February Teaser: The Gathering Storm

A teaser has been posted up on the Guild Wars 2 main site for the February release of Flame and Frost which is being called, "The Gathering Storm." In this teaser, we learn some new things about what to expect in the February release. The devs have also taken to the forums with additional details. Today I will go over these changes and add my thoughts.


The Living Story Continues


The effects of the Arena Net kool-aid I was drinking when I reviewed the Living Story have started to ware off. The story is grinding along far to slow for me. At first I thought it was just pacing but I am not so sure anymore. The effects of the story do not seem to be far reaching and changes are slow to come. The teaser for February seems to imply we will just have more of the same thing.
The situation worsens for the citizens of Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau. Volunteers have eased the burden, but more refugees hobble down from the Shiverpeaks. The storm there gains momentum, but the forces of good are beginning to rally. They’re sending their heroes to defend the land and its peoples. Someone must hold back the gathering storm.
Maybe this is just me though. Having not experienced the new content I should not prejudge it. Re-reading Angel McCoy's blog post on the official Guild Wars 2 site does give me more hope for the Living Story. Flame and Frost may be just Arena Net testing out the idea for themselves and with players or maybe I am wrong and the story will speed up with more changes in February. I think the idea has great merit and I hope it does just end up being a couple lines of new NPC dialog every week and instead becomes a narrative the player can look forward to participating in on an on going basis.


PvP - New Map Spirit Watch and Rankings


The PvP side of things will be seeing a new map titled Spirit Watch, which by the sounds of it, features game play elements similar to Capture the Flag,
This peaceful green vale, nestled between cliffside shrines to the norn Spirits of the Wild is about to echo with the sounds of combat. In Spirit Watch, players will score bonus points by capturing the Orb of Ascension and running it to any of the three shrines on this newest PvP map.
A lot of people have been wanting new styles of play in PvP and Arena Net has been saying they want to stick with the conquest format with some added twists. This seems to fit in exactly with that philosophy as we see capture the flag elements added to what I assume is a conquest style map. Further along in Arena Net's blog post we learn of a ranking system officially coming into effect,
It's time to prove your skill! In this new type of competitive PvP, two teams of equal average rating are pitted against each other in a quick, intense match. The ratings for every member of each team is then adjusted after the match.
I feel match making is a core thing that PvP requires. It is a kind of progression for a lot of people, but it is also necessary to create enjoyable matches. I have been reluctant to play PvP up to this point because of the lack of match making. I think this change will bring me and a lot of others into the game.

More details on these changes were given in GW2Guru's state of the game. This is a great series where every month some PvP players get together with devs and discuss Guild Wars 2 PvP. If you are into PvP or looking to start playing this format I highly recommend watching this video,



Guild Missions


The next thing we learn about in Arena Net's blog post are Guild Missions. New guild content has been at the top of my "want list" for a while now. For a game named "Guild" Wars the guilds certainly do not feel as important as I think they should be. Guilds are missing a lot of basic features that make running them on a daily basis difficult (ie no way to see if people are inactive). Here is what Anet has to say,
Join your fellow guild members to take on an entirely new category of content! These missions, designed for coordinated group play, include everything from bounties to group puzzles to cross-country challenges. You’ll need to work together to complete the missions and earn new Guild Merits, which can unlock cool upgrades and rewards. It pays to be in a guild!
These missions have been hinted at in the past and it is nice to see that we will see these in game at the end of the month. Anthony Ordon added the following on the forums,
We want you to be able to play with your friends without feeling pressured by the game to spend your time doing otherwise. We’re still fine-tuning some details, but the general idea is that rewards from new guild content system are rate-limited in such a way that a smaller, more-focused groups can maintain a similar pace to the larger ones. So no, you won’t have to abandon your friends and join mega-guilds to benefit from the system, but that’s not to say the mega-guilds won’t have plenty of stuff to do.
That is about all we have on what these Guild Missions are. The only other thing mentioned in the past has been that they will allow people not in the Guild running the mission to also participate. This raises some alarm bells that the missions will just be events that require a guild to activate. I sure hope that is not the case because then the role of the guild is mitigated. Anthony's post above already seems to hint at the fact that being in a large guild will not help you finish these mission's any easier. I just hope that the role of the Guild is not reduced to simply activating the event. I hope that an active coordinated team is required. My guild has been itching for something to do and I hope this is it.


Custom Daily Achievements


The second set of changes to the daily achievement system will arrive in February allowing players to select which tasks they do in order to complete their daily achievement,
With our new selectable achievement system, you’ll have a chance to set new daily challenges for yourself and to choose what kind of content you want to be rewarded for playing.
This change will make the daily achievements seem a lot less grindy. I personally do not like crafting or the gathering that goes along with it. When I play I do not like worrying about missing those gathering nodes and prefer to focus on the action. I hope after this patch goes live that I will never have to gather again. I know other feel similarly about other aspects of the game thus I am sure this change will be popular across the board.


WvW Changes Delayed


Not mentioned in Arena Net's official blog post is the fact that the anticipated WvW changes have been delayed. Instead we get details about this on the forums from Colin Johanson,
Because of how broad the WvW game type is, and how large testing for features for this area of the game can be we’re going to hold off on any major WvW updates until March to allow a bit more time to test and polish. 
March will see the release of the WuvWuv progression system, new ranks you can earn in WvW visible to all other players, and new DubVDub specific abilities/bonuses that you can earn as you rank up. Our team working on WvW will discuss this system in more detail as that date approaches.
Colin's post then goes on to detail some of the WvW changes expected to make the cut for the March patch that we have discussed here on Egg Baron in the past. Although the delays disappointing I would rather see a polished release then something half complete. In the end though, WvW may loose this player to PvP as those changes seem to be steamrolling ahead.


Conclusions


While the January patch seemed a lot larger than I was expecting so far the February patch seems kind of light in comparison. Perhaps, this is because of the WvW delays, or perhaps there is still a lot more to come that has not been mentioned. Both myself and the people I play with have high hopes for the Guild Missions. We really hope this will be the thing to bring life back into our Guild and give us something new to do. I still think Arena Net is on the right path with their update methodology. I just wish it worked at a faster pace. What are you most looking forward to it the February update? Let me know in the comments below.


4 comments:

  1. To say I’m underwhelmed by the February update as detailed so far would be an understatement. Very, very thin. I’m guessing the real meat was the WvW stuff. I hope so, anyway.

    The Living Story so far is pathetic and I cringed when I saw what we were getting in February. If that’s an accurate description then it’s going to be a laughing stock. If it turns out to be a lot more than it looks there, all well and good but that invites the question “what the hell does the PR dept. think it’s playing at?”.

    I think GW2 is a fantastic MMO but ANET’s stewardship of it since launch has been patchy at best. They appear to be floundering. Lucky I have nearly fifteen years experience of playing SoE MMOs or I’d be beginning to worry about now! It’ll come right in the end but it looks like it will be a rockier road than perhaps most of us expected.

    (if this all sounds familiar it's because I accidentally posted it at Healing the Masses first by mistake. Apologies to you both!)

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    1. Heh :P Good job on the posting :P

      Yah I am not sure what the PR department is thinking. I can understand them holding back details until they are ready, but Anet does not seem to handle that balancing act very well. For example: when they first released the living story they did not explain what it was AT ALL. So, many people were sitting around in Wayfarer Foothills waiting for something to happen. Then *after* they released it they decide to explain how it will work. They could have easily released the details on how the Living Story was going to work weeks in advance.

      The other thing that bothers me is how they constantly say, "We aren't releasing it until it is ready" yet lets start down the list of features that have been released half working; fractals, ascended gear, all of PvP, the new daily system, the laurel system...

      As for the Living Story itself I have huge hopes for it. It is a fantastic idea, but so far I just do not get it. I logged on every day and went to those zones to see if there were any changes. And when there finally were changes it amounted to three new shacks being put up, and 4 new lines of dialog. When I explore the causes of the events on Wayfarers, I can not find anything. No one else in the zone even seems aware the events are happening. It's like you said in your article, there is a freaking Inn with more booze then they know what to do with, and passed out Norn in the snow. Really hard to feel for those refuges when they are walking over passed out drunk Norn. Clearly things aren't THAT desperate.

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  2. A recovering grammar nazi.February 9, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    cough February cough not febraury cough cough twitch twitch.

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    1. thanks :D usually i am all over that :S

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