It’s been a bit of a whirlwind week for ArenaNet
, especially with a jam-packed Reddit AMA
that contained the announcement that Colin Johanson
has opted to leave the company for a new opportunity
that allows him to spend more time with his family and less time commuting. This has, of course, left a bit of a smiley-shaped hole in the top ranks of ArenaNet that Mike O’Brien
is temporarily filling, but the Game Director role cannot be held by the busy President forever.
Aside from the workload that’s usually associated with a busy studio in the midst of major feature redevelopment, expansion development, and a director handover, the team added to that pile by inviting me to playtest the new Slothasor raid encounter that goes live today. In this edition of Flamseeker Chronicles, I’ll share my thoughts on the new raid wing and will also unpack the key takeaways from the Reddit AMA.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that there aren’t many mechanics that are more fantastical than zooming around within picturesque environments with amazingly outlandish backpack-strapped wings on your back. I was delighted to see that gliding was just as fun and useful as I imagined it would be when Heart of Thorns
launched, but I caught myself forgetting that I could only glide in the Heart of Maguuma more times than I’d care to admit. After banging my space bar in vain one too many times, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated whenever I was out and about in Central Tyria and kept forgetting that it was a glider-free zone: I was definitely part of the pro-CT gliding camp, even if I did worry about implementation. Imagine my delight, then, when my wee wish came true in Guild Wars 2
‘s Winter 2016 patch!
I’ve had plenty of Central Tyrian airtime at this point and could ramble on for hours about it, so for this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles I thought I’d do just that. I’m going to preface some beautiful in-flight screenies of my favourite places to glide in Central Tyria with a little bit of background information about verticality and no-fly zones in the form of a Central Tyria gliding FAQ.
In the last edition of Flameseeker Chronicles
, I discussed the Guild Wars 2 Winter 2016 update that releases today
in great detail, so I’m really excited to follow that up with my initial impressions of the revamped Shatterer fight
in this edition! I was invited to play through the encounter for myself in advance of its release today: I played alongside some of the ArenaNet
gang, including Game Designer Andrew Gray, and other members of the press on the staging client, so you won’t be seeing my usual characters in the screenshots. During two playthroughs we were able to ask our questions and get some answers while we attempted to down the new-and-improved baddie, who is now considerably more challenging. To find out how I fared, what I thought of the iteration, and how the fight shapes up to other Heart of Thorns
content, keep on reading!
Guild Wars 2
Game Director Colin Johanson
dropped a massive amount of information about the direction development will take in the first quarter of 2016 and beyond in his Q1 state of the game update
yesterday. This is the second of this sort of update since the launch of Heart of Thorns
and it most definitely hasn’t disappointed in its scope and breadth of information. General comments on ArenaNet
‘s development rationale paired up with plenty of welcome Q1 improvements that will begin rolling out as soon as January 26th as well as more far-reaching outlines for the rest of 2016 that cover future expansion development, more fractals, a major overhaul of WvW, and the commencement of the Living World Season 3. With so much ground covered in one dev post, I thought it’d be helpful to summarise that information and add my thoughts for this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles
2015 is coming to a close, and I’ve eaten my own bodyweight (and then some!) in festive treats, so it’s the perfect time to put my wishes for Guild Wars 2
in 2016 out there while I’m looking forward to the year ahead. With Heart of Thorns
so freshly installed on our machines and an action-packed 2015, one prediction I can be sure will come true is that the coming year will see more reactive development, a very busy team at ArenaNet, and more content to fill out and continue on from the seeds sown in October, even if that content is divisive!
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll make some predictions about what lies ahead for GW2 in 2016, most of which will be fairly standard speculation with the odd potential spoiler clearly marked throughout. I’d recommend skipping the hidden spoiler text entirely if you’re not through with the HoT and raiding storylines yet!
The holiday season is well and truly upon us, so it’s that most wonderful time of the year during which the Massively OP reporters cast their minds back over their game-specific 2015 column entries to remind you of the highs and lows over the last year. ArenaNet has had a particularly packed 2015, so I’ve plenty to cover before Guild Wars 2
rings in 2016. Of course, the launch of Heart of Thorns
is the big talking point of the year, but there were plenty more points of interest during the last twelve months. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles
, I’ll reflect on 2015 and recap the year, focusing on both ArenaNet’s and my personal highlights.
I’ve been having a grand auld time smashing my toon against Guild Wars 2
‘s first raiding tier recently, and since I’ve now (finally!) started to get some results, I thought it was time I brought you a more solid Vale Guardian boss guide than my general initial impression piece
from when the boss was in beta testing. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles
, I’ll break down Heart of Thorns
‘ first raid boss fight for you, taking raiders right from preparation to, with luck, downing the Vale Guardian!
I’ve already brought you my initial impressions of the Gorseval raid encounter
followed by a quickfire interview with Guild Wars 2 Associate Game Director Steven Waller
to clue you in on the first Heart of Thorns
raid wing that launched yesterday, but there’s still so much to say in this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles
! I managed to spend some time raiding last night, and I was particularly keen to test out the enhanced squad UI functionality that has also been introduced to Guild Wars 2
expansion. Although the new system is multipurpose and doesn’t just apply to raiders, it seems particularly apt that its release coincides with this type of endgame content.
Today I’m going to take a good look at the enhanced squad UI that has been created to more efficiently handle the community’s grouping needs. I’ll talk about its features and impact on grouping to save you having to dig too far to get to grips with the new grouping functionality.
I imagine that the launch of Heart of Thorns
was quite a bittersweet event for the ArenaNet gang: The sense of relief and celebration when the big red button was pushed was palpable, but it’s not as though the Guild Wars 2
developers then got to sit back and relax after a long road to expansion release. We’ve seen some sizeable fixes already within just over a week of launch, many of which I have covered in my launch diary series
, and there’s so much more to come in the few short weeks we have left of 2015. If there’s no rest for the wicked, the team must be firmly on Santa’s naughty list!
Yesterday Game Director Colin Johanson pushed out a new blog post that outlines his studio’s plans for the continued development of HoT, including the launch of raiding and improvements to the game to further the e-sports potential of the title. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll both outline and provide some commentary on the game’s future development plans.
I swear I’ve been waiting all year to say this: Heart of Thorns
hits this Friday, everyone! Cue the massive in-game parties, mass orders of junk food and energy drinks, and a chorus of cheers, cries, and happy tears from fans and devs alike. From the moment I picked up the Flameseeker torch, I knew that one of the best moments in my writing career would be covering the launch of Guild Wars 2
‘s first expansion.
It’s no secret that I’m rather excitable, but I have to say that I’ve been overwhelmingly impressed with the attention to detail and collaborative effort that has been the HoT development cycle and especially the beta testing phase. I’ve enjoyed every beta event along the way, perhaps most surprisingly the Stronghold testing that helped switch me on to PvP. Now I’m simply trying to contain myself until I get to tinker with the real thing on Friday!
In the final edition of Flameseeker Chronicles before the expansion launches (squee!), I’m going to talk about my hopes and expectations for HoT and provide a quick rundown of last-minute things you can do before jumping into the expansion yourself.
I don’t believe I’ve ever been more excited — and simultaneously nervous — about a beta test than I was for Guild Wars 2‘
s third beta weekend that just passed. Raiding is by far my favourite MMO activity, so it’s not surprising that I’ve been exceptionally keen to see for myself how raids work in the upcoming Heart of Thorns
expansion. We know that the raid design team has been hard at work for the past year to pull together what it promises will be the most challenging group content the game has seen yet, and this weekend we got to see the fruit of ArenaNet’s labour for ourselves.
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll give you a brief overview of the raiding content while it is currently in development alongside my initial impressions from my time spent testing while talking a little bit about boss mechanics, and I’ll even throw in a video of The Sickest Guild’s world-first (is that a thing in beta?) Vale Guardian kill for those who have missed it.
If you pay attention to the images I use throughout my Flameseeker Chronicles
articles, you’ll notice that one of my favourite characters to include is my little Sylvari Necromancer. She’s just stunning to look at, and I adore how her leafy outfit seems as if it’s a part of her, so she shares the spotlight with my iconic Asura, who frequents the summary text at the end of the article. I love that Guild Wars 2
gives me a great amount of choice in how I react at key moments in the story, and I take advantage of that with my characters by building up a personality for each one that’s defined and solidified by the choices I have them make.
Although she’s a Necromancer and as such has a whole toolset of undead craziness to throw around, Lillith tends to choose the cleverest or least combative path wherever she can, preferring to help others see reason rather than throwing her horrific bag o’ tricks straight at them without much provocation. She’s the sensible sort that’s great with words and knows her own mind.
Imagine my horror and surprise, then, when I eventually learned that the Sylvari are craftily positioned dragon pawns!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have been bursting at the seams to find out what shape the promised “challenging group content” will take in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
. We now know that raids are definitely coming to the game shortly after the expansion drops next month, giving us a new type of challenge to smash our toons against. The hype surrounding the PAX Prime
raiding reveal has caused quite a stir in the MMO community, and we have seen a truckload of teaser-ific information surface over the last week or so.
In this week’s edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m offering up a TL;DR factsheet guide to the new raid information that will fill you in if you missed the PAX presentation or haven’t had time to trawl through the basics.