Blog Archive

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Calm Before the Storm

Hey ho all! Long time without posting here as I have been focused on other things. However some of the recent hype and new information has got me interested once more, so here is a post about speculating the run up to Heart of Thorns.

Pre-purchase controversy

Firstly we should discuss exactly what we have learned in the past few weeks. ArenaNet have finally made the long awaited move to open up HoT for pre-purchase to the public. This is despite the fact that we still have very little information as to exactly what and how much we will be receiving in the expansion, and we still lack a release date! So far we are only aware of three of a total of nine elite specializations, we do not know how many maps there are or how big they will be and we have also been completely left in the dark about 'challenging group content' - arguably the most important topic for many players.

Regardless, pre-purchase is now live with a total of three packages available. The first package, Standard, is simply the expansion only and access to all beta weekends costing £34.99 or $49.99. The second choice is called Deluxe which includes the Standard edition, an additional character slot, a miniature Revenant Rytlock, a Revenant Finisher, a Mordremoth's Guild Hall Decoration and a Heart of Thorns Glider Skin, priced at £59.99 or $74.99. Lastly the Ultimate edition includes everything in the Deluxe package plus 4000 gems, priced at £79.99 or $99.99.

Unfortunately, the launch of the pre-purchase encountered extreme backlash from customers for a few reasons. Each of the three packages also include the core game as a bonus for free for new players. However existing players were not compensated for this fact, thus causing the outrage on reddit and social media. The main issue was that the HoT FAQ stated that the expansion would require the core game to play, implying that you would need to purchase the game before the expansion releases in order to play HoT. This has since been removed and has angered a lot of players, both new and veteran. The other hot topic is the price, a developer on the official forums stated that the $50 price tag is indeed the price of the expansion and the decision to add the core game into the package was made after the pricing for HoT had been set. However, many players seem to believe the expansion simply is not worth a $50 price tag, especially considering that the content will very likely be a lot less than the core game was at launch which had roughly the same price.

Fortunately, ArenaNet are the type of company that will listen to their players' opinions and make changes accordingly. After just a few days, they put out a statement addressing the many issues over the pre-purchase. They have decided to award existing accounts that pre-purchase HoT an additional character slot as compensation for the free core game for new players. They also addressed the issues surrounding new players purchasing the game so that they can play HoT when it releases by allowing refunds of game purchases directly through them.

Massive patch day

Yesterday was the launch of perhaps the most anticipated patch since the release of Guild Wars 2. The patch was absolutely huge, changing many aspects of the game - you can read the full patch notes here.

The first major change was the introduction of the rebuilt Lion's Arch. This patch permanently changes Lion's Arch to be a completely new map, with NPC's moved to new areas, old areas renovated, new areas added and new content introduced. As a result of the new LA, the Troll's End jumping puzzle has been removed and has been replaced with Troll's Revenge - a new, massively challenging, completely huge jumping puzzle covering practically the entire map. In addition to the new JP, there is also a new mini-game event in LA which sees your character having to navigate through the new map finding and exterminating small Karka that are hiding everywhere and anywhere. There are a total of 50 to find - upon completion you are awarded Princess; the long awaited consumer of excess Dragonite Ore.

Another major change, or rather restoration, was the vastly improved personal story. This has been restored back to its original order and has also had many improvements added, including the ability to now progress Victory or Death, the Arah story mode, as a single player to match the rest of the personal story missions.

The quality of life changes do not stop there however, as this patch also added an incredible new feature to allow ascended armor and weapon stat changes. By following the simple and fairly cheap recipe of your chosen piece of ascended equipment, 5 Globs of Ectoplasm, an exotic Inscription or Insignia of the desired new stats, and an Anthology of Heroes purchased from Miyani for 10 Spirit Shards(previously Skill Points) - you can change your undesirable, or useless ascended gear into useful, top notch items!

Arguably the biggest change this patch was the combination of the new condition system and the new core specializations trait changes - both of which are bound to have huge implications on the meta of PvE, PvP and WvW! Amongst the biggest of changes are that damaging conditions now stack to 1500, burning and poison now stack intensity and traits no longer give stats but instead base stats and equipment stats have been increased.

Along to the economy

Some notable changes also shook up the economy this patch; the most important possibly being the un-noted addition of a new NPC Skritt hidden away in a cave in the far west of the new LA map. This Skritt offers you his Ectoplasm lottery - you can purchase various tiers of clumps from his for the price of coin and a certain amount of Globs of Ectoplasm. Upon opening these clumps you will either be very lucky with a huge win, average a small loss or be very unlucky and make a huge loss. Some research has already been posted on reddit here. As expected, this new form of gambling, like the Mystic Forge, is essentially a gold and/or material sink, probably in preparation for HoT.

However with some decent research behind us we can make a good prediction that the price of Globs of Ectoplasm will rise. Since the patch the price has gone completely crazy as seen here, going as low as 36 silver and as high as 45. We know that this new NPC is here to flush out both gold and Ectoplasm from the economy, thus there has never been a better time to invest in Globs of Ectoplasm than right now while the price is extremely volatile. Try to set your buy orders as low as possible and be patient for them to fill so you can invest at the lowest possible price. I could see the price of Globs of Ectoplasm going as high as 50-55 silver in the coming months.

Something else you may have missed is the removal of some Black Lion weapon skins from the traders. The last patch notes mentioned that "Crimson Lion, Chaos, Ley Line, and Phoenix weapon sets will be removed from the vendors for a number of months in an upcoming patch. During that time, they will only be available at the trading post." - The right time to invest in these skins would have been many months ago or at least pre-patch. However, I would like to highlight Crimson Lion weapon skins because they are still relatively cheap and are unlikely to return until the Lunar new year for 2016. With this knowledge in mind, now would be a good time to invest in these to hold them for 3-6 months.

As per my previous posts here and here, I still highly recommend investing in Silver Ore, Hardened Leather Sections and Gossamer Scraps. These materials are still incredibly cheap and have ridiculous potential to go boom when Heart of Thorns releases - don't miss a trick!

Good luck and enjoy the new patch!