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Returning player thoughts


Balekkar.9453

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Hello! I'm not a usual forum goer, but I wanted to share my thoughts as a player returning to the game. I started picking the game up again maybe 6 months ago, then dropped it due to some big life changes, and am back for more because my brother is playing now. For some insight into my upcoming opinions, I played the game a lot when it first launched for maybe a year. Coming back to the game now, I'm overall just amazed by how well this game holds up. A game could come out today that looks and feels like this and find wide acceptance. I've spent some time finishing the base game story that I wasn't able to finish when the game was new because I was never able to get a group together for the dungeon at the end of the story. Doing that now as a solo player, it feels like players are missing, but it's still super cool to finally see the end of the story of the base game after 10 years. I've also dived into a some fractals. I only had a sense of what was happening in there because I've played WoW and FFXIV for so many years. That was a ride. And a fun one at that!

I just moved on to Heart of Thorns last night, and I hated it. I understand that I skipped both Living World chapters one and two, so I am completely ready to forgive the feeling of being dropped into a setting with no idea who any characters are, or why things are happening. But my ~3 hours in there last night was entirely an exercise in frustration. The story quests set up a cool new dragon in a mysterious new place, then dropped me and said, "go level a mastery to get a glider." At that moment, I was lost. What's a mastery? How do I level it? At the end of the last story quest I did, I got a book, that gave me half a level of that mastery, which kind of started me off in the right direction. It helped me find the masteries, and I could see I was half way through the glider one, which matched the XP bar at the bottom of the screen. Now I knew what I had to do. I know how to get XP. Go explore and do things. Easy. So I found a map icon for something to do and headed that direction; it was even conveniently right on the road for a nice easy start. However, when I got there, there was nothing. I looked at the map again which was now showing that point was either above or below me (sorry I don't remember which). But that just kept happening over and over. Why are so many things I can't reach placed right on the road on the map, then I get close only to find it it's so far above or below me, that I can't even see it? It starts to feel like the designers deliberately made is frustrating because it's happening so often.

But I press on. If I can't get to map icons, I can at least take part in world events. That works pretty well, I eventually got to the point where my XP bar was almost full, and it was bed time. But I wanted to get that last bit done before bed so I could have the glider next time I played. So I pressed further on. Some more events, and the few map icons I could actually reach later, the XP bar was full, and I'd unlocked a different mastery?! How did this happen? Did I do something wrong? How do I fix it? I opened up my hero menu and went to masteries to find I'd only gotten about  a quarter of the way through that glider mastery bar. So I went to bed, defeated and confused.

Along my adventures for the evening there were other players running around and doing things, which speaks MASSIVELY to the quality of this game. People are still running around areas that are 5+ years old when a new expansion just dropped? AMAZING! But it made my night even more frustrating. I watched people use mounts to easily bound up walls keeping me from objectives. I watched people fly across chasms that my raptor could nearly (but not) jump across. I saw these little jumpy mushroom things that look like a fun way to get around. I saw updrafts that look like a fun way to ascend when I eventually get through the slog to get a glider. All of this added together to create a feeling like I spent my entire night walking through a gallery full of fun that I'm not allowed to have.

If you made it this far, thank you for dealing with my deep criticism of the game you love. I want to love this game too. Please help me.

I've already acknowledged that I'm aware this is old content. So my questions are these: Do the other expansions have better onboarding for new players? What could I be doing better? Is it worth sticking this out and doing the expansions in order? If not, where should I go to have actual real fun? How do I access the fun I'm watching other people have? Does ANet ever update old content to improve new player experience?

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HoT trains you on masteries and gives you a short tooltip on how it works. However, the verticality and instant combat zone will not make it the ideal start for a returning player. Masteries are in core maps as well so that may be an easier place to learn about them.

If you don’t care about story so much (the game is one continuous story), PoF eases you in better and gives you mounts as well. EoD isn’t too bad either for new players. HoT is brilliant, but assumes you know the game. That was corrected in subsequent expansions to some extent.

Does Anet ever improve the new player experience? Yes, it has done so many, many, many times. 
 

In order to get what others have you need to be prepared for a couple of things:

- extensive in game play and patience. The game wants you to explore slowly, not rush from point to point. Players spent years playing, they will have tons of cool things that they utilise from earning in expansions and the seasons. And there’s a LOT of content and masteries to get

- be prepared to skip story content if you want to shortcut a bit. Path of Fire and EoD will get you the raptor. SoTo now gives an easy route to the skyscale flying mount

- Read the tool,tips and tutorials when they appear. Most new player issues occur when they are ignored

I will add a quick guide to masteries below this post

Edited by Randulf.7614
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Masteries:

Each expansion will have its own mastery bar which replaces xp after level 80

You assign xp in the mastery menu to a mastery line within the expac you are playing in

Eg - in HoT it might be gliding, or nuhoch lore. In PoF it would be Raptor or a different mount. In EoD it would be fishing, or skiffs. And so on

Once the xp bar is full, you complete it and gain the skill it has by spending mastery points in the mastery menu. Mastery points are gained by either communing with expansion specific mastery points in the map (they look a bit like star) and by doing specific achievements. 
 

eg - in hot, you assign xp to gliding. You then proceed to play events until your xp bar is full. Then you need to spend gained mastery points (it’s either one or two) to unlock it across the whole account. Then you can glide. You then you can move to the next tier of gliding or assign xp to a different mastery tree altogether.

Mastery points for HoT are green. Core are red. PoF are purple. Etc.

Mastery points  in HoT cannot be spent on PoF masteries. Xp ga8ned in hot is only used for hot masteries

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I've recently played through the entire game with my friend that is new to it. While it helped him a lot to have me guiding him along, he also met the frustrations when starting into HoT with the masteries and being unable to reach places that other players could easily get to. Though this is part of the HoT experience (similar in PoF with the mounts) and the horizontal mastery progression - masteries unlock things that help you navigate the maps. The more you level and unlock your masteries, the more options you get for navigating the maps more easily. Unlocking gliding, the very first mastery point spent usually in HoT, already does a lot as it lets you jump down from any height and save yourself with gliding just before hitting the ground. Later you get stuff like bouncing shrooms or the updraft mastery for gliding that help you reach higher places.

If you do decide to skip over to PoF and start with that first, you get the mounts for added mobility and ways to overcome terrain. Though there too you'll need to level and unlock the masteries to fully make use of this. The first two mounts and their masteries on their own give you a lot of freedom with moving around - Raptor with his horizontal dash jumps that carry you over far distances, and the Springer with his high vertical jumps (higher with mastery). Even just having those two and going back to HoT, you'll find yourself navigating the jungle much more easily, even able to reach places that would otherwise require you to learn more of the HoT masteries.

It can be a bit overwhelming at first when you're lacking any masteries, but as soon as you spend some time playing the maps and filling out masteries, you'll learn how to get around and unlock the tools needed to do so.

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I understand how you feeling, I personally joined the game shortly after PoF released but played for a few months before I bought any expansions and I do remember that disparity between myself on foot and players with mounts. 

It's worth to at least grab Raptor+Springer from PoF they will make things easier in general, especially if you get the Canyon Jumping mastery for Raptor, it drastically increases the leap distance and it's technically required to get the Springer, although you can always have someone skip that step for you nowdays. 

And since you asked, the last expansion does the best job on closing those gaps so you don't feel as far behind because it allows you to use Skyscale within it as well as provide a relatively easier acquisition of the mount, although you'll still be missing a lot of things and it will be obvious to you. 

I believe Raptor and Springer will serve you well enough for HoT areas and you won't be spoiling too much about the story to get both of them. 

Also, to comment about the mastery issue you mentioned, keep in mind to always select the mastery you want your xp to go towards, and try to obtain mastery points for said mastery, gained through achievements of various difficulties as well as mastery insights, the mastery icons on the map. 

If you level a mastery to 100% and don't have enough mastery points to train it, switch to another one so your xp doesn't go to waste, you can effectively work on multiple ones at a time until you have enough points to train them.

What @Randulf.7614 said about mastery xp is only gained through their respective expansions is true ofc, so to level gliding, make sure you got that selected and ofcourse be in HoT areas for your xp to count towards that. 

Edited by jason.1083
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I decided to skip up to Path of Fire, and it's a far more welcoming experience! It does a far better job of setting expectations and teaching what it expects the player to do. Much as I hate skipping an entire expansion's worth of content, I'm actually glad I did. I'm actually having fun again and look forward to spending more time playing the game without grumbling about how something is bothering me every couple minutes.

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Great to hear you have found a good place to play (PoF, which I haven't reached).

I'm going through the story slowly and reached HoT a few weeks ago. I've found it an amazing place to explore and have really enjoyed unlocking the masteries and getting the extra powers that come with them - I'm having a blast.

BUT, I did LWS1, LWS2 (which do a good job of leading the story into HoT) and had unlocked many of the Core masteries before I reached HoT (plus quite a few hours playing WvW which probably improved my ability to survive the tougher mobs in HoT).

I think when you go back to HoT after learning more from PoF you will find it much more fun.

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On 8/31/2023 at 9:15 PM, Balekkar.9453 said:

Thanks for the reply Randulf. I do care about the story, but I think it'll be worth it to skip ahead and play a more beginner friendly expansion, at least for a while, then come back to HoT later to fill in the gaps.

Haven’t read every response, but in case it hasn’t been mentioned, you only need to do the first instance to get access to PoF zones, then you can get Springer and level Raptor up without doing any other PoF story.

Springer with high jump mastery and raptor with canyon jumping will greatly ease Heart of Thorns if you want to go back and do the story in order.

Edited by Gibson.4036
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On 9/1/2023 at 3:15 AM, Balekkar.9453 said:

Thanks for the reply Randulf. I do care about the story, but I think it'll be worth it to skip ahead and play a more beginner friendly expansion, at least for a while, then come back to HoT later to fill in the gaps.

SOTO probably best starting point then, since it's sort of an independant story.

Also it's the newest expansion.

You can do the skyscale collection to unlock a skyscale. Then HoT will be much easier to navigate

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10 hours ago, Balekkar.9453 said:

I decided to skip up to Path of Fire, and it's a far more welcoming experience! It does a far better job of setting expectations and teaching what it expects the player to do. Much as I hate skipping an entire expansion's worth of content, I'm actually glad I did. I'm actually having fun again and look forward to spending more time playing the game without grumbling about how something is bothering me every couple minutes.

Yeah, most important part is having fun

Enjoy!

Also remember. While you are playing the story in incorrect order, you are not skipping the content.

In Guild Wars 2 all the content is relevant.

So you can and most likely will go back later if you keep playing the game

Edited by jokke.6239
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On 9/1/2023 at 1:39 AM, Balekkar.9453 said:

Hello! I'm not a usual forum goer, but I wanted to share my thoughts as a player returning to the game. I started picking the game up again maybe 6 months ago, then dropped it due to some big life changes, and am back for more because my brother is playing now. For some insight into my upcoming opinions, I played the game a lot when it first launched for maybe a year. Coming back to the game now, I'm overall just amazed by how well this game holds up. A game could come out today that looks and feels like this and find wide acceptance. I've spent some time finishing the base game story that I wasn't able to finish when the game was new because I was never able to get a group together for the dungeon at the end of the story. Doing that now as a solo player, it feels like players are missing, but it's still super cool to finally see the end of the story of the base game after 10 years. I've also dived into a some fractals. I only had a sense of what was happening in there because I've played WoW and FFXIV for so many years. That was a ride. And a fun one at that!

I just moved on to Heart of Thorns last night, and I hated it. I understand that I skipped both Living World chapters one and two, so I am completely ready to forgive the feeling of being dropped into a setting with no idea who any characters are, or why things are happening. But my ~3 hours in there last night was entirely an exercise in frustration. The story quests set up a cool new dragon in a mysterious new place, then dropped me and said, "go level a mastery to get a glider." At that moment, I was lost. What's a mastery? How do I level it? At the end of the last story quest I did, I got a book, that gave me half a level of that mastery, which kind of started me off in the right direction. It helped me find the masteries, and I could see I was half way through the glider one, which matched the XP bar at the bottom of the screen. Now I knew what I had to do. I know how to get XP. Go explore and do things. Easy. So I found a map icon for something to do and headed that direction; it was even conveniently right on the road for a nice easy start. However, when I got there, there was nothing. I looked at the map again which was now showing that point was either above or below me (sorry I don't remember which). But that just kept happening over and over. Why are so many things I can't reach placed right on the road on the map, then I get close only to find it it's so far above or below me, that I can't even see it? It starts to feel like the designers deliberately made is frustrating because it's happening so often.

But I press on. If I can't get to map icons, I can at least take part in world events. That works pretty well, I eventually got to the point where my XP bar was almost full, and it was bed time. But I wanted to get that last bit done before bed so I could have the glider next time I played. So I pressed further on. Some more events, and the few map icons I could actually reach later, the XP bar was full, and I'd unlocked a different mastery?! How did this happen? Did I do something wrong? How do I fix it? I opened up my hero menu and went to masteries to find I'd only gotten about  a quarter of the way through that glider mastery bar. So I went to bed, defeated and confused.

Along my adventures for the evening there were other players running around and doing things, which speaks MASSIVELY to the quality of this game. People are still running around areas that are 5+ years old when a new expansion just dropped? AMAZING! But it made my night even more frustrating. I watched people use mounts to easily bound up walls keeping me from objectives. I watched people fly across chasms that my raptor could nearly (but not) jump across. I saw these little jumpy mushroom things that look like a fun way to get around. I saw updrafts that look like a fun way to ascend when I eventually get through the slog to get a glider. All of this added together to create a feeling like I spent my entire night walking through a gallery full of fun that I'm not allowed to have.

If you made it this far, thank you for dealing with my deep criticism of the game you love. I want to love this game too. Please help me.

I've already acknowledged that I'm aware this is old content. So my questions are these: Do the other expansions have better onboarding for new players? What could I be doing better? Is it worth sticking this out and doing the expansions in order? If not, where should I go to have actual real fun? How do I access the fun I'm watching other people have? Does ANet ever update old content to improve new player experience?

Hahaha as a returning player myself I feel this BAD!

 

You're there running round like an idiot with a basic glider and kitten all else, trying to figure out how to get “up there”, all the while every other player is flying around with a sky scale 

 

Took me a good while but I’m 75% done on Heart of Thorns and finally getting the hang of those areas.

 

One bit of advice for you @Balekkar.9453- do the FIRST mission from path of fire.

 

You’ll get a Raptor mount in 30 minutes and makes exploring these zones a LOT easier / faster 

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On 9/5/2023 at 8:40 PM, Deadringers.9047 said:

Hahaha as a returning player myself I feel this BAD!

 

You're there running round like an idiot with a basic glider and kitten all else, trying to figure out how to get “up there”, all the while every other player is flying around with a sky scale 

 

Took me a good while but I’m 75% done on Heart of Thorns and finally getting the hang of those areas.

 

One bit of advice for you @Balekkar.9453- do the FIRST mission from path of fire.

 

You’ll get a Raptor mount in 30 minutes and makes exploring these zones a LOT easier / faster 

You dont have to do this anymore its unlocked for everyone permanently if you own path of fire at 10,20,30,40,50,60,70 or 80 nowdays.

If all your characters are 80 you have to do first mission in path of fire tho or start a new character.

Or if you own EoD you can just do first mission there to unlock basic no mastery gliding, raptor and springer.

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