Monday, November 12, 2012

The Lost Shores

An explosion of information has rocked the interwebs today concerning the latest addition to Tyria.  And what would the content be, if not yet another brewing controversy.  Let's review, shall we?

1.  A new sPvP map called Temple of the Silent Storm featuring your's truly's favorite race: the Kodan.  Special features include praying for powerups, and killing a boss that places all capture points under the killing team's control.

Sounds great for both PvP and bear enthusiasts alike.

2.  A series of events that open up a new island with the full array of vendors, jumping puzzles, dynamic events, and explorable areas.

Another zone with more jumping puzzles and events.  Excellent.

3.  A new enemy type called Karka where players will go on a series of quests to learn how to break their seemingly impenetrable armor.  The final event will feature an event that will take considerable time and energy to progress through. (whatever that means?)

Sounds fantastic.

4.  A new dungeon called Fractals of the Mist that indefinitely gets harder.  Each time we enter, we will arrive in one of nine instances (termed fractals).

From the MMORPG preview:

"Each fractal’s experience will be similar to that of the various mini-dungeons littered throughout the open world of Guild Wars 2. These fractals will feature a variety of challenges, puzzles, and boss fights, with an emphasis placed on use of the environment. Players can expect each fractal to take anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes to complete and the game will throw you through a series of three fractals, from one to the next, before returning you to town. Every other set of three fractals that players complete will initiate a special boss fight along the lines of Tequatl the Sunless or The Shatterer.

Once players return to town, future entries into the dungeon will scale to become harder than the last. The amount of enemies players will face will increase as will their health and damage, for example. Of course, you can also expect commensurate rewards for completing harder versions of the dungeon."

Once again sounds amazing, right?  In an MMO where the PvE content has struggled to find a correlation between challenging and rewarding content, this dungeon arrives to fill the void. where is this controversy and what is it all about?

5. did such a fine job with their preview that I'll leave it to them to explain it to you.

"Speaking of rewards, the Fractals of the Mist Dungeon will introduce the new ‘Ascended' item type. This type is a bit more powerful than the Exotic quality items currently found in the game. There will only be a couple of Ascended quality items available initially, but some of the rarer Ascended items will also feature a new Infusion slot that will make players even more powerful so that they can tackle new challenges that ArenaNet plans to throw at them as they continue to expand on the dungeon over the coming months and years."

Yes.  You heard it right.  Vertical gear progression, gear treadmills, whatever you want to call it may have just been included in the game.  Whatever it is, it certainly has broken the previous paradigm set by ArenaNet.  Even I am hesitant to call it this, but at the moment it certainly seems a change of direction.  This is the second patch since launch, and already players will have to re-attain all gear equips to once again achieve maximal efficiency.  Sounds a lot like a gear treadmill to me.  Even if the difference is small, players will always feel forced to go for it.  

What scares me even more is that this new dungeon is the only way to attain the Ascended gear.  As a player in World of Warcraft who was forced into raids to achieve the top weapons, so that I could then be competitive in arenas and battlegrounds, I do not like this at all.  Sure, structured PvP in this game is seperate, but WvW is not so fortunate to escape the impacts of this change.  

The patch releases Thursday, and I must say I am terrified for both the game and ArenaNet.

Edit:  A thread detailing Ascended Armor has exploded on the official forums.  Over 20,000 views and 1000 posts have now been made, mere hours after the announcement.

A picture of Ascended gear.  At least it looks beautiful.

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