Massively Overthinking: Gathering our thoughts on Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire

This week, the dominant story has become Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion, which is coming our way far sooner than a lot of folks had guessed. For this edition of Massively Overthinking, I’ve touched base with some of our writers to measure their reactions to the big announcement, asking them to gauge what’s in it, whether it was worth the wait, what they’re disappointed about, what they think of the pricing, and whether they’ve felt sufficiently enticed to play. Let’s dig in!

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I have to admit that I haven’t played Guild Wars 2 since we voted for a new mayor. There’s nothing wrong with the game, just that the group I was playing with moved past it super fast. I think I was literally the last one remaining, probably because it felt accessible to casual players (well, and the “floaty” combat).

That being said, I like the price point. GW2 has always felt like it was worth the investment, at least for the standalone game. The fact that you won’t need Heart of Thorns helps make it more accessible, as does the max level boost, tempting preview weekend, and mounts being (from my understanding) another “collect them all” temptation almost as cool as ArcheAge’s. The “nostalgia” path is funny considering we just got Morrowind from a much bigger IP, but it still makes sense, and it’s nice to know it won’t just be deserts.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Welp, I’m excited. Guild Wars 2 has taken more than a few wrong turns (and U-turns) over the years, but it’s still the game I wander back to because so much of it is playable my way and without the same acute powercreep that plagues so many other MMOs. (As long as I train myself to ignore the emphasis on the stuff I despise, anyway.) If I’ve had a “main MMO” in the years since Star Wars Galaxies and City of Heroes went under, it’s this, even when I’m not playing.

I mentioned it in the comments, but the excessively good deal and quality bonus items offered by the top-tier preorder package will make it the first time in over a decade (I think!) that I’ve purchased anything but a base game. I rarely preorder anything at all, let alone the top-end bundle. That’s saying a lot.

I’m also pretty stoked to see ArenaNet turning back to Elona as a setting, both because nostalgia and because desert settings are positively my favorite. I love the retro standalone campaign feel of the expansion and hope that continues. I’m thrilled to see an end to the cramped and twisty HoT zone style. And I’ve got nothing but relief that mounts are non-traditional. A few of the elite specs grab me too, especially the Holosmith and Mirage.

However, I can understand why some folks are bummed about the expansion’s relative lack of the big-ticket items we’ve all come to expect from AAA MMORPGs. There’s no new race, no new class, no housing. I didn’t really expect these things, but their absence is what makes this feel more like a supersized entry in the living story rather than a full-fledged expansion to the game. I’m also extremely skeptical of the timing of the launch window and the limited opportunity for marketing between then and now. My own guildies, who all played GW2 at one time, mostly shrugged at the announcement, so I’m worried that the game will appeal only to those who currently play and not to the broader audience of people who could be convinced to return, the latter of whom, I suspect, are just as critical to determining whether we’ll see a third expansion.

On the other hand, if we can get something as big as Path of Fire every year between seasons? Yeah, I could live with that just fine.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): I’m of two minds on the Path of Burn expansion announcement. (I couldn’t remember if it was “Path of Fire” or “Path of Flame” off the top of my head and I can’t be arsed to look it up.) On the one hand, I am beyond happy to see something that friends and friends of friends worked so hard on. I have a lot of friends who work there, and it’s really cool to see everything coming together. Plus, stuff like “hard-light constructs” for a class concept hits me directly in the part of my brain that urges me to drop whatever I’m doing and play that.

The other thing, though, is… well, Walkway of Really Hot really does feel like it’s adding in things that everyone else already has. We’re getting mounts, something that most MMOs consider a core feature. We’re getting new areas and quests, which is kind of exactly what you’d expect from an expansion (I’d be upset if Hiking Trail of Inferno didn’t include these things). I’m not of the mind that a new expansion needs to shake up the status quo when the status quo is largely going well (Stormblood certainly didn’t), but in the case of Guild Wars 2 I feel as if players have been looking askance at the game since Heart of Thorns and feeling as if the game went in a direction that wouldn’t have attracted players in the first place.

And mind you, I am a pretty easy sale; Vabbi and Elona are high on my list of things that I adore intensely. The fact that I’m not over the moon about this stuff is a sign that something has gone wildly awry.

I think some of the takeaway here is that GW2, by and large, seems to be played as a game of wildly pivoting from one point to the next; rather than refining what the game does well, it just decides “now we’re a hardcore raiding game” or “now we’re a dungeon game” or “always weekly microupdates all the time” without ever working on what can actually be any good within that format. Steppy-step of Scorch doesn’t yet have a promised wild pivot, but at this point continuing as the game has also doesn’t feel like a grand idea. So I don’t know what comes next. I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or not.

I will say, however, that the pricing being used makes me very happy. If the content might feel a bit thin, the price for it seems entirely right. I’m hoping very much that Boulevard of Bonfire delivers on its potential, but it’s going to need more than a reveal to win me over.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Honestly, it was kind of an underwhelming reveal.

Yes, I know they did a great job getting everyone all hyped up and had a lot of fun announcing it, and I won’t deny that ArenaNet did a good job with the handling of the announcement itself. Lots better than last time. And I’m truly happy for everyone who was giggling in glee, and I have no huge motivation to rain on their parade.

But. Since Bree asked, I have to admit that I was hoping that this expansion would be a siren’s call luring me back, and instead it was a big pile of “meh.” Guy with big spiky helmet, lots of desert zones, and people flipping out over mounts as if that’s not a thing that’s in every other MMO since the dawn of time. I guess if you deprive Guild Wars 2 players of a basic feature long enough, they’ll be crying tears of joy when you finally deign to give it to them. Is that a little mean? Felt a little mean. Sorry.

I’m just not seeing the attraction here. Once you get over the internet’s cries of ecstasy and look at the feature list here, it feels like the bare minimum to be called an expansion without tossing in anything incredibly fun or revolutionary. A new class, race, or personal housing might have gotten my attention and fast, but… nope.

I have no doubt that there will be a lot of great art, plenty of content, and enough to keep players busy and happy, and that is very good. And I applaud the studio for creating a price point that’s much more competitive than the rest of the genre. For me, the lack of any attention-getter and the overall aesthetic and setting made me pretty indifferent to the whole deal. Pity.

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I’ll begin by totally admitting that PoF is far more of a content-based expansion that a feature-based expansion, which doesn’t always have the same flashy appeal when it comes to getting players on board early. My initial thought was that it is rather close to the expansion drop to start the (official) hype train, but when I look at what the expansion offers, I can see that it won’t take us as long to get our heads around as HoT did. More of the same, however, isn’t a negative to me, and the new zones are already noticeably more open than some of the more compact, verticality-centric HoT maps.

The format of this expansion makes business sense to me too: After the backlash received when HoT so greatly departed from what made GW2 unique, I can see why the studio would prefer to enhance the features we have instead of building new ones that could potentially rock the boat further. Let’s be real; this expansion being feature-light and content-rich is not the shocker of the century, and we were promised that masteries and elite specialisations wouldn’t be a one-expansion deal and that these would be the vehicle of the future expansion of GW2.

Having said that, I do believe that not enhancing this iterative development toolset with a flashy new race or class is a mistake, even if it’s not at all surprising to me.I guess it is a little bit of a moot point on the class front since elite specialisations are the game’s mechanics for diversifying play styles at this point, but I can see no such argument against working on new races, aside from the obvious demands of the task in terms of creating a new personal story arc and getting perhaps more limited NPC models to play well as a character model.

In terms of UK pricing at least, the expansion is actually very affordable and I think the price plans are very clever. It certainly isn’t the sizable financial risk that HoT was, and players won’t feel as though they are being conned into buying the base game for a second time with this price point. I know that so many players are understandably cautious about sinking in any money pre-launch after HoT, however, which is another reason why I think ArenaNet was comfortable with such a short pre-expansion hype window. The diehards have time to make their purchases and the cynics will have the real-play evidence they need to decide to buy very soon, so it’s a more clever move than I initially thought.

Overall, what features we’ve seen feel far more fitting than I had initially anticipated from the early spoilers. The mounts aren’t the sort of bread-and-butter travel vehicle I was half expecting and the elite specs seem to be much more thematically relevant than the first batch. I’m delighted to get my hands on this so soon… the dedication to regular content drops is not letting up and the trust that this adherence to a promise is building is definitely felt in the community.

Honestly, PoF looks so beautifully and thoughtfully put together, but I need to get hands-on to really know how well this all fits, so I can’t wait for next weekend. The story opening is just as expected: One renegade god turning against the world is a nice story hook for a new beginning, I say, providing they keep up the threat level and don’t allow us to steamroll all over him before the base expansion story is through.

Your turn!

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

211 Comments on "Massively Overthinking: Gathering our thoughts on Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
Malcolm Swoboda

I just have too many games. Focusing on Secret World Legends (Transylvania story), trying to do semi-regular play of MEA (main SP NG+, MP Silver grind), and I really want to do Path of Exile for real this time. Its been so long since playing GW2 at all regularly, and its at best just below the list I just gave. But I do like its jist more than anything post-launch I’ve seen before.

Reader
Bryan Dixon

This is a little off topic but I started back playing a couple of weeks ago. I’m around level 45-50. I’m on Jade Quarry I think is the server. Anyone have any suggestions on a laid back guild to join?

Reader
Terren Bruce

I do want to disagree somewhat with one of the point’s that Elliot made where he said that GW2 seems like a game “wildly piovting from one point to another”. I can see where he gets that view, and he’s not totally wrong about it either. The base game was far too easy in the open world, boredom was a real danger. And HoT’s was far too hard for some casual players in reaction to that and raids were certainly not meant for a lot of GW2’s more casual audience.

On the other hand GW2 isn’t a game that introduces major features only to throw them away later like say WoW’s garrisons or artifacts. The systems introduced in HoT’s are exactly the “foundation” that ANet claimed. And that is why PoF can be more feature light and content heavy. And the difficulty I was talking about above has been refined with LW3 (and I assume PoF) so that it’s a more moderate mix of both vanilla relaxation and soloability and HoT’s mechanics and engagement.

That’s not really “swinging wildly” that’s taking these core features they had and evolving them. Refining them.

That’s what PoF really seems to be about. Taking the foundations laid for casual players in vanilla, and the foundations laid for harder content and long term goals in HoT’s, and refining them so they work together.

GW2 isn’t a game that is confused about what it is. It’s a game that has found itself. And it’s taken a very meandering path to get there but get there it has. GW2 is a much better game now than it was if it had just strictly followed one of the above philosophies.

At least that is the impression I got. We won’t know for sure till PoF launches.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Yeah I’ll disagree on Elliot’s commenting on the pivoting from one direction to another. If he were talking about SWTOR, then I would strongly agree because SWTOR has often felt that way to me.

I do feel that ArenaNet has done some strong system/mechanics tweaks at times, which might feel to be pivots of game design but I tend to not see that as so. Sometimes I feel, mind you it’s just how I feel, that ArenaNet tries to be different simply to be different from other mmos without having a good reason to “be” different from whatever aspect of mechanics that they’re tweaking.

Whether some tweaks/changes are a good thing, we won’t know until some time down the line. Even then such things tend to be opinion based though often you can get a majority agreement when something wasn’t good or was.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

I read almost everything on MassivelyOp, as I did as well on old Massively and have for many years. There is at times too much hostility from some posters but honestly no, I don’t think that there is coming from the staff of MassivelyOp.

Is there snark, criticisms and glib humor from the writers at times? Yup, and I feel it’s acceptable as it is from posters. I’m critical, glib and snarky with some of my favorite mmorpgs, because no mmorpg is perfect. I will and often do criticize my favorite mmorpgs for things that I don’t like that they do and why.

As to this particular article not being the best place to discuss the things we like and didn’t like about GW2, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. I feel it’s an apt location to talk about the pros and cons of GW2.

After all we’re speculating on the future of GW2 and how the new expansion will affect GW2. What it brings to the table, good or bad. What you seem to want to have here if I’m reading you correctly is a rah-rah thread.

I feel such posts are boring and not worth their bandwidth, they bring nothing to the table, fluffy mindless candy and do a disservice to the mmo developer and the players.

That’s my take on being overly sensitive to critical dialog threads and I’m good with you not sharing my opinion even if I do feel that you are shorting yourself.

I also don’t understand why players that don’t want to truly discuss the pros and cons of their shared mmorpg aren’t just playing instead.

Edit: Odd, how did this get posted way up at the top when I was replying to someone. Is this what you meant by the clean up Bree?

LittleBigMoose
Reader
LittleBigMoose

Hah my comfort food that I can return to again and again no matter how far I stray playing different games…I always return home to GW2. And I’m ready to return to Elona and the Crystal Desert… and, yes, there be mounts (though not in the traditional sense.) A nice surprise, much like the underwater swimming for FFXIV’s expansion.

Reader
Dave

I don’t get the hate for the Mounts announcement.

Players aren’t excited we’re getting something most other MMOs already have, we’re excited that we’re getting a different take on the feature…. as in, there are places on the map you will not be able to get to without certain mounts. There is no collection feature to this, all mounts will be granted as part of the story progress.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

I don’t get how more players weren’t sort of up in arms over the lack of them since when they looked around they’d see npc mounts. It was always immersion breaking to me.

Reader
Morbid Eel

It is missing at least one major feature that I want: A skip button for all the dialogs.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Makhiel

As long as I enjoy playing GW2 buying an expansion is a no-brainer.

I don’t quite get the argument that other games have had mounts for quite a while. It’s not like people have this unsatisfiable urge to ride a digital mount, is it? Sure, if I really want to I can ride my horse across the plains of Rohan, fly a gryphon over whatever WoW allows you to fly gryphons over but those games don’t have one thing – Tyria. (My only concern is what they’re going to do with mounts in cities, especially around bankers and such)

Reader
Castagere Shaikura

This will be a tough sell for many ex gw2 players. Most of those players played the game because they promised it would be different from other mmo’s. For me i got my Ranger to max lvl and got bored playing. The Druid spec.i thought was really stupid for a Ranger. Played it for a week and never went back. Tried the other classes and didn’t like any of them. Hot is a big issue for many players. And to the fanboys posting here, it wasn’t that it was difficult to play. The zone was flat out one of the worse zones ever made. It was just annoying as hell. So if the majority of your players feel this way then you screwed up. So this preview play coming up while good still doesn’t show much. We get to preview one zone where there are 5 new zones. The smart move is to not get caught up in the hype and wait to see what players think after its been out a month. That’s what i will do.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tobasco da Gama

Yeah. The time for “more of the same” was right before HoT. That ship sailed.

Goettel
Reader
Goettel

Having skipped the early days of HoT I recently got in and I’m loving it. What strikes me is how opinions are all over the place, with people criticizing the very features I love most. Maybe it’s the joy of rediscovering world events and the large numbers of players doing them, which makes the world feel more alive than pretty much any other MMO, on top of the combat which I love, but in any case I’m having a blast (especially on my fresh Elementalist).

I’m fine with the mastery system, and the convoluted maps make them feel mysterious and fun to explore. Gliders are great too. The difficulty of a lot of the events is just icing on the cake. I might be a filthy casual these days, but I don’t enjoy facerolling. After the great time I had in Legion and Wildstar (which I still love, even if there’s few who seem to agree), playing HoT feels like a personal MMO renaissance. So PoF has to do little more than continue the great ride I’m currently on and I’ll be more than happy, and I’ve seen nothing to make me think it won’t deliver. Pre-ordered.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
thalendor

“I’m thrilled to see an end to the cramped and twisty HoT zone style.”

Honestly, that right there is enough to at least get me to take a look at the game during the upcoming preview weekend. Vanilla GW2 was never the game that could hook me for long periods of time, but it was at least the game that could bring me back to play again every several months or so; if PoF can bring it back to being that game, I’ll consider that a win. Now, if only they would add an interface editor ala Guild Wars 1 so I could move UI elements to where I want them…

Reader
draugris

I am not hyped at all. For PvE fans, the only thing you get is five new zones plus a new storyline. No new fractals, no new raids or in other words no group content at all. PvP fans get nothing, no spvp updates and no wvw updates.

The specializations will be a nightmare of their own. Since the same guys that were responsible for HoT are responsible for PoF expect the power creep to be as ridiculous as it was with the previous expansion, there will be zero balance and basically the same stupid fotm meta that we had since HoT. Of course in PvE this won´t matter that much but in PvP it will, a lot.

And last but not least, mounts, yeah, how unique…. I really had to laugh how they announced something that is basically standard in other mmo´s as a “feature” of an expansion.

Long story short, i will not make the same mistake again and preorder. If the expansion turns out to be somehow ok, the specializations will offer diversity and not “need to have” i might be in after release.

Reader
Terren Bruce

It’s a $30 expansion. For that $30 it’s doing a lot. Those “five” zones are equal to 10 zones in size. The mounts are a huge addition, sure other games have them, but so what? The abilities the mounts have make them different than any other MMO and make them part of the game play and how you get them makes them part of the story. That’s a lot cooler than just buying a speed boost from a vendor like in most other MMO’s.

And just because other games have something doesn’t mean anything. Blizzard has been ripping off GW2 for years now and ESO only just added small scale PvP. No one complains about those games adding “features every MMO has”.

To expect a $30 expansion to give you 10 zones worth of content, a new class/race, a raid, and a set of fractal dungeons, plus WvW and PvP stuff is expecting more from GW2 than we expect of other MMO’s which is unfair.

SPvP is already supported more than any other small scale PvP in the genre and just had a major update last month. WvW is getting the territory system and gliding (which will probably also be used for mounts) so in that way PoF could very well be a major change for WvW. And given what we know of the raids team, the next raid will probably be out before the winter holiday. We also just got a fractal dungeon with a challenge mode.

But GW2’s focus isn’t any of those things. They’re doing really great in giving support to all game modes which they didn’t do before HoT’s. But the open world has always been and always will be GW2’s primary focus. That is what sets it apart from other theme park MMO’s.

Reader
Sur Couf

I tend to agree. As long we can solo most of the areas (I am PVE, never PVP) mounts is a plus, at least visually. I like GW2 because no subscription and different from others MMO. During big battle it is hard to understand what is going on bu it is still fun.

Reader
draugris

Did i say something about the price ? I don´t think so. I don´t care if the expansion costs 30$ or 50$, it´s simply not enough for all the game modes GW2 has for an expansion. I did not say something about 10 zones, a new class etc. please do not put words in my mouth..

I expected for an expansion at least something group content wise and something pvp wise. That they will sometimes somehow add something there later means nothing in regards to the expansion, they could have done this with or without it. Why do you compare content we got before or that we might get after the expansion with the conent that comes with the expansion ? That makes zero sense.

GW2 is not focused on SPvP and WvW ? I don´t know how long you play GW2 but they started with a great focus on ESports, balancing decisions were made more in regard to SPvP than PvE. WvW was hyped with massive siege battles. GW2 was always focused around all three game modes but the true story is that in SPvP they failed horribly by delivering features needed for E-Sports too late, custom arenas, observer modes etc. And in WvW they constantly don´t fix the problems that game mode has, world population, their broken glicko system, technical problems like skill delay, map design, incentivizing small scale pvp etc. etc etc., instead we get gliding in wvw, yeah awesome.

Reader
Terren Bruce

That’s fair you didn’t mention the price. I’m just saying if you’re comparing the content in the expansion then you have to compare it to MMO expansions of a similar price point.

I”m not saying PvP and WvW isn’t important to ANet. I’m saying it’s not the primary focus. And if you compare the amount of content the three different game modes got at launch, and all the updates since then, that is clearly the case whatever you may have personally read into the pre-launch hype.

They tried to do something for everybody with HoT’s and while I felt I got my $50 worth out of it, the community clearly felt it was too scattered in it’s approach. So yes the new expansion is focused on the primary focus of GW2, the open world and story.

You will certainly get a second raid this year. You were never going to get more than 2 raids this year so does it really matter that it releases on the exact day of the expansion? I too would have loved to see a set of fractal dungeons released all at once. And maybe they could have done that. But not the way they have their teams set up now where we get no content lull before or after the expansion. Notice how in the first half of 2016 most of the community thought there was a content lull even though there wasn’t? That’s because the content added was raids. GW2 is a game that has a constant stream of open world additions and new story additions and then has single teams dedicated to the other modes which get releases as those teams finish something.

That is what GW2 is now and in some ways what it has always been, except the other modes got even less attention during LW1 and LW2. At least now each mode has a dedicated team and Raids, Fractals, SPvP, and WvW are getting slow but steady releases.

kalamari_
Reader
kalamari_

new raids/fractals and pvp/wvw updates will come mostly with living story season 4 updates. and these will start to come 2-3 months after release. (speculation atm is the first update comes end november and maybe with a new raid wing) all these updates are part of PoF.

about mounts: at least they have unique skills and abilities/masteries tied to them so they are not just “running faster” tools, like in every other mmo.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

I love GW2’s aesthethic. The zones, characters, mounts… so pretty. But as soon as I watch any video with combat, it makes me not want to play again. Same for my memories of dialogue and story, though those are memories from shortly after launch.

So I don’t know. I might return for the prettyness and novelty, or I might stay away because in the end, I strongly dislike many core aspects of GW2.

Reader
Terren Bruce

The story did vastly improve with Season 2 and onward. Season 3 was especially good if you like a high adventure with a touch of whimsy style of story.

It has been five years since you played. A LOT has changed in that time. I’m not saying you’ll love it, everyone is different. But I’d suggest at least trying the free demo next weekend. Then you can play the latest story and see if it’s more to your taste.

I’m not sure which part of GW2’s combat turned you off. But there has been changes there as well. For example mobs since HoT’s have been more engaging, with more mechanics to them even in open world zones and even more so in fractal dungeons and raiding. Raiding also requires tanking and healing if you like the trinity. And as of PoF we’ll have had a new class addition and 18 elite specializations adding a ton of new abilities to the game.

Reader
Michael18

Did they say anything about how they intend to continue with raids and dungeons during the Path of Fire expansion cycle? Will there even be any new raids?

kalamari_
Reader
kalamari_

new raids/fractals and pvp/wvw updates will come mostly with living story season 4 updates. and these will start to come 2-3 months after release. (speculation atm is the first update comes end november and maybe with a new raid wing) all these updates are part of PoF.

dungeons are completely dead. they said that numerous times now.

Reader
Michael18

bummer, I’d be only interested in dungeons, not raids. but if I return to the game, dungeons/raids wouldn’t be my main motivation, anyway, so it doesn’t make a huge difference for me personally.

Thanks for the info!

Reader
Terren Bruce

Fractal dungeons have an entire team dedicated to them and are much better than they were pre-HoT’s. In fact we got a new fractal dungeon last patch and it even had a challenge mode (as did the one added before that). You can get ascended weapons and armor through Fractals and even the Mistlock Observatory lobby has been reworked to be more useful (including a training golem).

5 man instanced content is DEFINITELY being supported. It’s just called fractal dungeons now.

Reader
Christofer Mogrey

while dungeons are dead is kinda true its also half that. fractals are working as dungeons now. the old dungeons will not get any more love only that if you love running them you can earn somewhere around 5gold doing 5 runs?

don’t remember cause i’m not doing those runs. just wanted to clarify that fractals is the main 5-man content as dungeons were used to be.

kalamari_
Reader
kalamari_

ofc normal ppl pug fractals. I do it daily on t4 with one and on t2 with another account. plenty of ppl on the lfg.

edit: read the comments on reddit about your article and you will see what I mean.

Reader
Terren Bruce

Tier 1 fractals are reallllly easy though Bree. And T2 fractals aren’t that bad either. Any fresh 80 could do the T1 at the very least. Get some agony resistance on your gear and you’ll be doing T2 pretty easily.

Reader
McGuffn

I think they probably do fill the same role as a form of content. They certainly don’t measure up in terms of lore and things like that. That said I know people that loved dungeons and don’t like fractals.

The biggest problem is that they’re turning fractals into raid-lite experiences with the last two fractals they’ve released and so people that want to do group content but don’t want punishing and overly complicated mechanics can’t or won’t want to do some fractals at the very least. This, compounded with the daily system, means they don’t have a complete experience dedicated to them.

Reader
Terren Bruce

One could just do T3 and below fractals though. The last tier is supposed to be hard.

Reader
Christofer Mogrey

mmm not really that hard :P but yeah its suppose to be harder to keep a bit of challenge in 5-man content.

Reader
Christofer Mogrey

its not hard to pug tho. all it takes is to actually know how to play your class for t4. tho its true that before i did the lvl 100 one i was hearing here and there how difficult was (didn’t find it difficult myself cause as i said i was lucky to pug with people who knew) so you may be right and just me being lucky ending up with good players.

ps. to clarify most of my experience may not be accurate anymore. i mainly play wvw and just did fractals for the backpiece a while back ago. things may change and may not be puggable anymore as they used to be.

Reader
Terren Bruce

Yeah they are. Fractals come in several different difficulty levels and you can choose whichever difficulty you are in the mood for or geared for.

People pug fractals all the time. I’m not sure where your opinion came from. Maybe they don’t pug the challenge mode in the two new fractals, that I can’t speak too. But they are a challenge mode so they’re supposed to be tough.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

I dont pug fractals, but then, I consider even the regular dungeons way too punishingly hard. And I say that as someone who does raid content someties on ff14, but at least on 14 theres clearly defined class roles instead of the weird mutant hybrid gw2 has

cryptshadow
Reader
cryptshadow

I wonder if they will just basically have the main villian kill able right from the beginning again. Thats something i always thought arenanet did wrong imo you start the expansion and a week or 2 later you kill the boss quite easily (cough zaithan cough) I think it would help them alot more if they progressed us at a good pace to boss( few months or so) while we destroy their champions ( hopefully in large open world events). Because after you beat the boss for me imo it kinda feels empty having to wait for some badly written LS ( this is just my view always thought the story in game is terribly written and sounds alot better when someone like wooden potatoes tells the tale rather than playing it)

Reader
Terren Bruce

This expansion seems to have three villians: Balthazaar, Kralkatorrik, and Palawa Joko so I’m guessing the chances of at least one of them surviving is probably quite high.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Kinda expansion you would expect from GW2. More zones, more storylines, more PoI unlocks to grind. I dont know why mounts still werent in game years later, but at least they decided to add them now.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

At first glance I feel like I might get along with this expansion more than I did with HoT. Then again I didn’t think I would have any issues with HoT until I actually got to play it and that experience turned me away from GW2 for well over a year so who knows.

So I think it is a great move by ArenaNet to offer the preview weekends that are open to everyone. and I think a lot of my decision making regarding what I will do will be made after I have got my hands on experience.

At the moment I wouldn’t say I am excited exactly but I am open to the idea of being hyped for the expansion I am just not quite there yet. The news of the expansion did motivate me enough to go back into GW2 to continue the season three content that I had put aside a while back in favour of other games. I had fun too so that is a bonus.

As an aside and my mind doing weird things pre- coffee GW2 HoT PoF next expansion acronym has to be EtS. That way ArenaNet can sell GW2 HoT PoF EtS a tasty snack for all the family :p

Reader
Terren Bruce

I hope you enjoy the preview weekend and I’m glad you’re giving GW2 another shot and enjoying yourself playing through LW3!

I can see why you’re not sold yet, but all indications are ANet has learned from HoT’s if you go by the zone design of LW3 and what they talked about during the PoF reveal. When they talk about “bringing exploration and discovery back to the forefront of GW2” I think they’re talking to all the people who didn’t like the group oriented focus of HoT’s zones.

Reader
TomTurtle

I saw you won one of Bog’s giveaways by the way. Congrats! (I was in Peachy’s chat)

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

Hehe yeah that was a nice surprise and really made up for what had been a bit of a rubbish day. I got a nice skin for my ranger bow, well nice if you are into tentacles and on that subject I make no comment but I am using it :p

gw125.jpg
Reader
Terren Bruce

Looking fancy! Creepy but fancy! ;)

Reader
MeltWithYou

I have a feeling this expac is going to be the expac HOT should have been. The new zones look like the have a bit of the vanilla zone charm with a little bit of the latter game mechanics…i didnt see any ley line rollercoasters…thats good…very good

If this expac disappoints ill probably hang up GW2, but so far, it looks pretty good.

Reader
Christofer Mogrey

oh hot. so many mistakes in one place. the ideas weren’t bad but hot wasn’t worked properly. it was half finished and took them half some months to fix it. from the announcement it seems they learn a lesson from hot but let’s see the beta /test to judge more properly.

Reader
Utakata

I am finding my pigtails are intrigued by this expansion.

Reader
Utakata

Edit/Update 2: I guess that was edited for me. :(

Reader
TomTurtle

Are you giving the demos a try? Awful consumer friendly for ArenaNet to do that for new and old players alike, even if they will likely be tailored to show off what they want you to see. Still, they’ll give some information and a feel of what the expansion is like.

Reader
Utakata

Probably not. I am interested what others’ more informed perspectives on this when they try it. Ultimately though, I want to try it upon release if said pigtails are still intrigued. :)

Reader
Terren Bruce

I don’t know what you like in an MMO so I have no idea if PoF is for you, but I DO know asura are adorable and you can dye their hair pink so there’s that. ;)

You can even dye your mount pink if you want to (because you can dye your mount)!

Reader
Utakata

O.O !!!

Reader
life_isnt_just_dank_memes

I quit when HoT came out. The elite specs did nothing for me, the guild hall crafting was expensive and arbitrary, arenanet over sold what they had and had to go back on quite a few things for quite a long time.

I am really excited for this but I am tempering that until I get to try the trial. If it is good I will be SO STOKED. The GW franchise is one of my favorite franchises ever. I really hope this one is more suited to my tastes because HoT was exactly everything I didnt want.

Reader
Terren Bruce

They did lower the price of crafting decorations, they’re still expensive but they’re MUCH better than they were during HoT’s launch. They’ve also added new decorations and added different size deletion tools, including a “delete a single item” tool. Plus monuments which you can add a text box to. And the scribing only mats finally have their own place in the material storage bank.

Reader
TomTurtle

For players like you who felt burned by HoT or disliked certain elements of it, I would say even the demos would probably not be enough to get an accurate impression of what PoF will be. The two demos give a small taste of content and the elite specializations respectively.

I feel that ArenaNet may have learned enough lessons from HoT to not repeat them, but what those lessons are may not line up with what you think they should have learned.

It’s the standard recommendation of not pre-ordering/pre-purchasing. What you get for buying ahead of time is not that significant thankfully.

atatahir
Reader
atatahir

It does not help from a marketing perspective that Arenanet are giving away so many features outside of expansion for free.

They could have held off new Fractal for expansion but they did not.

They could have held of the recent big WvW and PvP update for expansion, but they did not. The PvP update specifically was what one would expect from an MMO expansion (The first 2×2 Deathmath Arena, new Free for all Arena, Automated tournaments, new Lobby map, and several activities in Lobby).

They are not including the PvP and WvW Legendary armor in expansion and giving it free. They are only requiring HOT for WvW gliding and not requiring the new expansion for it.

Elite specialization in GW2 are now pretty much what classes are in other MMO’s. It is almost like adding 9 new classes for another MMO”s. Hell Elementalist specialization alone is adding like 40 new skills.

The living story season 4 is also supposed to start just 3 months after the expansion release. In fact given their track record from last year, I would not be surprised it comes just 2 months after the expansion.

The expansion seem to have a lot of diverse content from the small demo videos I have seen, mounted race with players, a cooking mini game, bounty hunting, and it looks like adventures are returning too. All of this was in a small part of the demo zone.

Reader
McGuffn

“The expansion seem to have a lot of diverse content from the small demo videos I have seen, mounted race with players, a cooking mini game, bounty hunting, and it looks like adventures are returning too. All of this was in a small part of the demo zone.”

All of this sounds horrifying. These are not positive features. These are demerits.

Reader
Terren Bruce

I have to disagree with you. Mount racing sounds great, and bounty hunting looks like it allows us to start boss fights on OUR schedules, a much requested feature. I don’t know what the cooking mini-game is so I can’t comment on that. But having something that adds some fun and interactivity to what seems to be the main hub city of the expansion is probably a good thing.

Reader
McGuffn

Yeah, but it seems like fluff. And does anyone actually like Adventures? Nobody really does them. At least some of them are exploitable so they don’t really serve their purpose, and not many people post their runs on youtube for bragging rights except as an exploit. And pretty much all the videos people care about are of the “I figured out how to do this awful thing so you don’t have to” tutorial variety.

Reader
Terren Bruce

Yeah I’m torn about adventures. Some of them I found really fun but some really were annoying. I could take or leave them. But mount racing just honestly seems like fun. Though of course I can’t say for sure as I haven’t played them yet. But the difference between racing and adventures is that you are racing other players so that could make it a lot more interesting. We’ll see!

As for the cooking mini-game, I really like the idea of something to do in the cities. It just makes them seem more like cities. It could totally suck but maybe it will be awesome. I’m reserving judgement there.

Reader
McGuffn

i don’t have a problem with Eliot, but Andrew saying we elected someone mayor guts me for some reason. She’s on the city [captain’s] council!

As to saving features for expansions, tonight they announced Gliding in WvW and Legendary armor for both WVW and PvP Heart of Thorns players.

Reader
Bryan Turner

((Deleted by mod, pure ad hom.))

atatahir
Reader
atatahir

Nah, it is just difficult to understand what is happening in a game without playing it, and it does not help that the writer that did played GW2, Bree, did not liked HOT.

With Bree not liking the expansion the website kind of lost a balanced viewpoint on GW2.

You keep hearing on this website how bad the HOT zones were when I (and many other) think they are the best zones I have seen in any MMORPG.

You keep hearing on this website how grindy Elite specializations are when they take me only take about 1 hour for a brand new character.

HOT was not bad it was polarizing, some loved it some hated it, there was very little middle ground. Unfortunately this website mostly falls on hated line, kind of like GW2 guru at launch.

kalamari_
Reader
kalamari_

((Deleted, off-topic, ad hom))

Goettel
Reader
Goettel

GW2 seems to have never left that short-list of games that get spat on by many, no matter what it does, maybe because of its early day aspirations as a WoW killer. Between those folk and the bitterness of many who claim to prefer GW over GW2 (personally, I couldn’t stand GW) there does seem to be a whiff of snarkiness clinging to it. But when I log in, all I see is hordes of players having a great time, whether they’re alting or tackling endgame. But maybe I’m bamboozled by events, which often turn into mini-raids with a level of comm-less cooperation which I haven’t seen in any other MMO.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Geottel, this is a website dedicated to mmos, the writers, the posters etc all love to discuss what we like and what we don’t like about various mmos.

What I don’t understand s why anytime someone writes out an opinion that is critical on one mmo or another that there are always those who freak out and say things like you said above.

“short-list of games that get spat on by many”. -Goettel

What comes across to me and I could be wrong, is that we’re only allowed to discuss the things we feel are positive about any mmo. That really sucks ass if true.

We should always want to discuss the good and the bad and debate the whys of why we feel that they’re good or bad things. Discussing the bad is just as important as the good. It’s not shitting on an mmo to talk about what we consider misses and why.

That’s the key right there btw, the “whys”. For example if you tell me you love GW2 without articulating why, then I’ll tend to dismiss you. Just as I’d dismiss you if you refuse to articulate why you don’t like GW2.

Goettel
Reader
Goettel

Well, I’d find it hard to believe that you really don’t feel there’s just a tad too much hostility concerning certain MMOs if you’ve been reading Massively for any length of time. Criticism is cool, and I love to shoot the shit on any subject myself. Snarks aren’t criticisms, but excuse me if I’m imagining things. I’ve snarked (can I verb that?) at many MMOs myself, and I could list maybe twenty things I really don’t like about GW2, but the topic is a new expansion which few of us have seen yet, which hardly seems the best place to criticize what came before. But hey it’s the internet, so let it out, buddy.

Reader
Sally Bowls

HOT was not bad

Everyone can have their own artistic opinions, but as a product from a public company one can clearly say that HoT was not good; I can’t think stockholder analysts, stockholders or senior executives consider HoT a success. In the first earnings call, the NCSoft executives described HoT’s performance as disappointing and they would be working on a new expansion. This was followed by iirc 3? 4? consecutive quarters where GW2 has its lowest revenue in the history of the game. Easy graders can go with “not good” but I don’t think “bad” is much of an exaggeration for the expansion.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

Also, just because a product wasnt objectively bad doesnt mean it was everyones cup of tea. I can appreciate that Dark Souls 3 or the Touhou series are good games. Doesnt mean I have any interest in playing them.

atatahir
Reader
atatahir

NCSoft executives never said HoT’s performance was disappointing, it was a caller who said that.
NCSoft executives said that free to play conversion to HOT was lower than expected.

Even if HOT was a hit it would still have caused low revenue due to GW2’s monitization model. Most player already have all account bound upgrades maxed out and already have the look they need and do not have much to buy from GEM store.

Before HOT I was buying something every few months from Gem store, but after HOT I have not spend anything outside of a glider skin because there just is no need with maxed out account upgrades.

Reader
Sally Bowls

NCSoft executives said it was weaker than expected. I don’t see how a product selling less than you expected could not be considered disappointing.

They said the gem sales were OK, the problem was the number of people buying HoT was less than expected/hoped. A number of people like HoT, but it was not a financial success.

The English translation of what the NCSoft executive said was:

GW2
“To talk about the Guild Wars 2 performance, it is weaker than what we have expected.” According to Ncsoft the in the conversion from play for free to the paid expansion. This conversion rate is not as high as expected/hoped by NCsoft. The amount of gem sales and item sales versus active players is ok. “ but it is more the issue of the conversion to the paid expansion pack that we have not seen the level (of sales) we have hoped”
To address the issue there are two strategies, that Ncsoft is currently trying to look at:
First strategy is to induce more conversions. They try to identify what is hindering the people from converting over. They try to address this with events or maybe ingame systems.
The second strategy is a look at the expansion. What was there at launch and what were the expectations of the users? They identified a gap there. They will review the content updates and their frequency.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

see, for me. I play MMOs for talking with guildies while largely solo doing my own thing until its tuime for group content. Guild wars has never satisfied that for me ever because of its reliance on how much you have to know your build to survive at all, and HoT took that to 11.

kalamari_
Reader
kalamari_

“because of its reliance on how much you have to know your build to survive at all,”

this is a joke, right? you really want to tell us that to know your build is too much for you? andtherefore HoT was “bad”, because you had to adjust yourself to it?

Reader
Nathan Aldana

Hint: most other MMos dont make surviving basic story quests reliant on knowing how to juggle multiple weapons and create blast finishers and fields and throwing 5 debuffs on every mob in a frantic dance

Reader
Terren Bruce

I’m really curious which story instance gave you that opinion. Certainly the player is forced to engage more than when playing the story in SWTOR for example, but generally the boss fights in GW2’s missions are more about figuring out the “puzzle” the boss represents rather than having to play your character to their best potential.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

thats not to say i dont appreciate how thats q unique feature of GW2, but when I just wanna say, see the season 2 story before I take a character into herat of thorns, it can get kind of annoying how even the opening quests of season 2 require I know my engineer inside and out to survive some fights

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Bhima Jenkins

Ahh yes, I do remember that quest. I’m decent enough at the game so it wasn’t a problem for me, but a few of my friends struggled on this hard. I basically had to log into their game and do it for them because, for some ridiculous reason, Anet decided to make these things solo instances in their multi-player game.

Reader
Terren Bruce

You can enter story instances as a group. They make fun duo content.

Reader
McGuffn

At least some of them scale though. It isn’t the beginning of season 2, but I still remember that awful centaur boss in the caithe/faolain plot. He was a nightmare if you wanted the achievements.

Reader
Terren Bruce

That’s true, achievement hunting is a whole different can of worms sometimes. But just getting through the story itself isn’t that hard. And he mentioned “getting through basic story quests” so I assumed he just meant completing them.

Reader
Terren Bruce

That really shouldn’t be necessary. The Shadow of the Dragon is a little tough both times he shows up but other than that LW2 shouldn’t be too hard.

Are you using all zerker gear? That would make you a glass cannon a bit. You could craft marauder gear if you have HoT’s for more vitality while still doing pretty decent damage. Or if that’s a bit pricey in gold you could maybe get some toughness instead.

I really enjoy having marauder armor and weapons and zerker trinkets and back piece. I highly recommend that setup for the open world and story instances.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

I was using the base gear you get upon level boosting to 80 as I wanted to do the season 2 content before I do heart of thorns..but then the golem in the very first mission reminded me just how soulcrushingly difficult the game can be when you havent tinkered around for days on a build and gearset in this game and just dive in

Reader
Terren Bruce

I’m super excited. It’s exactly what the current player base was asking for. A CONTENT focused expansion. These 5 maps equal the 10 maps we got in the HoT’s cycle and that’s HUGE. Also a greater focus on story and lore and having things fit rather than just thrown at us like HoT’s (the elite specs have backgrounds given to you by NPC’s for example, you get the pets during the story, a huge focus on exploration and a sense of discovery).

We had a feature focused expansion last time and it did a lot of important things for the game. We don’t really need that again right now. We have the systems we need. Mounts and elite specs are enough to stir things up. But there ARE other things too. Mount racing events, bounty hunts, and a new guild hall.

And just so Eliot and Justin know, elite specs is basically like having a new class. An elite spec adds more to the game than a job in FFXIV does. When it comes to adding new skills to the game PoF blows Stormblood out of the water. And yes other games may have mounts, but that doesn’t make it any less of a game changer for the community of THIS game, especially since the mounts are more than just a speed boost like in most other MMO’s. GW2 has a ton of features that other games don’t, so what if we were “denied” mounts for years? FFXIV and ESO “denied” their players PvP for years. But that was still considered a big deal when they were added to those games. You didn’t sneer at those games for adding those features so late in the day.

Reader
Bryan Turner

I agree this is exactly what we wanted, I wish Colin had left ArenaNet sooner.

Line
Reader
Line

With a bit of though put into it… well I’m still hyped about the expansion.
Elona is the best part of the Guild Wars franchise, and it’s even larger and more open than before… that has always been the strong point of GW2, can’t see them fucking that up, but you never know.

But I’m a bit worried about the content, despite what Mo says.
New maps, new elite specs, cool and all.
Bounties sound like a great addition, and exactly what I hope to see more of, events started by players, with associated rewards.
And mounts are obviously great, always though that they were much, much better than wasting skills or traits on speed buffs… without even talking about the horribly boring and clunky blazing mushrooms mastery. Overall, it seems that they made masteries a lot more interesting than they were, and not gimmicks.
I’m sure that they will be much more useful than most people expect, too. Not only in Elona, but also in the old world: the springer and its super jump? That’s a huge deal in a 3D MMO, more so combined with gliding. That’s one of those things that’s barely explored in the genre, maybe they could add climbing too, one day…

On the other hand, what about new group content?
Yes I know they add more during the living story, but a few new fractals available at expansion launch would be very welcome.
Especially now that they have challenge modes, that would a big draw for the crowd that likes dungeons. I do find the recent ones a bit too linear for my liking, but they certainly have great mechanics, and they do come in 5 difficulty modes… far more accessible than raids, but also offering a decent challenge with a very functional twist on the trinity system for the more invested (the agony system still sucks though).
And what about guilds, of course? A new guild hall… why not. The problem being that they just suck, and are little more than daily buff machines with a few nodes to harvest. How can they make them more engaging, and have housing that do not suck?
Guild missions have been left to rot for years, could we get some more systems like that? It’s casual group mechanics like this that really help a game feel more alive and keep a group of players around (and also helps to just meet new recruits on the fly).

I hope to learn more before september 22.

Reader
Baldigar Stumblefoot

[Justin] Once you get over the internet’s cries of ecstasy and look at the feature list here, it feels like the bare minimum to be called an expansion without tossing in anything incredibly fun or revolutionary. A new class, race, or personal housing might have gotten my attention and fast, but… nope.

From an external viewpoint, I do understand this critique, but it still is pretty shallow. They are basically adding 9 new classes with the elite specializations, each of which will add a completely new way(s) to play each class. It’s not as flashy as advertising a new class, no, but it is far more significant, especially for people who have already played and feel like whatever class(es) they’ve played as have become stale or they just never really clicked with the combat and play-styles of the classes they have tried. Daredevil in HoT completely changed my appreciation of Thief, which was already my main, and made me absolutely love it so much more; the same thing can be true for each new elite spec they add, and they add 9 at a time.

Also I find it a bit funny that a new class or race is considered incredibly fun or revolutionary, when those are just standard things for most game expansions. Nothing new or fun about that, especially if they aren’t given the time they need (whereas the elite specs presumably will have been given that proper time; doing so with a new race would, unfortunately, be almost impossible based on how many skins, lines of dialogue, animations, etc. each would need (far more than many games that take more simple approaches to armor and character design, have a lack of player character dialogue, etc.)).

And if the idea of a new race and the racial lore tidbits that could come from it do make a big enough deal for you to come back, presumably you’d be engaged just as much by the story being told. That’s to say that if you aren’t impressed/engaged by the story direction of the game, a new race probably wouldn’t really be all that appealing anyway. All that you really get from it is maybe a new city, a few fluff racial skills, new voice actors (old lines will likely be rushed), and a character model, which, albeit, can be enjoyable.

I will agree that personal housing would have been a great addition, though, and could really generate hype, especially for old players. And I do conceed that GW2 in general does and will have a fairly hard time getting new/old players in because there isn’t a ton of stuff here that appeals to people that aren’t engaged in the story or who have a current understanding of combat and what is needed or would be a fun shakeup. No idea why exactly you aren’t all that impressed with GW2, as you generally didn’t say it, but also keep in mind that if you haven’t kept up to date with it, they do push out tons of stuff outside of the realm of expansions, where concerns may be addressed (such as quality of life, if that was one contributing factor). They can’t capitalize on that easily, especially if they release it as it’s ready and not hold it to an expansion, but it is the case.

All that said though, I understand how you can not be super duper impressed by it, but am trying to show you a little bit of how it is still impressive (namely the elite specs, but I’m sure the mounts will be done exceptionallywell), while also making it clear that new races/classes really aren’t an option or needed at this point for the game.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

the problem with elite specs, is you have to level a class to 80 just to see if you actually enjoy the elite spec. And if you dont, well, congratulations on all that effort to a now wasted character if you dont like the regular class.

Thats why I dont label elite specs as new classes. Theyre new classes only in the sense that they give you a new playstyle..at level cap..which isnt as easy to reach as some people claim it is because those people tend to be the ones with years of solid playtime and therefore tons of free levelup tokens available to them

Reader
Baldigar Stumblefoot

You can’t really test it properly due to the lack of mobs/allies to do the testing on, but you can go into the PvP lobby and play around with elite specs to see if you might want it. I do wholeheartedly agree that there should be a build-previewing area where you can have all traits and skill unlocked and be able to face a huge number of different mobs if you want to to see if you like it.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

Right. Shit, I already bought path of fire because Holosmith looks super-fun (and elona was my fave gw1 area), but if it didnt offer the ability to skip right to 80 engineer i’d be hard pressed to mpotivate myself to level an engineer from scratch just because the new elite spec for engi looks fun.

Reader
Terren Bruce

PoF DOES come with a level 80 boost though. :)

Reader
Nathan Aldana

Yeo. and I used it to get an engineer ready for holosmith without the 80 level grind :D

Reader
TomTurtle

Well said. I’ve seen a number of people underestimate the significance of elite specializations. If it isn’t labeled a new class, people quickly dismiss its value.

That’s an unfortunate perception that ArenaNet has to overcome when advertising these expansions.

Reader
Bryan Turner

((Deleted by mod, ad hom.))

Reader
Nathan Aldana

I consider it willful ignorance to pretend levelling someone up 80 levels just to access an elite spec isnt an annoying burden, but fans of games tend to be good at willful ignorance.

Reader
Terren Bruce

PoF comes with a level 80 boost, and if you already have an 80 then you’re going to have a ton of Tomes of Knowledge anyway. Anyone already playing the game generally doesn’t have to level an alt if they don’t want to and those not already playing the game have the level 80 boost option.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

actually. I hae an 80. But I stopped playing so long ago regularly that I have maybe 3 times of knowkledge to my name, and getting more requires logigng in more regularly, which i dont.

Reader
TomTurtle

That’s an unrealistic expectation, especially with how many MMOs are out there these days. They already have Tina who specializes in GW2 content and from reading her opinion here, I can tell she better understands the significance of the elite specialization system.

That said, I wouldn’t doubt if Justin grasps the system enough and instead disagrees on how much elite specializations add to the game in comparison to getting a new profession like what HoT added. That’d be a matter of opinion and taste, which is understandable.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

and sometimes even when the elite class is a new class, it might not be the class you want. My old main when I played a ton was a ranger, and I was always hoping for an endgame viable ranger spec. Well, we got one. And its a fucking healer class, because I definitely rolled a bow-using, pet class to throw heal spells.

Reader
McGuffn

HoT and druid brought some great things to offensive ranger.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

it didnt do much for you if you just wanted to use bows, though,

Reader
McGuffn

Sure it did. Condi got viable for all classes, not just ranger, and while druid didn’t add a third bow for you to use or anything, some of the utilities are great offense or offensive support.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

see, that feeds back into my point of contention with GW though.

getting all that stuff requires grinding up most of druid, and not only that, having a wuide enough knowledge base of GW2’s mechanics to understand how to make a build work. if you;re joe q newbie, or joe q last played years ago and even then, only casually, is going to not know any of that and give up far before they can access a lot of that.

GW2 is a great game once you understand it. but its not very good at explaining itself to people who arent already experts at building a character. Its much like DDO in that regard.

Reader
McGuffn

There’s no doubt that elite spec progression is a little jarring. Mostly because if you actually want to play a new spec out of the box you have to level it up first and that means going without a full third mastery line.

Nowadays though, if you get into a fast moving hero point train you can max out an elite spec in a couple hours, maybe less. The problem is finding a train that’s actually fast moving. most take long breaks in between mastery points waiting for people to catch up.

Other than that, the glyph utilities are a knockback, a 10% damage boost for the party, a stun/stunbreak, and a bleed/debuff. DPS Druid doesn’t fill up the celestial bar quickly enough to worry about the heal version of the utilities for the most part.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

this also implies you wanna do that. I dont personally enjoy that sorta thing at all, and being guildless and solo in the game, I have the slightly longer path of “solo grind it myself”

Reader
TomTurtle

I figured it was disagreement, though I wasn’t totally sure on given how Justin hadn’t really gotten into HoT.

I agree with you, especially with how some of the existing elite specializations hardly changed things up.

I still emphasize that their value lie in between what other MMOs do with new classes and how they make updates to existing classes. Adding in the Revenant is more impactful than an elite specialization, but an elite specialization can be more than only adding skills.

A game like WoW adds in some new skills (while also taking some away) and largely does not make new talent trees aside from the occasional revamp. (I wouldn’t doubt if that’s partially intended to refresh things for players.)

I loved what the classes in GW1 added to the game, but that game also had its issues with how professions and the skill system worked out balance-wise. GW2 was somewhat heading that way with similar problems but ArenaNet shut that down with the elite specialization system.

I honestly think it’s best for now not to add in any new professions, if ever. A lot of their balancing still feels off with what we already have. Plus, I really do feel that when done well, an elite specialization can significantly change a profession’s playstyle, as you mentioned with Druid.

It’s a strange occurrence to be a contented player who sees how valuable the expansion is to me, and then I see others say it isn’t enough. It’s not inconceivable, but I do feel that people make some unfairly dismissive assertions.

Honestly I wish more MMOs would create content-focused expansions instead of shoehorning in features to add to the list, oftentimes to the detriment of content.

Yes it feels like ArenaNet has been playing catch-up after its stumble with HoT, but within the scope of what GW2 is, this expansion sounds solid.

Reader
TomTurtle

It’s impossible to tell if this will have open world content in the same exact style of HoT. People asking what that content will be like will likely not have an answer until after launch. With that in mind, I say wait. Wait to see what form the content takes and then make up your mind about purchasing or not. I highly doubt ArenaNet will spoil the content as they certainly didn’t for HoT and that content turned out to be a big shock for many players at the time.

I’ve noticed a number of players considering coming back if the game isn’t at HoT’s difficulty anymore and instead more like the core game. I’m pretty positive the game will remain at the level of open world difficulty that HoT introduced as even the Living World content that came out after HoT has continued to be more challenging in comparison to the base game. The difficulty has been tuned to the level of power of the elite specialization system. ArenaNet would have to make major changes to the game at this point to revert that and go back to core world difficulty and frankly, that’s just not going to happen.

People need to be realistic about what shape the game will likely be in the expansion. Like what has been mentioned, if you were already playing and greatly enjoying the content, then the expansion will likely please you. If you dropped off due to displeasure of what the game has become, sorry, but I don’t really see that displeasure changing with the expansion.

It looks like the expansion is truly adding mostly more of the same and for players like me, that’s great. I can see why that’s a knock against the game for others, and that’s why I’d rather not see them jump in and be disappointed. It’s still Guild Wars 2 through and through for all that it’s become.

Reader
Terren Bruce

While the LW3 zones are more difficult than the vanilla zones they are far easier than HoT’s zones. I think they strike a nice balance for the most part. For example the new Siren’s Landing is pretty easy, except in the Balthazar area, which gives one harder area that forces group play. Much like Ember Bay’s Mursaat Ruins area.

Reader
Bryan Turner

I can still get the heart done in these areas, granted I play a Necromancer and know my class pretty well now but still.

Reader
TomTurtle

LWS3 has been a nice mix of HoT and core Tyria, but still objectively more difficult than core Tyria. The people yearning for core Tyria difficulty should not expect that in the expansion and need to understand that.

I’m more than fine with the increased difficulty as I find myself more engaged in HoT and LWS3 content than the core content. But it’s yet to be seen what the expansion open world maps will be like. I imagine it’ll be a blend and not quite as polarizing as the original HoT maps were. That’d be the best in my opinion as HoT maps were similarly designed without much variation. Too much focus on large meta events without giving enough breathing room for much else.

Large meta events still have their place, and I’m sure we’ll see their return in PoF, but I certainly don’t want them to be as overbearing as they were in HoT.

Reader
Terren Bruce

Agreed. I always thought Verdant Brink or Auric Basin should have been the final zone, and there should have been earlier zones that built up to it. Not everyone spent months farming Silverwastes and becoming hardened by playing against Mordrem.

Xijit
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

I barely glanced at it, since I don’t play anymore, but one thing that jumps out at me is how all the “eliete” classes seem to be constricted to one weapon type …. WTF?

you can’t get much farther from the core concept behind Guild Wars and it’s multi class / multi weapon basic concept.

Reader
TomTurtle

Elite specializations unlock a weapon type as long as that elite specialization is equipped, but they do not restrict you from using the core weapon types you already had access to. However, you cannot have access to the weapon types of two different elite specializations at the same time since only one elite specialization can be equipped at a time.

Reader
Baldigar Stumblefoot

They can use any weapons that the base class can use, plus the weapon that is unlocked exclusively for the elite specialization that they choose. So you still have a ton of choice. That said, the elite spec may or may not be built fairly heavily around the weapon it does unlock, so it may be better to use it.

But yes, the weapon/skill system is far different from GW at this point, that’s just something that you’ll have to accept or not.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Rees Racer

OMG…I was actually a beta-tester and pre-purchaser 5 years ago. I played for a while, and was reading this column to see if I might invest in this expansion. As someone said above, if ArenaNet wanted to bring back old players, or attract new ones…this was not the conversation that’s gonna do it. Mind you, I’ve played EVE for a dozen years, and the above exchange gave me a headache. Cheers, and have fun…the lot of you! :)

mosselyn
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
mosselyn

I’m quite looking forward to the expansion, but I can’t say I’m hyped, per se. I was certainly more excited for HoT. Then again, I’ve now been playing for 5 years, so it’s not entirely surprising.

I think people make too much of whether or not it will bring people into the game. It’s important for the game to continue to have an influx of new players, of course. However, my perception of what expansions do for most older games is bring back a glut of previous players, who then mostly disappear after a month or two.

Is that such a needle mover? IDK, maybe it is, but it doesn’t seem like it would be.

Reader
Baldigar Stumblefoot

I’m personally more hyped about the release cadence that they have gotten down and that this expansion represents for the game than the expansion in and of itself, although the story, elite specs, and mounts do have me very excited.

Reader
James Mock

Definitely underwhelmed. Oh well.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Finally adding mounts makes a big difference for me. Here you have a world where you see mounts around but you can’t make use of one? Always made for an immersion break for me, so I’m really happy that they’re adding them. I also like that they’re making them more than just a way to travel from point A to point B.

failed_apathy
Reader
failed_apathy

Scrabble scores:

Path of Fire: 21

Plenty of Freaks: 26

Reader
Bryan Turner

Mounts are not simply mounts they are also slotted with masteries that change the way you move as well as having attack openers to begin attacking something before dismounting.

Last time I checked we were getting 9 Elite Specs which while not classes are designed to change the way a class is played basically making them new classes.

((Edited by mod, ad hom.))

Reader
draugris

Last time we got 1 new class which was the Revenant. Regarding the elite specs imo it depends if you can consider it a new class. For my class the necromancer i would not say that HoT made the necro a new class, death shroud and reapers shroud were similar mechanic basically. With PoF imo it´s different since there is no death shroud anymore with the scourge and you got shades instead. This is something completely different, only the ressource you need remains. There i would say it is a new class.

Reader
Bryan Turner

For me personally I felt Reaper was new and made a class that emulated a WoW Warlock made it play like a WoW Death Knight.

Reader
rafterman

I really wish people would quit saying that Elite specs are “basically new classes” because they aren’t even close. MMOs add spells and features to classes all the time that make them play differently, and that doesn’t make them new classes, just evolving ones. Specs are playstyles within a class, just like playing Resto vs. Enhance Shaman in WoW. At the end of the day, either way you go you’re still a Shaman.

And there’s nothing “too complicated” for us to understand. You’re doing what every other fanboy does when their game receives negative or lukewarm attention.

Reader
Bruno Brito

It’s funny you even defend elite specs.

Reader
Bryan Turner

Why, I’m a long time player, of course any of us are going to defend them, how is it different than Rifts souls which make their base
Classes feel different?

Reader
Nathan Aldana

well, for one, I can roll a new level 1 character on rift with a soul pack I just bought and level it up to cap.

If we’re arguing elite specs are new classes unto themselves, then well, on GW2, i cant even sniff in the direction of an elite spec until I’ve ground out 80 levels as a completely different class.

So thats one teensy tiny ginormous difference.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

but I guess that’s too complicated for most people to understand.

Yeah, be a dick about it instead. That’s sure going to teach those folks.

Reader
Bryan Turner

Some people don’t want to be taught, I’m not asking much just read the article.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

Pot. kettle. black.

Reader
Sally Bowls

The fact that you won’t need Heart of Thorns helps make it more accessible,

Great news! I did not catch that at first; still selling HoT instead of making it free was a surprise to me and made me think one still needed to endure HoT. A new boosted character won’t desire some gliding or mastery in the new zone? I sure hope not.

Justin’s comments – or my perception of his comments – resonated with me. If you are playing GW2, this is a very good thing and gives you more stuff to do/buy. If you are not into GW2, then I am not sure it is that much motivation to jump in while everything is still full price. The inevitable sports metaphor is this is not swinging for the fences, trying for a home run to grow the playerbase; this is a solid single, giving the existing players what they want that is practical.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Meh, still burnt from HoT and the new weapon for guardians didn’t impress me (nor did some of the features).

I’m hoping the news between now and launch is exciting and can rekindle my interest, but at this point I’ll likely wait until the expansion launches to see how it ends up turning out before buying. They lost their “good enough to preorder” credibility with me, and I’m not sold yet. But if it ends up being good, I’ll pick it up. If not, oh well, I’ll buy it on sale down the road but will log in to unlock the LS chapters (you can do that without the expansion, right?).

I want to be excited (again) about GW2, but I’m just not there. Yet.

Reader
kelathos .

First, the trailer was underwhelming. Maybe it didn’t compel me without some gripping feature, as the expansion feels… content based, as others mentioned. Problem is, the content is five more zones. Don’t I need something to shake things up and drive me to return?

I would clear those five zones in a week and be left wondering what more can they offer? If only the trailer answered that question.

kalamari_
Reader
kalamari_

there is no “clearing of zones” in GW2. thats what traditional mmo players still dont understand about GW2. you dont go to a quest hub, finish the 20 fetch quests you get and then leave that area forever. in GW2 every map will always be important in some way for the player. and map completion doesnt mean “map cleared”.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

And thats what GW2 players dont get about some other MMO players. For some people the story and the completion of a zone’s plot are the interesting stuff, and without that allure GW2 holds nothing for us.

Reader
Bryan Turner

Glad to see another person defending the franchise, we may disagree about certain aspects but we both have strong positive vibes for this game.

Reader
Thomas

One thing (well two things, actually) that remains unclear to me about PoF.

(1) Are players who skip HoT going to be at a disadvantage in this expansion? (Because I really — really — do not want to slog my way through HoT.)

(2) When reviewers describe this expansion as “content based”, does that mean “more like GW2 (the base game) and less like HoT”? (I’m hopeful the answer is “yes”.)

Reader
Bryan Turner

Personally I can’t see how anyone can live with out gliding, I’m sure the mounts will fill the needs with their unique skill sets but there’s no reason not to play HoT since the zones were dumbed down almost 1.5
Years ago.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
imayb1

1) Will non-HoT players be at a disadvantage?
While that’s a very subjective question, Anet says playing PoF will not require anything from HoT. However, HoT elite specs and masteries will not be available to PoF-only players. So… if you like PoF or core class specs and like to ride mounts better than gliding, you’re golden.

2) I suspect we’ll be seeing much more core game inspired material than HoT-inspired material. From those who’ve played some demo, the new maps are not as mazelike as HoT maps were.

The demo will be open to the public on the 11th and 12th if you’d like to see for yourself.

Reader
Bryan Turner

Content as in Maps and Story, HoT was feature rich. There are numerous youtube videos and articles that describe everything in detail. Go look up Woodenpotatoes on youtube or just read the half dozen articles that tell you in depth, or go to twitch and watch the archived live stream.

Reader
McGuffn

We don’t know the answer to either question. People who have hot will have more options, because they will have access to the HoT elite specs and skills, etc. Is that automatically a disadvantage?

The second question cuts to my concern about the reveal. Yeah, its content based, but mounts is a feature, and classes are classes. I’m old fashioned and to me content is what you do. And all they said about content is “Here’s Elona, and there’s 5 massive zones of it!” and not much else. That said, what they did show (environments, attacking mobs) looked gorgeous.

Reader
Bryan Turner

Well lets think about this here in the 5 years GW2 has been around the precedent set in content equals the story, content equals Heart/Quests which are now repeatable, content is Dynamic Even chains, content is World Bosses.

There is an article that’s already stated that the land mass is larger than the size of Heart of Thrones and the six additional Living World Season 3 Zones.

Raids/Fractals are added in patches.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

While size is a factor, it’s not always the size that counts, but how it’s used.

Rift is a great example of this. They made a move towards considerably larger zones with their expansions (at least SL/NT) compared to the base game. It was in part, what appears to be a direct response to criticisms about the size of the game world and the desire for bigger zones/continents.

Well, the delivered that! But…the zones are pretty meh. Sparsely populated frequently, suffering from being large for the sake of being large rather than for any actual design reason.

Having huge zones can be good, but they have to have fun, engaging content in them that gives you a reason to want to return to the whole zone, not just a small part or anything. We’ll have to see how the zones are designed and populated with “stuff” (mobs, hearts, events, secrets etc.) before being able to safely make any judgments on if their increased size actually delivers meaningfully positive results or not.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Just a little comment on the Rift comparison… I’ve always felt like their zones did have enough content / stuff to do, it’s just that most people ignored it. They do the main quest, move through and go “meh I saw only 1/4 of the zone and the rest was empty”, while there was at least a dozen rare mobs, hundreds of artifact spots, a puzzle, a hidden loot stash, a secret entrance to a remote location and more, in each zone.

Zones being “empty” or mainstream rushers perceiving them as empty are two very different things.

Reader
Bryan Turner

To be honest I always thought Instant Adventure did a fine job shifting populations through maps to keep them in play.

I wish GW2 had a version of Instant Adventure as well especially for people like me that work and play nights.

Reader
Terren Bruce

Well say what you will about ANet they do design beautiful maps. Even if the style of the HoT maps didn’t suit you, no one can say they were “meh”. They were super intricate and event packed and truly beautiful in art direction.

They were also somewhat hard to navigate in and very group oriented compared to vanilla maps and a huge step up in difficulty but they definitely weren’t Rift style “meh”.

Honestly they were great maps, as the end game open world zones. Either Auric Basin or Verdant Brink would have been a great capstone for open world adventuring. The problem was all the maps were like that.

Reader
Bryan Turner

These zones need to have may wide metas that pull every one in to a common goal just make them unique story arcs like Auric Basin.

Reader
Bryan Turner

See that right there was a comment where I was trying to be helpful , which you must have seen before commenting on my original comment, so was offering up information me being a dick again? I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bring that up though :D

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Erm, you can make productively comments and be a dick with other comments. It’s not mutually exclusive, bro.

Though I agree, they’re going to need a solid mixtures of zone-wide and partial-zone metas, as well as plenty of smaller local stuff to keep folks engaged and feeling like the zones are actually active/alive, and not just large, empty zones that are huge for the sake of being huge.

I’m more optimistic on their chances of delivering this than I am about the expansion as a whole, but absolutely not “confident”. I’m definitely hoping that they deliver though, and that the zones don’t become as nightmarish for solo/nooby players (I’m a scrub, I fully admit that) to navigate as HoT zones were, especially pre-QoL patch.

atatahir
Reader
atatahir

The demo showed the zone (atleast the part in demo) contained a city which was like Ebonhawke with activity and detail similar to divinity reach.

Outside the city mobs were sparsely populated and seemed easy to kill. The map seemed mostly flat outside of a few gently sloping mounds.

You can try out the demo yourself on 11th-13th August.

Reader
Terren Bruce

The LW3 maps weren’t anything like the HoT’s maps and neither are what we’ve seen from the PoF previews. I get you feel you were burned as a very casual player with the HoT’s maps, and that’s fair but all evidence points to the fact you should be somewhat encouraged.

Reader
Bryan Turner

I’ve had no problems with Heart of Thorns since they fixed it in April of 2016. Now admittedly I have problems doing anything in the middle of the night since even Mega Server tech can’t conjure players out of thin air but the difficulty was patched out of the Open World.

It’s hard to admit but I am more of a hardcore casual, I read up on everything including guides websites how ever I can not dedicate my self to a raid static or more likely my wife doesn’t have the patience for that so my game play revolves around Open World and Fractals.

Reader
Bryan Turner

With the Mega Server tech that shouldn’t be a problem unless you work/play nights.

wpDiscuz