Today is the release date for the Winter 2016 Update in Guild Wars 2. While the patch includes the much anticipated balance changes for the game, the stars of the patch are reworked Shatterer encounter and the return of the Lunar New Year celebration.
The Shatterer encounter is seeing a much needed improvement to one of the first revealed encounters of the game. While having a storied history, the encounter has long since been a trivial fight as many safe zones kept players from ever having to worry about being defeated by the large dragon. Players will soon find out that there is no safety from the Shatterer’s attacks anymore and that getting hit by the attacks can be devastating. The lead developer for the Shatterer said that he didn’t improve the damage on the Shatterer’s attacks but that players just never were getting hit by them before.
Alongside being able to hit players with his massive attacks, the Shatterer is getting a few new tricks. One mechanic players will have to deal with are pulsating crystals that will quickly heal the Shatterer. Destroying the crystals will require players to break the Defiance Bar on each crystal before being able to damage them. Each crystal destroyed will weaken the healing down with each pulse until all of them are destroyed.
While the Shatterer is getting some big improvements, players are getting some new tools to fight as well. The old siege weapons near the Shatterer encounter have been improved and made easier to use. Jump pads near the siege will get players into the fight. Players who have unlocked gliding can use the jump pads to glide, automatically gaining a new gliding bundle that will help damage and heal allies. Both the siege and gliding bundle will additionally help break any defiance bar, something that seemed incredibly effective to use on the pulsating crystals.
Overall I think the encounter is really good. While the encounter isn’t too incredibly difficult—purposefully being weaker than the Tequatl encounter—it still is very fun and engaging. The fight isn’t seeing any new or unique rewards as far as I know outside of the new backpack skin available by completing the meta. Even the achievements are really well done, pointing out and rewarding tactics and opportunities for use throughout the fight.
The Lunar New Year is back this year and like the other holidays comes in mostly the same form. Most of the holiday activities focus on the return of Dragon Ball, a small pvp match with unique skills and combat. Divinity’s Reach is once again the focal point of this holiday as the decorations return, albeit updated for this year’s animal the Monkey.
Much like last year, players can open up Lucky Envelopes for the chance at riches, food, essences of luck and two new Monkey themed backpacks. Little and Homemade Lucky Envelopes can be gained from doing daily and festival achievements while Divine Lucky Envelopes can be bought from the holiday merchant.
An addition to this year is a new item that will let players convert a new Monkey backpack into a ram backpack for those players that were not around for last years festivities.
Outside of the Shatterer and Lunar New Year are a host of smaller updates including gliding in Core Tyria, Commander and Squad upgrades and small quality of life changes to game options, keybindings and fractals. Lastly is the Eldvin Monastery Brew of the Month Club which players can subscribe to monthly brews sent straight to their mail. Players who collect all 12 will get a title and new backpack.
For some help on the new achievements in this patch, check out the Lunar New Year Achievements here on Mattsta.Ninja.