GW2: Ok…So They Went There…

So the Aug 30 announcement of the Living World: Icebrood Saga contained:

  • Next episodes of Living World/Story announced / Lore drops / Hints at map direction / showing off some environments and level design
  • An assurance that an expansion’s worth of content will be bundled into the staggered release format
  • Some shiny mount/weapon/armor skins
  • Some ridiculously grindy long term Legendary sort of item to construct
  • Jewelcrafting to 500?
  • Some brief allusion to fractal/raid to keep the difficult group content subset dangling
  • Build templates
  • Something to help WvW or PvP (vaguely)
  • New elite specs
  • Variant difficulties to raids (easier to repeatable CMs)
  • New weapon types?
  • Cantha
  • Ships (ie. above water and underwater mounts)
  • Improved Guild Halls and Guild Missions
  • Personal Housing (or improved decorating / player placed features for home instances, etc.)
  • Underwater combat

On the bright side, I guess one can say that one nailed it essentially 100%.

Though if anyone was trying to play GW2 announcement bingo, I’m not sure there’s enough to fill up a complete row. Reddit is going to be a bloodbath for a while.

I am cheered by one thing – we do now have official confirmation (not just speculation) that we’ll be checking out the northernmost Frozen Shiverpeaks and the charr homelands, and that Jormag is next.

Though it is predictable, it looks fairly lore rich, lets us hang out with and learn more about the charr and norn (and kodan) cultures – which are some of the more uniquely GW2 racial offerings – and hints at a tiny bit more worldbuilding than we’ve seen of late.

The art is still good, but the actual gameplay stuff looks sketchy, like they’ve been working pretty darned hard to pull off this much to show after the layoffs. It’s going to take some time to ramp up, I hope they can pull it off.

Build templates confirmed. Which is probably the best news there is. Only took 7 years, but better late than never, right? As mentioned in the previous post, that actually demonstrates that the current team can pull off a long term, ‘new feature’ project/improvement, even if they had to tweak/invent/change a million things to get there.

Vague allusions to PvP and WvW were had. Swiss style tournaments for PvP and concept art of new armor sets for it, allowing me to cross off two rows based on something that took 30 seconds to say. And they are still trying to work out how to automate WvW restructuring, which might be months away, and I guess one can read between the lines of that item fairly obviously.

I -was- pleasantly surprised with the revelation of strike missions, aka probably easier mode pickup raids in the vein of what we’ve seen in Dragon Bash. That is, a stepping stone to getting more people familiar with some version of instanced content, and allowing for repeatable group content that doesn’t require a formal LFG or more intense style of group formation. We’ll see how that one works out?

Things that weren’t on my list:

Masteries linked with the Norn spirits. I’d kinda assumed masteries would come with Living World drops. Sounds like a more lore-based take on masteries, though I’m not sure if there will be any story that comes with that, or just an excuse for some extra lateral skills with long cooldowns after a bunch of running around pressing F on things.

Charr rock bands. Ice elemental construct mini-boss fight in either the Prologue or Episode 1, can’t quite recall the details. Drakkar Lake monster might be a little less frozen in Episode 2.

A sudden realization as to why the marketing of GW2 is so terribly off tune most of the time. Let’s just say you need to watch the stream/video up to a certain point where you CRINGE and then the revelation unfolds.

Several surprisingly decent marketing items, including a 20th anniversary GW1/GW2 art book collaboration with Dark Horse comics (aka desperate cash grab via recycling assets, but their art has always been their major value product and it works a lot better than oh… cringy clothing or drinks only obtainable in one country. As in, I kinda want it. I have a weakness for art books. Even if the game goes to shit, I’ll always have the awesome concept art to remember the world by) and Funko pop collectibles of Aurene, Rytlock and Palawa Joko.

Major bundling of Heart of Thorns (aka now free) to Path of Fire, as in, please buy one box and join us in game now. We really need new blood. Or returning blood that was scared or scarred by Heart of Thorns reviews.

(They were also clever enough to promise HoT owners some special goodies to stave off the “I paid good money for something that’s now free?!” complaints. No doubt some of those complaints are still coming, but at least it’s an extra thank-you-for-your-support bonus, alongside the “you’ve had plenty of time to utilize HoT value” argument.)

And I guess that’s it.

Ohh, this is going to be tricky to figure out how I feel about this one.

I can predict the hardcore fanbase reaction already. Bad. Really really bad.

From a more story-oriented casual like I used to be, once upon a time, it feels like they are trying to steer the slow boat around back to another -hopefully better- attempt at something along the story season veins.

I do kinda want to see where they’re going with the world and the story.

I just fear the speed and quality with which they can tell it.

Time will tell if the fear is founded or unfounded. Two more weeks, Sep 17, before we get a Prologue. In the meantime, Path of Exile’s Blight Legion launches Sep 6. Warframe’s Prime Vault opens Sep 3, releasing Saryn Prime and Valkyr Prime. Harry Potter Wizards Unite will be having some Day of the Dragon related events Sep 7.

I’ll have things to do.

2 thoughts on “GW2: Ok…So They Went There…

  1. Geez. I just got back from an evening walk and your summary is all I’ve seen but that sounds… pathetic. Embarrassingly weak. Why would you set up higher than usual expectations and then serve up lukewarm leftovers?

    I’m happy to be going to the Far Shiverpeaks but I’m utterly bored with the LS format now. I just don’t care about the cobbled together, back of envelope storytelling and the gameplay, if you can call it that, is atrocious. I used to get a couple of weeks out of an LS episode; now I’m lucky if it’s a couple of sessions.

    Build templates is something I know lots of people want but i loathe changing builds. I try to keep the same build on all my characters forever. I only change it when I’m forced to by game changes. I never use build templates in other games that I play that have them so I can’t imagine I will here. Even in Rift, which was built around the concept, I barely used it.

    I can’t speak for PvP but WvW is dead in the water. If Alliance don’t come this year there will literally not be enough WvW players left to make it work. PvE players won;t care unless there are PvE related bribes as in the events that have been run recently. As soon as those players get the rewards they can’t leave WvW fast enough.

    Raids that work like the original GW2 all pile on event content might be interesting but I can’t say I care and doubt most people will once the novelty wears off. People either like raiding or they don’t. Unless you change it enough so it’s not raiding any more it will still be a minority interest.

    As for bundlign HoT with PoF I want to keep my second and third accounts free of the pollution of PoF, thanks. Worst expansion I have played in any MMORPG for as long as I can remember. I detest everythin about it. It means I will never add HoT to my third, core-only account now, which I was actually thinking of doing in a sale because of that Clockwork Glider I won.

    Anyway, it’s all out in the open now so we can enjoy the roasting AnEt will quite rightly get for raising hopes they couldn’t satisfy. I might use soem of this for a post tomorrow but really I can’t be bothered. I’d rather write about something I’m enjoying and there’s plenty of choice there.


  2. The thing is: Build templates were announced back in April already. I expected to hear that they’re coming in x weeks or something other definite. They only repeated that we will be getting them and added “in the near future”.


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