In preparation for Path of Fire, I have been running through Heart of Thorns. I’m doing hero points, finishing up specialization weapon collections that I hadn’t finished, that sort of stuff. I’ve noticed a few changes taking place and found myself wondering, is Heart of Thorns getting easier?
Now, some of it can certainly be accounted for by the fact that at this point we’ve played the Heart of Thorns maps a million times, but I don’t think this applies to all the changes I’ve seen in the jungle the last few days, and I don’t think it accounts for how rewarding maps are now.
Rewarding Tangled Depths
Tangled Depths has always been my least favorite map. Maybe I’m just unlucky but I’ve had more metas fail on that map than any other. I’ve also found that it is less rewarding than others, or at least it used to be. Just a few days ago I started out the meta with 62 vials of chak acid. By the end, I had 26. Never in all of my time playing Heart of Thorns have I see so many crystallized supply caches. The lanes especially were full of them. I found that the Rata Novus lane had the most. It was incredibly profitable, much more so than any run I’ve ever done before. Did ArenaNet do this to make the map more appealing for people to continue to play?
Hero Point on Repeat
Have you been hero pointing in the jungle recently? If you have you may have noticed that some of them have the little infinity symbol next to them. Specifically, the ones where you have a difficult fight that you can’t solo. You can now do Hero Points more than once and have them still be rewarding. You won’t get more hero points, you can only do that once per character. Instead, you’re given a reward chest. Once again, it would appear that ArenaNet is working through Heart of Thorns to make it more appealing to play. People are more likely to lend a hand to newbies if there’s a reward in it for them too and now there is.
Over the last week or so I’ve been doing a lot of hero points. I’ve been doing it in all the jungle zones with the exception of Dragon’s Stand. Throughout it all there has been one universal truth, the fights are easier. In Verdant Brink, the Vampire and Golem fights used to take a whole party full of people, now I’ve managed to do them with just two of us. Some of them are still quite a challenge though. The Mushroom King and Champion Arrowhead are still incredibly tough. While the ancient golems and Chak Lobber are a breeze. Again, it seems like they’re making the game easier for those who are only getting around to it now.
A Question is Raised
All of this hero pointing has raised an interesting question. When Heart of Thorns launched unlocking the Elite Specializations cost a whole lot more. Right now it costs 250 points to fully unlock an Elite, but originally that number was in the 400s. After the community went insane over the cost the price was dropped. But, at the time we were also warned that this was a one time deal. They had no intention of it being that way again in the future. This brings us to the question. How much are Elite Specs going to cost in Path of Fire?
Unfortunately, during the preview weekend, we couldn’t tell how much it would cost. There have also been a lot of changes to the game and how it is developed since the launch of Heart of Thorns, 2 years ago. It leaves the question completely in the air. How much will this new generation of Elite Specializations cost? If it is 250 then it will be quite easy to prepare for by playing in Heart of Thorns and getting points you don’t already have. If the number is in the 400s…not so much. Though it will certainly give you a bit of a boost to get started.
I suspect that they will go with the originally intended 400(ish) points and make it a slower, much more drawn out process. I also fully expect that if this happens there will be rioting. The precedent has been set and expectations are firmly set. ArenaNet has also not done anything to curb the expectation of a 250 point Elite Specialization. If it is going to cost more this something ArenaNet really needs to start warning people about. Perhaps that they haven’t is itself a sign that it will cost 250 points and there’s nothing to worry about.
We are now officially under a month until the launch of Path of Fire, by only a day or two, but it counts! Next week two different things are happening. The first is Mount Week. Based on what we saw for Elite Specialization Week we can expect some new trailers and a dev stream which go into the mounts in more depth than we’ve previously seen. Monday next week also marks the 5th anniversary of Guild Wars 2. For players that means a new round of birthday presents for your characters. The very first characters were made on August 25th, 2012 during Headstart. So anyone who has had a character since then will be the first to get the gift, which is a complete surprise at this point. If tradition follows, however, we should get:
- 1 Instant Level 50 Boost
- 1 Gem Store Dye Pack
- The Choice of an Anniversary Backpack
- 2 Birthday Boosters
- 5 Teleport to Friend
- And A Title
Something I would really love is a way to combine the boosts we already have. Once I start unlocking level 50 boosters, why would I ever use level 20? The ability to convert them, however, would be wonderful. Of course, it should be cheap either. Perhaps in converting they’re only worth 70% of the levels they should be and it costs 5g each time you use the combine-o-matic. Or let us turn them level boosters into something more useful like hero points.
Happy Anniversary, Guild Wars 2!Related: ArenaNet, Column, Guild Wars 2, Heart of Thorns, MMORPG, The Tyrian Chronicle