It’s been an interesting few days playing Edge of the Mists, the new overflow World vs. World (“WvW”) map in Guild Wars 2. My concentrated opinion is that WvW just became a lot more fun, but I have a lot to nitpick and discuss too.
The Map’s Mechanics
The most important thing to note about Edge of the Mists (“EotM”) is that it is the rebellious younger sibling to the core of WvW. The designers have made things a little less balanced, but a lot more interesting.
The map plays like Eternal Battlegrounds in the sense that the map is triangular-shaped with each side theoretically having an even chance of defending their objectives and attacking the enemies points. However, each corner of the triangle has heavy environmental and mechanical change. One area is filled with overgrown ruins, while another seems like deserted charr areas. Finally the kodan area is the third environment. Each environment also gives its defenders a buff based on how many objectives they control in their zone.
Instead of fighting objective bosses that exist only to melt, the EotM bosses have simple mechanics to learn. Some use basilisk venom, some of elemental lackeys that have to be killed first, and some have to be knocked out of the air. Nothing is really difficult, but it is a nice change of pace from stack and burn. It is a lot more fun when in smaller groups where skillfully dancing around the boss mechanics has a much more direct effect on efficiency.
Let’s start with what is not fun. Zergs are still not fun. They are even less fun in this map because they can roll over everything. I hope that ArenaNet’s next WvW consideration is figuring out ways to defang zergs. However, as a small engagement type map EotM is glorious.
I am having incredible fun just roaming around with Mrs. Ravious. We never get far or do much, but it is fun. We join skirmishes in some places. Poke at defenses in others. The map is at its best when I see our little allied dots scattered all over the place.
Last night I spent an hour holding down the Stonegaze Spire tower (between Badlands and Overgrowth) by myself. One of the best things about EotM is that the dependence on supply in certain places is fairly low. Instead of dolyaks carrying supply off to a tower or keep, generators warp the supply directly to a supply depot. Now this is somewhat balanced by the fact that gates to the areas are nowhere near supply depots. Honestly repairing a gate should be a much higher WXP reward because it can be a chore. Upgrading a tower or keep on the other hand is quite fun.
Getting back to it, so I lay claim to Stonegaze Spire and upgraded everything. In WvW proper, the tower and keep supply are sacred because…omgosh upgrades! In EotM the towers and keeps start with siege weapon spots. Just start adding supply. Then there is enough supply (if the generators keep running) to start putting down a few of my own key siege weapons. I was pretty proud that me and the grawl boys held off a small group attacking us with a flame ram and catapult last night. I want more reasons to stick around and defend rather than karma train throughout the zone. I am hoping they continue this trend hinted at in the latest Dolyak Express.
The map is fun just in landscape too. There are nooks and crannies to hide in, and then someone chases me to find themselves running over a fear mark, and then over the edge. I was watching Koroshi stream yesterday, and he was having a ton of fun in a very mobile engineer. Rocket boots for escape, and big bomb for over the edge with the enemy.
Each matchup is also only three hours, and this weekend I really want to stick around a whole matchup to get a feel of the entire flow. At the beginning of each matchup it’s seemed to be see how far a zerg can push into enemy territory regardless of how man of our homeland objectives we are losing. It evens out quite quickly though as zergs get smashed and people start defending rather than doing the marathon run back to the zerghead.
Of course this huge WvW update will need polish. Things are imbalanced, but it’s not as big a deal as it would have been in a more vanilla WvW map. I also need to learn a lot more about the map. Learning where to flee is huge. Learning how to choke off a zerg can be huge. I notice more and more that players are getting better at using bridges to stop a zerg. It’s still tough, but it’s something. I am getting huge mileage out of my wall of fear.
It is also a bit unclear as to how WvW is going to rebalance itself. To be honest, right now I don’t care. Sanctum of Rall seems to have had such low morale since the end of Season 1, and I am absolutely sick of playing against Blackgate and Jade Quarry. Tarnished Coast got third place in Season 1, why aren’t they up here getting smacked around like a whipping boy? I do miss the camaraderie of fighting only with my server, but EotM as WvW-lite is quite a nice break from the drudgery of fighting in Tier 1 with broken morale.
This has been the bit of WvW I’ve needed, and I find myself easily heading to EotM every night. I think part of the Living World is going to stick around too since killing 1000 Aetherblades is a permanent achievement and Mai Trin’s hologram (in the middle of EotM) says that if Scarlet doesn’t return then Mai Trin intends to hole up there anyway. I would love to hear the lore devs talk about some of the “stories” or “histories” in EotM, but they usually keep quiet about those things.
Overall, I feel it’s a great addition to WvW. A map made for roamers and small scale fights is just what WvW needed. Now I can’t wait to see how lessens of EotM reflects back onto the core WvW.