Editorials

Our Two Cents: GuildMag Reflects on the Past and Future of Guild Wars 2

With news of the ominously-titled panel “Guild Wars 2: Beyond the Point of No Return” to be held at PAX South, the fan community has been stirring (not unlike an Elder Dragon) and feeding on any chance it can to get hyped, waiting to hear what comes next.

At the turn of the year, the staff got together to share some brief reflections and hopes for the future of the game. It gave us a chance to write about what is important to us, whether it is a feature we are waiting for, something that could have been improved, or just a mindless rambling of “Cantha” over and over again. Regardless, 2014 was a very interesting year and we are looking forward to seeing what 2015 has in store.

 

Valiant, Administrator

“2014 has been a great year for GuildMag as a whole. One of my personal highlights has been being part of the epic conclusion of Scarlet’s rampage across Tyria, and the beginning of Mordremoth’s. I’ve battled alongside hundreds of other players over the course of the year, and the introduction of the megaserver system has brought me back to zones I hadn’t stepped foot in since my first playthrough over two years ago. The array of new content has given me endless things to discuss on our podcast (with Kaysee having to remind me of the time on multiple occasions!), and for all this I’m extremely grateful to ArenaNet – after all, it’s all been free!

I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in 2015. With each new update, Guild Wars 2 gets better and better; like many others, I feel like I’m ready for an expansion to sink my teeth into. Whether we’ll get that, only ArenaNet knows, but either way we should be in for a good year!”

 

Miko Riel, Content Manager

“I enjoyed the introduction of new gameplay mechanics in 2014 and the way fights in the Living Story kept building on each other, like the Marionette fight and the Scarlet Knights battles. I had a lot of fun playing and being part of the community coming together to improve and succeed each time these events spawned. I’ve also really enjoyed how the storytelling has improved in Season 2 with so many ties back to Guild Wars. Guild Wars 2 finally feels like it’s becoming the continuing story of Tyria on a grander scale instead of feeling focused on an individual race’s or group’s lore. On a different note, I was disappointed with the introduction of the New Player Experience, especially with how primary attributes are earned, and how players are locked out of the Personal Story.

I’m looking forward to finding out what’s happening with Rytlock and where Canach and Anise’s shady relationship is going. Mostly, though, I’m really hoping we get an expansion with new professions, skills, traits, and lands to explore.”

 

Draxynnic, Writer

“I was saying towards the start of the year that 2014 would likely be the year that Guild Wars 2 either started to turn around… or started to collapse. Looking back… I suspect my statement will still prove to be correct, but it’s unclear which it will may be.

From a broad-strokes perspective, the second season of the Living Story has shown a marked improvement over the first. We’ve seen the introduction of new maps with their own unique mechanics and feel, and a more balanced mix of story elements from Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 – as opposed to maintaining a laser-like focus on a single character. There have been hiccoughs along the way, but, primarily, these have mostly been limited to the details (cliffhangers may be a time-honoured literary device, but using the same cliffhanger twice in a row is just frustrating) rather than the overall direction of the plot.

The main thing I find myself particularly looking for at this point, however, is new skills, weapons, and traits to support them. While we have seen some development in this respect in the form of new healing skills and grandmaster traits, mostly the builds you can put together now are the same as what could be done two years ago. While it can be interesting to see how they respond to different circumstances, it would be nice to have the opportunity to try playing something totally different as well as having different situations in which to apply those builds.”

 

Starconspirator, Writer

“I am character-oriented and the stories of 2014 have showcased an array of them. Over the past year, ArenaNet has used crazy plants, giant robots, a newly awakened elder dragon, a city under siege, and new, worn-torn areas to explore as a backdrop for the growth of a number of fascinating people. Not all are lovable, and some of their concerns might be slightly cliché, but each situation they have faced has improved our understanding of the world of Tyria and the cultures that are found there. The year ahead will see the continued release of the living story, bringing us and our heroes new challenges and new enemies.

It is my hope for 2015 that the characters will continue to develop and ArenaNet will continue to explore the myriad relationships by the characters. In an ideal situation, this would culminate in new character classes and races. (Tengu!!)”

 

Kriss Watt, Writer

“The Living Story is going from strength to strength, and I feel that the TV show analogy has never been more accurate: some episodes I really love, others push the story on but don’t really warrant a re-watch. Season 2 has been a definite step up with regards to story, game mechanics, and reward systems; I can’t wait to see how it concludes. Dry Top immediately became one of my favourite areas in the game, and I’m hopeful that the pattern of introducing new zones through the Living Story becomes a trend.

What has really stood out for me this year is the work that ArenaNet puts into game systems behind the scenes, always iterating to try and improve them, whether it’s something that the community gripes about (beforehand) or not, such as the New Player Experience. Paired with this is the speed with which they request and react to community feedback. An excellent example of this would be the update to the gem exchange window, and the alacrity with which they reintroduced the ability to customise the number of gems being purchased.

I believe that 2015 is going to be an extremely exciting year for Guild Wars 2, and fully expect to see an expansion announced by Mike O’Brien and Colin ‘Hype Train’ Johanson at PAX South come the end of January.”

 

Kent Benson, Writer

“I’ve enjoyed much of the end of Season 1 and Season 2 of the Living Story: Scarlet’s demise, the various cinematics, everything involving dialogue between Canach and Anise (Caithe too), and the steps taken to include deeper lore whether new or from Guild Wars. I felt that some of the Living Story episodes were too short and could have been combined, while others were done just right (I’m looking at you, Echoes of the Past).

There were the two features packs, which had mixed results. Things like the Wardrobe and Rune/Sigil changes from the April Feature Pack were fantastic, but there was also the new trait system and the ‘New Player Experience’, two things that started off sounding good in concept, but didn’t quite pan out how players thought they would in their implementation.

I would love to know where this game is going beyond the weekly schedule. I remember the anticipation I had waiting for Guild Wars: Factions, Nightfall, Eye of the North, and Guild Wars 2, reading every blog post and watching every video. I want that excitement back. I feel like I would be wasting my breath if I typed out twenty or so lines of the word ‘Tengu’, so I’ll aim for something a little broader. The word ‘expansion’ has been on my mind a lot. New zones (larger than the newer ones), new professions, and new skills/weapons are some of the larger things many are hoping for soon. On a personal note, I would love to hear our characters’ voices again in the story. While, I’m glad the game has moved away from the side-panel (though nicely animated) conversation cinematics to conversations that take place in the game world, our characters have communicated only through text since the end of the Personal Story. Of course, I also understand why the devs may have shied away from this as they’d have to record for ten different voices if they did decide to include it. It takes a lot of money/resources and time.”

 

What are your thoughts about this past year of Guild Wars 2 content? What are some of your hopes for the coming year and beyond? Let us know in the comments section.

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