What to expect?
Guild wars 2 has been a massive living world since release. From creating your character and play its story, to just roam around exploring caves. You can find group events in which you can participate just by being near: bandits stealing cargo, "Dolyaks" needing some "guidance" to get in the barnyard… or living fire armours destroying a town. You are a hero from the start, but the challenges don't ever stop coming your way.
But why do I like Guild Wars 2? Most MMORPG leave the RPG part of the game somewhere along their release. They become something you can play just by clicking in "Accept quest" or "Complete quest", and you never truly get involve. Yet, the game managed to take in every player into their lore, so even if you don't really care about what's happening in Tyria, you will still have some notions. The first expansion was called Heart Of Thorns and was success. Now, with Path of Fire they took it one step further: The story became even more interesting and the mount system did not disappoint me. Besides, the new class specializations add a great new way to rediscover the game.
You can buy Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire expansion at Keengamer's ESHOP.
"I'm Fire, I'm War. What are you?" "Still standing"
The title, as you may have guessed, is just a quote. A very epic quote. It is mentioned at one part of the story, and I don't know about you guys, but I find it… describing. It almost summarizes the new expansion's main theme: a mere mortal trying to stop a rogue God from ravishing the already damaged Crystal Desert.The first thing you see when you finally cross the Sea of Sorrows is a giant pyramid being slowly, almost unperceivable, swallowed by the sand. A big junk of the old structure just… separates from it. You hear screams in the distance. You crew decides to take a stop and see what is happening… and you didn't come just to "sightsee" either.
Is then when you find the Forged, Balthazar's new army of unknown origin, killing for sport the natives of Elona. You step up, to try to save them just to watch them get slaughtered by Balthazar's new Herald.
Some would say "From the frying pan, into the fire" fits the storyline like a ring. Nothing started like you expected. And it won't be the last time. The story has a few important twists, as you make your way to the , Free City of Amnoon, visit the Desert highlands, get to the Riverlands, the Desolation… Learn about the ancient lore which surrounds the goddess of secrets Kormir, Abaddon, Balthazar…
But not everything is just Mythology. Most of what's hitting the natives was already there even before the God of War appeared. Palawa Joko, for example, a Lich King able to "Awaken" those who died to join his army. Some rebel against him, others consider him also a God… yet the damage he has caused and the sunspears (Kormir's warrior followers) he has killed are all very real. And in the midst of everything, you and your guild will have to find a path to victory, between a sword and a sword. Between a God and an Elder Dragon. Can you really stop him?
Personally, I found some parts to be kind of tedious: you are given the first mount, however they don't tell you where the next one is, even though is a must to have it if you want to continue. You need to guess it, or explore until you realize how to reach the new location (Or ask someone else). Yet it didn't kill my drive to beat the story. Moreover some plot twist really surprised me because they weren't the usual plot twist you'd find in an MMO. Thus, they proved my decision to be right: I really liked Path of Fire's story.
However, even if the story is good, is not enough as to keep us players entertained…
The expansion has a great amount of content which I haven't been able to finish yet. Although it lacks the meta events Heart of Thorns had (Which were also really fun to play but had some issues), It compensates through exploration, completion, achievements… And of course, the new mounts and elite specializations.
Self explanatory. Throughout the Crystal Desert you'll find diverse ruins, mountains, caves, temples… which can be explored to find puzzles, lore, loot, bosses… One of the drives gaming has is precisely to discover. New places, powers, enemies, etc. make us feel alive, and in Path of Fire the developers seem to have realized that. Even though Hearth of Thorns meta events were great, they also limited the exploration a lot too. Now most of the achievements, masteries and hero points are acquired by wandering around the Desert, and being ingenious enough to reach them with one mount or another.
And let's not forget the grind. Is part of every MMO out there, and Guild wars 2 is not the exception. The Crystal Desert offers various spots to grind materials/weapons and armour skins/crafting recipes. Or just gold if you know what to sell. Now, sometimes I felt (and feel) a little overwhelmed by the content. I still have some parts to reach, maps to uncover, events to participate in. Guild Wars 2 is a game in which at moments you want to have the time to just walk around and try to reach new places in the most unorthodox ways, even if you don't see anything clear to be reached there. Also, because the new expansion is about exploration more than Meta events, some maps can be low populated sometimes… while others have a bounty hunt train.
As the word implies, another activity to be done in Elona is to take on listed dangerous creatures across the Desert. They are meant to be killed in a small group or more, and they reward you with loot and experience. There are different lists in every map and zone, thus you can easily form a "train" of people and hunt them all in order. The mechanics are actually really fun and it helps no to be hitting a piñata when farming them.
The great new addition. Since day one I felt it would be really nice to be able to do something else than just ran around Tyria. In The first Expansion we met ways to prevent fall damage thanks to the gliders, jump higher by using mushrooms… Yet it still lacked class in my opinion.
Of course, mounts were not needed before, you could just teleport to any part you had already explored with minimum cost. And apart from some fashion items, like a broom, you mostly just ran around stacking swiftness or using a movement speed skill in your character.
But, now you need them. From really long jumps to sand portals, now every mount implies a new way to travel. TheRaptor is the fastest in plains, is able to leap forward and cover long distances in just a second. The Springer, on the other hand, is able to reach high altitudes thanks to its rabbit legs; The Skimmer, a creature stingray like, hovers over the terrain, including water and the fatal quicksand; The Jackal is able to teleport and make use of sand portals to travel, is the best to avoid damage and move around highly concurred enemy zones.
Finally, The Griphon: an improved "glider". It was an initially secret mount which had been released along Path of Fire, and that internet made public and now everyone has it. Is a mount able to plane and gain altitude by itself. Even if is not able to fly, it still can cover way more distance than a glider in a map without upward currents to keep you in the air.
Despite the fact the expansion's gameplay has received great critics, it does in fact target one part of the game's player base specifically. And some think it shouldn't be like that. In my opinion is just fine, I really loved Heart of Thorns meta events even though it lacked the exploration Path of Fire now has. Somehow I think is a nice way to balance the world and keep the same amount of players in the current meta events.
From Dagger mystic warriors to Sun engineers. (Yes, Sun engineers.) Every branch is a complete overhaul of how you play a character, not just different skills. The elementalist, for example, which is one of my favourites, is now able to wield a one handed sword (Which is something I always wanted) and two elements at once too.
For those who don't know, an elementalist was able to attune with one and only one element at a time, and effectively have four different weapon skills, which is a total of 20 ways of killing your enemy… and heal your allies from time to time. In Heart of Thorns we received The Tempest branch, which prefers to charge one element then unload its fury over the enemy.
Thus, the new specialization (called Weaver), took another approach: By wielding the sword in the main hand, and another weapon in the offhand, is able to attune with 2 elements at once, effectively combining them into new and more destructive skills. How crazy is that? Yet, If there is one thing I struggle with, is the internal love I developed with the prior ones. My necromancer for example is a Reaper. I didn't even try the scourge because I just can't give up my reapers shroud. Nor my greatsword, Dark Harvest.
On the other hand, The thief finally got an sniper specialization, the Deadeye, which I still have to try but seems to be what I needed to complete my Gunslinger character. Because in my opinion there is nothing which some fire and gunpowder can't solve. The Crystal Desert is full of Hero points to be able to train all the abilities… and well, it fits really well in the story also to get some sort of power up.
Also, it looks really cool. Which brings me to…
How the Crystal Desert is perceived
Although Guild wars 2 has not changed much in graphics nor audio, it is still able to create amazing landscapes and really describing sounds. Before in Heart of Thorns we had a Jungle, full of dark green, high altitudes and… well, a giant Elder Dragon in the biggest Meta event I've ever seen.
In Path of Fire we are not fighting an Elder Dragon, yet it doesn't prevent it from showing us huge pyramids, ominous walls and luxurious palaces. The quick sand effect, plus falling sand and others are really achieved. The large trees have been replaced for ancient ruins, tall mountains, and branded zones.
If you don't know, "view spots" are something you can actually collect in order to fully complete a map. And don't get me started on voices. Every elite specialization has new phrases for every skill, all relevant NPC have a line or two at least, and in the story, apart from the female Norn voice (which I'm sorry but is like a talking rock), everything just fits the lore.Plus, the hiss of an hydra trying to dismount me is the most annoying thing in the world I tell you.
Personally, Gw2's graphics have always charmed me. While in others MMOs the models and lightning tend to erase my immersion, GW2 enhances it. Everything just fits. You can perceive the deepness or immensity of a valley, the texture of a rock… but nothing stands out and takes protagonism if the
developers didn't want it to.
Furthermore, everything is well optimized, so even a potato pc can enjoy good graphics without much FPS loss.
So, in conclusion…
Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire is definitely a step foward in the game's development. It does, however, only completely please one part of the player base, who felt they missed content in Heart of Thorns. Yet, it does also offer something not much MMOs out there have: free and amazing exploration. Blade and soul, for example, a great PvE MMO (and PvP also) which focuses its experience around instances and raids instead of open world events, also means it doesn't create as much open world exploration as Guild wars 2.
While HoTs expansion was focused on fast clearing of maps and the completion and mastery of the meta events every stage had… it also meant you could finish the new content in a week without problems. Is not the case with Path of Fire. This expansion needs time and a drive to uncover new things, to learn the lore (which also connects with the previous game of Guild wars) and in one phrase, immerse yourself.
And personally, I don't mind it. I'm an RPG lover, which is why if I can assume a role or a character and live a world which is not my own, I feel great.
|+ Great PvE Story||– No New Meta Events at HoTs level.|
|+ Immersive World||– Low map population at times|
|+ More Class Customization||– Extreme Lore Fan Oriented|
|+ Mount Mastery|
|+ Added Crafting|