Mrs. Ravious stared at the computer screen at one point this weekend and exclaimed, “there is too much to do.” The weekend was filled with that. Imagine heading to a grand Vegas buffet and instead of heaping a plate and walking away you have to stand at each steam tray and eat from there. You start eating beef’n’broccoli while eyeing the roast carving station and listening to the chocolate waterfall behind you.
The first thing we did, and the first thing everybody should do is get through the first story instance of Heart of Thorns. I don’t know why this isn’t forced down players throats, but I had to open my story journal (“H”) and start the Heart of Thorns story. Then just follow the green blips. The reason for this is without this critical step you won’t be gaining any mastery experience. So we did that.
For most of the weekend we duo’d the story steps. The story I find has been really interesting both storywise and mechanically. I’ve been enjoying it, and I feel ArenaNet has finally figured out that it can supplant ye ol’ quest hubs. The story is the perfect initial guide through the expansion maps and initial masteries.
We also made sure to fill out most of our Halloween achievements, and of course we were as disappointed as everybody that the Labyrinth’s experience didn’t count for core masteries. I’ve been enjoying Silverwastes for that, especially given that the maps aren’t quite as full. ArenaNet’s scaling system works very well for a mildly difficult, very active time in the Silverwastes.
Most of our time has been in Heart of Thorns. It should be noted that Heart of Thorns masteries can only be advanced by experience gained from Heart of Thorns content. This makes it almost feel like there are two games going on. Do I want to advance in game 1, the core game, or game 2, Heart of Thorns? It is a decision we make each time.
Anyway, when we play together it has been Heart of Thorns. We will mostly focus on a single event hub or a small portion of the map. It is far easier than hopping about trying to help out whoever asks for it. Occasionally someone will try and rally at a hero point (which has champions now), and if it is one we need we’ll head there. I feel bad for when we don’t, but that’s a post for a later day.
I feel like we are truly playing Guild Wars 2.5, and I would give Heart of Thorns a solid A-. There are a few systems that need massaging. I have a few issues with longevity of the expansion maps and scaling with low/imbalanced populations. Yet, we are also in learning phase, and the community has a lot to learn. Viewpoints need to shift as well as ArenaNet and the players see eye-to-eye.
Is it worth it? Hell yeah. Mrs. Ravious and I each had no problem plunking down $100, and this weekend alone was well worth it. I imagine months of content and gameplay, easily. I haven’t even had a chance to really scratch at the new PvP Stronghold or get in to the new WvW map! Fractals… haven’t had a chance. And raids are on their way!? Sheesh. Need to win Powerball so I can just play Guild Wars 2 all day.