[GW2] The Verdant Itzel Story (Beta)

Yesterday I was able make portions of the first and second closed beta runs for Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns. I decided rather than try and take in everything in those short two-hour sessions I would laser focus on one thing. The Itzel meta–event chain in northeast Verdant Brink caught my eye, and that is what I did pretty much the entire time.


Each Outpost in the beta had an attached meta-event. The southeast Outpost seemed to be dealing with a Vinecrawler from what I heard in map chat. The Itzel outpost dealt with the hylek (frog people) issues. These meta-events provided a complete story. I will describe the Itzel outpost story in detail below so SPOILER alert. Skip to the next section to remain unspoiled. Continue reading [GW2] The Verdant Itzel Story (Beta)

[GW2] Glide Compartmentalization and Flying Mounts

Tesh got me thinking. The post is about World of Warcraft’s apparent cut to flying in the latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Tesh isn’t too happy, which echoes much World of Warcraft community sentiment. There is almost a literal gross of flying mounts in World of Warcraft. Some mounts require incredible effort and play time to get. There is a whole culture of flying mount gameplay in World of Warcraft. They still won’t be seeing any Draenor skies.

I’ve already praised the compartmentalization for the upcoming Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns. The elite specializations, for instance, I feel are fantastic ways to advance professions, and they stay compartmentalized so each elite specialization doesn’t compound on each other. Yet, Tesh truly gave me pause with regard to gliding. Continue reading [GW2] Glide Compartmentalization and Flying Mounts

[GW2] Reaper Shroud

My necromancer in Guild Wars 2 is everything. I have stuck by and loved my necromancer despite all it’s problems and inefficiencies. It gets even worse, I have often played a condition-based necromancer in dungeons and open world events. I’ve always hoped that being at the bottom, the only way to go is up, or in a twist, possibly to something more necro-y, the revenant.

The reaper elite specialization gives the feeling that it was designed with a serious amount of attention. It is a kit that feels cohesive to turn the necromancer into a cleaving, controlling powerhouse. The greatsword weapon skills seem like they have zero fat. The new offensive shouts are going to be a blast to use in many of the game modes since each shout grows in power the more enemies there are to hear it. I feel, there are going to be a lot of reapers running around.

Yet, all this would have that sickly death pall if it weren’t for one change. Death Shroud. This mechanic that has been the white paper bane of the necromancer. Thankfully, the reaper’s first trait is getting the new Reaper Shroud.  Continue reading [GW2] Reaper Shroud

[GW2] Les Festivals

I was going through old screenshots, and I happened upon one that tugged my heart strings. I remember taking this one because I am a huge fan of Dear Esther. It also was from a festival that happened almost exactly a year ago, the Festival of the Four Winds. I personally love the Labyrinthine Cliffs. It is beautiful, and fun. I personally wish it was a great city hub.


My heart tells me that we probably won’t get the Labyrinthine Cliffs tomorrow. The Zephyrites are currently stuck in time in Dry Top, and I feel that returning to the Labyrinthine Cliffs would constitute a “Living World advancement”. The map would have to be scrubbed of Zephyrites. It would probably be less without their airships in the sky. Continue reading [GW2] Les Festivals

[GW2] Dragonhunter-y

Last week ArenaNet revealed the second of the Heart of Thorns elite specializations. This time it was the guardian’s specialization, which turned out to be a longbow wielding “dragonhunter”. The theme of the specialization appeared to be attaching more range and physicality to the light-wielding profession. Most fans appeared positive with the mesmer’s chronomancer, but the guardian received a lot more skepticism.

What Do You Mean By “Witch”?

Jon Peters attempted a community interface to explain over the weekend that the name “dragonhunter” was a high concept title. It came with the lore of a guardian believing that justice is the eradication of dragons and their minions. He compared it to a medieval “witch hunter”. Continue reading [GW2] Dragonhunter-y

[FF14] First Impressions

There has been a noticeable trend in this Guild Wars 2 pre-xpac downtime where I am seeing a lot of fans and devs mucking around in Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn (FF14). To be honest, I didn’t bat an eye when the first iteration of Final Fantasy 14 first dropped. I did follow their rebirth story a bit because it was an interesting tale where money and time (and brand power, let’s not forget) can truly turn things around.

Last week, I finally picked it up through Steam, which says a lot right there. I can almost guarantee that if it were were not for Gaben’s paradiso I would not have tried it out. (Really surprised Guild Wars 2 still isn’t there, but I guess they feel more profitable without Gaben’s cut.) Actually I got the demo first, installed it, and didn’t touch it. Guess I needed that $20 worth of worth incentive to actually play it.

Before I cut this post, I will say it is a hyper polished experience of a calm distillation of last decade’s MMOs (for better and worse). There you go, tl;dr.

Continue reading [FF14] First Impressions

[GW2] A Mesmer Without Time

The end of the last week gave a lot to chew on over the weekend with the Guild Wars 2 expansion’s first look at an elite specialization: the chronomancer. Elite specializations are basically Dungeons & Dragons prestige classes that build upon a core class. The chronomancer builds on the mesmer, in this case.

Being a chronomancer gives another shatter, the ability to use a shield, and a new type of utility skills, wells. The theme of all these powers is the manipulation of time, which is most notable in the form of Alacrity.  Alacrity is a new buff that lowers the recharge duration of recharging skills, which makes it the opposite of the Chill condition.

I was blown away by the chronomancer on Friday’s Twitch demonstration. Dulfy provides all the notes in her usual fine form. As an aside, I really did not like the use of pre-recorded video. It didn’t feel like a great demonstration. It was neat that ArenaNet showed off a new sub-area and enemy, but there was a lot lost in the busyness of the videos. I would have much preferred a “now I am going to demonstrate the shield projectile ability after I explain it a bit”. Real time has a lot to be said.

Anyway, what I kept thinking through the end of the week news overload was “why wouldn’t a mesmer want to be a chronomancer?Continue reading [GW2] A Mesmer Without Time

[GW2] Trait-orous Fiddle

With the expansion, ArenaNet is redoing all the trait lines, and more. The Twitter pitch is that each trait line is being collapsed to 3 minor traits and 3 tiers of 3 selectable traits, where players pick one from each tier. Stats are being divorced from the trait lines, and instead of putting points in to trait lines, players just choose three trait lines getting all trait levels from that trait line. Specializations are essentially a trait line that opens up the ability to use specialization aspects.

This update will come before the expansion. After the expansion, the elite specializations will be available, and it must be slotted into one of the three specialization slots to use the elite specialization’s skills, weapons, and of course traits.

Bhagpuss puts the changes into the fiddling that seems to occur with many MMOs. In his mind it won’t be a substantial improvement.  Continue reading [GW2] Trait-orous Fiddle

A Decade of Guild Wars

Guild Wars is 10 years old!

It amazingly still has a small, active population. I’ve heard that because of the server architecture the cost to maintain Guild Wars is minimal, and the population that has made their home in the game should have no fear of foreseeable shutdown. Guild Wars 1 is going to be around for a while, especially since I still see people going back and buying the game for a mostly single-player experience.

I know I played in early beta events, but my first strong memory was the Collector’s Edition snafu. It appeared that there were manufacturing or shipping problems with the Collector’s Editions, and while I had the headstart period, if I recall correctly, my account would shut down after that. So I did the logical thing and bought a normal edition, being a poor grad student, and then later bought my Collector’s Edition to layer on top of that. My favorite memory is here, when I wrote about Guild Wars ending development.

I still have that Collector’s Edition, as well as the two other Collector’s Edition for Factions and Nightfall. I still look at them fondly from time to time.  Continue reading A Decade of Guild Wars

[GW2] Lick ’em, Stick ’em Hylek

gw2hot_04-2015_Zintl_with_ItzelSlowing down from the big features after the Stronghold beta, ArenaNet discusses some of the new denizens of Heart of Thorns – the hylek tribes. Players should be familiar with the frogmen who appear mostly in Maguuma areas. I feel their biggest gluts are in Caledon Forest and Sparkfly Fen where they have  meta-event surroundings their territory.

The new hylek tribes are surfer-dude tree frogs – Itzel, and down-to-the-earth, end-of-the-road bullfrogs, the Nuhoch. The latter of which surprisingly has no “L” in their name. I think the article is a pretty good read for lore fans.

What I want to discuss is the core game’s “lesser races” versus what could be in the Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns. By “lesser”, I mostly mean non-player character races. Continue reading [GW2] Lick ’em, Stick ’em Hylek