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Flameseeker Chronicles

Flameseeker Chronicles: Planting the seeds of memory in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Lore, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Little glowing friends. Shiny, happy people. Plant joke.
They say that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I don't know who "they" are, but I don't think that particular truism was ever meant to cover a literal repeat of history. Guild Wars 2's latest living world content release has players doing exactly that: planting memory seeds, taking an uncomfortably invasive peek into Caithe's past, and trying to figure out exactly what might have led her to abscond with Glint's egg in the previous chapter.

This stroll down memory lane technically takes place over 20 years in GW2's history, but it's new information to us, and so the statute of limitations on spoilers hasn't expired. You'll probably want to play the content before reading any further, unless you think my writing is improved by a lack of context (if that's the case, don't tell me).

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Navigating Guild Wars 2's Tangled Paths release

Fantasy, PvE, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

What a nice day for a war.
I was late playing Guild Wars 2's latest update, Tangled Paths, because I was on an airplane when it went live. That might be a better excuse than "the dog ate my homework," but I don't have one for "a dog ate my character," which is exactly what happened as soon as I got home and logged in.

Read on for the reason I actually welcome our vicious new dog overlords, as well as why Caithe and I need to have a long talk. You'll also find an exclusive photograph of Bellevue, Washington, taken from the roof of ArenaNet's studio, which is exciting primarily because I got the Seattle skyline in the very same shot without it coming out blurry, even on my awful camera phone. I'm proud of that and nobody can take it from me. As usual, spoiler warnings apply!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Learning from Tyria's past in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Lore, Patches, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Below the cut is one of the worst jokes I've ever made. Sorry, Trahearne.
The latest Guild Wars 2 living world release, Echoes of the Past, seems to be a big hit. It's nice to see fans so unreservedly happy with an update since the past few months have been a little rocky for GW2, but ArenaNet has hit it out of the park this time.

If you haven't gotten a chance to play it yet, I strongly recommend checking it out before reading further, if possible. There are spoilers below the cut, and hardly anybody likes spoilers. Except me: the guy who flips to the end of the book sometimes. I'm a monster.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Gem store scares and lore treats in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Economy, Events (In-Game), Lore, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

I heard a lot of speculation about this guy last year, but I'm pretty sure he's just a spider and not a Margonite.
It's Halloween! Well, almost. Close enough. It's always fun to celebrate holidays as an MMO fan because you can party as long as the event runs without ever leaving your house! Oh, I just made myself sad. Let's start over.

Guild Wars 2 is celebrating its third Halloween, and it doesn't seem as though evil ghosts are any more likely to let the destruction of Lion's Arch get in the way of the festivities than the rest of us are. Even though the celebration is a repeat of last year's, there's still quite a bit of news to discuss, so hop past the cut and let's see what ArenaNet dropped in our trick-or-treat bags.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: The case for mounts in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

You'll have to excuse my dog, he's never seen a rug before. It's flying? Oh, I didn't notice.
I love my new rug. It's a little on the thin side, but it's got a nice pattern and gets great gas mileage. It floats high enough off the ground that my cats can't get hair all over it, although it also probably helps that it exists only inside the world of Guild Wars 2.

The only drawback is that, like the very similar riding broom, the magic carpet isn't a true travel mount. It's just a bundle toy you can ride around on at normal speed, although the difference is small enough that it's ignited the cyclical discussion about whether or not real mounts belong in GW2 again. It's a topic near to my heart, so jump past the cut and I'll address some of the common arguments against mounts -- as well as explore the peculiarities of ArenaNet's stopping just short of adding them.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2's gender divide

Fantasy, Culture, Lore, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

I'm about to disappoint anyone who thought I might be okay with GamerGate.
When I sit down to write an installment of this column that is strongly critical of Guild Wars 2 -- a game I love, in case that was ever in doubt -- I try to follow a simple format in order to keep my criticism from turning into a venting session. That format is to establish that there is a problem, explain why it's a problem requiring a solution, and finally to offer any ideas or suggestions I think might be useful to that end. I do this because I want my articles to be helpful on some level to both ArenaNet and other fans, and while blowing off steam is excellent for the bilious humors, it's not so great for creating actual change.

Sometimes, though, the only suggestion I can offer is to please stop doing something because the fact that it's a problem is reason enough for it to require that solution. This is especially important when the issue isn't gameplay or monetization but rather something that personally affects me and the people I play with.

As a warning, several of the source links in this article lead to discussions of graphic and disturbing language and events.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Why I'm a fan of Guild Wars 2's new player experience

Fantasy, Patches, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Actual image of what happens when you touch a cat full of static electricity.
Guild Wars 2's second feature pack dropped last week, bringing balance changes, new collection achievements, a rework of the trading post, and upgrades to the new player experience. Reactions to the last have been mixed, to say the least: Some of us like them, some of us are neutral on the subject, and some of us think ArenaNet made a terrible mistake.

For my own part, I'm really enjoying the changes. If you happen to be in the "terrible mistake" camp, hold on to your assorted fruit-based projectiles until the end of the article and I'll explain why.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: What's next for Guild Wars 2?

Fantasy, Culture, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Amhlaigh one year later!
Happy second anniversary, Guild Wars 2! We've heard news on the September feature pack, did a cupcake run for ArenaNet to celebrate (I heard that there were bacon cupcakes, but why would you do that), and got some previews of the profession balance changes we can expect to see soon.

As happy as I am about that cleave on Necromancer's mainhand dagger, updated axe animations, and being able to resurrect others while in Death Shroud -- and I think the other professions got some stuff, too -- it's been a rocky few weeks for GW2. We've had the privilege of having an unusually close relationship with the developers behind our favorite game, and unfortunately that can lead to tempers running hotter when things go awry. Nevertheless, I think most of us would like to see that relationship continue to flourish and improve. So what went wrong?

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Taking command in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Lore, Patches, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

I hope you're not tired of my Elementalist yet, because I'm not tired of taking screenshots of her.
Last week, ArenaNet wrapped up Guild Wars 2's two-parter story arc, The Dragon's Reach. It's a doozy, especially since part one of the chapter was, in my opinion, the weakest of the living world story's second season so far. It wasn't bad, mind you; it just didn't leave me staring at my calendar in thwarted anticipation the way previous installments did.

Part two brings that feeling back, which is almost too bad since we're going to be waiting until autumn for the story to start up again. In the meantime, we've got a bunch of stuff to talk about, so jump past the cut -- but only if you're cool with spoilers for pretty much everything.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: The curse of Guild Wars 2's precursor weapons

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Crafting, Buy-to-Play

Ten thousand thank yous to eirstegalkin of Tumblr for this awesome manip of my characters together!
My wife doesn't play Guild Wars 2 any more. She hasn't exactly made a deliberate choice to leave the game and never come back, but she used to play every day. Some time around the end of season one of the living world story, she started logging in only every week or so, and then finally not at all. She dips in for a few seconds to unlock the new story chapters, but only because I remind her that they're out.

This is the first time the two of us have been seriously invested in different MMOs. When she stopped playing GW2 as often, she dived headfirst into Final Fantasy XIV, which is totally understandable because it's a great game and I play it casually myself. Normally I wouldn't consider this development to be article material because people drift away from games they used to love and find new ones all the time, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. But this wasn't a natural split: When I told her about all of the cool story stuff happening in season two, my wife's response was, "That sounds neat. Has ArenaNet implemented precursor crafting yet?"

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Introducing Guild Wars 2's Dragon's Reach

Fantasy, Interviews, Lore, Patches, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Can this sharktoothed flopears gnaw through Mordremoth's vines?! Stay tuned!
Today's edition of the Flameseeker Chronicles is a little bit special. We've got the teaser trailer for Guild Wars 2's next living world release, The Dragon's Reach: Part One. We've got some sweet screenshots provided by ArenaNet to feast your peepers on: aw, yeah. And if that's not enough, I got the chance to chat with Associate Game Director Steven Waller about next week's episode. Check out the video, and then read on!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: The true nature of Guild Wars 2's Sylvari

Fantasy, Lore, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Races, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Honey, you've got a big storm comin'.
Remember last week, when I made a comment about how neat the little touches in Guild Wars 2's Gates of Maguuma release are? Stuff like a vine poking at a waypoint in Dry Top and making it spark? Hey, it was actually kind of cute! Aww, the big fella probably doesn't know what a waypoint is. Maybe he's hungry. Those aren't for snacking on, you silly vine.

Right. Well, hide your Miracle-Gro because more vines are now spreading eastward across the waypoint network. As of this writing they've gotten as far as Lion's Arch, which as we all know hasn't seen enough trouble lately. Some of them have even fully entangled the floating waypoint doodlehoppers, growing larger in the process. So I may have been right about the snack part, but that doesn't exactly bode well. What exactly is going on?

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2's Gates of Maguuma is a leap forward

Fantasy, Lore, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Skritt just got real.
A few months passed between season one of Guild Wars 2's living world story and the start of season two, and the first content release of the new arc was going to have to make a big splash, no matter what it turned out to contain. Fans grumbled warily about the chances of being asked to repair road signs for weeks while waiting for the meat of the story, and ArenaNet played its cards close to the vest. Teasers, speculation, and season one recaps were all we had to quench our thirst for GW2's second season. We were parched, moving endlessly through a vast wasteland of -- wait, there's a metaphor here. Hold on, it's coming to me.

Anyway, we've been delivered to an oasis: The Gates of Maguuma are open, and we've taken our first steps into a new region of Tyria. Along with several other media representatives, I was invited to take a developer-led tour of the new Dry Top zone and story content. Does it live up to the anticipation? The answer necessarily contains spoilers, so read on at your peril, mortal.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 features that time forgot

Fantasy, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

The floor is lava! No, really. Run.
It's hard to believe it's the middle of June already. School's out, E3 has come and gone, and all that's left for us Guild Wars 2 fans to do is to pick up our World vs. World Spring Tournament rewards and kick back with a tall glass of omnomberry juice (pro tip: don't).

We're still two weeks out from the start of the living world's second season, and ArenaNet has so far been especially cryptic where the future is concerned. We've speculated all there is to speculate for now, and summer heat makes me cranky, so before we blast off to any new horizons, let's take a look back at a few of the unfinished, unimplemented, and underutilized elements of GW2 that could really use some catching up.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: The strange case of Guild Wars 2's reward system

Fantasy, Economy, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Is it cold out there in space, Bowie?
Every now and then I'll hear someone say that Guild Wars 2 has no rewards. They'll say it's extraordinarily grindy, that there's nothing to work toward, and that ArenaNet is intentionally making things harder than they should be so that we'll all give up and buy gems. This is confusing and frustrating to me for two reasons: The first is that all of those things are demonstrably untrue. The second is that I can nevertheless see where those people are coming from to some extent, and it's been difficult to put my finger on why.

GW2 showers players with loot and rewards. In an hour's normal play, I can fill my bags with items and come out of it with a tidy sum of cash; nearly everything in the game is designed to reward players for doing stuff, no matter what that stuff is. Some of it, like Edge of the Mists, is almost ludicrously generous. Even with the changes to the way Queen's Pavilion fights work this time around, it's possible to grab huge numbers of Champion loot bags if you land on an organized megaserver. So why does GW2 feel so stingy?

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