Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Guild Wars 2 And The Telaran Takeover

Rift Hunting Portal

I'd be overstating things if I suggested I'd been in two minds whether or not to buy Secrets of the Obscure, the upcoming Guild Wars 2 expansion, when it releases on 22 August. I really haven't been thinking about it at all. 

I played GW2 pretty much without a break for more than a decade, from launch until early this year, when I finally drifted away but I can honestly say I haven't missed the game since I stopped. I get the ocasional email from ArenaNet telling me what's going on but I don't bother opening most of them. I see news items about the game on various websites but I rarely read past the headlines.

I did pay a bit more attention to the news there was going to be an expansion this summer, following the previously-announced change of emphasis on content delivery as it transitioned from free Living Story updates to regular paid DLC. I wasn't expecting anything to come of it quite so soon. I thought I'd have at least until the autumn to build up a sufficient degree of nostalgic fondness to make me consider coming back.

In the event, the new expansion is arriving before I've had the chance to start missing the game and it certainly doesn't help that what's been advertised looks like a relatively small-scale affair largely made up of scraps, for which we'll be asked to pay almost as much as we did for a full-scale expansion. The ridiculous name didn't do much to build any enthusiasm, either.

Today I finally saw something that made me think I might want to think about buying the thing when it comes out after all. Realistically, I was always going to buy it eventually. I just imagined I could probably leave it perfectly well until next year. Or the year after.

What changed my mind? Or, I should say, what may have changed my mind, if I've come to a firm decision, which I haven't, yet, and if my mind had been made up to begin with, which it wasn't?

It was the email to the left and the press release on the GW2 Website to which it links that did it.

I've only reproduced part of the email but it's the relevant part, although the news that Zojja's back with Felicia Day voicing her very definitely did not hurt. 

But I already knew that and it hadn't been enough to rekindle my interest sufficiently to change anything. So what, exactly, did?

It was this: in a move so meta-ironic it makes me wonder what decade we're in, GW2 is turning itself into Rift. 

Literally. Don't believe me? Have it direct from the Marketing Dept.'s mouth, then:

        Rift Hunting

"With the help of the Heart of the Obscure, you’ll find nascent rifts across Tyria. Fully opening a rift will reveal Kryptis invaders who were roaming Tyria while hidden from sight. Defeat enough of them, and a more formidable champion will appear for you to face. Taking down the final Kryptis target will allow you to close the rift and will grant you Kryptis essence: powerful material you can use to craft weapons, armor, legendary armor, and bait to lure out deadlier Kryptis from rifts.

At launch, you’ll be able to find rifts in several explorable zones in Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure areas, central Tyria, Cantha, and the Crystal Desert. Rift activity in explorable zones not associated with Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure will cycle on a weekly basis. If you use the Heart of the Obscure in maps without active Kryptis rifts, you’ll get pointed to those that have them. In a future update, you’ll be able to progress to even deadlier hunts designed for larger groups of players.

The enemies coming out of a rift scale with the size of the group fighting it. That means that you can party up with friends for rift hunts, weave them into other open-world activities you’re doing, and even help out if you come across a stranger fighting to close a rift in the wild."

That is the exact premise on which Trion originally marketed their 2011 MMORPG "Rift", which came out a year before Guild Wars 2 and which undoubtedly broke ground for GW2's "mould-breaking" hot-join, open world group and zerg playstyle. They haven't even bothered to change what they're calling the damn things. They're rifts ffs!

Rift was a good game in 2011. I played the hell out of it for six months. I wouldn't mind another run. Of course, Rift is still around but it's a Gamigo ghost-world now. Good luck finding enough people running around there to do rifts the way they were meant to be done.

If ArenaNet fancy turning parts of GW2 into a Rift-revival theme park then I don't mind taking a few rides. I'm minded to buy the expansion now just so I can enjoy the frenzy of the first week or two before it all quietens down.

That said, GW2 is far better set to keep content like this active over the medium and long term than most games. I mean, people still do those bandit fights and they haven't been relevant content for more than half a decade. It's also a step back down the road along which I feel GW2 should never have stopped travelling, so I feel kind of honor-bound to support it.

I guess I'll be going back to Tyria towards the end of the month, then. At least for a while. I'm not sure if it's a welcome return or I'm being reeled back in...


  1. Rift is one of those "if I won the lottery" items for me. If I won the lottery (with enough money) I'd try to buy it outright from Gamigo and basically "reset" Rift back to it's original state and then go off in a different direction than it did.

    1. If you ever do, you ought to reset it al the way back to the pre-launch beta weekends. That was the best version.

    2. I agree with you, Bhaggy. That pre-launch weekend was so good, I thought seriously about playing Rift. Alas that back then it meant I needed a subscription, because I could only afford one at the time.


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