The March update dropped last night in Guild Wars 2. There is so much to talk about. There are PvE instances along with a nice chunk of PvE content. WvW feels very different, for the better. There is new guild content. And of course a few gem store offerings. These monthly updates are addictive, and they are honestly overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to begin; so I am going to step out of the game and talk about the business model.
Each month ArenaNet puts out an update that seems to reverberate throughout the PC gaming sphere. They have to. With ArenaNet’s studio size, they have to make the game work for them. They cannot sit back and pad a few months with parking-lot subscriptions. These significant monthly updates condition players to continually check back even if Guild Wars 2 is not their priority. If the Game Director, Colin Johanson, believes that the March update is going to set the bar for the monthly updates, 2013 is going to be pretty exciting for Guild Wars 2.
In PvE, they are continuing the story of Flame and Frost. This time it feels very significant. There are new “species” of enemies, which are an amalgamation of dredge and Flame Legion. For instance, a Flame Legion mob might have a gun that shoots sonic waves and fire tornadoes. The update also brings new story instances, which seem to be a live-game iteration of the personal story. The instances, soloable or groupable, are also repeatable for a daily per account reward. This feels like a very substantial advancement of a living world.
I don’t know when I will have time to queue up for WvW. The WvW progression track awaits, but I am not that worried about it for my once/week forays in to the Mists. Tier 1 is a scary place. It seems that the feedback on the erasure of culling is that the danger in WvW became a lot more real since portions of zergs are no longer invisible. Now that lone scout will see an ocean of red names crashing towards her location. I do love playing on maps where our 3rd place Tier 1 server is being beat down, and now that the underdog bonus prevents armor decay on death, I think I know where I am heading. Kamikaze necros are serious things.
The new gem store items are, well… the name change is going to be a cash cow. People have been asking for that since the start. A $10 hit to get the name you truly deserve. Just make sure the names you want aren’t already taken (I “friend” a lot of people this way). The Communal Boost Bonfire is basically a personal booster shared to the community. At 300 gems a pop, it isn’t a cheap thing, but consider that gold donations can be made to the cause.
The new Fused Weapon set is really nice looking, and of course there is a wholly new way of getting it. This time a player might get lucky using a Black Lion Chest to get a ticket to trade in for their choice of a Fused Weapon. The statistical factoring is just so wonky, but I do agree with John Smith that these are a luxury (read: unnecessary to own) items. Another one or two weapon sets were also added to this update, and at least the Guild Commendation set requires no RNG. It also doesn’t appear to have sweet fused particles either.
There are also hints at other things to come. Players have likely already noticed things in game. With the two post-update patches, I am not sure what’s still accidentally? Hinted. Regardless, I won’t spoil anybody here. There’s plenty of spoilers on Reddit. I think that it will be significant enough to raise the water mark of this update even more.
I am pretty excited about this update. It gives me plenty to talk about this month, and plenty to explore. How will the new WvW progression feel? What’s the quality on these new instances? How much am I going to cry when I try and get that Fused Rifle? And what’s going to happen on April Fool’s Day?
p.s. Please keep any comments spoiler free for now. Thanks.