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Being More Powerful

David North Posted:
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At the launch of Guild Wars 2 players began on their paths to greatness.  Each new day meant a few more levels and some new gear.  But now it’s very common to see a zone filled with level 80 characters.  The quest for power has come to an end.  Even with the addition of Ascended accessories, players have reached their peak. Finally ArenaNet is going to change all that, and they don’t need to raise the level cap to do it!

Even after reaching max level there’s a lot do.  You have dungeon runs, personal story, WvW, and even world exploring.  But at the end of the day your karma and skill points just pile up.  That feeling of getting stronger is gone, and that can make things a bit boring.  Most games will either just raise the level cap, or add more weapons. 

The original Guild Wars had a low level cap of only 20, but had hundreds of skills and combinations for each profession.   I was really surprised that Guild Wars 2 had such a small number of skills available at launch.  But does adding more skills really help make you stronger?  You bet!  Having tons of skills can open up new strategies, allowing you to play your character in a new way.   It also allows your character to be unique from others of the same profession.  The trick is to introduce new skills without making the old ones worthless.  I’m interested to see what the new skills will do.  Will we see more skills that allow players to rally fallen players?   We could also see skills that maybe allow certain characters to fill different roles easier.  The new skills could also help character fill multiple roles more effectively when combined with older skills.

While you play through a game you want to feel like you're always getting stronger.

Traits are also getting some additions.  Recently traits have gone through some changes.  Perhaps that update was to make the new traits fit in with the current system.  Combining both the additions of skills and traits, players will finally start to feel like they are getting more powerful without the need to raise the level cap. 

So we have new skills and traits to make you stronger.  You can gain ranks to get buffs in WvW.  Seems like all the areas of level progression are covered right?   Well there is crafting.  Crafting is something in every game that I try to avoid.  I never liked crafting, but I understand its purpose, and that other players really love it.  You crafters out there will be excited to hear that all crafting professions will have a new level cap of 500.   New crafting materials are going to be introduced, requiring you to use your lower tiered materials to create them.  I’m wondering which materials will be used, and how will they be used.  Will it require a mix of all the different materials, or will it focus on just the more powerful and rare items?           

While making characters more powerful is great, players still need a challenge.  If you give players more power won’t they be able to just go through the old challenges without breaking a sweat?  I wouldn’t worry too much.  It seems new dungeons are going to be a constant element in future Living Story chapters.  The additional instances being added to the Fractals (before the end of the year) should also give players powerful enemies to test their new skills on.  And let’s not forget PvP.  The new skills and traits will not only make your stronger, but your opponent as well. 

Once you've been a level 80 for a while there isn't much that can really challenge you

For a while players have been happy with the amount of story content Guild Wars 2 has to offer.  However, the game does lack any feeling of character progression once you reach 80.  I’ve been waiting for the addition of new skills for a long time, but now that new traits are on the way too, I’m grinning ear to ear!  It will also be cool to see the new Ascended armor and weapon sets.  Now only am I interested to see the new stats, but I also can’t wait to see the new looks.  It’s pretty exciting to hear all of this news, and that character progression can be extended without the need of a level cap increase.  It feels that most of the progression will be based on player skill and strategy, which is why I fell in love with the original games. 

Are excited to see the new skills and traits?   What about the new ascended armor and weapons?  Let us know what you think in the comments below. 

David North / David North is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com.  David loves to play and makes games, but now he writes about them!  If you want to creep on him and make fun of his ability to draw, follow him over on twitter @David_the_North.

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David North