Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Library Priviliges : GW2

Last night I completed the Living Story element of the Echoes of the Past update. It took me about three hours, thirty minutes of which was taken up by the extremely tedious, annoying, arbitrary, yet somehow obligatory, final "epic" boss fight. Okay, maybe it wasn't a full half hour but it certainly felt like it.

To set against that single blemish, because other than that one fight I loved the entire thing, there's the three-quarters of an hour I spent exploring the jaw-droppingly magnificent Durmand Priory Library. If only the "books" were written with the same loving care and attention to detail as the artists lavished on the visuals, rather than resembling, as they do, single pages from reading primers for the under-fives. Even so, though the prose style may leave much (or all) to be desired, the content was fascinating.

The episode was short, even by Living Story standards. If you exclude the time spent gawping and taking screenshots (I just counted them. I took seventy-five, most of which I can't use yet, because spoilers) then it probably wouldn't have filled more than an hour and a half.

I'll take a top-notch ninety minutes over a lack-luster few hours any day but of course, while the instances are the major contribution to the story, they are only a small part of the content drop in full. Much more substantial in terms of occupying the average player's time over the next couple of weeks and more will be the new map, The Silverwastes.

This looks like a really substantial addition to the explorable landmass and an intriguing one. It appears to be at least as big as the whole of the previous new map, Dry Top, which was drizzled out over several episodes. It's accessed through the now-abandoned Bandit Fort in Brisban Wildlands,the one that so puzzled people since launch, inaccessible as it was, being guarded by numerous Level 80 legendary mobs. Maybe we'll finally find out who they were and what they were up to, although never, I'm sure, how they became so insanely strong.

So far I've only had a chance to explore a small portion but it's very impressive. The opening area, where the Iron Legion engineers are building and repairing aerial craft for the Pact is simply marvelous. It brought back the full gosh-wow awe I felt when I first stepped out onto the steel walkways of The Black Citadel, still my favorite location in all Tyria.

In terms of gameplay, the open raid mechanics of Dry Top would seem to have been refined and flavored with a very generous seasoning of WvW. Mrs Bhagpuss is out there right now learning the ropes and working on her achievements, which she says are definitely manageable. I've barely spent half an hour there so far but I escorted a bull laden with supplies, which felt exactly like running in a Yak in the Borderlands, only on speed, and defended a fort, which felt moderately like defending a tower.

Whether there's an ulterior motive to this cross-pollination of in-game sub genres or whether its just creative imagination at play remains to be seen. It looks like fun though and that's what matters. In the short term, anyway.

I'm off to find out more.


  1. If it's any consolation, my wife was butting her head against the last boss in the new chapter for a good 3/4 of an hour on Tuesday night. I was half-asleep by this time, so I'm not sure what the issue was, but even half-asleep I could make out her levels of frustration. Luckily there's no repair cost in GW2 any more, and the boss didn't regen health in between attempts, so at least persistence will get you through. But yeah... gorgeous looking area, awful looking fight.

    1. That's a co-incidence. I had an early start so I went to bed and left Mrs Bhagpuss still at it The last thing I heard was her roundly complaining about that fight and how not fun it was. She was halfway through it at that point.

      I haven't been back for the second round on my other account yet. As you say, there's no risk of not being able to finish it - it's just one of those tedious chores that it's easier to put off than get down to - not a great recommendation for something that's supposed to be entertainment.

  2. I'm honestly excited for the PvE/WvW experiment. Haven't been able to try it out (Curse you work!) but the idea makes me giddy.


    1. It's very entertaining in its way and I enjoyed it a lot while I was doing it. It has to be said, though, that I haven't been back yet and I don't find myself thinking of doing so. It's a bit tiring on a work night - very noisy and non-stop. MUCH more tiring than WvW.


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