HotS release date:
Of course, after I write a nice long post about Guild Wars 2, Blizzard goes and dumps the release date for Heart of the Swarm on us. March 12, 2013. Mark your calendars!
Guild Wars 2: The Lost Shores
The first major content patch for Guild Wars 2, The Lost Shores, is just around the corner, and it’s bringing big things to the world of Tyria.
Free trial — get your invite here:
One of the biggest pieces of news is the addition of a free trial for the game. But this is different from your usual MMO free trial. This trial is only active during a limited time period, and it is invitation-only. You need to be invited by someone already in the game.
The trial begins on November 15th and runs until the 18th. Each GW2 player will be provided three codes to send to those they wish to invite, but it is mentioned that supplies of the codes are limited, so it’s possible some may not get to invite their friends if they’re slow.
I’ve already promised one of my codes to an acquaintance from WoW, but that leaves two more I don’t know what to do with, so I’m offering them to you, the readers of this blog. If you’ve been curious about Guild Wars 2, now is your chance to try it.
If you’re interested, I recommend you go to the “Hire Me” link at the top of the blog and use the form there to send me a message. This will give me access to your email address without you needing to post it publicly. I can’t send you an access code without your email address.
Don’t worry; I won’t spam you. I’m all out of Viagra anyway. 😛
I don’t know how many, if any, of my readers will want to try GW2, but it will be a case of “first come, first serve,” and there are only two codes for me to give, so I recommend acting fast if you want in.
As for the content of The Lost Shores patch, it looks to bring a lot of interesting stuff, including a special one-time series of events starting on the 16th that will introduce a new villain race and the new Lost Shores zone.
These events will supposedly scale players up to level 80 as the Halloween content did, so anyone can participate regardless of level or gear. Yes, that includes those of you doing the free trial. I can’t think of a better intro to the game for newcomers.
Feelings are mixed on these one-time events ArenaNet seems so fond of. I see both sides, personally. On the one hand, it’s pretty amazing to be there for them and see the world change before your eyes, but on the other, it really sucks if you can’t log in on those days for whatever reason.
Lost Shores will also add a new PvP map and a new dungeon with the rather bizarre name of “Fractals of the Mists.”
This dungeon has triggered what is perhaps the first truly big controversy for Guild Wars 2. Fractals offers a new tier of gear, Ascended, that is more powerful than the current exotic (epic, in WoW terms) gear. It also has unique “infusion” upgrade slots that will be necessary to deal with new dungeon mechanics.
This is something ArenaNet swore up and down GW2 would never have: power creep, the dreaded gear treadmill. This has sent the fan base into fits of screaming rage, and perhaps with good cause.
A lot of people, myself included, were attracted to GW2 precisely because of its relative lack of gear progression. A lot of players are sick to death of this cheap way of gating content.
Now, maybe this isn’t so bad as we think it is, but right now, I don’t see how that could be. Unless this is the only form of gear progression they’re ever going to add and Ascended gear will eventually be available to any playstyle, it pretty much goes against everything ArenaNet promised GW2 would be.
But on to happier matters.
I have a confession to make: I am completely, hopelessly addicted to the gear customization in Guild Wars 2. It’s even worse than my transmog addiction in WoW.
If you like gear customization, this game really is a dream come true. While it can be a little hard to find a variety of skins in the course of normal play, it doesn’t take very much effort to vastly increase the available pool of looks. You just need to know where to look.
For instance, I recently discovered that you can use transmutation stones to acquire the skin of any piece of gear below level 80 (you need fine stones for level 80) regardless of what your character’s level is. Just buy a poorly itemized (and thus cheap) high level piece and transmute it onto your dull-looking low level gear.
Add to that the incredible variety of armor dyes, and the sky’s the limit. My main alts, a warrior and a mesmer, are barely out of their starting zones, but both look as good as many max level characters. I almost think I’m just rolling alts so I can try out new looks.
I don’t know what it is about video games that makes me such a fashionista. I couldn’t care less about clothes in the real world, but yet I’ve poured embarrassing amounts of time and gold into finding the perfect looks for my characters, and equally embarrassing amounts of time looking at the outfits of other characters on GuildWars2Guru. The diversity of looks you can create in this game is stunning.