Guild Wars 2 – A Look Back at 2 Years of Changes

Characters rolled in Guild Wars 2 two years ago during the game’s head start received their 2nd year birthday gifts yesterday. Almost a ritual now, this stems back to birthday present mini-pets and tonics given to characters every year in the original Guild Wars game. Back then, it was one of a group of randomized minis. GW2 does things a little differently.

GW2 2nd Birthday Gift

This year’s present includes:

Note, the experience scroll levels any character up to level 20. This isn’t the same as adding 20 levels to any character, however — which most people agree would be much more useful. Birthday Boosters are always nice for leveling. The Skill Point Scroll awards 5 skill points to any character.

And the Birthday Blaster is the gun pictured above. It shoots out birthday cakes. These cakes provide the following buffs:

+40 to All Attributes
+10% Karma
+15% Magic Find
+15% Experience from Kills

I suppose we shouldn’t grouch about birthday gifts given out for free. The blaster is pretty cool looking, is fun to play with and better than the throng of Mini Jennahs we got last year (really, what was the thinking, or lack thereof, of that?). I do wish the Experience Scroll was more useful, however. I’d be all over it if it could help push some of my alts, who are stuck in the mid thirties, closer to level 80.

My History With GW2

Zznaf in Living Story Season 2

I decided I wanted to take a look back at the changes in GW2 over the past two years. I’ve always been of the mind that a new MMO doesn’t really come into it’s own until about its second year. This has given it time to fix systems that didn’t work as hoped, clear out bugs, work on balance and add new content.

I was along for the ride with GW2 since the first open beta event. I was there at midnight on pre-launch. I played the heck out of the game daily for about 3 months, loving every moment of it. Over time, GW2 and I grew more distant, however. Some of that had to do with changes that caused guildies to fall out of interest. Some of that had to do with my own lukewarm feelings towards the Living Story and the burn-out pacing of content release.

Though I feel the Living Story Season 2 has improved on the system, I still don’t see GW2 as my “main” MMO anymore. Despite the fact that I’ve written fan works (RP and short stories), drawn fan art, and even launched Tumblrs within the fan community (which is more than I’ve done for any other MMO), I just can’t seem to get re-invested in GW2 overall now days.

A Look Back: Like, Dislike, Mehs

The following is a list of changes that GW2 has undergone over the past 2 years. By my opinion only, I’m categorizing them based on my feelings. Your mileage may vary.


  • Costume Brawl – It’s just fun. 🙂
  • Mad King’s Labyrinth – Still fun and still looking forward to it this year.
  • Guesting – Yay! Could finally meet friends!
  • Daily Achievements – I like the idea of dailies, and tend to do them when I decide to play for an extended time.
  • Laurel Rewards – I like being able to get ascended accessories and other items for daily rewards.
  • Culling Changes – Nice.
  • Super Adventure Box – Still one of my favorites!
  • Zephyr Sanctum – Hope it comes back. 🙁
  • Achievement Point Rewards – I love getting gifts as I earn achievement points. I remember back before this was released, we all wondered what that achievement number was good for.
  • Luck System Change – I know it’s probably not worth anything to work up my luck, but I like the idea of the system.
  • Account Wide Wardrobe – I wasn’t sure how the transmutation stones would transition into the wardrobe, but now that we have it, I really like it.
  • Remove Cost to Retrait – Long overdue.
  • Remove Cost to Repair – Thank you.
  • Account Wide Dye System – It was like this in beta. Should have left it this way.
  • Living Story in Journal – I like that they’re using the character journal for Living Story now.
  • Instruments – I can’t play them at all, but I like that they exist.
  • Dry Top – I enjoy the area and most of its mechanics. Just wish it was bigger.
  • New Hair and Facial Styles – I’m really surprised at how much customization has been added since launch.


  • Southsun Cove & Event– Meh. Karkas.
  • Living Story Season 1 – Meh with a few good moments.
  • Newer jumping puzzles – Mostly too difficult and frustrating to me. I’ve given up on trying them.
  • Fractals – Meh. Played it once. Not interested in this.
  • Tequatl Changes – I guess folks needed a raid. I’ve never seen him beaten since, though.
  • Destruction of Lion’s Arch – The first part of the event was okay. I still don’t like seeing the city in ruins.
  • Fall of Zephyr Sanctum – More destruction of something lovely in the name of the Living Story. Oh, well.
  • Trait System Changes – Not sure how I feel about the changes. I didn’t see them as particularly bad, but I don’t like that we don’t get traits until level 30.
  • Megaserver – I like some aspects of this. I can see issues with it, too.
  • Mad King and Bloody Prince – I was a HUGE fan of King Thorn from GW1 because he was just silly and fun during Halloween events, as he should be. GW2 spends so much time digging into his past and making what was once a fun character into someone really dark, nasty, gruesome and all around hard-to-like. Introducing the Bloody Prince last year wasn’t funny… it was just… making it worse.
  • Edge of the Mists – I’m not going to WvW no matter how much they want to try to nudge me into doing it.
  • Crazy Craftable Backpieces – I guess some people like them. I just don’t bother.
  • Weapon Skin Sets – Locked behind RNG Black Lion chests. It’s okay. Most of them looked pretty meh to me anyhow.
  • Charging for Missed Living Story Episodes – Still not sure how I feel about this.


  •  Waypoint Changes to Dungeons – Pretty much ruined dungeon play for me. Haven’t really touched them since, and when I do, I don’t enjoy it as much as I did before the change.
  • Guild Missions – A breaking point for our little guild. We were looking forward to activities we could do as a whole guild. Didn’t know we’d have to be a much bigger guild to get results. Our guild kinda fizzled out after this disappointment.
  • Crown Pavilion Changes – 🙁
  • Possibly No More Super Adventure Box – From the sound of it. 🙁
  • Ascended Weapon and Crafting Above 400 Grind – Didn’t even bother with it.
  • Removed Dye Drops – I used to enjoy finding random dyes. There was just something enjoyable about making the choice to open it for the chance of something good… or sell it for a little profit.
  • Black Lion Chest Keys – I refuse to buy these things. I also refuse to farm for keys.
  • Holiday Items in Gem Store – In GW1, you join the celebration and you got a cool hat. In GW2, you’re lucky if you get the hat. The cool things are in the gem store for you to buy. 🙁
  • Atherblades – They annoy the crap out of me.

I’m sure there’s something I’ve missed over the past two years. Keep in mind, I don’t PvP or WvW, so I don’t even read that part of the patch notes!

Do you have anything you’d add to the list?