When Heart of Thorns was announced, one of the key selling points was the release of Legendary Armor, coming with another new feature, raiding. More than 15 months have passed since the release of the expansion, and today is the day that legendary armor finally hits the shelf, and to help players get a proper browse before they buy, we’ve put together a small preview to showcase some of the highlights of this animated armor set.
What makes the Legendary Armor such a standout is the fact that each set comes with unique animations and effects. There have been particle effects and style enhancements in the past, but nothing on the scale of fully animated and moving armor like this release is bringing. On top of the new skins, this armor also brings the best functionality improvement to gear in Guild Wars 2 that the game has ever seen. Besides the standard stat swapping capacity that comes with its Legendary rarity, the armor will also have the ability to refund any runes you place in it, putting it back in your inventory rather than destroying it. This could save players, especially those with alt characters or many builds, tonnes of gold and headaches, and no longer spell certain bankruptcy on sharp meta changes. Here are some of my first impressions when seeing the armor in action.
The Light Armor comes with spectacular crystal animations and moving parts, and has a very magical feeling about it from first glance. The clothing itself looks fantastic on the Charr, with a split created for the tail and the spikes fitting well with the wider leg and shoulder room than humanoid models. On the Asurans, again, the armor looks exceptional, however a great deal of the detailed animation is lost when you play at a distance. Humanoid models get a short straw here, with the rear of the leggings poking out very far, and the helmet piece when wielded forms a mask that seems out of place with the rest of the otherwise elegant set. This mask is common across all the sets, forming across the face when drawing a weapon, and is a major down side across all the races. Despite a couple of draw backs, this is a great set for light armor players, and for those who don’t want to wear the full set, many of the pieces fit in very well mix and matched with existing pieces.
Medium Armor is a set that has already created contention amongst the vocal community since its initial reveal. One of the biggest outcries of community members regarding medium armor has been the use of trench coats for almost every chest piece in the game. Whilst the stowed version of the legendary does come with a shirt, albeit a bone covered glow in the dark polo, this quickly morphs in to a bedazzling trench coat equipped with layer upon layer of bone, a common theme amongst this set. The head cowl covers the face almost completely, and on almost every race and body shape the shoulder piece is oversized for the character. This might seem like a harsh criticism, but to me Medium Armor is the one set not to live up to its legendary status, feeling and looking incomplete compared to the other sets. One thing medium certainly has going for it however are fantastic wielding animations, with huge fiery wings exploding from the character as they draw their weapons and a beautiful shift and growing effect on the armor itself as it expands.
Heavy Armor was an absolute winner, the whole set coming together the way that Legendary Armor should. The contours and lines of each piece flow in to the next, and it shows heavily in the animations, looking smooth and clean without going over the top. The dye channels come out a lot stronger in game than in the preview window, and it’s entirely possible to create strong contrasts and show off metallic looking dyes to their full effects here. The explosion of steel and white light that comes upon entering combat is subtle and yet strong, for me this set was an easy winner of the three. On Asurans, the head piece can look quite large, and some of the best features are fairly small details in the animation that can be easily missed the heat of battle, but nonetheless the set hits the mark for a legendary looking set more than any other.
Overall I have high praise for the Legendary Armor, especially when it comes to functionality across multiple characters. Although there are criticisms for the skins themselves, this doesn’t detract from the amazing way the sets can be put to work. Hopefully we see new sets in the future, especially sets coming from other game modes like PvP or WvW. Although it seems like a long shot at this stage, this armor is not just a cosmetic release, so it would be brilliant to see the ability to obtain the same functionality especially in WvW where it would be put to such good use.
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