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.
Raids need 10 players, and we’ll have one raid to begin with
First things first: Raid teams will need 10 players, the first raid will unlock shortly after HoT rolls out, and although only the first wing opens initially, we’ll eventually have access to three raid wings in there. In the first of these raid wings, we’ll find three challenging bosses to pummel into the ground and an event that will see our characters fleeing for their lives. Players start off the road to raiding in search of a missing Pact recon squad.
No attunements or gear grinds required
The ArenaNet team was very careful to point out that grouping up for raids is only as difficult as partying up and entering the instance. We won’t need to go through attunement quests or grind for a certain type of gear to enter either, so raiding will be pretty immediately available to us once it rolls out shortly after the expansion hits this October.
Event-based encounters will add to the strategic layer of raiding
Raiding in GW2 will be quite unique, thanks in no small part to the use of the game’s existing event mechanics, so expect plenty of timed actions, enemy wave missions, and sieges as a staple in your raiding repertoire. Each encounter will present us with an almost puzzle-like challenge that the collective must solve through solid teamwork combined with trail and error. Events will most definitely tie into the pressure that the raids will pile onto a team.
Traditional raid mechanics are thrown into the usual GW2 mix
I’ve mentioned the unique aspects of GW2‘s raiding system, but we’ll also encounter some more traditional raid mechanics that we’ll be familiar with from other MMOs. Expect to see the use of kiting, role assignment, damage maximisation, field control, add summoning, and enrage timers. The bosses get harder as you progress through the raid wings, upping the relative challenge offered by the content as you progress.
Build roles and play roles will push us out of our comfort zones
OK, I’ll grant you that we’re not going to be prompted with a role check in HoT. But the division of labour into both build and play roles is going to be vital to your raiding success. Build roles should be seen as the character-level utility preparation for raids that encompasses skill, trait, weapon, and armour choice. You’ll be stretched and pushed into using combinations and weapon types that you wouldn’t normally consider, so raids will definitely help us explore the full capabilities of our chosen professions. Play roles, on the other hand, refer to the on-the-field tasks assigned on the player level. This will include tasks such as kiting the boss or a specific add type, for example.
Masteries will be critical to raiding success
Although we aren’t expected to maximise every mastery in order to complete raids, the HoT mastery system will be a key part of our raid prep and success. Each raid release will be accompanied by raid-specific masteries that will give the raid designers a larger toolset to wow us with while also adding a much-needed sense of progression to the raid system. The raids won’t be immediately activated upon the expansion’s launch in order to give us time to work on masteries and enjoy the expansion without rushing it in order to be immediately raid-ready.
Rewards will be legendaries, and we’ll get an armour set
A raid wouldn’t be a raid without some fat loot at the end of the struggle! ArenaNet is remaining very tight-lipped about what those rewards will be, but we’ve been promised a blog post on the raid legendaries in the not-too-distant future. So far, we know that we can earn rewards once a week from raiding, but there’s no lockout for the actual content, allowing us to run raids over again to work on strategy or to help out friends. Aside from legendary armour precursors, we’ll find other fun goodies such as titles, weapon skins, and miniatures. The legendary set will feature changeable stats (yay!) and will animate beautifully in combat.
Guild hall trophies will be a thing!
This was expected when the guild hall reveal happened, but the raid announcements confirmed that some of the bosses will drop trophies that can be used as decorations in guild halls. Yipee!
Want to know more?
Our very own Larry Everett was on the show floor at PAX Prime during the big raiding reveal, and he also had the chance to sit down with Colin Johanson and Mike O’Brien to discuss all things raiding. Keep up with the official website’s forum and the Guild Wars 2 Reddit for on-the-fly clarifications and other communication, and keep your eyes peeled for the promised blog posts regarding raiding masteries and the legendary armour sets.
My initial impressions
Now that I’ve info-dropped for you, I suppose I should throw in my two cents on the raiding announcements. I’m cautiously optimistic at this stage, although I do worry about how the raid will stay relevant after I’ve crushed its bosses several times over and gained the rewards I care about. I’m hoping that we’ll hear more about future raiding plans not long after Heart of Thorns releases because a single raid isn’t going to stretch very far, even if it is the most challenging thing to come out of GW2 to date. I don’t want this promising content to become stale because of a lack of development on the raiding content front.
Having said that, I’m definitely a fan of the blend of traditional raiding tropes with the unique mechanics offered in GW2 and particularly in HoT. This is the kind of mastery system use I was hoping for when I was learning more about the system during Gamescom, so I’m delighted to see context-specific masteries for specific raid wings. I’m also looking forward to seeing the raid rewards come to life, especially the legendary armour set. All in all, I can totally see and appreciate the massive amount of hard work that’s clearly been put into developing the system, and I reckon that raiding might be just the ticket for encouraging free players to splash their hard-earned cash on the expansion.
Over to you!
So, does anyone fancy being in my raiding team? What do you think about the raid reveal? Will you be completing this content, or do you play Guild Wars 2 because the usual raiding culture doesn’t appeal to you? Was there anything you didn’t expect in the reveal? If you stopped playing, will raids entice you back? As ever, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section.