heart of thorns

Guild Wars 2‘s first expansion.

Jukebox Heroes: Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire’s soundtrack

I feel comfortable in saying that I hold the Guild Wars franchise’s soundtrack in high regard. There’s excellent music across the board from a variety of composers, and in my opinion, it has only gotten better over time. The Guild Wars 2 Living World season 3 and Heart of Thorns scores knocked it out of the park, and I could not wait to listen through Path of Fire when it released earlier this year.

That is why, to continue using an awkward baseball metaphor, I was let down when this expansion’s score was a mere double instead of a home run. It’s not bad, mind you, but it’s certainly not as great as the previous expansion or what the team has been putting out in the meantime. Perhaps some of this stems from the desert theme, which I’ve always found to inspire somewhat stereotypical “desert music” that sounds samey and not that thrilling. Guild Wars: Nightfall was my least-liked score of the original game for this reason as well.

Again, I want to emphasize that I don’t hate Path of Fire’s score, I just don’t like it as much as what’s been done before. This time around, four composers put together the album: Maclaine Diemer, Wilbert Rogett, Brendon Williams, and Stan LePard. This team did produce several highlights that I prefer to mention rather than talk about what didn’t work, so let’s give those pieces a listen!

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NCsoft’s 3Q 2017 financials: Lineage M drives record profits, Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire isn’t too shabby either

NCsoft had an exceptionally good third financial quarter this year, reaching a record high in sales and operating profit for the company, and it’s almost entirely thanks to the mobile MMORPG Lineage M, which didn’t even bleed the rest of the Lineage franchise as you might have expected (Lineage and Lineage II held remarkably steady this quarter compared to last, as did Aion and Blade & Soul).

Good news for Guild Wars 2 as well; NCsoft notes that ArenaNet’s flagship brought in over $20B Won, “an increase of 49% [quarter-over-quarter], driven by the second expansion pack sales” that saw US and European sales figures in particular increase 13% QOQ “on the back of Guild Wars 2 performance.” $20B Korean Won is about $18M US. So Path of Fire at least performed well enough for NCsoft to gloat about it, twice, and it’s a big boost to GW2, especially considering Q2 2017 was the game’s worst ever – but it didn’t top Heart of Thorns’ huge showing two years ago.

Before you ask, no, we don’t know how well WildStar is doing; NCsoft doesn’t report it separately anymore. But it’s still flying. That’s enough.

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Choose My Adventure: Not quite farewell to Guild Wars 2

I am not done with Guild Wars 2.

This may or may not come as a surprise to people, but it’s still the case regardless. I am done with this round of Choose My Adventure with it, of course, and that means I can put Ceilarene down if I so desire (which, to be fair, I probably will for a while, at least). But I am not actually done with the game, and I suspect it will remain in my “vacation” rotation for a while to come. Something to dive into as I feel like it, in other words.

It’s a somewhat surprising outcome to me, as I had expected a pleasant enough bit of reconnection followed by a rather untroubled separation. But no, I had enough fun that I’m not quite willing to announce myself as done with the title just yet.

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Guild Wars 2 is releasing a vinyl soundtrack for Path of Fire and planning Extra Life shenanigans

You hipsters still have your vintage record players, right? I mean, how else are you going to enjoy Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire’s soundtrack on vinyl? Yep, the soundtrack LP was announced today, along with preorders.

“Following the huge success of the soundtrack to the first Guild Wars 2 expansion Heart of Thorns, acclaimed publisher and developer ArenaNet has once again partnered with video game master merchandisers iam8bit to bring Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire’s orchestral soundtrack to the fans. Composed by the incredibly talented Maclaine Diemer (with support from Wilbert Roget II, Brendon Williams, and Stan LePard), pre-orders for the collector’s edition vinyl record of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire’s soundtrack – featuring beautiful album art – go live today.”

It’s 40 bucks, or you can just get the digital editions for $9 on iTunes or Amazon.

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite and least favorite type of MMO daily?

Over the weekend, Guild Wars 2 players on Reddit opened up a discussion about dailies in the game that spoke to me. I used to be the kind of GW2 player who logged in to do dailies every single day because there were always enough of the type I wanted to do that it was fun and rewarding and didn’t take up my entire play session. I never felt like I had to sideline my desired play to do them.

But over the years, dailies have changed a few times, to the point that now I don’t bother. The Reddit thread touches on why: They’re stuffed with content I don’t want to do or that is a huge hassle or that takes way more time than it’s worth, like event completion in annoying expansion zones (some of which my toons haven’t got), daily adventures, daily bounty hunter. Meh. What hadn’t occurred to me is that players who own both expansions actually have it worse; expansionless peeps at least aren’t stuck being assigned to stuff in Heart of Thorns – or stuff that can’t be soloed.

It’s gratifying to know I’m not alone! Where do you stand on MMO dailies? What’s your favorite and least favorite type?

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Choose My Adventure: All spoken out in Guild Wars 2

Well, this is a bit awkward. I appear to have run out of things to say.

This is not inherently a bad thing. My time with Guild Wars 2 has not been unpleasant (but you can read more about that next week), even if it hasn’t been perfect; I’ve been having fun. At the same time, once you’ve dissected the game’s various map-based offerings and the story’s general flow, there’s not a whole lot else to be said. I could pick apart bits and pieces of the story that work better or worse, but at that point, isn’t it largely perfunctory?

Of course, there is something to be said for the paucity of other things to talk about. Path of Fire is an interesting experience to come back for, because while you can see that the game is putting in overtime to address some of the issues from Heart of Thorns, there are other issues that either aren’t addressed or aren’t addressed terribly well, both of which are interesting to analyze. From my perspective, anyhow.

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Choose My Adventure: Map-based antics in Guild Wars 2

One of the points of the polls and discussions for Guild Wars 2 the other week was that while I could focus on either map antics or storyline progression, I wouldn’t be doing just one or the other. Some of this is just practicality – if a story mission is bringing me close to a waypoint anyway, it would be silly for me to just shrug and not pick it up, and it’s kind of important that I use whatever means available to me to pick up more Hero points. But some of it was the fact that the game has, in many ways, an organic flow.

The game’s story doesn’t always bring you to the important places, but it usually at least strives to push players into spaces where they’re going to brush up against points of interest. (By which I mean “all the various map icons” rather than the game-specific definition of “point of interest.”) The intent, then, is not that you spend all of your time doing one thing or the other; you spend your time doing both, running through story instances and then hopping back out as it becomes relevant.

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Exclusive Guild Wars 2 interview on Path of Fire’s launch and philosophy

Spurred on by my excitement for Guild Wars 2‘s second expansion, Path of Fire, I reached out to ArenaNet shortly before release to secure a post-launch interview to ensure all my most burning questions could be answered. I drafted my questions not long after launch, and while I most definitely wished to discover whether the initial launch hiccups affected the immediate uptake of the expansion, beyond that I sought more information on the development of such a decisively different expansion than Heart of Thorns was.

This launch diary installment will share ArenaNet’s responses to my PoF questions: Mounts, elite specializations, and the new maps were huge topics of discussion aside from the more general launch and development questions I had. Read on!

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Global Chat: The MMO community’s Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire impressions

It is kind of impossible to stroll around the MMO blogging community as of late and not trip and fall into a pool of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire impressions and opinions. So why not dive in and see what lies under the surface of these experiences?

GamingSF suffered from technical issues that kept him from getting into the expansion initially, but when he did, he recognized that it had some “really nice features.” Why I Game concurs with this sentiment, noting that there are “a lot more nods to exploration this time around.”

“Story is okay, nothing amazing, some funny bits help, and I find it gets better as it progresses onward,” ECTmmo.com wrote. “The actual places you get to travel to and explore in this expansion are what makes it shine, well, that and the mounts.”

We’ve got even more Path of Fire impressions after the break, as well as a look at Star Trek Online, Elite Dangerous, and Ultima Online!

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Guild Wars 2 is now selling waypoint unlocks in the cash shop

With today’s update, ArenaNet has begun selling waypoint unlocks in the Guild Wars 2 cash shop.

“You know the drill. You’re trying to reach East Nowhere to stop a rampaging whatever from eating Fill-in-the-Blank Village, but you’re new in town. Good news*—we’ll instantly register you at all the waypoints in a region of your choice. Buy the Waypoint Unlock Box to unlock one of the regions on our list, or buy the Central Tyria Waypoint Unlock Package for all of them.”

The unlock packs run 600 gems per region, or 2000 gems for all five regions (just the original five Tyrian regions, not Heart of Thorns or Path of Fire locations). 2000 gems, we’ll note, costs about $25 in real money. Why would you buy this, when you can just run around and get each zone’s waypoints in a few minutes atop your shiny expansion raptor? Convenience, we suppose – it’d make mapping that much faster back in the old world for sure.

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Working As Intended: The best and worst of Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire (so far)

I’ve spent a chunk of the last week moving through the first part of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire, finishing up the Crystal Oasis zone into which a character is deposited right off the airship. Obviously, it’s far too early to give a formal stamp of approval until I’m fully through it, but so far, I’m pleased with my purchase. Very pleased. I’m already pretty sure the expansion is update-of-the-year material for the genre. But it’ll take a few months to see how it fully meshes with the existing game, and while the same was true with Heart of Thorns, my urge to stop writing and go back into Elona for the next zone as I type this already tells me that PoF has delivered on at least its basic promises.

So while we let the community savor the game until a fully informed consensus is reached, I wanted to dash off some quick thoughts based on this first week of midcore casual play. Consider it a top 5, bottom 5 list as we dig into the very best additions to the game – and the things that still annoy me.

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Massively Overthinking: Weighing in on Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire

Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire has been live for just a week now, and while various members of the Massively OP staff have been penning launch diaries and adventures, this week’s Massively Overthinking will be dedicated to getting opinions from everyone. What do we think of the expansion so far, both those of us who are playing and those who are observing from the sidelines?

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Choose My Adventure: Into the desert of Guild Wars 2

My first week of playing Guild Wars 2 again was interesting, in no small part because it’s rare for my playtime to be so devoted to being able to play what the vote indicates. Yes, it’s true, I did not actually get much playtime in for Holosmith with this first week, simply because… well, how could I? I had to unlock the elite spec first, and that requires a fair bit of doing, enough that it inspired a completely different article.

So that was some frustration, and it leads to more polls this week, but I don’t want people to come away thinking that I’m already not having fun with the game. Quite the opposite, in fact; while there are frustrations in how things are designed for unlocking elite specializations, there’s enough to like about the game on a whole that I can’t complain too much. But let’s start at the very beginning, which I’ve heard is a very good place to start.

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