It ain’t the end of the world.
Nor was the announcement as ideal or detailed as one had hoped, but about as decent as it could be, I guess.
Raids are now confirmed to exist as a 10-person instanced challenging group content that will test the abilities of players to coordinate and use GW2’s action combat system to its fullest potential.
No attunements – so we at least avoid the ludicrous 12-step hamster wheel to even qualify to enter a raid. Apparently you just walk up to the door and you can go in to get your face smashed any time you’d like.
However, it -is- going to involve the heavy use of Masteries to get certain phases completed.
The example given was that one group would have to clear an escape path before the big ol’ raid boss nuked everyone to kingdom come, while the other group kept big ol’ raid boss distracted/controlled/damaged, and then everyone would have to run the hell away to the edge and glide around for a bit while said nuke went off.
Sorry, guys, while this is not an attunement per se, imo, this is pre-required grind with a different name. If your gliding mastery ain’t high enough, you’re not going to stay aloft for that long, right?
The only mitigating factor is that you’d probably only need a few specific Masteries for specific raid bosses (once the strategies are figured out) so that newcomers would only have to do that bit of ‘lateral’ progression grind.
It was repeatedly stressed that all the classes (ahem, professions) in GW2 are capable of builds that produce damage/control/support (aka fluid combat roles) so that you could play your favorite profession, rather than be forced to wait around for half an hour for a healer to be available, or be asked to play another profession cos X other player isn’t around…
… good and sound, in theory. We’ll see how long that lasts in the hands of players, who are liable to decide that Y class brings the most Z to the table, and therefore Y class is the meta.
I’m not sure what to think regarding the specific number of 10.
On one hand, the low number (aka 2 groups) does provide an arrangement where each player can play a visible important role that isn’t drowned out by visual chaos. It’s easier to match schedules for a smaller group of players, and so on.
On the other hand, if you’re the 11th player, it may not be that easy to find raid-ready groups.
We’ve yet to see just how the formation of this would play out though – can a randomly assembled PUG of 10 be expected to manage the difficulty, or is it going to be a more guild/teamspeak-only kind of affair? Dunno. We’ll have to see.
The big raid reward announcement is that it’s going to be possible to get Legendary armor off raids. Which is really good and appropriate, imo.
Stat-wise, no different from Ascended gear, but it’ll still have that piece by piece build up and show off factor, AND be extra-convenient for stat-switching… which you might expect future raids to require (shifting from zerker to tankier soldier or nomads to some kind of condi, or what have you.)
We’ve yet to see if this is going to come via random RNG drop or some form of gradual earning/token buy system though. The website phrasing says “earn” so hopefully, the latter is the case or is at least possible.
I’m not sure if the concept of Legendary armor imposes any kind of mandatory pressure to raiding. I don’t -think- so, given that the stats are the same as Ascended, and the existing concept of Legendary weapons being entirely optional. But I’m not sure how others might perceive it.
The other piece of good news is that GW2 raids will make use of the dynamic event system, so that has the potential for a goodly amount of task flexibility (beyond kill giant boss monster) and event chaining for raid content.
The underlying principles of no insane vertical gear progression and trying to cut out all the inconvenient and annoying aspects of raiding, while keeping the good stuff, were repeatedly stressed as well.
The concept of making Heart of Thorns basically contain ‘endgame’ content for all and sundry, of which one subset are PvE players who like raids, (PvP players included, though I note they carefully didn’t mention WvW players) was also covered.
So at least the heart, philosophy and plan are in the right places… even if the reality might not quite match up to the hoped-for plan once it comes into effect…
I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see how it all plays out.
I’m not super-stoked, but I’m not freaking out either – which about as much as could be expected, I guess.