Massively OP Podcast Epsiode 37: Heart of Thorns chat

We finally body-tackled Guild Wars 2 expert Tina Lauro for a special half-hour podcast to talk about Heart of Thorns. She’s got opinions, praise, criticism, and foresight coming out of the wazoo, so if you’re at all interested in the expansion, check out this episode!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Show notes:

  • Raids
  • Most enjoyable and most annoying aspect of the expansion
  • Grinding
  • Masteries
  • Community tone and reaction
  • Difficulty level
  • MOP guild
  • Revenant review
  • What does ArenaNet need to do from here?
  • Story
  • Guild halls

Other info:

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44 Comments on "Massively OP Podcast Epsiode 37: Heart of Thorns chat"

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TheZebes
Guest
TheZebes

Yeah the GW2 story is weak. I like the world, but the characters and their stories are very saturday afternoon cartoon.

Father Xmas
Guest
Father Xmas

… sigh …  why am I a sucker for lilting accents?

Tina Lauro
Guest
Tina Lauro

Kyrie  I have you added now! :D

annoyedbadger
Guest
annoyedbadger

Kalamari unless you are a rev. In which case you have to actually get all the skills otherwise your glint legend does not have skills, even lacking a heal at the start…..

Kalamari
Guest
Kalamari

what most ppl dont understand (at the start and some until now) is, that you dont have (had) to get all the 250 (400) HP first and only then can play with the elite spec. you can play right away, and explore HoT, with it when you spend your first 30 (60) HPs. the most fun with the elite spec comes anyway from the new mechanic and the new weapon skills. and they unlock immediately after unlocking the first trait.

Caec
Guest
Caec

There are some nice conversations in the background, throughout the world. But, the story, is atrociously bad. I mean, different strokes for different folks, etc, but wow. I don’t personally know (as opposed to internet strangers) anyone who’d ever say there’s anything remotely good about the story in GW 2. Vomit-inducing? Cliche-ridden? Nauseating? All those and more. :D
I play GW 2 (for brief periods) for the exploration. That’s about it. It’s a great, big world…which is actually pretty rare in modern MMOs these days. But, I can’t think of a pseudo-cinematic story in an MMO anywhere close to as stale and bad as the one in GW 2. I don’t think the combat is particularly good either, but I realize MMO-versions of action combat (verse what I’d actually call action combat, such as found in games like the Batman franchise) cause stark battle lines in fandom.

orrruh
Guest
orrruh

You’re correct Justin, GW2’s writing is atrocious.  The ideas are good, but the writing is weeeeeeeeeak.  However, the expansion is much better.  They clearly hired someone with an understanding of story structure.

Gnomeland Security
Guest
Gnomeland Security

TadSaine I love the story.

McGuffn
Guest
McGuffn

Craywulf Siphaed This is the Achilles heel of MMOs. You can’t balance something when you have a bunch of people who are willing to play the game for years and others who complain that there are “zones” and “mobs” and whatever that interfere with your ability to play the story or people that want to run through it as fast as possible.

Kyrie
Guest
Kyrie

I want to be invited to the GW2 MOP guild.  Sent ingame mail and no response.  Would like to join.  In game name Riz.8925.

McGuffn
Guest
McGuffn

TadSaine Don’t remember that one, but this is the piece de resistance:

Scarlet Briar: Augh! Cannonballs! My one weakness!

http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Scarlet%27s_Playhouse

TadSaine
Guest
TadSaine

right?  Scarlett and her army was the worst thing to happen to GW2 – that whole story completely confused me, and i haven’t been into the game much since then.  she was a horribly written character – possibly the worst MMO villain ever.

Superbrak
Guest
Superbrak

TadSaine DAMMIT! You put that earworm back in my BRAAAAAIIIIN!

TadSaine
Guest
TadSaine

i don’t think i’ve ever heard anyone claim to love the story in GW2 before.  to each their own, but the storytelling in this game has always been one of GW2 weakest features.  personally, i have never gotten over Scarlett and her catch phrase ‘Later tater!’  based on my interpretation of what was discussed in the podcast, the original manifesto of this game is dead.  what a shame.

Superbrak
Guest
Superbrak

Quincha Gotta echo the worries about the story/lore bits tied to raids.
Especially given how the side stories, characters and lore are often much more interesting than the main story proper.

jsmooth1
Guest
jsmooth1

Kanbe

Yeah, I just couldn’t understand why in the world they thought it was a good idea to “deincentivise” the old world dungeons. I know they wanted to promote the newer content. But, shouldn’t HoT be good enough to stand on it’s own merits? Why would you purposely want to make completely valid content LESS appealing to play (especially in a game like GW2)? Some people might argue that the liquid gold rewards were too much. But, why not then put in other rewards as a substitute instead of just straight-up taking from dungeons?

And then I read the NCsoft transcript and Coyote’s comments that followed… It finally clicked for me. It’s because, “business.”

NCsoft’s Q3 2015 report: Guild Wars 2, WildStar, all sales dip downward [Updated]

Ata1
Guest
Ata1

Flimflamberge Ata1 There is easily more than 40+ hours of story content in this expansion, which makes it one of the bigger expansions story wise.

Kanbe
Guest
Kanbe

2 examples off the top of my head. They’re deincentivizing dungeons because they dont want people to play them (also known as abandoning them conpletley) and the last time they reworked dailies it went from things like “revive 10 players” “win 3 PvP matches” “dodge 10 times” “gather 50 times” etc to things like “win in PvP as a mesmer” “gather wood 50 times in ascalon” etc. I dont remember more examples of the “new” dailies since I stopped looking at them after the change.
It went from I could do what I want and I’d almost always complete my dailies to I coild play for a few hours and not even touch any of them because they were incredibly specific. Now they did start giving out rewards just for logging in at the same time (though there’s still rewards you wont get if you dont do them) but the point is they went from play how you want to play how we tell you

Flimflamberge
Guest
Flimflamberge

Ata1 Flimflamberge Yes, there’s story in the events. There was story in the events (and hearts!) of the base game too. That story is even thinner than the main story. What of it?

Esoteric Coyote
Guest
Esoteric Coyote

Superbrak Xephyr Esoteric Coyote The last time it went on sale it was 20% off which is still 16 bucks.  Pfft!  Also let’s not forget the anniversary sale…

Superbrak
Guest
Superbrak

Xephyr Esoteric Coyote Black Friday is coming. I’m almost certain LS2 will go on sale in the gem store then. That’s when I plan to pick up the chapters I missed at least.

Superbrak
Guest
Superbrak

Siphaed I cant agree that “grind” can be discredited simply for how long something takes. One of the more boring aspects of GW2, at least for me, is the crafting system. In order to level that, it’s essentially.
Refine mats.
Make insignia.
Discover item.
<repeat>
Broken up by trips to the vendor or trading post when you run out of mats. It’s totally boring and totally repetitive and absolutely a grind. The fact you can get it over with quickly shouldn’t be a positive when you’re discussing the crafting system… or unlocking the elite specs. It shouldn’t need to be gotten over with in the first place.
Masteries though… eh. As long as they aren’t overly obtrusive (which they were but has been fixed) it’s a neat inconsequential system that gives some value to post 80 xp. Probably sold a bunch of xp boosters in the cash shop lately if nothing else.

Xephyr
Guest
Xephyr

Esoteric Coyote You can play living story season 2 with a friend who has it if you don’t wanna pay for it. You won’t get any rewards but atleast you’ll be able to play through it.

I find it a bit weird that they didn’t include season 2 with HoT.

Esoteric Coyote
Guest
Esoteric Coyote

At this point if they added personal housing I think it cost a few thousand gold and the majority of cool stuff will be found in gem the store.  I don’t have faith in Anet.
I didn’t mind GW2 story, but I missed all the living story and I’m still not convinced paying 20 dollars to access it on top of that 50 for the next season is really a wise use of my entertainment funds.  So I doubt I ever will.  But the personal story, I liked it.  It wasn’t amazing, except I’ve seen some spoilers for the story in HoT and now I’m just super confused, because the characters I know and love, well…  Spoilers and all that.
And server matters for GW2 if you want to WvW.  Tarnished Coast is locked forever now(And it would cost 1800 gems to get there if it magically unlocked), so you’d never be able to really WvW with MoP gang. That’s sad.

Ata1
Guest
Ata1

Kanbe How do you think they have changed that?

Ata1
Guest
Ata1

Flimflamberge I keep hearing people discuss that story is short, and in all those discussions I see an underlying assumption that story is only the instanced content. I completely disagree with that assumption.  I have finished the instanced story and I still have a ton of story content left to experience.

I think the issue is that most of the story is being told as part of events in the open world and they do not want to force people to wait on events as part of completing instanced story.

A very good example is the last map. The events in last map are really crucial to last part of story, but they never force you to experience it. 

Lets imagine that they did forced you to experience these group events as part of completing instanced story, how do you think player would have reacted. I think many players would have gone ballistic with rage for being forced into group events.

Kanbe
Guest
Kanbe

Ran out of time on my edit Dx
I also wanted to point out that the whole “play your way” slogan needs dropped badly from GW2. The devs have a specific way they want players to play and they add incentives accordingly. It use to be true sure but not anymore. It actually pisses me off when I see them still using that.

Kanbe
Guest
Kanbe

I’ve been trying to refrain from posting about gw2 because i’m so disappointed with it and I dont want to rain on others expansion fun but this seems like a good place to vent.
First off, no I did not buy the expansion so I have no firsthand experience with that. I haven’t like the direction Anet has been taking the game for quite awhile and I saw nothing in the expansion to set my mind at ease that things would turn around for the better, I did see plenty of red flags though.
What the game was sold as at launch, and what I liked, is almost a complete 180 on lot of things. Also, I hope raids do pan out but I dont trust anet to actually dedicate themselves to their content to stick with it and improve it. They tend to have more of a “release and abandon if its not a hit right off the bat” attitude.
Tina, I’ve got to completley disagree with you on the story. I managed to force myself though the personal story, I never really saw much story in S1, and S2’s story I never even finished because I stoped trying to force myself though something awful. I quite literally fell asleep from boredom right at my keyboard at one point going though S2. The funny thing about this is that I really enjoy the GW2’s novels but the in game story is just horrendous. Which is a shame because that’s the one that really counts when your a video game.
I really, really, really want to like this game but HoT has this completley dropped from my play list. I dont even bother to log in for my free daily gift anymore.
I hate typing on my phone and yet I wrote all this, to me that shows just how disappointed with GW2 that I am.

jsmooth1
Guest
jsmooth1

Craywulf Quincha “Definitely using xp gain as way of stretching content. It gives the impression that there’s a ton of content when really there’s a small quantity with a lot repetitive play.”
I totally agree.

I’m sorry that the expansion is driving you away from GW2. With some of their design choices, it sometimes feels like I’m trying to like the game in-spite of itself.

Craywulf
Guest
Craywulf

Quincha Definitely using xp gain as way of stretching content. It gives the impression that there’s a ton of content when really there’s a small quantity with a lot repetitive play. Like I’ve said before it’s a lot cheaper to have a xp gain mechanic than to have developers create more content. When I say cheaper I mean almost no money is needed to turn 3-5 hours of one time play into 12-24 hours of repeat content just by choking the progression through xp gain.

I’m tired of the xp gain mechanic, This expansion finally forced me to draw the line. I love Guild Wars franchise and bought everything ArenaNet has developed, but I think this expansion broke me. I don’t have time to mess around fishing for xp and not actually progressing.

raincoat
Guest
raincoat

Flimflamberge Good points, especially regarding the companion interaction. Sad but I’ve stopped expecting much from not only GW2 story, but MMO story. In general I find they don’t hold up well to the story-experience from single-player RPGs (for a variety of reasons, and it’s understandable to an extent). The only MMO I can play for story is The Secret World.

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

Flimflamberge liked for well written thoughtful post.  Feel a little sad that the story content seems a little on the lean side as that is what I was looking forward to when I get to GW2 /sigh

Flimflamberge
Guest
Flimflamberge

I’m really disappointed in the story. The delivery is okay and the characters are alright, but it’s just so short and flimsy.
(Avoiding specific spoilers, but if you wanna avoid even possibly inferring some things, best to stop here.)

As
length goes, the whole thing takes half as long as Season 2, if I’m
being generous. If you’ve already got your Masteries you can easily run
through it in an evening. You might need help for some of the fights,
but it’s doable.
It’s a shame because there is a big play area in
all the new maps combined, but you just flitter through it with barely a
side-trek. Even the one major diversion from directly pursuing your
main goals amounts to nothing more than a wet fart in terms of the
revelation it gives. It literally served only to delay getting to the
final showdown and making sure a particular character was safely out of
the way. That bums me out because there was so much potential for
world-building in that section.
When I got to the end of Verdant
Brink I thought it was just a temporary foray into the next zone, and
I’d end up going back and forth as we built the Pact back up through the
story to gradually tear down obstacles. Instead, I just kept going
forward through zones with even less story than the first.

It’s
lacklustre on other fronts too. Remember how there were a lot of
choices in the original Personal Story that would result in entirely
different approaches to objectives and altering the fates of various
characters? Not here. There are a few choices to make, but they don’t
make things really different and they end up with about the same long
term effect.
Saddest of all, for me, your companions will have
nothing to say when you click them, unless your objective is
specifically to click on them to see what they’re thinking. All through
the story until now, you could always count on getting a few extra
thoughts from your allies if you cared to see. Adding it up with
everything else, they clearly just wanted to push us through to the end
to get it over with, which is bizarre considering the Mastery
speedbumps.
I didn’t expect the amount of story content to match the launch game, but maybe at least as much as a Living Story season.
Anyway, this post has gotten longer than the script for HoT’s full story, so that’s probably enough said.

Ceimash
Guest
Ceimash

Quincha Craywulf Siphaed 

Maybe they should’ve just used Mastery points instead of Master points AND experience.

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

Siphaed doing things you don’t enjoy no matter how easy or casual it may be just so you can get to the stuff you want is always going to be seen as a grind to many people. Nature of gaming and people really /shrugs.

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

Quincha I am hoping no major story relevant stuff is gated away in raiding.  The only way I would be happy about that being the case is if they had a Rift style solo version that allows you to see story relevant content.  
Even if that means you forgo any actual completion rewards.  Though I believe Rift did still give you something but at a greatly reduced level when compared to what was given for full raid completion in groups.

Craywulf
Guest
Craywulf

Siphaed I keep hearing about how easy and casually it is to level up Masteries, but no one want to talk about why it takes repetitive play in order to progress. No it’s not “practice” or “training” to do content over and over with same end result and still not progress. Of course there are many non-repetitive ways to gain XP, but efficiency trumps variance of XP rewards. So the vast majority of gamers would do repetitive play if it meant getting through it quicker. 

Leveling up by meeting a quota of XP is ALWAYS going feel grindy no matter how easy or casually it is. The fact is nobody like to be required to do things repetitively.

The solution is two-fold;
1. Get rid of the Leveling mechanic as we know.
2. Provide real content in which our characters actually progress with each task completed.

KenAddeh
Guest
KenAddeh

Quincha Syppi Startled indeed! Thought my PC went mental for a moment.

Siphaed
Guest
Siphaed

I too have to disagree with the term “grind” for something that takes around a week to complete/obtain, CASUALLY.  Most of these things were done in a day, even before the 37.5% reduction in requirement (Elite Specs). The Mastery system is simply put an end-game progression system that is similar to leveling (even requiring the XP), but without the character stat power creep or the gear grind creep.   It is very nice that these things take a while to obtain, but not Legendary time while, because it gives players something to continually work towards while playing;  instead of the “there’s nothing to do!” complaint that some bring to the table.

 The MOP Guild [MVOP] is definitely chugging along nicely.  The roster has built up a nice amount of regular members.   We do have acquired the necessary gold and Favor needed to obtain a Guild Hall and hoping that we can get it this week (hopefully).   That is to at least get the bare-bones location unlocked through the reclamation effort.  As to what Tina said about the material cost, that looks to be the buildings and upgrades for them inside the Guild Hall.  Those of course can wait a bit and take a bit of time to work towards and are completely understandable (although I loved how higher guilds rushed towards obtaining Flax Seeds the first day and bought at 50s each, thus making me semi rich that first day thanks to easy farm of that material).

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

Woo thank you for taking the time to do this Justin  and Tina.  It’s much appreciated and you are both awesome o/

flatline4400
Guest
flatline4400

Woot!  Bonus Pod!

annoyedbadger
Guest
annoyedbadger

I so want to like HOTS, there are many good things, but the experience is just frustrating on 2 of the 4 new maps. And lacklustre on one of the decent 2.
a combination of bad map design, frustrating event requirements, low population on maps….means that events hardly get anywhere on 2 maps, sometimes they work in AB, but VB is the only really active map, whci is ok as its the best, but playing TD and DS is just annoying.
Sadly, it could be really good, but the megaservers just seam to be killing map populations.
Also, no interest in raids, and worried on how that will impact the game.

Gnomeland Security
Guest
Gnomeland Security

I don’t understand why people refer to it as a “grind”…this IS the first expansion in three years so this, along with the other content they put out for it needs to last.  People were maxed out on day 1, and many more in the first week, that’s not a grind…

Syppi
Guest
Syppi

Sorry there’s a bit of an echo going on — don’t know what that’s about!

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