The second expansion, Path of Fire, for Guild Wars 2 was release a week ago. This expansion takes you on a journey to the Crystal Desert with 5 new areas to explore (and they are pretty big). This expansion also introduced mounts to the game as well as 4 new mastery tracks giving you 40 new mastery levels!
I didn’t get round to playing the game until 3 days after the release, but I’ve had plenty of time over the past few days to really get into it and I now think I’ll be able to give some decent reports on the expansion so far.
So, let’s start with the positives:
- The new areas are beautiful and I don’t think I’ll get tired of just wandering around to see the sights. I’ve taken so many screenshots of the scenery which I’m sure I’ll be sharing throughout this post, although they don’t really do it justice.
- As well as being very scenic, the maps are also much bigger than the old areas. They are much more open and things aren’t so crammed together so to me it feels more like an adventure with more to explore. I’ve been focusing on the story for now so I’ve not really spent much time roaming the maps doing meta events or anything, but it seems like there’s a good variety of things to do.
- New creatures and enemies. In the Heart of Thorns expansion, the enemies were similar (if not the same) to those we’d seen in Living World Season 2. The addition to new “wildlife” as we’re in a completely different environment makes the game more interesting, and I even got to see some llamas! Obviously there are still those everyday Guild Wars creatures roaming around too.
- The soundtrack seems pretty good, different to what we’ve heard before and it really fits the environment using cultural instruments and playing techniques. It’s really quite calming in places when just roaming around but when in combat it changes and makes you feel quite tense. I’ve not really heard much of it since I always play with the music off (farming habit) and completely forgot about it until I heard people say it was really good.
- The story has improved immensely in terms of the flow such as no dialogue cut scenes, optional speech for those who want more background on the story and the diversity between story instances and open world progression.
- If you are logged out halfway through a story instance, the game will send you to a checkpoint when you log back in and re-enter the instance. I’m not sure if this works long term, but if definitely works if you are disconnected. Although it’s still annoying to have to replay certain parts, at least it’s not all of it!
- You can do the story achievements during your first play through again! I can’t remember if HoT did this as I’ve played through that story many a time… but LWS2 made you play through the story once before you could even start the achievements.
Now for the negatives:
- To unlock the Springer mount, the Raptor mastery line has to be at least level 4 (spending a total of 5 mastery points) even if you reach the point in the story where you need the Springer. However, I don’t think this is the case for the Skimmer, you just have to have the other 2 mounts previously.
- The pacing seems really fast and it feels like there’s no break between story sections. I’ve found that I’ll be like “oh I’ll just finish this and get to a good point to stop” but there never seems to be “the right time to stop”. I guess this is how ArenaNet wants it as then people don’t want to stop playing, but for me this just makes it feel like it’s going too fast as I’m always doing the story.
- Most of the Specialisation Weapon upgrades are terrible. Some of them completely change the weapon, like the sword for the Elementalist, but the only difference to the Thief’s rifle is that the upgrade just has some black mist coming out of it… disappointed.
- As of yet, you cannot preview any of the new armour in the wardrobe. This is probably because it’s only just been released, but I’d like to see what’s available actually on my character rather than on Google. Same issue for the weapons.
- Not particularly a negative as it’s more to personal preference, but I’m not enjoying the Deadeye Specialisation. It’s probably me just not getting my build right, but as I’ve had to swap out the Daredevil for the Deadeye I’m really missing the extra dodge and all the swiftness I used to have. I thought it would be okay as I have a mount now, but I really struggle in combat to move around as it feels like my rifle does barely any damage and I find myself having to retreat. Not giving up yet though!
- The game (at the moment) keeps logging me out. I heard there were quite a few issues a few days after the release which are mostly now fixed, but this is really annoying when in story instances.
Although I was a little frustrated and disappointed with the last story instance, I’m eager to play more and finish the story so I can begin to fully explore the new areas with all the new mounts. Maybe I might even try to unlock the “secret” Griffon mount, but I’ve heard you need at least 250 gold to start with! Might have to go back to leather farming…