Jump to content


Member Since 20 Aug 2009
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 10:28 PM

Topics I've Started

Flashpoint Release and Impressions

02 May 2017 - 04:02 PM


Flashpoint Release and Impressions

Arenanet has released the fifth episode in the third season of the Living World, "Flashpoint."  I had the opportunity to play the update a week before it launched, including the entire story.  With the exception of story spoilers, my impressions can be found below.
Flashpoint Impressions
If there ever was a game story segment that left me very silent, i'd say Flashpoint takes the crown of them all.  The patch contains a single map and two story instances at its core which drastically change the narrative and focus of the game in a way that no segment of the story has before.  This preview write-up contains my personal impressions and some spoilers, but the story will be left entirely intact, as this is due to both an embargo request from Arenanet to not spoil the story, and my personal belief that this is a segment you really need to play.  This leads to a section of this preview being vague and alluding, but after you play the content, it should be clear as to why.


Lazarus' Deception

With that in mind, the first aspect of the Flashpoint release is the story.  The story leaves off with players knowing that Lazarus the Dire is an imposter, two elder dragons preparing to actively fight against Tyria, and many other uncertainties.  The story arc beings with a meet-up in Taimi's lab.  She is working on a machine that aims to find a solution to the incoming elder dragon problem, and attracts the curiosity of numerous external parties.  Upon completing of the instance (and you'll need some time for this, both the instance and its impact), the players head off to a new map, Draconis Mons.
After playing the story, a very different narrative exists which refocuses the game in a direction many players are not expecting, myself included.  I had some hunches after theorizing and watching some videos (Hey WoodenPotatoes!), consisting of a mix between Lazarus' true identity and how the story would play out to the next story arc and the incoming expansion, but I wasn't even close in my expectations.  An insane shift occurs directly at the start, and players who manage to finish the second instance will be yearning for more.  That's all I'm saying.  Play it for yourself, and note the change in quality and tone.  As a fan who was already hyped before the patch, I was hyped immensely by this story and the possibilities it shapes for the future.  The fact we need to wait for another update the altered story really hurts this time around, and I hope you'll agree with me that you want more after playing it.


The sub you rode in on...

Draconis Mons
As players exit a submarine, they find themselves in the new map of this release.  Draconis Mons takes place in the fire island chain, within the heart of the cauldron of the larger volcano.  The map is, like many Heart of Thorns maps, layered.  The bottom layer consists of acidic boiling waters, and goes all the way to the top.  Between the top of the cauldron and the bottom exists a layered map which ranges from Vigil camps to Inquest camps, to mercenary research areas.  The White Mantle also walk these lands, albeit as prisoners instead of conquerors.  The differences between the multiple factions is what highlights the renown hearts throughout the area.


Draconis Mons Overview, Second Floor

The map also contains many throwbacks to the past.  Although under embargo, player will encounter some fan favorite companions from the previous game.  Druids also exist within the map, which was originally an area of preserved nature.  Many beasts roam these lands, including some never before seen beasts such as destroyer-beast hybrids.  One particular destroyer-wyvern hybrid acts as the center of a large event, which took my press team by surprise and almost got us wiped.  With regards to other events, a map-wide meta focuses on destroyer development within the heart of the map.  Allowing too many destroyer pads to hatch spells a major boss event that required many people to be completed.
Draconis Mons is filled with lush forests and plenty of water, and the contrast between the sedentary rock of the volcano and the top of the volcano contrast heavily with the greens and solid-lava found within the center of the map and within the cauldron.  It is made very clear that our existence in the map is upsetting the natural balance that has been preserved by the spirits, and upon completing tasks within the map, the player character is told to "go in peace" in a kind but stern way.  This repetition seems to suggest the acceptance of the player in the area, but also stress the desire for the player to leave.


The center of the cauldron/map

Navigation takes some getting used to (I believe this is the most vertical map we've seen with regards to the difference between the highest and lowest point of the map), but utilizing the lava fonts, updrafts, and ley-lines makes it easier to follow.  Oh, and a new addition to this map and release also assist in the navigation of the map.
Grappling Hooks
The new mastery (within the ancient magics line) for this update costs five Heart of Thorns mastery points, and provides access to the map movement ability "Oakheart's Essence."  These essences provide three-charge vines, which can be targeted to a position nearby and grappled too.  This can be both on the ground or on a solid object in the air or ceiling.  These hooks provide a simple way to traverse the map, and make it easier to reach certain areas that are crucial to understanding the story behind the map.


Grappling to the wall

Legendary Armor
After a long wait, Flashpoint finally adds Legendary armor to Guild Wars 2.  Although the preview for legendary armor already showed off its appearance out of combat, no footage was shown of the armor when in combat.  Upon entering combat, a crystallized effect is shown and the crystals on the armor begin to pulse, slowly moving in place like (dragon) claws.  The effects differ slightly per armor class, but the concept behind them is identical.  All armor types feature a unique pulsing effect that makes them stand out from the rest of the armor sets.  Players who dislike this armor set can use the wardrobe to keep the legendary stats but look different, and vice-versa.  All legendary armor skins can be applied through the wardrobe to another armor set.


Combat active light legendary armor

Conclusion and Remarks
Beyond the story and the map, this update includes a new jumping puzzle in Draconis Mons (made by the one and only Josh Foreman), a new collectible hunt within the new map, and multiple smaller changes.  Flashpoint is the fifth episode and second-to-last episode of the third season of the Living Story, and will release on 2 May 2017.

Flashpoint Announced

25 April 2017 - 04:19 PM


S3E5: Flashpoint

Arenanet has officially announced the second to last episode of the Living Story, "Flashpoint."  In Flashpoint, players will discover breakthroughs in Taimi's research, and the continuation of the story of Lazarus, the supposed Mursaat.  The episode will launch on 2 May, 2017.
The price of Heart of Thorns has also been permanently reduced.  The standard edition now costs 30 dollars, while the digital deluxe and ultimate editions now cost 55 and 80 dollars, respectively.  The full press release can found below.
Unmask Deception and Help Save Tyria in
the Next-to-Last Episode of Living World Season 3: "Flashpoint"
We've reached a crossroads in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Living World Season 3. "Flashpoint," the last episode before the season finale, will be live in-game on Tuesday, May 2. "Flashpoint" finds the forces of good fighting a battle on two fronts. The fight against the now more powerful Elder Dragons seemingly has turned in their favor with news that Taimi's research has resulted in a machine that can stop them with a single decisive blow. Meanwhile, the powerful mursaat Lazarus – who returned mysteriously purporting to be an ally - has been revealed to be an imposter. Marjory Delaqua attached herself to him to investigate and is now headed back to Rata Novus without discovering much about the truth of his identity. Both paths converge as Lazarus is on his way for a confrontation; in "Flashpoint," players will uncover shocking secrets and come face-to-face with a threat unlike any they've seen before.
"Flashpoint" represents the perfect time to jump into Heart of Thorns, as ArenaNet has now permanently reduced the price of the game! Starting today, all editions of the game have been lowered by $20 apiece; this means that the Standard Edition will now cost $29.99 (down from $49.99), the Digital Deluxe Edition is now $54.99 (down from $74.99), and the Ultimate Edition is now $79.99 (down from $99.99). More information on pricing for other currencies can be found here: http://buy.guildwars...:::Global:40:::
To access new Living World episodes, players must own Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns; by simply logging in, they can bank episodes to play later. They don't need to have completed the storyline in the expansion to enjoy Season 3. Season 3 content is intended for level-80 characters. Every purchase of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns comes with a Level-80 Boost, which will boost one character to max level and equip them to enjoy all the content available in Guild Wars 2, including Season 3.

Head of the Snake Launched + Impressions

08 February 2017 - 05:27 PM


The Head of the Snake


Arenanet has released the fourth update of the third season of the Living Story, "The Head of the Snake."  Full update notes can be found here.  Below are my impressions after having played the content a week ahead of launch.



Lake Doric


Although it may come as a bit of a surprise to many after the remarks of Linsey Murdock that the scrapped map Lake Doric would not make it into the game in the datamined state, the Head of the Snake release adds it to the game.  Located to the East of Divinity's Reach, Lake Doric has changed somewhat from the datamined versions, featuring less underwater content and having added larger hills and forests in the northern area of the map.


Lake Doric focuses on a fight between the seraph, led by Logan Thackeray, and local centaur bastion, who are now being openly supported by Caudecus' followers within the White Mantle and experimented on with Bloodstone.  A large meta event covers the middle and southern area of the map, in which players must push back advances made by centaurs and the White Mantle, and hold strategic locations such as bridges and towns.


As players venture towards the north of the map, the centaur dominance becomes more clear.  Bloodstone crazed centaurs stampede around the map, and getting caught in this stampede a single time is an almost certain death.  We approach a centaur camp, where all centaurs drop a form of leather material.  The developer leading us mentions that this is "the new leather farming location."


The developer team and I venture further north, to one of the famed watchtowers of Guild Wars 1 fame.  Working up the hill, we are attacked by hordes of centaur snipers and stampeders.  The developers quickly mention that getting to the watchtower "is a minidungeon of sorts."  Inside of the watchtower a world boss appears, mimicking the human starting area boss and the copy of the boss that exists in Harathi Hinterlands, with the exception that after the initial phase the boss stampedes around the watchtower.


The developers also gave hints of a secret jumping puzzle underground, which takes place in a house found in the North-Western part of the map.  The inhabitant, a descendant of Aidan, is an excellent trapper and wanted by the White Mantle, leading to a major siege of his house.  Although I was unable to gain access to the jumping puzzle (it requires access with a 'trapper's pass,' the developers were very giddy about it), the theme seems very intriguing.


References to the Past


The story was playable, but I opted not to, to prevent major spoilers for myself.  However, the story opens with a call from Queen Jennah, requesting the assistance of the heroes in Divinity's Reach.  The trailer provided last week by Arenanet starts at around this point.


I did run into a few names that seem familiar to many players of the previous seasons of the Living World.  The mysterious "E" makes an appearance in a collectible treasure hunt, akin to that of the journals in Bloodstone Fen.  Paging together the pages I found seems to suggest that more hints will be given as to E's past, but not a direct reveal of who or what E actually is.


Blast from the Past


A new raid was released with this update, Bastion of the Penitent.  Although no walkthrough was provided of the raid, I did enter the raid to get a taste of the first boss.  It seems that this raid consists of a chain of four smaller bosses, all with some relation to Mursaat and White Mantle lore.  The raid is located at the heart of Bloodstone Fen, and looks the part.  The first encounter consists of a blast from the past, Cairn, a jade armor of Guild Wars 1 fame.  Sadly, no other members of my press session were prepared to take a gander at the raid, and thus, it remains to be seen what the rest entails.  However, there are strong suggestions that Mursaat and Saul d'Alessio, the original worshiper of the Mursaat on behalf of the White Mantle, acts as one of the bosses.


Treasure Hunting


As the developer guided session came to a close, one of the developers made it clear that they expect this release to last a while, due to the many treasure hunts and hidden details hidden within this release.  At the end of the session, we managed to defeat the boss within the watchtower as a developer-press hybrid team.  Upon completion, we glided down to find a hidden spurt of growth guarded by a spirit, which provided the player with peaches that provide buffs.  The map is loitered with these secrets, and it will be interesting to see which other secrets are discovered as the playerbase gains access to the map.

The Head of the Snake

31 January 2017 - 02:17 PM


The Head of the Snake

Arenanet has officially confirmed the next episode of the third season of the Living World, Head of the Snake, will be launching on February 7th 2017.  The release will feature the continuation of the ongoing story, starting with a plot arch with Queen Jennah, and a new raid wing.  The full press release can be found below.

The White Mantle has slithered into the cracks in Krytan society, and now in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns it’s time to expose them. The next episode of Living World Season 3, “The Head of the Snake,” is coming Tuesday, February 7. “The Head of the Snake” sees the advancement of the story as Queen Jennah summons players to her side, where they'll act as her personal witness in uncovering the nest of corruption in Divinity's Reach.
Along with “The Head of the Snake” will come the brand-new raid wing “Bastion of the Penitent”. The destruction of the Maguuma Bloodstone has opened a mysterious portal in Bloodstone Fen, and beyond it lies a sinister and ancient place with little chance of escape. This raid will provide players with four bosses to overcome as they discover what mysteries are still chained behind its walls.
In preparation for this new, exciting content, ArenaNet will be holding a sale for the Heart of Thorns expansion! Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is now on sale at 50% until February 8, for anyone who wants to join in and explore. To access new Living World content players must own Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns; by simply logging in they can bank episodes to play later. They don’t need to have completed the storyline in the expansion to enjoy Season 3.
Season 3 content is intended for level-80 characters. Every purchase of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns comes with a Level-80 Boost, which will raise one character to max level and get them equipped to enjoy all the content available in Guild Wars 2, including Season 3.


Cracks in the Ice

15 November 2016 - 05:39 PM


Cracks in the Ice

Arenanet has announced through the press channels that the next Living Story episode, titled "Cracks in the Ice," will launch on 21 November 2016.  The release includes a new map in the shiverpeaks, and a new nightmare fractal.  The press release is found below.  


“The next episode of Living World Season 3, A Crack in the Ice, is coming next Monday, November 21. The season follows the aftermath of Heart of Thorns – a flood of unbound magic, the rise of two Elder Dragons, and the birth of the dragon Glint’s child, Aurene. In “A Crack in the Ice,” players will follow that story into the Northern Shiverpeaks, territory of the Elder Dragon Jormag. Along with “A Crack in the Ice” comes the brand-new Nightmare fractal. This five-person, instanced dungeon takes players on an upward climb through a massive tower, which is heavily guarded by powerful abominations and their toxic experiments.”