path of fire

Global Chat: World of Warcraft’s wild frontier

How is World of Warcraft like the wild west of American history and legend? Something about Barrens chat might come to mind, but blog Coffee Cakes and Crits has another view on the connection between the two.

“One of the ‘codes’ of the Old West was that you did not have to tell where you came from or why you were in the West,” he writes. “This code is exactly the same in the World of Warcraft. You don’t have to say what you do for a living or your military background or level of education. You don’t even have to claim a gender. It is what you do in the game that matters and you can go as far as you dare to try and, hopefully, try again. This is a very good thing.”

Continuing on with our tour of the MMO blogosphere this week, we’ll see a gut reaction to  the Secret World TV series announcement, impressions from the Path of Fire preview weekend, and more!

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The Daily Grind: Do you expect MMO expansions to include new classes, or is a new spec good enough?

Back when Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire was announced, a number of our commenters sparred over whether or not the game’s elite specs should more properly be considered and counted new classes. Some people argued that they were literally new classes; others maintained that the amount of class content in the specs, when taken together, surpassed merely adding a new class and a few new skills for existing classes. I tend to sit in the camp that says they’re not classes or the equivalent of classes, and while I’d personally rather have a new class and an excuse to roll a new toon, specs might be better anyway because they’re content for everybody.

It was a lively debate, one that suggested to me that an awful lot of us still expect new classes from MMORPG expansions. And now that we’ve had a weekend with Path of Fire’s elite specs, this seems a good time to ask: Is it true? Do you expect MMO expansion to include new classes? Where do you stand on things like “elite specs” in lieu of a new class to roll?

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Guild Wars 2’s second Path of Fire preview weekend is about to begin

Update: It’s live!

Didn’t get a chance to jump into Guild Wars 2 during last weekend’s Path of Fire preview weekend? You’re getting another chance today, although this leg of the event will focus on the game’s elite specs as they play in PvP, not the on the first PvE map and mounts.

We anticipate that it’ll launch any minute now based on last week’s start time. The weekend event will be followed up by the launch of PvP season 8.

Massively OP Guild Wars 2 columnist Tina Lauro Pollock deep-dived the expansion last weekend and delivered her thoughts in a special Flameseeker Chronicles yesterday, so tune in to that while you wait, and check out the dev diaries on all the elite specs down below. Will you be testing any out?

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Impressions of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire preview weekend experience

I’m delighted to have found a moment to bring you an extra edition of Flameseeker Chronicles that outlines my thoughts on the first Guild Wars 2Path of Fire preview weekend. From last Friday until Sunday, every player was invited along to take some tentative steps into the Crystal Desert and get to grips with the raptor mount. We were also treated to a little bit of introductory story that ties the new zone directly to the Living World Season 3 finale without missing a beat.

So today, I will break down my preview experience into the main points, including my highlights and unfortunately ending on a pretty crummy negative. I’m hoping that further development based on the feedback from this weekend will help to lessen or negate my issue though, so I won’t be frowning for very long! Note that this article will contain some spoilers regarding the introductory story, so it’s best avoided if you are waiting until September to find out more on that front.

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Global Chat: The MMO blogosphere’s reaction to Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire

It seems like the entire MMO blogosphere wanted to chip in thoughts on the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire announcement, whether or not each writer was playing the game. So what did they all think?

“Finally, something other than dragons to fight!” enthused Occasional Hero. “I love mounts. And I love leaping and jumping mounts,” wrote Aywren Sojourner. “BUT. We all know what else a mount system introduces — cash shop opportunities!”

GamingSF ran down the features, saying that he’s on the fence as to whether or not to come back: “The best way to know that, I suspect, is to play some of the game in the time between now and the 22nd of September.”

Not everyone is on board with the expansion. “The announcement did not in any way overcome my healthy skepticism of the ‘horizontal progression’ philosophy of the game,” chimed in Endgame Viable. And In An Age seems like he’d wants to play, but admits that the business model puts him in a “mental bind” regarding both expansions.

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Guild Wars 2 deep-dives Path of Fire’s elite specs for every class

ArenaNet has a new dev vlog out today focusing on the development of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire elite specs. Some of the class specs were born from a great name and concept, the studio says, like the Mesmer’s Mirage, whereas others were put together via a systematic review of game mechanics and consideration for what each class is currently lacking, like the Necromancer’s new support skills.

ArenaNet announced yesterday that it’ll be announcing even more (heh) about the elite specs throughout the week; expect the team’s livestream on Thursday ahead of the PvP preview weekend this Friday, then mount details on August 28th and story info coming at the beginning of September. In the meantime, the dev diary and the older elite spec videos roundup are down below.

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Leaderboard: Did Guild Wars 2’s preview weekend convince you to buy Path of Fire?

This past weekend, the gaming segment of my Twitter feed was positively dominated by chatter about Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion free preview weekend. I even saw a few of my guildies dip back in, which shouldn’t have surprised me — quite a lot of our readers and friends told us in last week’s Leaderboard poll that they had plans to try the free weekend, many of them no doubt trying to decide whether to buy it and return to the game or even play it for the first time.

The question is, did it work? Did Guild Wars 2’s preview weekend convince you to buy Path of Fire? Let’s hit the polls and find out.

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The Daily Grind: Are you a fan of Guild Wars 2’s non-traditional mounts?

Mounts are the big new thing in Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion, and as I’ve previously mentioned, I was initially concerned about their inclusion, given that traditional mounts would seem to necessitate a major revision of the game’s foundation. But of course, the new mounts aren’t traditional mounts; they seem more like toys to help players navigate parts of the world, not a second set of legs with a speed buff. I was OK with that; I was expecting, welcoming, something mundane and non-game-breaking.

But then my experience with the raptor mount in this weekend’s preview event actually impressed me: The raptor is astonishingly well-animated and genuinely fun (at least for those who don’t get motion sick), way better than a dumb toy or gimmick. While originally I rolled my eyes at the idea of romping around Elona on a dino, I surprised myself by enjoying whipping out rapty.

That said, I saw a lot of commentary this weekend from people who weren’t impressed — indeed, who talked themselves out of preorders specifically because of the mounts. The things I loved — the animations, the non-mandatory “toy” feel — seem to be huge turnoffs for other folks who want something more like, well, WoW. Is that you? Are you disappointed in the way the mount system works, or are you a fan of Guild Wars 2’s non-traditional mounts?

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PSA: Guild Wars 2’s mounts may be causing motion sickness issues

Longtime readers will know that we take motion sickness from games pretty darn seriously around here, given that we have a writer who’s been severely affected by some of the VR demos we’ve sent him to. So don’t read any judgment into this PSA: Multiple Guild Wars 2 testers participating in the Path of Fire preview weekend are reporting that they’re experiencing motion sickness, sometimes severe, while dealing with the game’s brand-new mount system, specifically because of the camera.

ArenaNet has apologized and said that the mounts team recommends lowering visual blur in the short-term as “they feel it may help with this problem.” Another user prone to motion sickness suggested a whole range of settings that are making mounts (or at least the demo raptor mount) usable for him.

“We’d love to hear from you if this adjustment is effective,” ANet’s Gaile Gray wrote. “Team members who have worked/are working on the mounts will be tracking this feedback!”

Source: Official forums. With thanks to CapnLan!

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Guild Wars 2’s free-play Path of Fire preview weekend is live

Update: It’s up, go go go!

Ahead of its September 22nd launch, Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion will be on public display this very weekend — likely starting early this afternoon, if past patches and tweets are any guide. ArenaNet has previously said we’ll be playing only the first chunk of the storyline and tripping to the Crystal Desert, where we can explore the Crystal Oasis map and test out the mount system with the raptor.

As a reminder, anyone can play this weekend, even if you’ve never purchased the base game (which has since gone free-to-play) or the Heart of Thorns expansion (which is not and will not be free-to-play), and yes, even if you have not yet preordered Path of Fire. That makes this weekend the perfect opportunity to decide whether it’s something you want to buy or skip. Are you giving it a go?

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The Daily Grind: How long before an MMO or expansion launch do you want to know about it?

I admit to being worried about Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion release as the year wore on and we’d still heard nothing. While I tried to reassure myself that the devs were just holding onto as much as they could so as not to spoil the whole season, I also kept reflecting on the long period between Heart of Thorns’ announcement and launch — the better part of a year. Whereas with Path of Fire, we’re getting barely two months. Is that too short? Which one will turn out to be better for revenue?

That’s a question Gamasutra asked earlier this month too; game devs polled offered a number of factors that weigh into when release dates are announced, ranging from “when it’s done” and when it’s “shippable with only reasonable regrets” to when there’s “a big press opportunity” (like a convention) or “what other games are already set to release.”

Let’s poll the MMO audience: How long before an MMO or expansion launch do you want to know about it? What’s the “sweet spot” time frame for announcing an MMO release date?

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Guild Wars 2’s new item identification system is a huge blessing for bloated inventories

WoodenPotatoes is continuing his huge Guild Wars 2 infodump on ArenaNet’s behalf with a few more videos you might want to peek at ahead of the Path of Fire preview weekend that begins tomorrow. Of note, he’s covered a couple of new features coming with the expansion, one of which was only rumored: the new identification system. As teased, gear drops will begin as unidentified, meaning gear of the same quality tier (we’ve seen just greens so far) will all stack (to 250) until you’ve ID’ed it (at a heart NPC). It’s a neat throwback to classic Guild Wars, but more importantly, it’s a huge boon for anyone who was frustrated with inventory bloat (and newbies just joining the game who don’t necessarily want to shell out for a ton of bag slots). Moreover, it appears we’re getting a reduction in the amount of crap being salvaged when we salvage-all.

There’s also a bit on the expansion maps’ repeatable hearts (akin to those in season 3) and the new bounty system, also a throwback to Guild Wars, which he suggests might be designed to appeal to more casual folks who already prefer large-scale open world events to organized raiding.

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Guild Wars 2 begins selling level 80 character boosts

Does anyone actually take a character to level 80 in Guild Wars 2 the normal way any more? With all of the boosts given out as daily rewards and for birthday presents, not to mention the free level-80 characters you get with the expansions, shortcuts might already seem like norm in a game with no level cap raises and zone scaling based on level. And now there’s another avenue to past progression: the Black Lion Trading Company.

For the first time, a level 80 character boost is available as a purchase in the game’s cash shop. It’s also available as part of a “preparation pack” for Path of Fire, which also contains an additional character slot, two bag slot expansions, an unbreakable gathering tools container, and some lockbox keys.

Speaking of the expansion, Dulfy has a preview of some of the new armor and weapon designs that you will be able to accumulate when Path of Fire releases next month, along with weapons that each new elite specialization will boast. Don’t you need a dose of eye candy today?

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