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Guild Wars 2: The Gathering Storm Preview

26. February, 2013Tags: Guild Wars 2, MMO Blog

gathering storm previewAlthough we covered the basics of the Flame and Frost: The Gathering Storm update in Guild Wars 2 diary episode 21, it’s also worth taking a deeper look at planned features and upcoming changes. The patch comes today– and with it will come a bevy of new features, as well as more than a few changes. A new PvP map, a new way of working achievements and more – February’s monthly update is going to add a more than a few hours to your playtime. It might even fix some of the issues that appeared after January’s update and, if we’re lucky, nothing else unexpected will happen.

 

Flame and Frost: Prelude

Remember that parts of the Flame and Frost: Prelude update is being dropped on February 26th, most obviously the first part of the Living Story. You need to help the refugees 75 times to earn the title, the achievement points and a little drawing that grants you a splash of karma. It can be time consuming, especially since the availability of refugees to help in any given area seems to be random, but if you hang around the east – especially around the Shiverpeak Mountains and towards the Black Citadel (although not inside) – it shouldn’t take too long. Fix signs, start fires, take and hand in mementos from dead refugees or help the wounded. Before long you’ll be into double figures and almost finished.

Guild Missions

It can be a little tedious – and a lot of people have complained over at the official forums – but if you want to do it, you now have less than a week to finish up, so make sure to focus on this when you start to play.

Flame and Frost: The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm

The stream of refugees is doing nothing to slow down. Even with volunteers helping, there are still too many sick and too many dead. So far we’ve just been placing band aids, trying to heal the aftermath of a problem rather than fixing the problem itself. This will all change with The Gathering Storm. Heroes from all over Tyria have gathered to ease the burden on the refugees, and now they’re going to look north, to the source of all this suffering. It won’t be easy and it’ll take all of us pulling together, but if we can repel any the attackers, we can contain them and, in the long run, get these people their homes back.

Win a free copy of Guild Wars 2 every week

There are four parts to the Flame and Frost story and The Gathering Storm is the second. There are two things to keep in mind going forward. Firstly, this Living Story will have been planned in its entirety for months. I’m not sure Anet guessed that the Prelude part of this story was going to be so negatively received or that the idea of the Living Story was going to be taken so seriously, but I can’t imagine The Gathering Storm is going to be massively different from Prelude in terms of objectives.

spirit watch

The big difference, and the most important, will be that you’re going to be able to take part in combat this time around. Prelude suffered from having too many meaningless objectives, and although The Gathering Storm will suffer from the same grind, at least you’ll be able to fight something rather than just build signs and light fires. Anet might even have some bigger ‘boss’ monsters up their sleeve that will require team work to knock down. The way you accrue points to finish the objective will be the same – defeat so many monsters, do so many good deeds – but the actions you’ll be doing will make it feel a lot smoother.

Then, with a little longer to make changes based on fan reaction, we can hope that part three of this saga will be a little more fluid, or should I say “living”?

Guild Wars – now with Guilds…

It actually surprised me that a game called Guild Wars had so little emphasis on guilds, so I’m glad that they’re stretching functionality a little bit with this new patch. Guild Missions are the biggest new feature in February, and it almost seems sad that an awful lot of people are missing how important it is because they have no interest in joining a guild. The complaints about The Gathering Storm have come in thick and fast, but I think this specific feature might be exactly what many of these people are looking for.

Guild Missions in Guild Wars 2

Although Anet weren’t specific about what they’ve added for Guild Missions, they did suggest massive battles, puzzles and bounties. There’s already a few events that simulate playing in a large guild, and I’m happy that the developers are building on that idea for actual guilds. These missions will obviously require communication, leadership and thought, which is what I think a lot of people are hungry for.

I continue to cross my fingers that they manage to scale these missions nicely, so that smaller guilds can join in as well. If not, expect the number of random invites to quadruple.

Daily Achievements

The developers have listened to your complaints and are changing the way that Daily Achievements work. Although they’re not rolling back to the old achievement system, they are giving you the chance to choose your own achievements. I can almost see what their intentions were with the Daily Achievement system – they wanted to force players into areas of the game they weren’t necessarily comfortable with. It’s a shame, in a way, that that hasn’t worked. Not only has there been an overwhelmingly negative response, but obviously Anet have seen from behind the scenes that perhaps people are just ignoring the achievements now, rather than trying to do them all.

With this new system in place, there’s still going to be a limit on the amount of experience you can get from an achievement on a single day, but you’ll be able to fit the achievement system around your own plans. If you’re going to craft, travel the world and gather, you’ll be able to tailor the achievements you earn around your plans for that session. Not a bad idea, and I’m interested to see fan reaction on February 26th.

Spirit Watch

Player Vs Player

The latest update brings with it a couple of PvP additions that are sure to excite anybody interested in the competitive game modes. The new map, Spirit Watch, adds a Capture the Flag element to proceedings, rewarding players who can steal the Orb of Ascension and run it back to one of three shrines with bonus points. There’s also a new “rated” mode that brings two teams of equal rank together in a quick, tense battle.

Although a lot of the most vocal members of the Guild Wars 2 community see these additions as something of a waste of time, there’s obviously a lot of call for it or else Anet wouldn’t continue work on it. Besides – any free extra content can never be a bad thing.

Conclusion

This is what’s been announced for The Gathering Storm so far, and it’s likely only to be the headlines. You can expect an extensive list of fixes and balances as well. While I’m reserving judgement for the 26th, I’m happy that there’s so much being added and that, in the Daily Achievements, Anet are obviously listening to fan feedback. It’s just a shame that they’re almost guaranteed to get a whole load of it when the patch is launched and people continue to find things changed.

Also see:

Guild Wars 2 Diary

Guild Wars 2 Diary: Flame and Frost

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