The much anticipated State of the Game blog post came out today. Many—including myself—were probably expecting this state of the game to go into what will be coming to Guild Wars 2 this year, but for the most part it served as a teaser to what will come in the next few weeks. While it only briefly touched on what will come after these next few weeks, Colin did make mention that the state of the game blog post will likely be quarterly and give more details on those future updates during their respective quarterly update.
Leading up to Heart of Thorns, ArenaNet touted that the expansion was laying the groundwork for features that the studio could then build upon. This state of the game confirms that they are continuing with that outset as they will focus on content and polish via live updates and the next expansion.
We are exactly two weeks away from the first major update of 2016 with the Winter 2016 quarterly update. This update will see the inclusion of Gliding in Core Tyrian maps, an update to the Shatterer open world boss including new achievements are rewards, some quality of life (QoL) updates to Fractals, inclusion of support actions—healing, boon granting and reviving—when calculating event credit, updates to the Squad UI to including better organization through new Lieutenant roles and the ability for squad leader to mark targets and locations, a small update to WvW to make dolyaks more important for upgrading objectives, making player kills reward 1 War Score and changes to rallying and reviving during battles, the new PvP Mist Champion Tybalt Leftpaw, a Brew of the Month Club, the addition of World and Raid Boss guild decorations, updated key bindings and game options, the quarterly balance patch and the return of the Lunar New Year Event.
That is a lot of stuff we are going to be seeing in this next patch!
Gliding in Core Tyria
I’m still surprised this is a thing that is going to be happening. As awesome as gliding is in the jungle, those map were made for it. There will be a few nice places for it in Core Tyria, but most of the maps I imagine will feel a bit underwhelming once we try to glide in them. I’m also surprised at the implementation. There isn’t going to be a new mastery line for core Tyria. If you have it unlocked in the jungle it will be available in the core maps. And as far as the blog post says, there isn’t going to be any limitation as you will be able to glide in any open-world map or city.
This is awesome! I loved the rework to the Tequatl event and hope that Shatterer is even more awesome. Something that wasn’t mentioned in the blog post but was part of the press release is “the ability to use gliders in battle” during this updated Shatterer fight. How epic does that sound!?
The blog post mentions a new back-slot item from this updated event, but it is rewarded from completing the meta-achievement. Tequatl gives a unique ascended weapon skin; could the updated reward chest include a similar treatment for the Shatterer? If it does, I hope ArenaNet has learned a little something about making rare items too rare.
The big things that people are looking for—the ability to finish the Legendary fractal backpack, leaderboards and new fractals—won’t be coming until later this year. This patch will see some nice QoL changes in regards to the LFG, UI and the ability to change the fractal level while in the lobby.
Eldvin Monastery Brew of the Month Club
WoW might not have been the first game to do this, but it is what I immediately thought of when I read this. I think this is a neat little addition that in a way rewards players who remain at least somewhat active with the game. Players will need to go into a city at least once a month, which I imagine almost every player does naturally. After collecting each of the 12 months’ brews, players will receive a title, brewer’s backpack skin and a guild decoration.
The rewards for this sound amazing. I am a little sad that the latest Wintersday’s focus on brews and this club make it even more unlikely that we will see players filling the role of brewmasters in the future, but it is better to have this than nothing especially with how well this Brew of the Month Club is rewarding. There are some collections that require a decent amount of effort that don’t reward nearly this much.
World and Raid Boss Guild Decorations
This is coming a littler earlier than expected, as ArenaNet said these wouldn’t be coming until the next raid wing was released. It is also interesting that the decorations are not actual drops, but are purchased with a new special token. Hopefully the raid boss decoration will be much like other raid loot and will only be obtainable after defeating that specific boss. The decorations will be the same as the chest that spawns after special events. The ones I know of for sure that have these statues are Tequatl, Chak Gerent and the Mouth of Mordremoth as well as all three of the current raid bosses. If the Shatterer doesn’t have a statue yet, it most likely will with its update in this patch.
Lunar New Year Event
The Lunar New Year Event returns! This was a neat little event when it was introduced last year and I’m glad to see it didn’t go the way of Dragon Bash. While it doesn’t sound like the event is getting much of an upgrade, there will be a new set of festival themed guild decorations which have been a really fun addition to both Halloween and Wintersday.
The Near Future
The next PvP League season will be starting February 23rd, almost exactly a month after the first season will end. They have previously mentioned the changes in matchmaking and pip gain, so nothing other than the start date was news outside of there apparently being new rewards to earn. Leaderboards and badges will reset, but the achievements will still carry over into the new season for players to continue their progress toward the legendary backpack.
The blog post revealed the name of the next raid wing in the Forsaken Thicket as Salvation Pass. In addition to new bosses with unique rewards and the ability to continue the progress toward legendary armor, this raid wing will come with even more raid masteries to train. What is surprising is that they don’t have a release date set for this wing. I was expecting this wing to come out a couple of weeks after the balance patch, which would be on February 9th, a patch day that currently doesn’t have anything announced for it. If the raid wing doesn’t make the February 9th patch, then we could potentially not see it until well into March with the PvP League already calling dibs on February 23.
The Not So Near Future
Then we get into the stuff that apparently won’t be coming in this quarter. Living World Season 3 tops this list which really surprised me. I was expecting the raid releases and quarterly updates to be bookending parts of Season 3 with it being broken into 3-4 episode long runs similar to Season 2’s release. That it will be a few months until we see the continuation of the next story is a little sad. With them teasing working on the next expansion however, maybe this will mean shorter Living World runs between major expansions.
This year will also see the start of major fractal expansions. Not only will we get the leaderboards and the ability to craft the legendary backpack, this year will also see polish to existing fractals, rewards, instabilities, reasons to play high level fractals and the addition of new fractals!
Then we will finally see the major WvW overhaul that has been in the works for quite some time. Unfortunately WvW seasons will remain on hold until this overhaul is complete, but they did mention that the change is so big that they will have a beta phase for the overhaul later this year.
I’m looking forward to the rest of 2016 as it is already sounding like a pretty full year for GW2. The next state of the game update will come boxed up in April, which would be a pretty adventurous time to do something super. Maybe we could see a return of that one game mode everyone likes?