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.
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.
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.
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.