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Guild Wars 2: The Retribution review

Guild Wars 2 Retribution

ArenaNet have managed it – the most underwhelming episode of Flame and Frost so far. While other updates have added a variety of new missions, events or features, Retribution seems to offer very little to the single player gamer. In fact, if you want to get technical, it adds absolutely nothing at all. A single mission, the Molten Weapon Facility, will have you team up with four others to run a dungeon, although once again there are no single player options. This will be especially annoying to those who have thus far managed to play alone.

That’s not to say that the new level is bad, but it’s obviously been phoned in. It doesn’t seem like the Living Story is going to have much of a place in the future of Guild Wars 2.

Flame & Frost: Retribution gameplay 

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Online Play

First and foremost, if you’re a single player MMO gamer, Retribution is going to appear more than a little lacklustre. You only have to look at the rundown of the new features, and you’ll see that people with guilds or who play online in WvW or PvP have been pretty heavily provided for this month, as with the last two months.

Firstly, they’ve increased the number of Guild Missions. If you’re in a guild with 30 other people, this is going to be absolutely fantastic news, but the majority of us aren’t. The new guild treks are useless even to smaller guilds, who don’t have the influence to really make use of them. This is a feature that had so much potential but has instead resulted in more random guild requests and not much else.

The rest of the online features basically boil down to new moves for the WvW player, new ways of showing off your guild and the start of a new feature that allows players to create their own customer online matches. That last one is only in beta, and will likely be rolled out further over the coming weeks and months. Again, it’s a feature that will only really be useful to those with big enough friends lists to make use of it.

Guild Wars 2 Flame and Frost Retribution boss

Of course, there’s also a long list of fixes and balances. Although these are unlikely to make much difference to your current play-style, it’s worth noting that the engineer has seen some pretty big changes and that anybody playing that class ought to check the changelog before entering into any big battles or running any dungeons. There’s also a number of location or personal story-based improvements, but for the most part these look as though they’ll make life slightly easier.

Flame and Frost: Concluding the Living Story

After four long months of updates, we’ve finally reached the end of the Living Story. The huge battle that was supposed to lure players back month after month, that was supposed to have us biting our nails in anticipation, that was supposed to change the face of Tyria forever has turned out to be little more than PR talk and disappointment. It hasn’t been all bad, new content is never a bad thing, but it hasn’t been enough to hold my interest either.

Retribution - Flame and Frost

I went into Retribution hoping that the final chapter would absolutely blow me away, and instead I was met by a five-person dungeon. You won’t be able to finish the Living Story alone, nor with only one or two friends. You’ll need a full group of five, preferably across different classes and races. You’ll also need over an hour free.

There have been other random events added and several remain from previous updates, but the nature of those aren’t especially varied and their impact is practically nil. Like last month’s update, the biggest part of Retribution is its instanced areas, which is sort of counter to what the Living Story was supposed to be about.

So after waiting for far too long trying to complete a group of five people that won’t suddenly disappear on you, you’ll enter the Molten Weapon Facility. The facility is basically made up of a set of smaller encounters and a couple of boss fights. The smaller encounters range from ridiculously easy to overly difficult, and the bosses may just have you banging your head against a brick wall, especially if you’re playing with a group who aren’t super experienced and don’t know their characters.

The start of the dungeon is fairly slow. You’ll be attacked by a few enemies, and then you’ll run through a long tunnel to the Facility proper. If you survive that far, you’re in for a good chance. There’s a lot of close combat here, designed, I think, to weed out teams of less than five people. From there you enter a large cavern in which you’re attacked on a weapons training range. You must attack the central core whilst dodging attacks from various weapons, and then all of them together. As you’ll see in the video, it’s fairly crazy.

Retribution

Make sure to use your evade and jump over the waves. Heal when you can and focus on the core, it’ll make your life easier in the long run.

Then you’ll enter a rather large chamber within which you must travel downwards, deeper into the cavern. Follow the spiralling path down, fighting each group of enemies as you come across them. This is overly long and there isn’t much of a challenge after a while.

The final bosses are a real pain and you’ll find yourself swearing at the screen. My best advice would be getting to know their attacks. It actually feels pretty rewarding to beat them, far more so than the dungeon itself. Of course, all of this is moot if you don’t have any friends playing Guild Wars 2 in the first place.

Conclusion

Retribution is a decent update, in so far as it fixes a few things and adds content. It’s only when you start to look at the promises made when the Flame and Frost episodes began that you realize PR chatter can easily backfire and make a game look underwhelming. I left this dungeon feeling no different about the world of Tyria than I did before I ran it. It’s still the same place, the same locations, the same people, and next month everything will go back to the way it was before the Flame and Frost started.

And that’s the problem for the four-part update as a whole. The Flame and Frost promised so much and delivered so little. If you were interested in the online mode, you’re probably fairly happy, but for those invested in the Guild Wars world, it doesn’t seem as though anything have really happened. 

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