Point of No Return

Point_of_No_Return

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.

4 thoughts on “Point of No Return

  1. Good summary again, avoiding spoilers and just sharing emotions 🙂

    While I’d followed the plot of Season 1 closely (mainly because I’d been doing those write-ups for our Greek readers back then), the plot of Season 2 is yet unclear in my head. I don’t know who or what to blame for this. Was the mid-season break a bad intermission? Was it because it spanned for such a long time? Was it because there were so many characters involved? Or was it because I put more emphasis on completing the achievements that I lost focus on the story itself? I really can’t decide.

    My hope is that, with the influx of new players we can expect to see in the not-so-distant future (expansion!), I will be given the opportunity to replay both seasons again. This time there will be no breaks, no intermissions, no distractions. I do believe, like you said, that this will be a far more rewarding and entertaining experience.

    1. I would suggest that Nick. Playing through all the episodes back to back is a totally different experience than having to deal with breaks in between their releases.

  2. Sounds great, Chris, it’s nice to see the impression of someone who got to play through Season 2 as a whole and close together in time, and that the immersion and storytelling works well as whole then. Even playing when things got released – plus those lengthy mid-season breaks – I felt the story was a huge step up from Season 1 and even much of the PS, and the darker tone helped a lot. This is a fantasy setting, the world is threatened by Elder Dragons; now act like it! Be gone, slap stick comedy and light writing! 🙂

    As for creature and encounter design, absolutely agree. Many of the Season 2 encounters got a lot more interesting and when replaying for elite achievements, those challenges finally saw me playing some instances over because I failed the first time. I hadn’t had that feeling since GW1 and even though sometimes that would make me rage hard, I’d rather have this sort of investment in the game than 11111111’ing my way through all story instances in the game.

    Good finale review!

    1. Thanks for the comment you. 🙂

      Part of the reason I wanted to to review these episodes was exactly that. I wanted to see how it feels like to be going through the content of many of them at a sort period of time consequently.

      Glad you liked the increased difficulty of the challenges. It’s good to see people like that and want to see more of it.

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