TwitchCon happened this past weekend, and while I didn’t have a care for the mainstream channels, I avidly watched ArenaNet’s shows. They had two days packed solid. There was some weirdness and patience was required by the audience in part of the some production hiccups. All told it was really fun.
The absolute highlight for me was the segment “Live at the Crow’s Nest” (at 1:38:00) where Maclaine Diemer was accompanied by two other musicians to do a small-set ensemble of many Guild Wars musical favorites. Diemer (along with other ArenaNet employees) has taken the in-house role of providing the music since Jeremy Soule has long moved on (and fled with DirectSong funds). I personally think the music quality has gone way up. Songs have been way more memorable to me post-launch, and there was really no song with launch that has stuck with me with the exception of “Dawn in Shaemoor”. Anyway seeing a guitarist, a bassist, and a violinist produce some exceptional renditions of Guild Wars 2 favorites was an absolute treat. The usually brilliant Twitch chat (sorry while I break for sarcasm overload) was clamoring to have those pieces, or something similar, in-game. I agree!
There was plenty of talk on expansion pack features. The biggest for me was the discussion on raids (first segment), which appears to be – going forward – one of the “Living World”-esque highlights. Raid designer Crystal Reid had powerful camera presence, and really provided some great insight to raid design including why they wouldn’t want boons going to 10 players. The first raid wing for the first raid is coming shortly after Heart of Thorns launch, and then the next is coming early in 2016. She surmised that if forces aligned they could get up to 6 raid wings a year. It is really interesting seeing this shift if Guild Wars 2 becomes an MMO with notable raiding. Honestly of all the Heart of Thorns features this is most on my watchlist to see how it affects community.
The first encounter of Spirit Vale, the first raid wing, will be available the final beta weekend, which is this next weekend. I expect that it will be the community focus as well.
Finally, the Heart of Thorns launch trailer was released with the TwitchCon show. It’s pretty good if not a bit dramatic with Rytlock one-shotting a wyvern and then charging a Mordremoth vinehead 1000 times his size to face-to-black. I try to remember that this launch trailer is not for me as much as players not in tune with the happenings in Guild Wars 2. I bet World of Warcraft players seeing those beautiful trailers while trying to envision how that dramatic sequence translates into a skill rotation have similar feelings. Still, Mordremoth’s part is portending of the focus on the Heart of Thorns expansion. I am excited to see another take on an Elder Dragon.