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Guild Wars 2 Diary #32: Bounce Back Stronger

no more renown heart questsThe Hylek have recognised you as their new champion and have realized that they’ve done nothing but fed the dragon’s war machine all this time. They turn to you for guidance, they turn to you for protection – that might end up being their biggest mistake. In this week’s Guild Wars diary, we watch as a village burns under a Risen attack, and we examine the usefulness of Renown Heart quests. Are you still doing them? Still aiming for 100%?

Renown Heart Quests

At the beginning of the game, I completely relied on Renown Heart quests. I’m sure it’s much the same for many of us. Help out those in need, get a healthy dose of experience and slowly learn more about the various Guild Wars 2 mechanics. It sounds good, but the excitement was short lived. Missions that could be beat in only a few minutes made way for missions that took hours, but the time needed in no way represented the actions you had to do. The variety in “kill so many of this creature” or “recover this item” didn’t improve, and you were left grinding for the sake of grinding.

It didn’t help that the amount of experience you gained was dreadful either. You’re much better off partaking in one of the many random events that pop up as you explore, and that’s what I did. I started doing events instead. While they do nothing to add to the map completion, they’re more action-based, better scripted, more fun – they’re everything the Renown Heart quests should have been. They’re a staple of the gameplay for god’s sake, they shouldn’t feel like a chore.

Guild Wars 2 Defending Hylek - 1

And yet they do.

I’m not expecting ANet to change them, even going forward months and years. They’re a cornerstone of their map design, hundreds of the things exist through Tyria and It would be too much to do more than basic fixes. The best we can hope for is that we end up with a slightly better balance, that experience is raised or that the amount of times you have to repeat the same thing over and over are reduced. I’m not against spending ages to earn a reward, but when that reward is less than I’d get for an achievement or event, it becomes a bit of a no-brainer. Renown Heart quests are boring, especially once you leave Queensdale and start to find more exciting things to do. I’m thinking it’s about time there was a reason for me to want to play them.

Unholy Grounds

Having you be made Champion has changed the attitude of almost all the Hylek people. While the High Empress is less impressed by your lack of interest in appeasing the sun god (and chooses to sacrifice herself as a result), everybody else is ready to start defending their people, to try to become free from the tyranny of the dragon and to protect themselves from his army of risen.

Guild Wars 2 Hylek challenges

This time though the village is very different from our last visit. While it used to be a place of peace, of family togetherness, of eating flies and living in quiet religious contemplation, it is now a battle ground. Weaponry lines the area, defensive walls protect the village square and and army of hylek stands at the front gate, waiting for a report on the risen, on the cave where they’ve sent their heroes to die for far too long.

While you’re waiting for the scout to return, you’ll need to go around and check the defences. This will only take a moment. There are only three things you’ll need to check and they don’t take very long. The first, stoking the flames, inexplicably takes longer than fixing the wall, but I suppose we’re in a rather damn area.

You’ll also need to chat with the guy trying to sort the poison launcher. Once you’ve done that, a small cutscene will play through. Go and join the army of hylek at the village entrance and watch as the scout reports the bad news. The risen are coming. It’s too late to do anything about it. He demands you keep the gate closed, and although the village chief asks the scout to hide, an ominous silence says he probably didn’t have time. Then it happens – a loud bang on the gate. Another. And another.

Guild Wars 2 defend the Hylek village

The scout’s sacrifice was of little use. The gate shatters quickly and an army of the undead fills the entrance to the village. The rest of this mission is purely action-based and it will be very difficult if you’re under the recommended level of 47. I was at 43, and although I managed to muddle through, it still because over-difficult in the final moments.

The battle by the village gate will be over quickly. They have with them a massive oversized Risen who will kill you in over a few hits. Even if he only hits you once, there’s a good chance you’ll end up stunned, on your back, and you’ll be surrounded by enemies. Your best bet is to avoid the brute and make your way around the other mini-battles, protecting the Hylek for as long as you can. Their assistance is invaluable, if only because they provide extra targets for the risen.

Soon the defensive wall will crumble and you’ll be forced back into the village. This is a much more open battleground but will provide a bigger challenge than the entrance. There are more enemies, more of a variety of enemies and so much going on that it’s hard to focus. Do what you can. Take part in the battle, heal and don’t be too disheartened by the constant stream of enemies. It’s alright – you can’t win. Just as things seem to be at their hardest, the village chief will call the retreat and many of the hylek soldiers will run away.

Guild Wars2 the village of Hylek

This leaves you alone, more or less. That’s when things are going to get really tough. The High Empress has been turned into a risen, and she charges at you. This in itself isn’t super difficult and she’ll probably be near-death before you know it. Then the locusts come out.

These swarms of level 48 enemies are difficult to kill and will wipe you out in moments. Add to that that the high empress recharges her health when you die, and you get to a situation that isn’t easily avoided. You need to kill her in a single go, while you still have allies, and you need to avoid the locusts. This probably isn’t going to happen. Don’t be too worried about leaving the instance and returning when you’re a little stronger.


So we’re at another point where we much take to grinding to continue. It seems at odds with the original details for Guild Wars 2 and it’s always disappointing when we hit this level wall. There’s one thing for certain though: I won’t be doing renown heart quests to get my level up.

by Mat Growcott


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