[GW2] Entangled Thoughts

Episode 2 of Guild Wars 2’s Season 2 came out earlier this week. They at least tripled the size of the new zone, Dry Top. There are a handful of new story instances, and there are two new weapon sets. Everything once again feels very tight and polished. The world has changed in bits. The world has expanded in others. All-in-all, ArenaNet’s sophomore production is going great.

Topping Off Dry Top

I haven’t really commented on the design of the new zone Dry Top. I don’t mean the fantastic art design, which is fantastic. The canyon that I saw near the new Uplands sub-zone is amazing. It looks artistic and real at the same time. Mostly it just looks impressive, and I feel trapped in it. The canyon leads to the first hints of the Maguuma Jungle, by way of Dry Top, and then south of that it turns back to windswept desert. There is also a secret place I’ll discuss next week. No, as usual, the ArenaNet map squad has done brilliant work.

Mechanically, Dry Top has a zone wide event going on for the first 40 minutes of each hour. See, the Zephyrites are sad Zephyrites having crashed down in the desert. You can make them happy by completing events, and making the zone better for everybody. Each tier of happiness makes their merchants that much more sale-oriented, and now players have to get to the top tiers to be able to obtain the new weapon set, Ambrite (fossilized bugs trapped in amber).

ArenaNet has been trying to get a zone-wide event like this working all through Season 1, and now there are two reasons why Dry Top works. The first, it’s permanent. This whole Season 2 has felt more relaxing. I’ve done some of the story achievements, but I don’t feel rushed. I didn’t need to get them done; I wanted to get them done. The second is that because the pressure has leveled off, and there’s no top tier reward the zone must get or it’s full of failure, the community is much calmer in “winning”. I’ve seen a few commanders, and a few event-yellers getting people mobilized, but there’s no “don’t stand there or we all fail”-type mentality. If we get to Tier 3, I feel like that’s pretty decent. If we get to Tier 4 (or 5), so much the better.

In the latter third of the hour a sandstorm sweeps over Dry Top, which changes the whole zone. Visibility goes down to 20 meters, and the sandstorm uncovers buried treasure chests that were part of the Zephyrite’s hoard. Of course one needs Zephyrite keys to open these things of bounty. The ruin’t Zephyrites will gladly give away the now “worthless” keys for geodes, which are the event-reward account bound currency for the Dry Top zone. It’s a pretty good closed system.

Statics and Dynamics

Another thing I really appreciate is the amount of permanent content to static content going on right now. Things have already changed, such as the small mining town, that is now a Mordremoth vine paradise. (Mordremoth is the current big bad dragon that is making a move.) The Zephyrites are still in disarray, and I wonder if they will kind of get their act together as well. I can feel that there is a wide base first, and then they shift things on top.

I feel it is a much better way of progressing a living MMO, but I also wonder how far down the road they are planning things. If we kill Mordremoth does that mean all the Mordrem plant enemies will vanish? Will the Zephyrites ever settle down? So far we’ve have one episode of changes, but it’s been a pretty good start.

Two Weapon Sets

There are two new weapon sets with this update. The first is the Ley Line weapon set, which are premium to the Black Lion Chests of the Black Lion gem store. These come with their own drawing-weapon sounds.

The other set is the Ambrite weapon set, which are the chaser items for the Entanglement patch. In the Zephyrite chests above, there is a rare chance to get a fossilized insect. This can be “identified” to become one of 16 fossilized insects, such as a fossilized butterfly. Each insect corresponds to one of the Ambrite weapon sets.

I think it is a pretty reasonable chaser. Yes, it relies a bit on RNG to get a fossilized insect from a chest, but I am finding the zone pretty fun. The “grind” is to play in the zone, and the better you (and your kin) play, the better the rewards.

Line in the Sand

The updates are holding to a really high quality. I will talk about the story next week, of which there is much to talk about. It is well worth it to sign on and snag Episode 2 and check out the new additions to Dry Top.

–Ravious

5 thoughts on “[GW2] Entangled Thoughts

  1. Wizzu

    I have confession to make. I’ve reinstalled GW2 and (almost) have a blast with season 2 of Living Story. There are only 2 things that spoil my fun. One is really subjective, second is lazy gamemaking…

    1. Scarlet. It’s all about Scarlet. I hate that bitch. If not for the fact we all use keyboard to write, I would say that hectoliters of ink was wasted on writing how awefull she was written (and I think, that I personally wrote more about her, than her creator did). And I think both episodes of LS 2 season are focused more on fixing ms Briar, than pushing world forward. Don’t get me wrong – Tyria is spining faster than ever before (and in best quality since GW1 EotN). Just look how much work they pump with every mission to prove us, that we were wrong, and Scarlet indeed is great character. She’s not (still), she never was and they will gona waste sooooo many resources to change that situation, that it’s become silly (allready). But as I said – it’s subjective.

    2. Ninja enemies. Same thing that made me sick in Dragon Age 2. Do You remember when in GW1 Prophecies, You followed guy called Rurik, to save his people, and lead them through Shiverpeaks? You meet some dwarves, humans and some hostile habitants of these lands (etc.). It was fluid, natural, plain, logical. You see some Avicara – You can kill them all… sometimes it lead to funny situations, like with “Gyala Hatchery” mission (if I’m not wrong – to lazy to check) when it was easier to run away and clear map from the end to begining, before starting tourtles parade :P. In DAII we had opposite situation. You walk into empty room and bam! Ninja squad of ninja templars are ninja trying to ninja serve You your non-ninja ass. And if You kill them, there will be third ninja wave, after second ninja and before fourth ninja-boss-ninja wave. Thanks 6 gods, Anet wasn’t taking notes about reusing locations, but ninja enemies are sooooooo immersion breaking for me, that it actually hurts. I understand having them from time to time, but all the time? And it’s even worse, because it feels so “procedural” (from a lack of better word in my mind). I feel like most battles in LS are on some % counter. I fight and fight constantly respawning enemies, till level designer says “that’s ok, it took You long enough – we can proceed now” and poof! All the ninja inquest granadiers disappear in thin air!

    Above that 2 things (which for some players are probably so minor, that are actually non-existent), Living Story season 2 was till now good expirience. It’s like Anet kicked those braindamaged writers and hired someone talented on their place. At last! Muhahahhahahaha (15 minutes of evil laughter and small freedom fries please ;P )

    Reply
    1. Ravious Post author

      I actually like the thing with Scarlet because it really hits hard that while her part of the story might be over, she was on a path that still exists. Others may be affected as well.

      Reply
      1. Wizzu

        Two different things for me.
        As a writer – I say it’s good road – follow it. Remind reader (player, watcher,whatever) the beginigs and tie all loose ends. Usually it’s worth it.
        But on the other hand – as a writer again. I hate that they try to tie everything to Scarlet, considering how was she handled and delivered. For me personaly – the exertion is awesome, but ingridients are morbid. Every time they drag up Scarlet to sunlight, my own expirience is watered down. It’s like they are trying to build a castle on the sand. You can feel safe inside as long, as You don’t know it stands on sand. Just don’t go to cellar, because Shai-Hulud will take You for a snack… and he’s cranky!

        I like what they did with other loose ends, but still – I didn’t really have chance to bond with the “D sis”, so I think they are trying to use heavy hammer waaaaaaaay too soon. It’s not George R. R. Martin, it’s not killing off Potter characters after all these years. Too soon to make real impact on viewer. Again – good way, but they seems to lack writers workshop or expirience to pull it off on grand scale. It came to a situation that when the “heartbreaking” scene was on screen, me and my friend were passing jokes, because he didn’t know who is it and I couldn’t care all that much. If she will come back in future, like maybe Rurik – that would be nice twist (overused, but still nice), because it would change whole “D sis” story into merly introduction and will give great drama area for writers. But well – I would still expose her more before branching her out.

        Reply
        1. Aspeon

          And they gave Scarlet another round of one of the things “everyone” complained about in Season 1: retconning something that was in the game from launch to be caused by her. (In this case, there’s a journal entry where Scarlet mentions sending the steam creatures to Lornar’s Pass. That was implied before, but never explicitly stated.)

          Next week we’ll be finding out that the Foefire was Scarlet’s fault, too.

          Reply
        2. Curuniel

          Regarding Scarlet – I agree that they tried really hard early in this year and now in the new stuff to flesh her out at the last minute and make her more interesting, and I agree that they failed; I still don’t like her or feel like her involvement in everything is particularly believable. I would like to be done with her, and I know others who feel more strongly about that (as in, every time she’s mentioned they throw up their hands and sigh and get frustrated enough to not enjoy whatever comes next).

          However, I personally feel like (perhaps alongside a desperate desire to have the character recognised and appreciated more) the writers are using Scarlet just enough to not really back down from her supposed importance or centrality, but while slowly inching her out of the way. She’s the connection to a new issue – I will be most pleased if the conclusion of Entanglement signals the near end of Scarlet’s relevance, as what we know about her leads us to the machine and truths about the sylvari and the focus shifts to that instead.
          (Of course, Taimi will almost certainly refer back to her for a long time, we’ll see how that works out…)

          Reply

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