tanithryudo: (GW2)
[personal profile] tanithryudo
So I've completed the personal story and all 4 of the free mounts mastery tracks. Also did a bit of dabbling with weaver and did the starting personal story on 2 more characters to check out a few things. Also, staked reddit for news and stuff. So I'm ready to do my initial review.

I think in a lot of respects, PoF is the culmination of a lot of learning and feedback taken from the players in response to HoT. It attempts to capitalize on the things people liked, correct what they didn't like, and sometimes go overboard in the attempt.


The Good:

1. Mounts. This one was a no brainer. Anet looked at the overwhelming positive responses to the glider and doubled down on it. They've obviously put a LOT of effort in the designs and it shows. They managed to make the 4 (I don't have the 5th one yet) mounts all distinct, and moreover, did not invalidate the preexisting glider features (though who knows, that might change with the gryphon). The animations are also superb, which leads me to...

2. The art and animations department definitely did an awesome job in designing the maps. Unlike HoT which was jungle, jungle, and some underground caves, PoF manages to not make it all desert all the time. There are highlands region with greenery and even snow, there's the many oasis and even decent bodies of water, there's great smears of branded that's all crystal all the time, there's the sulfur wastes hail-back to GW1, and there's the great cities in various states of repair. And there's also a lot of awesome easter eggs like this.

3. Worldbuilding. Hand in hand with the art design, they also did a pretty good job with worldbuilding in general, injecting a lot of lore everywhere you look - in random dialogue, in item descriptions, when interacting with every little thing out there. I mean, I guess you could say that the Crystal Desert and Vabbi regions have a lot of established history and lore they can use for this. But honestly, there was plenty of history in the Maguuma wilds too, everything from the origin of the druids in GW1 to the mystery of Malyck from core GW2, it was a huge missed opportunity for HoT to not even touch on most of it. With PoF they seem determined to cram as much lore as they can every time you turn around. It's almost to the point where you're overloaded with it. (I can foresee hours and hours and hours of wooden potatoes videos come out of PoF.)

4. Continuity. I appreciated that they made the honest attempt at trying to make your characters personal story and choices more impactful this time around. There's branch options in the PoF personal story, that while not giving you entirely different missions like core did, do result in what seems to be different ambient dialogue around you on a permanent basis. I made sure to pick all three different options on 3 characters in the second story, and then just sitting around in town, I hear different ambient dialogue discussion the different political states of the city. Also, stuff like the mission in the Domain of the Lost pretty much recaped my ranger's personal story to date. It makes me wonder what happens if I make a new character, directly boost to lvl 80, and then do the PoF story with them...


The Meh:

1. Inventory Wars: On the one side, there's now 20+ slot bags. On the other, they're hella expensive and soulbound, so I'm not going to be getting them. They've also condensed many drops into generic blue/green/gold unidentified drops, which you can just double-click to id (there's also a consume stack, for convenience), which also saves a lot of bag space. On the other hand, my bag space is now filled with all these karma consumables (which admittedly can be vanished by consuming, but then they come back after a few events), and quest items that I gotta hang onto just in case. Urgh, I don't see why they couldn't have used the HoT questing scheme of ticking off an option in a collection somewhere instead.

2. Skins: There are some ok armor skins, but nothing that I'm going to redo my existing character designs for. There's also a few nice weapon skins (like the Funerary set which is very Egyptian-y with cobras everywhere) but again, none of it fits my character themes so eh. I haven't looked to closely at the various collections, but I know there's another set of 3 ascended backpieces, presumably with the new stat set options. Too early to say anything about those yet.

3. Specializations: Putting this here since the new specs are somewhat YMMV. Stuff like Firebrand and stuff require re-speccing to condi sets, and I'm really not planning on repeccing any of my characters to condi sets. Skills wise... I tried a bit of weaver and it's ...eh; I think tempest is still better in some areas. Haven't tried out holosmith yet, but as for the rest, there's nothing that looks like I want to use, honestly. I'm sure PvP and WvW are getting some love there.


The Bad:

1. Gold sinks everywhere. The first four mounts are like 25 gold total. Then the last one is 250g. Then there's the bigger inventory bags which also cost money. Pretty sure the new crafting recipes are gonna be gold sinks too. Just... it seems like PoF doesn't have all that many gold-making opportunities, and is more about sucking gold out of the economy. I don't mind a few gold sinks, but it seems a little unbalanced. Like, is the future going to be basically going to HoT/LS2 maps to farm gold, and then go to PoF maps to spend it? XD

2. Surprise environmental punishment. I hate these. Ugh, deep branded territory is like a no man's land because you basically can't do any combat without finding a roof over your head first (which just means you'll die to some mob's aoe). The tar pit popups in the Desolation zone makes it impossible to run any mount aside from skimmer, and the skimmer is too slow to make it through many of the mob balls alive. Ugh.

3. Difficulty: Not talking about (most) ambient mobs, which are about LS3 level... Various event bosses can be pretty rough and impossible to solo. Some mission bosses *coughBalthazarcough* are just way overtuned for casual players, IMO. On the bright side, at least missions let you restart and keep fighting without reseting the boss, so at least you can eventually defeat them by endless respawn. Still, that endless respawn becomes a necessary tactic kinda sucks. I mean, I could solo the last HoT mission with just a death or two at most. I don't like power creep any more when it's on the enemy mobs.


Undecided:

1. Story: It's much better than HoT, but that's a low bar to cross. Some elements I could see coming from miles again, like them killing off Gleam/Vlast without a howdeedo. Some elements were an honest surprise like the actually getting killed by Balthazar. The ending was more obviously a bridge onto LS4, which I guess works for the format but isn't very end-y.

2. Characterization: Most of it has been good... our PC is more in-charge, Taimi is still a snarky little prankster. Rytlock and Canach seem to be the new comedy bros, which gives me conflicted feelings b/c I feel Rytlock is cheating on Logan (poor Logan, got dumped by Queen Jennah and now being replaced as BFF by Rytlock). Not sure if Kasmeer's religious crisis was a bit overdone or if it's just me being non-religious; granted, religion can be a touchy subject to handle, so. Kormir was...well, true to her GW1 roots. Balthazar just made me wonder how the hell someone like him ever became a god.

Also, I don't like the fact that we just handwave away the revelation that Rytlock basically freed Balthazar during his trip in the Mists, while Caithe is still in the doghouse for believing that protecting Aurene's egg was part of her Wild Hunt (she didn't even do anything bad!). Also, we the Commander pretty much neglect to mention to anyone on my team that Joko has now been freed from where Balthazar had locked him up, AND we reveal our duplicity at stealing his army to his vizier after the fact. Do we just want an extra target painted on our backs?

3. To meta or not to meta... So reddit and so forth are pretty evenly split between people moaning about lack of map metas in PoF and how that is going to destroy the replayability of those zones, and people reiterating that HoT metas sucked by forcing you to play on a schedule with organized groups only yadda yadda yadda. I think it's way too soon to talk about the replayability value of PoF yet.



There's probably more stuff that I can't remember right now. Ask me and I shall trying to give my thoughts on it.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-26 03:05 am (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
First, thanks for writing it all up. Very informative! *hugses* (And yeah, I have some questions, but given your schedule, answer back according to your free time.)

Mounts - I've read that it was giving people motion sickness/virtual sickness. And I have to say that WP's videos were making me super sick. I really hope they fix the mounts so that they don't make people with virtual sickness too horrible. I do not want to have to medicate when I play GW2. But question: Did you find mounts clunky? There's a lot of people complaining that the controls are not very precise and switching into mounts is kind of a clunky process. What do you think?

Story - I'm mostly concerned about do PCs get different dialogues depending on their race? Like, do we actually feel like we're playing different characters when taking in different races or is it just more of a find and replace type of dialogue branch? (I personally found the level 10 and 20 story writing were the best in GW2.) At what level of writing do you think it falls under? More stock dialogue like the Zhaitan dungeon story or something more personalized like the racial story? I guess it's a good thing that ambient dialogue changes at the least, but how do they make that work in a town when people made different choices in the instances?

Continuity - I, too, am curious what happens when you boost a character straight to 80. I know that in the HoT final battle, characters that didn't do the personal story up to joining an order get a generic character to fight against, while those who did join an order get their mentor come back to haunt them. Perhaps it's the same thing?

Inventory Wars - Honestly, I'm not surprised by the quest items taking up inventory space. Remember Lake Doric and the slew of stuff that dropped/picked up for collections? Granted, people complained about it, but the devs seem to think this is something they should stay the course. *sigh*

Skins - I'm...just not even going to comment anymore. The more you learn about cultural appropriation, the more you see it. I'm...just gonna ignore, ignore, ignore.

Elites - Well, not sure about PvE, but in PvP Scourge is annoying as F. PvP forums seems to agree for the most part. But I saw PvE posting Weaver just hit 48k dps, so...yay?

Gold Sink - Combining this with the comment on replay value, I think that might be the way the devs keep both expansions populated. Earn gold in HoT/SW, spend it in PoF. Makes me sad tho'. So much gold cost for the griffon...not sure if worth it.

Environment - Ugh. Why? I actually liked the sandstorm mechanic in Dry Top and wouldn't have minded more of that. But why surprise damage? What does it even serve? I wish they'd bring back the sandstorm instead.

Difficulty curve - Here's to hoping it all gets nerfed. I'm...just gonna sit here and wait for the nerf bat, before heading into PoF.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-26 02:31 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Mounts Hot Key - What are your bindings? Given how many hot keys we already have, I can't imagine where else to bind the keys that's still accessible. o.O

Lake Doric - had like at least 5 different book things for collection. Also the peach pit every day if you go eat a peach.

Blank lvl 80 - Dooo iiiiiit. I want to see if Human blessed by Balth freaks out (the way Kasmeer freaks out?)

Weaver - Honestly, I think weaver dagger/dagger might be nicer, since there are certain rotations that are just viable at this point that wasn't viable before due to attunement cooldowns. One of the hardest part of core Ele for me was timing my skills with attunements, which always screwed me over because I'm more used to engie's on demand kit swap. But given Tempest's style is camp one attunement, it's definitely easier.

Prices - Uh, glider is 500 gems for the new skins and 400 gems for the older skins. Outfits are around 800 gems. (These are all non-discounted skins, obviously.) I think you might be thinking of the backpack/glider combo packs, which, IIRC is something like...700 gems?

Difficulty - Oh ew, I have no rez orbs after my stint with the jumping puzzles. Guess I'm really gonna wait for difficulty nerf, or only do content in a duo.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-27 02:38 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Bah, range. Just kill everything. :p

B for bunny. I will remember this. XD
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