Fractals of the Mists are generally disliked at the moment by the Guild Wars 2 community. Mainly, this isn’t down to gameplay, however; it’s more down to the poor rewards that you expect to receive from running these mini dungeons, and for high skilled groups, they are just too simple. ArenaNet is planning to change this. The release of Heart of Thorns is going to bring more reasons to go back to Guild Wars’ fractals both from a gameplay point of view and from a time to reward ratio standpoint. Let me explain. ArenaNet has said that from a gameplay point of view the current fractals are not where they want to be. Too challenging for new players, too easy for veterans. They’re planning to rectify this problem by scaling the difficulty a bit differently, with the lower end being much easier for newer players to jump into and have fun, and the higher end being even more difficult for experienced groups of players. The blog post calls it ‘an experience that is easier to get into and easier to learn but more difficult to master’, which sounds about right.
One way that fractals are becoming more accessible comes from a direct change to how they are currently structured. Instead of the current system where a single run is three random islands with a random boss fractal, 1 fractal is going to equal 1 island. The idea behind this change is to significantly decrease the time it will take to complete a fractal, which is going to have an effect on a lot of different things. The main one that stands out to me is how much easier it will now be to find a group to play with, considering now a single fractal will take around 30 minutes instead of the 90 that it currently takes. On top of this, fractals will now be freely practised and the lower scales are made easier to attract newer players, and the higher scale increased to 100 from 50 to give more content for experienced players to master.
As well as gameplay quality of life improvements, the new fractal system is getting an update in terms of rewards and achievements. Fractals of the Mists will now have their very own tab on the achievements panel, where you’ll find a whole array of new achievements mixed in with all of the old ones. The rewards system has also been reworked into daily fractal achievements which will be split into three categories, 1-20, 21-50 and 51+. The new dailies will give players the opportunity to earn fractal weapon skins, ascended equipment, infused rings and more unannounced rewards. In addition to this, at the end of every fractal, every player will receive a lockbox in the chest called a fractal encryption which will include one of many new rewards. Another very welcome change is the fact that after completing fractal scale 50, you’ll be able to buy particular weapon skins from golem BUY-2046. Saving hours of grinding and weeks of frustration.
As well as this much welcomed fractal update ArenaNet has announced another piece of news which I expect to be received with the same amount of enthusiasm. Legendary backpacks! The backpacks will have to be crafted in the same way as any other legendary in the game, collecting components from all over the game world and then eventually putting them all together. Although there is a one different detail which, for now, ArenaNet is remaining coy about, called Ad Infinitum, which I expect we’ll hear more news about in the coming weeks. To go along with this, ascended salvaging will finally been added, so for everyone who has been saving up all the drops they didn’t want, your in-game banks will soon be a very happy place!
And for anyone reading this and jumping the gun, ArenaNet has specifically stated that this update to fractals is not the new challenging group content that was announced at PAX South. If you’d like to read about the changes in a bit more depth then click this link. And please tell us what you think about this announcement in the comments section below!