Today's big Guild Wars 2 update may add new weapon proficiencies and a new legendary armour set, but what I really care about is this adorable cat tree

Sat on a cat tree, surrounded by cats.
(Image credit: ArenaNet)

Yes, sure, there are a bunch of new features dropping in today's major update for Guild Wars 2's Secrets of the Obscure expansion. New story chapters continue the wayfinder's campaign into Inner Nayos—home of the demonic kryptis. A new section of that map will be available to explore, with new events to complete. A new weapon proficiency will be unlocked for each profession, further expanding each specialisation's toolkit. And the first tier of the new open world legendary armour set will be released, finally letting players craft the highest rarity of clothes without having to venture into raids, PvP or World vs World.

That's all happening, and all very exciting. But none of it is why I, personally, am logging in this afternoon. No. I'm here for the cat tree. It is a thing of beauty. Behold, pure leisure.

That's right, the real treat of this update is a refresh to the Wizard's Vault—the daily login and reward system introduced as part of last year's expansion release. As a feature, it's been something of a game changer—offering a deterministic path for some of the old daily system's best rewards, including Mystic Clovers, Mystic Coins and tier six crafting materials. But it's the new additions that have really made it a success, particularly as a source of cosmetics that would otherwise be locked to the gem store.

Case in point, the cat tree. That's a high-quality novelty right there, one that—if it had been available in the gem store—could have generated significant interest (and actual real cash). But instead, it's available for simply completing a handful of daily, weekly and/or seasonal objectives.

Naturally I've already seen some discussion on Guild Wars 2's oft-volatile subreddit about how the reaction to the cat tree from the community is a sign that the playerbase's priorities are in the wrong place. But here's the secret: you can like fun novelty cosmetics and hardcore end-game challenge. Case in point: This update also brings a new challenge mode for the second of SotO's two strike missions. According to ArenaNet, while last update's Cosmic Overlook CM was designed as more of an introduction to challenge modes, this release's Temple of Febe CM is meant to be the real deal. The devs compared it to End of Dragons' Harvest Temple CM, generally thought of as the hardest challenge in the game right now.

New wizard's vault armour

(Image credit: ArenaNet)

Cats aside, the feature that's likely to have the longest lasting effect on the game's meta is that of the new weapons being handed to each profession. As a Thief main, I wasn't fully sold on main-hand axe when I tried it during last year's beta. Theoretically sound, it just didn't feel good to use. But after trying it out in a recent preview session for today's release, the work done since the beta seems to have paid off. Even with a hastily constructed Deadeye build, axe's condi cleave was a real treat. Hopefully the other more maligned weapons of the beta have had a similar upgrade (looking at you Engi shortbow.)

Thanks to those new weapons, as well as the release of the new legendary armour set (and new legendary relic), today's update should feel a bit more purposeful than SotO's last major release. It also leaves this expansion cycle with one big final update, due in a few months—after which, all attention turns to the game's fifth expansion, whatever that might be.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.