User:Lon-ami/Rising of Orr: Ruins of Orr revamp theorycrafting
Rising of Orr: The Front Lines (First release)
The first release takes the three classic zones of the Ruins of Orr region, and brings them to a new level of open world PvE content. The Front Lines marks the introduction of the new World vs Risen system, implementing war-like mechanics to Straits of Devastation, Malchor's Leap, and Cursed Shore. Capture strategic positions, and don't let the enemy take them back. Escort supply caravans, and use their resources to reinforce the captured positions. Fight the Risen to keep the supply lines safe and active, and unlock new exciting bonuses. With the World vs Risen system, the Pact's invasion of Orr will never be the same.
Ruins of Orr region revamp
The three zones of the Ruins of Orr region (Straits of Devastation, Malchor's Leap, and Cursed Shore) are some of the bests zones of the game, but that doesn't mean they can't be improved further. The risen enemies get repetitive easily, specially in the lowest ranks, with the undead humans. Adding new enemies, as well as balancing the presence of the originals, could help break this monotony, even more if they come with new abilities as well.
One of the first things the classic risen need improvements in is their aesthetic. Their models are fine, but some of them carry unfitting weapon skins. With The Front Lines, there's two new weapon sets added to the loot tables, covering the rare and exotic qualities: Accursed weapons and Fallen Royal weapons. Together with the Dragon's Deep and Orrian weapons, they provide enough variety so every risen can wield fitting weapon skins. The spectral weapons sometimes combine Dragon's Deep weapons with other unfitting skins, which should not happen. These minions could get a lot of variations by taking the unused Dragon's Deep weapons and creating more versions off them, like spectral staffs and greatswords. Also, they could be wielded by other risen minions, becoming free on their wielder's death, and adding an extra layer of challenge.
We still haven't dealt with the repetitiveness problem with the risen human minions. Right now we have three major variations: Normal, pirate, and orrian. An easy way to improve the situation is using the armor sets from The Ruined City of Arah: Armor of the Lich, Accursed armor, and Grasping Dead armor. Applying them to risen human models gives us new variations easily: Liches, Marksmen, and Royal Guards, which could be used to replace generic veterans and champions.
Some of the non-human risen could get some improvements, too. Most of them have only one model per minion type, which makes them get repetitive easily after a while. Creating elite versions of them could help. Take the original model, modify the existing armor pieces and add new ones as well, recolor the particles and auras, and make them a bit larger. Simple improvements like armored versions of giants and abominations, or recolored richer robe wraiths, would make champion variations of these enemies stand out better amongst the crowd. Also, abominations were once too small, and then made bigger, but maybe too big. Now they overshadow risen giants easily, which is not good. Their size is now reduced a bit, to the sizes of large ettins. Adding more enemies aside from the risen can be interesting, too. There's already Inquest presence in Malchor's Leap, but that's all. The eastern side of Straits of Devastation has now less risen and more local fauna, among them jungle ettins and trolls.
Brand new models require far more work than the simple improvements above, but a small number of them could improve the risen ranks greatly. Plague Carriers, who attack by running to the players and then exploding in clouds of gas, could use a visual update to represent their unique abilities, like bloated limbs and ichor dropping from their wounds. The wyverns from the Heart of Maguuma could be seen as a nice smaller version of dragons, and it would be interesting to use their models to make new dragon minions, in this case risen wyverns, giving us some dragon action without being limited to their larger brothers. The unused leviathan model could be rescued and modified for a world boss risen version of it at open sea. Finally, both risen hylek and krait could use some variations too. They appear a lot, but only have one model each, which also isn't too representative of their original races or may be confusing at first.
But new enemies aren't all. New dynamic events now cover the empty spaces across the three maps. Specially risen ships, which now get a heavier presence across the coast, including both Dead Ships and Bone Ships. These are already ingame, but used on a very limited basis. Camps that were safe havens so far can now get under attack, including even Fort Trinity itself. The temple bosses get revamped as well, and made more challenging and rewarding. New achievements including new unique rewards now cover the content of the entire region, guaranteeing a long term prestige goal.
New rewards include two new weapon sets, the aforementioned Accursed weapons and Fallen Royal weapons, which cover the exclusive rare and exotic weapon loot of the region, as well as an entire new collection of risen miniatures, available exclusively as loot from anywhere across the region. This new collection includes every existing risen model, even naval units like ships and sharks, working on land as well. Completing this Risen Miniature Collection, which requires four additional minis only available from achievements related to each release, rewards collectors with the first ever legendary miniature: Mini Elder Dragon Zhaitan. The ascended Six Human Gods themed backpacks make a return too, their recipes now dropping across the region, and marking the introduction of legendary backpacks. All the existing ascended backpacks get new recipes allowing them to be upgraded to legendary, which also unlocks new skins improving the ascended designs further, in the case of the Six Gods backpacks, by adding thematic wings. With these changes, the Balthazar Back Item Reward Track loses its purpose, and is thus transformed into a new repeatable reward track making the Six Gods legendary backpack crafting materials easier to obtain outside of Ruins of Orr. As an additional reward, the Six Gods legendary backpacks can be used as gliders wherever the mastery system allows it.
But the real revamp regarding the gameplay and dynamic events across the Ruins of Orr region comes with the new World vs Risen system.
New system: World vs Risen
One of the original premises of Ruins of Orr was to create a war-like experience, mixing both PvE and WvW elements. Huge meta events were used to emulate the Pact's invasion of Orr, but it wasn't enough to deliver a satisfying war effort experience. There have been many ideas on how to implement a successful iteration of this system since release, but it wasn't until recently, with the introduction of The Silverwastes, that a first attempt was finally made. The Foothold and Breach meta events in this zone had positive as well as improvable ideas, and the lessons garnered from them will be key in the World vs Risen system.
This time, there's no safe haven for the Pact. Most of the camps can be lost to the risen, with a few exceptions, that can get attacked and damaged, but not conquered. These camps are upgraded through a series of caravan escorts events. After a number of successful escorts, camps get upgraded. Each level spawns new defenses, including siege weapons and additional NPCs. Basic camps can be upgraded up to level 3, but special camps have up to 5 levels. The higher the level, the higher the risen menace, too, spawning cyclical events where players must hold the camp against waves of enemies. Lost camps lose their upgrade level, the enemy taking control of them as well. So far, the system follows in the Silverwastes footsteps.
The differences come out as follows. First of all, camps can't be captured out of the blue. The risen fortify their positions, and siege power is required to breach the outer defenses. NPCs lead these attacks, as long as they have a nearby camp from where to rally their forces. Players will need to defend the siege weapons until they crush the enemy defenses, and then assault the camp and eliminate the enemy forces holding it before the timer runs out. A few key camps can't be captured by the risen, but if defense fails, they lose their upgrade level and need to rebuild.
Additionally, the caravan escort events are tied to specific routes, requiring camps along the way to be in Pact hands. Losing a camp neutralizes its dependent supply routes, halting progress for the entire campaign, and cutting off the reinforcements to keep taking new camps. There's always at least two supply routes strengthening the network of camps, so losing one doesn't jeopardize the entire campaign, and lets you fight back.
As the supply routes start to flow and camps get their first upgrades, the second phase begins. The five temples of Orr are each linked to a series of statues across the region, which are used by Zhaitan to attack the Pact forces. If we are to assault the Gates of Arah, the five temples must be captured, and their connection to the statues severed. As with the normal camps, the temples require NPC intervention to be captured, which in turn requires a nearby rally point of level 3. Once the temples have been captured, their corresponding statues cease to work. The temples can be upgraded up to level 5, and the risen forces will prioritize retaking them over the other camps, shifting their attention away from the supply routes, and creating a dynamic where taking a temple can help buy time for the rest of the campaign.
Once the five temples are in the Pact's control, the third and final phase begins, with the assault on the Gates of Arah. As soon as the camp closest to the gates reaches its maximum upgrade level, the Pact makes its final move against the risen forces outside of Arah. Successfully capturing the gates spawns a new camp, upgradeable to level 7, unlocking new bonuses and rewards. The entrance to The Ruined City of Arah dungeon is excluded from this or any other events. The waypoint is always available, and new players get teleported here after The Source of Orr, effectively letting them progress their Personal story without outside interferences.
With the World vs Risen system, the Pact's invasion of Orr evolves into a new level of endgame content. Capturing and upgrading the different special camps unlocks new and exciting rewards, including unique skins themed around specific human gods, exclusive miniatures, new collections, buffs, and more. Guilds can claim camps and raise their own banners on them, applying the Art of War buffs previously limited to WvW.
There's no better time to go back to Orr, and make Zhaitan pay.
Rising of Orr: Dragonmaw Mountains (Second release)
The second release, Dragonmaw Mountains, focuses on open world group PvE content, by introducing a new zone by the same name. In this new deadly zone, players will be forced to band together if they want to survive. The mountains were a dangerous place before the Cataclysm, and under Zhaitan's influence, they have become nest to unspeakable horrors born of the darkest dragon corruption. The mountains themselves come to life, looming over anyone foolish enough to step into their shadow. Broken roads mark the way across the heights, and pitch black tunnels extend deep beneath the dead valley. The Pact forces watch from safe ground, worried about the scouts that ventured too far to never return.
New elite zone: Dragonmaw Mountains
Rising of Orr: Death in the Sky (Third release)
The third release focuses on a new world boss experience the likes never seen before. In Death in the Sky, you will join many other players in the first open world raid of Guild Wars 2. Taking place in an entire new zone solely dedicated to this epic fight, the heroes will have to fight Zhaitan's minions at multiple fronts, both at ground and above the clouds aboard different airships. If they manage to defeat the different world bosses leading the Risen forces, they will board the flagship of the Pact fleet, The Glory of Tyria, and face Zhaitan himself.
New raid zone: Skies of Arah
If there's any battle worth translating into a raid experience, that's with no doubt the final assault of the Pact against the Elder Dragon Zhaitan. Skies of Arah is the first raid zone of the game, based on the original battle depicted in The Ruined City of Arah story mode. As a raid zone, it's exclusively dedicated to the raid experience, and can't be explored by normal means outside its purpose, much like dungeons.
Skies of Arah is an open world experience in the likes of classic world bosses, but in a larger scale and with multiple encounters requiring high level coordination. The availability of the zone is based on a timer, which can be boosted with the victories achieved in the World vs Risen system. The buffs obtained through the World vs Risen system apply in the raid zone as well, effectively linking both experiences and encouraging players to fight the risen across Orr before facing their master. Additionally, guilds can host their own instances of the raid zone, either public or private.
When the timer runs out, the World vs Risen system will enter a special phase, where the battles across Ruins of Orr will stop. A fleet of Pact airships will arrive with reinforcements, and automatically capture the key rally points of the first phase. With these key points captured, players will need to complete the second phase, requiring capture of the five temples of Orr, and then the third phase, requiring capture of the Gates of Arah. During this special phase, the Pact reinforcements make the encounters easier, and their specific rewards are adjusted as well. Once the Gates of Arah have been captured, the special phase is over, and players will be rewarded for their total collective efforts since the last special phase. If any of these locations is already under player control when the timer runs out, they won't require recapture and the reward will be higher. If the Gates of Arah are already in player hands, the special phase ends automatically.
As soon as the special phase is over, six airships will dock at different rally points across Ruins of Orr. Players will be able to board any of them. After a short intermission, the airships will take off, and fly for a short while before transporting the players to the Skies of Arah raid zone.
Skies of Arah has a total of six encounters, massive high level world boss fights the likes never seen before. Each encounter has a timer, of generally 15 minutes, and failure to complete it implies failure of the entire raid. Encounters do not reset, and have a short break after each of them, followed by phases of enemies before the next encounter. During ground fights, dead players respawn automatically each 3 minutes at a safe distance from the encounter. In aerial fights, players themselves can't respawn, but the airships can be destroyed, and in turn they respawn with their entire crew 3 minutes later.
The raid begins with the six airships flying over Giant's Causeway. Ranged risen attack from the nearby cliffs, and some of them jump aboard, followed by flying risen. The cannons of the airships can be used to attack the ranged enemies as well as to raise shields and defend from their attacks, but killing them isn't mandatory.
After this first contact with the airship mechanics, the players face the first encounter: A group of dragon champions. The airships maneuver and fly in circles to face them. Often, a dragon will grip on an airship's back. The other airships will have to help its crew, or the dragon will destroy the airship.
The players then arrive to the recently secured landing zone at the Dragontooth Defense. There's an Orrian palace nearby, with a storm gathering above it, and a green beam at its center. A gigantic Mouth of Zhaitan is performing some filthy ritual inside, and it must be stopped. The Mouths of Zhaitan hold magic inside them, which then liberate to feed Zhaitan, making them a top priority target. Pact troops have already breached in, and are engaging the lesser Mouths of Zhaitan, but they need help. The players have to get inside the palace and kill the Regnant Mouth of Zhaitan to stop the spell. The encounter is similar to The Ruined City of Arah's story mode Mouth of Zhaitan, only that harder and in a larger scale, with many risen troops and lesser mouths fighting beside their sibling, and dragons flying by breathing fire over the palace.
With the regnant mouth dead and the spell interrupted, the only remaining source of magic for Zhaitan and his risen is now no more. However, they won't give up so easily. A dragon breaches the line of airships, and lands atop the palace, making the ceiling crumble and signaling the beginning of the third encounter. This is no normal dragon, this is a High Dragon, the most powerful amongst the dragons, only second to Elder Dragons themselves. The monster snatches the corpse of the regnant mouth, and tries to fly away. You must hold the line until the airship reinforcements arrive, which injure the dragon further, making him drop the corpse and fall down to the sea waters.
The monster has fled but it won't be a problem. The scholars of the Pact isolate the mouth's magic, making sure no risen will feed off it for now. The landing zone is secure once again, and the players walk back to board new airships to rejoin the fight in the sky. A second high dragons is leading another assault against the fleet, followed by more dragons. This fourth encounters plays like the first, harder in difficulty and combined with a new threat.
The second and last risen high dragon crashes against the spires of Arah, dead for good. The airships of the players lie in a ruinous state, but the flagship of the Pact, the Glory of Tyria, enters the fray just in the right moment for the players to switch vessel. It doesn't take too much time for risen troops to be summoned aboard, amongst them the fifth encounter, a trio of Eyes of Zhaitan, which teleport across the deck, wrecking havoc and buffing each other.
With the eyes dead, the sixth and final encounter is at hand: The Elder Dragon Zhaitan. He breaths green fire over the deck again and again. Risen wyverns crash on the deck, and hordes of risen champions and wraiths are summoned aboard. Players must defend the cannons, and use them to deflect the Elder Dragon's attacks as well as to fire at him. These attacks aren't enough, but the flagship has a huge energy cannon aboard, specially designed to use against dragons. It only needs some time to load, and a clear target. Once it fires at Zhaitan, the Elder Dragon becomes vulnerable to normal fire cannon as well. A few rounds, and Zhaitan is driven out of the sky. However, the fight isn't over. Zhaitan is now clutching to his lair's tower, and is unleashing all of his inner magic against the flagship. If you don't take him down quickly, he will obliterate the entire ship into pieces.
New rewards include a new ascended weapon set, Dragonmaw weapons, of draconic style in black and green colors, inspired by the Tendrils of Zhaitan. These weapons have a rare chance of dropping from the Skies of Arah final chest, spawning on raid completion after Zhaitan's death, but can also be bought with gold and special tokens obtained after multiple successes in this same raid. Additionally, this release includes the Mini Risen High Dragon, obtained after completing all the new achievements of Skies of Arah.
Skies of Arah provides the ultimate raid experience, but there's still one more release left.
Rising of Orr: Secrets of Arah (Fourth and final release)
The fourth and final release, Secrets of Arah, focuses on instanced PvE content, completing the series with a revamp of The Ruined City of Arah's four explorable modes. Skill-based achievements, random encounters including random enemies with random abilities, a new selectable difficulty level system, and new unique rewards will make The Ruined of City of Arah a fresh and rewarding experience for both battle-worn veterans as well as newcomers that didn't get to experience the original version. Now more than ever, you have no excuse to venture beyond the Gates of Arah and into the unknown.
The Ruined City of Arah dungeon revamp
|Orrian weapons||Weapon set||70-80||Basic
|Loot anywhere across the Ruins of Orr region||1: The Front Lines|
|Accursed weapons||Weapon set||70-80||Rare||Loot anywhere across the Ruins of Orr region||1: The Front Lines|
|Fallen Royal weapons||Weapon set||70-80||Exotic||Loot anywhere across the Ruins of Orr region||1: The Front Lines|
|Everwatching weapons||Weapon set||80||Exotic||Crafted, requires Fallen Royal weapons||2: Dragonmaw Mountains|
|Restored Royal weapons||Weapon set||80||Exotic||Crafted, requires Fallen Royal weapons||2: Dragonmaw Mountains|
|Dragonmaw weapons||Weapon set||80||Ascended||Loot from Zhaitan's world boss chest||3: Death in the Sky|
|Bloodstone weapons||Weapon set||80||Exotic||Loot from The Ruined City of Arah boss chests||4: Secrets of Arah|
|Risen Miniature Collection||Miniature
|Loot anywhere across the Ruins of Orr region||1: The Front Lines|
|Mini Sovereign Eye of Zhaitan||Miniature||0||Ascended||100% Ruins of Orr achievements||1: The Front Lines|
|Mini Regnant Mouth of Zhaitan||Miniature||0||Ascended||100% Dragonmaw Mountains achievements||2: Dragonmaw Mountains|
|Mini Risen High Dragon||Miniature||0||Ascended||100% Skies of Arah achievements||3: Death in the Sky|
|Mini Giganticus Lupicus||Miniature||0||Ascended||100% The Ruined City of Arah achievements||4: Secrets of Arah|
|Mini Elder Dragon Zhaitan||Miniature||0||Legendary||100% Risen Miniature Collection||4: Secrets of Arah|