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Preview: Guild Wars 2: Realm of Dreams Hands-On Impressions

Robin Baird Updated: Posted:
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Get ready for adventure as Guild Wars 2 unveils its latest update, the thrilling Realm of Dreams! This release is the second installment of the Secrets of the Obscure expansion, packing captivating story chapters and a slew of updates to enhance your GW2 experience. I had the opportunity to sneak a preview of this content last week, which exceeded all my expectations! I won't spill any story secrets, though – you'll have to dive in and experience the excitement.

Inner Nayos Updates

Guild Wars 2 has been doing new maps in two parts for the last few years. This was done primarily to respond to the issues that arose after adding a new map with every update for a long time. Some of these have worked well (Drizzlewood Coast), while others haven't worked out very well (Gyala Delve). Our current zone, Inner Nayos, is a bit different in that it appears we’ll get three updates that take place here (there’s one more after Realm of Dreams). Before this new update, I was pretty happy with Inner Nayos as a zone. Although obviously, we couldn’t travel throughout the map, it works very well as stand-alone content. So, I was a bit apprehensive about how this update would affect it.

I was relieved when ArenaNet explained that the new section of Inner Nayos wouldn’t be tacking another meta onto the end of the current meta event. This update style can work well, but it makes for a long event if you want to do the whole thing. We have had many maps that function this way. Instead, the meta in the first section can run concurrently with the meta in the second section if that’s what players choose to do. Of course, there will need to be enough players in each section to work both metas simultaneously to do that.

More likely, when this new update goes out, players will flock to the new meta more and just ignore the old one. Hopefully, that will balance out more over time, and both metas will get attention. Since neither meta is on a timer, it’ll help both stay more regularly active in the long run. Additionally, the meta in the second half feels distinct and culminates in a much more dynamic fight than the first one. So there is plenty of variety to keep everyone entertained.

There’s also a section of the new story that requires doing events in Inner Nayos to progress to the next chapter. Thematically this makes sense because, at the point in the story where this happens, you are trying to gather intel on the location of Major Emund. I tried doing events in both the old section and the new section of the map, and both worked to gain completion on this step. What didn’t work was failing events, which again makes sense. So, no matter what is going on in the zone, when you get to that part, you should have plenty of options for how to proceed.

Legendary Armor & Legendary Relics

One of the most highly anticipated additions with this update is the addition of the Obsidian Legendary Armor, which will finally be obtainable. This first tier of Obsidian Armor is a more subtle-looking legendary armor than the ones currently available in Guild Wars 2. Each set draws inspiration from the various Obsidian Armor sets from Guild Wars, and since it is a lot less flashy, the look of it will match well with other armors. This is particularly nice since you don’t obtain the entire set in one go, although you could always transmog the armor to look like something else.

If you’re not quite sure why legendary armor is worth going after and why obsidian armor, in particular, might be appealing, I can help you with that. Legendary armor has the same stat allotments as ascended gear. However, these stats can be freely swapped when you aren’t in combat. For example, last year, I swapped over all my ascending gear to celestial from viper, which required me to craft a bunch of things and isn’t a cheap thing to do. However, if I had legendary gear, I could swap the stats around at will at no cost. Also, any future stat combinations will be automatically added as options to legendary gear. Lastly, legendary armor allows players to remove runes without needing an upgrade extractor.

Aside from the different look, the Obsidian Legendary Set is the first legendary armor set that doesn’t require raids or competitive game modes to acquire. It will be entirely obtainable through open-world gameplay. That said, it isn’t cheap or quick to build this armor set; if you decide to pursue it, it’ll be more of a long-term goal. The GW2 wiki has much more information regarding what is needed to craft this set. Also, don’t be thrown off because this is the first version of the armor available. The only thing that should change with the next tier is the cosmetics.

Another legendary addition in this patch is the new legendary relic. As with other legendary gear, the new legendary relic will allow players to freely swap around what relic they are using without having to carry around extras in their bags or have them sitting in their bank. However, unlike with other legendary gear types, new relic types won’t be automatically added to the legendary relic. Players will have to unlock new relics as they are added before they can be selected. Also, as a bonus, players who crafted a legendary rune before the Realm of Dreams update will automatically receive a legendary relic.

Last Things

With this update, we’re also getting a new slate of weapon proficiencies, so we’re getting ever closer to everyone being able to use every weapon. These new proficiencies can be unlocked by completing the new story or using WvW currency. Additionally, based on community feedback, ArenaNet has retooled how Egi Shortbow will work. They had a lot of feedback concerning how the weapon felt clunky and slow to use, which made it difficult to use as intended. Specifically, they’ve changed how the detonation and chain effects work.

There’s more coming in Realm of Dreams as well; I’m particularly looking forward to two new bosses in convergences. Of course, I will probably dive into the new story and map meta first thing. What are you looking forward to? Has anyone already started working on getting their Obsidian Armor?


Robin Baird

Robin loves RPGs, MMOs, JRPGs, Action, and Adventure games... also puzzle games... and platformers... and exploration games... there are very few games she isn't interested in. When it comes to MMOs she focuses on WoW and GW2 but will pick-up other games as they catch her fancy. She's a habitual returner to FFXIV because that game is an all-around great MMO.