Flameseeker Chronicles: A Guild Wars 2 2017 column retrospective
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll revisit the milestones that made it a great year for¬†GW2 and the content spawned from them, hopefully finishing my reminiscing with a solid picture of how the year refined the game and what direction ArenaNet might take in 2018. This will be a useful rundown for those of you who might have missed some entries along the way and wish to get to the good bits while enjoying any festive time off you have. Enjoy my musings and have a very happy holiday season!
I opened 2017 by looking back on the first Living world season and letting myself remember all the fun details I’d forgotten since its launch. This article was inspired by an excellent video that refreshed the community on all things Season 1, which is particularly useful since it isn’t replayable in-game. Highlights include Rytlock’s character development, political undertones that go beyond the Krytan throne, Lord Faren hilarity, and the adorable dynamics that tie together the new crop of Tyrian heroes. If you fancy a walk down memory lane, clear a couple hours and change this holiday season and watch the video for yourself!
Holy story content coverage, Batman!
I can safely say that 2017 was the year of consistency for ArenaNet: That regular content cadence has certainly kept me on my toes and I spent maybe half of the year covering major story updates in one form or another, including some Season 3 writeups, a four-part breakdown of¬†Path of Fire‘s story arc, and my recent look at the beginning of Season 4. It’s so hard to imagine that, in the space of twelve months, we’ve been through so much! I began the year covering the Head of the Snake from Season 3 and the content has sparked more than ten Flameseeker Chronicles entries, and with Season 4 upon us, I can’t see this slowing down in 2018. I’m going to see how time works out for me, but I might just start adding some breakdown videos to the deep-dive writeups I do for each episode release in 2018 to get the most out of my coverage. Let me know if that appeals and I’ll see what I can do! With so many articles it’s hard to choose ones to feature, but if I had to play favourites I’d suggest reading my¬†PoF story wrap and my Season 3 review.
Raiding coverage galore
Raids have remained a hot topic throughout 2017, not least of all because of the introduction of so many new encounters over the last twelve months. I adore writing about the boss encounters, both because the mechanics are usually engaging and the lore details pick up on threads that the narrative team may not have space to touch in the main Living World drops and need to be mentioned. I know that many of you aren’t interested in the raids in the least so I’m always a little hesitant to dedicate as much space as I’d like to raid talk, but I enjoy the challenge of presenting those articles in a way that is interesting to non-raiders and doesn’t detract from the other happenings in the game. If you want the best of this content, check out my piece on creating a better balance in raiding and my Forsaken Thicket guide (coincidentally, the first two bosses here are excellent starting points for new raiders!).
My daily grind can involve a short commute by train into the city, and when it does you can be sure that I’ll pass much of the time on my phone watching some¬†GW2 content. Looking back on the list, I feel as though I might revisit and add more names to the list for 2018 because I feel I’ve left out some favourites that deserve a mention. I have to give another shoutout to Kroof here: She’s about to ding 5k subscribers (and deserves that number to be at least 10 times higher!) and the content has only increased in quality and feel-good factor. You’ll find build discussions, story playthroughs and impressions, and plenty of really well-informed thoughts on the state of the game and where it could improve in future.
World versus world is one of those content areas that, like raiding, tends to ignite the passions of the playerbase because of implementation issues and logistical kinks that remained problematic throughout 2017. Having said that, there’s no such thing as a perfect game and WvW is still greatly enjoyed by many players, even if it isn’t really my cup of tea. I constructed a guide to getting through the WvW influx back in June that was caused by the introduction of ArenaNet’s Competitive Feature Pack rollout. I mentioned how newbies to the content could ingratiate themselves to veteran players bu following common WvW etiquette, while also pointing out ways that commanders and guilds could capitalise on the WvW newbie invasion.
This is another topic I’d love to revisit again in 2018! I meant to write an article on the awesome outfits I saw around Tyria at Halloween this year but I just didn’t have space with all the expansion content that was more pressing. It’s easy to forget how strong the aesthetic game is in our beloved MMO and how dedicated many players are to constantly reimagining and perfecting those toons, and I love to do what I can to showcase the time and effort put into some of the character designs I see while playing. I adore holiday events and world boss trains because they are perfect ways in which these players can show off their creations to an audience: I send frequent whispers to people if I notice their characters in the crowd and encourage others to speak up if they see a toon that makes them smile.
Last but by no means least on my content round-up is my coverage of all things expansion, which has certainly been ArenaNet’s crowning achievement in 2017. The¬†PoF¬†launch pathway was rather low-key and a little too direct in my opinion, lacking both the duration or the epic fanfare afforded to¬†Heart of Thorns for its launch. Having said that, it’s been a quietly confident addition to¬†GW2 and I¬†count it as a large success for the title and the company, despite some minor misgivings along the way. I started out cautiously optimistic about the expansion and I have to say that both the inclusion of mounts and the sheer volume and quality of its story content sold me. The nostalgia factor was very 2017 and I deeply appreciated all the callbacks to¬†Guild Wars. I kept a pre-launch and launch diary to keep track of my antics and loved chatting with you all about your experience with the expansion too. My favourite article that links into¬†PoF’s launch is my interview piece from October, which is a nice read if you missed it.
I have been gathering screenshots that showcase what views and feats are possible with the new mounts, and while I don’t know if they’ll ever come to make an article, I enjoy collecting them anyway. I adore pushing off the beaten track in MMOs anyway and the mount abilities just make this all the easier: Explorer personalities who haven’t yet purchased¬†PoF will certainly feel that their money was well spent if they love the aesthetics of the game and extending their character’s reach beyond what was originally envisioned by the developers.
Over to you!
What a year it has been for¬†Guild Wars 2! I had frankly forgotten just how much ground the team at ArenaNet managed to cover this year and, looking back, I have to say that it’s probably been its strongest year in terms of development yet. I cannot wait to see what 2018 brings and have so many ideas swirling in my head about what might happen in the next twelve months: You can definitely look forward to a predictions article next time!
Share your 2017 highlights with me in the comments. Did you achieve any excellent in-game goals over the last year? What were your favourite¬†GW2 moments in 2017?