1. #37741
    The Insane Val the Moofia Boss's Avatar
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    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.




    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 deteour 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.

  2. #37742
    The Insane Val the Moofia Boss's Avatar
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    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 only bad map this season is Lake Doric, which is set in a flat dried out lakebed and is just boring.



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



    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 (fights against whoever they deem to be bad guys), 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.
    Last edited by Val the Moofia Boss; 2022-09-18 at 01:04 AM.

  3. #37743
    Herald of the Titans Lotus Victoria's Avatar
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    Just finished the original personal story, again, on another character. Last finished it back in 2013.

    Damn. Anet's writing and pacing improved by a TON. Like, it's not even the same game.

    Too bad free to play players have to stick with the slow paced, and mostly underwhelming supporting cast and villains.


  4. #37744
    Quote Originally Posted by Val the Moofia Boss View Post
    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 only bad map this season is Lake Doric, which is set in a flat dried out lakebed and is just boring.



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



    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 (fights against whoever they deem to be bad guys), 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.
    I have no clue about GW2 at all and kinda just fell into this post, but fun read all the same.
    Kinda curious about what's involved in getting into GW2, but another part of me tells me it's bad to tempt myself with another mmo, though it being paid upfront (right?) might actually make it better.
    This is a signature of an ailing giant, boundless in pride, wit and strength.
    Yet also as humble as health and humor permit.

    Furthermore, I consider that Carthage Slam must be destroyed.

  5. #37745
    Herald of the Titans Lotus Victoria's Avatar
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    The best thing about GW2 is that you can take all the time in the world to do whatever you want in the game. One time purchase + no subscription fee + horizontal progression (once you get good equipments, you will forever be strong) makes the game feel fresh everytime you come back to it.

    With the mastery system, GW2 now has a very fun and different endgame if compared to other MMO's, and it's always a good time to hop on a group and do some metas.

    Try it out!


  6. #37746
    The Insane Val the Moofia Boss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loras View Post
    Kinda curious about what's involved in getting into GW2
    You can try out the vanilla game's content for free. However, the bulk of GW2's appeal lies in its gameplay, and I personally think that the gameplay of the vanilla game is overall lackluster. The map design is mediocre by the standards of what comes later, and look visually unappealing. The mobs in the vanilla game offer hardly any engaging challenge. If you play with no expansions, then you can only play with your class' core specializations, which the design team have neglected as they only really focus on making the expansion specializations fun to play. That isn't to say I think that the vanilla game is bad, but for years the common sentiment has been to recommend new players to start with the HoT expansion (interesting map design, good looking areas, mobs aren't braindead, your class becomes more fun to play), as that is less likely to turn off new players. That being said, if you really want to go through the content in chronological order, the story from vanilla to HoT is only 30 hours long, and nowadays you can level insanely fast (1 to 80 within a few hours), so if you can tolerate that then go for it.


    it being paid upfront (right?) might actually make it better.
    Anet is deceptive with the true nature of GW2's pricing. The website advertises a "complete collection" that gives you all three expansions for $50, but it doesn't give you access to all of the content. There is actually another $52 in patch content that you have to purchase: the living world seasons. Each episode unlocks a new map, and the seasons actually provide more new zones to visit than the expansions. So in order to get the whole game, you have to drop $102 on it.

    Before you drop any money, you should download the game and at least see if you even like the barest idea of GW2. Do you like how it feels to move around, do you like the action combat (there is an action camera mode you can enable that can change the feel of the game), do you even like the races or the classes, etc. If you do like the idea of GW2 but think Vanilla is shoddy, then you can lay down $30 and skip to HoT's content and start playing around with the expansion specializations. That is a good indicator of what GW2 is like after HoT, so you can decide whether to cut your losses and move on, or to go all in.

    If you do buy into GW2, then there are a few other things you should know. The best looking cosmetics are sold in the cash shop (that scarf and cloak and quiver I wear? Cash shop items. There is no free cloak or quiver that looks like that). All mount skins are from the cash shop and cost about $20 per skin (unfortunately you just missed the August sale where all of the mount skins were being sold, so if there is one in particular you want then too bad you have to wait until it goes on sale again). The character creator at the start of the game hides all of the possible customization options to you; you have to drop $5 for a total makeover kit to see the hidden options. Staring at an appealing character will increase your enjoyment. You also acquire loot at an incredible rate, so buying extra bag slots will greatly improve your quality of life. The Griffon flying mount (which WoW is copying for Dragonflight) costs 250 gold, which takes a long time to farm ingame but can be bought for about $15 (there is legalized gold selling through an ingame interface).

    In total I think I've dropped about $250ish on GW2 over the years. That might sound like an intimidating upfront cost, and sure Anet is scummy, but I think it was well worth it. I've had several hundred hours of fun from GW2. Other MMOs charge you a $60 expansion every two years AND a $15 a month sub fee. If you play WoW or FF14 for 10 years then that costs you at least $2,000, and those games STILL have cash shops. And when you compare dropping a couple hundred bucks on GW2 compared to other possible hobbies, such as building and painting Warhammer armies or model trains or slot car racing, GW2 is relatively cheap and a very good value proposition.
    Last edited by Val the Moofia Boss; 2022-09-25 at 06:26 PM.

  7. #37747
    So ANet really wants to encourage people to buy...alternatively sourced...keys I guess, what with all the bundles and making it difficult to buy expansions alone.

    I know it's a fairly narrow group of people affected by this (returning players who own HoT) but being told that you must buy a HoT/PoF bundle to get PoF is kinda silly. And don't tell me what Reddit drones all say about, "HoT is free, you get it when you buy PoF" because the newest expansion is $30 so there's no way the last expansion is also still $30. You're buying HoT and PoF and there's no way around that.

    No, it's not a big deal. Just kinda silly is all. And like Val said, no matter what you buy you don't actually get all the expansion content anyway, there's a price tag on that too.

    Always feels like ANet has a habit of doing a mostly good job and then jamming a stick in their tire at the last second.

  8. #37748
    The Unstoppable Force PACOX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loras View Post
    I have no clue about GW2 at all and kinda just fell into this post, but fun read all the same.
    Kinda curious about what's involved in getting into GW2, but another part of me tells me it's bad to tempt myself with another mmo, though it being paid upfront (right?) might actually make it better.
    GW2s content is cut up into several segments

    Core, Heart of Thorns, Path of Fire, End of Dragons - This is your vanilla game and the 3 expansions. The Core game is free. Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire are now bundled. End of Dragons is the newest expansion.

    Stuff unlocked outside their story.

    Core - Gives you access to the vanilla game
    HoT/PoF - Gliding, Five of the games mounts, Raids. 18 Elite Specs (expansion to the classes)
    EOD - Base level mounts and gliding if you dont have the previous expansion. Strikes (like FF14 raids), skiffs, and fishing - 9 elite specs

    Then you have the Living Story, the way sizable content is introduced between the expansions. Kind of like DLC. They are denoted by seasons. Season 3/4/5 come with new maps and a bunch of other stuff. All of these can be purchased for in-game gold or unlocked with real money. They are free when the come out until a new one is released.

    Season 1 - Free
    Season 2 - Only reason to buy this one in 2022 is for full access to the story and a collection that involves all the seasons.
    Season 3 - Requires Heart of Thorns - 5 maps
    Season 4 - Requires Path of Fire - 5 maps, 2 new mounts
    Season 5 - Requires Path of Fire - Strikes (separate set from those mentioned above).


    Anet has a $50 bundle for all the expans, Steam has it for $60. If you create your account on Anets site you have to buy from there, if you create your account on Steam you have to buy from Steam. Steam has $100 bundle that gives you everything (living story stuff included). Anet doesn't sell a complete bundle yet but they do have one that gems you enough gems to buy the living story stuff for the same price.

    Steam:




    Anet:



    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Val the Moofia Boss View Post
    Anet is deceptive with the true nature of GW2's pricing. The website advertises a "complete collection" that gives you all three expansions for $50, but it doesn't give you access to all of the content. There is actually another $52 in patch content that you have to purchase: the living world seasons. Each episode unlocks a new map, and the seasons actually provide more new zones to visit than the expansions. So in order to get the whole game, you have to drop $102 on it.

    .
    It's only deceptive if people don't read. Not sure why people buy stuff without reading.
    Last edited by PACOX; 2022-09-25 at 10:20 PM.

    Resident Cosplay Progressive

  9. #37749
    Quote Originally Posted by PACOX View Post
    It's only deceptive if people don't read. Not sure why people buy stuff without reading.
    Not sure what you mean by that, a new player would have no reason to think that there's secret paywalled content on top of the "collection".

    Shit, the store page for the collection even outright says, "All content in one collection". So why would a new player...well, read...that and not think it means what it says?

  10. #37750
    The Unstoppable Force PACOX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost of Cow View Post
    Not sure what you mean by that, a new player would have no reason to think that there's secret paywalled content on top of the "collection".

    Shit, the store page for the collection even outright says, "All content in one collection". So why would a new player...well, read...that and not think it means what it says?
    Get the ultimate experience with the Ultimate Edition. You'll get the entire collection of Guild Wars 2 expansions, everything in the Deluxe Edition, plus 4,000 gems to spend in the Black Lion Trading Company.
    Its not that hard to comprehend.

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  11. #37751
    Quote Originally Posted by PACOX View Post
    Its not that hard to comprehend.
    So you're a new player and you're buying this "collection" and the page says things like, "All content" and "The whole world" and YOU assert that it's just a matter of reading comprehension if that player doesn't know that - in fact - this doesn't actually mean "All content"?

    I guess said new players are just meant to glean this information via 5G signals or chemtrails or something.

  12. #37752
    The Insane Val the Moofia Boss's Avatar
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    A brand new player has no idea what seasons are or what they entail. Seasons are not advertised on the GW2 store and do not receive anywhere near the same level of marketing as expansions (and the latest expac was already a ship passing through the night when it came to marketing). Even if one does follow a news website like Massively OP and see Elliot talking about new GW2 episodes and speculating about seasons, a new player isn't going to know that you have to pay for old patches if you weren't playing when they were current.

  13. #37753
    The Unstoppable Force PACOX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost of Cow View Post
    So you're a new player and you're buying this "collection" and the page says things like, "All content" and "The whole world" and YOU assert that it's just a matter of reading comprehension if that player doesn't know that - in fact - this doesn't actually mean "All content"?

    I guess said new players are just meant to glean this information via 5G signals or chemtrails or something.
    Brother, dealing with new players in this old ass game is kind of my thing. They only people who are deceived are those who click purchase before they read what they're actually buying.

    I honestly don't care. The information is there plain as day. Its plain as day on Anets site, its plain on the wiki. Its plain on Steam. If someone still thinks its "deceptive" thats on them.
    Last edited by PACOX; 2022-09-25 at 10:46 PM.

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  14. #37754
    Quote Originally Posted by PACOX View Post
    Brother, dealing with new players in this old ass game is kind of my thing. They only people who are deceived are those who click purchase before they read what they're actually buying.
    And we're back to the "reading" part.

    Tell me what a player is supposed to read on that page to know about Living Story unlocks. The page doesn't even mention them. Doesn't say they're not included, doesn't say they're optional unlocks, doesn't even say they exist.

    What is it that you think they should read on that page to understand that "All content" and "Entire world" don't actually mean that?

    Please, if you're going to keep harping on people "not reading" tell me what you think they should have read on that page.

  15. #37755
    Quote Originally Posted by Val the Moofia Boss View Post
    You can try out the vanilla game's content for free. However, the bulk of GW2's appeal lies in its gameplay, and I personally think that the gameplay of the vanilla game is overall lackluster. The map design is mediocre by the standards of what comes later, and look visually unappealing. The mobs in the vanilla game offer hardly any engaging challenge. If you play with no expansions, then you can only play with your class' core specializations, which the design team have neglected as they only really focus on making the expansion specializations fun to play. That isn't to say I think that the vanilla game is bad, but for years the common sentiment has been to recommend new players to start with the HoT expansion (interesting map design, good looking areas, mobs aren't braindead, your class becomes more fun to play), as that is less likely to turn off new players. That being said, if you really want to go through the content in chronological order, the story from vanilla to HoT is only 30 hours long, and nowadays you can level insanely fast (1 to 80 within a few hours), so if you can tolerate that then go for it.




    Anet is deceptive with the true nature of GW2's pricing. The website advertises a "complete collection" that gives you all three expansions for $50, but it doesn't give you access to all of the content. There is actually another $52 in patch content that you have to purchase: the living world seasons. Each episode unlocks a new map, and the seasons actually provide more new zones to visit than the expansions. So in order to get the whole game, you have to drop $102 on it.

    Before you drop any money, you should download the game and at least see if you even like the barest idea of GW2. Do you like how it feels to move around, do you like the action combat (there is an action camera mode you can enable that can change the feel of the game), do you even like the races or the classes, etc. If you do like the idea of GW2 but think Vanilla is shoddy, then you can lay down $30 and skip to HoT's content and start playing around with the expansion specializations. That is a good indicator of what GW2 is like after HoT, so you can decide whether to cut your losses and move on, or to go all in.

    If you do buy into GW2, then there are a few other things you should know. The best looking cosmetics are sold in the cash shop (that scarf and cloak and quiver I wear? Cash shop items. There is no free cloak or quiver that looks like that). All mount skins are from the cash shop and cost about $20 per skin (unfortunately you just missed the August sale where all of the mount skins were being sold, so if there is one in particular you want then too bad you have to wait until it goes on sale again). The character creator at the start of the game hides all of the possible customization options to you; you have to drop $5 for a total makeover kit to see the hidden options. Staring at an appealing character will increase your enjoyment. You also acquire loot at an incredible rate, so buying extra bag slots will greatly improve your quality of life. The Griffon flying mount (which WoW is copying for Dragonflight) costs 250 gold, which takes a long time to farm ingame but can be bought for about $15 (there is legalized gold selling through an ingame interface).

    In total I think I've dropped about $250ish on GW2 over the years. That might sound like an intimidating upfront cost, and sure Anet is scummy, but I think it was well worth it. I've had several hundred hours of fun from GW2. Other MMOs charge you a $60 expansion every two years AND a $15 a month sub fee. If you play WoW or FF14 for 10 years then that costs you at least $2,000, and those games STILL have cash shops. And when you compare dropping a couple hundred bucks on GW2 compared to other possible hobbies, such as building and painting Warhammer armies or model trains or slot car racing, GW2 is relatively cheap and a very good value proposition.
    Thanks for the summary!
    At present i am intermittently playing WoW mostly due to being a sort of "all or nothing" person due to health issues relating to memory and focus, so i burn through everything it has to offer in one or two months tops, though more if the general gameplay is genuinely good and accessible (haven't seen that since Legion).
    I figured GW2 might be more accessible to such a playstyle since it takes away the consideration of "If i buy playtime i will feel compelled to play, but i dislike actually getting gametime because i dislike the feeling of compulsion" which makes it so that it's only worthwhile so long as there is genuinely good stuff in the game, like fresh levelling stuff in example or good pvp.

    But i also realised i am a bit too invested in WoW already, and also that my internet is frequently shit, so i think i should scratch my itch with single player stuff moreso than go for this sorta stuff.

    Still thanks for the info and the read, it's interesting!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by PACOX View Post
    GW2s content is cut up into several segments

    Core, Heart of Thorns, Path of Fire, End of Dragons - This is your vanilla game and the 3 expansions. The Core game is free. Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire are now bundled. End of Dragons is the newest expansion.

    Stuff unlocked outside their story.

    Core - Gives you access to the vanilla game
    HoT/PoF - Gliding, Five of the games mounts, Raids. 18 Elite Specs (expansion to the classes)
    EOD - Base level mounts and gliding if you dont have the previous expansion. Strikes (like FF14 raids), skiffs, and fishing - 9 elite specs

    Then you have the Living Story, the way sizable content is introduced between the expansions. Kind of like DLC. They are denoted by seasons. Season 3/4/5 come with new maps and a bunch of other stuff. All of these can be purchased for in-game gold or unlocked with real money. They are free when the come out until a new one is released.

    Season 1 - Free
    Season 2 - Only reason to buy this one in 2022 is for full access to the story and a collection that involves all the seasons.
    Season 3 - Requires Heart of Thorns - 5 maps
    Season 4 - Requires Path of Fire - 5 maps, 2 new mounts
    Season 5 - Requires Path of Fire - Strikes (separate set from those mentioned above).


    Anet has a $50 bundle for all the expans, Steam has it for $60. If you create your account on Anets site you have to buy from there, if you create your account on Steam you have to buy from Steam. Steam has $100 bundle that gives you everything (living story stuff included). Anet doesn't sell a complete bundle yet but they do have one that gems you enough gems to buy the living story stuff for the same price.

    Steam:




    Anet:



    - - - Updated - - -



    It's only deceptive if people don't read. Not sure why people buy stuff without reading.
    A clear and concise summary of all versions and costs, very nice, thanks!
    As i said to Val i have decided against pursueing it at least for now, but perhaps i'll change my mind - but even then such a summary is likely useful for other interested ones as well.
    This is a signature of an ailing giant, boundless in pride, wit and strength.
    Yet also as humble as health and humor permit.

    Furthermore, I consider that Carthage Slam must be destroyed.

  16. #37756
    I preordered End of Dragons, but never actually started it since other things kept popping up. On vacation this week, figured I'd finally get to it. Hop from ship to ship, get to shore, cutscene, crash. Reload, mid boats, hop around again, cutscene, crash. Check forum, reported bug from March, guess I just have to keep doing it until I get through it...

    Not exactly encouraging, guess I'll give it a try tomorrow and do something else today.
    "I only feel two things Gary, nothing, and nothingness."

  17. #37757
    The Insane Val the Moofia Boss's Avatar
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    Path of Fire

    Few games have made me swear as much as travelling through PoF's maps. The density of mobs, their respawn rate, and their dismounting abilities make for an aggravating experience. I am supposed to be playing a video game for entertainment, but this is just not fun.

    The PoF maps are designed around constantly switching mounts to use their different abilities. Raptor for long distance travel, Springer for jumping up cliffs, and Skimmer for gliding over fluids like water, quicksand, or sulfur. You need to be out of combat to mount up, but since you are constantly being whacked by something every 5 seconds it is very difficult to traverse the map. It also does not help that nearly everything will yank you off of your mount and drag you into combat. Riding through a cave? You get dismounted as a pack of spiders descend from the ceiling. Riding through the desert? You get dismounted by a dust mite you can't distinguish from the desert, and when you kill it, it splits into two more dustmites you have to fight. Riding along a highway? You run into a tripwire and get dismounted. Getting shot off of your mount by a sniper. And so on. (Yes, HoT had snipers that could shoot you out of the sky, but they were restricted to only one small area on one zone, they weren't prevalent everywhere!). And so on. PoF maps only become bearable once you obtain a flying mount that lets you bypass the mobs on the ground.

    The high density of mobs and the high respawn rate means that you can't even as much as leave your computer to refill your water without your character being killed while you are away. There are far fewer waypoints in PoF maps, so if you want to teleport to a safe spot while you AFK, then you will have to spend several minutes riding back.



    70% of PoF's maps look like this.

    My other issue with the PoF maps is that they are overall visually boring. Aside from the Desolation, the maps are almost entirely flat deserts. The snowy mountain in the Desert Highlands, the swamp in Elon Riverlands, and the purple Brandstorm areas are pretty, but they are minor parts of their maps. The only map that overall looks interesting is the Desolation, with all of the blackened rock and the yellow sulfur ravines.


    The Air Djinn's floating enclave with the colorful Islamic architecture and the sand magic was cool. It should have been a whole zone. A flying city.


    The sulfur ravines of the Desolation.


    Inside a Brandstorm cave in Vabbi.


    Weird ruined pyramid in the Crystal Oasis.


    Another thing that bothers me about PoF map design is that they don't take advantage of traversal mechanics introduced in HoT and PoF. There are no updrafts or ley lines of magic to glide on, no mushrooms to jump on and bounce off of, no lava tubes to hop into, etc. Yes, the new expansions wants to emphasize the new mechanics, the mounts, but I think old traversal mechanics could have been incorporated without usurping the mounts. For example, placing updrafts high up cliffs, so you have to skillfully use the Springer to get up to it.




    The absence of Ley Lines is especially criminal. After Mordremoth died at the end of HoT, we began seeing ley lines popping up everywhere. Seeing ley lines spring up right next to Divinity's Reach emphasized that the fabric of the world was becoming unstable. Ley energy running rampant is still happening according to the story but for some reason you're not seeing it in PoF. Show, don't tell game!

    On the subject of mounts, I find that the mounts are very... boring. Riding around a giant bunny isn't very fantastical. The only one that is cool is the Jackal made of swirling sand magic. It's a shame really, given how imaginative some of the concept art for the mounts were!













    Story

    The setup is that there is a four-way conflict between the elder dragon Kralkatorik, the god Balthazar, and the undead lich king Palawa Joko, and the heroes. Cool on paper. Ingame, however, the first 4 hours of PoF are pretty boring. You're just running from one NPC to the next listening to them give you directions or exposit the plot. The Elon Riverlands chapter is literally just you running back and forth across the desert between NPCs asking them for directions to the next map.


    During the climatic confrontation with Balthazar, his face bugged out. Floating eyes and mouth syndrome.

    I am not fond of how the unwinnable boss fight against Balthazar was executed. I was doing absolutely fine. Then his HP reached 92% and he decided to just stun me and it was cutscene time. It doesn't make him feel threatening. It feels cheap. It would have been better if, the less HP he had, the more his outgoing damage scaled up to unsurvivable levels. That way it would feel like you legitimately lost. Perhaps a future plot objective could be trying to find a way to negate that damage before the final boss battle with him at the end.



    Vlast sacrifices himself to save the PC from Balthazar. Unfortunately Vlast's model bugged out during the in-engine segment, before the switch to the prerendered cutscene.

    The last 1/3rd of PoF is pretty cool, with the player being killed, journeying through the underworld, reclaiming their name, coming back to life, impersonating Joko's archon and commanding his undead armies, and defending Vabbi from the simultaneous assaults of Balthazar's army and the humongous elder dragon Kralkatorik. I also liked the first phase of the final boss battle where you fought Balthazar's tank mech. The second phase against Balthazar on foot was pretty dull but being able to do the combo attack with Aurene you taught her in season 3 was cool.

    I sorta wish we had gotten the Warbeast fight that was implied in Carlyn Lim's concept art, where Aurene was quite visibly strapped into the dragon. She would be screaming at the top of her lungs as the tank extracted more and more magic from her. Would've been visceral. In the fight we got, you can't see Aurene and you're only reminded that she's even inside by a one voice line during the fight (that may or may not have played). You feel more concerned for Kralkatorik, a dragon you had just seen for the first time 2 minutes ago than for Aurene, one of the main characters that the plot of GW2 has been revolving around since season 2.






    Plothole: why did Kralkatorik attack Vabbi at the end? (Not factoring in later reveals/retcons from the end of season 4). We are 50 hours into the saga (and 5 years IRL since the vanilla game launched in 2012) and the one constant motivation of Elder Dragons that has been hammered over and over is that they hunger for magic. Nothing else matters to them whatsoever. Not only can Kralkatorik fly, he can turn into a sandstorm. He can either fly so high Balthazar can't hurt him or he can turn intangible. Either way, he has no reason to endanger himself to Balthazar nor any desire to him. He couldn't have been lured by Aurene since Kralkatorik was already lingering above Vabbi before Balthazar's tank stomped through the city, and never had any interest in his children anyway before now.



    A rant about powerlevels

    One thing I've liked about GW2 (and the franchise as whole) is that up until now, there has been a sense of threat.

    In Guild Wars 1 Prophecies, you are just one man. You are not almighty. You cannot singlehandedly fend off the Charr invasion. So you are forced to flee from your homeland of Ascalon. In Factions, you and your entire party are KILLED by Shiro about half way through the campaign, and have to be resurrected by the gods to become their pawns in some sort of divine war.

    In vanilla GW2, Zhaitan was a humongous flying dragon. You couldn't just walk up to him and slash at his ankles for 5 minutes and expect him to fall over dead. So the final battle of the vanilla story involved shooting at him with a cannon from an airship

    Mordremoth had no body. Or rather, his consciousness had become distributed across a large swathes of Tyria, living in a vast network of plants and flora. There was no hope of burning out every Mordrem vine. So the only way to kill him was to hop into his mind and kill his consciousness.

    Balthazar is one of the 6 human gods. He absorbed the power of a Bloodstone explosion that would have wiped out half of Tyria. Half way through PoF, Balthazar stuns and KILLS the PC. At the end of PoF, the PC engages Balthazar right as he is dealing great harm to Kralkatorik (another of the elder dragons, just like Zhaitan and Mordremoth). The PC didn't get any divine blessings from the gods, didn't get juiced up on magic, didn't exploit a weakness, nothing. The PC should have no hope of beating Balthazar. And yet, for some reason, I stabbed Balthazar for 5 minutes and that killed him, just like that. What?



    Voice acting

    This is supposed to be another continent, and yet I'm still hearing the same coastal city Californians I've been listening to for the past 50 hours. Not very immersive. Pretty disappointing given the lengths that GW2's competition have gone to differentiate different parts of their worlds. In WoW, Gilnean humans do not sound like Stormwind humans, or Kul'tiran humans. In FFXIV, Ishgardians sound different from Lominsans, or Domans, or Garleans, or Thavnairans.

    Lex Lang won me over with his voice for the male Charr PC. He sounds like a new man when he returns from the dead, and you can hear the desperation in his voice during the final battle. I think I still prefer Ron Yuan, but I'm no longer dissatisfied with Lang.

  18. #37758
    Quote Originally Posted by Val the Moofia Boss View Post
    A rant about powerlevels

    One thing I've liked about GW2 (and the franchise as whole) is that up until now, there has been a sense of threat.

    In Guild Wars 1 Prophecies, you are just one man. You are not almighty. You cannot singlehandedly fend off the Charr invasion. So you are forced to flee from your homeland of Ascalon. In Factions, you and your entire party are KILLED by Shiro about half way through the campaign, and have to be resurrected by the gods to become their pawns in some sort of divine war.

    In vanilla GW2, Zhaitan was a humongous flying dragon. You couldn't just walk up to him and slash at his ankles for 5 minutes and expect him to fall over dead. So the final battle of the vanilla story involved shooting at him with a cannon from an airship

    Mordremoth had no body. Or rather, his consciousness had become distributed across a large swathes of Tyria, living in a vast network of plants and flora. There was no hope of burning out every Mordrem vine. So the only way to kill him was to hop into his mind and kill his consciousness.

    Balthazar is one of the 6 human gods. He absorbed the power of a Bloodstone explosion that would have wiped out half of Tyria. Half way through PoF, Balthazar stuns and KILLS the PC. At the end of PoF, the PC engages Balthazar right as he is dealing great harm to Kralkatorik (another of the elder dragons, just like Zhaitan and Mordremoth). The PC didn't get any divine blessings from the gods, didn't get juiced up on magic, didn't exploit a weakness, nothing. The PC should have no hope of beating Balthazar. And yet, for some reason, I stabbed Balthazar for 5 minutes and that killed him, just like that. What?
    Lore-wise, Aurene was helping you in that fight, it wasn't just you fighting him and she's extremely powerful, just young and inexperienced and now nearly as powerful as she ultimately will end up being. Also, the sword Balthazar himself created was used against him. For game play reasons, obviously you're controlling your character but it wasn't your power alone that helped you defeat him.

    Maybe the game didn't do a good enough job showing you these things, but the PC alone did not defeat Balthazar.

  19. #37759
    The Insane Val the Moofia Boss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katchii View Post
    Lore-wise, Aurene was helping you in that fight, it wasn't just you fighting him and she's extremely powerful, just young and inexperienced and now nearly as powerful as she ultimately will end up being. Also, the sword Balthazar himself created was used against him. For game play reasons, obviously you're controlling your character but it wasn't your power alone that helped you defeat him.

    Maybe the game didn't do a good enough job showing you these things, but the PC alone did not defeat Balthazar.
    It is possible Aurene was the deciding factor. Balthazar did capture her to power up his tank so he could kill Kralkatorik, and he seemed to have been succeeding. It's just unclear how powerful Aurene was.

    It doesn't seem like Aurene had absorbed any elder dragon or god magic prior to season 4. When Zhaitan died, Mordremoth absorbed his death magic. When Mordremoth died at the end of HoT, the cinematic showed ley line magic flowing from Mordremoth's tree in Dragon's Stand to Tarir and into the egg, so it seemed like Aurene absorbed Mordremoth's death and plant magic. But then in S3 and PoF, Aurene doesn't use any death or plant magic, and neither the Exalted nor Taimi say that Aurene has absorbed any magic (during a storyline in which we are constantly scrutinizing people and creatures for what kind of magic they have absorbed). Meanwhile, in S3E2 and S3E3, you fight minions of Jormag and Primordus that have death and plant magic, so it seems that those two dragons acquired Mordremoth's powers. AFAIK Aurene was unempowered until S4.

    The only other uncorrupted, unempowered dragon we saw was Vlast, Aurene's elder brother. Except he was over two centuries old and was chained up by Balthazar. Aurene only hatched the year prior to PoF, in year 1229. So the PC and a one year old hatchling killed the god of war? The same god of war who had only a few days prior, bested Vlast and killed the PC?

  20. #37760
    Ultimately, power levels are meaningless anyway. It's just about the nature of an ongoing multiplayer game; we (the player characters) will always prevail in the end.

    (And honestly, the whole concept of, "You died but you get to Goku through the afterlife and come back if you want." is an even bigger cheapening of the experience than beating a "stronger" character.)
    Last edited by Ghost of Cow; 2022-09-28 at 11:49 PM.

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