Cons & Pros – Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire

It’s been a long while since my last (and, until now, only) post on my blog here which completely goes against my 2017 New Year’s Resolution to write about anything more often, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.  Instead let’s talk about how ArenaNet dropped them HOT DEETS about the next Guild Wars 2 expansion, Path of Fire and sum it all up in a nice, simple list of cons and pros.  And, yes, I know it’s usually “pros & cons” but I’d rather start with what I disliked and end with the “good stuff” rather than vice versa.

Cons

  • Right off the bat, I’m just going to say I’m not a fan of how the latest living world season concluded and that is putting it as mildly.  I feel this is mostly because I came from the first Guild Wars 14 years ago and have, for better or worse, stuck to this game despite having gone months without playing on more than one occasion.  Somehow I always crawl back for probably a whole bunch of reasons I don’t want to get into.  Anyway, I’m just not a fan of how the writing seemed to be basic name-dropping to lure Guild Wars vets back instead of doing its own thing, which I get that it’s more difficult when you build off an established lore set 250+ years into the future but you can’t just bring up old lore for the sake of bringing it up so you can dangle it in front of old Guild Wars players like a shiny object. So, while not directly part of Path of Fire, the fact that the last few episodes of the living world season deal with old Guild Wars lore and, in my opinion, deals with it poorly enough, it makes me hesitant for what’s to come in the upcoming expansion.
  • Next, I want to bring up mounts.  Mostly because once upon a time I and many others were told that mounts were never planned to be included into Guild Wars 2.  However, come the Path of Fire announcement we not only have mounts, but we have multiple mounts that are, apparently, dye-able.  I’m awaiting for gem store exclusive mount skins to be announced in the months after PoF’s release and a friend of mine hopes that the jackal mount gets a wolf skin.  So on that basis alone, I list mounts as a con.
  • Lastly, I want to talk about the number of maps and the supposed sizes because probably my biggest gripe with the release of Heart of Thorns was that it shipped with 4 maps that were more vertical than any core Guild Wars 2 map which really only showed up in the first map, Verdant Brink, and then was sparsely sprinkled throughout the maps that followed.  But, verticality aside, my gripe with with the promised 5 maps coming with Path of Fire is I couldn’t see exactly how large the maps were relative to how large Heart of Thorns maps are or even core Guild Wars 2 maps.  But, if they need to give us mounts then I hope that the maps are big enough to need said mounts.
  • I know I said lastly in the previous paragraph but hear me out – we get nine new elite specializations coming in Path of Fire, however, none of them use a hammer.  And that makes me sad.  It makes Necromancer Munne the sadest of all.

Pros

  • So, I know in the cons list above I said that ArenaNet was basically name-dropping Guild Wars 1 lore to lure in GW vets like myself and my friend, but I’m going to be honest with you – that works so well for me when you talk about the Crystal Desert, the main area we’ll be visiting in Path of Fire.  Let me break it down real quick because the Crystal Desert is home to the Desert Tour (300g per stop, pay upfront), Tomb of the Primeval Kings, The Dragon’s Lair (make sure to bring a signet of capture) and, just in general, a lot of potential goodies for new and old players alike and I can not wait to explore it all over again.  Hopefully with less wurms this time.
  • Next, I want to bring up mounts.  Mostly because once upon a time I and many others were told that mounts were never planned to be included into Guild Wars 2.  However, come the Path of Fire announcement we not only have mounts, but we have multiple mounts that are, apparently, dye-able.  I’m awaiting for gem store exclusive mount skins to be announced in the months after PoF’s release and a friend of mine hopes that the jackal mount gets a wolf skin.  So on that basis alone, I list mounts as a pro.
  • A really neat, not-as-big-deal-to-some-but-still-really-cool-nonetheless thing that ArenaNet did was releasing a number of new human cosmetic options that are now included in the base game, so if you have a makeover kit or are making a new character you can get the new faces and hairstyles which is really swell.
  • Also really neat are the nine new specializations for the professions that all look to tie into the environment more than the Heart of Thorns specializations did. That’s how I like to roll characters so everyone can have their own little theme and the new specializations will give my large roster of characters more of a chance to branch out.  So far, my favorites are looking to be the Necromancer’s Scourge and the Engineer’s Holosmith.  There’s not too much else to say since I’m waiting for the free preview weekend to dig more into it.  Oh, speaking of the free preview weekend…
  • I love me some free preview weekends.  It’s how I got roped into the first game years and years ago, and I’ve no doubt it’s how I’ll get roped into Path of Fire.
  • I think the biggest deal about the Path of Fire announcement was that, not only will it be coming out in less than two months, but that it’s also, properly, a standalone expansion that’s not bundled with the core game to try to drive the price up of and the base price of PoF is very modest for the supposed amount of content.  Path of Fire is very smart in how it’s marketed and the fact that we only just got the final episode of the living world season a week ago means current players don’t have that long to wait before it will be time to return to, or visit for the first time, the Crystal Desert.

Okay, so that was a fun list to throw together and if you want a bottom line, here’s your TL;DR:

ArenaNet has, seemingly, learned from the announcement and launch of Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire looks to put to work that knowledge plus what they learned from the last living world season of content. But, I won’t get my hopes up quite yet as doing so would ruin my reputation as hating everything and being bitter about the most trivial of issues.  And, this should go without saying, but I hope Path of Fire is a huge success for ArenaNet and that, like Heart of Thorns, they learn from it and continue to improve and grow and develop even greater content that I will, of course, complain about in the future.

Stay lazy, sandy manta rays.

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