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Developer Update — June 2011 PvP Update

Are you tempted by the thought of forcefully subjecting other people to your combat superiority, but you're also left wondering, "What's in it for me?" We understand. That time that you nailed a ridiculous spike on the Frenzy/Heal Signet Warrior makes a great story, but at the end of the day, what do you have to show for it? This has been a longstanding problem with our competitive formats: there are a great variety to try, but many people haven't found enough reasons to jump in. This latest update introduces numerous enhancements and additions to make your competitive experience significantly more rewarding. Among them, you'll find new items, never-before-seen weapons, and new prestige emotes. Additionally, we've made changes to some titles, making the process of obtaining them a better match for the venue of combat. There might even be some other unexpected surprises. Sound interesting? Read on for more details.

Zaishen Coins

Zaishen Coin rewards contain several items that players can get from other areas of the game, including skill tomes, sweets, and alcohol. However, we noticed that many of these rewards could be obtained cheaper and faster by not using Z-Coins at all, instead simply purchasing them from the respective merchant or farming certain mobs. In this update, we rebalanced several of the lower-tier rewards to make them better reflect their actual cost. You'll now find that, using your Z-Coins, it's a little easier to afford some of the things you want when you talk to the traders.

Additionally, we are now allowing players to trade Zaishen Coins with each other. Originally, we had them non-tradable to encourage large groups to form at the outpost, but the addition of Embark Beach and the fact that items purchased with Z-Coins are themselves tradable meant that this restriction became more of a hindrance than a motivator. This change also allows us to offer Zaishen Coins as rewards for new things like...


Zaishen Strongbox

Last Halloween, we started offering special holiday drops in GvG battles, rewarding players for killing the enemy Guild Lord instead of going to a tiebreaker. We found this to be an effective way to encourage players to play more aggressively in GvG, and we wanted to create a year-round incentive for this behavior. For that we've crafted the Zaishen Strongbox, a grab bag item that drops when the Guild Lord is killed. This strongbox contains rewards including sweets, fireworks, Flames of Balthazar, and even the newly tradable Zaishen Coins. It also contains some new rewards in the form of minipets, weapon skins, and everlasting tonics. We've also packed in the most sugary sweets, potent potables, and festive party items to date.

The strongbox is a great reward system, but we didn't want to force players into playing only GvG. Strongboxes can also be obtained for consecutive win streaks in Heroes' Ascent, Random Arena, and Codex Arena. While many of the low-end rewards are the same in all formats, each format's strongbox contains an exclusive minipet and two everlasting tonics that you can only obtain from playing in that format. This was done to encourage players to try other formats, while letting them focus on the format they most prefer without feeling like they will miss out on rewards.

The new special weapons from the Zaishen Strongbox can also be acquired from Tolkano, along with several weapon skins that were previously unavailable. For example, if you're looking to enter PvP with some of the awesome skins we introduced for the War in Kryta, talk to Tolkano today.


Imperial Faction

Many of us have experienced the long wait times in Alliance Battles and the continual message of "No opposing party joined." While it's always been possible to switch sides, evening out the numbers and entering faster, players have been reluctant to do so. The inconvenience of getting the wrong type of faction—plus the restriction that only the guild leader can change your guild's alliance—means that many players end up choosing other methods for gaining the faction points they want.

Seeing the troubles that plague adventurers, the great Dragon Empire has stepped in and now distributes Imperial faction for Alliance PvP formats: Alliance Battles, The Jade Quarry, and Fort Aspenwood. Imperial faction can be traded to an Imperial Faction Converter (conveniently located in every Alliance PvP outpost) for an equivalent amount of Luxon or Kurzick faction. For those adventurers who would rather not bother with either, it can also be traded at a slightly reduced rate for Balthazar faction. Now, even if you are playing for the Luxon Armada, you can still earn points toward the amber for that Kurzick armor you're working on, or build up Balthazar faction to buy Z-Keys. Kurzick and Luxon spies have also been spotted lurking around Alliance Battle outposts, recruiting players whose guilds may be allied to their enemies. Talking to one of these shifty characters will instantly switch you to the opposite side of the battle lines, allowing you to queue up on the side that needs more players. Imperial faction rewards are also greatly increased over their original Luxon and Kurzick counterparts to even out the rate of rewards with their non-PvP faction acquisition methods. Now you can get in faster and get more for your time in Alliance PvP.


PvP Quests

Along with our many additions that enhance the existing experience and reward PvP players, we want to encourage and guide new players into PvP gametypes. So, if you like the sound of these rewards but don't have a lot of PvP experience, we've added a series of simple quests that send players into the Battle Isles to try their hand at the various arenas. These quests also give a taste of the new Zaishen Strongbox rewards in this update and can each be completed once per account. Players can start these quests by speaking with Zenjal [Zaishen Recruiter] in the Great Temple of Balthazar or any port city.


Title Changes

We've made some rather large changes to how Gladiator and Codex Title points are accumulated. Previously, earning any progression towards the titles required players to win five matches in a row, which meant players could win four times and not earn a single point towards their titles. Especially in Random Arena, this did not compliment an otherwise accessible format. And, in both formats, it was simply too discouraging to constantly come up short due to the high difficulty of earning a single point.

To address this, we have made each win—excluding the first, to discourage "Red resigns" match manipulation—give points towards the title. The number of points per win starts at one and increases by one for each fifth consecutive win. Players are also given bonus points for each five consecutive wins. This continues to reward players who are able to go on long winning streaks, but it allows others to work on the title without each broken streak being a tragic affair.

This change required that we make some adjustments to the title track itself. Due to the higher output of points, we have multiplied the requirements for each tier in both the Gladiator and Codex Title by five. A 25-game winning streak in Random Arena used to reward 19 points and, under the new system, will reward 100. So, in the spirit of round numbers, we settled on a multiple of five for the title requirements, bringing the top tier for both to 200,000.

Especially on the lower end of the spectrum, players will now earn more points for short streaks, since anything up to four wins used to give nothing and will now be rewarding one point per win. To compensate players who have already earned progress towards the Gladiator or Codex Title tracks using the old system, we've multiplied current title points by eight. We cannot retroactively give points for the countless times anyone came up one match short of a streak, since that data is not saved. Still, we hope this bonus, coupled with a new system that's less irritating, will please veterans and newcomers alike.


Codex Arena

In addition to the title changes, we have also altered Codex Arena itself to rotate the list of available skills once per day rather than every eight hours. Simply put, we feel that players were just getting used to their bars when the Codex shifted, forcing them to switch strategies. We hope this change will preserve the unique sealed-deck aspect of Codex Arena while giving players more time to get a feel for each new set of skills.


GvG Emote

The primary motivating factor behind the GvG emote was to return some level of importance to the guild ladder. While your ladder ranking is affected by Automated Tournament matches—much more so than standard ladder matches—your ladder ranking did not affect much of anything in the game. Guilds sought to maintain a rating higher than 1,200 to ensure they earned Champion title points, but other than that, ladder ranking was largely irrelevant.

If a game has a ladder, those on that ladder should want to be number one, period. If players are as content being rank 165 as they are being rank 1, it's clear they need something to be competitive over. Our experience with the fame emote had one simple lesson: people like having effects play while gloating over the lifeless corpses of their fallen foes. Thus the GvG emote was born!

Rather than being something players earn and have long after they have stopped playing GvG, your GvG emote will evolve as your guild rises and falls on the ladder. If you were rank 1 yesterday and you're rank 5 today, you will need to fight your way back to the top if you want that emote in its full glory. In short, this emote makes the ladder relevant and rewards those who maintain a high standing on it.


Conclusion

The fires of Balthazar burn brighter than ever. Answer his call to arms and fight, so that one day, it may be your name that echoes through the Hall of Heroes!