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Why Season 2 is Going to Rock!

David North Posted:
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ArenaNet has put a lot of time and effort into making Guild Wars 2 the most unique MMO possible.  Even after its launch, they continue to try new things.  Their biggest attempt being the Living Story.  It certainly added to the experience, but like anything new, it had it’s faults.  And like any group of gamers, we let the developers know about those faults on the forums, social media, and in game. 

The nice thing about ArenaNet is that they do listen.  I know it can feel like they aren’t, but sometimes they can’t talk about everything they are changing.  Sometimes we just have to wait till the time is right, when it’s ready!  I know, we’re all tired of hearing that, but last week was one of those times with the announcement of the Story Journal.

This announcement may seem like a simple little change to how we access the Living Story in our UI, but really ArenaNet has told us how they intend to execute season 2!  The content is now permanent, once unlocked by any level character, playable for level 80 characters only, and offers rewards without grindy meta achievements!  Whoa, that sounds like all the stuff we asked for!  Well, most of it at least.

Players begged ArenaNet to let them wear costumes into battle, and that wish has been granted!

Making the content permanent is actually just making the Living Story content replayable.  If you log in while the content is live, you unlock it.  Now you can go through and play it as many times as you want, on any of your level 80 characters.  This is great, but the real beauty is in why you should play multiple times.   Remember those silly meta achievements we’ve been doing to get the reward for “completing” the content?  Well now the main reward is actually given by playing through the content.  Achievements come afterwards, and will be much harder than they have been in the previous season.

Why is this so important?  Well it expands on letting players play the way they want to play, which is what the design of Guild Wars 2 is all about.  If you just want to experience the lore and do a single play through, go ahead.    But for those of us that are thrill seekers, there’s more for us to conquer!  This system will work really well, as long as the achievements really are based on skill, and not just killing 75 of a certain enemy. 

I love to fight, but after awhile enemies can become too predictable and boring.

One change we will see in season 2 does surprise me, and that’s the level 80 requirement.  I’m not against it, in fact it actually makes me pretty happy!  Guild Wars 2 is great in that it can boost your level up, or knock it down  if need be, allowing you to play with your friends no matter where they are in the game.  But even with this boost, you’re still not as strong as a true level 80, and when you’re in an intense battle you need every bit of power you can get.  A level 35 being bumped up to 80 is missing out on a ton of skills, and boosts from traits.  This can cause some serious issues with balancing out the content. 

It’s not mean preventing lower levels from experiencing the new content.  From a lore perspective, season 2 occurs after the events of the personal story, which ends at about level 80.  The content can also be unlocked at any level.  So log in now while it’s free to unlock it, and when you’re ready get a group together and start your adventure!

I think the UI changes to the Living Story will make things easier, but the real news is how the Living Story will be executed.  We gave a lot of feedback to ArenaNet during Season 1.  It was a huge learning experience for them and now we are about to see  how they took our feedback, and turned it into actual changes to the game.  While there are still a few things that may be missing, or just haven’t been announced yet, ArenaNet has found a way to focus on the most important issues, and tie them altogether.  Now we just wait to see which of our theories on the story actually end up being true. 

What do you think about the addition of the Story Journal?  Let us know 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