Champions Chapter 1 – Truce on Impressions – GameSpace.com
The Icebrood Saga: Champions Chapter 1 – Truce arrives today, starting the home stretch towards The End Of Dragons expansion. With the fate of Tyria seemingly uncertain once again and our heroes locked in the Eye of the North, we got our first glimpse of the final chapter of Arenanet’s MMORPG.
After a rather unexpected end of Jormag Rising, the latest entry in the ongoing battle for Tyria’s future heats up again, and things aren’t going exactly as we might hope. With an active ice dragon blowing in the wind, legions of Icebrood roaming the north, and a certain brazen lion cub now championing an ancient dragon, it didn’t look like things could get any worse. Sadly, it looks like the issues are taking a new direction and gaining a firm foothold in the heart of Tyria.
While Jormag’s shadow is still heavy in the air, The Icebrood Saga Episode 5: Chapter 1 Truce finds trouble closer to the ground. If you’ve been lucky enough to catch the trailer for the latest adventure, you’ll know what a fiery threat has surfaced and is busy burning the land. The return of the Servants and Dragon Destroyers to the heart of Tyria brings a whole new set of evolutionary challenges for any commander to overcome.
While the first lines of the march to confront Jormag found players on the Drizzlewood Coast, Truce returns to the quiet farms and the open world that were the back lines of this battle. Foreshadowed by highly volatile events in the Hirathi Hinterlands over the past few weeks, we now find areas like Metrica Province, Brisbane Wildlands, and Gandaran Fields overrun by invading forces loyal to a new threat. Coming out of The Eye of the North, Truce offers an opportunity to fight these enemies in a rather unexpected way.
So far, we’ve moved forward expecting each new episode of ArenaNet’s Living World to feature expansive new environments brimming with content and stories of heroism to keep us coming back. This time, Truce takes a slightly different approach. After the recent rumblings across Tyria, a seemingly innocuous trip to talk to Taimi led to this episode setting up a camp in the heart of the Asura farm. As waves of destruction begin to sweep over Tyria and uncover an unlikely ally. While we do our best to keep quiet on the narrative side of things, this episode is notable for several reasons.
Truce wanders off the well-worn path to slay a dragon. I was the type to criticize ArenaNet, especially during Heart of Thorns, when we all knew Modremoth was dead certain mulch. The Truce continues this different approach and although it takes a lot of its lead over the previous episode, there is a nice change of pace that reminds us that anything can happen, enemies can become friends, but then again , they can also be cold killers. The truce is certainly more of a spectacle than a storytelling experience. While a sonic narrative always weaves its way through this bet, much of it gets us going and experiencing the heat of battle as Destroyers invade unprepared towns.
The opening narrative that follows this action is, fortunately, entirely interpreted by the voice this time around. While unforeseen events have been trying hard on everyone lately, the return of Steve Blum, Debi Derryberry and other fantastic talents who play a major role in making Tyria so special is most welcome. The ArenaNet sound team has done a great job of filling the void without the full cast and Krew, but the return to the first fully voiced edition of the Icebrood Saga since the pandemic struck is a wonderful bonus for fans of this. virtual world and brings the whole episode alive in a way that makes me wonder if they shouldn’t be missing, so we’re reminded of how important they are more often.
Short and sweet?
Unfortunately, sometimes the appearance of our old friends is far too short for my taste. This episode’s narrative largely leads players by the hand and introduces them to the three new Dragon Response Missions. This slice of action rolls out of our base in the Eye of the North and sets out three instanced dungeons where players can fend off the oncoming threat.
Set back in the province of Metrica, the wilds of Brisbane and the fields of Gandaran, these mini-dungeons immerse anyone faced with the fire and doom raging across Tyria in areas seldom crossed outside of winter season. festivals, challenging you to defend them from attack. Covered in ash and rocked by waves of creepy crawling crabs, among other minions, these Dragon Response Missions add something different to this familiar territory without the permanent change Nightmare Tower has inflicted on the Kessex Hills. There is something refreshing about seeing a new side of these sturdy backdrops, even under a siege. Lots of sympathetic nods and faction-specific design are sprinkled throughout each of the three available encounters, giving them enough charm to make each encounter engaging the first few times.
Anyone having trouble chewing the occasional champion won’t be alone during these interventions, with accompaniment from NPCs or full-fledged player groups of up to five participants. Whether you’re wading through the fires burning in the fields of Gandaran or calling for reinforcements in Metrica, don’t expect these encounters to be particularly problematic. Despite great visual work on burning local landmarks and a few cute little atmospheric additions such as the odd Asura Golem, slicing through each response mission can quickly become a chore, even if the difficulty scales with your party’s abilities. Fortunately, there are a lot of rewards for this work.
ArenaNet has teased new and old Allied factions in this upcoming adventure. Crystal Bloom and Ebon Vanguard will appear on a rotating schedule throughout the lifespan of this content, allowing players to earn reputation with each of the alliances available. Rather than scouring a map talking to NPCs and advancing open world events, similar to No Quarter, this favor is earned in an instanced battle. While only three Dragon Response Missions are available, there are plenty of reasons to replay these encounters. The addition of daily missions, a ton of achievements, and challenge modes results in chests full of faction-based currencies that can be exchanged for a ton of new skins and weapons.
The coolest new weapon skins coming with Truce is the Crystal Bloom Ax Skin, a weapon that represents the followers of Aurene, it’s simplistic but utterly flashy at the same time and definitely brings out my inner Skritt. Along with this magnificent new ax, there are two entirely additional weapon sets to collect as you defend the kingdom. The Dragonslayer weapon set, which you can see below, is a mix of hues of metal and ambient blue. There is something understated about them that like the Crystal Bloom Ax skin makes them look refined.
The Volcanic Stormcaller weapon set, however, is significantly more sophisticated. By taking the recent Charged Stormcaller weapons and corrupting them with volcanic energy, lucky players can grab them as a rare drop while slaying alien invaders, making players nearly indistinguishable from the burning wreckage of the Tyria as they leave a trail of smoke in their wake. It’s about as flashy as this weapon set is likely to be.
While that makes about 33 weapons in total to buy, build, and pack in battle, Truce really feels like it’s going to be something tough to go through. Dragon Response missions aren’t meant to replace Strike missions and they really don’t feel more engaging. Running solo, they just end up being a reminder of what dungeons have become. The rewards are definitely worth the effort and the sparse interaction we get with a fully played voice cast is wonderful, but I feel like ArenaNet has been forced to submit by the current circumstances. The truce is in many ways a great return to the heart of Tyria and a wonderful taste of what I hope will be a triumphant path to End of Dragons, but it feels like filler at times and will wear out. if you are not just focused on the brilliant rewards at the end of this campaign.
You can jump into Guild Wars 2 Icebrood Saga: Champions Chapter 1 – Truce now for free, assuming you own the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire expansion, and pick up some of these epic new weapons by logging in now.