Meet the Mist Champions!

Greetings, Tyria! In our previous betas you were introduced to the basics of Stronghold, our new game mode for plaver vs. player, in which you’ll gather supply, hire troops, tear down the gates of your enemy’s Stronghold and defeat their Lord. Today we are pleased to announce the next level of strategic depth that this game mode has to offer: Mist Champions!
Mist Champions replace heroes in Stronghold as the super weapons that help you punch through tough enemy defenses to push the game forward and secure victory for your team. In this update, each player now has a choice of which Mist Champion they will bring with them into the match. If you are the one to succeed at channeling the mist essence, your Mist Champion will join the fray.
Now you may choose whether to summon Turai Ossa or Grymm Svaard, who you may recognize from previous betas, as part of your build. In addition to these two familiar faces we are also excited to introduce our newest Mist Champion, Nika. If you were a fan of the original Guild Wars®, you will recognize this deadly assassin as one of the henchmen who fought by your side in Factions®.
With these changes Mist Champions are getting some major upgrades. The first is that in addition to their passive buff and elite skill (used in the lord room), every Mist Champion will be receiving an ‘on summon’ skill called a War Cry. This skill will fire off right when they are summoned and will affect the entire map. Turai Ossa gives each member on your team Aegis, Nika stealths your whole team, and when Grymm makes his big entrance each opponent you face takes a cannonball to the face. Winning the Mist Champion summon will now bring real and immediate change to the match.
Here are the details on the first batch of Mist Champions:
Turai Ossa – The savior of Elona

War Cry: “Shield of Elona”
When Turai is summoned he puts a protective shelter that blocks all incoming attacks on all player allies and their Lord.
Passive: “Desert Carapace”
Turai Ossa will pulse aegis around himself.  Whenever you block an attack within range of Turai Ossa you apply protection to yourself.
Elite: “Bane of Joko”
Turai taunts all enemies in the lord room.  Any enemy that damages Turai during that time takes a huge amount of retaliation damage per hit.
Grymm Svaard  – Sailor and Sword-For-Hire aboard the Nomad II

War Cry: “Cannon Barrage”
When Grymm is summoned he calls the Nomad II to fire a cannon ball at all enemies on the map. The cannon ball knocks down and burns enemies it hits.
Passive: “Steel and Fury”
Grymm will pulse fury around himself.  On critical strikes within range of Grymm there is a chance that you will call down a cannon ball that knocks down and burns enemies it hits.
Elite: “Nomad II Broadside”
Grymm gives the signal to the Nomad II to fire all the cannons on the ship into the lord room.  The cannon balls will knock down enemies and burn them.
Nika – Obsidian Flame Assassin, Avenger of Vizu

War Cry: “Furtive Glance”
When Nika is summoned she stealth’s allied players and their lord.  If you attack from that stealth you will blind your target.
Passive: “Smoke and Daggers”
Nika will pulse stealth around herself.  If you attack out of that stealth you will blind your target.
Elite: “Fade to Black”
Nika will stealth herself and use her expert assassin training and speed to damage all enemies in the lord room.  She will periodically come out of stealth to do a unique attack that dazes and blinds the enemy she hits.
Turai Ossa will be the default Mist Champion available to all players once Stronghold is released. Grymm Svaard will also be available to all players, though he will need to be earned by completing his reward track in PvP. You will need to own Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ to be able to access the reward track that unlocks Nika. Additional Mist Champions will become available in future live content releases and will also require Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns to unlock them for your account. We will be temporarily unlocking all of them during upcoming betas for pre-purchasers of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns.
Mode Preferences for PvP

Another big change coming is game mode preferences. This will allow players to pick whether they would like to play Stronghold, Conquest, or both. Players who pick a single game mode will only go into matchmaking with players who pick a single mode. Players who pick both will be matched with a preference toward players who pick both, but may be matched with another group that picked Stronghold or Conquest. Once matchmaking is complete, players will be presented with a selection of maps appropriate for their preferences. For now, Stronghold-only players will skip map selection.
We are very excited about how Mist Champions will impact builds, strategies, and overall game play in Stronghold. We are also happy to give players choice in what they play via game mode preferences. We look forward to playing with you, and as always, remember to ready up!

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Announcing the First World vs. World Borderlands Stress Test

We’ll be holding our first stress test  for the new World vs. World desert Borderlands  on July 9 from 2:00 p.m to 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7). This test will be conducted on a special server with limited space and will be by special invitation only.
If you’re not participating, we’ll be hosting a livestream starting from 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) on the day of the test to guide you through the new Desert Borderlands. Participants will not be under nondisclosure agreements and will be welcome to stream and discuss their experiences.
We look forward to seeing you on the battlefield!

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Points of Interest Livestream Summary: Lion’s Arch

On the latest episode of Points of Interest, host Rubi Bayer was joined by Narrative Designer Peter Fries and Environment Design Specialist Josh Foreman for a tour of the rebuilt Lion’s Arch. The port city has existed for hundreds of years, and over time it has transformed from the Krytan capital to a den of piracy, and then to a thriving center of commerce and trade. The redesign was intended to bolster the city’s defenses and reflect its current role in Tyria while staying true to its nautical roots.
The history of Lion’s Arch lingers on in other ways, too. Years ago, the city was attacked by rampaging karka, and a little cleanup work is still needed in the nooks and crannies. Alexander Youngblood designed a karka-hunt achievement that rewards you for finding intrusive hatchlings by giving you your very own karka. The good news is that Princess will devour your excess dragonite ore rather than devouring portions of Lion’s Arch.
You might find yourself in some out-of-the-way places while you’re crab hunting, so keep an eye out for Josh’s signature coins. He plants these in areas he refers to as “negative possibility space”—places that players can reach with effort, but that contain no content. The coin is an acknowledgement that explorers have done something cool by finding a way into those places.
Many major landmarks have returned in a much different form. The Crow’s Nest tavern had a crack in its foundation and needed to be rebuilt, while the old diving board at Diverse Ledges was condemned. The highest diving spot is now located atop the Phoenix Roost lighthouse. Although fans didn’t vote to name the new lighthouse after Priest Graidy—who died heroically in Scarlet’s attack—Graidy’s daughter resides there to offer Dwayna’s blessing to travelers.
Peter and Josh pointed out some of the little details that went into the reconstruction. Hero-Tron now sports a ribbon proclaiming his heroic status, while the Consortium is running the Tyrian equivalent of a depressing corporate office. An aid worker has decided life is too short for her to be untrue to herself and has come out as transgender. The official Lion’s Arch tour guide has some choice criticism for the architecture and design—and she should know, since she’s sure she could have done a much better job. A bowl of raisins exists purely to torment Environment Art Team Lead Dave Beetlestone. NPCs ride broomsticks, use portals, converse with each other while passing by, and take waypoints to their destinations. Lots of rooftop vantage points were built in so that you can look down at the streets from on high while exploring.
Josh mentioned that the Design team wanted to give a nod to role-players, so Lion’s Arch has several open areas to meet and greet others and hang out. There’s even a wedding chapel players can use to stage in-game ceremonies, although you’ll need to arrange for your own officiant!
If you missed Points of Interest, check out the recording below!

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Monk’s Outfit and Lion’s Arch Rebuild Dye Kit in the Gem Store!

The monks of old provided healing and protection for their allies. They claimed to have divine favor and to be able to use that power to smite their foes. These days, their knowledge of protection and healing has been passed down to us, but we here at the Black Lion Trading Company wanted to remember these pious figures with a new outfit! We also have a vivid new set of dyes!

  • //

    Monk’s Outfit

    We respect the ancient monks’ insights into the arts of protection and healing that got us to where we are today—pay tribute to the past with the Monk’s Outfit!

  • Lion’s Arch Rebuild Dye Kit

    Our incredible city has been rebuilt, and it’s more impressive than ever. To celebrate its return, we commissioned a new set of dyes! These dyes are bright with lots of contrast, just like Lion’s Arch itself!

  • Available Now in the Gem Store!

    Log into Guild Wars 2 and press 'O' to access the Black Lion Trading Company for these great offers and more!

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  • Old guides have been unpublished from the ladder, direct links still work.
  • Voting on guides can now be done without an account.
  • A Meta tab has been added to the sort function, in time I will tag Meta builds.
  • The Featured tab and tag will still be used for well written guides that may not be Meta.
  • Stats have been updated for 6/23/15
  • All stat options have been added to exotic trinkets and jewels
  • Exotic Gear now follows standard stat naming.
  • Ascended Backs now follow standard stat naming.
  • Engi f5 and Thief f2
  • PvP Aumlet Icons for Marauder and Crusader
  • Exotic Trinket Icon Changes
  • New Trait Icons and Bgs
Old guides have been unpublished from the ladder, you can edit them by adding a build using the new specialization system and adjusting the sections impacted. Once it's updated, republish it, this way you can still use sections of your old guide that may still apply to the new version of the build.
We removed the account requirement for voting and changed it to IP in the hope that we will increased voting activity to help make the ladder system more relevant. Please vote on guides, we rely on our users to help filter the well written guides from the poorly written ones.
People want a simple way to see what is currently "Meta", obviously the meta has changed, but I'll add tags when it becomes clear and you can now sort for Meta guides. Please heavily upvote guides you believe to be Meta, that will help their chance of getting tagged as such.

We want feedback
If you notice anything that is incorrect and needs to be change on the calc please report it on the forums. I'm still working on skill variables, but if you point it out it will move up in priority. Any suggestions for features or changes to the calc or guide system are being looked at and considered if mentioned on our forums. Don't be shy, tell us what you want to see added or changed.

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Community Showcase 3: Creative Contributions from Guild Wars 2 Players

<p>Welcome to the community showcase, where we&#8217;ll be highlighting some of our favorite amazing projects, activities, and other fan works created by <em>Guild Wars 2</em> players from all over the world! This month&#8217;s selection includes everything from art to guides to cosplay. Check it out below!</p>
<p><strong>Isvoc</strong> honors the sacrifice of the dragon Glint with this <a target="_blank" href="http://guildwars2.tu...-a">bittersweet tribute</a>.</p>
<p class="screenshot"><a href="//"><img src="//" alt="glintart" width="590" height="327" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-23235" /></a></p>
<p><strong>kleptomaniacsisil&#8217;s</strong> charr, <a target="_blank" href="http://guildwars2.tu...owhaunt">Chiron Sorrowhaunt</a>, gets extra points for expressiveness.</p>
<p class="screenshot"><a href="//"><img src="//" alt="charrart" width="590" height="483" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-23236" /></a></p>
<p>Sculptor <strong>apolloflewtothesun</strong> created <a target="_blank" href="http://guildwars2.tu...-jungle-wurm">a great wurm</a>, which is much safer than fighting one (as long as you like wurms).</p>
<p class="screenshot"><a href="//"><img src="//" alt="ECwlh8l" width="590" height="393" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-23240" /></a></p>
<p><strong>Itstartsatdusk</strong> composed music for the battle against Tequatl the Sunless to give the fight its own <a target="_blank" href="http://guildwars2.tu...atl-the">unique score</a>.</p>
<p><iframe width="590" height="332" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p>
<p><strong>zacksuckatlove</strong> has penned <a target="_blank" href=""></a>a heartfelt ode to the Ice Bow #4 skill in the song <a target="_blank" href="https://soundcloud.c...miss-you">aptly named</a> &#8220;Ice Bow 4 (I&#8217;m Gonna Miss You).&#8221;</p>
<p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud..."></iframe></p>
<p><strong>Sarah Lehmann</strong> knitted this adorable little quaggan, which currently <a target="_blank" href="">lives among succulent plants</a> rather than under the sea.</p>
<p class="screenshot"><a href="//"><img src="//" alt="CFjH32oUEAASo-o" width="590" height="786" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-23264" /></a></p>
<p>Cosplayer <strong>Lini Lehita</strong> is <a target="_blank" href="">looking forward</a> to portraying Kasmeer Meade again this year. Check out her <a target="_blank" href="http://www.kiseki-ro...ser=43">awesome gallery</a>!</p>
<p><a href="//"><img src="//" alt="kasmeer" width="221" height="330" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-23257" /></a></p>
<p><strong>Mosi Cosplay &#038; Craft</strong> has done a tremendous job showing the strength and power of a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.facebook...fref=ts">Tyrian adventurer</a>.</p>
<p><a href="//"><img src="//" alt="fighter" width="192" height="288" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-23258" /></a></p>
<p>Is <strong>Miez Cosplay</strong> a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.facebook...y?fref=nf">real sylvari</a>? It&#8217;s a tough call—somebody consult the Pale Tree!</p>
<p><a href="//"><img src="//" alt="sylvari" width="192" height="288" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-23259" /></a></p>
<p>If you love playing engineer (or would like to learn how to love it), check out dedicated tinkerer <strong>Wolfineer&#8217;s</strong> handy <a target="_blank" href="">site</a> and <a target="_blank" href="">YouTube channel</a> for a compilation of handy guides, build suggestions, and more!</p>
<p>German fan site <a target="_blank" href="</a> has created a series of Let&#8217;s Play videos all about the story of <em>Guild Wars 2</em>. Prolific content creator <strong>Sputti</strong> is on hand to guide you through the branches of the personal story, and the series is even recorded in front of a live audience so that players can join in or ask questions. You can find all twenty-eight episodes of this German-language series <a target="_blank" href="http://www.guildnews...8/12195/">right here</a>.</p>
<p>If you want to find out where that entire story falls within the universe of the <em>Guild Wars®</em> series, GuildNews also provides a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.guildnews...line/">complete timeline</a> with plenty of links to lore articles, explanations, and long-lost secrets. The Durmand Priory might have found its match!</p>
<p>We love seeing fans&#8217; works of art, creativity, and community organization from around the world. Keep up the excellent work! Hungry for more Guild Wars 2 fan projects? Ready to show off your own? Head to the <a target="_blank" href="">official <em>Guild Wars 2</em> Tumblr</a> and read up on the <a target="_blank" href="">submission guidelines</a>! You can submit your works via the <em>Guild Wars 2</em> Tumblr, send us a tweet <a target="_blank" href="</a>, or share on the <a target="_blank" href="https://forum.guildw...tions">official Community Creations subforum</a>.</p>

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Announcing the Guild Wars 2 Guild Emblem Contest

<p class="screenshot"><a href="//"><img src="//" alt="02---GIHQ-Interior2" width="590" height="331" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-22926" /></a></p>
<p>Hello, Tyrians,</p>
<p>As you may already know, we recently revealed details about the guild halls  in <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™</em>. Since the original <em>Guild Wars®</em>, guild halls have always been a place for players to gather, celebrate, and fight. Because we decided to bring them back and offer new homes for the <em>Guild Wars 2</em> community to cherish, we also thought it was the right time to bring back another <em>Guild Wars 2</em> tradition: the <em>Guild Wars 2</em> Guild Emblem Contest!</p>
<p>To celebrate <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> and the return of guild halls, we will be adding the entries of the five winners of this contest into the game. The contest will run from today, June 26, until August 1, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7). See below for details on how to enter the contest, and make sure to follow the rules and guidelines for a chance to become one of our five winners and perhaps wear your own guild emblem in <em>Guild Wars 2</em>.</p>
<h3>How to Enter</h3>
<p>To enter this contest, you&#8217;ll need to create an original, digital, <em>Guild Wars 2</em> themed guild emblem following the guidelines and templates provided in <a target="_blank" href="">the ZIP file you can download</a>. You&#8217;ll find many resources in this file to guide you through the process of creating your guild emblem.</p>
<p>Please make sure your entry follows all the criteria listed in <a target="_blank" href="https://d3b4yo2b5lbf...les-EN.pdf">the rules</a>. Entries that do not meet these requirements, no matter how good, will be disqualified.</p>
<p>Once your emblem has been created using one of the two format options listed in the rules, you will need to upload the ZIP version of your entry <a target="_blank" href="">using the contest submission form</a>.</p>
<p>The guild emblems designed by our five winners will be integrated into <em>Guild Wars 2</em>! The winners will also receive the following prizes:</p>
<li><strong>First place:</strong> A code for 2000 gems, a <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> T-shirt, a <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> lanyard, a <em>Guild Wars 2</em> signed art book, and a Mist Herald Back Item Skin Set.</li>
<li><strong>Second place:</strong> A code for 1200 gems, a <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> T-shirt, a <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> lanyard, a <em>Guild Wars 2</em> art book, and a Mist Herald Back Item Skin Set.</li>
<li><strong>Third place:</strong> A code for 800 gems, a <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> T-shirt, a <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> lanyard, a <em>Guild Wars 2</em> art book, and a Mist Herald Back Item Skin Set.</li>
<li><strong>Fourth place:</strong> A <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> T-shirt, a <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> lanyard, and a Mist Herald Back Item Skin Set.</li>
<li><strong>Fifth place:</strong> A <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> T-shirt, a <em>Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns</em> lanyard, and a Mist Herald Back Item Skin Set.</li>
<p>Good luck to you all, and may Lyssa inspire you!</p>

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Hidden Arcana: Designing the New Lion’s Arch

Hi, I’m Anatoli Ingram, and welcome to Hidden Arcana, where we’ll give you a look at some of the people and design philosophies behind the development of Guild Wars 2. The independent, semipiratical city of Lion’s Arch has seen years of attacks from minions of Zhaitan, giant enemy karka, and—most harrowing of all—Scarlet Briar. The latter seemed to be enough to bring the city to its knees, and its residents have spent a long time picking the pieces of their former lives out of the rubble. As of this week, the rebuilding is complete, and the difference is staggering! I got the chance to speak with Environment Art Team Lead Dave Beetlestone about the resurrection of Lion’s Arch.
Dave has been part of ArenaNet for twelve years and laid the foundations of old Lion’s Arch in the original Guild Wars®. The environment art team that he heads up is responsible for a huge amount of the items seen in the game—”from castles to candlesticks,” Dave said—and it’s important to them to have equality and diversity among the team members in order to create content from many different perspectives. Many of the current members worked on the original Guild Wars as well, and they’re invested in showing that the lore of the past is important in the present.
The target of Scarlet Briar’s attacks had to be something that players had a strong emotional investment in across the board. Destroying a racial city would have less of an effect overall; Dave pointed out that if Scarlet had fired on Divinity’s Reach from the air, for example, the charr would likely have felt only slightly threatened since they already have strong fortifications and heavy artillery. Lion’s Arch, on the other hand, is important to everyone. Not only is it home to members of nearly every race, but the nations depend on it to facilitate trade and commerce.
With that in mind, the design of Lion’s Arch didn’t make sense given its role in the story, and Dave described it as a matchstick city, ready to go up in flames. As a major center of culture and commerce, it was a natural target for frequent attacks, but in its original incarnation it was unrealistic for it to withstand them for any length of time. In reinforcing Lion’s Arch’s walls, the environment art team realized they could also reinforce its importance to Tyria.
The original Lion’s Arch design didn’t serve the purpose of a social hub for players as well as it could have, either. Services were sprawled haphazardly across the city, and there were few places to gather freely. The layout also created a resource drain, so rebuilding presented a good opportunity to arrange or remove elements that significantly impacted performance.
The new Lion’s Arch was created with easier navigation and accessibility in mind. Rather than scattering important locations around the map, thought was put into grouping them based on how players make use of them. The city retains much of its nautical-themed visual charm but with a more distinct purpose. As Dave pointed out, it makes far more sense to tell fellow players that they should head to the giant octopus or the jellyfish for various services rather than to direct them to points of interest or the nearest waypoint.
It’s not all about function. Open areas have also been added to help facilitate social events and role-playing, and there’s even a chapel for player-organized weddings. Rebuilding also gave the environment art team more opportunities to add fun details for players to find, none of which I’ll spoil!
I asked Dave how the redesign might affect official in-game holidays as well, and he explained that Halloween will remain in Lion’s Arch since it has strong roots in the city. However, Wintersday will continue to be celebrated in Divinity’s Reach, since it is a human holiday at its core. Events will take place where they fit best, rather than simply designating Lion’s Arch as the holiday hub.
Dave emphasized that he believes MMOs are about social play and relationships, and Lion’s Arch embodies that more than ever. It’s always been a melting pot and a symbol of the diversity of Tyria, but after weathering the trials of the past few years, the citizens of Lion’s Arch are happier than ever to call it home.

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Tour Lion’s Arch on the Next Points of Interest

On the next episode of Points of Interest, host Rubi Bayer will be joined by Peter Fries and Josh Foreman for a guided tour of the recently rebuilt Lion’s Arch. They’ll talk about designing and writing the city’s rebirth, and even help guide you to some nooks and crannies you may not have found yet!
Points of Interest will air live on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel this Friday, June 26, at noon Pacific Time (UTC-7).

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Points of Interest Livestream Summary: Guild Halls

On the latest episode of Points of Interest, hosts Josh Davis and Rubi Bayer were joined by Link Hughes, Jessica Boettiger, and Jon Peters for a look at a guild hall in the game. Rubi and Link began with a tour of the Gilded Hollow guild hall, a massive cavern below the jungle filled with flowing water and mysterious golden ruins.

Link said that while guild halls in the original Guild Wars® were fairly large, ArenaNet wanted to push the idea even further in Guild Wars 2. Each hall is actually a personal zone for your guild, and Link mentioned that there would be plenty of details for explorers to find.

When you first claim your guild hall, you’ll have access to temporary structures while you work on gathering the materials needed to construct your guild buildings. Link demonstrated the process, exchanging makeshift pavilions for the huge completed buildings.

Rubi and Link also modeled the new guild armor sets in light and medium versions and revealed some examples of guild weapon sets that can be created in either of the two guild halls. The shadowy Tenebrous set corresponds to the Gilded Hollow hall, while the ethereal Shimmering set belongs to the lofty Lost Precipice hall. To gain access to both sets, players will need to belong to different guilds to access each of the halls.

Next, Josh, Jessica, and Jon went over some of the changes guild halls are bringing to Player vs. Player. Players will be able to build a guild arena in their hall and customize it to their liking by placing decorations—some of them more lethal than others. Obstacles that can be added to the arena include turrets, line-of-sight-blocking pillars, and lava pits. You can even set the rules to determine whether or not players can be knocked off the side of the arena to their deaths.

While the final number of players allowed in the arena hasn’t been nailed down, it’s currently possible to have forces as large as twenty or thirty doing battle at one time. The terms of engagement are set by default to split players into three teams, but it’s also possible to engage in a free-for-all death match.

Jessica and Jon also expanded on the changes to World vs. World outlined in this blog. Guilds will be able to use the workshop in their war rooms to craft improvements and tactics that can be slotted into claimed objectives in WvW, granting effects to the teams that own them and making objectives strategically important. There are both offensive and defensive improvements available—you can call down an airship strike on Stonemist Castle, turn into a charr car, run through water to gain stealth, and turn towers into sentry posts to expose the enemy.

If you missed this week’s episode, you can check out the recording below!

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