With the launch of Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons less than a month away, and the release date finally revealed, ArenaNet has held out one last secret to unveil before launch day, and that is its final mastery track. ArenaNet recently invited us to take a tour of New Kaineng City and get a sneak peak of EoD’s final mastery track: Jade Bots.Guild Chat stream. I don’t have a whole lot to say that you can’t glean from watching that video; the city is dazzling with bright colors and heavy doses of neon jade tech. It absolutely drips modern Cantha’s East Asian fantasy cyberpunk aesthetic – jadepunk, as ANet is calling it. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but personally I think it’s beautiful, and I can’t wait to explore more of it.
The real meat of the tour, though, was the mastery track. First of all, let me set your expectations: If you were expecting something as game-changing as Heart of Thorns’ gliders or Path of Fire’s mounts, go ahead and set the bar a little lower. That said, I think there’s some decent utility to be had here.
Jade bots are the cute little bug-like robots that ArenaNet has been teasing for a while now. Move over, R2-D2 and BB-8; there’s a new adorable droid companion in my heart.
Your jade bot has three equipment slots of its own, one power core and two modules. Better power cores not only allow the jade bot to do more but increase the player’s vitality. More interesting, however, are modules, which allow your bot to perform a number of unique tasks. Examples we were given were speeding up your skiff or increasing your mount’s energy. Both power cores and modules can be crafted, though we weren’t privy to the details of how that crafting will work. There were no cosmetic options shown to us, but let’s be honest, we’re probably going to see jade bot skins popping up in the cash shop before long.
Your jade bot will also gain a number of functions based on your progress along the Jade Bots mastery track. It’s important to note that you can’t simply spam these abilities willy-nilly; your jade bot carries a certain number of charges and must be recharged at jade batteries scattered throughout the world.
The first mastery is called Gliding Booster. As its name implies, it allows players to instruct their jade bots to lift them up while gliding. Think of it like an updraft you can trigger anywhere, any time. I’m sure boundary breakers will have some fun with this one. Of course, in most cases, this isn’t that different from simply hopping on the griffon mount, but more mobility options are never a bad thing, and it should be a lot more accessible than the time consuming and expensive griffon grind. Besides, it’s nice to see older content like gliders continue to see improvements more than six years later.
The second mastery, called Multicharge, increases the number of charges your jade bot can carry to four. Third is Jade Tech Waypoint, which allows you to drop a waypoint anywhere in the open world and return to it, like any other waypoint, which sounds incredibly handy. The fourth mastery is called Energy Efficiency, which further increases the number of charges your bot can hold, and allows it to gather two charges at once from batteries, as well as gain charges while riding zip lines, a new jade bot-powered point-to-point travel system that the devs compared to jumping mushrooms. Last but certainly not least is Rescue Protocol, which allows you to call your jade bot to help rez you while you are downed. My understanding is that it functions similarly to the Ranger’s Lick Wounds skill.
Jade bots also have a variety of “bespoke tech things” that they can do in certain areas of the world. ArenaNet demoed one such action for us in Kaineng City. Players can walk up to a terminal and take direct control of their jade bot and fly it around the city freely “like a drone” to get some new views on the city. The devs also briefly mentioned solving puzzles with these free-flying jade bots, which is exciting.
So there you have it: We now know all of the masteries that End of Dragons is going to launch with… probably. After all, we thought we knew about all of Path of Fire’s masteries before launch until someone unearthed the griffon mount. But barring any surprises, this will be it. From what I’ve seen, jade bots are super cute, functional, and intuitive to use. Nothing they do is going to blow your mind, but they should add some nice quality of life.
As I mentioned above, I’ve seen many players holding out hope that this last mastery will be some kind of final ace in the hole that will surprise everyone and get even the most apathetic fence-sitters a reason to get excited about End of Dragons. Something to rival the excellent mount system of Path of Fire.
But as nice they are, jade bots simply aren’t that. A lot of people are going to be disappointed, but I would like to say again that it’s unsustainable for every expansion to outdo the last one, and that’s OK. We’re getting a new two-person mount, fishing, skiffs, and some quality-of-life perks, in addition to a full round of elite specs and a new continent with all the storytelling that entails. It may look smaller compared to previous expansions, but it’s far from nothing. I’m excited to explore Cantha with everyone, from Shing Jea to New Kaineng and everything in between, when Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons launches February 28th!