ArenaNet reveals the new World vs World Desert Borderlands map coming with Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns.
Last weekend ArenaNet showed off the new Guild Wars 2 World vs World (WvW) Borderlands map that was hinted at during the PAX South expansion announcement. This new map is called the Desert Borderlands and will be replacing the current borderlands (now called the Alpine Borderlands) once Heart of Thorns is released.
While there are a lot of changes coming with the Desert map, there are still going to be some things familiar to players. The new map will have the same amount of objectives with three keeps, four towers and six supply camps in roughly the same positions that players currently find them on the map. Additionally the map will still run off the similar points per tick scoring system and will feature supply run by dolyaks.
That is about where the similarities end. The Desert map will have far more verticality than the Alpine map and features themed objectives. For example, the fire keep is entirely underground. Players can run across the sand dunes and find gaps and staircases to make their way down to it. The fire keep itself has lava flowing through it with fire imps and charred fleshreavers as its guards.
The theme of the keeps don’t stop there as the new Shrine mechanics tied to each keep grant advantages to the team that controls them. There are three shrines around each of the three keeps, for nine total shrines on the map. Controlling a keep and the surrounding shrines will give a buff depending on the keep and the number of local shrines controlled.
In addition to these team wide bonuses, players can also go up to any shrine their team controls and interact with it to gain an Elemental Blessing buff. This five-minute buff will increase your movement speed as well as either your attack damage, critical-strike chance or defense depending on which elemental blessing you receive.
Another major change is to the objectives and their lords. Defenders will have more chances to attack invading forces with new more strategic layouts that surround the gates of towers and keeps into death boxes. The lords of these objectives also fit with the theme of the building and now play a larger role in defending against invaders. Lastly, the towers now are more objectively centered as they block off passage to any who wish to get past them to the rest of the map, giving more meaning to holding and defending these objectives.
The most drastic of changes is the Oasis in the center of the map. Complex rocky terrain, winding streams, elevated bamboo walkways and a golden temple highlight this area. If the breathtaking view doesn’t draw you to this area, the giant energy cannon sitting atop the golden temple might. Every three hours an event begins in the oasis to kill surrounding creatures who have eaten the cannon’s power cores. Collect these core and turn them in to charge up the cannon. Once a team has collected enough of these cores, the cannon will fire at all of their enemies’ objectives slowly obliterating the gates. Called the Skysplitter, this cannon can be a game changer for any side.
Dolyaks and Sentries are also making a return with some small improvements. Dolyaks will now be harder to kill whenever a friendly player is nearby guarding it as the dolyak will gain the Protected Caravan buff that makes them resistant to both damage and conditions. Sentries are now positioned along dolyak paths and will cripple any enemy dolyaks that walk by. The Sentries are now also guarding small outposts that have med kits useful for healing friendly dolyaks.
While the Desert Borderland is replacing the Alpine Borderland, ArenaNet says that they do have plans to bring the Alpine map back later. For details on that however, we will have to wait until later.