You know how I’ve been away since last September. Ever since, the game has been growing on a steady pace with lots of permanent content added into it. Now that I can finally spend some time in Tyria again I thought of writing about everything that I missed. The original plan was to pave the road to “Heart of Thorns” with reviews of the living story episodes that lead to it, but then I came across this new addition to the world map called “The Silverwastes”.
And oh my! I seriously am not one of those people that get excited too easily but boy has ArenaNet really stepped up its PvE design. The signs were clear of where we were heading ever since Dry Top was added to the game. Maps that have the players working together towards a common goal. Encouncters that require you to think and act accordingly. Fat loot that gives the entire process a purpose. Things like these give me hope and have me wondering at the same time of what’s to come. We already knew that Guild Wars 2’s engine has great potential, but this map, along with the A.I. changes that have been announced for HoT, as well as the tweaks in combat, indicate that we have still seen nothing.
Let’s talk atmosphere here for a second, shall we? The concept of the Silverwastes has the Pact forces joining up once again after their victory over Zhaitan, only that this time they’re marching towards a different Elder Dragon, the one called Mordremoth. Upon arrival in the map, you come across a small fortress that has been established there. Camp Resolve acts as a hangar for the Pact’s airship fleet as well as a training ground for the land forces. Now, outside its walls lies a vast wasteland that believe it or not, despite the characterization I just attached to it, it’s extremely vivid.
The Silverwastes do war right. It feels like pure chaos. Hordes of mobs overrunning various strategic points, while airstrikes hit from above. No matter where you are on the map you can hear NPCs crying for your help. It’s the kind of chaos we’ve been used to from Guild Wars 2. The one that makes the progress of battle absolutely make no sense at all. In this particular case though, it’s quite brilliant! The entire chain of events leads to an epic face-off with the Vinewrath. That’s an encounter familiar to those that had gone against Scarlet’s pug-friendly Marionette back in the day. All in all, it’s good to see ArenaNet taking every aspect that has been proved to be successful in past releases and putting it in the game in more permanent forms.
Of course, nothing is perfect. The new map suffers from some systems that have always been a pain for lots of other areas of the game. Specifically, during the battle with the Vinewrath when people die inside the corridor they rarely travel out. That has the remaining fewer number of players go against an already upscaled event, leading in most of the cases to failure and a constant rage from everyone else involved. Finally, I’d really like to see incentives being introduced at some point for such maps, that avert overflow-jumping. Most players cannot understand that even if they don’t have the numbers on their overflow they can still make an impact and progress far towards the final reward.