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Out of the Shadows: The Return of the White Mantle

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Warning: this post WILL have spoilers for Living Story Season 3 Episode 1. You have been warned

Ok, so I finally get the chance to talk a bit about the story episode that came out last month. This episode is mostly about resolving some loose ends or to following up on hints ArenaNet has put out such as the notes from Rata Novus. Let’s start at the beginning.

We start by going to Eir’s home for a wake; basically hanging out with friends in remembrance of Eir, telling stories and the like. There’s not a lot going on with this episode to push the story but it is a nice thing that ArenaNet added for Eir. We find out that Braham was not present but is out on his own at the moment in the Shiverpeaks. We’ll probably meet up with him in episode 2 or 3. Taimi send us mail about wanting to meet up about her discoveries in Rata Novus. We invite Rytlock who was at the wake to join us.

So Taimi has been up to some research keeping any and all but us out of the Dragon Research lab. Especially Plunt. Once Taimi, Rytlock and yourself enter the research room, Taimi goes over the ley line map and the organ she harvested from a chak that she put in Mordrem bile (yea, we all know that’s not going to end well). The ley line map does show signs that Glint’s egg has been “activated” in a sense. what this’ll mean will probably affect us in later episodes for the enemies we’re facing in this season. Or might be another problem, who know? There’s also signs of activity in the north so that’s where we decide to head. I’d like to point out one thing that ArenaNet did and that’s give Taimi independence. She was alone doing the research and even fought off chak that got attracted to the lab by herself. Glad she has gotten to prove she can hold her own just fine.

Once we exited the lab Almorra Soulkeeper was there to offer us the Marshal position aka the desk job. Of course we decline but another interesting thing that happened is that Soulkeeper handed Rytlock a message from the Black Citadel. Which he crumpled and threw away in an instant. It makes me wonder if there are some questions the Citadel want answers for that Rytlock doesn’t have, or doesn’t want to answer. Keep in mind that we still don’t know what happened to Rytlock in the Mists. Another encounter we have is with Canach as he’s in pursuit to “save” Caudecus from kidnappers. However, if the situation seems that Caudecus is deemed a threat, Canach has the right to handle him. Fortunately he is heading in the same direction as us so he tags along in the airship ride north.

Moving onto Bloodstone Fen. As we get closer to the area, a huge explosion followed by an implosion, which is important to note, occurred. This explosion and implosion was caused by a ritual the White Mantle were performing. Lazarus a Mursaat absorbed the energy of the explosion. This ties in a bit with raids as the Forsaken Thicket raid is all about going in deeper and essentially stopping a White Mantle ritual from taking place although we didn’t know why the rituals were taking place till near the end of the wing.

So before we find out about Lazarus, we do investigate Bloodstone Fen to see what caused the explosion. Turns out Caithe was investigating as well. She and your character survey the area where a ritual had taken place. Caithe also brings up what she’s done in the Living Story Season 2 & the HoT story apologizing for not trusting us and asking for forgiveness. Interesting no? We don’t give an answer right away but I wonder how that dynamic will pan out. If we do forgive her, there will definitely be some discord with some of our group members, especially Marjory.

During our investigation, Canach was able to track down Caudecus in Bloodstone Fen. We meet up with Rytlock and Marjory (who’s rocking some awesome armor) to take down the corrupted Minister who, if you haven’t figured it out by now, is the current leader of the White Mantle. We head into a bit of a bad bind as we get surrounded but in come Lazarus. He declares to everyone in the area that he should be worshiped as the White Mantle’s leader/god. The unbelievers would burn. And he did just that; Lazarus called down fire and torched a lot of the White Mantle. Caudecus was able to get away and Lazarus disappeared after asserting his dominance. So we have an escaped Minister who’s proven without a doubt he’s leading the White Mantle. A powerful Mursaat on the loose who is probably amassing his devoted followers. To make things worse, Taimi calls us up and declares that Primordius is awake. Yay.

Now we have a lot of issues to deal with Caudecus, Lazarus and Primordius. I feel the White Mantle will be more of the issue this season and Primordius will be used for the next big bad for the next expansion. What’s cool is that we might see the return of the dwarves or even more Tengu as they have some loose ties concerning Primordius. Of course there’s still the issues within our group that need resolution or answers so we might get some of that in next episode.

As I’ve said, this episode seems to lay out a good foundation for story in terms of where it can go. I’m very intrigued how the story will play out.

Living Story Season 3 Starts July 26th!

Praise the six, some GW2 news! Normally I’d get this stuff out on the day of the news but it’s been a while. The story picks up from the end of the Heart of Thorns story. We’ll be back playing Living Story in 2 weeks time on the 26th! With said news is a few things to note.

  • You need to log in when the episode is live in order to unlock the episode for free on your account. You’ll have till the next episode is released (estimated to be around 2-3 months)
  • You do not need to have Heart of Thorns to unlock Living Story episodes as stated in the previous point but you will not be able to play Living Story season 3 without Heart of Thorns and is intended for level 80 characters.
  • If you buy Heart of Thorns later, any episodes you unlocked will become available to you

Living World Season 2 is currently 40% off if you do not have it and wish to play it.

Other News

The retired PvP map “Raid on the Capricorn” will be revamped and re-released as “Revenge of the Capricorn“. This map will be the regular 3 point capture style with no underwater point. The mechanic of the map will have a 4th capture point available periodically to be capped for extra points.

There will also be a new fractal called “Chaos Isles“. Elements of past fractals will be in this one and will be the start of an arc that will run in tandem with Living World Season 3’s plot line.

Major patches will now be six a year rather than quarterly (four a year). This includes the July 26th patch. So we might be looking at 2-3 more patches afterwards.

Now, the problem I have is that the July 26th patch also include balance changes which causes a few problems for PvP as it’s less prep for the Worlds qualifier tournament and 2 weeks prep for PvP Leagues. I am excited for living story again but that balance patch issue popping up could pose a problem for many. We’ll see how things go.

My Thoughts On Guild Wars 2 Heart Of Thorns

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You know, I’ve done a few posts on it, but I haven’t even talked about what I thought about Heart of Thorns. So, here’s are my thoughts in a nutshell.

Heart of Maguuma & Story

So the Heart of Maguuma looks to be an interesting area. There will be 3 biomes aka 3 layers of area: Underground, base level and high points. I feel that each layer will be as big as Kryta. So 5-6 zones. I think that would be the ideal setup.

The Story is picking up where it left off in Living Story 2. Rytlock is definitely the main NPC for the storyline. However, we don’t know much about it so we’ll have to see later down the line.

Mastery System

This system is going to be how players progress past level 80. Max gear and level are the same as they are now. I like the mastery system because I honestly prefer horizontal progression over vertical. The mastery system also gives new combat abilities as well as abilities to use outside of combat like Hang Gliding. Sadly some if these “outside of combat” abilities can’t be used outside the jungle (where the expansion is concerned) otherwise it would break the game. Also, precursors. We don’t know how it works just yet, but you can build collections via the mastery system to get a precursor. Depending on how hard it is, how many precursors we can get and if they’re tradeable or not, precursors via the mastery system could mean a lot on how legendaries are made. At first, I thought tradable precursors from the Mastery system would break the Trading Post but after thinking about it, if it’s relatively long to get one, then it wouldn’t be so bad.

Specialization

Specialization are another form of progression for characters. Characters get access to a new weapon (at least one for now) and each class can possibly gain a “secondary profession”. Rangers can gain a Druid Form specialization where the mechanics for Druid changes from a Ranger. We can also swap specialization in and out so I’m wondering the number of specializations one can have. There are possibly more types of specializations so I can’t wait so see them.

Revenant

I really want to try out the Revenant. Players are saying it’s a Dervish-Ritualist type of class from GW1. Which makes sense seeing that the Revenant can channel the power of the Mists as well as past legends. I also wonder if the Revenant’s Elite skills are these past legendaries which would make the most sense. This kind of limits the number of elite skills and legends on can turn into but makes it a little easier to add more elites down the road.

WvW Interactive Borderland

So this new borderland’s coming in the expansion has keeps that have special abilities when the shrines are in control of a server. Also the core of WvW is changing to reward holding objectives. If holding forts and the like are worth it, then prepared to see more fights. What I’d like to see is havoc groups and even solo roamers being rewarded for small scale activities than just gathering intel.

SPvP Stronghold Mode

I’m actually looking forward to this mode. It brings back the GW1 memories. I would like to see how effective mercenaries are as it is a new mechanics for any GW2 PvP map. I’d also like to see larger team (8 would be ideal) but it’s not too likely to happen.

Guild Halls

Very excited for this. I expect GW1-like features for guild halls with a bit more. I’d like to see some good customization thought such as the ability to buy tapestries and so on. Also I hope that guild halls somehow connects to challenging guild content.

And those are my thought for now on the major features coming with the Heart of Thorns expansion. I also hope there will be new dungeons and the “challenging content” is actually challenging.

Guild Wars 2: Keeping Moderate Expectations For Heart of Thorns

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Hi everyone. I’d just like to make a quick post about Heart of Thorns. The hype train is strong and I’m excited for it like pretty much every Guild Wars  2 player but I think everyone should keep low to moderate expectations.

The stuff we’ll see on Saturday, January 24th at PAX South (either live or on Twitch) will probably result in something like an expansion but an ArenaNet type of expansion. In other words, this will not hold all the normal things you’d expect from a traditional expansion such as a new playable race. Why I feel I need to say all this is because people on Point of No Return patch day and a bit afterwards were commenting a lot in map chat. Most have extremely high expectations. Some are already saying this is an expansion; as likely as it is, it wasn’t confirmed at all by ArenaNet what Heart of Thorns is.

I think there will be new weapons, possibly new armor sets because there hasn’t been a bundle of new armor you can buy in-game in a while. To keep myself under control, I’m expecting a good story concerning Mordremoth with new zones to explore. That’s it. Anything else is a bonus for me and I will probably make me super happy… unless they’re nerfing thieves.

In short, don’t be expecting precursor crafting or Elona or Cantha right off the bat. Keep your expectations within the realm of moderate. If they do come up as content for Heart of Thorns or just even as additions to the game, then that’s even better.

But seriously, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Tyria!

Guild Wars 2: Heart Of Thorns Trailer

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not done the Point of No Return living story yet, DO NOT READ OR WATCH THE VIDEO!

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not done the Point of No Return living story yet, DO NOT READ OR WATCH THE VIDEO!

Alright. So with the spoiler warning out of the way, this is the most hype Guild Wars 2 players have been in a really long time. Of course I’m talking about the Heart of Thorns Trailer that was revealed at the end of the the Point of No Return living story. So let’s break it down. It’s important to note that the trailer seems to go in chronological order of the events that will transpire.

Heart Of Thorns Trailer Breakdown

Alright so the first minute and a half started with the Pact Assault on Mordremoth. Aka ton of Pact airships bombarding the ground; which Logan, Eir and Zojja were at too I might add. But this quickly turned into a losing battle when not only vines from the ground starting snapping ships in half, but the Sylvari on the airships turned against everyone else and started attacking crew members and other airships. Needless to say, Mordremoth took over the Sylvari’s thoughts. The end result is a fiery landscape of fallen airships.

At 2 minutes we see a spectral being in some ruins. Given the shape of the being, I believe (and probably others believe) this being is a Mursaat which would just make this a whole new ball game if they get involved.

Shortly after the ruins scene we see, Rytlock is back with Sohotin in a forest cutting down Modrem Husks charging at him. We also hear the important line “You can’t trust the Sylvari. They belong to the dragon now.”. This is very important because let’s look at what’s left of Destiny’s Edge: Logan, Eir and Zojja are all MIA due to the Pact assault failing. Caithe is missing; with Glint’s Egg no less. So Rytlock is the only one left who’s has the most senority and experience fighting Elder Dragons. You think the leaders of Tyria would listen to him.

The next scene is Canach fending off soldiers saying “Stop treating us like monsters! We are not the enemy!”. Obviously this means word got out that Sylvari are Mordremoth’s minions and people are taking action against Sylvari. I really like how Canach is portrayed here. If you didn’t know, Canach has had a rough past, with criminal activity and trying to redeem himself intertwining. In this scene, you see that Canach is trying not to harm anyone unless he really has to. He’s swinging his sword wide and pointing it as a warning as he slowly backs into a building.

Next up is a battle between what looks like Vigil and the Nightmare Court along with some possible Mordrem. The very last scene of that fight brings up a warning flag as you see Faolain spearing a soldier in the gut and raising him over her head (dat upper body strength tho). This shows that the Nightmare Court is using the news of Sylvari being Mordrem minions to their advantage. We know from the Seeds of Truth living story that Faolain doesn’t think much of the other races which is pretty much what the Nightmare Court mentality is. With the other races posing as a threat to the end of Sylvari; this is pretty much a free pass for the Nightmare Court in order to attack, possibly exterminate, the other races. An interesting thing to note is that corrupted Sylvari seems to have red eyes but some might embrace the corruption and keep their individual thoughts like Faolain and the Nightmare Court.

Finally we have a scene with Destiny’s Edge 2.0 “taking the fight to Mordremoth”. Not much to say here, it’s expected that the team you’re leading will be the ones with you in the final battle against Mordremoth itself.

To Sum It All Up

ArenaNet has taken the brunt of criticism of no expansions in order to deliver this. I say it was well worth it. The set up Living Story made to bring this upcoming story line is well worth it. Now the real question is: is it an expansion? My guess and the probable answer is highly likely yes but a Guild Wars 2 styled expansion. We will find out more on January 24th at the “Beyond the Point of No Return” panel and PAX South.

The story that coming is very intense. Because of one secret, just one, we’re going to fight an entire race. An entire race is going to be fighting us whether they want to or not. There might be some Sylvari that can’t get corrupted, or maybe they are and just don’t know it kind of like Scarlet was. This secret entirely explains Scarlet’s actions last season as she got insanely close to Mordremoth and got corrupted.

Of course I have a ton of questions. When did Rytlock come back, what did he experience in the Mists, and how did he get back? With Scarlet and the Pact assault both getting close to Mordremoth, it makes me wonder if Mordremoth’s control or strength of control is proximity based. Now that the Pale Tree is injured, you can see that the strength of control Mordremoth has is stronger. Also, what will Caithe do with Glint’s egg? My guess is that the dragon inside is a possible way to beat Mordremoth but should she be allowed to hold on to the hope of saving Tyria when she could just as easily get corrupted? Speaking of beating Mordremoth, how will Sylvari be like after we beat Mordremoth? How will the other races act towards Sylvari afterwards? This could get more complicated than the Human-Charr relations. My biggest question is how do players that play as a Sylvari be portrayed? I mean, Sylvari players can’t get corrupted somehow but will Sylvari players get dirty looks if they try to walk the streets of Divinity’s Reach in the new content?

I’m excited. I’m not sure how things will go, but I’m so hyped to find out. ArenaNet did well to establish a massive cliffhanger and started the GW2 hype train once again. And as we all know:

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