Today is the day Guild Wars will move on. It’s not a swan song per se, but I just can’t imagine Guild Wars having any further update bigger than the one for today. This update will change the game to such a degree that it might as well be Guild Wars 1.5 now. This is not to belittle the upcoming story content updates, which I am anticipating heavily, but just to paint a brief notion of the magnitude of this thing. First, here’s a WarTower interview with Live Team head, John Stumme:
I don’t even know where to begin honestly. Okay, let’s put this into perspective. This is on level with how World of Warcraft changed with the LFG mechanic. Embark Beach pulls toward grouping, and it let’s people that want to group up with humans do so in a centralized location. On the other hand, letting people use 7 Heroes pulls in the other direction. Yet, from the beginning the Live Team has put forth the best point to keep in mind. People that want to group would have anyway, and people that don’t would have used henchmen anyway. There are still limitations to the Heroes in that they can’t use PvE skills and Heroes 5-8 cannot be individually controlled with flags, etc., and there will still be troglodytes that worm their way into a human group.
Still, this is a game changer. Casual players can hit up all but two elite areas (those require 12 players) with a decent chance of winning with 7 Heroes. Players that want to group up can do so easily on Embark Beach for the daily Zaishen Quests instead of clogging up the Great Temple of Balthazar or figuring out where people are meeting. Then at the end of the interview Stumme says that this update will just set the pace for the rest of the year?! That’s crazy talk. (Also he wants a meme, and deserves one greater than Martin’s bukket or Colin’s million-dollar smile after this update.)
Minion UI has basically been requested since inception. So that’s an insta-win. There are daily quests in Pre-Searing so normal people can get Legendary Defender of Ascalon. A huge change to the Drunkard title, which uses a point system like Sweet Tooth instead of being a hidden, time-based track. I’ve been stockpiling booze forever dreading the day I would have to use it with a stopwatch in hand. So that’s an insta-win for my bank.
Finally, they are adding a pretty nice microtransaction where players can pay to have their own characters as Heroes for other characters including armors and costumes (I believe). In my mind, this is a near perfect microtransaction. It’s a luxury item that comes with it no elite status. It’s not a glowpony that signifies the player had $20+ to drop in the game, instead it’s a microtransaction that is meaningful really only to the buyer. Seriously, if all microtransactions could be so elegant, balanced, and beautiful.
If you are reading this in the past, the update should be dropping later today. If you are reading this in the future, you should be at Embark Beach… not here.