I've been reading around as there are a number of previews up today. It sounds like we are getting a LOT of new stuff today. And this is only on the PvE front! PvP is getting Paid Tournaments, which is a big deal.
Ok, so I'll break this down in to two sections; Halloween content (limited time) and Permanent Content.
This is fairly vague still, but this is what we DO know.
- New Halloween Weapon Skins. It looks like there are two ways to get this, but it is NOT clear on the details. The first is that these 6 skins will randomly be found in Black Lion Trading Chests. They will be in there for the duration of the halloween event. Another known way is that there is a vendor who sells skins for Candy Corn fragments (more on that in a sec). However, someone noticed a timer listed... so these versions may be Temporary skins only, while the gambling chests are permanant versions.
- Candy Corn! There will be Candy Corn resource nodes located around ... I think the whole world, although I'm not clear on that. These can be mined and will yield fragments of candy corn. I think there are 3 things to do with these that are known; Holiday Cooking recipies, Purchasing skins as mentioned above, and consuming them. Consuming them will work through an achievement, just like a Title track in GW1 it sounds like.
- Mad King story. We'll get Act 1 of this today, which involves the Durmand Priory investigating a strange energy signature found in Tyria. Takes place in 4 acts, theoretically climaxes with the return of the Mad King and a live event.
- This one is a bit assumed, but DE's themed around the Holiday.
- Costumes and Costume Brawl. This is a little different than GW1... you'll be able to get turned in to random costumes (Ghosts, Mummies, Candy Golems are what I've seen in the preview videos so far), all which have abilities. These abilities work on other people who are costumed. So you can have impromptu brawls anywhere (there is a Cauldron above the mystic forge in LA that will turn you in to a costume there as well as you can find / buy costume items that have limited uses). I believe there will also be a mini game arena type place where you can go do Costume Brawl as well, for a central location to find fights
- Live Event? on Sunday afternoon. They had a cryptic response of "you'll want to be around on Sunday during the day to see what we have in store" or something to that effect.
Ok, so that's the HOLIDAY stuff. What will we see that should be permanent additions to the game?
- Jumping Puzzles! Supposedly they added a bunch of new puzzles throughout the world, along with the requisite achievements for them. It sounds like we could see as many as 15-20 Jumping puzzles, many which now feature a 'checkpoint' system that will make it so that if you fall you won't die and have to start all the way at the beginning.
- Dynamic Events! There are supposedly 30-40 new events and chains being added throughout the world! They are getting a little more creative with them it sounds like as well. For example:
- Spoiler: show
- For those who like to hunt around in every corner of Tyria, the Skritt Burglar challenges should be a nice surprise. Occasionally you’ll come across chests that may contain treasure or a Skritt creature with a giant pack on its back. The Skritt will then take off and scurry across the landscape, and, similar to how the treasure goblin works in Diablo III, you’ll need to chase and try to kill him before he escapes. Chasing is a risk, though, because the Burglar will run right through packs of enemies, and if you stop to fight that means he’s only getting further away
- New DE Mechanics. This seems like a huge deal to me. They are moving forward with building 'layers' on many of these new DE's (and hopefully will apply this to past ones as we move on as well). The idea is, when events scale upwards, they won't just 'spawn more badguys' like we get now. Instead they will actually create layers based on population thresholds to better balance them for groups of players. For example:
- Spoiler: show
- If you’re alone, initially you’ll fight off waves of their minions before challenging one of the members of the guild directly. Each member will have unique boss-like attack patterns in order to force you to move around and use your skills intelligently. If a lot of players gather around the event’s structure switches. Instead of fighting the guild members one at a time, you’ll fight all four at once, making for a more chaotic and difficult encounter.
So, the more guys means we'll have a different boss encounter, one that can be handled by a larger group of enemies.
- New Mini Dungeons! I don't know exactly how many, but two have been mentioned so far; One in Dredgehaunt Cliffs and the other in Fireheart Ridge. The one in Fireheart Ridge is "inspired by an MC Escher painting" and supposedly has a boss encounter that will have you platforming and fighting at the same time.
- New 'enemy faction'. There is a new enemy faction being added to the game, which will be the focus of a lot of these new events. They are the Modus Sceleris, a guild who is intent on harassing adventures for some reason. Not a lot of info on them yet though.
- Karma Changes! Daily Achievements, Monthly Achievements, and Dungeons will all reward Karma now! That means you have a host of places you can do activities and still earn Karma! No more Plinx runs till you want to shove his head up his Golems exhaust port! I'm sure you'll still get the best Karma / hr farming in Orr, but the point is now you'll gain Karma doing other activities. Should make things like Dungeon running more attractive.
- Finally, they stated they reworked and improved the rewards you'll get from Mini Dungeons and Jumping Puzzles (basically world based chests) to be more valuable, making these a much bigger draw than they are now.
I am sure we'll also see some patch notes that outline some of this as well as any other changes. All in all, a pretty great first content patch it sounds like.
They still obviously have a lot to work on (cough cough WvW and server xfers as well as bots) but this is a pretty great showing for their Live World and Live Event teams.