Guild Wars 2’s fourth season of new content begins soon

Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire

Guild Wars 2 might not be the talk of the town anymore, but the fast-paced MMO is still chugging along nicely, with a major new desert-themed expansion – Path of Fire – released just this September. It’s really rather good, bringing some satisfyingly weighty-feeling mounts to the game, making exploring feel fresh and fun again.

For those who bought Path of Fire and have already hammered your way through the main story arc, get ready to dust the game off again, perhaps sooner than expected. The fourth season of ‘Living World’ episodic content will begin this month. Read on for a teaser trailer and some info on what this will entail.

For those who might have tapped out of Guild Wars 2 before the first expansion was released, you can be forgiven for looking upon the words ‘Living World’ with skepticism. The first season of Living World content was patchy at best – a series of small in-world events, punctuated with minor dungeon runs that were only available for a limited time. The culmination of it all was admittedly spectacular, with the primary trade-hub city of Lion’s Arch utterly destroyed by mad scientist supervillain Scarlet, leaving players to fight through the ruins against her army of robotic minions.

Lion’s Arch has since been rebuilt with a radically different aesthetic, leaving an interesting mark on the game-world for those who remember the event. There was also a new zone added, although it’s now considered entirely optional, and unrelated to the story as a whole. Beyond that, only recycled fragments of the first season’s story arc are available to play now via the Fractals of The Mists, a challenge mode where players undertake a chain of mini-dungeons of escalating difficulty. Hardly a grand legacy.

The second season was a marked improvement over the first, and saw the start of a new narrative focus on your own (now more actively voiced) protagonist settling into their role as leader of a group of adventurers. Season two introduced two new and better-integrated zones to the world, and a much greater focus on instanced, story-driven content in the style of the base game. So long as you logged in while each episode was the latest, it was added to your account for free, permanently, although johnny-come-lately sorts had the option to buy each episode for a couple quid.

Season three was where the present focus of the game was properly established. While the Heart of Thorns expansion seemed a little short on content at launch, it served as the foundation on which to build another year and a half’s worth of Guild Wars, including a whole new zone and several hours of new story content in each of the six following episodic updates, more than making up for the relatively small initial launch. While not individually massive, those six new zones added up to a generous chunk of game.

Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire

Arenanet have promised that the fourth season will follow in the footsteps of the third, presumably adding a new handful of story quests centered around a new zone every 2-3 months from now until when the next major expansion lands. In essence, buying Path of Fire is a little bit like putting money down on a season pass, but given the sheer volume of stuff added in the wake of Heart of Thorns, I’m more than happy to pay in lieu of a traditional MMO subscription.

Season 4, Episode 1 of Guild Wars 2 will be landing on November 28th. You’ll need to own the Path of Fire expansion to access it. If you’re curious, the base game (a solid 70+ hours of cooperative RPG in itself, improved by years of patching and polishing) is entirely free now. Pro tip: Use the Action Camera mode. It makes it feel like a whole new game. Or Smite, if you’ve played that.

19 Comments

  1. zulnam says:

    I was so disappointed in GW2 for not having mounts from the beginning. Waypoints everywhere just meant it was a MMO Loading Screen game.

    And now? Meeeh. Too little too late; i was in it for the realm pvp. Doubt there’s much action going on.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      You’d be surprised. They’ve completely reworked the server structure of the game since launch, dynamically creating cross-server instances to keep player counts high wherever possible.

      There was no real need for mounts in the original game anyway. The maps were incredibly dense and there was a fast-travel point every two minutes. Path of Fire’s open desert environments are better suited for the mounts, plus each one has a movement power that allows it to reach certain areas that nothing else can.

      • malkav11 says:

        Personally I acutely felt the lack every time I played. Yeah, there’s content all over and a reasonable number of waypoints, but if you’re going somewhere specific, it takes too long. Even with waypoints. It’s especially bad in later zones (Orr, in particular) because waypoints are often contested and there are hostile enemies underfoot constantly.

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          Qazinsky says:

          I agree, the travel was such a hassle, I usually chose a class with some kind of travel abilities, swiftness or a +25% movement passive signet. Now with the mounts, I can finally use whatever class I want, all my utility slots for actual skills I want and my weapon swap doesn’t have to include a warhorn for swiftness buff.

          It is so much better to move around the world now, you can summon the mount instantly if you’re not in combat and the glider works while in combat and can save you from falling to your death.

    • Use Your Stick says:

      Last I played World Versus World was pretty populated, due in large part to lower populations now being partnered with higher populations. They’ve also reworked the rewards to make it actually decent now.

      That said mounts are exclusive to pve for the moment; though they did recently add the gliding mechanic from the first expansion so it’s possible mounts may get integrated at some point in the future.

  2. Use Your Stick says:

    Heart of Thorns killed all enthusiasm I had for Guild Wars 2. They fudged what could have been brilliant character conflict. All the while introducing more grind to fill out the lack of content.
    With the new expansion I don’t think I have the energy to build up an army to beat another dragon that is the most threatening thing to threaten Tyria this week. Only to have to do it all over again when said army is decimated by this season’s filler villain.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      The lack of content was very much a temporary problem. They added another six zones – not as big as the jungle ones, but respectably sized – between that initial release and the start of Path of Fire, each one with a few hours of main story quest.

  3. ScubaMonster says:

    I had a lot of fun with GW2 in the beginning when the zones were packed with people you would join up with to complete the quest events. Even after the cross server phasing though, you have a lot of zones that are just empty compared to how they were. That’s the same with every MMO after the initial population drops off and people level up, but it’s still a little sad running around in these old zones and being the only person there to do anything. Running around in the end game zones in Heart of Thorns was pretty populated. Don’t have Path of Fire so no clue what Heart of Thorns zones are like. I didn’t even complete the Heart of Thorns content.

    Nothing was quite as exhilarating as walking up to a bunch of randoms and team up to kill a big raid boss in the open world. Obviously that stuff still goes on in the end game zones, but there’s plenty of cool content elsewhere and with level scaling even high level players could find stuff to do. Everybody still playing has already done all of that though so it will be a ghost town.

    • RobearGWJ says:

      Nope. I’m playing these days, and I can find groups anywhere, even in starter areas. There’s no “ghost towns”. I have been very pleasantly pleased to see that people still play at all levels.

      • pentraksil says:

        Never really had a problem with “ghost towns” Every single map was full with plenty of people available. Even if there are not enough people, you could transfer to other phase and solve the problem. Not sure how you had different experience. Maps were always full for me, even the “old world” ones.

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          Qazinsky says:

          The only time I have been able to travel for more than five minutes without seeing at least one other player is if I make a new character late at night / early morning and even then, there’s usually at least one more person there, on a new character.

    • malkav11 says:

      One thing ArenaNet does to get people to hang out in lower zones is rotate daily challenges across the entire world, not just the endgame expansion stuff. There’s also world bosses all over that drop quality loot.

  4. Ghostwise says:

    Loved the game when I played some years back, with a cool sword/dagger thief. Then there were big changes to the entire system of skills and levelling. I didn’t find the heart to relearn everything.

    And it was during the era where Arena seemed to be randomly flailing about.

    Glad to hear it’s apparently better-managed now.

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      Qazinsky says:

      I know what you mean, there was a few years when all the fun specialization stuff was very high level and I hated it. The GW2 forum had an enormus thread with people that felt the same.

      It’s much better now, you only need to wait to lvl 21 for your first spec, depending on how many hero points you have gathered, you can unlock the whole tree straight away or several different specs, although you can only equip one at the time. Then a second spec slot at 45, then a last one at, I think, 71. You can switch what specs and traits in the spec you use at any time out of combat, free of charge.

      The only thing I still don’t like is that the new Elite specs that allows the classes to use new weapons are lvl 80 only. I do not like end game, I am all about levelling, so that is a total waste on me.

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        Guild Wars 2 doesn’t even really use level as anything beyond a vague gating mechanism for the initial story arc anyway. You’ll hit level 80 by the time you reach the end of that.

        It seems odd to define two full expansions and two more seasons as ‘endgame’. They just feel like ‘game’ to me.

  5. EkoAzarak says:

    GW2 has always been a big.. meh. Just doesnt have any soul. It’s gem shop puppet strings are so annoying. Grind 2091092 different currencies, shower you with lockboxes and virtual gambling minigames. Doesnt feel like a fantasy world, more like a cashshop casino wearing a cheesy fantasy costume.

    The game artists and animators of GW2 are absolute gods of the industry though. The content and gameplay designers are kinda shit however.

    • Sleepery says:

      Shower you with lockboxes? I could go a week without having a black lion chest drop as loot. And zone completion often includes a chest key as a reward. I’m hardly assaulted with incentives to gamble at every turn.

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        Qazinsky says:

        Many players have a designated character slot just for making a new human warrior with the Commoner story line, level to 10 and then do story missions until they get a free key. This can be done once a week, reset on Mondays.

      • malkav11 says:

        I actually bought a few chest keys with my Path of Fire purchase just because, and after opening the like, three or four chests I’d found in the years since the game launched I have one key left over and have not seen a chest to open with it since.

        Contrast to Neverwinter or Secret World Legends, where subscribing gets you one chest key a day and I average 10+ chest drops in an hour of play.

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