GW2 – Fun While It Lasted?

I hate to say this, but once I finished the GW2 Path of Fire story, I found that my drive to keep playing rapidly dwindled. I think I understand now why they didn’t put very much of the story on the final two maps. They are less fun to play on.

Bhagpuss alluded to this early on in his first first impressions post. There is a very noticeable ramp up in difficulty from Elon Riverlands to The Desolation. I have to admit I chuckled at his nailing the exact difficulties that I routinely experience in Heart of Thorns in his description of Path of Fire:

There are mobs everywhere.  Traveling the Path of Fire is like running an endless gauntlet, assaulted at every turn. … I’ve found it nigh on impossible to do anything at all without two or three unnecessary and unwanted fights. … Every encounter seems to have at least one veteran – often several.

Yeah, that was the story of Heart of Thorns for me in a nutshell, every part of every map. At least in Path of Fire it’s only on the last two maps.

I think the essential difference between Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire is that the story of Heart of Thorns ran straight through all that difficulty (see Chapter 9!), while in Path of Fire, it doesn’t. I only started encountering increased difficulty after I finished the story. Getting 100% map completion on the first three maps, where most of the story resides, was a casual picnic, but getting the same on The Desolation is more of a grudge match, an exercise in sheer determination and willpower. There are even invisible walls blocking the jumping bunny rabbit in some places!

One thing that may have killed my enthusiasm for finishing up the maps was the Jackal mount. I was very excited to find it way down there in the corner of The Desolation where I wasn’t expecting anything. But frankly it’s not worth the effort to get it. It’s certainly not worth the outrageous 20 gold you have to spend for it. For you GW2 veterans who can’t even imagine wealth so low, 20 gold is basically my GW2 life savings.

As soon as I finished the heart and opened up the vendor (no small feat, as I fell off once trying to get those floaty energy things), I rage quit in frustration as soon as I saw the cost. I was expecting another 5 gold mount, or maybe 10 gold. When I came back later with a fresh attitude, thankfully I didn’t have to do the heart again.

I had to sell all those stacks of unidentified gear laying around my inventory. Then I had buyer’s remorse afterward, as it’s not a terribly useful or fun mount out in the world (compared with the bunny rabbit). Especially on The Desolation where you have to use the Skimmer to get over half of the terrain. I guess it could be fun to finally use those Jackal portals, but who’s going to stick around to get that many Mastery levels?

Because, like Bhagpuss, I too have noticed that the player population on the Path of Fire maps seems pretty low. In Heart of Thorns, it’s not unusual to find myself alone for a long time, but then I’ll stumble onto a big mass of people doing an event, and I’ll tag along until I get bored or need to go a different direction for whatever reason. But I don’t see anything like that on the later maps of Path of Fire. I hardly ever encounter other players doing activities on The Desolation. Nobody worked on the big meta event to get into Bad Guy Central. I had to carefully fight my way in there by myself to get to the vista and points of interest.

I hate to criticize Path of Fire, because I did enjoy the expansion while I was playing it, and it was a good price point. ArenaNet probably got a lot of good press out of the whole thing, which is great. It just seems like MMORPGs should strive for more than a week of casual fun with their expansions.

10 thoughts on “GW2 – Fun While It Lasted?”

  1. I was also super frustrated when I saw the Jackal mount was 20 gold. Especially given that the griffon mount, which is my ultimate goal, is 250 gold! I started the expansion out with about 80 gold total, and clawed my way up to 160 between doing the dailies (which net 2 gold a day) and selling everything and the kitchen sink. And then they go and swipe 20 gold for the Jackal. Not cool.

    I have a lot to say about them gating a desired mount behind a collection of items you have to pay 250 gold for. Some people seem to think this is pocket change, but for me, it’ll be at least a month or more worth of dailies if I work at it consistently. And then I have to get lucky enough to see if there’s still interest in mustering up groups for the legendary bounties you need to beat to finish it off.

    Yeah, I enjoyed PoF, but I still think this is an excessive carrot to dangle over players.

    1. Oh that’s where people get gold! Ha I’ve almost entirely ignored the dailies ever since they were added to the game. I had no idea you actually get tangible rewards from it.

      1. Yes, if you finish the Daily Completion (which requires you to do 3 dailies), you get 2 gold just like that every day. I only learned this was a thing when I returned to GW2. Back when dailies first released, they were really convoluted, but they’ve streamlined them a lot, and made them worth doing.

      2. Do dailies. 2g.

        30-60min in the Mad King’s Labyrinth for 100 trick or treat bags. They are holding fairly steady at just shy under 4s each. Let’s account for oversupply over time and say, 3g min, after TP’s 15% cut and possibly price drop.

        That’s an easy 5 gold daily for the time being.

        There are also a couple resources like flax and iron ore which are usually fairly stable price-wise, due to high demand/usage and yet high supply from node harvesters. Use one or two characters to harvest and sell for a bit of pocket money.

        And none of this even touches on the more hardcore/intensive ways of gold earning via fractals or Silverwastes farming and so on, which I’m not inclined to do either.

  2. The Jackal is probably my favorite pet aesthetically but it’s hard to argue it’s worth the 20g or the masteries in any practical sense. The Griffin, on the other hand, has far and away the most potential as a mount, particularly once you get the full masteries (I still have the final one to get). It’s certainly worth 250g to a regular player and worth saving up for. That said, I still don’t like mounts and I find myself actively avoiding using any of them except when absolutely necessary.

    Leaving aside the intrinsic value, it is interesting that ANet decided to make gold a factor. It might be that they were intending to confer a degree of exclusivity but I suspect it’s actually intended to drive Gem sales. Don’t forget that you can buy Gems with real money and convert them to Gold legally in game through the Gem Store, which is presumably what ANet hopes you’ll do. At time of writing 250g costs just over 1500 Gems, which is around $20 (a bit less). $20 would be a pretty standard cash shop price for a mount in most MMOs these days and when you consider it’s the best mount in the game by a country mile I guess it’s a bargain.

    Like most MMOs with an active economy, though, there are ways to make money fast if you want to. They may not be particularly entertaining but farming and flipping are both MMO staples and they work here as well as anywhere. For anyone not playing GW2 as their main MMO, though, it would seem to be far more trouble than it’s worth to try and get the gold so I imagine casual players who still really want it will just get their wallets out.

    As for the mob difficulty and density, that is certainly one reason i’m not really bothering much which PoF right now. I simply never had anything like this much trouble traveling in HoT, where I could almost always just run past trouble or jump off the edge and glide to safety. In PoF you’re pretty much stuck with fighting the damn things – you certainly can’t get away on the mounts.

    1. I like the Raptor best in terms of movement and looks, but the Springer is more useful for getting around the maps, because most obstacles are vertical. I don’t like the Skimmer much but it’s mandatory in some places.

      I thought about buying some gold but I think I’m going to take a stand on principle. I’m not really dying to get the Griffin anyway.

      You mentioned jumping off an edge to glide to safety… I hated having to do that! Because it often meant spending the next half hour getting back to where I started. Ugh.

  3. I’ve found PoF to be stickier for me so far than HoM was. In HoM I kinda bounced off even the story, and it’s only recently that I’ve dragged characters through into later maps and actively participated in the meta events. Might not have helped that I switched away from my Ranger not long before it started — having a tank pet and ample ranged attacks would have made everything feel easier.

    Agreed about the Jackal being… boring. The only thing it seems to offer over the long-jump upgraded Raptor is being able to use those sand portals. Raptor, Springer, and Skimmer all have obvious “of course, this is why I want to use it!” features, and Jackal doesn’t. (Arguably: the first Mastery for it makes you dodge attacks while using its movement ability, which might make it a great fit for the last two maps and their enemy-density. But getting its final Mastery shares that to all mounts, so it’s not a lasting thing.)

    I’ve been playing every day since PoF came out, as much as anything because the mounts make the classic dailies more appealing to quickly knock out. I went and filled out my Ranger’s pet collection for a similar reason. I’ve even been doing the HoM content, because having a Raptor makes getting through the death-jungle far more plausible.

    It seems plausible that the low player numbers in the later PoF maps are because the main daily-driver is bounties, and LFG concentrates people interested in those into a smaller set of tightly-filled maps, while the Halloween event is simultaneously dragging us casuals off into the Labyrinth. :)

    As you said, it was a good value. I’m happy I bought it, I liked the story, I love the mounts overall, and it has definitely renewed my GW2 interest. Now I just have to work on making another hundred gold or so, and actually buying the Griffon. :P

    1. I’m a little amused that I’m the precise opposite of bhagpuss, as a “yes! mounts! always!” reaction. Particularly since, from their blog, I also have an exact opposite opinion on the relative merits of PoF and HoM.

      1. I like the mounts overall, but there are times when I find them frustrating and will dismount when I need more precise movement control, so I can understand where Bhagpuss is coming from.

      2. I actually like that aspect of them, funnily enough. They have weight / momentum, and it helps to distinguish them from mounts in games like WoW, where they’re basically just a speed buff. Their movement-mechanics help feed into that, as well.

        That said, it’d be nice if I could do things like talk to a merchant without being automatically dismounted.

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