I've been lucky enough to get access into the Edge of the Mists during this beta period to help test it and to bring you guys some nice information of what is going on with it. The completely new map offers a period of activity for the WvWer who can't get access to the main maps during peak time periods. This map won't count towards the score in main WvW in any way, but it does provide rewards and achievements for the player so there isn't a time of just waiting to get into WvW.
It's also important to know that Edge of the Mists will serve as a testing bed for future updates, as a potential way for players and devs to come together to test and provide feedback for the potential new features.
I want to start with this: The map is GORGEOUS.
You can tell serious time and effort was pulled together for this map. Through the detail in the large spires and structures scattered in each corner of the map, to the individual themed areas of each of the corners, to the designs of even the Supply Generators. Absolutely a pleasure to go through just to look into the design of these areas and offers some much needed variety.
The map itself is an interesting beast that has each corner separated into Desert, Jungle and Arctic with each area providing unique bonuses based upon it's area as well as providing themed temporary buffs that will assist in navigating the zone. Each area also provides it's own native guards for the owner of the zone, like the Kodan for the Arctic Zone, that makes how you approach each different zone just a little bit different.
An important feature of the map is that you can be knocked off the map, some places being more risky for it than others. A common strategy that has started to be employed is building just to break stability and laying on as much fear and knock backs as possible to push players off the map. This can especially be dangerous when the enemy also uses siege. On top of the fear of getting knocked off? The map is also tied together by bridges, and a good bit of these bridges can be destroyed while you're trying to cross it which can end your assault pretty abruptly.
Despite all the differences, there are some key objectives of each map that you have to work towards. Three "Edge Objectives" that are tied to the theme of each different zone, Two Resources Generators for each zone, One Keep for each zone and a plethora of guard points to go over and capture inbetween each of the larger objectives.
The "Edge Objectives" provide unique bonuses to the server who owns it. For instance: If you own the Desert Airport your server can purchase the "Airstrike Grenade" from the Balloon Pilot for 25 Badges each. This item allows you to use a targeting AoE to call down an airstrike. These aren't NEEDED for dominating a zone, but it helps to provide a foot hold.
The Resource Generators are sort of like your Dolyaks in the main WvW maps, except there are no dolyaks that transfers the supply from the generator to the tower. If your server owns both the Generator and the objective tied to the Generator, it will automatically provide supply to the objective. You can increase the amount the Generator provides by using supply to build an additional generator on the main generator, but you risk providing a fully supplied Generator to your enemy if it gets captured, or they can just destroy the additional generators. Typically if you don't think you will hold the Tower long? Don't upgrade the generator.
This new map, and the systems around it, are very appealing to me but it's hard for me to say exactly how I feel in the end.
The draw to it is that it provides a refreshing new look into WvW, tests some exciting new things that may come with main WvW, still provides you the rewards for killing the Champions and Keep lords, and provides a great way to train new WvW players to proper WvW. I love how they condensed everything from the Eternal Battlegrounds (at least it seems like a smaller EB to me) and polished it up to make it seem very unique.
The push, however, is that I don't know why people would bother with it outside of being stuck to wait for a place in the proper WvW maps, or training. Sure you can experience the new map a bit just to have something different, or just farm out a few rewards, but it just doesn't seem worth it in the long term for the average player. For smaller servers I wonder if they will even bother queuing up for this? Persoanlly I wouldn't.
I also think, if some servers understand that it's pointless to try and dominate the entire map but rather to cap in a constant circle for the most rewards, it could just be another grind train that we see in WvW occasionally. That is something we certainly don't need in WvW right now. We need a reason to break up the Zerg and we need better rewards for keeping points. This new WvW map is a step in the right direction for some much needed variety, but we still need many more things that I hope they will buckle down on as soon as Edge of the Mists is settled into.
Here soon we will have a video showing off the Edge of the Mists a bit more, and also providing some very secret information that I know you guys will absolutely love. Check back often and you will not be disappointed!