I was going to wait until Lost Shore–the newest update coming to Guild Wars 2 on Friday–hits before making a judgement on the new “Ascended” tier of equipments. Linsey Murdock’s insightful devblog saved me some trouble… or maybe added to my troubles, as I now feel compelled to composite a “pre-rant” in face of the oncoming, blatant power creep of the worst format to my beloved MMO.
Some bullet points from the devblog:
- The new Agony condition is a DoT on percentage of player’s HP. It is introduced in the newest series of dungeons called “Fractals of the Mists”, in the Lost Shore update.
- Infusion is a new upgrade type of items that can only apply to Ascended gears, with the sole effects of reducing damage dealt by Agony. Rarer Ascended gears have built-in Infusion stat.
- As shown from the screenshot, the Ascended jewelry have roughly about 8% more stats than the Exotic version, plus the unused Infusion slot.
- One important disclaimer is that Ascended gears cannot uses upgrades other than Infusions, and given the flexibility of Runes and Sigils on armors and weapons, the effective advantage of them versus Excotics is not predictable at this moment. However, Legendary weapons will have buffed stats to the equal of Ascended weapons.
- Only Ascended Rings and Back items are going to come with Lost shore. Rings are obtained in the Fractals dungeons, and Back items are crafted via the Mystic Forge. More Ascended items are in later updates.
- After this update, power progression of equipments will look like: Common < Uncommon < Masterworks < Rare < Exotics < Ascended (Rings and Back items only) < Legendary (Weapons only, same stats as Exotics as usual for now).
- The Infusion stat will be a “must” in higher level Fractals dungeons.
The last section of the devblog has a lot to say about future of the game, which I shall just present the quote verbatim… with liberty of bolding some important stuff.
The Future of Items Progression
This is just the beginning. In November, we’re only adding the first level of Infusions and Ascended Rings and Back slots, so that leaves us a lot of room to build upon these levels of Item progression in future content.
As we release more new end game content in the future, you’ll see more Infusions and Ascended item types being added to the game. Eventually, you’ll be able to kit yourself out with a full set of Ascended gear and high end Infusions to help give you the edge in end game content.
You’ll also see more Legendary items in the future and an update to our existing Legendary weapons. Legendary items were always intended to be on par with other “best-in-slot” items. So fear not, all existing Legendary weapons, which are currently on par with Exotics, will be upgraded to be on par with Ascended weapons at the same time that we add Ascended weapons to the game. Thus Legendaries will remain “best-in-slot” items. All Legendary items going forward will be of Ascended power. We also have plans to add more fun ways to acquire Legendary precursor items with a more “scavenger hunt” feel than they are acquired currently.
The new additions in November are just the start of our item progression initiative. We’re going to add tons of new high-level content to Guild Wars 2 in the future. As we introduce the new high-level content, we’ll also roll out complimentary Ascended and Legendary items (to say nothing of the other rewards you can earn by playing the content).
I hope you are all as excited about these new items as I am!
Surprised I am, to see Guild Wars 2 is now actively embracing power creeps–the very sweet poison trap of MMO design which it was built to guard against. The game has been marketed to “have no end-game/everything is end-game”, but introducing a top tier of equipments only obtainable in a series of lv80 dungeons, coupled with special resist stats, cries nothing but hypocrisy, deceit, and betrayal to the core vision of the game.
I truly do not believe the Ascended tier is the solution to the genuine complaint of lacking of progression at end-game. Just look at the game’s predecessor, Guild Wars 1. The only thing I would call “power creeps” are consumables and PvE-only skills; none of them hides behind the mantle of “character progression”. Consumables are foods that give a good stats gain for a moderate amount of time. Their crafting components being the most abundant materials in game, easily farmed and traded, and the craft act as a sink for these items. PvE-only skills, introduced in Factions campaign and becomes a true power creep in Eye of the North expansion, is well balanced and since then became part of the metagame. Like consumables, these skills are very easily obtained by anyone, their power is limited by only allowing each player to have maximum of three PvE-only skills out of eight total skills.
Anyway, from the look of this devblog, I think the following will gradually befall to Guild Wars 2 as its expansions accumulate.
- A gear “progression” system that is similar enough to the other MMORPG, (you know, the one that is pretty much this game is built from ground up to be different), to the degree that one is excluded from pugs doing level x Fractals dungeon for not having y amount of Infusions. ANet does not realize that players who want this kind of discrimination will always feel more at home at the other MMORPG, and are not who they marketed this game to.
- A few new series of dungeons equivalent to Fractals are introduced in future expansions, featuring their unique resist stats, and require players to farm inside those dungeons to acquire the appropriate gears. Welcome to Gears Wars 2.
- The newer breed of dungeons, like Fractals, will be the de facto PvE end-game content. Players are compelled to farm in whichever of these dungeons that just came out from the latest expansion.
- The Legendary weapons’ power will continue grow in the form of higher stats, as there will be enough expansions before a higher tier than Ascended is introduced.
I’m sorry, Linsey Murdock, but can you please enlighten my humble self, who I believe is part of the target audience that you guys made this game for, on where exactly should I feel excited rather than worried? Anyway, if you’re reading this and feel this is exactly what you want in an MMORPG, please try out Guild Wars 2 because it still is a fantastic game at time of this writing, even more so with these likely changes in the future. And to my future self who will reflect on this post months and years later, as much as my dark side wants to have a smirk on the face and spout “I told you this would happen”, I’d rather be laughing at this entire post of gibberish fussing about something that never have materialized.