Digital Salad: All Change in GW2

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.

GW2_2014-04_Feature_Pack_-_Wardrobe_01

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.

A fabulous looking Charr in the Winter outfit - now wearable as armour!
A fabulous looking Charr in the Winter outfit – now wearable as armour!

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.

GW2_Personality

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!

World Versus World ranks now account-bound!
World Versus World ranks now account-bound!

 

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:

JBCF3RO

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:

Megaservers

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.

Taco - I will now, sadly, probably never defeat you again now
Taco – I will now, sadly, probably never defeat you again now

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.

Traits

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.

bcb64trait-unlock-ui-arrow-905x675-590x440

Overall

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

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6 thoughts on “Digital Salad: All Change in GW2

  1. Kellth April 20, 2014 / 2:05 pm

    Hello are you interested in writing about GuildWars 2 for a video game news website? Msg me back if you are interested.

    • Digital Salad April 20, 2014 / 3:22 pm

      Hi, thanks for the comment and for taking in an interest in what I write!

      That’s a fantastic offer, would that be for your SGU blog?

      • Kellth April 20, 2014 / 4:19 pm

        Actually that blog is defunct. Our new website is at http://www.kalgori.blogspot.com We are looking for multiple writers to cover the video games we want to provide. We are currently writing about Wildstar and GuildWars 2. Since I am mainly writing about Wildstar I was looking for someone who could write about GuildWars2. Is there anyway you can shoot me your email, privately? We can talk more πŸ˜€

  2. lothirieth April 22, 2014 / 5:24 pm

    Strange you find the events too fast. Many are complaining about too much downtime between the events.. like right at this moment a 10 minute wait between Jungle Wurm and Golem. In the past with multiple bosses, you could bound around between the ones you wanted to do. Much less waiting around, much better pace.. less forced and boring.

    • Digital Salad April 22, 2014 / 6:26 pm

      I do find them a bit unforgiving on the schedule. I used to take part in the old break-neck world event train, and despite appallingly long load times (usually ending up half-loaded and glitchy as hell while fighting) I generally did ok. I found that far too fast usually though, and would’ve really appreciated a calmer pace of things instead of a mad rush of events for 20mins every couple of hours.

      Spreading them out makes more sense to me I suppose, as you might expect from what I say, because its a bit calmer. I think the trouble is though, is that the length of interval chosen is too long for those that want a train hoping from one event to the next, but too short for those who like a slower pace of things like myself. They’ve accidentally hit on the perfect time to irritate everyone basically!

      What do you make of the other changes from the patch?

      • lothirieth April 23, 2014 / 5:20 pm

        Personally I find more bosses happening at once to be the only compromise for all playstyles. People like me who want to go from boss to boss quickly and only doing the preevents I actually like can do so, then others can go at their own pace, skip ones to take a break and be assured they’ll be spawning again in a reasonable time.

        The rest of the changes.. well.. I’m not happy with the patch as a whole. I loathe megaservers (they’ve had a big impact on my playstyle.. I can no longer gather in Orr in a timely manner). It’s too crowded everywhere, any challenge that remained is gone due to that, the new way to acquire traits is atrocious, I don’t like how it’s more expensive for my lowbies to look decent, but do appreciate not losing skins and dyes being account bound.

        The game desperately needs new permanent content. :/

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