Flameseeker Chronicles is back, now under new management! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to write the fortnightly column about all things Guild Wars 2. Some of you might remember me from my previous brief stint writing for Massively-of-old when I started the MMO Mechanics column back in late 2013. I’m delighted to be back on board at Massively Overpowered; it’s now time to hang out with the gang on the brand-new OP yacht that your Kickstarter support made possible and get back to writing!
I may have already mentioned some bouncing-off-the-walls excitement at having the privilege of pouring Guild Wars 2 themed words out onto your screens, but it may well earn another mention because it makes me so dang glad. My excitement for the column stands as a testament to how solid the GW2 experience is; it has a special place in my gaming life because it brings something entirely unique to my usual MMO gaming repertoire.
I fancy myself as a bit of an MMO explorer, living to find beautiful places that are off the beaten track where amazing sights can be enjoyed. Guild Wars 2 is one of the most visually stunning MMOs on the market. To me, it’s like playing inside a beautifully illustrated storybook that I never want to step away from. Breathtaking vistas greet my character around each and every corner, making gaming sessions a visual delight. Even commonplace, well-known areas like Rata Sum are a treat for the peepers; floating, whizzing, and whirring contraptions juxtapose with the untamed wild environs that encapsulate the Asuran capital spectacularly.
The Living World is gripping, and each in-game moment seems real and transient because of the story’s natural and inevitable progression. Having a living story makes me invest much more time into GW2 since I feel as though I’m missing out if I take a break. Moreover, I am rewarded for the time I spend playing since the rich and evolving lore gives my in-game actions meaning, which is what I most adore about MMOs and both Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 specifically. The narrative has a historical and progressive weight to it that is superior to those in my other MMO favourites.
NPC encounters are more meaningful and those loveable, flawed, realistic characters will continue to orbit in and out of my character’s world as we move through the seasons. There are some that have made an indelible mark on this gamer’s soul; I dare you to encounter darling Taimi on your virtual travels and not fall in love with her pep, positivity, and strength. Having a form of dwarfism myself, I crack with laughter every time she says, “Look at me, I’m taller than you!” when she’s inside Scruffy, her disability aid golem who acts as her legs. It’s just such a realistic way to cover up the awkwardness that sometimes faces those of us living with disabilities, and it’s the kind of silly line I throw out when I’ve got a rare height advantage on someone because of geography or posture. Who wouldn’t love a story that captures moments like that?
There couldn’t be a better time to be taking over the Flameseeker Chronicles reins; we’re eagerly anticipating the Heart of Thorns closed beta. There’s no pesky NDA stopping all the juicy details (and inevitable hang gliding stunt videos) from circulating freely across the interwebs, and some lucky devil got his hands-on time with the expansion and the Revenant just last week. When we aren’t all obsessively ensuring that we signed up for ArenaNet emails and performing disturbingly regular beta invite checks in our inboxes, we can instead bite our nails in anticipation of the camera patch that should have been with us on March 10th while planning our first wave of character-free screenshots.
The previous GW2 columnists are very hard acts to follow; Anatoli, Lis, and Rubi were so talented, even in their harshest criticism, that ArenaNet itself saw fit to yoink them all. I hope I can teeter around in their very large shoes, even if I can’t quite fill them. One thing is for sure, though: The future of GW2 looks pretty amazing right now, and there’s plenty to write about over the months (and hopefully years) ahead. I hope you enjoy my offerings as we step away from Tyria for a while to chat about the game that we love so much.