[GW2] Edge of the Mists Impressions

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.

Fun.

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.

Polish

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.

–Ravious

8 thoughts on “[GW2] Edge of the Mists Impressions

  1. bhagpuss

    I did about an hour of EOTM last night. It was the polar opposite of almost everything you experienced and describe. I was in a huge zerg within 30 seconds of arriving and we spent the entire time wrecking around melting Champions like water and running over smaller zergs. We placed a load of rams, destroyed a lot of gates, stood in a lt of circles and got more loot than I could pick up. Our rampage only finally ended when we ran into an even larger zerg coming the other way.

    I never knew from start to finish what we were doing or why although I think the Commander had some agenda he was following. If any of the Champions had any special mechanics I never noticed – none of them lived long enough to demonstrate them.

    I strongly disagree that this is a visually attractive map. It may be well-designed functionally but aesthetically it’s a scrappy, scrubby wasteland. The main reason I went was because of the good things I’d heard about the visuals. Suffice it to say I didn’t feel the need to take any screenshots.

    I will give it more time. WvW is a notoriously fickle experience, being so dependent on who turns up for any given session. I don’t have much hope though. For a start, almost everything you praise about it is what I would consider to be the most “gamey” aspects of GW2 and those are the ones I like least. WvW is gimmicky enough already.

    All I want from any WvW map are some structures to attack and some structures to defend, a timer to say when we’re done and some form of score so we can all see how we did. It really doesn’t need anything more than that. Lots and lots of tricksy NPCs and fiddly “win” conditions don’t add anything to my enjoyment at all, in fact they detract from it.

    Reply
    1. Ravious Post author

      I think another reason is I refuse to zergball in EotM. I can do that (usually on only one map) in core WvW with much better karma train results usually. EotM I feel is meant for small skirmishes, random happenings, and that’s what is fun for me.

      Reply
  2. rasli

    I think one of the reason Ravious enjoys EoTM so much more than you do is because the low morale on SoR has really made regular WvW not fun for him, so EoTM offers a nice alternative. For people who still enjoy the regular WvW/server performance aspect, EoTM is at best a nice distraction that adds some variety, but not a long term replacement for regular WvW.

    Reply
    1. Ravious Post author

      Definitely, I keep seeing people joke about how EotM is Skyhammer, WvW edition, and partly that’s true. It is not meant to be as serious. Core WvW can be very serious, and in EotM it’s more “we lost our keep, lol, let’s take it back”.

      Reply
      1. Jeromai

        I do have to say that a stealth kodan was hilarious when I went in for a romp with TTS (on all three teams, crammed into one overflow – which was rather amusing.)

        The train of thought was just to get the badge before getting overrun by blue and red, which was gunning for poor outnumbered green, and the discovery that I could still use my thief utilities alongside the kodan hammer was pretty darned awesome.

        All the joy of hammer guardian control plus the thiefly ability to leave a battle I didn’t like. Oh, and you get to be a kodan. \o/

        Reply
  3. bhagpuss

    That occurred to me also, but only after I posted the above. I just opened the mos.millenium WvW tracker to see how YB are doing while I potter around on EQNLandmark and I saw that in the match that started last night Sanctum of Rall currently have less than 4,000 points vs JQ’s 23k and BG’s 19k. That almost suggests an active boycott by SoR.

    I don’t blame them at all if they’ve decamped to EOTM for the duration. I think the “ladder” system is and always has been fundamentally broken. The Season very definitely had some major faults but at the very worst, even if you were being roflstomped week after week it was by different people.

    Since the Season, YB has seen interest in WvW slowly leeching away. In T3 we have had a series of close matches (10k-20k between first, second and third) and latterly some slightly less close ones, but having close scores in itself doesn’t make the whole thing any more interesting. Nothing ever goes anywhere. The fights are still fun but to me, without the meaningful progress of a League the whole thing feels like a never-ending knock-up before a match that never starts.

    The most exciting thing that’s happened was getting thrashed by IoJ and Borlis last week and finally slipping to T4, which I have always considered to be YB’s natural level. Given Yaks’ current lack of interest in WvW however, plus the departure of one of our most active WvW guilds, the addition of EOTM and the building climax of the Living Story, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see us slip another tier. Wouldn’t be disappointed much, either.

    Reply
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