There’s something strangely nostalgic about Guild Wars 2 for me. I’ve never played the first games and its expansions, yet somehow, there’s a sense of ‘home’, as it were. End of Dragons is the MMORPG’s third expansion, complemented by a number of “Living Story” seasons that could very well count as expansions themselves.
It’s a return to the game for me as a at-launch player, after missing out since Heart of Thorns because my PC could no longer properly run the game. I picked it back up months before this, before putting it down again when things got busy. That’s part of the joy of this game as a pay to play, that I need not worry about “wasting” my subscription fee. I’m very sorry to the critically acclaimed MMORPG, for I am interested, but the barrier of entry is too high.
Anyway, that’s a bunch of preamble as my Commander dusts off his boots and gets back on the whole Saving The World thing. There may be late arrival spoilers, while End of Dragons spoilers will be kept to a minimum.
WHAT IS END OF DRAGONS?
Also referred to as EOD, this is the third expansion to the soon to be decade-old (!) MMORPG Guild Wars 2, which takes us to Cantha. It’s the Asian-inspired region of the world of Tyria, one that’s been closed off to the “mainland” for… quite some time, shall we say. New fun tools are introduced, as well as one new specialization for each base class, besides the new story and areas that have opened up. That’s about the gist of it.
SIGHTS TO BEHOLD, PEOPLE TO MEET
Cantha is absolutely gorgeous. I’m willingly sacrificing my paltry 60-80FPS just so that I can get better looking views, and it’s totally worth it! From the “expected” Asian style of Seitung Province, to the more metropolitan New Kaineng and gothic architecture in Echovald Wilds, the region looks as diverse as its real world inspiration. There’s just so much to see atop your Skyscale if you’ve got one, and you’d certainly do well to obtain one.
Much ado has been made about the various jade tech brought about by Joon. As a newly minted Mechanist main, I will certainly exalt (aha) both their design and their utility. They’re still pretty “smooth” looking, for lack of a better word, but different from the Asuran geometrics. I wouldn’t want to dwell too much on gushing about the aesthetics – and the music! – so I can avoid making my embarrassingly limited vocabulary on describing beauty too obvious.
The general style has hardly changed from the content updates post the base game. I really love that the story telling is more diegetic now, over the plain backgrounds and character models speaking at each other. The branching stories of the base game have also been pretty non-existent, but considering the number of permutations to keep track of and the hanging threads dutifully noted on the game’s tropes page, I can trade that for a consistent story.
Boy, and what a story it is. After a long break, I don’t remember everything, yet the strength of the writing is as such I can recall enough that I’m barely confused in the narrative as I pick it back up to pursue this latest threat. I experienced numerous occasions of goosebumps as the stellar voice work and direction really give the scenes their much needed weight. Again, I’ve never played the original games so all the backstory is completely new to me, yet there’s just something about it. I’ll be the first to say the story is hardly the Most Groundbreaking Ever. It’s how you tell it, and in this respect, End of Dragons blew me out of the Jade Sea.
I absolutely love Detective Rama. Someday, I’ll have that hat for myself, though I think it would look absolutely dopey on my Charr. I will say there’s one point I was dissatisfied with, but it makes sense in the narrative, so I won’t quibble too much. Other than that, I wonder what it says about me that I feel compelled to point out “I understood that reference” when I scroll over the achievement names.
End of Dragons packs quite a number of fun things. First of is, of course, the region itself. Exploration alone hasn’t changed, but now you have Raptor Taxis to shuttle you around on a new map and get you near waypoints, where it’s available. There’s the jade tech zip lines to, well, zip you across to the other side. For veterans, this is probably less needed especially when you have the Skyscale to traverse across literally everything, but it’s quite helpful if you’re diving in right away to the expansion. There’s a variety of jade tech lying around for buffs, turrets or teleporting. They’re not just game mechanics, they are meant to be widely used around in-story after all, with associated masteries to help you utilize them better. I’m rushing the jade tech myself to unlock its open world utilities – personal waypoint, anyone?
You also can pick up fishing, and have a little skiff (boat) of your own to anchor by various marked fishing spots. As with the jade tech, these too have their associated masteries. I honestly find the skiff quite fiddly as the tutorial one simply refused to anchor for me for whatever reason. The fishing minigame has you pack bait and such as I try to fight to chase after the bar to get the slippery things. I’ll be returning to these eventually, just not now. There’s also the new siege turtle mount that I’ve yet to unlock. Just know that you and a buddy can go stomping around on one of these bad boys equipped with cannons and jets. How is that not totally rad?
Last but not least is the specializations. Only my main has enough Hero Points to fully unlock his, namely, the Mechanist. I’ve always loved minion-based classes, but the engineer’s turrets haven’t always been the best, and the Scrapper’s Gyros weren’t quite my style. I have had tons of fun with the Holosmith, but now? I can slap on five signets and call it a day while I bash things with my jade fist mace and gleefully hear my Charr shout “Rocket Punch!” as we punch some fools together. I do have a Druid and a minion master Reaper for the overworld. However, the Engineer has always been my first love, and this just feels like vindication.
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
Now that I’ve completed the story and finished recovering from feeling empty after the credits have scrolled, I’ll be working on my third generation legendary weapon next. Champion and scion will be taking a little break to do the mundane. Here’s to the friends we’ve lost, and new allies gained. There’s so much more left for me to do. It’s still the early days of the expansion and the team’s been pushing out so many hotfixes. I’m just glad there wasn’t a queue, honestly.
The player character has a multitude of names and titles, but only one will ever be “mine”. What is it that they say?
“This is my story.”
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