Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire – First Impressions (No Story Spoilers)

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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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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…

Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire Demo Weekend

The weekend was the Demo weekend for the upcoming release of the next Guild Wars 2 expansion, Path of Fire. From the 11th August to 13th August, players could opt into creating a new Demo character in order to play and explore the new features in the Crystal Desert. Anyone who has a Guild Wars 2 account could participate so this was a great opportunity to see what’s to come in the next instalment to the game.

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Unfortunately, since I work weekends, I didn’t get round to playing as much of this as I would have like to, however, I didn’t want to play it to death as the progress you make during the demo is not saved to your account (hence making the demo character). At least it’ll be more exciting for me when it’s actually released!

This demo weekend did not include the trial of the new Elite Specialisations, I’ve heard that will be next weekend.

After the story instance (which I only played part of) you spawn in the Crystal Oasis. This is the first new area of five that Path of Fire will bring to Tyria. The demo did not let you explore the entire map, so there will be at least a third more of the Crystal Oasis to explore on release.

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The other four areas should be located within the red box (my prediction) due to some noticeable markings on the map. In the release video, there were shots of snowy terrain so I think there will be a new area north of Crystal Oasis.

The demo allowed you the use of the Raptor mount. A button to the right of your Elite skill will allow you to access your mount at any time while out of combat. A drop down menu will appear like with your other skills allowing you to select which mount you want to equip, but for now we can only use the Raptor.

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I found the setting of (starting movement) animation really awkward on the Raptor as it sways to the side slightly before moving forwards. I can imagine this will be annoying when trying to slowly move a bit closer to a ledge as it seems to want to go in a different direction to start with. You cannot side strafe while on your mount and jumping consumes a small amount of endurance. It also doesn’t jump as high as you might think but there are other mounts for height purposes anyway. They can also withstand a decent amount of fall damage.

The Path of Fire Mastery system will continue with the ideas from the Heart of Thorns Mastery trees. The first tree for the Crystal Desert Mastery is for the Raptor mount with four sections. I believe each mount will have it’s own mastery tree and probably a few extra trees will be added also (since HoT had so many Mastery trees to complete).

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The Mastery points are purple for the Crystal Desert and earning them is different to just communing with them like the previous ones. I’m not sure if they will all be like this, but the one I came across involved me completing a memory game with 3 rounds before awarding me with the Mastery Insight.

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Other features will include new mount races, bounties, world bosses and map events as well as other content such as crafting materials, currency and the introduction to Unidentified Gear (which can be identified by Heart Merchants or salvaged for materials). I imagine there will be plenty of new armour sets and weapons available to buy/earn/craft and there are also new character customisation options.

The human customisation features are already in game and can be used with the style and makeover kits as well as in the create character section. Most of the options can be seen below for the human female (there’s more than one page). I’m unsure whether the other races will be getting any new customisation options, but I sure do hope so!

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I’m really looking forward to the release of Path of Fire and seeing what more is to come in the Crystal Desert as well as continuing the story. If you played the demo this weekend then let me know your thoughts, and please let me know if I’ve missed anything!

GW2: Path of Fire Expansion!

The next adventure is set to begin in Tyria on 22nd of September, will you be joining?

A few days ago, the release of Path of Fire was announced by ArenaNet. After a few teasers from the end of the Living World Season 3 Episode 6 finale’s story, it’s now official! If you haven’t seen theĀ Official GW2 Path of Fire Release Video, watch by following the link. There will be a demo weekend next weekend (11th August to 13th August) for anyone with a GW2 account to try out the new features and content for free over the course of the weekend.

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This expansion is the next instalment after Heart of Thorns which was released on 23rd October 2015. It seems this expansion will be similar in size in terms of new story, open world maps and the new mount feature being introduced like gliding was in HoT. You do not need to own HoT or the base game to purchase the Path of Fire expansion. The upgraded version of the base game will be included in the Path of Fire expansion, and there will be a bundle to purchase both of the expansions meaning HoT will work out cheaper than buying it separately.

The main features of this expansion will be the next chapter of the story, following straight on from Living World Season 3, 5 new explorable open world maps in the Crystal Desert and Northern Elona, 9 new Elite Specialisations (one for each class) and the introduction of mounts. For any other information, check out theĀ Official GW2 Path of Fire info page.

 

Maps

The new maps will be the biggest areas in Tyria to date with plenty to explore. Similar to the maps released in LWS3, the areas will feature a variety of different biomes and be spaced out at different altitudes rather than being flat like the older maps. There will be 5 new areas altogether on the Tyrian map, in the Crystal Desert and Northern Elona. There were also previews of snowy areas so it’s possible we’ll be getting an area north of the Shiverpeaks.

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The developers mentioned some of these areas were featured in the original Guild Wars (GW1) games, but have not been seen by us for the timescale of 250 years. For those of you who played GW1, you may be able to recognise some of the features that have been recreated, but for those of you that haven’t, the areas will be just as interesting to explore.

 

Mounts

The addition of mounts to the game will allow players to explore and venture to places within the new maps where they would never be able to get to on foot. Four different mounts will be added, each with their own ability making different mounts a necessity to reach specific areas. It appears these mounts will be unlocked as part of the extended mastery system.

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The mounts are:

  • Raptor – Can leap long distances. They can only leap in the direction they are facing and have limited height to which they can jump. Raptors are used in situations such as to jump across cliffs.
  • Springer – Can leap to great heights. The longer the jump is channelled, the higher the mount will jump. The distance covered by the mount is limited so it used for the purpose of reaching higher locations.
  • Skimmer – Glides across surfaces including water and other obstacles. The Skimmer will be useful for getting to places across bodies of water that don’t have a low shoreline for the player to climb out of the water by themselves.
  • Jackal – Can blink long distances but can change direction mid-blink. Generally used to get to more difficult places that require travelling in multiple directions.

The mounts are designed for movement across the new maps and are dismounted when entering combat. Each mount has its own ability for entering combat before you dismount, meaning each mount is tailored to different fighting scenarios and styles.

 

Specialisations

There are nine new Elite Specialisations featured in this expansion, one per class. With each specialisation, a new weapon will be able to be equipped by each class which will be unlocked through playing the game. I assume this will work like HoT where you had to gain more skill/hero points to spend on the new elite tree.

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Guardian – Firebrand. Weapon: Axe. The Firebrand will focus on using mantras which can be charged up for fast casting during combat. They will also cast magical burning damage and slash enemies with their axes at close range. Their Virtues will be replaced with tomes which protect allies.

Necromancer – Scourge. Weapon: Torch (offhand). Death Shroud will be replaced with a new type of Life Force focusing on supporting allies in the area. The Death Shroud skills will be replaced with new ones for the Scourge specialisation, granting a new support orientated play style with some added movement abilities.

Thief – Deadeye. Weapon: Rifle. The rifle will grant the Deadeye an extended range as a Thief’s range with every other weapon is limited. This will allow the Thief to mark an enemy to stalk from a distance and the marked enemy will be affected by bonuses when using the new cantrips.

Mesmer – Mirage. Weapon: Axe. The Mirage will have a new dodge mechanic which allows damage to blur through them rather than moving themselves.

Warrior – Spellbreaker. Weapon: Dagger. The Spellbreaker class specialises in fighting magic uses. Some of the new abilities will focus on stripping boons from enemies and silencing their opponents, cancelling some of their abilities.

Elementalist – Weaver. Weapon: Sword. The Weaver will be able to wield multiple attunements at once allowing them to create new element variations by combining two together, e.g. 2 fire skills, 2 water skills and the 5th skill being a combination of fire and water.

Ranger – Soulbeast. Weapon: Dagger (main hand). The spirit of the Soulbeast will combine with their pets, allowing them to gain the abilities of their pet and channel spirit forms.

Revenant – Renegade. Weapon: Short Bow. The Renegade will be able to channel the spirit legend of Kalla Scorchrazor. Members of her warband can be summoned and allies can be boosted.

Engineer – Holosmith. Weapon: Sword. Holosmiths can use light to create holographic weapons which gain heat during use. Upon gaining this heat, their new utility abilities help then channel to heat to make them more powerful, but the heat and cause damage if not handled correctlt and can even explode if used for too long.

 

Other features

As well as these main features, there will also be other new content available such as the new Guild Hall, Windswept Haven (the Guild Hall will need the HoT expansion to be unlocked).

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There will also be other content such as new events and world bosses, mount races and a new bounty system for players to take part in.

New faces and hairstyles will also be available for your characters. Dulfy leaked the new options for the Human customisation and there were so many options. It will be interesting to see what customisations options will be added for the other classes.

I’m really looking forward to this expansion, especially since it’s less than 2 months away from release! I didn’t buy HoT until a few months after its release, so I’m keen to play Path of Fire while it’s still new and exciting so I can experience things at the same time as everyone else. I didn’t get into raids when they first came out with HoT which I now really regret as I’ve never been able to find anyone to start playing with (since everyone wants experienced players with super high level gear). I feel like it’s an aspect I’ll never get into, and I really don’t want to place myself in that situation again and feel like I’m missing out on something.

I can’t wait to explore the Crystal Desert and find out what Balthazar is actually up to.

Let me know your thoughts on the expansion release and what you’re most excited about!