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Guild Wars 2's Festival of the Four Winds launches today

Anatoli Ingram

As promised, today ArenaNet will update Guild Wars 2's western servers with the Festival of the Four Winds, a Chinese-themed patch that will return the Zephyrite festival to the game and mark the game's launch in China. Says the studio,
The Zephyrites have returned to Labyrinthine Cliffs in their large-sailed flying ships to support Lion's Arch in its time of need. Although Lion's Arch suffered a devastating blow as a result of Scarlet's nefarious plans, Captain Ellen Kiel of the Captain's Council is grateful to see the Zephyrites return with their generous offer of materials and moral support. And to help reinvigorate trade and provide some joy to its citizens, the Zephyrite Master of Peace and Queen Jennah of Kryta are hosting a festival to honor Lion's Arch. Visit Labyrinthine Cliffs and experience the rush of Aspect movement skills, take part in the Sanctum Sprint, or enjoy one of the brand-new events; then take a hot-air balloon to Divinity's Reach and enjoy the reopened Crown Pavilion, including a new version of the Queen's Gauntlet, the Boss Blitz. Join Braham, Rox, Marjory, Kasmeer, Taimi, and Scruffy as they enjoy the festivities and usher in the return of Lion's Arch services!
We spoke to ArenaNet Game Design Lead Mike Zadorojny and Associate Game Director Steven Waller about the update and how players will gradually aid in the rebuilding of the Tyrian capital.

Gallery: Guild Wars 2 Festival of the Four Winds | 12 Photos

Massively: You've talked in the past about how players shouldn't expect to see Lion's Arch jump straight from totally wrecked to completely rebuilt. Will we get a chance to help the relief effort in smaller ways in this patch?

Steven Waller, ArenaNet Associate Game Director: Lion's Arch was devastated by Scarlet's attack. Whenever there's that level of destruction, it takes quite some time to recover, just as in the real world. We're just at the earliest phases of recovery, where the Zephyrites and Queen Jennah are going to be hosting a festival to try to help them get back on their feet. So they're going to be donating a percentage of the proceeds from festival participation into a relief fund in hopes that they will be kick starting the revival of Lion's Arch. But the idea of when they will be able to rebuild is still undetermined.

Mike Zadorojny, ArenaNet Game Design Lead: We're saying life is starting to return to Lion's Arch, and the city is starting to recover from the destruction from Scarlet's ship, the Breachmaker. This is something that's going to be ongoing for a while, and it's just going to be one of those things where life naturally is going to return to Lion's Arch. But the speed of it and how quickly it's going to be rebuilt is going to be determined over time.

Waller: Yeah, Ellen Kiel is basically saying that it's still a work in progress. The Zephyrites are donating a shipment of much needed supplies to help as basic services are returning but recovery is still a work in progress.

There are a few hints in the ruins of Lion's Arch that the city's leaders might not be ready to welcome back the displaced residents with open arms. Since the Zephyrites were really the ones who kicked off the Cutthroat Politics election in the first place, how do they feel about the destruction of the city and the way the Captains' Council handled the disaster?

Zadorojny: I think the big thing here is that the Zephyrites are coming back, and as far this festival, it's really about the human toll that has happened; how can we support the reconstruction effort, and how can we bring that human spirit back to the city? So it's not necessarily about how they view the Captain's Council's handling of this situation. It's more about this tragedy that has happened, how can they help, and how can they honor the trade agreement that they were able to create with Ellen Kiel the last time they were here.

Waller: The Zephyrites have shown themselves to be a peaceful and generally friendly people. As Mike was saying, it's more about them standing by their friends in their time of need.

The Zephyr Sanctum seems to have gotten a ton of fancy new decorations for the festival. Is that mostly meant as a welcoming gesture for the new Chinese players, or is there an in-universe reason for the theme?

Waller: We've said that this is a festival to celebrate the launch in China, welcoming them to the global Guild Wars 2 community. In-game, it's part of the Zephyrites and who they are and how they travel broadly to trade with a variety of people. I think that's why having a trade agreement with them is valuable. This is how they operate: They bring influences from wherever they travel.

We've heard that the Chinese and US/EU versions of GW2 will be receiving concurrent updates, so can players expect a break in between Festival of the Four Winds and the start of season two to let the Chinese community members get their feet under them?

Zadorojny: The big thing about this festival is that we wanted to really make it feel like it was a huge welcoming celebration but at the same time that it was something that existing Guild Wars 2 players could come back and take the time to enjoy. It's a chance for everyone to come together and celebrate before we launch into the start of Season 2. Don't worry; by the end of the festival, you'll hear more about Season 2.

Waller: Our focus right now is having a great release with Festival of the Four Winds, and hopefully people will enjoy both the Labyrinthine Cliffs and the Queen's Pavilion. While they're enjoying that, they should know that before the release is over there will be more information that will make it clear about what's coming. As a fun note, players who have been carefully watching the progress of the "Festival of the Four Winds" release will be able to find hints that might tease at living world season 2.

Thanks to both of you for your time!

When readers want the scoop on a launch or a patch (or even a brewing fiasco), Massively goes right to the source to interview the developers themselves. Be they John Smedley or Chris Roberts or anyone in between, we ask the devs the hard questions. Of course, whether they tell us the truth or not is up to them!

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