Never Settling Down: Solving sPvP Balance by Constantly Changing It

Disclosure: I am rank 45 (Tiger) presently, have mostly played solo arena (or solo queued), and have never been on an organized PvP team. I also played Heroes’ Ascent and Random Arena in Guild Wars 1, though not to high ranks (Rank 6 Hero, Rank 4 Gladiator). I consider myself an experienced player, but not top-tier PvP.

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A Level Foundation: Masteries

UPDATE: Mastery points are now confirmed to be half of the progression. They provide an unlock while experience maxes a given tier out. The following presumes that mastery points are the entirety of the progression.

Heart of Thorns is rampaging across the internet as the first expansion for Guild Wars 2. As such, everything stated during the PAX South presentation (credit to reddit user tigrrbaby) has been covered elsewhere and in great detail.

Rather than rehash the feature list, I’d like to examine some of the features for what they could provide Guild Wars 2, what potential pitfalls the feature has based on what we presently know, and how the feature could improve the base game and where.

Since the overall thrust of Mike and Colin’s presentation was introducing horizontally-focused core systems to expand going forward, I’ve entitled the overall series A Level Foundation.

First up is masteries, the new account-based horizontal progression system.

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Going Beyond: Comparing TLC Speculation against PAX Reality

So it’s official: Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is an expansion. But in the spirit of good fun, I’m going to go over my original speculation post about “Beyond the Point of No Return” on January 12th (which I will remind was before Point of No Return went live).

As a TL;DR, I’m going to highlight my original TL;DR of Breaking the Paradigm in green (right) and red (wrong):

ArenaNet has been working on an expansion, and will release it in bulk chunks over the next year for free to owners of the original game.

The expansion will go into the takedown of Mordremoth, with Season 2 being a lengthy introduction. It will include tons of large QoL improvements and new features, though those will also be staggered to story-type releases to give additional QA/bug-fixing time.

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Why Temporary? Reusing Season 1 to Enrich Existing Content

ICYMI: I did a post about what WvW could learn from Edge of the Mists. Posted it in the middle of a weekend, so it didn’t get much visibility. (Reddit thread for comments is here if you’d prefer not to comment on WordPress)

Also, if you like my speculative rambling, I laid out an argument for why the Heart of Thorns logo all-but-confirms an expansion in my mind. Read it now so you can laugh at how wrong I am on Saturday. (Reddit thread here)

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What World vs. World Can Learn from Edge of the Mists (And Vice Versa)

Alrighty, I’m back off the hype train of expansion, Heart of Thorns, all that jazz. I now return you to your regularly-scheduled Tough Love Critic.

Note: This will not be my only post about World vs. World (WvW), and it might not even be my only post about Edge of the Mists. In an effort not to have Monolithically Massive Posts of Doom™ that take ages to write/read*, I’m narrowing my topics down a touch. But only a touch.

*The Fractals post was over 5,800 words long. Hard Mode was over 3,900.

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Typography and Positioning Give It Away: How the Heart of Thorns Logo Confirms an Expansion

This post is speculation, but based on facts. I do not know any more than the rest of the player base for what actually is getting announced January 24th at PAX South. (In short, I could be wrong)

Yesterday I said that the logo alone confirms that Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns isn’t the next Living Story season, nor is it a small content patch. It’s a full-blown expansion.

On the face of it, this sounds absurd, but ArenaNet’s art department is one of the best in the business, and they are scarily consistent with their presentation of the various aspects of the game from the painterly look of the cinematics, to the art of the open world, to even their typography (the display of letters, typically via fonts).

Because of this consistency, it is obvious to me that Heart of Thorns is an expansion, and nothing less.

NOTE: All logos used under fair use. Also, WordPress makes all of my images smaller than they actually are, so clicking for more detail is highly suggested.

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Breaking the Paradigm Addendum: Taking Both Sides of the Coin

This post is speculation, but based on facts. I do not know any more than the rest of the player base for what actually is getting announced January 24th at PAX South. (In short, I could be wrong)

One of the issues I’ve seen raised against my speculation that the expansion will be free is the publicity angle. Players who are consistent with either playing Guild Wars 2 or keeping up with news on it will know all about it, but what about the uninformed gamer just looking for something cool to play? You need something new on the shelf for that.

Enter this recent datamine from the USPTO:

GW2-HoT-Logo

I could go on for several hundred words about why this is expansion confirmation from typeface and logo alone, but one of my friends was already afflicted by that. I might do it later for posterity. (As a semi-spoiler, ArenaNet’s art department is extremely consistent, to the point of absurdity)

Seems like total confirmation that there’s a boxed expansion and I’m utterly wrong on the “free in chunks” angle, right?

Continue reading Breaking the Paradigm Addendum: Taking Both Sides of the Coin