In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to explore ArenaNet’s radical choice more thoroughly as I look at the rationale behind a level-neutral expansion and the general perception-shaking outlook behind the decision. Heart of Thorns is most definitely a playground, readers, and ArenaNet is well-accustomed to surviving in the heat of the MMO jungle in the least expected ways.
Never before have I seen Guild Wars 2’s Dry Top and the Silverwastes hive with such activity as we’ve seen this week. In case you’ve been living under a rock since the announcement, the bright sparks at ArenaNet decided to make gaining access to the next round of beta testing a little more interesting by introducing a rare portal item drop from enemies and event chests in both zones that guarantees beta access. The quirky level 80 zones mentioned above aren’t exactly my favourite spots in Tyria (read that with a high-pitched Irish lilt that’s dripping sarcasm, folks!), so high-tailing it through these areas most definitely feels like a grind to me.
In this issue of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to talk about my views on the RNG method of assigning beta spots and a brief synopsis of my portal-hunting strategy. For full disclosure, I’ve put two days into scouring the area so far but have had no luck in looting a portal just yet; there’s nothing you can do to absolutely guarantee that you’ll find a portal, even if your methods are solid. If you’re still searching too, perhaps you’ll find my ramblings useful as you go! Good luck with your search, and happy hunting, everybody!
The PvP team at ArenaNet is steadily gearing up for the release of the Heart of Thorns expansion, with the PvP-inclined among the Guild Wars 2 playerbase being treated to a 24-hour open beta Stronghold event last week. I don’t know about you lot, but I found the Stronghold open beta experience to be very interesting and perhaps even game-changing for me. I was invited along by the team to join forces with other journalists and ANet staff, including Game Director Colin Johanson, in an epic battle across the Champion’s Dusk map during the day-long playtesting period.
My name is Tina and I am PvP-phobic. I have an embarrassingly poor track record in PvP, opting instead to sink my time into PvE adventures rather than bashing my toon against the might of other players. PvP usually switches me right off, presenting a very steep learning curve that’s quite unforgiving for a curious explorer like me. But I put my dread aside and threw myself headlong into the perilous fray of Stronghold this week in order to sum up the experience for an edition of Flameseeker Chronicles… and was pleasantly surprised!
I had the pleasure of chatting with Scott McGough, a Guild Wars 2 narrative designer who is currently working hard on Heart of Thorns content, about two new Hylek tribes that we’ll be meeting in the Maguuma Jungle. In this special edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, we have all the juicy details about how the two tribes come together to survive in the hostile jungle environment, with hints galore about how those races are equipped for combat and how they might perceive the players’ characters.
The Itzel and Nuhoch Hylek tribes are very different from each other, yet the Heart of Thorns narrative has deeply tied them together in their mutual battle against the dangers the jungle holds, especially the Mordrem. The Itzel are happy-go-lucky iridescent tree dwellers based on treefrogs that believe the jungle provides for all their needs, and their Nuhoch cousins are goliath bullfrogs that prefer to use brute strength and epic belly flops to solve their problems.
McGough will be publishing a blog post about the Hylek tribes on the official Guild Wars 2 website on Thursday, and this will be supported by a Points of Interest show this Friday that will give us a first glimpse of some of the places where players will interact with the Nuhoch and Itzel as well as some of their combat moves. Points of Interest will air on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel at 12 p.m. PT. Read on for the mammoth full interview, but be careful if you are worried about spoilers!
Guild Wars 2 makes me tick because the creatives at ArenaNet have laid such a unique and amazingly vast world at my character’s feet, filled with a plethora of different colours, sights, sounds, and peoples. As a ravenous explorer, I adore how diverse the scenery is in Tyria: My wanders can take me to such diverse environments, from the snowy tundra of the Shiverpeaks, indelibly marked by the ravages of the mountain’s inhabiting Elder Ice Dragon Jormag, to the seared planes of war-torn Ascalon, huge expanses of barren wasteland sporadically dotted with the last remnants of the lush environs that once comprised the area. Sometimes beautifully picturesque, other times realistically gritty, and even sometimes truly touching, every little crevice of Tyria holds something interesting to see.
Devotees of the scenic route are rewarded for their exploits with vistas, strategically positioned interactive spots that provide the MMO rambler a visual treat in the form of sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding region. Players usually enjoy the challenge of reaching some of the more out-of-the-way locations, even if I always curse profusely at my not-so-dexterous fingers when solving some jump puzzles. For this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’d like to round up a list of my personal favourite vistas in no particular order. Ranking them seems quite impossible and subjective, but this is a rundown of those that I’ve oohed and aahed at most. I’d love to hear your list of top vistas. Whether it’s the challenge of reaching them, the view you find when you get there, or the lore of the zone, let me know in the comments which vistas are your favourite and why.
Since my last edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, ArenaNet has released the eagerly anticipated camera patch, and I have been squealing with delight while enjoying the new character-specific perspective these controls have given me. The relatively simple new camera toolset makes me very excited for the future of Guild Wars 2, as familiar areas in Tyria now feel very different depending on which of my characters I play.
Before launching into my rather gushing rambles about the Lock to Character Height and First Person options, however, I should briefly highlight that the patch did cause a number of serious ongoing issues. I had anticipated the odd bug or two when the patch was initially delayed from its original launch date of March 10th; I’m very sympathetic to development delays and the occasional glitch since I work in game development myself (it’s not an MMO) and have been in this boat before. Having said that, this patch caused a surprising number of serious bugs that really should have been squashed before the patch ever was exposed to the masses.
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.