In our advance media preview last month, ArenaNet took us on a mini-tour of the Echovald Wilds in Guild Wars 2's End of Dragons expansion. That was only the first part of our preview, and we were all sworn to secrecy regarding the second half of our tour, which focused on New Kaineng City and some of the new systems coming in the expansion. That embargo has now ended, and although you can see the official reveal of New Kaineng City here, I've intentionally avoided watching it so as to give my own impressions of what I saw in our brief tour.
New Kaineng City is a primary hub for explorers in Cantha. It not only has all the features you'd expect from a central city but also events and lots of nooks and crannies to explore. It's the center of modern tech in Tyria, home to all kinds of jade-based technology, which led one of the developers to describe it as “the Wakanda of Tyria.” My first thought upon seeing the architecture and overall ambiance and look of the city was that it reminded me of The Legend of Korra's Republic City. I mean, elementalists are practically benders, aren't they?
Last year, ArenaNet said that, although Cantha has been cut off from the rest of Tyria, the developers have been noting major events that happened in the GW2 timeline and how they would have affected the isolated land. For one, the rise of Zhaitan wiped out most of the old city of Kaineng, so a new one was built on ruins to the south, some of which was an old naga nest. Because of its newness, New Kaineng City is filled with cultures from all over Cantha.
While Amnoon was nice in the last expansion, it felt more like the desert outpost it was meant to be rather than a major city on par with launch cities like Black Citadel or Rata Sum. With its grand, sweeping views and fantastic touches – there's a holographic whale that floats through the sky! – New Kaineng City looks to back some of that “old school” feel and sense of scale that we haven't seen in the game in nearly a decade, and I can't wait to prowl its streets (and look into the Jade Brotherhood's underground smuggling operations) on my own time.
A new city, while nice, isn't that unusual of a feature for an expansion. More surprising is the “very rare” addition of a new equipment type for characters Introducing Jade Bots, which grant you various special effects if you have the right modules equipped. Examples included bonus skiff speed, the ability to scan for treasure, and improved power recharge on your siege turtle.
New Kaineng City is build around Jade Bots, which allow you to perform a series of actions throughout the city. The bots can extract energy from terminals and use it to power up ziplines or activate teleporters. You can even hook into a drone to cruise the city from the skies, not unlike the Eagle Spirit adventure in Drizzlewood Coast.
Jade Bots' functionality can be improved through a new set of mastery lines, which offer three skills. There's a glide boost, which allows you to go straight up without the need of an updraft; the ability to create a personal waypoint anywhere in the world (outside of instances); and a “Rescue Protocol” that can revive you, albeit on a long cooldown. Aw, but what am I going to do with my hundred or so Revive Orbs?
It's been four-plus years since Guild Wars 2 got an expansion, and it looks like the extra-long wait has been worth it. For this climactic chapter, ArenaNet no doubt wanted to make sure it got everything just right, and pushing back the expansion a few extra months was probably the right move. I've only scratched the surface so far of what End of Dragons has to offer, and I want to jump in right now to get the full experience. Just like the rest of you, though, I'll have to wait until the 28th to visit New Kaineng City and power up my Jade Bots.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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