We made it folks. Finally we get to talk about the Season finale. I’ll try to be a bit broader in this one. We have an expansion ahead of us and with the Living World basically leading to that, I think it’s a good time to retrospectively take a look at this approach as a whole.
Let’s start with a few words on Episode 8. I found “Point of No Return” to be worthy of a Season Finale. It features all those elements that made Season 2 be a step forward from the experimentation that took place in the past. What I really liked in this one was that it has a dark tone, one that, if I’m not mistaken, we hadn’t seen in Guild Wars 2 before. It’s quite nice seeing the writers utilizing different ways of storytelling to attract the player’s attention. I won’t spoil anything but there was a moment that caught me completely off guard but at the same time it felt so reasonable as a mean of advancing the plot.
In terms of gameplay this episode left me with the impression that things can get quite promising in the future. ArenaNet’s creature and encounter departments have really stepped up their game. The last encounter is so well made that the achievements it comes with provide the right levels of challenge and fun. Guild Wars 2 has no real competitor when it manages to effectively promote non-static gameplay.
There’s only one thing that I didn’t like in episode 8 and that’s the second instance. Apart from foreshadowing the fate of the Pact I see no other point of having it there. It was utterly boring and the achievements felt like a very dull chore that you have to go through. It reminded me of some Personal Story instances that, thank God, they were designed in a way for me to quickly forget about their existence.
As to what lies ahead, I’m hopeful. The game has shown signs of improvement in various sectors. The devs had the chance to try out several things in the past years and I like to think that all that experimentation will pay off in Heart of Thorns. The Living World strategy stalled the overall development at first but I believe that we have now come to a point where we can all agree that it ended up being something successful. With their plan of bridging the major releases of expansion packs with Living World Seasons to be sort of a given, I’m more than happy to see them talking for the first time about an established roadmap.
For those wondering what it feels like to be binge-playing a large amount of Living World content all together, let me say that the experience is great. We are talking about a big chunk of content. Season 2 alone features about 25 instances in total, with additional tasks to complete in the open world and a vast range of rewards. Just imagine that it took me over a month to go through everything that just the second half of Season 2 had to offer me.
If that isn’t worth your time or your gems perhaps hanging around with someone else that already owns the episodes might convince you in giving in and getting them for yourself. In fact, the new Season 2 bundle that recently appeared in the Gem Store feels like a very good opportunity for you to do so. It offers every episode that you don’t already own in an individual 20% off price reduction. Here’s hoping Season 1 will get the same treatment at some point too because no matter its flaws I’d like to play through its content and experience the story as a whole.