Note: this post can be originally found (written by me) on Mattsta.Ninja
Last week a bomb shell exploded that resulted in a lot of commotion. Unlike most dramatic instances that have been happening in the last year, this time around it’s pretty warranted. Of course I’m talking about the new legendary precursor journeys being indefinitely suspended.
For those who don’t know, ArenaNet President and temporary Game Director Mike O’ Brien got on the forums last Friday and dropped the news that after the release of the Legendary short bow in April, Chuka and Champawat, all work on the new legendary weapons will be indefinitely suspended. The team that worked on this content will be shifted to work on Living World style content.
Alright so first off, let’s talk about the word “indefinitely”. It has two meanings. For an unlimited period of time or unspecified period of time. So yes, there’s a chance that the weapons are cancelled but there’s also a chance they’ll work on them later but I wouldn’t expected anything extra this year in terms of legendary weapons.
Another thing that I have a problem with is that O’Brien referenced the Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto that came out in 2010. That was a bad move because things change over time but mostly because it validates players to reference Guild Wars 2 blog posts concerning legendaries in accordance to this suspension. The most notable one concerning legendaries was the “Looking Ahead: Guild Wars 2 In 2013” post. It says in the Legendary Gear and Precursors section:
“… what I can say is you will see a specific way to build precursor items on your way to a legendary. On top of this, you’ll also see new legendary weapons and new types of legendary gear in 2013“.
Well, it’s obvious we didn’t see anything like this in 2013 whatsoever but that post also says near the end “As always, the content above is subject to change as we test and iterate on these systems.”
There’s also the blog post titled “Hot (not HoT) New Legendary Weapons” made shortly before release of Heart of Thorns that says “… we will be releasing new legendary weapons in small groups at regular intervals until the full set of sixteen has been added to the game“. Note that they said game not expansion which leave room for a huge time table to release them all. Given we initially thought all the new legendaries would be accessible at HoT launch to begin with, I feel that many players thought that it was heavily implied that the legendaries would be regularly released within a reasonable amount of time after the release of Heart of Thorns. I think that’s a fair assessment to make given the information we had at the time.
I’m not saying ArenaNet is right or players are right with all these quotes, I’m just saying this is what I see in these posts. Enough about wording and such. Let me talk a bit about what I think of the news. If there were two words to describe the situation it’d be disappointment and concern.
Let’s do the disappointment part first. Despite the format of releasing new legendaries, I believe it’s not unfair to say that the goal was to have sixteen new legendaries and their journeys in the game within a reasonable amount of time. Let’s say a year or so after HoT release, all sixteen new weapons were suppose to be in the game. After all this time, with only one new legendary journey coming out after the newest first three journeys, you can obviously see ArenaNet can’t deliver on this. At least not right now.
It could be really irritating for players that consider legendaries their end game. There’s also players that have been waiting months to craft their Legendary shield or greatsword and have been holding out just to see what the new ones look like. These players have to take the hit in order for the new Living World content to come out on time or faster.
Now let’s talk concern. I think this is the first time in all my years playing Guild Wars 2 I’ve been truely concerned about the development process. It’s been 5 months since the release of Heart of Thorns. Let’s say they had a month off (Christmas and all). So 4 months of development on new legendary weapons and their journeys.
You’d think ArenaNet would have a good understanding of the time and resources needed to make legendary journeys at a reasonable pace. They did give journeys to all the original legendary weapons and we did get 3 new legendary journeys. Buggy or not, that is what was delivered. However there could have been issues within those months that hindered progress like communication between teams, tech problems, or working on HoT bugs on the side (especially the Legendary journey ones).
On the flip side, one Legendary after 4 months isn’t so hot. I know there’s a lot that goes into making the journey such as connecting events and NPCs to the collections, making new items, developing the lore background of the weapon and so on. But, again, I feel like ArenaNet should have had a good understanding of how fast this process would take on a regular basis. Maybe they overestimated themselves if this is the case. I can’t really say, just speculate.
Staying on the concerned train of thought, I have to ask: why is this team now going to work on Living World content? Is this content behind if the Legendary Weapons team doesn’t help? Is it to speed up the timetable of Living Story Season 3 because of the recent content drought?
These questions were the first things to pop into my head and quite honestly scare me as it’s the more important issue that O’Brien’s post brings about. There’s also the mention of work on expansion two which makes me ask: shouldn’t most of the issues in the first expansion be fixed and evaluated with feedback from the community first before working on another expansion? The reason I say this is that there are a lot of issues right now in every mode of Guild Wars 2. Some of these issues might be mirrored into the next expansion which is just overhead to fix once fixed in Heart of Thorns which means more wasted time on development.
In the end, I do like the transparency and I am glad that Mike O’Brien did come out and say ArenaNet can’t do legendary journeys, at least for now. It’s a sad thing to happen but Living World hits a much bigger audience than people who want to make legendaries. I feel like the timing & phrasing for this news could have been better though. After all, the April quarterly patch is just around the corner and would have resulted in a less blow back. This news does however bring up concerns about how resources are being managed right now seeing all these issues and delays on features. It’s always important to keep in mind that people are mad, disappointed, or concerned because they love Guild Wars 2. Seeing this one forum post about indefinitely suspending work on expected content raises a lot of questions.
All I know and can say for sure is that something has to change.