It's been a little over two months since we started in Guild Wars 2 (buy now for € 39.95) into the Bjora swamps. Because there the ice dragon Jormag increased its ghostly influence and wiped out the watchful forces in a massacre. After building a base in the Whisper in the Dark episode, the hunt for the ancient dragon continues. We were able to play the episode extensively before the release on January 28th and tell you what the Shadow in the Ice episode brings – and why you shouldn't miss it.
More about Guild Wars 2: So we found the previous episode Whisper in the Dark
We'll do without spoilers for the new episode in this preview, but you should have played whispers in the dark before reading this text.
History pushes us further into the west of the Bjora swamps, an area that was previously blocked by closed gates and ice. In this region we meet stranded Kodan who are struggling to survive. Their destroyed iceberg settlement shapes the snow-covered landscape. With the help of the intelligent polar bears, we learn that the lost spirits of the wild – eagles, ox and wolverine – still exist. The three were left behind when the Norn fled to the southern trembling peaks. In special events, we work to win over the spirits influenced by Jormag for our cause: We pull salt blocks for oxen as four-legged friends, smuggle past inevitable skins for food and show eagles how well we can maneuver a wind whirlpool. With the help of the trio, our norn friend Braham should be able to defeat Drakkar, a powerful servant of Jormag, who is responsible for the lulling whispers in the region. It was Drakkar in Guild Wars 1 who corrupted the Norn Svanir and is indirectly responsible for the cult of Svanir's sons. Accordingly, the creature is supposed to die – whereby the episode introduces a new world boss.
Finally a great world boss in Guild Wars 2
After the meta event in Whispering in the Dark didn't really want to knock any players off their feet, shadow in the ice has to trump again. And compared to our preview session, the cards are good: As a large player group, we placed the monster deep underground, where we had to fight all sorts of tricky mechanics. Shock waves, AoE fields, changing positions – Drakkar represents the most mobile world boss. According to the developers, this was also an important goal: Drakkar should not always be static at one place like other world bosses.
In practice, Drakkar keeps changing positions in a large cave where he shoots out of a wall and then attacks us. In different phases, some of the players have to defeat a mini-boss and Drakkar's hand camp in another area, while the other heroes stay in the main cave. That has positive memories to the old world boss Mordrem-Rankenzorn woken up in the silver desert, who even before the release of Heart of Thorns followed a strategy in which the players had to split up. As with Drakkar, you had to wait for a debuff phase until you could face another mini-boss – this guaranteed that players would take turns. It is not yet clear whether the Drakkar event will play the same way in the live version. The developers emphasize that the event may experience balancing again until the release. But our first impression was definitely positive.
New successes for familiar content
When playing shadows in the ice, it quickly becomes clear what the developers mean when they say that the episode is more of an extension than a direct continuation of whispers in the dark. Instead of simply dusting a card again, there is more to master and loot in the areas of the Bjora swamps that were explored in the last episode. For example, there are new achievements for the attack mission that reward the best players: masterful interruption, clever evasion and generally flawless battles – the battles against Fraenir, Kodan-Duo & Co are now even more worth a visit.
Exams Kodas as premium events for demanding
Randomly selected events in the Bjora swamps now also have a bonus target that unlocks a special premium event. These so-called exams are aimed at players who want a little more challenges at events and want to experience more complicated mechanics. For example, at the Kodan fishing event, we not only help put tuna in buckets, but also use leftovers to bait. With these baits, we then lure dangerous ice worms in the test, which fire fish as projectiles at us. Or at an event in the old area of the map where we should simply defeat servants of Jormag, we can optionally destabilize cracks, which leads to a follow-up event where we have to deal with even more opponents and we should destroy an idol ,
New skins as lining for fashion friends in Guild Wars 2
If you are always looking for new collections for your own wardrobe in Tyria, you can also look forward to shade in the ice. For example, there are now three new bone-skinned weapons that are visually based on the terrible monster and the back part made of whispering in the dark, with bones and emeralds.
An armor set reserved for NPCs since release is now also available to players: The ceremonial raven clothing of the Norn is an armor set that looks the same in all classes. So if you don't want a coat as a ranger or want to do without plate armor as a guard, you can do that as a raven shaman.
The Boreal weapons, which were already available in two stages in Whisper in the Dark, will be expanded by another chic version as announced. As enlightened boreal weapons, the weapons glow with glacier blue decorations and even have holographic ring effects. We have prepared a gallery with all 16 weapons for you.
Less waiting time – was it still worth it?
With just a little over two months waiting, the developers kept their promise to increase the frequency of episodes. And yet shadow in the ice doesn't feel empty. The world boss is a fun mega event, another attack mission will hopefully bring more challenge, the story is once again really gripping (we don't want to reveal too much) and the random tests are an interesting attempt to make world events more interesting. Only the masteries of the Eisbrut-Saga still don't want to knock your socks off. Raven portals now complement our range and let us travel to hidden places where treasures and jumping puzzles are waiting. In addition, Rank 3 essence manipulation now brings us magical flair and blatant counter-spells against fallen soldiers, Svanir & Co. The mount-specific masteries of the previous season of the Living World were even more interesting.
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