The Zephyr Sanctum is a massive airship temporarily anchored at the Labyrinthine Cliffs. That’s my necromancer standing on the prow. The airship will be there as long as Guild Wars 2’s Bazaar of the Four Winds lasts, which I think is for another week.
This latest round of new content is an impressive feat in completely changing how you get around. Guild Wars 2, a game without mounts and without flying, is mostly about walking around. It has had optional jumping puzzles tucked into various corners. Some of them even have a touch of personality and they all have some reward waiting at the top. But they’re still just jumping puzzles, and they often require trying to figure out the rules of footing on imprecisely drawn terrain. Did the level designer intend for me to think I can jump there? I often find out the hard way.
As you work your way up the cliffs to the Zephyr Sanctum, it’s clear there are going to be jumping puzzles. It’s just so darn vertical. And all the rigging up there. You know you’re going to be jumping around in that. The whole thing looks at first like a town where you can buy stuff and sell stuff. But it’s more than that. Unlike Guild Wars 2’s other towns, it’s got plenty of combat. You’ll be walking past a merchant stand and someone accidentally lets loose a giant demon. Now you’re fighting a big public battle. A couple dozen drunkards burst out of a tavern. Reptilian slavers storm the docks.
But what mostly distinguishes the Zephyr Sanctum are the three power-ups you can find scattered around the cliff and the catwalks, each of which gives you 10 bursts of special movement. You can shoot forward as a sunbeam, call the wind to leap higher than normal, and use lightning to fling yourself to a specific point. These powers are the basis for a multiplayer race to the top of a spire (with some reward at the top, of course). But you can also use these power-ups to find crystals tucked into unlikely places. Hold down the key to highlight interact points and you’ll likely see a few of the crystals. How are you supposed to get up there? With sun, wind, lightning.
There are 52 crystals all told, but you only have to get 40 to unlock the reward, which is an achievement that applies towards the overarching Bazaar of the Four Winds achievement. You also get a model of the race spire. It’s an object that you can only deploy in town, but anyone who clicks on it gets a nifty cutscene showing off the Zephyr Sanctum airship. I hate jumping puzzles. I didn’t hate getting those 40 crystals.