[GW2] The Next Content

MMO news sites have been popping up this morning (post embargo) with sneak peeks at the content patch for Guild Wars 2 set to drop this weekend. The content patch is titled Lost Shores. MMORPG.com and GW2 Hub seem to have the most depth and commentary, respectively. Be sure to check them out. Thoughts follow.

Southsun Cove 

The new open world PvE map is Southsun Cove. It is a playground for level 80 characters fighting a new enemy, the karka. However, during the lead-in event everybody can be upleveled to play on the map. Afterwards it is losing that upleveling ability.

Besides all the usual goodies, there isn’t much to comment on yet. More content is good. Less emphasis on Orr is good. New enemy type is good. What I am most interested in is to see how ArenaNet responds to the current playstyle of level 80 content. It seems they’ve emphasized the karka’s armor to the point where there is a new shader in the game to show armor falling off. Will this armor mechanic shift the current “area of effect” spam meta?

Regardless, I think it will be a nice change of pace from Orr – bright sandy beaches with heavily-armored, four-legged Half Life 2 creatures.

Fractal Dungeon

The new dungeon sounds great. Basically it is 9 mini-dungeons in random order. Players play through 3 of these “fractals” to complete a cycle which sends them back to the hub for a breather, repair, etc. After a few cycles they get a mega-boss fight. It sounds great for a pick-up group, and for farming groups, it seems they can set their difficulty when entering for greater risk and reward. Now who is talking, dungeon monthly achievement?

As awesome as this sounds, my second reaction was “what about all the other dungeons?” A great idea would be to incorporate bits of the old dungeons in to the fractal lineup… but that still doesn’t make up for the old dungeon run being de-emphasized.

Further shuttering of the launch dungeons comes from the new armor level rewards from the Fractals of the Mist dungeon.  Now there is an Ascended level, a step above Exalted, and Ascended armor has a new slot for “infusions”. Yay, a lot of people will have some new thing to work for, and grouping up will be pretty easy. Boo, say the old dungeons.

People are always going to want to play the old dungeons for the experience or special drops needed for armor and dungeon/legendary weapons, but it might be a handful per server now. This just places further emphasis on the need to make it easier for the entire Guild Wars 2 population to find a group.

I guess I am a tad bittersweet-sweet. On one hand this sounds like my kind of dungeon, and I love the “fractals” in the Mists idea. On the other hand, I haven’t had a chance to experience all the launch goodies yet.

PvP and Everything Else

There is also a new PvP map, which sounds pretty cool. The secondary mechanic has players fighting over “meditations”. Visually the kodan Temple of the Silent Storm looks amazing. I still haven’t had a chance to really get my feet wet for structured PvP, and I hate to say it, but with all the new PvE content it’s looking like I might be waiting a bit longer. There was no mention of World vs. World in the previews so I don’t know what will be happening there with the update (if anything).

There are also apparently 5+ pages worth of balance and bug fixes for professions, which will likely effect every playstyle. The mesmer’s Portal ability is likely going to take a hit since it is critical for WvW and sPvP.

November 16-18

All of this is kicking off with a big weekend event surrounding the karka for a “monster movie, invasion type thing”. The finale event will “take considerable time” in a chained event so be sure to have a chunk of your Sunday afternoon or evening prepared for it. It looks like even if you miss the finale there is going to be a waterfall of content to play afterwards.

–Ravious

14 thoughts on “[GW2] The Next Content

  1. MMORaid

    Pretty shocking that 2 1/2 months after launch they’re already introducing a new gear grind with Ascended items when almost no one has Legendary items yet. I seriously hope this isn’t a glimpse of what’s to come. I just finally decked out my char with all exotics and now they’re worthless :(

    1. Naqaj

      You may want to wait for the blog post later today with full details on ascended items befor trashing all your exotics.

  2. bhagpuss

    Pity I hadn’t seen this before I did my “Dungeon” post today. My first thought is that this is a complete reversal of the whole pre-launch “vision” for GW2. The one that had no end-game and definitely no end-game gear grind. What’s this new “fractal dungeon” then, if it isn’t an end-game gear grind?

    Regardless of good intentions, a decade and a half of MMO development suggests that wherever you put the “best” gear, that’s where the majority of players will feel they have to go, whether they enjoy it or not. Especially if you stack nine dungeons in a single location and incentivize people for running them over and over again.

    Tyria is a huge place and there’s plenty to do that isn’t this, but development in this direction will create the impression that this is what you are meant to do. Disappointing. And you’re right about the “old” dungeons, of course. Unless they sweeten the pot there somehow, good luck ever getting a group for most of those once the new orthodoxy is established.

  3. Michael

    I’m still only in rares and haven’t experienced any of the dungeons yet.

    1. Glad I didn’t waste the money on exotics, I guess.

    2. Hopefully they incentivise the old dungeons so there’ll still be people to actually do them with for us casuals that didn’t speed through all the content. I was already concerned about finding groups for Story modes when I delve into dungeons with everyone only ever doing explorables…

    3. Yay! Something besides zomb..err..Risen to fight! Risen are soooo boring. This part actually excites me.

    I’m hopeful that all of our worries are unfounded and that ANet have thought all these things through, but so far the wording in these articles has me nervous.

  4. darkeye

    Definitely very nervous about what the ‘ascended’ armour could mean. I’ve gotten one character to 80, but only have acquired rares yet. I’m finalising what stats I’ll get on the eventual exotics, and I’m in no rush. Went with a balanced setup, but think I’m spreading my stats too thin. Was happy that by the time I’d figured that out, that I’d be well able to afford exotic gear upgrades. Now another tier is added, and it’s just a feeling of exasperation that the goalposts are getting moved already.

    Other than that, the update sounds cool, like the sound of the fractal dungeon and it looks like they’ll continually expand on it, adding more sections as time goes on.

  5. The Ogre

    For the record, Legendary items are just Exotics with fancy skins. They have exactly the same stat ranges as regular Exotic items of their type. (there WAS a 3% or so difference, but that was removed a long time ago)

    And booooooooooooo! for the gear treadmill!

  6. Jeromai

    I’m decidedly nervous about the new dungeon too. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the other explorable dungeons yet, goodness knows if it’ll ever be possible to find a group for them soon.

    Either Ascended armor is better than Exotic, in which case, everyone will be flocking to the new content… or it’ll turn out that Exotic armor is a requisite or precursor or just makes stuff a lot easier to obtain to Ascended armor… in which case, hello, impending grind.

    Wonder how ArenaNet is going to address the possibility of the old dungeons falling out of favor, or if they’ll even care?

  7. bhagpuss

    Just looked at the official Press Release, which contains this:

    “Introducing Ascended items, artifacts of great power that can be improved by a special new type of upgrade called Infusions, which can be found in dungeons.”

    If the Infusions were only found in the “old” dungeons and the Ascended armor only in the new ones, that would put the cat among the pigeons.

  8. Mekhios

    Everyone needs to calm down. Many of us are still happily playing the game without worrying about whether we have x-amount of exotics or the best slot items. Just enjoy the game and let the 5% gear focused population worry about their endgame.

  9. Fidjit

    Count me in as another person troubled by Ascended gear. I’m not one of those people who feels they “need” the best-in-slot gear, but it concerns me that power creep is starting only a few months into a game where one of the main design goals seems to have been to avoid it. Why the change?

  10. Retro

    “As awesome as this sounds, my second reaction was “what about all the other dungeons?” A great idea would be to incorporate bits of the old dungeons in to the fractal lineup… but that still doesn’t make up for the old dungeon run being de-emphasized.”

    There was a leak in late October that suggested a few things that would be appearing in the November Update;
    - 3 Day event to hide a mysterious threat.
    - A new island in the game world.
    - New PVE game mode
    - New PVP features

    Here’s the source for that info: http://www.guildwars2guru.com/news/848-possible-november-update-information/

    The big one is that third item; my thinking is that the Fractals dungeon represents an ENTIRELY NEW PVE MODE, a randomized dungeon-crawl that gets progressively harder the deeper you go, sort of a hybrid between Horde mode and MMO dungeon crawls.

    Characters who enter this new mode could be stripped of their gear and be automatically leveled to 80, as is the case with sPVP. I think this will be the case because of another panic-inducing feature in the preview; Ascended Gear. If this is indeed a new game mode, it seems obvious that Ascended Gear will be Fractals-exclusive; you can only wear it inside the new mode (or cosmetically when outside it, probably garnering a new tab like the Town Clothes). Likewise, Infusions are the Fractals-exclusive upgrade items.

    This would allow for a completely isolated and internally balanced PVE mode so something like Leaderboards isn’t out of the question, with players fighting to get deeper and deeper into the fractals. The deeper you go, the more things you unlock for normal PVE play; titles, weapon and armor skins, mini-pets? The potential is unlimited.

    That doesn’t even take into account that because the new mode is set in the Mists, ArenaNet has free reign to do whatever they want; add a new mini-dungeon into the shuffle every few months? Temporary holiday Fractals? Glimpses into the past or even future of Tyria? The Mists allows ArenaNet as sort of blank slate where anything can happen.

    So it might not be just a new dungeon, stealing thunder from the old. It’s possibly an entirely new PVE mode that happens to be built around bite-sized dungeon content, but co-existing alongside them. Likewise, Ascended Gear and Infusions are not a new tier of loot we’re being forced to chase after, but a completely different gear set exclusive to this new mode.

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