path of fire

The Daily Grind: How many of you are still playing Guild Wars 2?

As I type this, Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion has been out exactly a month. At the time, I remember making fun of the “rushers” who blazed through the whole thing in a couple of days, made their videos, and promptly declared that the game was dead and there was nothing to do. Personally, I’m still happily playing, slowly making my way in my usual duo across the desert, playing as a completionist even though that’s not really what I am. I’m in no rush. Rushing in a game like this one seems like a waste of money to me. I want to savor it (and also play some other stuff along the way).

But hey, if you’ve finished the expansion – all the maps, not just the main storyline – a month in, I’m not sure you’re a rusher. It seems like a legitimate amount of time to take to play an expansion – and it’s probably reflected in a one-month drop-off, too. Maybe ArenaNet isn’t as affected by that drop-off as an old-school sub MMO, since it got your cash already, but I bet it’s detectable.

So let’s take the pulse of our community: If you bought Path of Fire, did you “finish” it, and are you still playing?

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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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Guild Wars 2’s Halloween event heralds new mount skins and new content

Guild Wars 2’s Halloween festivities have officially begun! The Mad King’s gala has a few new additions this year, including new themed guild decor, new daily achievements, new Halloween minis, a new race event in the Labyrinth (and yes, mounts are allowed), and new armor. Expect quite a bit of polish and bug fixing for Path of Fire zones as well, plus a new mounts tab.

Why would you need a new mounts tab? Well! The mount skins rumors swirling earlier this week appear to have been proven true, as the cash shop’s been updated with this:

“Spooky Mounts Pack: Help your new buddies celebrate their first holiday in style with these gruesome-yet-family-friendly costumes. They come in a five-pack so nobody’s left out, and you can even dye them to match…whatever you’re supposed to be dressed as.”

Now there’s an interesting precedent, I think you’ll agree! Datamining has revealed even more - click for spoilers!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire story

I feel as though the time is finally right to talk to you all about the awesome chunk of story that dropped with Guild Wars 2‘s second expansion, Path of Fire. In terms of narrative quality and the amount of story content received, the expansion has fared very well indeed, so it’s been killing me not sharing my story thoughts with you sooner. The return to Elona has been handled beautifully and the area’s rich history was well presented for the uninitiated. There are enough unexpected twists and turns to keep things interesting, yet it still heavily relies on utilising the familiar dynamics of the NPCs we know and love.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I will cover the first two chapters’ major story points for you: I’ll leave my usual hated and rated sections for the end of the story deep-dives. This article will contain significant spoilers for those who have not yet completed the expansion’s story for themselves, so I recommend skipping this article or proceeding with caution if that applies to you. You have been warned!

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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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Guild Wars 2’s Shadow of the Mad King Halloween events return October 17

Who’s ready for another round of Mad King Says? We hear his jokes always… slay the audience.

ArenaNet announced this afternoon that Halloween returns to Guild Wars 2 this year in just one week, on October 17th. Expect the usual: access to the Mad King’s Labyrinth, the Clock Tower jumping puzzle updated since its original debut, the return of the Ascent of Madness dungeon, achievements, and loot. And no doubt a themey cash shop update too. It ought to help stave off the boredom of the rushers already done with Path of Fire, anyway. Are ya ready?

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Guild Wars 2’s AMA covers mounts, raids, maps, and the state of class balance

The ArenaNet devs descended on the Guild Wars 2 over the weekend for what looks like one of the game’s biggest AMAs to date (but one with surprisingly thin info, at least if you were hoping for a huge revelation). Here are the highlights:

  • No details on raid wing 5 yet. The team reiterates it’s not working on difficulty tiers for raids. “We’re hard at work on the next raid and development is going well.”
  • There’s apparently nobody working on guilds (so no current plans to develop further) and no dungeon team attached to the expansion.
  • The studio said among its chief story goals were tighter integration and not all cinematic moments happen in cutscenes. The choice to go darker and use fewer characters was also intentional.
  • Map-wide metas weren’t an intended part of the expansion, but maybe in the future. They’re watching to see what we do and will go from there.
  • Anet says it did indeed modify all the old maps in Tyria and Maguuma in order to add mounts.

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One Shots: Counting sheep

I might not pick one of Final Fantasy XIV’s Lalafell as an ideal combat companion, but when it comes to staging adorable photogenic moments? I would say that they are ideal.

Reader Vexia nodded off to a bunch of fluffy sheep in today’s headlining pic: “It’s totally worth it ’cause then you can count them all to fall asleep. I guess this qualifies as being ‘in my element’ too: surrounded by fluffy cuteness.”

Ack. We need a palette cleanser! Truck in some gratuitous gore and oversized spiders!

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Choose My Adventure: Following a god in Guild Wars 2

To my absolute lack of a surprise, the fact that your abilities are so aggressively limited once you pick an Elite Specialization in Guild Wars 2 came back to make this week a bit harder than it needed to be. But not, perhaps, as hard as it could have been. That’s something to discuss further on, though; for the moment, what’s more important is progressing along with the story of Path of Fire and figuring out who to support, who to ally with, and what Balthazar really wants.

Let me get my one complaint about the story thus far out of the way immediately: the game is bad about filling you in on what’s going on. I hit this a little bit last week when dealing with what I called the second reel of a film, but this week I actually had an easier time following along… because of existing knowledge about the world. Which is nice, certainly, but you should not need to functionally be a Tyrian historian just to understand the events taking place. The full weight? Sure. The meaning? No.

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Guild Wars 2 developers take players along for a Path of Fire trek

It’s a unique experience to be able to sit down and watch developers play the very game they made. Even if it gives you only a different perspective, sometimes it is worth the time to watch and learn a few new tricks.

Guild Wars 2’s development team recently took an hour out of its schedule to send a few members on a trek through Path of Fire and record the proceedings. Community Manager Rubi Bayer, Lead Designer Mike Zadorojny, and Game Designer Clayton Kisko sit down in front of the camera to get a little silly and subsequently explore the gorgeous new lands of the expansion.

Check it out after the break, and then get caught up on our own impressions a week in!

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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,” 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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