Thoughts on the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire reveal

With some pleasant time sunk into Guild Wars 2 this year, I’ve been in a self-proclaimed holding pattern of play and interest until the team revealed what’s going on with the expansion. I told myself that I’d look at the reveal with an open mind and then judge whether or not it would be worth getting back into and finishing up the previous expansion and season 3 to prepare.

First things first, I’ll give it to ArenaNet for a well-done expansion announcement. The studio primed its audience well, built the hype, and made the announcement fairly soon after the last episode of season 3 was released. Plus, not a lot to steal its thunder that day. It went over a lot better than the Heart of Thorns announcement debacle a couple of years back.

So what’s the deal? As the leaks a few months ago suggested, Path of Fire is a Crystal Desert/Elona-themed expansion that’s bringing in mounts as its big new feature. Five large zones, nine new elite specs, and an angry god returned to ravage the land.

The price is incredibly reasonable: $30 for the base edition, which is way cheaper than most MMO expansions these days (bar the free ones). $50 if you want to bundle with Heart of Thorns, which I’m sure surprised some people who were loudly advising people to hold off buying HoT this year an anticipation of getting it for free when the new expansion was announced.

But did it send me into a hype frenzy? Um… no, not really. I’m honestly very apathetic toward this expansion, which means that I’m probably not going to be on board with it over the next couple of months. It’s like ArenaNet is trying to hit all of my “most hated” zone buttons lately with jungles, volcanoes, and deserts, and I do not have these incredibly fond memories that some Guild Wars 1 players do for the Crystal Desert. Balthazar looks kind of silly as a villain, kind of an over-the-top He-Man bad guy (at least he isn’t a dragon, but there is a smattering of dragon talk in the reveal to keep that thread alive). The elite specs aren’t really doing anything for me either.

What’s perhaps most surprising is how much this expansion is “more of the same” for Guild Wars 2. The only truly new feature is mounts, which welcome to the MMO club on that, GW2. No new classes? No new races? No personal housing? I know everyone’s riding high on the excitement about this, but if anything, Path of Fire initially comes off as being less innovative and more cautious than Heart of Thorns.

That said, I’m sure it’ll be great and a welcome content injection for players. Lots of stuff to do, another story to enjoy, and hopefully wonderful music for me to accumulate at some point. But it’s not going to top my interest in some other titles right now, so that’s that, I guess.

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5 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire reveal

  1. Serrenity August 3, 2017 / 9:08 am

    I think it they were to take some of the pointers from ESO in terms of horizontal progression (skill lines un-lockable but not tied to level and offer different gameplay across all characters) it would go a long way. Imagine Guild Wars 2 with a Thieves Guild-esque content pack. I mean, I feel like there are a hundred different ways for them to make the game more sticky, make me care about it more. Like I posted over on MOP, I want to love it so bad but I get in there and I just … have trouble caring about it.

  2. Aywren Sojourner August 3, 2017 / 9:38 am

    It’s funny how I’m hearing some “meh” from folks who have been playing GW2 more than I have recently. And then, I’m over here like, “This is the most interested I’ve been with GW2 in like three years!”

    Last night was the first night I actually sat down, reinstalled the game, dusted off my characters and played GW2 in three years. I enjoyed it. I feel guilty for enjoying it, though, since I’ve been grouching so hard at it for so long. Is it wrong to hope that they might actually recapture something of what I liked about GW2 at launch in the new expansion? Maybe I’m just that starved for open world content (spending so much time in FFXIV where it feels like everything is dungeons and instances).

    Though I agree… the story still seems like a hokey mess. Not a fan, but I guess I’ll overlook it for now.

  3. Telwyn August 3, 2017 / 1:58 pm

    I’ve not played any GW2 for about two years, so I feel ready to give it another go. The elite specs do look more interesting to me than the last batch, and for the most part I think the new zones look really appealing. So on balance I’ll probably get it. The combo price for HoT may or may not convince me to jump into HoT as filler content, at least up until the launch of PoF the HoT zones should be fairly busy still, afterwards I guess zone events will be next to impossible to complete…

  4. bhagpuss August 3, 2017 / 3:01 pm

    It absolutely is more cautious than HoT and very intentionally so, I think. HoT underperformed commercially and was badly received by a significant number of GW2 players both for its actual content and for the content that was supposedly promised and then not delivered. This is very much a ” steady as she goes and don’t frighten the horses” expansion, at least as far as we can tell from the PR so far.

    @Telwyn – One thing ANet have proved to be really, really good at – better than just about any MMO developer I can think of – is keeping all their available content relevant even as they add more. The combination of Megaserver tech and the excellent LFG feature means that you can generally get an active map on demand for all the major map events, from World Bosses and Orr Temples from the base game through to Auric Basin and Dragon’s Stand.

    HoT will be the test though. The F2P offer keeps the base game buzzing and obviously PoF will be stacked. It is HoT that, you’d think, might suffer, but…there’s still a lot of stuff people want out of HoT, and, especially, out of the Season 3 maps, which require HoT. I think they will keep pretty busy.

  5. Jeromai August 3, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    As a long time GW2 player, I will take the caution over Anet’s prior track record attempts at introducing new innovative features which break stuff more often than not. (Mind you, “mounts” is a new, innovative feature.)

    I want the casual player horde back, we lost many through the Heart of Thorns saga. Time for them to go back to their roots and offer glorious exploration, awesome to behold art in zones, and open world cooperative nonexclusive content. I want to meet more friends and casual acquaintances and goodhearted passerbys than the nine people in my raid group.

    If Anet wants stretch goals, they can work on improving the quality of their story writing and introducing build templates and life will be complete.

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