[GW2] Razing Ahead

The March update dropped last night in Guild Wars 2. There is so much to talk about. There are PvE instances along with a nice chunk of PvE content. WvW feels very different, for the better. There is new guild content. And of course a few gem store offerings. These monthly updates are addictive, and they are honestly overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to begin; so I am going to step out of the game and talk about the business model.

Each month ArenaNet puts out an update that seems to reverberate throughout the PC gaming sphere. They have to. With ArenaNet’s studio size, they have to make the game work for them. They cannot sit back and pad a few months with parking-lot subscriptions. These significant monthly updates condition players to continually check back even if Guild Wars 2 is not their priority. If the Game Director, Colin Johanson, believes that the March update is going to set the bar for the monthly updates, 2013 is going to be pretty exciting for Guild Wars 2.

In PvE, they are continuing the story of Flame and Frost. This time it feels very significant. There are new “species” of enemies, which are an amalgamation of dredge and Flame Legion. For instance, a Flame Legion mob might have a gun that shoots sonic waves and fire tornadoes. The update also brings new story instances, which seem to be a live-game iteration of the personal story. The instances, soloable or groupable, are also repeatable for a daily per account reward. This feels like a very substantial advancement of a living world.

I don’t know when I will have time to queue up for WvW. The WvW progression track awaits, but I am not that worried about it for my once/week forays in to the Mists. Tier 1 is a scary place. It seems that the feedback on the erasure of culling is that the danger in WvW became a lot more real since portions of zergs are no longer invisible. Now that lone scout will see an ocean of red names crashing towards her location. I do love playing on maps where our 3rd place Tier 1 server is being beat down, and now that the underdog bonus prevents armor decay on death, I think I know where I am heading. Kamikaze necros are serious things.

The new gem store items are, well… the name change is going to be a cash cow. People have been asking for that since the start. A $10 hit to get the name you truly deserve. Just make sure the names you want aren’t already taken (I “friend” a lot of people this way). The Communal Boost Bonfire is basically a personal booster shared to the community. At 300 gems a pop, it isn’t a cheap thing, but consider that gold donations can be made to the cause.

The new Fused Weapon set is really nice looking, and of course there is a wholly new way of getting it. This time a player might get lucky using a Black Lion Chest to get a ticket to trade in for their choice of a Fused Weapon. The statistical factoring is just so wonky, but I do agree with John Smith that these are a luxury (read: unnecessary to own) items. Another one or two weapon sets were also added to this update, and at least the Guild Commendation set requires no RNG. It also doesn’t appear to have sweet fused particles either.

There are also hints at other things to come. Players have likely already noticed things in game. With the two post-update patches, I am not sure what’s still accidentally? Hinted. Regardless, I won’t spoil anybody here. There’s plenty of spoilers on Reddit. I think that it will be significant enough to raise the water mark of this update even more.

I am pretty excited about this update. It gives me plenty to talk about this month, and plenty to explore. How will the new WvW progression feel? What’s the quality on these new instances? How much am I going to cry when I try and get that Fused Rifle? And what’s going to happen on April Fool’s Day?

–Ravious

p.s. Please keep any comments spoiler free for now. Thanks.

13 thoughts on “[GW2] Razing Ahead

  1. The Ogre

    “Reduced quickness from 100% attack speed to 50%.”

    For the sake of PvP balance, they make a melee staple utterly worthless. If you now get even one extra attack from a typical 4s Quickness effect, I’d be surprised.

    Does anyone know why they must ruin PvE for the sake of PvP balance instead of just changing the numbers in the format where it’s unbalanced? :/ Seriously, it took several years for GW1 to recover once they finally got around to splitting (though some skill lines, like Warrior Tactics, never recovered – it’s currently only suitable for using as a dump stat for a Warrior Hero to use “Watch Yourselves!” when you can’t think of a 7th skill for him), so why are they insisting on making the exact same mistake here? :(

    1. Merus

      Quickness was a staple of CoF full zerker runs, which are causing tons of gold to flood into the economy. They changed the numbers in the format where it was unbalanced: it was broken everywhere. (You will notice that basically every quickness ability except for the mesmer one being abused in PvE had a duration buff to compensate.)

      They’ve already done PvP-only nerfs for other skills.

  2. darkeye

    Did some WvW last night, and it is pretty awesome change. Though, maybe because of the sheer novelty of being able to see a lot more players at one time, that gave everyone the notion of actually pushing it to the limit where skill lag became a real problem. Was in an assault on Hills, with each of the three sides having dozens of players, it’s hard to tell before with culling that there wasn’t as big as fights like that, but I had the feeling everyone was piling in just for the fun of it.

    I played for one hour and got one rank, each rank seems to be the same amount, which is about the right amount of progress, though I’ll probably sit on points and only buy increased supply for my characters and write the rest off as forgettable.

    I really like the gearing system in WvW now, there is a wide variety of stats, the costs aren’t excessive, some of the badge cost is offset by an additional gold cost. The really nice part is that you can buy single-use skins for small amounts of badges (~10-30 badges), the skins available are tier1cultural/karma/common drops, so it might be a good (cheaper) alternative to getting transmutation stones if you like any of those common drops.

    Didn’t do anything with the new living story, but did search Southsun for the new refugee village, which is quite substantial. I like how the island is slowly being colonised and built upon. Everyone’s favourite subdirector is back there, with some choice insults for the player.

    The Super Adventure Box sounds like the most awesome thing ever. IF it was a mistake to include SEVERAL features of it early, it’s certainly gotten the hype going.

  3. bhagpuss

    I’m pretty happy with the patch overall but I’m not sure just how “substantial” it is.

    The entirety of the new Living Story content can be completed in a single session and indeed I heard people in-game complaining they’d finished it just a couple of hours after the patch dropped.

    The WvW culling is a bug fix, effectively, not new content. Both the rank system and the small-guild bounty are very modest additions to the game indeed. Opinions on whether they are good additions will vary, especially on the ranks.

    New cash shop items should be added in a constant stream to any game with an active cash-shop. These come rather slowly and sporadically and it’s a big stretch to call cash-shop wares “content” anyway.

    I reserve judgment on the Super Adventure Box, but if I wanted to play an 8-bit platformer I’d probably just play one, and that’s something I can honestly say I have never wanted to do since about 1984.

    Still, I am having fun. I really enjoyed all the new Living Story stuff, The hints and mysteries in the Dead Drop Letters are really intriguing and I took to Rox right away. I thought the best part of the patch was the change to the Claw of Jormag event, which was vastly more entertaining than it has been for months. I hope similar changes get rolled out to all the big ticket events, and the smaller ones too.

    1. Curuniel

      My experience has been that people complain about finishing the content in a couple of hours no matter *what* the update is. This time around I didn’t go out of my way to do it on patch day, because I know it will stick around for idle moments.

      That said, Ravious’s post makes me wonder if they’re going to do what I always expected and wanted to see this time around: updates and changes throughout the month. If that’s the case, I may want to hang around the Black Citadel and Wayfarer Foothills more in general…

  4. João Carlos

    @Baghus, you can complete that living story instances for a new reward more than one time (one per account per day). So, while everyone can complete it at one session, I am sure I will try them more times for future rewards.

    And I liked some hints of future living stories that we can find at the current living story. IMHO, there is something like Gwen from GW1 coming at the future living stories. Too many NPC saying that there is a secret power behind the mole/flame legion alliance… and I want know more about the parental relation that new norn guy have with “mommy” (well, she and Zojja are the characters I like most)… mmmm, I feel Gwen-like epic story coming…

    So, while this patch can not be substantial enough (but there is something substantial anyway), they are trying do something that at a longer time span will be substantial and MMO game changer: a living world.

  5. Brainstrain

    “Each month ArenaNet puts out an update that seems to reverberate throughout the PC gaming sphere.”

    Hyperbole ahoy! The updates GW2 has received since launch amount to maybe two decent-sized patches (in the terms of WoW). And, as has been said, the Living Story content is as fun as it is unsubstantial. Flame and Frost has amounted to very little so far – obtaining the awesome weapon skins having nothing to do with the content is just a nail in the coffin. Some bizarre decisions being made over at Anet. I still enjoy GW2 when I log in, but I don’t log in very often…

  6. Zherbus

    It’s a good update. But content is pretty disappointing. New stuff takes an hour to do per month in PvE. For people who casually-to-never enter PvP or WvW, it’s just more of the ‘kill 10 rats’ shit. WvW is a hardsell since their servers have already established rank and you’re generally stuck with a semi-struggle for a few days, then a concession for the remainder of the WvW pairing. There has to be a better system that this. PvP is what it is: Nerfs and buffs for a perpetual re-balancing to keep things ‘interesting’. Why people think that PvP is actually a pre-defined arena, an established set of builds, and a scoring system is beyond my time. Long gone are the days of guilds going to war in the open where people would end up on either a side or an innocent bystander. That, to me, would be Guild Wars. By the way, Colin, with your cheesy wide van diked smile, where is AT LEAST GvG in … you know, Guild Wars 2?

  7. Juno

    Tbh a lot of the “new” content is really stuff that should have been there at release — wvw progression really isn’t content, but more of a mechanic imho. There’s not a lot pulling me back to GW2. I check in every now and then but short of grinding out PvP ranks, grinding out mats for a legendary, or grinding out fractal tokens, there’s not much to do.

    Since I hate grind I’m not really wasting my time on it. I spent a weekend moving to rank 10 in pvp to achieve “deer” status… at that point I did the math for Dolyak and thought “why am I doing this?”. PvP is fun, no doubt about it — but the combat is actually rather shallow. With a lack of defined roles and minimal skill diversity, combat loses its luster after a while.

  8. Zonian

    I did both stories, the charr and norn, with my son last night and we had a blast. Loved the in game cinematics. ANet needs to do more dialogue in that manner. As my son put it, “This is like watching a TV show but you get to play it!” Needless to say we want to know what happens next and since we play only once or twice a week content goes a long way for us.

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