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The Guild Wars 2 Thread

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Do the zergs still have group invisibility and therefore oneshot you out of nowhere? That was fun last time I tried playing.

Stealth one shotting out of nowhere still happens (we died to it last night) but it's tricky and not too common. Generally if the enemy zerg goes around a corner and disappears out of sight for more than a couple seconds, the commander is going activate the projectile bubble and begin zig-zagging. From what I've seen, mass invisibility is mostly used for repositioning and trying to evade the enemy's initial barrage during the chicken/baiting phase, so that the enemy zerg has popped their cooldowns and is vulnerable while you still have your cooldowns.


I wasted so much time on WvW. Content like this is really good in pulling you in with the illusion of actually being a useful member of the community/server. Too bad no major MMO ever picked up this type of pvp.

A few MMOs that predated GW2 did.

  • Dark Age of Camelot was the first MMO where structured, mass scale faction wars were a big feature (in DaoC's case, the feature). However, it was graphically dated and has become forgotten.

  • The DaoC devs, Mythic, went on to make another PvP centric MMO, Warhammer Age of Reckoning. However, Mythic was bought by EA, who ordered that WAR be rushed out the door unfinished (there were supposed to be six cities with territory in between them, but the launched game only had two), and then when WAR wasn't a WoW level mega hit, EA was unwilling to put in the long term effort to grow an MMO and thus killed Mythic and WAR.

  • EVE Online had some structured nation wars for the four canonical factions with systems in between them that could be captured, but most players flocked to the player-created alliance wars over territory in the periphery. EVE's gameplay is very inaccessible, though, and the game has entered a death spiral over the past few years.

  • Space Cowboy Online, later rebranded as Ace Online and Air Rivals, was mainly about faction PvP. It was themed around dogfights between two futuristic city-states (the imperialistic Bygeniou City United, or the BCU, and the breakaway city of Arlington, the capital of the Anti-National Influence, or ANI). Ace was my first MMO and I absolutely love the nation wars that happened on the weekends with hundreds of players turning out. Sadly dev support ended during the early 2010s and the publisher began milking the game with a literal P2W slot machine (as in you literally walked up to a slot machine in your capital city, put in real money currency, and gambled for powerful jet armors), which killed the playerbase.

  • The only big release after GW2 I can think of that had mass scale faction warfare was ESO. I played the beta and remember Cryodill being the only part I found fun about it. However, you needed to do a lot of prep-work to prepare for it, and I didn't like the aesthetic or setting. I've heard that Cryodill has been neglected and the game mode has become very bad.

  • One kickstarter MMO, Camelot Unchained, promised to be a DaoC 2.0 with Britions vs Irish vs Norse. Unfortunately, like all kickstarter MMOs, it died in development hell. One of the cool ideas it had was a pseudo physics system like arrows passing through walls of fire being ignited, or being able to raise an earth wall that could physically block projectiles or could be used as a stepping stone.
 
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The steam launch has happened.

Do NOT buy GW2 on Steam.

The Steam bundle that includes all three expansions costs $60. The GW2 website bundle that includes all three expansions is $50 AND includes a shared inventory slot and a max level boost.

The steam $100 bundle includes all three expansions and the living world (patch content). The GW2 website $100 ultimate collection gives you all GW2 expansions, including everything in the EoD deluxe edition, and 4,000 gems (which is enough to buy all Living World stuff). The EoD deluxe edition notable includes an inventory slot, a character slot, an identity repair kit, 2 mount skins, and 4,000 gems (which you can use to buy all Living World episodes). Also includes a max level boost.

Also, the two steam bundles in the ingame store are a rip off. Don't buy them. Anet is blatantly hoping to prey on noobs who don't know any better there.
 
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I am going through the GW2 story again. It's been a decade since launch and Anet hasn't bothered to allow you to replay on the vanilla game's story on an existing character, so I had to create an alt. I picked Ash Legion, Sorcerous Shaman, and chose the Vigil as my order just like my main, but went with different choices for the rest.

Chapters 1, 2, and 3 were about as good as I remembered. I was invested in my warband and my superior officers. At the end of chapter 3, when the Charr player character confronts his zombified comrade and is hoping against hope that Howl is somewhere still inside there, you can hear the PC's voice waver. Ron Yuan really sells it.

mlOQzv2.jpg


The Vigil chapter was okay. Playing as a Charr, there is a lot of silly "as you know" dialogue. My character asks "who are are the Charr Renegades? Who are the Ascalonians Seperatists? What do they want"? ... Really dude? You should be explaining this to Forgal, not the other way around. I am also reminded of how nonsensical the Charr-Ascalon treaty plot was. Instead of an ambassador from Fort Ebonhawke (the last remaining city held by Ascalon), instead you have an ambassador sent by... Kryta, a completely different kingdom. The game can't seem to decide whether or not the Ascalonians are a sovereign nation or have been annexed by Kryta. And then there is the whole "why can't Ascalonians forgive Charr?" crap that should get people smacked in the face. Moving on...

For chapter 5, I think I helped the Ogres in my original playthrough, but all I can remember is that it was a really boring story with terrible voice acting. This time I went with the Skritt and it was much better. Voice acting was decent enough. I was invested in the character and his village being blown up was quite sad.

The last three chapters are the least engaging as you fight hordes of boring zombies. Doesn't help that chapters 1-5 were 30 minutes to 1 hour long while chapters 6, 7, and 8 are upwards of 2 hours long each, so six hours of fighting bland zombies. There were a couple standout moments, namely the scene where you accidentally shell your own troops and your lieutenant throws you under the bus to save his own hide, and the Mouth of Zhaitan mission where you raid the evil lair and stumble upon a dance party. Also, the PC and Traehearne conversations were good. Again, props to Ron Yuan's and Matthew Brenher's voice acting.

I forgot about the lady who looks like a Ben 10 alien. Thank goodness these guys never showed up again, not that it matters because later on Anet finds other ways to smear the aesthetic of the Guild Wars setting.



Then Destiny's Edge comes back at the eleventh hour, and it's really jarring. They only had one single scene prior to this moment, and then suddenly the narrative starts acting as if they are the centrally cast. Rytlock had been a presence during the first three chapters but then dropped out of the story at the start of chapter 4. My character has literally never interacted with any of the other members of DE (you can meet them in the optional dungeons where they interact with each other, but I don't recall them interacting with the PC), and yet they're acting as if I'm a close friend of theirs.

It's also weird that the closing movie frames them as the saviors of Tyria, when they contributed pretty much nothing to the defeat of Zhaitan. They were absent for almost the entire war. It was Traehearne who was organizing the Pact forces and it was the player character who commanded the vanguard. Destiny's Edge don't jump in until literally the final 30 minutes, and even then didn't do anything noteworthy. They just sat around inside the first airship while I shot down three zombie dragons, and the on the Glory of Tyria they simply defended the cannon... along with dozens of other Pact soldiers, while I shot Zhaitan. If DE is getting credited as being the saviors of the world, what about the other Pact soldiers who were onboard and defended the cannon? And what about crediting Traehearne? Now that I think about it, it's rather bizzare that Traehearne is with you every step of way during the war effort, but is absent for the final battle. Feels like he was usurped by DE.



Also, if the Pact had a fleet of dozens of airships, and the endgame was always going to be flying into the mountains of Orr and battling Zhaitan in the skies, then why did we even bother with a ground war in the first place? It's not like Zhaitan's ground forces had anti-air capabilities. It seems like the only threat to our airships were the other zombie dragons, which were handily dispatched by the cannons on our airships. Seems like the ground war was a completely pointless waste of life. Yeah, Traehearne's destiny was to cleanse that wellspring of water in Orr, but he could have done that after Zhaitan had been killed and after its armies had been mopped up.

The actual vanilla gameplay is incredibly unpolished. A good 1/3rd to half of the voice lines/dialogue that plays out in the open world was bugged out and didn't play, so you would often have inconsistent scenes where character A would say something, character B would react with an unvoiced textbox, and then character A would again speak, almost as if he was talking to himself. The centaur models were bugged out and slid across the plains. The enemy design is boring and the vanilla maps look pretty ugly. There is some pretty awful Unreal-engine esque texture pop-in in the Orr zones. The writing and especially the voice acting of the main characters is what salvages the vanilla story, though it's still a mediocre introduction to GW2.
 

mediocrepoet

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I am going through the GW2 story again. ...

I started actually getting into GW2 recently, which is funny since I have a boxed copy since the game launched and have bounced off of it around four times before it finally started to take.

But... people are into GW2 lore? Why? It's a mixture of mildly incomprehensible and meh. Like the comments about ambassadors from Fort Ebonhawke or Kryta. I mean, I guess. I have no idea what the different kingdoms are or what the significance of Destiny's Edge is, despite having played through the bulk of the OC storyline on more than one character (haven't completed it on any and haven't started the expansions on any, yet).

I'll have to try the pvp to see what I think, but comments on it have made it sound like a serious clusterfuck that I imagine I'll hate. The main draw, imo, is the ability to tool around the open world doing whatever you like and finding progress in a variety of ways.
 
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But... people are into GW2 lore? Why? It's a mixture of mildly incomprehensible and meh. Like the comments about ambassadors from Fort Ebonhawke or Kryta. I mean, I guess. I have no idea what the different kingdoms are or what the significance of Destiny's Edge is, despite having played through the bulk of the OC storyline on more than one character (haven't completed it on any and haven't started the expansions on any, yet).

There are parts of GW2's lore that I like. I find GW2's version of the Charr to be pretty interesting. The Sylvari and the Elder Dragons also become interesting later on. I agree that a lot of the vanilla setting is just meh, though. Kryta is a generic fantasy human kingdom. The savage tribalistic shapeshifting Norn from GW1 are replaced by boring big vikings in GW2. The high tech Asura feel really out of place, like they belong in Mass Effect or Star Trek. Old Lion's Arch had strong pirate flavor but that was lost in the revamp. Most of the vanilla antagonist factions are pretty one note.

The experience of going through the story is pretty strong, though. It's not just fighting mobs or watching cutscenes. There are interactive segments where you can click on objects to inspect them for clues, or pick up a bucket of water, run to a river, fill it up with water, and then douse a fire. There are some interesting puzzles later on. And being able to read through the dialogue trees is nice. The later expansion and season storylines add some cool setpieces as well, such as playing with Aurene or the Kralkatorik fights. I think the story really begins picking up during HoT and season 3. Getting to that point can be a slog if you're going in chronological order, though. A common sentiment is that the later part of the vanilla story and season 2 are really boring.


I'll have to try the pvp to see what I think, but comments on it have made it sound like a serious clusterfuck that I imagine I'll hate. The main draw, imo, is the ability to tool around the open world doing whatever you like and finding progress in a variety of ways.

I think GW2's PvP is pretty fun in small bursts. It also depends on what build you're playing. I admittedly play a sic'em sniper Soulbeast, which means I can burst down almost anyone from full HP to downed state within a couple seconds, which I imagine isn't very fun to be on the receiving end of.

The real problem with the PvP scene is longevity. The only game mode people play is Conquest, and ArenaNet hasn't added new maps in years, let alone new game modes. Some maps like Kyhlo are generally disliked, so you're mainly just playing 5v5 king of the hill on the same few maps over and over again. There is also the problem of rewards. There are a handful of cosmetics you might want, like the wolf pelt shoulders from the Draconis Mons reward track, but generally the only thing worth working for are the legendary backpieces and the legendary armor, which are timegated and require at least half a year to obtain. The grind is pretty offputting, but if you do manage to get them, then that's it. There is nothing left to do in PvP except to PvP for the sake of it.
 

mediocrepoet

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I think the two things I like the most out of what I've done so far are the crafting system, and the exploration / open world events. You can tool around, feel like you got something done and then log out. Even if that becomes grindy later on or runs out, there's enough there that I think you can get a lot out of it even after paying for some of the items in the shop, whether cosmetics, or content unlocks.
 
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Its a fun time waster occasionally, but that's all it is. I don't regret paying 20 bucks for it way back when, I got my money's worth, but I wouldn't really recommend it.
 
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Alright Val the Moofia Boss, I have a lore question. Why do the cabbage people have tits?

The Sylvari are unwitting agents created by the jungle dragon Mordremoth 25 years before the vanilla story began. Unlike his other monstrous minions, he created the Sylvari to resemble people so they would be well received by the people of Tyria and would be better able to interact with them and infiltrate their organizations in preparation for his invasion. Everything they know, he knows. IIRC the Sylvari don't reproduce sexually. They're grown by the Pale Tree in pods.
 
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Before I talk about the content of seasons 1 and 2 proper, I should talk about the circumstances that led up to them and how that affected their development.

Guild Wars 2 was one of the most hyped releases of 2012. There had been several MMOs that had been hyped as possibly being "the WoW killer" (the big ones being Warhammer Age of Reckoning, SWTOR, ESO, and Wildstar), but GW2 was the most hyped of them all. It was made by ex-Blizzard devs who were trying to cater to people burned out by the game design of WoW and its clones (see their infamous manifesto).

As a part of promoting the game, Anet cast some many of the most prominent voice talent at the time as the main characters of the story.

Destiny's Edge, the main characters of the vanilla game and a heavy part of GW2's advertising. From left to right: Logan, Caithe, Zojja, Rytlock, and Eir.

  • Steve Blum as Rytlock (Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop, Vincent from Final Fantasy VII, Wolverine from the cartoons, Orochimaru from Naruto)
  • Troy Baker as Logan (Joel from The Last of Us, Gul'dan from Warcraft, Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia)
  • Kari Wahlgren as Caithe (Ashe from Final Fantasy XII, Saber from Fate/Zero, the reporter from Valkyria Chronicles)
  • Felicia Day as Zojja
  • Jocelyn Blue as Eir

Also, many side characters had big name talent behind them, such as:
  • Liam O'Brien (Illidan from Warcraft)
  • Darin De Paul (Reinhardt from Overwatch, Ardyn from Final Fantasy XV)
  • John DiMaggio (Bender from Futurama)
  • Gideon Emery (Balthier from Final Fantasy XII, Lor'themar from Warcraft, Imperial Soldier from Skyrim)
  • Quinton Flynn (Axel from Kingdom Hearts, Iruke from Naruto, Kael'thas from Warcraft)
  • Crispin Freeman (Jeremiah Gottwald from Code Geass, Itachi from Naruto, Winston from Overwatch)
  • Yuri Lowenthal (Sasuke from Naruto, Ben from Ben 10, Makoto from Persona 3, Corrin from Fire Emblem Fates)
  • Sean Schemmel (Goku from Dragon Ball Z)
  • Jen Taylor (Cortana from Halo, Salem from RWBY)
  • And many others.

Furthermore, the player character was voiced by some prestigious names in the American voice acting sphere:
  • Jennifer Hale as the female Sylvari PC (Female Shepherd from Mass Effect)
  • Matthew Mercer as the male Norn PC (Chrom from Fire Emblem, McCree from Overwatch, Olivier from Trails of Cold Steel, Jotaro from Jojo's Bizzare Adventure, Levi from Attack on Titan, also hosts Critical Role)
  • Nolan North as the male human PC (Nathan Drake from Uncharted, Raiden from Metal Gear Solid, Desmond Miles from Assassin's Creed)
  • Ron Yuan, an actual film actor who voices the male Charr PC (he played Prince Nayan from Netflix's Marco Polo, Sergeant Qiang from the live action Mulan remake)

So there are a lot of big names. Now, American voice actors don't rake in anywhere near as much money as Japanese voice actors (who are actual household names there). It is common knowledge that being an American voice actor is difficult. You have to be constantly taking as many jobs as you can, and taking a part time job such as retail is also recommended. You have to be in it because you are passionate, not because you want to make a lot of money. So it's not like having all of these people is extremely costly. For a big live service game like Guild Wars 2 that double dips in selling $60 boxes and has a cash shop, this should be affordable.

In Japan, voice acting expenses is why it is common for large stretches of JRPGs to be unvoiced, whereas in America, full voice acting is the norm. When Trails of Cold Steel 1 & 2 were localized in America, 10,000 extra lines of English dialogue were recorded for lines that were originally unvoiced because English voice acting is just so much more affordable.

Unfortunately, GW2's launch was a disaster, and the game became the laughingstock of the MMO genre for reneging on the manifesto, a reputation that GW2 has not been able to shake off until the last few years. This was a scary time for Anet. Historically, publishers invest a lot of money into an MMO and expect it to be a WoW level hit at launch. When the game isn't a smash hit and the playerbase begins freefalling after the initial wave of interest, the publisher is unwilling to invest the time and money to build the game up over several years, which eventually leads to closure. There was financial pressure to cut costs.

There were also logistical issues. During season 1, Anet was pushing out a new patch every 2 weeks (Anet had four teams each spending one month working on a patch). In game development, stuff is changing up until the last minute, which is why voice acting is almost always among the last things to be implemented, so even if the VAs had done their voices several months in advance, the script would have likely changed and new voice lines would have been needed to be recorded anyway. Again, voice actors have very busy schedules, so trying to get the same 5 big names to sit down in a studio every 2 weeks is difficult unless you are willing to wave money in their face to monopolize their time, which Anet was unwilling to do.

So the main cast of heroes, Destiny's Edge, were ditched (one or two of them make a cameo each episode but that's it). Additionally, the player character is voiceless during the first two seasons (because there are 5 playable races and 2 genders, and getting the same 10 voice actors in the booth every 2 weeks without waving money in their face is impossible).

With the cast of the vanilla game gone, Anet had to create a new cast of characters to be voiced by lesser known voice actors, whose time Anet would able to monopolize without having to pay as much money for Felicia Day's time.

The new main cast. From left to right: Rox, Kasmeer, Marjory, and Braham. Art by Ruan Jia. If only their ingame models looked anywhere near as good. :(

Episode 1 introduces two new characters: Rox, and Braham.


Season 1 has changed my perspective of Braham. He is quite likeable here, being an inexperienced but brave young man who steps up to the plate when no one else will. If this storyline hadn't been absent from the game for a decade, then Braham would have been much better liked by the fandom rather than being the butt of jokes. Most people became acquainted with Braham in season 3, where he is very rude to the PC and spends most of the season refusing to help. Most people didn't play season 1 as it was removed from the game and didn't return until this year, and it was generally not recommended to buy season 2 as doing so didn't unlock any new maps.


Her big, cutesy cartoon eyes do not befit a Charr.

Next is Rox. She was a member of a demolitions warband, but lost them in a cave in. She wants to join Rytlock's warband (Rytlock being the Blood Legion Tribune and one of the most renowned Charr warriors alive), and starts taking odd jobs for him trying to ingratiate herself to him. I was lukewarm to her at first but she becomes more likeable as the story progresses. She starts out trying to be a military hardass, but gradually realizes that she isn't as mean as she thinks she is, and gradually becomes the heart of the group. Unfortunately, he role as the heart is usurped by a new character who joins the cast in season 2, and Rox is eventually written out of the story.


Episode 2 introduces Marjory and Kasmeer. Marjory is first shown off as a private detective in a cringey film noir spoof. I think it might have been the way Marjory's voice actor did the narration in the 2D movie. Thankfully her voice gets a better as the story goes on, but she never becomes a character I really liked. She is in a lesbian relationship with Kasmeer.

Finally, there is Kasmeer, the pretty blonde girl. There isn't much to say about her. She's from an impoverished noble family and is now employed by Marjory. She's just kinda "there", mostly being a flower for Marjory to dote on. It feels like she is only really here because she can teleport the party around during missions.



I guess while I'm at it, I will talk about the 5th and 6th characters who join the party in season 2.
Taimi and her golem Scruffles. Art by Naomi Baker.

Taimi is a an Asura engineer whose purpose is to provide technobabble and to whip out new gadgets as the plot demands. Unfortunately, she sounds like a spoiled Californian valley girl. She is very bratty and constantly backtalks. At one point, she throws a temper tantrums that threatens important negotiations to form an international alliance against the Elder Dragons. She is also a teen genius who constantly outperforms pretty much every other expert in the setting (Wesley Crusher!). She also usurps Rox for the role of the heart of the group. She also has an incurable fatal illness that never seems to kill her, even though a decade has passed in lore. She is the most contentious GW2 character.


Art by Jamie Ro.

Lastly, there is Canach (voiced by John DiMaggio, aka Bender from Futurama, later replaced by Matthew Mercer). He has had an unfortunate life. He is a Sylvari, a race that has only emerged a couple decades ago. He was captured by a group of Asura and experimented upon. He became a mercenary after escaping. He becomes implicated in a couple of incidents and is eventually arrested (again, stuff omitted from the returning season 1 episodes). In season 2 he is given the option to rot in jail, or to help out the heroes. He is a begrudging ally. He doesn't formally join the party until season 3. He is rather cynical and witty. Having Bender from Futurama (John DiMaggio) as your voice actor is pretty good.

That's most of GW2's main cast. A couple more characters join but that happens way later. Also, after season 2, Anet's situation changes. The game has stabilized and Anet is no longer in crisis mode, and becomes willing to pour more money into the game. Anet also transitions from dropping a patch once every 2 weeks to major patches once every 2 months. So Anet is able to start bringing back some of the original cast (most notably Rytlock, aka Steve Blum), and the player character becomes voiced again.
 
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Living World Season 1


Episode 1 - "Flame and Frost"



Aside from the banter between Braham and Rox, episode 1 is boring. You raid a huge underground base in the mountains and free enslaved prisoners. Aesthetically it's not very interesting. You fight hundreds of generic Dredge and Flame Legion, which is boring.

Also, the second boss fight took 7 minutes. GW2 living world boss fights generally take too long for my liking. Wearing the highest DPS gear, berserker gear, is not recommended, as you're getting a 10% DPS increase but losing 30% HP from wearing Marauder gear. The bosses hit hard and you really don't want to die because doing the whole fight all over again kinda sucks.

We find out that Eir, apparently had a one night stand, birthed Braham, and then promptly abandoned him to go adventuring. What an inspiring hero.



Episode 2 - "Sky Pirates"


Raiding the pirate base was pretty fun, with you diving underwater and avoiding mines, jumping across the electric floor, and the first boss fight where you run away from the laser.

The biggest WTF is that these pirates hijacked a Pact airship. You know, that state of the art strategic asset that was made by combining Charr and Asura technology and was only just put into production one year prior. As the second highest ranking officer in the Pact, I think I should have been notified that one of our airships had gone missing. I'd also expect that the Orders and the nation leaders would have been grilling Traehearne and I over that. But no, the pirates having an airship goes completely unquestioned.

Also, Sky "Pirates" implies that there is a lot of mercantile activity to leech on. In GW1, Lion's Arch was trading with Orr, Elona, and Cantha. But by the time GW2 takes place, Orr has sunk, most of Elona has been taken over by Joko, and Cantha has become isolationist. So who is Lion's Arch trading with? Is there some other country we have never heard about that ships are sailing to and from?


Episode 3 - "Chaos"


We are introduced to the main villain of season 1, Scarlet Briar, who is a Harley Quinn-esque character. She is unconvincing as a mastermind, let alone as a leader that hundreds of sky pirates would follow and die for. Also, surprise! She has ANOTHER stolen Pact airship, and no one told me the Pact Commander about it.

This mission had some fun gameplay. There is a maze section where you get an achievement for avoiding the patrols. I spent a few minutes looking at their patterns, reconfigured my build to increase my movement speed, and managed to get by the skin of my teeth.

Living world episodes have achievements for doing gimmicky things like beating a boss without being hit by a certain attack, or finding obscure items in a level. Fun stuff. Unfortunately, there is almost always at least two achievements that are mutually exclusive with each other. For example, defeating a boss with it having acquired zero powerups, and another achievement for allowing a boss to be fully powered up and then killing it. So to get all of the achievements, you have to play the mission twice. Worse, is that you have to replay the entire chapter, because there is no option to replay individual levels. And if you are really into GW2, you have to get all of the achievements, because doing all achievements for a living world episode gives you a Tyria mastery point, which are in short supply.



That's it for the season 1 episodes that are out yet. In the last two episodes that will be returning later this year, Scarlet Briar flies to Lion's Arch with a humongous airship (from where?) called the Breachmaker and razes the city. The heroes infiltrate the Breachmaker and kill her, but not before the airship's laser drills down into the harbor and redirects the flow of ley energy towards the West.
 

Ba'al

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I bought this game on sale for 15eur a few months ago (the first two expansions) because my good friend swears by it. I played it f2p before that but the whole 'collect 10 cow turds' quest design made me drop it while leveling. I decided to give it another go with the max level boost. I really want to like the game, but the combat is probably the shittiest of any mmo I've ever played. Not only does it have terrible audio-visual feedback, it seems all the open world areas are level scaled so I always deal the same fucking amount of damage to every mob. I'm playing a mage (elementalist?) and hoped I get new/better skills and max level, but it seems I'm still mostly limited to the ones provided by the equipped weapon. None of the skills are fun to use and barely differ in damage, it feels like just using the normal attack might have the best dps. Am I unironically playing this wrong?
 
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it seems all the open world areas are level scaled so I always deal the same fucking amount of damage to every mob

The level scaling went hand in hand with GW2 promising not to add gear treadmill (they did add one higher tier of gear, once, 9 years ago, and that was it), a player can have spent years away from the game and come back and be able to hop right back in without having to obtain new gear first or level grind.

Mobs from the Heart of Thorns expansion have overall higher stats than the rest of the game if you want to feel like there is some challenge.

hoped I get new/better skills and max level, but it seems I'm still mostly limited to the ones provided by the equipped weapon.

The elite specializations unlock new weapons and abilities.

. None of the skills are fun to use and barely differ in damage, it feels like just using the normal attack might have the best dps. Am I unironically playing this wrong?

Hm... well you can try out the other classes and elite specializations. You can create a new character of a new class, level that character up to 11, open up the PvP menu, teleport to the PvP lobby, and have access to all of the abilities and specializations of that class and try different stuff out. That way you can find it if you like that class.

Adding different runes and sigils to your equipment can also change how you can play the game. For example, the Revenant elite specialization, the Vindicator, has a core mechanic where they can use their endurance bar to dragoon jump. If you equip stamina and energy runes/sigils, your endurance bar will fill up at crazy speed and you can constantly spam the jump over and over, avoiding a ton of damage while dealing lots of damage. Can be pretty fun. But if you want to press more than one button there are builds with rotations with lots of buttons you press.
 
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I bought this game on sale for 15eur a few months ago (the first two expansions) because my good friend swears by it. I played it f2p before that but the whole 'collect 10 cow turds' quest design made me drop it while leveling. I decided to give it another go with the max level boost. I really want to like the game, but the combat is probably the shittiest of any mmo I've ever played. Not only does it have terrible audio-visual feedback, it seems all the open world areas are level scaled so I always deal the same fucking amount of damage to every mob. I'm playing a mage (elementalist?) and hoped I get new/better skills and max level, but it seems I'm still mostly limited to the ones provided by the equipped weapon. None of the skills are fun to use and barely differ in damage, it feels like just using the normal attack might have the best dps. Am I unironically playing this wrong?

Buy your friend Guild Wars 1 and if he doesn't play it with you you can legally kill him.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2022
Messages
1,082
Living World Season 2

The first half of season 2 is dull. Nothing of consequence happens until the end of episode 4. Before that, you are either wandering around a generic sandstone canyon for hours on end achieving nothing, or doing chores in the ugly vanilla zones. There is no plot momentum.

My biggest question is why am I, the Pact Commander, leading an expedition into the West with... a city detective, the daughter of a gambler, a dangerous convict, and a bratty teenager? None of the party members have a personal investment in journeying West or official business there, and are just civilians. Why aren't I leading a detachment of professional troops (ie Pact forces, Vigil forces, my Charr Warband, etc). The new cast hasn't cemented into THE group of world saving heroes dedicated to stopping the dragons yet. That doesn't happen until next season.


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Thyria, the world GW2 is set in, is in the center, orbited by the energies of the six Elder Dragons, balancing each other out.

Season 2 is the beginning of the Elder Dragon magic storyline that GW2 will revolve around from this point on, concluding in the End of Dragons expansion. There are some interesting nuggets of lore here, but worldbuilding notes and potential story ideas doesn't make for an actually engaging story that is paced well or has tension.

So here's the gist of GW2's story: there are six Elder Dragons. Every few thousand years, they wake up and begin gobbling up magic before going back to sleep again, destroying civilization in the process. Obviously a bad thing and thus the dragons should probably be killed. Here's the problem: these six Elder Dragons have consumed so much magic, they have become the embodiments of different aspects of the laws of physics. So if you kill the dragons, reality will start breaking down. So GW2 is setting up a metaphysical problem that violence can't be the solution to. This got a lot of people invested in seeing how the storyline would conclude.


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We will come back to this in End of Dragons.

Episode 5 "Entanglement"

The first noteworthy episode of season 2. You go to the Durmond Priory and get to wander about their library digging for clues on the Elder Dragons. There are dozens of books you can read, ranging from in universe histories on nations, to biographies written by party members you may have adventured with in guild wars 1, to scholarly thesis on the nature of Elder Dragons and magic, to fluff pieces. Nice touch.

You also get sucked into a magic hourglass that sends you to a bizzare crystalline dimension, which makes for a fun high fantasy adventure. The puzzles there are quite engaging enough, but unfortunately the boss design can be rather infuriating.


4HuPW32.jpg

The Master of Peace receives Glint's egg.

Episode 6 "Echoes of the Past"

The heroes find out about an uncorrupted dragon egg, the mcguffin that could save the world. Unfortunately, one of the Elder Dragons, Mordremoth, has also found about the egg and wants to eliminate a rival before it can hatch. The plot is now moving at a fast pace as the commander pursues the Master of Peace to save him. The Mordrem are portrayed as being pretty scary. There is urgency and stakes.

Navigating the maze at the end and trying to find your party members in order on a 20 minute time limit was engaging.

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A Mordrem Teragriff kills one of the Master of Peace's disciples.


Episode 7 "Seeds of Truth"

You get to play through a flashback as Caithe, 20 years ago when the second generation of Sylvari awoke from the Pale tree, and see the early creation of their society. Some of the secondborn revere the Firstborn, while others are suspicious about what the Firstborn may or may not be keeping from the Secondborn. It's pretty interesting.

The use of an in-universe flashback plot device (the memory seeds) is clever. IMO it's done better here than it was in FF14, where the Echo flashbacks were contrived and random. Here, the seeds can only be given out by the Pale Tree, who has been weakened (so only a handful of seeds can be given out), and only work on Sylvari (so the writers just have to be conscious about introducing Sylvari characters if they want to avoid the audience thinking "hey, why can't we just use the flashback seeds on this character?").


Episode 8 "Point of No Return"

The music for the final fight was pretty dramatic.

We find out the big plot twist: the Sylvari are unwitting agents created by the jungle dragon Mordremoth, 25 years before the vanilla story began. If you play through the Heart of Thorns story as a Sylvari, you can here Mordremoth whispering to you, trying to seduce you to his side. Pretty cool.


Uh, Traehearne, what did you order your fleet to shoot at? No one could have spotted anything through the jungle canopy.



Hooray, the boring stuff is out of the way! From here on out the story becomes a lot more entertaining. The writing will still have its up and downs, though. Next up: the first expansion, Heart of Thorns.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2022
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1,082
Heart of Thorns

From here on out, every chapter (about 1-2 hours of story) takes us to a brand new high fantasy zone. The zones also start looking... actually good! They're not cramped and claustrophobic anymore. The environment artists have become better at doodad placement. The new maps are also fun to play, with the vertical design and bouncing mushrooms to jump on and updrafts to glide on, among other gameplay mechanics.

Verdant Brink and Auric Basin are the best looking maps in HoT. Tangled Depths looks pretty good at certain points on the surface, especially below ground with the ley line magic rippling through the tunnels. Dragon's Stand sadly was an unfinished zone and the only memorable part is the final area. Unfortunately, the game is really hamstrung by the short draw distance which the devs try covering up with fog, but even then the missing chunks are quite noticeable in Verdant Brink and Auric Basin when you look down from high above.

There are dozens of crashed airships here. Have you seen the aftermath of 747 passenger plane crashes? There should be hundreds or thousands of bodies strewn all over.

Sadly the water reflections are a massive framerate drop and there is a water texture underneath every single map in the game. GW2 is CPU bound so having a 3080ti won't stop your game from dropping below 60 FPS if you have water reflections turned on. :(


The campaign is overall good. It is very condensed, very concentrated. It's four hours long and it feels very action packed. Almost every moment is spent pushing through the jungle towards Mordremoth. The only part that felt like filler was Rata Novus, where we learned that Elder Dragons can be killed. As if I didn't already know that since I killed Zhaitan at the end of the vanilla story. Thanks Taimi for the pointless deteour!

A simple change to make the Rata Novus detour actually matter would be to have Taimi discover a mind-machine interface there and to take it, with it later turning out to be a checkov's gun. It would have made the heroes casually suggesting hopping into Mordremoth's mind at the end make sense as they just learned that it was possible, rather than feeling like an asspull out of nowhere. Using a mind machine interface to jump into Mordremoth's mind would also make more sense than non-Sylvari with no magical link to Mordremoth being able to jump into the Dream. The interface could then be either confiscated by the Asura High Council, or broken to prevent the audience from questioning why aren't we using it to jump into the minds of future villains.

The sound disaster continues. Music bugged out at the end. Mordremoth's 2nd phase music kept playing after the fight end, into the epilogue and played during the ending cinematic.



Okay, plot holes:


Once the PC learned that marshal Traehearne had been captured, the chain of command dictates that the PC effectively became the new marshal. This is a crisis situation and the marshal needs to be organizing the Pact, not gallivanting off into the jungle and leaving his men to run around like headless chickens and lynching Sylvari soldiers and be picked off by Mordremoth's forces. The PC should have at least have delegated command to Laranthir or another Vigil Warmaster before continuing the pursuit of the egg.

At the end of the story, the PC tells Traehearne that the Pact has been destroyed. This is preposterous! Right before the final boss battle, Canach tells us that the Pact forces are assailing the tree outside. Which means that the Dragon's Stand meta event in which hundreds of Pact soldiers participated in is canon, and those soldiers were supported by a supply line that stretched all the way back to Camp Resolve in the Silverwastes. And who knows how many other Pact forces were garrisoned elsewhere in the world, such as at Fort Trinity. It's not like all Pact personnel were on the airship fleet.

If the writers didn't want the player character to be the Pact Commander anymore, then they could have just written the PC to take a step back from the Pact. The PC already seemingly did in season 1 and the first half of season 2 given that they didn't have any contact with the Pact when they should have. The Pact Commander is about to have his hands full raising a baby dragon. It would have been simple for the PC to pass leadership of the Pact to someone else. No need to destroy the Pact in the process. (EDIT: Thankfully the writers realized just how dumb they were and immediately walk back the Pact's destruction in the next episode).


Are they still polishing their weapons? Because your guys never showed up when I needed them. Unless they all died in the crash, in which case... RIP.

Where was the support from the 5 nations of Tyria? At the end of episode 4, we had that summit at the Pale Tree and everyone pledged to support the Pact... and yet in HoT we only see Vigil, Priory, and Whispers personnel. No Seraph, no Blood Legion, no Rata Sum, etc. It seems like Smoldur was the only nation leader who held true to his word by providing Iron Legion choppers.

On to season 3.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2022
Messages
1,082
Season 3

This season takes the player on a world trotting tour to different maps spread out across the world. You get to revisit old places such as Kryta, the Shiverpeaks, and Orr, but also get to visit new places such as the Fire Islands. Two maps in particular are quite memorable:

Bloodstone Fen from episode 1 is the site of a magic nuclear detonation with ley lines of unstable magical energy everywhere and floating islands.

It would have been cool if the floating islands and the airship moved around the crater. For some reason GW2 didn't implement moving platforms you could stand on until PoF.

Staring up at the sky from within the crater. There are multiple crags running down the cliff face where boss fights take place.

The bottom of the crater.

The second memorable map is Draconis Mons from episode 5, which is set within a volcano. There are a variety of biomes within the mountain, with a boiling sea dotted with islands inside, a layer with a tropical forest, a top layer with craggy rocks, and this weird stone in the middle that looks like it is made out of mercury or something. This map got me really excited for a potential Primordus themed expansion set underground (look at Pierre-Olivier Vincent's amazing concept art for the Hidden World from How to Train your Dragon 3 that was sadly underexplored). Alas, the map designers moved away from HoT-styled vertical maps. The writers also threw away Primordus in Icebrood Saga, so there isn't much pre-existing story material for the writers to work with for an underground expansion.

The Boiling Sea. I would have liked this layer to have been fleshed out more. The only reason to come down here is to fight the dragon rares. Also would have been cool if the dragons could blow people off of the plateaus, forcing them to pop their gliders and ride an updraft back on to the platform or be scalded in the water below.

The steamy tropical shelf.

The top layer.

As awesome as Bloodstone Fen and Draconis Mons are, they are really harmed by the game's short draw distance. :(

As for the other four maps, Ember Bay is okay, though a little generic since it's just a firery volcano. Bittefrost Frontier and Siren's Landing are better looking than the other vanilla maps set in those regions, but aren't my favorites.

The most visually interesting area of Bittefrost Frontier. Reminds me of Winterspring from WoW. The vertical nature of the forest is sadly underutilized.

The only bad map this season is Lake Doric, which is set in a flat dried out lakebed and is just boring.



Episode 1 "Out of the Shadows"

We open with Eir's funeral. I'm not sure why the game acts as if I was a close friend of Eir's. From Vanilla to HoT, my character had only known her for a grand total of 10 minutes.



Blaming Traehearne for not commanding from the rear is silly. Traehearne led from the front because that was how generals commanded in a world before radio. They HAD to be there. Radio did not exist in GW2 before HoT. When a zombie navy was advancing on Lion's Arch in the vanilla story, Claw Island had to light signal towers to warn LA. From Vanilla through the end of season 2, if you wanted to contact somebody, you either had to send them a letter, or visit them in person. If we had radio, you could bet that he would have warned Traehearne about the Sylvari's connection to Mordremoth the moment we learned about it.

I play a Charr, and I am not a member of the Durmond Priory, so why is my character suddenly a history buff on a Krytan cult that seemingly died out 200 years ago? I could understand if the White Mantle were Ascalonians (the people the Charr have been fighting for the past 200 years), but a Charr should not give a crap about Krytan history.



Episode 2 "Rising Flames"

The male Charr PC's voice actor was recast from Ron Yuan to Lex Lang. I've been listening to him for a couple episodes now, and... well, it's not very good. The voice doesn't have the fervor, the passion, the warmth that the original had. It feels rather dry, and his dialogue at the end of this episode sounded as if the actor was reading the lines out loud. Hopefully it gets better.



It becomes more obvious as Aurene grows older in the next expansion, but her rhino horn looks extremely similar to Mordremoth's horn. The ending cinematic of HoT shows energy from Mordremoth's tree travelling to Tarir and entering into the egg, so that's probably the in lore reason. If Aurene had hatched before Mordremoth had died, I wonder what she would look like. Out of universe, her character designer, Ronald Kury, seemed to just like Mordremoth's face.



Episode 3 "A Crack in the Ice"

The episode begins with the PC playing with Aurene and trying to teach her virtues. The Exalted also help. One question, though: why aren't the Zephyrites also here? They were disciples of Glint for the past 200 years. They were the ones entrusted with the egg. They deserve to see the fruits of their efforts, and they had 200 years to prepare for this role. They should have a lot of valuable info on how to raise this dragon.



Braham, you know I wasn't involved in the planning process for the Pact Fleet's invasion of Maguuma at all. I spent the whole pre-invasion build up chasing after the egg, with YOU! By the time I returned back to the Pact the fleet had already been wrecked. And besides, no one knew at the time that Mordremoth's vines were that agile or could reach so far upwards. No one knew that the Sylvari were sleeper agents who would begin butchering their comrades and blowing up their own airships either. No one could have forseen the Pact fleet being annhilated.



Episode 4 "The Head of the Snake"


Queen Jennah is apparently such a powerful magus, she envelops the ENTIRE CAPITAL CITY in a shield that lasts for hours or days (it's not clear how long episode 4 takes place). Sheesh! With Jennah being a queen with a kingdom to run, there is no way she could have devoted all of her time to becoming the best wizard ever. Imagine how powerful people who dedicated all of their time to being the best wizard could be! If only we had mages with a fraction of her power shielding the airships in the Pact fleet, perhaps the invasion wouldn't have been a catastrophe.

We see hundreds of White Mantle in Lake Doric, and Logan calls this a "civil war" so there could be an army of thousands of them in lore. How on earth could the White Mantle have remained secret for 200 years? Once a conspiracy grows larger than a half dozen people it generally becomes impossible to prevent it from leaking out.

The White Mantle allying with the centaurs seems extraordinarily short sighted. The centaurs have been massacring the people of Kryta for decades, and now the White Mantle is relying on them to storm the capital. What does the White Mantle think will happen once they do? That the savages won't start butchering civilians left and right? Being responsible for the sack of the capital isn't going to help endear the populace's sympathy towards the White Mantle.



Episode 5 "Flashpoint"


This is a nice tidbit of GW1 fanservice. You can come across the golem M.O.X. If you played Guild Wars 1 then he was probably the first hero you acquired. The player character immediately recognizes M.O.X.'s sentience (he was created 200 years before the golem uprising which led to the Asura lobotomizing their golems), and kindly invites MOX to come with them back to Tyria. Sadly MOX never appears again after this. :(



Episode 6 "One Path Ends"


The big bad, Balthazar, has absorbed a magic nuke that would have wiped out half of Tyria, the largest continent in this world. Why are we pursuing him without first coming up with a plan to deal with his sheer raw power? Trying to shoot him with an arrow might not work.

It doesn't make sense for the Shining Blade - a human organization - to welcome in me, a Charr. The Charr were responsible for wiping out two human kingdoms. The only reason why we didn't get around to Kryta was because our momentum slowed down. Also, last time I checked, I am still an active member of the Ash Legion. You know, the Charr spies. Why on earth do these people blindly trust me and think I wouldn't pass any juicy info I receive up to the High Legions?

My player character is now a member of FIVE different organizations: The Ash Legion (Charr nationalistic organization), the Vigil (swears to renounce prior loyalties and fight for the greater good), the Pact (fighting against Dragons), Dragon's Watch (fighting against dragons), and now the Shining Blade (Krytan nationalistic organization). There is quite a lot of conflict of interest here.

I'm not fond of the sheer amount of sarcasm and snark in this episode. It undermines what is supposed to be an immersive fantasy story.
 

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