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.
That isn’t to say that the title doesn’t have faults. In fact, while GW2 has addressed no small number of troubles from its original launch (which is very much to its credit), the five big issues that I talked about way back in 2012 are still very much present. Roles are still muddled and unclear, crafting is still a mess, area flow remains poor, dynamic events and hearts still don’t really replace questgivers, and the story still has problems.
At the same time, all of those issues are smaller. Yes, roles are still muddled and unclear, but picking out a build and what you want your character to be doing is made much more straightforward; you’re picking from a more constrained and directed group of options that give you an idea of your end goal. Area flow is still kind of messy, but the sheer volume of stuff at 80 and the options to dig into that means that it’s a temporary problem rather than a major one. Story may not be where it needs to be, but the story of Path of Fire is leaps and bounds ahead of the personal story from launch, and the later maps do a better job with events and hearts on a whole.
The crafting system, unfortunately, is still kind of a mess. But the point remains that while the issues are there, they haven’t been ignored; it’s just that several of them have kind of persisted by nature rather than laziness.
For all these flaws, GW2 also does a lot of things right, which I’ve been talking about over the past several weeks. It might not facilitate group content very well, but it certainly manages to give you plenty to juggle on your own; it’s not good at conveying stories about what else is going on a zone aside from your personal story, but it clearly has those tales. And at the end of the day, it’s fun to play, which is the whole point of having an MMO.
Some people are already complaining that there’s not much to do with the expansion, and while I don’t exactly agree with the sentiment, I can understand where it’s coming from. There is, technically, plenty more to do, but it doesn’t feel like it’s work toward much of anything so much as hedging against future updates. You aren’t climbing upward or even sideways; you’re banking up currency and points in case you’ll want them for the next expansion or the one after that.
Heck, I know that I’m going to find myself with a sense of “now what” after I finish going back through the game myself with a fresh character. The difference, though, is that there is a lot of game to get through before that, and you can skip out on parts that you find particularly unpleasant (which was what Heart of Thorns wound up for many people). And only some of that is the result of the game’s design decisions, when I’ve found myself with the same sentiment in World of Warcraft.
GW2 does not fundamentally change the MMO paradigm; it tried to tear a whole lot of things out without replacing them, and the result was mostly demonstrating why those things were there in the first place. At the same time, it has wound up finding a lot of ideas and fun bits that work surprisingly well, so even with its flaws, it remains fun to play and diverse. It really needs a better handling of some parts of its design, like elite spec access (it’s kind of odd to advertise something players can’t actually access without playing most of the expansion or just banking points), but that doesn’t derail all of the components of the game that work very well.
And you know, I really like Elona. That covers a multitude of sins.
So I’m going to be going back, catching back up with the story, starting from the bottom and working my way up to get better acquainted with the game. This time, when I get to Elona, I think I’ll be better prepared for it. I don’t really have a timetable for it, but this time it’ll be on my own terms and at my own pace.
Whether or not that’ll last is another matter. Hey, this is further than other games have gotten, so let’s take our victories.
It’s a secret to absolutely no one
Bree and I discussed our next destination a bit before we realized, perhaps belatedly, that there’s really only one option for a game that I’ll be starting up just a bit after Halloween. (It’s all good, since I celebrate Halloween from August until January.) So I’ll be heading into Funcom’s massive retooling of The Secret World, better known as Secret World Legends, perhaps even better known as New England: The Game.
Look, it makes sense if you live here, I promise.
We did discuss other potential titles, and those titles will get their days in the sun as well; I realize that this is unusual, as this marks the third title in a row that we’ve decided on without a poll. But let’s remember that this is starting up just after Halloween, which means that in any poll you would have really just had two options. You could vote for Secret World Legends, or you could be wrong, because what other game could be thematically appropriate for November?
Salem, I suppose, but there isn’t enough interest to make that worthwhile.
At any rate, I do have some history with the original version of the title, but not the relaunch… but we can talk more about that next week. For now, you can leave your feedback in the comments below or send it along to email@example.com. I’ll see you with the first set of polls next time around.