A few weeks back, I wrote about my initial impressions about the Gates of Maguuma update for GW2. Obviously, I came into this season quite skeptical, looking for Anet to hook me back into the story. After the first two segments of Episode 1 didn’t wow me, I put the game down for a while, with the promise to try to get further into the story later.
This weekend, I finally had the time to sit down with GW2 again, and with a bit more story under my belt, I’m changing my tune. The first thing I noticed when I logged in this week was that the town of Prosperity is now in ruins with Dragon Vines all over the place. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the town in the previous update, but I’m glad I at least looked around, because a lot of the NPCs are gone, the place is in ruins, and sometimes invasions come through.
I got the chance to explore Dry Top more, as well, and really enjoyed the sandstorm mechanics. When the sandstorm rages, events pop all over the place, including the new chickenado. How can you beat a swirling vortex of chickens… I mean, really?
I like how the story weaves zone exploration in with progression. At first, I wasn’t that impressed with Dry Top, but the more time I spent there, the more I really began to enjoy it. And when I hit that unexpected oasis. Oh man. That was a serious “wow” moment for me in area design. It’s been a while since GW2 has made me stop and just spend time screenshotting a place like I did then. So, well done!
I love how the story and game elements pointed back to old GW1 lore. Mentions of Nightfall and Prophecies were there. And the old vine bridges and centaurs of Maguuma also returned. Small things like this really spark a feeling of continuity and nostalgia, which I feel were well done.
The NPCs were much more enjoyable — I spent time listening to the explorers from the Priory discussing everything from the centaurs to their racial religious beliefs. The faithful band of heroes also became more interesting the further I got into the story. Thankfully, Kas/Jory have given their drivel a rest, and Taimi is taking the spotlight with an almost contagious sense of exploration and discovery as she revels in hero worship amongst Scarlet’s old research.
I find it of note that Scarlet has become a much more interesting character now that she’s dead. Without her eye-rolling dialogue to ruin the scene, I find myself more invested in learning about her past and what drove her to do what she did. Anet is doing a better job of scattering the important lore through the game itself (despite the fact they basically spoon feed you the stuff by making the NPCs tell you to check things out). I like how they tie unexpected things together, such as the steam minotaurs… which I was always a bit curious about.
While Aerin was a pain in the butt as a battle, the concept of yet another crazed and corrupted Sylvari was neat to explore. We’re seeing that the Sylvari, whom everyone thought were so perfect, may not be as flawless as we thought. It’s also interesting that this seems to be working through Sylvari in particular — perhaps that’s the nature of this dragon? Interesting to speculate — I haven’t finished the newest Episode, so I don’t know if this is touched on yet.
Aside from that, I spent some time re-gearing my warrior and working out his traits. I haven’t touched many of my characters since the big rebalance earlier this year, so they’re all in need of some serious love. I also purchased one of the Ley Line weapons for Zznaf, since it has a style that mostly fits what I have been looking for in a scepter. And I had a ticket to use. So why not?