It’s funny but after this patch hit with our new holiday event and monthly homework assignments I felt an unmistakable urge to uphold the honour of those upset with the current development trends. It felt like my duty in the blogging realm was to champion the cause against disposable content and the inherent evils that have gone with it lately. It would be terrible easy to continue on with the same rants as by all accounts we were getting the same sort of content, at the same pace, with the same mechanics, and the same achievement grind.
It would be easy and still is easy to make that same argument, a large forum thread popped up nearly straight away that sums up those growing concerns rather nicely and which Jeromai of Why I Game gives a good post directed at the developers response. Another to champion the cause before they too burn out. I’m a little tired of that for now as it seems to taint my thoughts further into cynicism, so this time I endeavored to try the update with a change of heart.
And to be honest….I really enjoyed it. See I’m not always the Grinch who steals fun from unsuspecting gamers. I am going to miss this content immensely when it disappears to make room for another badly connected and irrelevant event, so much so that I actually want to try it all before it goes.
Back to Basics
It is so refreshing to have this event in a new space and not just focused around Lion’s Arch. I honestly don’t think I’ve been to Divinities Reach in several months as there hasn’t been any reason to go there and that really is such a shame. It has to be one of the most jaw droppingly amazing cities I have ever seen in a game. I had truly forgotten just how expansive and detailed it is and for a time I was once again transfixed by its beauty.
And the quality continues within this patch as everything added is detailed and beautiful. The crown pavilion is a remarkable structure, imposing in its size and shape and adding a unique style that shows how the city and world are slowly modernising. Everything in this area is so well crafted that it just adds to the stunning visuals, and the contrast of colour from the balloons and flags just make it it that much more interesting. The one thing I’ll never be able to complain about is the art and aesthetic.
The first thing I tried out was the torch-bearer races scattered around the city. They involve lighting a certain set of braziers on a course within a time limit and are actually rather fun. I found them all pretty easy, they were short and just require a little bit of problem solving to find the optimum path. I didn’t even look up the guide this time and had fun taking my time and figuring it out myself.
Like I said the new area within Divinity’s Reach is an absolute visual marvel. Below this area is a large enclosure, made up of smaller themed enclosures each housing a specific enemy type and its corresponding environment. Each area looks very familiar and so well done that it’s almost like a chunk of Tyria has been scooped up and transported here.
Being the focal point of this update as well as how it’s all designed does seem to promote that zerg mentality. The mobs are quite hard in terms of damage and health and the sheer amount of them would be very overwhelming to pretty much everyone who runs around solo. I don’t think this is a bad thing though as unlike many of the open world events these enclosures are properly tuned for the numbers of people. There are enough mobs to keep the killing consistent, respawns are relatively quick and there are a few legendary mobs now and then that act as damage sponge.
People also seem gain comfort from being around others, I see this a lot in WvW and it is good to have this in particular playstyle in PvE as well. I know I’ve seen such things over in Orr and even in Harathi Hinterlands but they aren’t as consistent. Here, night or day there are a train of players on farm mode and when wrapped up in the mob mentality it does make the game feel more lively again. Lively in that march of the dead sense more than the vibrance of interaction.
It is also fun to just smash mobs over and over again regardless of any rewards, it instils that sense of power in you while you slaughter things. I think you could pretty much get through the Crown Pavilion rewards within a hour or two if you really wanted to but I think I’ll still be coming back here just for that mindless zerg feeling.
I hear a lot of complaints regarding it’s ease of gaining levels, gold and crafting items but I don’t see this as a bad thing either as it gives people more options to play. There have always been certain shortcuts in-game for gaining these sorts of things and adding another method, even if temporary is a good thing. Instead of having to run dungeons to make gold you can come here now and for someone like me who doesn’t like dungeons that much it’s awesome. It’s giving people and their alts, or even casual players a quick way to catch up with levels and it has been putting more crafting mats into the economy which really is needed.
I understand these complaint but I see nothing wrong with giving more and different options on how to play. It’s pretty much the same as what happened because of the Southsun buffs to gold/magic find just in a more confined space. It has all been terrible restrictive for a while in certain ways and maybe, just maybe we will be able to play only what we want and still receive comparative rewards for it. Here’s hoping they gives us WvW players more ways to make gold.
It’s funny getting this now as when I was leveling with friends through Gendarran fields you get to a point at the far north-east where as part of the heart you fight certain beasts within their cages. I actually enjoyed it and said there should be a certain amount a replayabilty to the event, a pve gauntlet and here we are.
Immediately when I heard about this I thought GW2 had fallen to the corruptive force of WoW and started blindly copying mechanics. The Brawlers Guild was added several months ago to WoW now and offered up here like something completely new and fresh. While I do think WoW does it better in certain respects I do enjoy the Guild Wars flavour that is in some of these fights.
I completed all of tier 1 rather quickly and was ready for more but I ran out of tokens… I didn’t even know there was tokens for each fight and now that I do it seems rather silly to gate content like that. If I enjoy these fights, which I do, then why should I have to go out and grind events I don’t like just to play more of what I do. It’s a pity they had to ruin this with farming as I’m guessing with the challenge at later levels, and adding gambits (player limiters) for the achievements that I’m going to need a lot more of them.
Anyway, the fights in tier 1 didn’t seem to be overly complex and were beaten pretty easily by the usual kite and dot approach I tend to favour. There were a couple interesting mechanics to worry about that weren’t simply trial and error but more obvious animation tells and symbols which made the fights interesting rather than frustrating.
Later on though from what I’ve read it seems the problem is, depending on your build and class these fights range from yawn to OMFG the PAAAAAAAAAAAAIN. I still don’t think Arenanet have learned exactly how to make challenging encounters quite yet without making them mindlessly frustrating at times. They are very hit and miss with how they do them and I still think they could learn a lot from other mmo’s on how to create interesting encounters.
Also this very much needs a confirmation window as I was caught out the first time rather unaware with my usual WvW build that really isn’t designed around 1v1 dueling. It makes me want that Build switching functionality even more as each and every time I go here, or finish I have to respec.. it’s annoying.
A big fat meh as usual. I’m just finding it really hard to muster excitement over steam punk pirates. I prefer cyber over steam any day of the week.. and I prefer good old fashion stories that stick with a consistent theme and plot even more. I was actually far more into the dredge and Flame legion being a more permanent enemy for a time, even if the improbability of such an alliance was high it still felt more fitting to the world.
The closure during these story points seem overly forced but also way to soon, the shows barely started and it’s already wrapping up and starting on something entirely new. I know I’ve missed the last couple events but It still feels like I’m clawing at fragments of a story yet always short of the whole. There definitely needs to be a better in-game breadcrumb trail then this so people can continue to follow along.
Hmm, although when this is the quality of the official Arennet fan fiction than I really don’t hold any hope for the situation to get any better. Seriously, stop giving the interns important jobs… JEEEEEZUSSS, I thought I chastised you about this already. Make them run coffee or something, and just because everyone is an armchair developer doesn’t mean theit ideas are any good… except mine of course. Hell, just ask the community to write something for you as they seem more knowledgable and interested in the lore of Tyria than anyone over there.
I could be wrong in all of this of course and it might end up an amazing triumph of storytelling with its cohesion to the lore, mystery and unexpected plot twists. Jeromai has some intriguing thoughts on the Aetherblades and the significance of the thermonuclear reactor that if they pan out, well done. I will remain skeptical as usual though.
Quality of Life
I am very happy with the currency wallet that everything is all together now in one place and much easier to access. If this is this an indication of their attempt to streamline many of the functional issues we have and still do then I’m very happy with the progress and looking forward to more iteration. I think it should have been a bit of a warning sign to them that they needed such a thing in the first place. Our bags and banks had become so overwhelmed with copious amounts of junk and these myriad of currencies that it was becoming a serious issue. There is still a bit of work to do here though, there are many other currency forms especially from these events that are a nuisance like cogs from the toy event and such that need a place here or in the crafting tab.
The change to Finshers is once again another quality of life change to a system that really shouldn’t have been implemented how it was. I now might actually use the ones I have from time to time rather than leaving them in the bank. Here’s hoping pets get the usability fix soon as well.
There are a few other things I would like to see worked on next. Crafting material slots in the bank really need to be more than 250, such a restriction makes no sense considering how much of certain materials we get constantly. The legendary requires more than the crafting slots could hold just by themselves and some players may want to stockpile certain materials for whatever reason.
Also, it irks me a little that it is fine to make all these currencies completely across accounts, like somehow all these characters are close enough that they can and would share these things but that dyes are still character bound. Everything is becoming much easier to use across accounts but dyes aren’t for some reason… that’s just being mean.
And why are the WvW ranks still character bound.. they keep adding more and there is a huge cost to many of them as is. Maybe that’s just me talking as my absence since these were added only has me at a lowly rank of 48 while most in my guild are sitting in the high 100s. It seems to me that it would harm more people than it helps in that those playing a lot still gain a greater advantage.. in fact if you play alts then its a disadvantage.
The open world has seen a few decent improvements too. First, there are many really quite elegant balloon platforms scattered throughout Tyria that take you to the pavilion. Connected to these new structures are a few defense and escort missions that round off the event. More pirates making mischief as usual which could be quite challenging if you’re still under-leveled.
They kind of add the finishing touch to the event as without these it would feel like something is missing.
The new items and better loot tables for the champion mobs is an awesome change. Thank you. These fights took perseverance as it was to defeat when roaming around with minimal help yet the last time I defeated a champion I only received a white claw worth a couple of coppers. I was appalled and never faced one since. Now that they have become more rewarding it seems to be enticing people back out into the world once more to defeat these harder mobs.
I seem to remember giving out a suggestion very similar to this months ago as well as a few other ideas in my post aboutdynamic events. All they need to do now is make the events in these zones more rewarding and perhaps more connected.
My pve self really enjoyed this update as it has a decent amount variety to keep you interested and the achievement grind seemed to be more manageable this time. It seems Anet is slowly working the balance with these achievements so that they are more achievable within the realm of daily play instead of becoming the sole focus which I think is an important step. I should be pretty satiated for my monster killing and pve for another few months after finishing up this content. They always seem to create some amazing set pieces in the world I’m just hoping that they learn how to better connect these together to create a more coherent story and scale back the ridiculous grind… Maybe then I’ll try them out more often.
My PvP self is still raging though , stomping her feet and waving her hands in a dejected fashion as pve fluff is still taking priority over WvW. Seriously they get more skins while we still don’t have anything unique to WvW. I could create an entire rant post relating to WvW but it seems the official … forums ..have it.. pretty covered.