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Possible returning player, many questions


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Hi,

Considering a grand return to GW2 (I played through beta, launch, and one or two of the first LS). I left the game because at the time there were glaring holes in the game:

  • Development direction centered around living story updates, not actual additions to the game in the forum of dungeons, events, etc.
  • Completing public events in the world yielded minimal reward.
  • WvW was being destroyed due to the megaserver addition. It didn't feel like we were fighting for our server(s) anymore.
  • Dungeons saw no love from the devs.
  • Legendaries were nearly impossible to acquire because the precursor and mats were cornered in the market by ridiculous prices. Farming for one was almost unreasonable.
  • There was very little reason to return to less played zones.
  • Toward the end, I had no guild :( At the time I was a semi-casual/hardcore player that played a lot, was a "try hard" but at the end of the day, I just wanted to have fun out in the world, WvW, etc. I couldn't find a smaller guild (10-30 people?) to satisfy that with. Most of the guilds were huge conglomerates.

So, I am considering a triumphant return. The price of 50$ for both expansions is semi-reasonable if I plan to play a lot. So I am here to ask some questions!

  1. If anyone could touch on any of the bullets I noted above, that would be great. Those were some of the pitfalls I saw with the game.
  2. How populated does the game world feel? Are people running fractals, raids, and WvW? Or do people still run around the open world, kharma trains, etc?
  3. Is there a LFG tool for Fractals or raids? How is match making these days?
  4. Will I be able to complete all missed Living Story content up to current? If I remember, there was some sort of archive or catchup system implemented for this purpose...
  5. I see they finally put in legendary armor (not just weapons). Is this a must-have for PVE? How difficult is it to acquire anything legendary these days?
  6. Is ascended gear needed for anything but fractals?
  7. What are your general thoughts on the game and the direction? Were you around at launch and how do you feel the game is now?

I have been watching some youtube videos on what is going on in 2018, but I wanted to get an actual perspective from current players.

Thanks for any input folks... hopefully see you in game. And if your guild is on the smaller side and recruiting, drop me a note. If I return, maybe I'll msg you! :)

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@"cesmode.4257" said:

  • Development direction centered around living story updates, not actual additions to the game in the forum of dungeons, events, etc.

The living story now adds one map per episode, which features one or two meta events, plus repeatable hearts, and assorted dynamic events. New fractals -- the replacement for dungeons, which have been left untouched for technical reasons, and as they are tied to the story -- happen, but slowly.

  • Completing public events in the world yielded minimal reward.

It is highly unlikely you will find this has changed, if you previously felt it was unrewarding. However, that is a question of ... IDK, like, personal taste? I'm happy with them, you might not be, and that doesn't make either of us wrong, just different.

  • WvW was being destroyed due to the megaserver addition. It didn't feel like we were fighting for our server(s) anymore.

Servers as a concept will be going away in the near term, though there is no concrete timeframe yet. They are still somewhat distinct in WvW today, though they are grouped in WvW to provide balanced populations.

If the change to megaservers for PvE was enough to make you feel that you were not fighting for your server any longer, then this has gotten much worse, and is just about to be, like, burn it down and salt the earth worse for you.

OTOH, if "fighting for your guild" rather than "fighting for your server" works for you, that'll potentially be an improvement...

  • Dungeons saw no love from the devs.

Fractals are the new dungeons. Dungeons are unchanged. Fractals do see development effort.

  • Legendaries were nearly impossible to acquire because the precursor and mats were cornered in the market by ridiculous prices. Farming for one was almost unreasonable.

I doubt you will consider this to have changed, but (a) you can craft (one copy of) each precursor now, and (b) various things have significantly dropped in market value in recent times -- both a blessing and a curse for crafting.

  • There was very little reason to return to less played zones.

If you didn't feel there was reason to return before, you won't feel differently now, I suspect.

  • Toward the end, I had no guild :( At the time I was a semi-casual/hardcore player that played a lot, was a "try hard" but at the end of the day, I just wanted to have fun out in the world, WvW, etc. I couldn't find a smaller guild (10-30 people?) to satisfy that with. Most of the guilds were huge conglomerates.

That is a personal problem, and can only be remedied by your discovering such a guild. I am certain they exist.

  1. How populated does the game world feel?

Well populated.

Are people running fractals, raids, and WvW? Or do people still run around the open world, kharma trains, etc?

Both, across all content, including HoT and PoF as well as core. The Orr metas are not as busy as they were once, but still busy enough that temples get cleaned, etc. It can help to dig up, eg, the TTS event calendar to know when they are going to run an organized event if you don't want to gamble on "which of the hundred options is active right now".

  1. Is there a LFG tool for Fractals or raids? How is match making these days?

There is an LFG tool. The usual caveats about PUGs apply, but it works.

Match making is good and solid, and much bitched about. People blame bad match making for their losses, for assigning them AFKers, for making it impossible to rise in the ranks, etc, as they always do. Just think of the same complaints about matchmaking in any competitive game, and you have the exact same ones here, but ... the system works fine.

  1. Will I be able to complete all missed Living Story content up to current? If I remember, there was some sort of archive or catchup system implemented for this purpose...

You cannot complete season 1 content, unfortunately. You can purchase for gems all of seasons 2, 3, and 4, if you do not have them unlocked. If you log in during the three month window of an episode you get it free. (Today, if you log in, you will get LS4 E2 for free, but will have to purchase E1, LS3, etc.)

  1. I see they finally put in legendary armor (not just weapons). Is this a must-have for PVE? How difficult is it to acquire anything legendary these days?

Nope. Legendary gear is identical to ascended, but allows you to right-click and change the stats for free, where ascended still requires the mystic forge dance.

Anything legendary? Eh, reasonable. Easier that it used to be, definitely not easy in absolute terms.

  1. Is ascended gear needed for anything but fractals?

You won't get much PUG love without it, but it is still only a 5-10 percent stat gain over exotic. You can definitely run around and do stuff without it.Structured PvP doesn't use gear, WvW does.

  1. What are your general thoughts on the game and the direction? Were you around at launch and how do you feel the game is now?I have been watching some youtube videos on what is going on in 2018, but I wanted to get an actual perspective from current players.

I like it. If you ask here, really, you are selecting mostly for the people who do, though. I mean, are people who dislike it enough to leave gonna hang out and tell you not to come back?

You can just try the core game -- either free trial style, or the "I paid money for it" version you probably already have -- and see what you think. Won't have access to the new expansions, but you will be able to check things out and see what the world is like. :)

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Thanks for the response @SlippyCheeze.5483 .
Two questions:

  1. Is there an LFG for raids AND fractals? Like, an automated matchmaking tool? It used to be that we had to go to an external website. Then at a later date, they added a GUI in game where you post what you are looking for. But nothing like a dungeon finder. Has a dungeon finder/match maker been added for raids and fractal?
  2. Concerning Living story...if I decide to wait to purchase them (if at all), if by waiting am I putting myself at any detriment to the rest of the game? Do the living stories from season 2,3,4 tie into the HoT or PoF content? Or are these stories and their rewards, etc self contained where they won't impact the rest of my gameplay or experience? I.E. can I get to them whenever I feel like it, or not at all, without obligation?
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There are very profitable meta events in many (non-vanilla) zones these days like Silverwastes (google RIBA), the multi-zone HoT meta of Verdant Brink, Auric Basin and Tangled Depths leading into Dragons Stand, farming leather from centaurs in Lake Doric, Palawadan in Domain of Istan and the newest zone Sandswept Isles. Other less profitable but reasonably well populated events are to be found in many of the Living World Season 3 zones like Bloodstone Fen and all of them offer ascended trinkets sold for farmable currency and a great diversity of environment and play style, with many requiring the use of your glider. Frankly, open world PvE with random groups is the main reason I play GW2. No other MMO does this better, IMO.

Depending on which one you pick, farming for legendaries is doable. Pick a farm you like. I still long for Nevermore, but I'm too lazy :)

There still are very little reasons to return to less played (for which read: vanilla) zones, but all zones are well populated with leveling alts. GW2 has brought so many quality of life improvements over the years that alting is very addictive, at least to me - and I usually can't stand alting.

The (EU) game is very well populated, at least open world (I don't do fractals, raids or WvW), including trains (HP, events, karma: not so much).

Ascended gear is not needed for anything but fractals/raids.

I started in beta and played vanilla for a year or so, then got drawn back into WoW (again). I finally swapped WoW for GW2 last year and I've clocked more time in it than I'd care to admit to myself, with a stable of nine characters. Speaking strictly about open world PvE, I feel the game is in a great spot, even though most of the population seems to have stuck to HoT zones. PoF is a great expansion, but its metas are limited to the two LWS4 zones and there's little incentive to return to its other zones, which is a huge shame IMO.

TL;DR GW2 is doing great and you should get the expansions ASAP <3

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@cesmode.4257 said:Thanks for the response @"SlippyCheeze.5483" .

Two questions:

  1. Is there an LFG for raids AND fractals? Like, an automated matchmaking tool?

Ah. No. There is only the in-game matchmaking tool that makes some sort of "intelligent" decision about composition, though that said, there is still no healer/dps/tank breakdown anywhere outside raids, and only to a very limited degree inside them, so you should be able to successfully complete that content regardless of who joins.

So ... in the sense that it can deliver the same effect as the WoW group finder (as recently as AU-Draenor) by letting you collect the requisite number of players without regard for location, presented in a simple display. No "queue" as such, but the effect is the same.

It is, however...

Then at a later date, they added a GUI in game where you post what you are looking for.

...just that.

  1. Concerning Living story...if I decide to wait to purchase them (if at all), if by waiting am I putting myself at any detriment to the rest of the game? Do the living stories from season 2,3,4 tie into the HoT or PoF content? Or are these stories and their rewards, etc self contained where they won't impact the rest of my gameplay or experience? I.E. can I get to them whenever I feel like it, or not at all, without obligation?

The game runs "core, LS1, LS2, HoT, LS3, PoF, LS4", so you will skip over a bunch of lore ... but as long as you don't mind that, like, past events are discussed as if you lived through them, you won't really miss anything much.

They are basically self-contained, in the sense that they advance the story, and the rewards are self-contained in the sense that they are, eg, paths to ascended gear, etc, that are not required to participate in the latest content, and which all have additional paths to obtain without those LS episodes.

You can also skip to any point in the story at any time. If you are part way through an "episode" in any of them, you will lose progress when you change to another "episode", but you can always come back and replay the partial one. (Rewards are obtained once and once only, so replay is for fun / achievements / mastery points, basically.)

An episode is basically a few instanced and open world chunks of story chained together to form a coherent section of narrative. The expansions have a bunch of episodes, the LS episodes have one.

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Thanks @Goettel.4389 . I just logged in and poked around.

The only way I'll come back is if I buy the expansions...and I have to decide if I want to devote the time to it. I have no doubt its worth the money, but right now Im engrossed in Destiny 2, overwatch, and sprinkling in some other titles.

But I do have a GW2 itch...

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