There is nothing that I can write that can compare with some other sites’ fundamental previews of today’s Super Adventure Box update for Guild Wars 2; so I want to head in another direction: What I got from Josh Foreman who guided the preview tour of Super Adventure Box: Back to School.
In one sense it’s “more of the same”. There’s a cute, Notchian world filled with harsh jumps and old school mechanics. The setting is different with World 2, Zone 1 having been previewed last Super Adventure Box, and World 2, Zone 2 being high in the clouds with the school of assassins. It is a nice change from the dark, canopy covered swamp of the later part of World 1. Still, World 2 is part of the Super Adventure Box as a whole. Players know approximately what they are going to get.
The feeling I got from World 2 was that themes were going to teach and slowly ramp up in difficulty throughout each zone. In World 2, Zone 2 a big theme are needle traps which are half-hidden on walls and posts around the zone. The first needle trap is a lone doorframe, and it is expected most players will prance right through to the insta-death the needle trap offers. Ah, they should go around the doorframe. Maybe they will also start looking for the needle traps. Next time they might notice in a building that the obvious way around the room is actually needle trapped to hell. They’ll have to jump across cross-beams to actually get to the destination. Then a rolling gong will act as a shield to the needle traps, and it goes on.
World 1 by comparison felt like the pre-school introduction to some of the mechanics in World 2. The difficulty is going up a notch so players should definitely not just expect another “more of the same” walk through the park. Then Tribulation Mode takes the difficulty and adds in a lethal dose of caffeine, rage, player tears, and hallucinogenic drugs.
Tribulation Mode is a game of feedback loops, which Foreman talks about on the official forum. Run along an open path, and FLOWERS EXPLODE NOW FOR INSTA-DEATH. Ok, lesson learned: don’t go near flowers. Now, I think I am clever and avoid the main path by jumping on to a big rock. THE ROCK JUMPS UP AND FLATTENS ME DEAD. Don’t go near rocks. And so it goes.
Foreman said it was going to be a battle between the developers and players. ‘Who can be more clever?’ Can players pre-empt the feedback loop and avoid the tricks? Players that don’t will be bleeding through lives like discarding silk to make another inventory slot during an invasion.
He repeated, emphasized, and lamented many times that Tribulation Mode is not for most Guild Wars 2 players. It is for hardcore, masochistic, achievement-killers that love facing ridiculous challenges. People that killed the last Queen’s Gauntlet fight the Hard Way (Light Up the Darkness) may qualify. Other audiences might include those that like to do CoF P1 naked, players that try to get Scarlet to spawn at a jumping puzzle, or WvW commanders that actually try to get the herd to listen.
Those few players that actually rage through Tribulation Mode will get different colored SAB weapons that will call them out as the Guild Wars 2 crazies. I think after a month of zerg-filled event madness, Super Adventure Box is going to be a nice break for fans of the asuran holographic world and not. If nothing else it’s a time to work on ascended weaponry. See you in the Rata Sum rage-room shortly.