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Returned after four+ years, amazing changes...

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Long read...Returned to the game a little over a week ago and wow...the changes you've made, the expansions put this game on another leve.

I played the game during all of the CBTs through launch for about a 1 to 1.5 years. The launch of the game was amazing, the best leveling experience I had. Loved the world of Tyria you created. Then came the highly controversal Ascended gear addition. This was not mentioned ever from CBT through ~3 months of launch, and now there is a new tier? According to Chris Whiteside at the time, this was always planned, but if so why not tell the players this is planned instead of enraging them. A lot of people back then were annoyed that a new tier had come out that would outdate their current gear set.

Then came living story. I was not a huge fan of LS1 or the parts of LS2. I felt the content added was very breadcrumb, minimal, thin. All it seemed to be was just large zerging groups, stupid aoe floors that insta killed everyone. It was just a hot mess. It was around midway LS2 that I quit. At this time, also, Legendary precursors, let alone weapons, were much more difficult to acquire. Early on, some people were able to corner the market with the precursors and it never recovered. It became a daily slog to grind out materials, and Id imagine to an extent it still is. I got involved in WvW and absolutely loved it, reset nights and all, until my guild fell apart. So I left the game,

From then I had a love-hate relationship with GW2. Criticizing the game at every turn, and probably for good reason. However, still wanting it to succeed.

A few years passed and they announced HoT. Finally, they listened to their playerbase and put out an expansion (Which Im currently pushing through and loving every minute). Originally, they had no plans for an xpac that I am aware of. Again, this is 4-5 years ago at least. This expansion has an easily 30+ hours of campaign and natural map exploration and participation without any of it feeling like a grind. And thats probably skipping more than half the events. The meta events rock. The gliding system is great. Elite specs are one of the best things that could have happened to the game. It gives every profession a breath of fresh air and a new play style. Very much needed. The mastery system was introduced. My god, so now we have reason to keep leveling, and reason to keep gaining XP, and knocking out achievements etc etc. WoW. Some PVE things to do for a change instead of a fractal grind or dungeon grind. I think a raid was released in this Xpac, even though I have zero plans to participate in it. The story is amazing, the fights were great, the difficulty ramped up a bit from previous content. Loads of new skins, weapons, armor, collectibles, enemies, things to do. On one character you can probably squeeze an easy 50-60 hours in without one scent of grind. Moneys worth. If I had to rank HoT against other MMO expansions...top 3 easy. The other two would be WoW expansions (including WoTLK and BC).

I bought PoF, haven't done anythign with it, but only to get the mount to make leveling alts easier. I'll get to it in due time.

I want to say thank you to Arenanet for listening to the players so many years ago, even when I was playing it seems. The expansion(s) were probably the best thing you could have done for the game even if it wasn't in your initial roadmap of content for the game. Without them, I don't know how well received a new player GW2 experience would be.

Great job from an old school vet that poured 1400+ hrs into the first year of the game's history alone.

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