Retreat!

Hello! It’s been some time, hasn’t it? Four and a half months since I’ve last posted on here. Life is life; lots of things changed over the past few months, and I fell into a bit of a gaming slump where I simply was burned out on GW2 and barely logged in.

The last two patches have managed to drag me back in, though; Edge of the Mists, and Escape from Lion’s Arch. The latter is what’s gotten me to sit down and start writing again, so here goes!

Well, the map looks a bit different now...

Well, the map looks a bit different now…

Scarlet Briar (who, by the way, I greatly enjoy) has attacked Lion’s Arch with the combined strength of her armies and a toxin that she developed. And man did they do a number on the city. There’s a cutscene that shows the attack as it happened, and it’s a bit on the intense side of things.

Now, in this patch, we’re not actually fighting Scarlet yet. This revolves more around helping to evacuate Lion’s Arch – not everyone made it out of the city safely, and we have to go in and try and rescue as many people as we can before the miasma gets too thick from Scarlet’s toxin and we have to retreat ourselves.

Looking at LA from the northern entrance from Gendarran Fields.

Looking at LA from the northern entrance from Gendarran Fields.

I am really enjoying this patch, for the most part. It’s fun content and there’s a ton to do while in Lion’s Arch itself; zerging events is of course a possibility, but there’s also plenty to do if you want to break off on your own. I do, however, have a few quibbles with it. It’s fun, but it’s not perfect.

  • Event density. Due to the attack, there are only three functioning waypoints within the city itself; Canal Ward, Postern Ward, and Bloodcoast Ward. Most of the events tend to cluster in these areas. However, it feels like there are more events that happen in the Trader’s Forum area (where the Mystic Forge, bank, and trading post formerly stood), and so every time I’ve been in LA, people cluster around there and simply concentrate on defending Trader’s Forum, destroying the miasma containers there, and escorting out the children and dolyaks. Also, because so many people cluster in that area? Those two particular escort quests trigger constantly.
  • Scaling. A lot of things simply do not scale well. Try doing the ogre escort quest, for example. You can’t get credit without killing mobs. However, the ogres have a very short path they have to follow to get out, they can soak up a lot of damage, and they move fast. The mobs that spawn along the quest path are groups of about a dozen veterans each. That doesn’t scale down if you’re the only person over there, for the record, and there’s rarely more than a couple people in that area (due to the lower event density)…the ogres will run to the end before you manage to kill anything, more likely than not, and that’s if you don’t get overwhelmed and killed by the dozen vets attacking you at once.
  • Rewards. This place can be a loot-fest…if you follow the zerg and simply farm the events around Trader’s Forum. If you prefer to go off on your own and rescue civilians, though? The stuff you get for that hardly makes it worthwhile. You only get rewards for rescuing civilians once the map reaches a certain number, and everyone gets them – whether or not they were actually out rescuing citizens, or if they were just standing on the steps of the (former) bank auto-attacking everything. The amount of loot you get for that is what you’d get in about five kills. So while there’s plenty to do if you want to break out on your own…don’t be surprised if you don’t get a whole lot for it. Being as getting people out of the city is meant to be the point of this patch, I feel like you should actually be rewarded for doing so.
This used to be the Mystic Forge and the bank. Not any longer.

This used to be the Mystic Forge and the bank. Not any longer.

  • Navigating the city. As I mentioned above, there are only three functioning waypoints now. This makes sense, to an extent; it’s a warzone, and much of it has been leveled. However, this makes things difficult for a number of reasons. Due to the city being a wreck, getting from point A to point B is a hassle, as former paths no longer exist, bridges are full of holes (and they get you stuck frequently), and getting to basically any event outside of the Trader’s Forum area requires a ton of running. I’ve never even made it to the lighthouse worker escort, for example, as it starts so far away from everything that it fails long before anyone can reach it. I also find it strange that Western Ward has nothing going on, as that’s where the Aetherblade base was; that waypoint should be active, and events should be going on over there as well.
  • Bugs. This release is pretty buggy. Now, it’s a huge release, and nothing can be perfect. But some of the bugs that have been seen are just…weird. Main servers tend to break more than overflows, which is just plain strange. Civilian counters not showing up, not getting rewards for each tier of rescued civilians, miasma levels acting strangely, and so on. The oddest thing about these is that before the second patch that happened, everything was fine. It was only after the bug-fixing patch yesterday that these things started happening.
  • The timing of the event cycle. Events are triggered to enter Lion’s Arch about four minutes past the hour, every hour. The amount of time inside LA is then about 40-45 minutes, before we get kicked back out. Honestly, I feel like this is too long. I genuinely enjoy the events, but after about 25-30 minutes my interest and energy is waning and I want it to be done with, but at the same time I don’t want to just leave and miss my completion awards. I feel like having it last for 20-25 minutes, cycling every half hour, would have been better. That way it’s long enough to still accomplish a lot, while not being so long that attention spans begin to run out.
  • The new backpiece. I just. Arenanet, what is with these backpieces?! We’ve been getting so many new backpieces, and so many of them just look painfully ugly to me. I like the flowers, I liked the sun catcher set from Bazaar of the Four Winds, and I liked the holo dragon ones. These ones go straight into “DEAR GOD WHAT IS THAT’ territory. They’re freaking metal spider legs. On your back. Just. Why.
And here's the shell of the trading post...

And here’s the shell of the trading post…

All that said! It’s not perfect, but I do greatly enjoy it. I’m at 14/15 on the meta achievement already; most are pretty easy to get and the dailies help greatly as well. I thought I was going to hate collecting Heirlooms, but as the piles of rubble respawn at daily reset that doesn’t make it so bad; I should be able to finish that achievement in the next day or two just lazily grabbing them as I see them. I wish the Refugee Child’s Drawings still gave karma instead of luck, but I like seeing them return; I thought they were a really cute item before. I wish Blade Shards weren’t account-bound, as I’ll never use them, but ah well, that’s what the Destroy option is for when I get fed up with them cluttering my bags. I do like how much money I was able to make simply liquidating the materials I had stored up previously, thanks to the prices on everything spiking the past few days.

And I can’t wait for the next patch. This story of the Living World is coming to an end, and I hope we finally bring the fight to Scarlet, and finish this once and for all.

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3 thoughts on “Retreat!

  1. I think changing the cycle from an hour to a half hour or so is a great idea. I love the epic feeling of an hour-long event and the fact that there’s almost no downtime between events, but it does make it hard to go in more than one once per day knowing you have to give up that much time to get the completion rewards.

    All in all, a great patch.

  2. Pingback: This week in Guild Wars 2, 15-21 February | GuildMag

  3. The one thing you can’t say about guild wars 2 is that there isn’t a wide variety of backpieces, I just wish they didn’t clash with existing armour sets as much as they sometimes do, and had more that thematically fit with dungeon sets.
    Also the timing, yeah, agree there. There is so little time to just take a breath, sell your stuff, and eat before having to go back in.

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