expanshalone

Expanshalones are standalone expansions, expansions for which a base game is not required (but not because it’s been bundled with said base game). Classic Guild Wars is particularly well-known for this campaign-style update.

Learn about the history of the Crystal Desert for Guild Wars 2’s future

The focal point of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire will be Elona and the Crystal Desert. Do you not know what the Crystal Desert is? Then get out. You have some Guild Wars to play, including a lot of Nightfall, which is going to bring you into Vabbi and it’ll be so great. Or… all right, you could just watch the lore video from the Krytan Herald down below to get a brief overview of the region’s history and what it means now instead of playing through all of that.

You could also do both, though.

Assuming you’re going with the video option, you can catch that just below to get a nice big dose of Tyrian lore with excellent imagery and narration. It’s the sort of backstory that will be very useful to understand what the hell you’re hoping to accomplish in Path of Fire, as well as knowing why this region is so important to veterans of the original game. You can also check out our team’s thoughts and our columnist’s thoughts on the expansion announcement for a bit more context.

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Guild Wars 2: Loot rumors, RNG grumblings, character boosters, and map spoilers

Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire detail rumors are swirling as info (and disinfo) is trickling back from the test environment. Here’s a few of the more interesting bits (we’re tucking spoilers behind spoiler tags, so don’t sweat it).

It appears that the shared inventory slot granted with Heart of Thorns will indeed stack with the shared slot granted by Path of Fire, which is a nice little bonus ANet didn’t hype, given how much those account-wide slots are worth. The character boost tokens also appear to stack with each other.

Click to reveal potential spoilers about gear
An image floating around Discord has led players to suspect that gear drops in the expansion may arrive in our inventories as stackable, unidentified items rather than predetermined items that clog up inventory. This would be a giant step forward for the game’s drop and inventory system, at least if our commenters in today’s coincidental Daily Grind are any judge!

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Check out trailers for all Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire elite class specs, mounts, and Elona

Yesterday, ArenaNet formally revealed Path of Fire, Guild Wars 2’s second expansion in five years. This standalone, campaign-like expansion won’t introduce a new class, but it will roll out a new elite specialization for all nine of the existing classes, just as Heart of Thorns did. It’ll also add mounts that we’ll be using to romp around parts of the nostalgia-laced Elona desert from Nightfall.

Since the stream, the studio has released videos of damn near everything. Let’s dig in.

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Everything you need to know about Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion, launching September 22

If you missed the stream this morning or just want all the goodies in one place, here’s what we know about Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion!

  • It’s called Path of Fire! It launches on September 22nd, and everyone, even non-players, is invited to a preview weekend this next weekend. (Just roll a F2P base account now.) Yes, you’ll get to play with a mount during that preview.
  • You’ll be able to buy this expansion standalone, even if you don’t have HOT. It’ll run $29.99 by itself or $49.99 as a bundle with HOT. You can prepurchase already on the official site, and yep, there are lots of goodies included if you buy the upgraded $59.99 and $79.99 packages. A level 80 upgrade is included with all boxes, but if you want an extra character slot, you’ll need the higher packages. (Current consensus among commenters is that the price is fair and the upgrades are worth it.)
  • Lore-wise, the expansion picks up right where season 3 just ended, with no gap in the plot and a heavy focus on Balthazar as the villain. “Seamless” is the word they used.
  • The location of the expansion is the Crystal Desert and parts of Elona (Vabbi, and so forth) from Guild Wars 1 Nightfall. It’ll be nostalgia, but still accessible for newcomers.

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Unofficial Guild Wars 2 CCG gets a Prophecies-themed expansion

Back in March, Guild Wars 2 player Luke Dowding announced that he was building a free and unofficial collectible card game for the community called Guild Wars 2: Heroes of the Mists. At the time, we crossed our fingers that ArenaNet could let the game stand, and as of April, when the game branched out for play on Tabletop Simulator, it appeared the studio was giving at least a tacit blessing. And now, Dowding has announced the game is getting an expansion themed around classic Prophecies.

“The expansion comes packed with over 60 new cards all based upon the memorable characters from the original Guild Wars 1 game Prophecies. The expansion also comes with a new ability as well as a huge balance overhaul to all existing cards which in testing has made the game a lot more fun and playable,” he writes. “Prophecies was my first choice because its the foundation in which the Guild Wars universe was built. I personally played Guild Wars 1 for several thousand hours and have very fond memories of the game. Add Prophecies as the first expansion is also a great way to bring back serious nostalgia and remember those key characters from the original game from over 12 years ago.”

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Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #18-13

Last week we were off to a great start as we listened to the first batch of player-voted favorite MMO themes. As I said then, the results of the voting, in which I asked players to nominate up to 10 of their favorite main themes from online games, were both predictable and surprising. Nostalgia and familiarity obviously play a strong role in many of these votes, but no one was asking for objectivity here!

Today we’re going to continue our countdown to the top spot by looking at numbers 18 through 13 of your favorite MMO themes. I think there’s a good mix here, perhaps with tunes that I would have placed a little higher, but overall it’s gratifying to see each one of these make the list.

Enough jibber-jabber, let’s get to it!

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Battle Bards Episode 89: Nightfall

When the sun goes down, the Battle Bards’ work has just begun! In this week’s episode, the crew explores nighttime music cues in MMOs, chasing the ever-elusive feel of what that period between dusk and dawn sounds like in game. Don’t fall asleep!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

We’ve got Episode 89: Nightfall and the show notes for you after the break!

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Choose My Adventure: The Elder Scrolls Online in review

Back when I played through The Elder Scrolls Online’s beta, I said that it was another generic fantasy MMO in a field already choked with them. The latter part has not changed. The question, then, is whether the former part has changed, whether the game has truly risen from its somewhat inauspicious beginnings to really carve out its own identity as a game, independent of simply relying upon the franchise name.

The answer… is complex. It has, but it also hasn’t, but it also doesn’t need to, but it also does need to. So let’s start going through this point by point.

I certainly have warmer feelings toward the game now than I did when I played through the beta. The game’s combat has undoubtedly been improved, and it cannot be overstated how much One Tamriel helps the game as a whole. Without feeling like I have to stick to a very narrow range of things to be done if I want to level, I always felt as if I really could head off in a direction and find what interested me, which is a good thing. The problem, of course, is that “interest” often requires investment in a setting, and that is… troublesome.

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Choose My Adventure: Wrapping up The Elder Scrolls Online in Orsinium

All good things must come to an end, and in this case, my adventures in The Elder Scrolls Online are ending in Orsinium. I’ve done some stealing, I’ve done some murdering, and now it’s time for me to do some dealing with the dark and sinister work involved in building a nation out of nothing. Or close to nothing, anyhow. Hammering separate tribes together is never easy work.

It only gets harder when it turns out that the person responsible for hammering those tribes together may, in fact, be an ego-tripping maniac who shouldn’t be given authority over anyone.

Of course, there’s more to see in Orsinium than I could get to in a week, even if I wasn’t in the middle of the holiday time crunch and so forth. But I did manage to at least get a high-level tour of what the region is all about, and I do agree with people who said that this was definitely the sort of thing that should be seen before leaving the game.

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Choose My Adventure: My first week in the Elder Scrolls Online

Despite the fact that for this round of Choose My Adventure, I am jumping into The Elder Scrolls Online in an era of doing whatever I want at any level I choose, it still makes sense to just go through the starting experience in a rather straightforward fashion. Obviously, the starter experience points you in a pretty obvious direction right away, but once you’re past the starter experience it still makes a certain amount of sense to keep rolling along with the storyline. You’re surrounded by quests and stuff to harvest right away; it’s pretty straightforward.

A lot of things, however, haven’t changed since I played the game in the beta forever ago. The story is, in many ways, in the same space it was back then. I wasn’t terribly enamored of the experience then, and so I will admit right off of the bat that I didn’t have high hopes this time. I mean, it was the same story, same overall experience — so how different could it really be once I started moving beyond the earliest parts of the story and into adventuring within the frozen lands of the Pact?

The answer, it turns out, is pretty darn different — for a variety of reasons.

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Fan project remasters the original Guild Wars Prophecies trailer

The Guild Wars franchise has been known for terrific art style and some rather cinematic cutscenes over the years, dating all of the way back to the release of Prophecies in 2005. However, the only version of the Prophecies trailer that exists was the one shrunk down to fit on the disc, which means that a decently sized, high-resolution video does not exist.

Rather, it did not exist before now. Guild Wars YouTuber Wooden Potatoes enlisted the help of a friend to take this trailer and use some technical wizardry to improve the visuals and resolution to meet modern standards. The result is a cleaner, crisper, and more vibrant Prophecies trailer than anyone has seen to date.

You can listen to the whole backstory of the project and watch the remastered trailer below!

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Guild Wars 2’s Ember Bay is over-the-top metal

When Rising Flames launches on Tuesday, Guild Wars 2 players will be transported to the Ring of Fire island chain first introduced in Guild Wars: Prophecies. Goodbye, jungle; hello, volcanoes!

Describing the new Ember Bay area as “metal,” the developers have a new video out touching on some of its highlights, from its exploration-centric design and new lava-based mastery skills to the repeatable hearts (love ’em or hate ’em). It’s time to dig your karka-slaying potions back out, too, as the critters are out in force.

Fun fact: We’re not the only ones going back; ArenaNet Environmental Design Specialist Josh Foreman notes that he remembers working on the original zone 12 years ago. Check out the video below:

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