Hello and welcome! Season 3 of Guild Wars 2’s Living World has arrived and with it, a whole new zone of adventure and story. The way I write my companion guides is to take a more conversational approach to what you can get up to in Guild Wars 2, in order to compliment the already excellent technical guides that are out there. If you are looking for pointers for a specific achievement then Dulfy’s guide is pretty much the gold standard for spoilers if you get stuck on something, but I would always recommend going into a new release blind for the most enjoyable experience.
With that said there will be no spoilers here, rather I’m going to give you a survivor’s guide and a tour of things you can get up to to fill a half-hour, hour or whatever-you-have session.
Entry to Bloodstone Fen
The story of Living World Season 3 picks up from the end of Heart of Thorns and takes you though a few story instances picking up loose threads, which in turn dovetails with the story that has been unfolding in raids and the Season 3 preamble, which in turn takes us to Bloodstone Fen.
This place will already be very familiar to Guild Wars 1 players as the location the White Mantle would conduct human sacrifice. The souls of the chosen sacrificed on the bloodstone were used to prevent an invasion of Titans from the Domain of Anguish, which is one reason the masters of the White Mantle, the Mursaat, occupy this morally grey area of doing really bad things for good purposes.
Keeping the Titans out of Tyria was a noble goal, but the methods the Mursaat and their White Mantle servants used were as dark as it gets.
Bloodstone Fen has undergone significant changes since the original Guild Wars story. The bloodstone itself is a vast repository of Tyrian magic that has just been tapped for a grand purpose, which I will not spoil for you here, suffice to say that there was a violent magical event that has obliterated much of the bloodstone.
Fallout and Adventure
You will arrive in time to witness the violent magical event from afar, travelling in the airship of Almorra Soulkeeper, founder of the Vigil. This will be your home base from which to go forth, and you will want to come back here frequently to sell up and buy new abilities and other goodies.
The second location that will serve you as a minor base is at the Tomb of the Confessors, which is where you can find a forward party of Pact soldiers. Remember that your character holds the rank of Pact Commander for life, so these are your allies and they will give you all sorts of information and services. In particular there is a Priory researcher here who trades top-tier ascended accessories in exchange for Blood Rubies, a rare currency you will be coming across in major encounters.
The more common currency you will find is known as Unbound Magic. There is a story step you need to do to begin gathering it, but the game will tell you about this so don’t worry. You may as well play through the story instances first to catch up with what is going on, and then get to doing your own thing in the zone afterwards. You only need to do this once.
Unbound Magic you gather can be spent back on board Soulkeeper’s airship by talking to the asura Natto.
The first thing you’ll notice on Natto’s list of items are a series of aerial skills you can buy. Thankfully you only need to buy these once for all of your characters to gain the ability you purchased. These skills expand the Gliding Mastery from the Heart of Thorns expansion without the requirement to gather additional mastery points and experience, but rather by playing in Bloodstone Fen and gathering up Unbound Magic instead.
From the moment you step outside of Soulkeeper’s airship, you’ll notice a lot of pink orbs hanging around in the air. These all give you Unbound Magic when you touch them, and you can gather quite a lot just by flying around. There is a daily limit on how much you can pick up this way, but it’s quite a lot. It’s quite good fun and makes a change from fighting things.
Most of the enemies you’ll encounter also drop Unbound Magic on death, from the various bloodstone creatures to White Mantle and members of the Pact who have been driven insane by high exposure. You’ll even find “White Mantle Cleric” events in which the cleric will try to eat magical fragments to become empowered, and you can steal these fragments and consume them yourself to gain a little Unbound Magic.
Once you have gathered enough Unbound Magic you will want to know what skills to buy first from Natto. I would recommend saving up for the most expensive skill right away, called “Ride the Ley Line”. You can use this skill to boost yourself forward when you’re gliding, but also to boost yourself upwards when riding an updraft. If you’re feeling a bit nuts you can even use it when falling, but that doesn’t tend to work out so well! This skill helps you get around a lot more effectively.
One thing for certain about all of these skills, is that they are optimised for a fully unlocked Gliding Mastery track. You’ll see ley lines everywhere that require the Ley Line Gliding mastery to ride, the ultimate ability. To help you complete that track if you still need to, there are a few mastery points in this zone and experience is also plentiful.
Regarding other mastery tracks there is some use for Bouncing Mushrooms (Itzel Lore #1) and Nuhoch Stealth Detection (Nuhoch Lore #4), but you only need that second one for hunting the Treasure Mushroom. No big deal if you don’t have it.
The other aerial skills that you can buy are all about combat. Skill #2 is an extra attack, skill #3 is a healing field to aid allies on the ground and skill #4 is a personal heal and evade.
The next new mechanic I have to tell you about is counter magic! This a pretty cool new skill that is bound to the “-” key by default, which I changed to something a bit more convenient. You might want to move it too (it’s listed as “Special Action” in the keybinds) as you’ll need it handy during the big encounters. I should also add that to unlock Counter Magic in the first place you need to train the new mastery you are given by Taimi in the story, called Ancient Magics.
The very first level of Ancient Magics is Counter Magic, and once you have that trained you will have a defence against certain special attacks performed by bosses and White Mantle clerics. There is a telling audio cue and an icon that pops up above your skill bar, and as soon as you see this you’ll want to activate Counter Magic to save yourself from some nasty effect.
Note that the effects of Counter Magic vary and there may be other ways to deal with the incoming attack, so be aware that this is just another option that you have. Use your experience of each encounter for the best results.
As well as using the keybind to activate Counter Magic, it’s worth knowing you can also click on the pop-up icon with the mouse if that works for you.
The Major Areas of Activity to Play In
Okay! So you have all these cool new abilities to work on and goodies to buy from vendors, where should you go? You can split this zone up into 4 distinct chunks.
In the west down on the ground, you have “canyon events”. There’s various filler events to do with slaying patrols and clerics, and this is also where the Treasure Mushroom lives if you can find him.
The major event chain that goes on here is called “The spirits mostly come out at night. Mostly…”, an obvious Aliens reference, and indeed there’s another film reference to do with a ley line accident you will have at some point.
Anyway, at night you’ll come across 4 spirit bosses one after the other. Each one has a special attack you can counter with Counter Magic, so watch out for that. At the end of the 4th fight there is another event to escort Alari Doubleblade on a revenge mission against the White Mantle, and at the end of that you’ll get the main reward which includes some Blood Rubies.
Colosseum of the Faithful
This place is above the Haunted Canyons and south of Soulkeeper’s airship. Here is where Justiciar Hablion periodically spawns after exorcising angry spirits in a preliminary event. He is a powerful boss. Players of the first Guild Wars game will remember slaying him atop the bloodstone in the events of that game, and with the destruction of the bloodstone his soul has been released to haunt the area. He holds many spirits of the Chosen in thrall to serve him in death.
The battle against Hablion takes place in a closed arena with enemy spirits up on the walls shooting down at all the players within. Don’t think about fighting from up on the walls either, because there is a mysterious killer magic that will dispatch any player who lingers there.
The battle is in three phases, the first being a straight fight against Hablion, the second being a fight against many summoned spirits while Hablion shelters behind a barrier, and the third adds a banishment mechanic that allows players to attack Hablion from the air. Blood Rubies and Unbound Magic are both up for grabs for playing this event.
The rifts are all in an area above the ravaged remains of the bloodstone to the east of Soulkeeper’s airship. Here, floating islands peppered with jagged shards of bloodstone are scattered in mid-air, criss-crossed with ley lines. Around and about you will see orbs of Unbound Magic, hazardous chaos storms and helpful updrafts. Bloodstone creatures are everywhere, as are some very confused displaced creatures from elsewhere in Tyria.
The event chain here is easily repeatable and consists of closing rifts that appear on floating islands. When enough rifts have been closed a big bloodstone boss turns up in the middle and then the whole thing repeats. Easy as that. This is also the main area for flying around to gather Unbound Magic.
The maw is below the rifts and descends into the bowels of the earth. Mostly this place is full of White Mantle with time on their hands, mining bloodstone to sate their cravings for power. Every 90 minutes however Jade Constructs will teleport into the maw to drain giant bloodstone fragments of magical energy, and players get an opportunity to stop them and take that power for themselves.
If all of the constructs are stopped than a final boss called the Unbound Guardian will turn up below the Temple of Renewal, deep in the Cavern of Unseen Lights. This is the most lucrative of the event cycles and gives the most Blood Rubies, and it’s also the hardest.
There is an implicit time limit for defeating the Jade Constructs (you have to defeat them before they drain the nearby bloodstone fragment), and if any stage is failed then that’s the end for that cycle. For these reasons players are starting to prioritise this chain over any others that might happen to clash with it.
Much like the spirit bosses in Haunted Canyons, you can expect to get a lot of use out of Counter Magic. Jade Contructs are golems made by the Mursaat and just as in the first Guild Wars game they continue to use their signature attack, Spectral Agony. This can kill you pretty quickly, but a quick use of Counter Magic will nullify it.
Counter Magic is also usable during the Unbound Guardian fight by standing in the green circles you’ll see on the ground and converting the negative effect you get into a useful damage buff.
Aside from the obvious fighting, exploring and flying about there’s a lot of gathering nodes around. The most notable is the new one, the Bloodstone Crystals node. You can harvest this for Bloodstone Dust, Unbound Magic and if you’re lucky, Blood Rubies. Much like the floating orbs of Unbound Magic, there is a daily limit to the number of these you can mine across all your characters but it appears to be quite generous.
Mithril Nodes and Palm Saplings are fairly common though not too valuable, though there are quite a few more valuable Orichalcum Nodes and Ancient Saplings around as well. It’s also well worth harvesting Jungle Plants in case you can get a Maguuma Lily (~5g), as well as Mussels for a chance at a Freshwater Pearl (~7g).
Long Term Appeal
There’s a mix of instant gratification and long term grind in this zone, as well as currently some daily events for bonus rewards (these might well go away in the future). The longer term items definitely include the ascended accessories, which provide a stat choice and uniquely so far a way of resetting the items to re-pick those stats. There’s also the home instance node, a Bloodstone Crystal Node that you’ll be able to mine daily along with any other nodes you’ve collected.
One of the earliest things I picked up from the Unbound Magic vendor was the Bloodstone Fen Portal Scroll, which I placed in an account-wide inventory slot and allows any of my characters passage to Soulkeeper’s airship without having to do the story instances first. This is a great way to get all your alts in and do map completion for some nice rewards! Once you have the Soulkeeper’s Airship Waypoint on each character, the pass becomes redundant unless you want to continue using it to save on waypoint fees.
Miniature collectors will be pleased to see 3 new miniatures, and if you have even more Unbound Magic to spend then you can gamble it on Magic-Warped Packets or Bundles for crafting materials which you can either keep or sell. It’s also worth mentioning that the enemies in this zone drop salvage items that salvage for valuable lower tier materials that are normally unavailable from end-game maps.
Unbound Magic appears to be a currency that is going to be used even more in the future as Living World Season 3 unfolds, so it might also be worth forming a stockpile. The same goes for Blood Rubies.
That just about covers everything I can think of for Bloodstone Fen at the moment. If you like the guide please share it, leave your comments, and if you’re feeling generous enough to support my guides please consider a donation. Thanks for reading and I hope you have fun!