flameseeker chronicles

Flameseeker Chronicles is a Guild Wars 2 column by Tina Lauro. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Flameseeker Chronicles: Am I the only one who doesn’t enjoy Guild Wars 2 datamining?

I know, I know: Solid information about Heart of Thorns is coming really slowly from the Guild Wars 2 PR machine, making for a bunch of very nervous potential players who have a whole list of unanswered questions. The elite specializations haven’t all been released at this stage, and we still don’t know that that “challenging group content” we’ve been promised will look like. There are so many moving parts still whirring along the road to the expansion’s release, each one hovering just out of reach for the eager playerbase. With at most four months until HoT is in our hands and pre-orders already flowing, we really want to know as much as we can about the product we’re spending our hard-earned gaming budgets on.

Having said that, I dislike how we, as a community, are spoiling the moment for ourselves and the team at ArenaNet by extensively datamining for goodies and avidly jumping on the information unearthed. I guess there’s nothing immoral or directly damaging about datamining, but I feel as if we sometimes poke, prod, and shake the shiny expansion-shaped present so much in our quest to guess at its contents that we inadvertently end up tearing the wrapping paper and spoiling the magic. We’re looking at little snippets of an unfinished product that are still largely open to interpretation, and while that’s good for speculation, it’s not so good for gleaning concrete details. For this week’s edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I wanted to depart from my usual content to touch on why I find datamining to be more than a little bit of a buzzkill rather than the tasty teaser it’s usually presented as.

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Exclusive: Guild Wars 2’s Revenant elite spec is the Herald

The Revenant is shaping up to be a unique profession on a Guild Wars 2 roster, with fresh ideas in regards to combat abilities and its place on the battlefield. I was given a sneak peek at the upcoming announcement of the Revenant’s elite specialization that has been teased for a few days now as part of the Heart of Thorns expansion hype.

As many of you have already guessed, Glint is the elite specialization legend. I have plenty of information about what to expect below, and I also conducted a quick Q&A session with Game Designer Roy Cronacher to discuss the profession’s elite specialization, called the Herald, in more detail. I’m also throwing in a whole raft of information on how the profession will fare underwater too!

Of course, sometimes word just aren’t enough and you need to see a build with your own eyes to appraise it fully. Never fear: You can watch the Revenant elite specialization in action this Friday, August 14 on Points of Interest, airing at 3 p.m. EDT (noon PDT) on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel. Game Designer Roy Cronacher will be the special guest with POI host Rubi Bayer as they give fans an in-depth look at the Herald’s skills, weapon, and traits.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Trinity dependence in Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns

I don’t know about you lot, but I really enjoy ArenaNet‘s Points of Interest livestream that airs on its official Twitch channel. It contains a massive amount of juicy information that often rewards its eager audience with crisply presented details, outstripping that found in the quick news posts on any given topic. Needless to say, it’s almost always worth my while tuning in. Last Friday’s livestream was particularly interesting, however, in that Game Director Colin Johanson hinted that in Heart of Thorns challenging group combat requires the uptake of more traditional tank, DPS, and healer roles.

The traditional MMO holy trinity isn’t something that springs to mind when I think about my beloved Guild Wars 2, so I felt the need to rewatch this section of the stream repeatedly to really get to the heart of Johanson’s message. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll attempt to disassemble what was said, discuss Johanson’s later written clarification, and attempt to figure out what this might mean for the upcoming expansion. This is going to be a bumpy ride for sure, so buckle up and stick with me!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Exploring Guild Wars 2’s new Lion’s Arch

Good morn-noon-ning (hell, I don’t know what timezone you’re in!) readers, and welcome along to another instalment of Flameseeker Chronicles! Be warned: This edition will focus on both the destruction of the old city and the rebirth of Lion’s Arch, so it will contain potential spoilers. I’d urge you to check out the city’s sights for yourself before proceeding.

I’ve been having a great time in Guild Wars 2 this week while I’ve been exploring the nooks and crannies of New Lion’s Arch. Rebuilding such an important commerce and cultural centre is no easy feat, so we’ve been waiting for quite a while to see the latest imagining of the city at the heart of Tyria. The wait is finally over, and I can’t wait to hear your opinions on the massive rebuild. I’ll give you my two cents alongside the rationale behind the city’s design and some context for those of you who need a refresher or who are jumping into Guild Wars 2 for the first time. Read more

Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 guild hall and prepurchase pricing impressions

When Heart of Thorns was announced back in January, the Guild Wars 2 community exploded with buzz as guild halls were mentioned as a main feature that the expansion would bring to the game. I was just as ecstatic, so I’ve been bursting to know more ever since the feature was discussed in a CDI proposal thread on the GW2 forum. Last night (or crazy early morning for me… see what I do for you?), Colin Johanson took to the E3 stage to give the expectant audience a brief synopsis of the guild hall system and the mechanics it would add to the expansion, and our very own MJ Guthrie braved the E3 floor to bring us an interview on the topic. Now that we know more, I want to unpack the basics and compare what we’re getting to the speculation.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I will unfold the new guild hall system in as much detail as we know, and I’ll also look to the further development of the feature and inclusions I’d love to see upon release. Game Director Colin Johanson’s time on PC Gamer’s PC Gaming Show was admittedly very brief, and I wasn’t blown away with the show’s format in comparison to other E3 presentations. Nevertheless, there’s plenty to unpack before we see the guild halls running in-game this Friday in a special livestream on the official GW2 Twitch channel.
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Flameseeker Chronicles: Hands-on with Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns beta

My excitement for Guild Wars 2‘s first expansion has been no secret, so you can easily guess how much fun I had climbing the trees in heavy armour in the Heart of Thorns beta test last week. This playtest focused on the new Revenant profession and the Heart of Maguuma zone, starting off the player into a new personal story chain and showing us a quick glimpse at the Mastery system. The new Specialization mechanics were not ready for testing, unfortunately, but I was still able to get a good sense of how the Revenants will work in the expansion.

MMOs are always best enjoyed with friends, so our very own Brendan Drain joined me in the jungle for testing. We had more than a few giggles as we made our way across the dangerous yet beautiful zone while trying to get to grips with the new profession. We were sure to record our incredibly Irish antics for your viewing pleasure, the result of which is included below. You’ll be able to witness my poor sense of direction and propensity for squeakiness in all its glory in this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, in addition to a full write-up of my beta testing experience for those who prefer the written word.
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Flameseeker Chronicles: Expanding into Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns

When Guild Wars 2‘s expansion was announced, most of the questions on our lips were permutations of “What’s the new level cap?” and “What new gear will we get?” This expectation of vertical progression is so deeply ingrained in the genre’s audience that some players just assumed that ArenaNet would follow in the footsteps of other MMO giants such as World of Warcraft, but those people were surprised to find that Heart of Thorns will have no extra levels or gear tiers. In a way, they shouldn’t be so surprised: Guild Wars capped at 20 across all of its expansions, adding only new content, skills and professions. I expected that HoT would follow this precedent since GW2 has generally remained so true to its predecessor despite its significant modernisation.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to explore ArenaNet’s radical choice more thoroughly as I look at the rationale behind a level-neutral expansion and the general perception-shaking outlook behind the decision. Heart of Thorns is most definitely a playground, readers, and ArenaNet is well-accustomed to surviving in the heat of the MMO jungle in the least expected ways.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s beta drop RNG

Never before have I seen Guild Wars 2’s Dry Top and the Silverwastes hive with such activity as we’ve seen this week. In case you’ve been living under a rock since the announcement, the bright sparks at ArenaNet decided to make gaining access to the next round of beta testing a little more interesting by introducing a rare portal item drop from enemies and event chests in both zones that guarantees beta access. The quirky level 80 zones mentioned above aren’t exactly my favourite spots in Tyria (read that with a high-pitched Irish lilt that’s dripping sarcasm, folks!), so high-tailing it through these areas most definitely feels like a grind to me.

In this issue of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to talk about my views on the RNG method of assigning beta spots and a brief synopsis of my portal-hunting strategy. For full disclosure, I’ve put two days into scouring the area so far but have had no luck in looting a portal just yet; there’s nothing you can do to absolutely guarantee that you’ll find a portal, even if your methods are solid. If you’re still searching too, perhaps you’ll find my ramblings useful as you go! Good luck with your search, and happy hunting, everybody!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Hands-on with Guild Wars 2’s Stronghold PvP

The PvP team at ArenaNet is steadily gearing up for the release of the Heart of Thorns expansion, with the PvP-inclined among the Guild Wars 2 playerbase being treated to a 24-hour open beta Stronghold event last week. I don’t know about you lot, but I found the Stronghold open beta experience to be very interesting and perhaps even game-changing for me. I was invited along by the team to join forces with other journalists and ANet staff, including Game Director Colin Johanson, in an epic battle across the Champion’s Dusk map during the day-long playtesting period.

My name is Tina and I am PvP-phobic. I have an embarrassingly poor track record in PvP, opting instead to sink my time into PvE adventures rather than bashing my toon against the might of other players. PvP usually switches me right off, presenting a very steep learning curve that’s quite unforgiving for a curious explorer like me. But I put my dread aside and threw myself headlong into the perilous fray of Stronghold this week in order to sum up the experience for an edition of Flameseeker Chronicles… and was pleasantly surprised!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Exclusive Guild Wars 2 Maguuma Hylek interview

I had the pleasure of chatting with Scott McGough, a Guild Wars 2 narrative designer who is currently working hard on Heart of Thorns content, about two new Hylek tribes that we’ll be meeting in the Maguuma Jungle. In this special edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, we have all the juicy details about how the two tribes come together to survive in the hostile jungle environment, with hints galore about how those races are equipped for combat and how they might perceive the players’ characters.

The Itzel and Nuhoch Hylek tribes are very different from each other, yet the Heart of Thorns narrative has deeply tied them together in their mutual battle against the dangers the jungle holds, especially the Mordrem. The Itzel are happy-go-lucky iridescent tree dwellers based on treefrogs that believe the jungle provides for all their needs, and their Nuhoch cousins are goliath bullfrogs that prefer to use brute strength and epic belly flops to solve their problems.

McGough will be publishing a blog post about the Hylek tribes on the official Guild Wars 2 website on Thursday, and this will be supported by a Points of Interest show this Friday that will give us a first glimpse of some of the places where players will interact with the Nuhoch and Itzel as well as some of their combat moves. Points of Interest will air on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel at 12 p.m. PT. Read on for the mammoth full interview, but be careful if you are worried about spoilers!
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Flameseeker Chronicles: Four fabulous Guild Wars 2 vistas worth visting

Guild Wars 2 makes me tick because the creatives at ArenaNet have laid such a unique and amazingly vast world at my character’s feet, filled with a plethora of different colours, sights, sounds, and peoples. As a ravenous explorer, I adore how diverse the scenery is in Tyria: My wanders can take me to such diverse environments, from the snowy tundra of the Shiverpeaks, indelibly marked by the ravages of the mountain’s inhabiting Elder Ice Dragon Jormag, to the seared planes of war-torn Ascalon, huge expanses of barren wasteland sporadically dotted with the last remnants of the lush environs that once comprised the area. Sometimes beautifully picturesque, other times realistically gritty, and even sometimes truly touching, every little crevice of Tyria holds something interesting to see.

Devotees of the scenic route are rewarded for their exploits with vistas, strategically positioned interactive spots that provide the MMO rambler a visual treat in the form of sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding region. Players usually enjoy the challenge of reaching some of the more out-of-the-way locations, even if I always curse profusely at my not-so-dexterous fingers when solving some jump puzzles. For this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’d like to round up a list of my personal favourite vistas in no particular order. Ranking them seems quite impossible and subjective, but this is a rundown of those that I’ve oohed and aahed at most. I’d love to hear your list of top vistas. Whether it’s the challenge of reaching them, the view you find when you get there, or the lore of the zone, let me know in the comments which vistas are your favourite and why.
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Flameseeker Chronicles: Shifting perspectives in Guild Wars 2

Since my last edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, ArenaNet has released the eagerly anticipated camera patch, and I have been squealing with delight while enjoying the new character-specific perspective these controls have given me. The relatively simple new camera toolset makes me very excited for the future of Guild Wars 2, as familiar areas in Tyria now feel very different depending on which of my characters I play.

Before launching into my rather gushing rambles about the Lock to Character Height and First Person options, however, I should briefly highlight that the patch did cause a number of serious ongoing issues. I had anticipated the odd bug or two when the patch was initially delayed from its original launch date of March 10th; I’m very sympathetic to development delays and the occasional glitch since I work in game development myself (it’s not an MMO) and have been in this boat before. Having said that, this patch caused a surprising number of serious bugs that really should have been squashed before the patch ever was exposed to the masses.

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