Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tunnel Vision

The official announcement of GW2's second expansion, Path of Fire and more particularly its unexpectedly imminent arrival, has had an all-too-predictable effect on my gaming these last few weeks. Prior to the drop I had been juggling several games quite effectively but now it seems to be all GW2 all the time.

Large numbers of familiar names are reappearing, both in the open world and in WvW, some of which I can't remember seeing for a year or more. As Zoso observes, there's nothing like a new expansion to remind people an MMO actually exists.

Unlike some other MMOs - probably most of them, now I come to think of it - there isn't a lot anyone needs to do to prepare for a GW2 expansion. All you need is a Level 80 character and you get one of those with the download.

Not only that but it comes fully equipped and ready to go. Decently equipped at that. I recently used the Level 80 boost I got when I added Heart of Thorns to my second account and I've been doing HoT content and WvW very comfortably in just what came out of the box.

EQ2 came under some considerable criticism last year for the inadequacies of the gear that came with its max-level boost. Kaozz was by no means alone in her disappointment over both the initial difficulty of the expansion and the unfriendliness of its systems and processes towards those who keep a large stable of alts.

This time it seems they have taken considerable steps to avoid those pitfalls, not least with the excellent "Days of Summer" series of quests. Just to make sure there's no doubt that this year will be different, Kander makes it plain:

"Alts and new players will have virtually no pre-reqs for expansion 14 content. We’re even going to gear your alts and new players for said content before they begin. The plan is to make the new content easier for alts to go through after the initial pass."

We'll see how that goes when the still-unnamed, still-no-release-date expansion arrives. I'm sure that no matter how carefully DBG prepare, the general attitude will be that it's not been enough.

The only significant pre-expansion warm-up I had in mind for Path of Fire was a quick run-through of Guild Wars "Nightfall" expansion to give me a chance of recognizing at least a few of the threatened promised flurry of references and in-jokes.

It's not going all that well. The initial cakewalk, when I was heavily over-levelled, didn't last long. Now the mobs are mostly a couple of levels above me and everything's a slog. I have a few basic tactics down but I'm just not interested enough to practice placing my Heroes properly. Mostly I clump them up around M.O.X. while I stand back and try, not very successfully, not to get killed.

For all that GW veterans like to rip on the writing and storytelling in GW2, I can's say I'm finding the older game an improvement. The dialog is mostly hokey, the voice acting, when there is any, is stiff (as are the cut scenes, but that's an aging game thing) and the plot has yet to grab me.

As for the Heroes and their many catchphrases, clearly a cracker factory somewhere missed out on a valuable joke-writer when ANet snapped them up. I really don't think "I can kill you with my brain" works as a battle cry, even for an Asura, although "I've been thinking about the Charr. I think they can be domesticated." did raise a smile.

At the moment I can't entirely see the point of finishing Nightfall but I will probably grind through a few more sessions before the sequel arrives. At which point I don't imagine I'll be playing anything else for quite a while.

Whether that's a good thing I'm not entirely sure...


  1. If you have trouble surviving GW perhaps you should take a look at some builds for the game for inspiration:

    The team builds, especially 7 Hero Player Support, 3 Hero Spiritway or 3 Hero Discordway make PVE a cakewalk.

    But then you have to unlock all the skills you need for this or buy the hero skill unlock pack from the store. Welcome to GW1 :) It took me ages to unlock all the skills and i think i have a few elite skills still locked despite having played way over 1k hours.

    1. Thanks for that - I'll take a look. I have played a fair bit of GW1 before and I know it takes time and effort to get team composition and skills set up in a way that works, especially if you're trying to solo the Campaigns. The main issue is that I'm insufficiently motivated this time around.

      I always found GW a lot more enjoyable in a duo, not least because Mrs Bhagpuss was always better at the game than me, but she's not interested in playing through Nightfall and I'm certainly not interested enough to go looking for anyone else to join me!


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide