coverage on the GW2 Livestream parts 1 and part 2. I couldn't find anything confirming this stuff for January. Also on the table are the improvements to the WvW progression system although it was hinted that this stuff was coming in February (my take on that interview here).

Either way, I think this will be a great patch. It has been well over a month (Wintersday went live on December 14th) since our last addition of new content and I am well past ready for some new stuff. I am looking forward to a lot of these changes and I think they will be taking the game in the direction it needs to go. There is so much more to explore in the game that exists already. Just early tonight I completed two mini-dungeons in Caledon Forest that I had never seen before and had a blast doing them with guildies!

The final thing to note with this patch will come an end to the Winter's Day vendor. If you still have Winter's Day items to turn in for prizes the 27th will be your last day to do so. This was confirmed on the forums by Mark Katzbach, a Community representative from Arena Net.

I am eagerly awaiting the patch to drop to see what we get. Did I miss anything? What are you guys hoping for in this patch?

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