The Waiting Metagame

With Heart of Thorns drawing ever closer, the anticipation is tangible among the Guild Wars 2 community. There has been a lot of speculation buzz from my friends and guildmates about every teaser image that pops up on social media and every elite spec breakdown Twitch stream. But the looming expansion doesn’t just get players talking about the changes to the game, it also changes the way we play.

Perhaps the most obvious expansion-related change to my playing habbits is that I’ve brought my mesmer, Perception Filter, one of the first characters I made, out of retirement because the Chronomancer elite spec looks really cool. Yes, I know, I was getting really close to having an 80 warrior, but she’ll be next, I promise. The mesmer is possibly the strangest class in Guild Wars 2. You have illusions, which seem like pets but they’re more like DoTs. It’s sort of a mage class, but it’s also kind of kind of a tank class, and my preferred weapons are sword/pistol and greatsword. I think that’s a lot of the reason why I abandoned her; I didn’t even get the nuances game yet, so adding a class with a strange playstyle on top of that really discouraged me. It’s also a late blooming class, so maybe I just needed to stick it out longer. Either way, I’m enjoying the class now, and hoping the Chronomancer spec makes it even more enjoyable.

Inasmuch as my low level characters are progressing rapidly, my 80s are equally stuck. My favorite class so far has been my necromancer, and the build I fell into was very bleed-centric. Currently, with the current bleed cap at 25 stacks, condition builds are of limited utility. I was just thinking I was going to have to bite the bullet and find a new playstyle when the announcement hit that ANet was looking at removing the cap on bleeds. As excited as I am about that, it means that I’m now unsure if I should be looking for condition damage or other sources of damage when gearing up for the endgame. Also, there has been talk of new precursors, but is there going to be other new endgame gear to go with the additional endgame progression that is the meat of the expansion? It would seem to be against the Guild Wars philosophy of never invalidating low-level content, but only time will tell, and until then I’m sitting on my gold and karma.

While I’m powering through the levels on Perception Filter, there’s one shortcut I haven’t taken advantage of that I normally would, and that’s the XP tomes and scrolls. Those have gone straight into my bank for use by my future Revenant. I have far from enough to jump straight to 80 on launch day, nor would I want to cheapen the experience that way, but I do have just enough to skip the boring low level stuff. I’ve also had some angst over whether or not I should save my skill point scrolls or use them all on one of my 80s to buy Mystic Forge recipe materials.

I know that Guild Wars 2 is something special when, despite the general lack of current content due to most of the developers being busy with the expansion, I haven’t been that tempted to leave it for greener grass on the other side. Just about every MMO I’ve ever played got to that point a lot longer ago than Guild Wars 2. Yes, I’ve been playing LotRO, but I’m probably averaging less than one play session per week. Yes, I flirted with SWTOR and Rift for a while. Something about Guild Wars 2 kept me coming back, and I really hope the expansion makes me glad I did.

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