Since I’m home this week (see tomorrow’s post :) I had a rare opportunity to actually watch the Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire expansion announcement live today. (Those things are usually timed so that only the unemployed can watch them.) Not only that, but I could write a post about it and publish it with a screenshot all in the same day!
Path of Fire is scheduled to release September 22, 2017, less than two months from now.
I am not what you’d call a fan of Guild Wars 2–evidenced by the fact that I had literally no idea that an announcement would be made today until I saw people talking about it on Twitter–but I do pop into the game occasionally to make sure the launcher is up-to-date and I have whatever the latest installment of the Living Story is. Hey, it’s free, so why not? Also to ArenaNet’s infinite credit, it’s one of the fastest games to launch, measuring from the time you click the desktop icon to the time you can move your character around.
But I’ve yet to complete the Heart of Thorns story or even start on Living Story Season 3.
I have to admit the mounts and new elite professions in Path of Fire look pretty cool, but the announcement did not in any way overcome my healthy skepticism of the “horizontal progression” philosophy of the game. If the great Guild Wars 2 experiment has done nothing else, it has taught me that, yes, I want MMORPGs to deliver another 5 or 10 levels with every expansion, and I want my character to progress vertically. Horizontal progression is fundamentally unsatisfying to me, especially when combined with ridiculously frustrating and arbitrary game challenges to unlock lackluster story chapters.
So yeah, the continuation of the story is 100% meaningless to me. I have never followed or even tried to follow Tyrian lore. I feel like you had to become attached to Tyria in Guild Wars 1, because the lore delivery systems in Guild Wars 2 haven’t been very effective for me. Fundamentally I think it boils down to a lack of sympathetic characters in their stories. I don’t even care about my own character, let alone anyone else in the stories. I never really put it into words before, but the game “feels” more like an arcade game than an RPG to me.
But back to more positive thoughts. I saw mention of some sort of hunting system (Bounties) that might be interesting if it works anything like the hunting system in FFXIV.
The bottom line is that I will not be pre-ordering, but I’ll almost certainly buy the cheapest edition for $29.99. That’s a price point that is easily affordable for someone to casually peek in on the game, even if I won’t be spending much time in it.