Flameseeker Chronicles: A guide to Guild Wars 2’s revivified Dragon Bash

    
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Dragon Bash is an event that first ran in Guild Wars 2 in 2013, less than a year after the game launched. It was originally supposed to celebrate Tyria’s defiance of the elder dragon menace and the defeat of Zhaitan, and it loosely mirrored Guild Wars 1’s Dragon Festival. For whatever reason, ArenaNet has never chosen to run the event again.

Until today.

I know a lot of current players didn’t get to experience Dragon Bash the first time around. Personally, I was fairly new to the game at the time, but I fondly remember wandering old Lion’s Arch’s decorated streets and getting stomped by some holographic ice broods, wondering how projections of light can even damage me, and why I’m able to damage them back.

While the original event took place in Lion’s Arch, this year’s festivities will be taking over the Norn home town of Hoelbrak, which honestly makes sense since the Norn have always been the culture that’s the most gung-ho about fighting dragons. The city has been decked out in festive decorations, and a massive hologram of Kralkatorrik dominates the sky, projected from some kind of large dragon-themed Asuran projection device at the center of town.

It’s great to see this event finally return to Guild Wars 2 after more than six years, with all new features, no less! Alongside Tina, I took a peek into the event last week at a preview held by ArenaNet and got a handle on how it’s going to play. Here’s our guide to what you can expect this round!

What’s returning

Dragon piñatas

Bash the dragon! Smash the dragon! Collect Zhaitaffy! At bare minimum, you’ll want to run around town and click these every day. One thousand Zhaitaffy can be turned in for Jorbreakers, which can be used to buy some of the shiny rewards I’ll discuss below. Even if you’re not that interested in what the vendors are selling, these things should at least sell pretty well for how little effort you have to put in to get them.

Moa racing

Feel like gambling in Guild Wars 2 but there’s nothing interesting in the lockboxes? Why not bet some gold on the Tigg’s Racing Moas? The event is the only way to get Racing Vouchers, which can be traded for unique rewards like the Mini Helmed Racing Moa. New this year is the ability to watch the race from the perspective of any of the moas and shoot off fireworks to cheer them on. My money is on Tipping the Skales.

Note that Dragon Ball Arena, which was originally introduced in the first Dragon Bash, is not returning, because it’s now a part of the Lunar New Year festival. Sorry, but you’ll have to wait until next January for that!

What’s new

Dragon Arena

If you like fighting bosses – especially big, holographic dragon minions – you’re going to want to head down to Lake Mourn (near the Hero’s Compass Waypoint) and give this minigame a try. Not only is there a gauntlet of tough bosses and swarms of monsters to contend with, there’s also a time limit on each wave to keep things interesting. You’ll definitely want to find a group before jumping into this instance!

Dragon Bash Rally

We’ve gotten a mount race for every holiday since Path of Fire released, and Dragon Bash is no exception. This time, however, rather than a periodic event that pits you against other players, Dragon Bash’s race can be triggered at any time, and will reward you based on your time. If you were ever frustrated by the green pillars of light that used to mark the race track (which were difficult to see under many circumstances, even more so for people with red/green color blindness), you will be happy to hear that they’ve changed the checkpoint markers to much more visible bubbles of light, with a ring marking which bubble you need to hit next and pointing you in the right direction. There are also little bubbles that refill some of your mount endurance, so you can boost the speed of your mount of choice more often!

Dragon Bash PvP/WvW reward track

While the Dragon Ball PvP minigame isn’t coming back for this event, those of you who are more PvP-minded can still get in on the action with a new reward track that will give you some Dragon Bash-themed goodies for slaying your fellow Tyrians.

Holographic stampedes

In lieu of the hologram projectors scattered randomly around the world that you may remember from the original Dragon Bash, this time stampeding groups of holographic monsters will spawn in the zones surrounding Hoelbrak and roam the countryside until you put a stop to them. Holographic mobs drop lots of Zhaitaffy, so if you’re going for Jorbreakers you’ll want to track these down. Conveniently, the location of the next stampede is also shown on your quest tracker while you’re in Hoelbrak.

The rewards

Dragon Bash vendors still sell those flappy holographic dragon wing backpieces (aka literally the most annoying backpiece in history), as well as a few new goodies. This includes the Dragon Bash Regalia Coffer, which will reward players with a fearsome holographic dragon helm in your choice of light, medium, or heavy armor. There’s also the usual handful of minis, including one of Gourdon the Racing Choya wearing a dragon mask, because of course there is. Most notably is the Dragon Bash Victory Coffer, which lets you transmute your weapon into a holographic version of any of the first generation legendary precursor weapons. I didn’t know I needed a see-through Zap sword skin in my life, but I do now.

The Black Lion Trading Company is also getting in on the dragon celebration and is adding a number of dragon-themed cosmetics to the cash shop. These include the skyscale horns headpiece, an essential for any dragon mount enthusiast, and, coming next week, the Skyscale Mount Pack. I think we all knew Skyscale skins were coming, and there are some really nice ones here. My favorite is the black and blue “bio luminescent” one (anyone else getting How to Train Your Dragon vibes?), but the branded one is a close second. Those of you who are averse to random mount adoption licenses can rest easy, as all six of these are sold in a pack together, and will be available July 2nd. Check them out in the gallery below!

I’m glad to see ArenaNet pulling some of its old festivals out of storage. Some have disparaged it as cheap or lazy, but Dragon Bash, along with the Festival of the Four Winds, was perfectly good content just waiting to be reused, and it gives players something fun to do until the next batch of content arrives, while still letting the developers spend most of their time developing said new content. Personally, I can see myself playing the Dragon Arena and Holographic Stampedes a good bit. Will you be dropping by the land of the Norn for this one? What are you most excited to try?

Flameseeker Chronicles is one of Massively OP’s longest-running columns, covering the Guild Wars franchise since before there was a Guild Wars 2. Now penned by Tina Lauro and Colin Henry, it arrives on Tuesdays to report everything from GW2 guides and news to opinion pieces and dev diary breakdowns. If there’s a GW2 topic you’d love to see explored, drop ’em a comment!