A huge Guild Wars update is landing on Thursday. The patch will add a new hub location for adventurers called Embark Beach. From here, teams will be to get together and fast travel to any locations they have unlocked, making it much easier to get straight into the quests. The limit on the number of heroes you can recruit any one time has also been increased from three to seven, letting you tailor even more powerful retinue, and there's also a new Mercenary Slot feature, which will let you clone and play alongside your own alt characters.
On top of all this there will also be new daily quests, a new minion UI to let you control your pets directly, and changes to how you get drunk in the game. Read on for more details and the first screens.
Embark Beach is a new outpost in the Battle Isles, and is populated by NPCs representing Guild Wars' different expansions. These NPCs will offer fast travel to a number of locations within each campaign. Every destination will be manned by a scout that can give the player swift travel back to the beach. The aim is for the beach to become a social hub where players can gather and form groups, before sailing off to the campaign of their choice.
If you're not looking to group with other players, the update will also allow you to recruit four more hero characters. The extra four heroes should be more effective than the often useless henchmen they're replacing, and should prove especially useful when taking on high level areas.
There will also be an option to buy Mercenary Hero slots for your characters. Slots can be bought for £6.99 each, or it's £12.99 for a 3-pack. Mercenary Heros are exact clones of characters in your other accounts, meaning you'll be able to form a party of characters you've built and levelled yourself.
There are even changes to how drunkenness is calculated. Previously players would have to be moderately plastered for 7 days to unlock the Drunkard title. Now, very much unlike real life, every drink contributes points to an overall score. It's dependent on the drink's strength, too, so gutrot and rye are worth more points than a light shandy.
The update will be applied for free this Thursday at 10pm GMT. Head over to the Guild Wars site for more on the game. We've got some screens of the new hub area below. Click on them to enlarge.