[GW] Embark to a Mega Update

Today is the day Guild Wars will move on. It’s not a swan song per se, but I just can’t imagine Guild Wars having any further update bigger than the one for today. This update will change the game to such a degree that it might as well be Guild Wars 1.5 now. This is not to belittle the upcoming story content updates, which I am anticipating heavily, but just to paint a brief notion of the magnitude of this thing. First, here’s a WarTower interview with Live Team head, John Stumme:

I don’t even know where to begin honestly. Okay, let’s put this into perspective. This is on level with how World of Warcraft changed with the LFG mechanic. Embark Beach pulls toward grouping, and it let’s people that want to group up with humans do so in a centralized location. On the other hand, letting people use 7 Heroes pulls in the other direction. Yet, from the beginning the Live Team has put forth the best point to keep in mind. People that want to group would have anyway, and people that don’t would have used henchmen anyway. There are still limitations to the Heroes in that they can’t use PvE skills and Heroes 5-8 cannot be individually controlled with flags, etc., and there will still be troglodytes that worm their way into a human group.

Still, this is a game changer. Casual players can hit up all but two elite areas (those require 12 players) with a decent chance of winning with 7 Heroes. Players that want to group up can do so easily on Embark Beach for the daily Zaishen Quests instead of clogging up the Great Temple of Balthazar or figuring out where people are meeting. Then at the end of the interview Stumme says that this update will just set the pace for the rest of the year?! That’s crazy talk. (Also he wants a meme, and deserves one greater than Martin’s bukket or Colin’s million-dollar smile after this update.)

Minion UI has basically been requested since inception. So that’s an insta-win. There are daily quests in Pre-Searing so normal people can get Legendary Defender of Ascalon. A huge change to the Drunkard title, which uses a point system like Sweet Tooth instead of being a hidden, time-based track. I’ve been stockpiling booze forever dreading the day I would have to use it with a stopwatch in hand. So that’s an insta-win for my bank.

Finally, they are adding a pretty nice microtransaction where players can pay to have their own characters as Heroes for other characters including armors and costumes (I believe). In my mind, this is a near perfect microtransaction. It’s a luxury item that comes with it no elite status. It’s not a glowpony that signifies the player had $20+ to drop in the game, instead it’s a microtransaction that is meaningful really only to the buyer. Seriously, if all microtransactions could be so elegant, balanced, and beautiful.

If you are reading this in the past, the update should be dropping later today. If you are reading this in the future, you should be at Embark Beach… not here.


27 thoughts on “[GW] Embark to a Mega Update”

  1. Excellently written! I agree that this will ring in a new era for Guild Wars 1, and I cannot express how excited I am for that.

          1. TO EMBARK BEACH! meet you there (Nicholas Deathguard = my main)

  2. Holy Smokes!

    I have been wanting to add my own characters to my party since I first left the searing and had to put up with aliesia. I am going to spend way too much money getting my account set up for this!

  3. 10 pm here, and still no update. Usually they hit at 9 pm my time. Oh well, I’ll just continue to wait.
    Atleast I could finish all my presearing quests, as I don’t need to save them for when I can hardly get more exp.

    So, this is an epic WIN update.

  4. Cannot WAIT for this update to land. I’ve got all the builds set up in my brain and I’ll be test running one of them on the new Zaishen Vanquish; whatever that may be!

    I’ll certainly be bringing a couple of my more advanced characters in as heroes. We’re all soldiers fighting the same fight, afterall, why shouldn’t I get to fight alongside them – just because it creates a temporal and metaphysical paradox in that two beings inhabited by the same mind occupy the same space? Who cares if it might tear apart the fabric of space/time – I wanna fight alongside Wilma Throatsoar!

  5. I can imagine a nice number of people buying an extra slot just to get back into Pre-Searing for LDoA. Also a great marketing win for the company.

  6. If I hadn’t just been taken to the cleaners on two of my oldest characters, I’d be more than happy to shell out for them having the privilege of accompanying my main as Hero Mercenaries.

    As it is, I have some farming to do to bring them up to speed. At least I also have pursuing a new Survivor title and Legendary Defender of Ascalon character to keep me busy!

  7. So if I just picked up the game after 2 years and only 1 level 20, would I notice any gameplay change? Or is this for someone whose more familiar with gameplay, further along on the grind?

  8. Hurrah, 7 heroes are here! Now this is an update that might even tear me away for some time from Rift, and they don’t even need to challenge it, being that GW is not on a subscription model.

    Now the only tough decisions are 3 hero slots or 8, and play GW now or play later…

  9. Gee thanks! I’d just started getting back into Guild Wars last summer, when SOE dropped EQ2X on us, somehow convincing me I was playing a brand-new, wonderful game all over again, despite actually having been playing it for 6 years already. Then they come out with Fippy Darkpaw, which makes me feel like I’m playing a brand new game that I’ve actually been playing for over a decade!

    I finally get free of those two for something that actually IS new via the Rift betas and launch, and now Guild Wars wants to reinvent itself and suck me back into the future of times past all over again? That pre-Searing option sounds sooo appealing. I always wished the whole game had been pre-Searing.

    Seriously, isn’t it becoming apparent that we don’t really need any more new MMOs at all? All we need are sufficiently imaginative and creative people working to refurbish, re-imagine and re-present the old ones. Well, that and another 24 hours in the day to experience all this wonder!

  10. Actually i don’t think the characters as heroes is purely a luxury item. For one i think it allows you to have 7 necros in your party.
    Which will allow you to run 2 Man Discordway http://www.gwpvx.com/Build:Team_-_2_Man_Discordway all on your own.
    That opens some very powerful builds for single player play you cannot use with the heroes you get from the game alone.

    1. Good point, but I think it’s a small scratch on one of the best microtransactions I have ever seen. Plus, I am sure there will be plenty awesome “vanilla” 7-Hero builds.

  11. This is a good update.


    How could would it be for a game to just let you do this from the get go. As in, roll your alts, pick whichever you want to actually play and bring the rest of your stable along, controlled by the AI.

    No more “Do I want to level this one or that one?”

  12. Nice article, Ravious. I think the one big game-changing move they could make with GW1 is:

    Filtered Chat.

    If adding a full-on Auction House is out of the question, then Filtered Chat would go a long way toward that, especially now that Embark Beach creates a nice central location for folks.

    Filtered Chat doesn’t have to be fancy with boolean searches just even filter for the Search Party chat window that says if “abc” is in the line of chat, show it, otherwise hide that line. Sure, it’s not perfect since some people spell out terms differently (e.g.,”ectos” or “ecto” or “e”), but it would be a major improvement in in-game trading.

    1. It actually kind of does, obviously not to the functionality you want, but if you say wtb or wts it should automatically go into the trade chat channel, which can be turned off.

  13. If a full auction house is out of the question, because of the way their database handles items, i.e. they don’t give each single item a unique tracking identifier, but track quantities of most things instead; then perhaps they could still implement a limited private store. Items put in the store would get temporary tracking number, sort of like current trading put without you having to be present to click the trade buttons.

    Even if that requires too much coding, perhaps they could put in some merchants for items similar to the material and rune/insignia traders. Perfect weapon mods, perfect inscriptions, max weapons with nothing on them, certain drops, mini-pets, etc.

    With some items going for more than the money you can have on a character, they’d need to have an option to trade in ectos perhaps. Shame an AH wasn’t designed into the game to start with, a major goof by the original design team.

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