Note: This is not a post reviewing the new Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns. Namely because I haven’t bought the expansion.
This weekend saw the launch of HoT. Up until now, I’ve been mostly unaffected by the thought of GW2’s new expansion. I had no plans on pre-purchasing or really purchasing it… unless I heard some amazing rave reviews. It was going to take a lot to sway my ambivalence towards the game at this point.
What I wasn’t expecting was the sudden nostalgia that gripped me on Friday night.
I was hanging out by myself after a creative bout on Friday night when I thought about the HoT release out of the blue – or maybe because I saw it in my feed reader. Either way, it got me poking through the GW2 Tumblr tag, a place I used to frequent several times a day during beta and around launch.
I then ended up on my old RP Tumblr, Snaff Savant, which I haven’t posted to or updated in well over a year. I remembered all the time I spent working on the RP blog writing stories, journaling the Living Story, RPing with other Tumblrs, answering Asks, creating animated gifs, and drawing lots of fan art and comics.
All of these are not things I usually do for a character in an MMO. But something about the design and feel of GW2 seems to lend itself towards RP and character development. Even if I am grumpy about other things, I can’t deny that the game really did foster a good environment for RP folks.
I got caught up in reading through all the old silly things I posted, and looking back over RP friends whom I’ve lost touch with. I couldn’t help but feel sad about it, mostly because I knew that GW2 has changed so much that these things could never exist again. I stopped writing my journals when the Living Story Season 2 became way too frustrating to play solo and attempt to chronicle. And if you look back at my old blogs, you’ll see that I was quite thorough in things that I documented.
This was something I didn’t even do when I moved on to FFXIV… though I even rolled an RP character on Balmung and everything. I can’t get a feeling for how welcoming the FFXIV RP folks are on Tumblr (GW2 folks were quite open and friendly!). If I’d known I was still going to be playing FFXIV over two years later, I might have actually done something with my RP character long ago. XD
Sorrow No More
So, anyhow, I was feeling a bit down with a jumble of feelings at that point. I missed so much of the fun that I used to have in GW2. I missed the RP folks and friends, and logging into the game for my daily, I couldn’t help notice there were more folks on in the RP guild I joined way back when but never pursued. For a little bit, I began to wonder what I was missing by not buying into HoT.
Then I went to read what folks thought of it… and I wasn’t so sad anymore.
There’s some varying degrees of impressions about HoT – I know that Jeromai and Bhagpuss appear to be enjoying it more than they thought they would. I’m very happy for them and wish them all the fun the expansion can provide.
However, I’m just reading way, way too many more negative things about the expansion – completely realizing all the concerns that I had when I heard the direction the game was moving. This was… sadly… pretty much what I sensed they’d do and what I expected from HoT, and was the reason I didn’t purchase the game.
I was really surprised that Tina over at Massively OP even pointed out a lot of the flaws that I’d been hearing around the forums and on Reddit. While her review was not fully negative, I guess I expected her to be more baby quaggan and sunshine. Instead, she kept it pretty real and wrote about what I’ve seen consistently – that the base content is not very solo friendly for us casuals.
I already felt like new zones in Season 2 were not very solo friendly at all. I mean, I could get around if I needed to, but I really preferred not to. And I never had too many issues with vanilla Orr, to be honest, or anything of the like. I just really find Mordrem frustrating and have very little fun when trash mobs require strategies so that they don’t stomp you into the ground with knock-downs, poisons and snares. Ugh.
Anyhow, the more I read about HoT, the less sad I felt about not being part of it.
One of the main issues people are having is with the grind. The fact that grind is even a part of HoT indicates GW2 is so far off track from its original vision that it’s simply… disappointing. Here’s a very good example of the annoyance I’ve been hearing.
One of the few things I was interested in with HoT was the elite specialization. To hear that basic functionality is gated behind 400 skill points (or whatever they’re called now days) is just flooring. I logged into my Warrior, who was my main for most of the time I played GW2, remembering I thought I had a ridiculous high amount of skill points back in the day. He only has 75% map completion, but even he is only in his mid 300s… and that’s not even the class that I’d want the specialization for. The characters I am interested in getting them on are only in their 200s…
Basically, people are upset because they want to play the expansion with the new specialization. Not play the expansion to unlock the specialization. That would be similar to locking FFXIV classes behind finishing Heavensward. Folks are up in arms enough about simply having to finish the 2.0 storyline! XD
Seriously, the amount of grind I’m hearing – and the gating of story and map – makes the moogle quest portion of Heavensward look like nothing. Maybe I should check out the Tumblr RP folks for FFXIV. I don’t see myself moving on from FFXIV anytime soon.