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Guild Wars 2 : The Razing Preview

19. March, 2013Tags: Guild Wars 2, MMO Blog

guild wars 2 the razing updateVolunteers gathered from all over Tyria in the hopes of pushing back The Gathering Storm. So far, they’ve succeeded. Every attempt to push further south has resulted in the dredge being pushed back by the hundreds of men and women working towards their Living Story achievement (and saving the world, of course…). They’ve not only fought to protect the weak, the injured and dying, but they’ve supported them as well. Whether it’s healing on the side of the road or picking up mementos to bring back to a loved one, the people of Tyria have united against a force that has, until now, been easy to repel. But in the distance comes the sound of battle. Their army is getting bigger, the threat getting ever closer… The Razing has begun…

 

The Razing

ArenaNet has yet to announce very much about the Razing, outside of that it’s the next part of the Living Story. It’s going to deal with a Hybrid army of Dredge and Charr, fighting south, destroying settlements and getting ever closer to the refugees we’ve spent the last several weeks protecting. This army is wiping out anything that stands between them and the next settlement, hell bent on wiping out everything in its path. Why? For whom? The answers to those questions remain a mystery, but you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll need to fight to find out the answer. The volunteer army has thus far done a lot of good, but the Razing is going to be its bigger challenge.

The Gathering Storm

A scene from the previous update: The Gathering Storm.

One major difference between this and previous entries in the Living Story is that we’re being introduced to two main characters. Braham the norn and Rox the Charr believe doing everything they can for the greater good regardless of the risk, and they’re going to be leading the charge into the battle against the hybrid army. How important these characters will be, or if they’ll just act as localized versions of the heralds – telling the story and keeping new players up to date with the events so far – hasn’t been announced. In fact, this whole Living Story seems far beyond what ANet have put out so far.

Guild Wars 2 Diary

It’s going to be interesting to see how the developers handle this one. Is this going to be one event that you can play through whenever you want – a kind of story dungeon? Unlikely, and yet a mass battle against an unstoppable army can’t be successfully represented with the events as we’ve seen them. Last month’s update, The Gathering Storm, ended up being a little underwhelming if anything, because of how difficult it was to actually find an event where you were fighting directly against the bad guys.

And that was just deflecting minor attacks. It took large teams to avoid being overwhelmed, but those large teams were always there, just waiting for the next event to begin. It went from being part of a story to being part of a video game, and I know that sounds stupid but the way events were handled for The Gathering Storm completely destroyed any immersion the player might have felt.

Guild Wars 2 gameplay screenshots 01

Random image from our Guild Wars 2 Diary

The Razing, on the other hand, has a whole army on the brink of invading the Shivering Peaks. Imagine that, a renegade army of Charr and Dredge, building up, just waiting to destroy everything in their paths. It would completely change the face of Tyria, something the Living Story was supposed to deliver, at least to some degree. So imagine, then, that this isn’t how things are worked out. Think instead that the developers are just going to release another five or six events designed to give you the impression of a battle. It’s going to fall very dry, and considering recent reaction to the other parts of the story, I don’t think that’s something ANet can risk.

If that is what it is, why have ArenaNet written such an awesome sounding teaser for it? It makes it sound like we’re in the quiet before the storm and that all of a sudden the snow is going to become tainted with the blood of every race.

It’s a tough one to decode.

Improvements

There are also likely to be a few additional features for The Razing which are as of yet unannounced. There will, of course, be a long list of fixes and changes. The last two updates have come with a list of balances and repairs coming in at thousands of words – and there were things not even on the list. If you’ve been suffering from a bug or you’ve found certain moves to not be as effective as they should, there’s a good chance those problems will be solved over the coming weeks.

Guild Wars 2 2013

Guild Wars 2 in 2013: New updates to look forward to....

That doesn’t mean that ANet should rest on their laurels. The Guild Wars 2 forum is filled with suggestions that people hope will bring an edge back to a game they feel isn’t quite growing as successfully as it should. The Living Story might have been a little disappointing, but the fans know how to fix it, whether ANet have the resources to do it or not…

Level cap 80, now what!

One of the big issues seems to be what to do once you’ve reached the level cap, 80. The main driving force of the game, the reason to do all the events and run dungeons, is experience, and once you’ve hit level 80, repeating the same thing over and over again loses its appeal. This is probably something that will be fixed in an expansion, rather than in the monthly update, but by the looks it’s an issue that needs at least comment.

There’s also quite a lot of balancing issues in Guild Wars 2 that people have noticed, in part since the new updates have gone live. This sort of thing can be hard to judge, because there’s a huge difference between testing things out on a private server with, at most, 30 people, but making an update live and having hundreds of thousands of people pick it apart is bond to find problems that just can’t be caught pre-release.

They’ll also probably build upon PvP, because every update so far has. How they’ll change things and whether it’ll be well received by the people who regularly play PvP is yet to be seen.

Conclusion

I’m feeling hopeful for The Razing, but not so much that I’m not desperate to see what they’ve got in mind going forward. There’s something about this epic story that just isn’t adding up, and I’m worried that ANet might be overstepping the abilities of their engine and promising something that will be, in the end, far less than what it seems.

Guild Wars 2 The Razing Release Date

Guild Wars 2 Flame and Frost: The Razing is the third out of four Flame and Frost updates and is to be released on March 26th.

What do you think?


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