The Guild Wars 2 feature pack has hit us full force. Just as I was getting back in to GW2 after a relatively long break, enjoying the 2nd World Versus World Season, and the biggest changes since the game’s release have thrown everything into a bit of chaos. Lets take a look at the good and bad of the GW2 April 2014 feature pack.
The changes this week to GW2 are huge, so much so that I’ve spent the rest of the week going through each of my characters one by one trying to get their trait build back to where it was – all were reset with the patch. Its not been a kind patch to those of us who love alts, but I’m getting there with my tweaking!
So, the first big change is the wardrobe. PvP clothes have essentially been eradicated, and the skins all rolled into a central ‘wardrobe’ of skins. All the weapons and armours you were wearing pre-patch are now unlocked for use across all your characters.
Outfits such as winter clothes or the pirate outfit from the Gem Store are now wearable in combat as skins over your armour; with town clothes being removed as a concept completely. I never understood why they put town clothes in to be perfectly honest, it felt like a half-baked idea that they never completely finished before release.
The new outfit skin for armour system makes much more sense, and works nicely. Unfortunately, there have been some problems with the implementation of it, with some previous town clothes not transferring well over to outfits. Once they’ve processed the gem refunds they’ve promised for everyone who’s not happy with the changes to the looks that’ll all be under control though.
Dyes have gone account-bound, a long overdue change. The most interesting part of that though is the changes to unidentified dyes as a consequence. The drop rate of these, already pretty rare, sources of new dyes has been dramatically reduced. Combined with that, The Gift Of Colour which is needed to craft the legendary staff Bifrost has been reduced from 250 of these rare little gems to 100. Clearly ArenaNet have some sort of plan for the unidentified dye market, but it seems almost certain that the price will skyrocket into the future.
Another half-baked concept that’s finally been dropped (on the quiet – and wasn’t in the patch notes) is the personality system.
The personality system had potential that they never capitalised on. The only time it ever really came up were some incredibly superficial speech options that never changed to overall story at all. I know that simplistic good/bad personality types and speech choices aren’t the in thing with video games at the moment, but I do miss the personality system. The wasted potential is sad to see go, I’d much rather of seen them fix it up a bit even if it did remain a largely forgotten and ignored concept.
Another long overdue change is World Versus World experience going account-bound. Why wasn’t it like that in the first place?!
My characters were all sitting at a measly 20-30 rank levels until the patch, and now I’m up to a more respectable 70-80. For all the hard work I put in to WvW across my characters I never had enough level up points to spend on any upgrades, despite earning it with hard slogging across the borderlands. Now that it’s account-bound I can have flameram mastery and supply mastery, and that feels good. A good reward for the hard work I’ve put in to WvW over time; which at times has felt a lot like bashing my head against a brick wall with my server. A good, long overdue, change!
Another long over-due change has been the update to sigils. Previously, each weapon you wielded could have one sigil giving it special qualities such as a Greatsword of Bloodlust or a Greatsword of Ice. Thing is, some weapons are two handed and some are one handed; meaning that those running with one handed weapons got twice as many sigils as someone with a two handed weapon – hardly fair! So, ArenaNet have very sensibly balanced that out by giving all two handed weapons two sigil slots. A good change, but why on earth did it take almost two years for them to do?
Hearts have changed for the better as well! Instead of the largely ignored message popping into your inbox when you completed a heart you now get a quite pretty pop up:
That’s a good, and pretty unexpected change. It makes hearts feel a little bit more worthwhile and special, which is great; especially when you’re likely to have done all of them at some point before and have probably wonder what the point was anyway!
So, hearts have changed for the better as well as a few other little tweaks. Nothing big has really changed for the better though. The wardrobe was certainly a big change, but the verdict is still out on just how successful or not that has been. Lets have a look at the other big changes though:
Sounds pretty epic as a name, but what actually is a megaserver? Well, the patch rolled out what they were calling a trial of an idea where out in the pve world you are no longer in your server, but in a megaserver with everyone else in that area. The whole things been rolled out across the whole world now pretty much because ArenaNet found it so ‘successful’ on launch day. But, how good is the megaserver idea?
Positives – the empty areas have got some new life, and you could walk for days without meeting a single player in some parts of the world before. That said, it can still be very quiet in parts.
Negatives – tremendous lag on the more popular maps. Also, it can be incredibly difficult for guilds to coordinate together into one map, but that isn’t too dissimilar to previous overflow problems.
Most of all though, the megaserver introduction has lead to an overhaul of all the world boss events. They are now all timed in a rota, which with my schedule and it being based primarily for American audiences, means I won’t ever be able to do certain world events again. Very frustrating, although I can see the benefit of there being an event guaranteed every 15mins I think it’s a little too fast – there’s no downtime between them. Perhaps a 30 min slot for each would have made more sense.
All in all, then, the megaserver has got some positives to it, but its causing a lot of problems. Big guilds are unhappy because they can’t adventure together and I’m unhappy because I’m lagging more than ever and can’t do all the world bosses anymore. Perhaps with some tweaks the idea could work much better and make us all happier.
The final big change is to the trait system.
First good point, you no long have to buy the trait books from vendors for 50silver, 1 gold and 2 gold to unlock each tier of traits. That’s a good change.
However, although each tier now unlocks for free as you level up you now have to buy each trait. Thankfully my characters have been spared having to traipse across the world in search of mountains of trait achievements or saving up hundreds of skill points to buy them. For a system that worked relatively simply and smoothly, giving you difficult choices of what to specialise in, ArenaNet have really messed it up.
I appreciate that they want to force people to go out and enjoy the world of Tyria. The achievement method of unlocked the traits will certainly do that. But if they wanted to do that it should have been in the game from the start. Now is far too late to add such a huge balancing problem.
Honestly, as much as I’ve loved making alts over the years, the astronomic jump in difficulty for leveling an alt thanks to these trait changes mean I will probably never create another one; and that’s incredibly sad for me as a player that loves creating new characters all the time.
The feature patch has been a big one, certainly, and it’s been a struggle to keep up with all the changes and get some kind of normality back to my characters.
The small changes, such as WvW ranks going account-bound, are great changes but long over-due. The bigger changes haven’t been so good., and have seriously dented the amount of fun I can have on GW2.
Now, with these changes, more than ever I will probably be playing just World Versus World on one or two of my older characters. That is bound to get dull eventually, but the ways I used to spice it up are now just not options – a sad change for me as a player who has been getting back into GW2 in recent weeks.
What do you make of the changes? How have the changes made you feel about GW2?
Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com