January 5, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 3 Comments
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As Guild Wars 2 slowly lumbers towards PAX South and some kind of announcement concerning the game’s future, I’ve been wondering if I could use the game’s recent history to further strengthen the speculation that an expansion is on the way. The living story, the New Player Experience, the rewards, if Arenanet has a direction for the game, surely it is reflected in what they have done. I think restructuring some of the foundations of how the game is played is a big part of this.

Of particular note is the reworking of dailies. The new dailies changed the chores we do on a daily basis, pushing people out to different parts of the game, shaking people out of their drudgery. I’m tempted to see this as Arenanet changing the goal posts as to keep the treadmill running (Mixing metaphors! Yay!) however if a new expansion were to be released several months from now I think the point of reworking the dailies would be to more easily suit new content that came in an expansion. If people are set in their ways and know all the easiest ways to do dailies they’ll hardly be encouraged to venture forth into whatever new content is released. The new daily system will easily accommodate goals that can be attuned with the new content.

The login rewards have me thinking in the same direction. A lot of the rewards for both dailies and login are consumable experience. Writs of Experience and Tomes of Knowledge. When used in conjunction with the Experience Scroll the leveling experience of Guild Wars 2 immediately shortens substantially. One might get the impression that Guild Wars 2 wants you to get to 80 and fast, not unlike the original Guild Wars’ minimal leveling mechanics. To me this smacks of something a few games have done over the years, streamlining the leveling experience when an expansion is due so that new or returning players can get to the new content as quickly as possible to play with friends and the vast bulk of people. Not to mention eliminating the repetition of leveling Alt characters.

That line of thinking immediately reminds me of the New Player Experience which accelerated experience gain in the lower levels (again, getting people to level 80 faster) and overhauled a few things, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I think a lot of the reason so much work was put into the beginner levels (and I’ve said this many times on the blog over the years) is that statistics have shown that new players base whether or not they want to keep playing on the first 10 levels. But the overhaul came 2 years into the life cycle of Guild Wars 2 and I’ve already speculated in a previous blog that another reason could be that they expect a large influx of new or perhaps returning players with (surprise!) an expansion. It would make sense to work on this part of the game only if you foresaw such an influx.

I speculated on the Guild Wars Reporter podcast (I guested on the predictions episode. (Where I might add I predicted an announcement at PAX South so Fuck Yeah, go me.)) that I think Dry Top and Silverwastes are a fair predictor of what will come next in the way of zones not only in design but aesthetics and story. I think the direction the game is moving, literally west, is suggestive of an expansion mostly centering around Mordremoth, desert and jungle zones, and of course there have been plenty of hints about the White Mantle which ultimately means maybe the Mursaat are getting dragged in somehow. But there is still the question of how closely tied the Living Story is to the rest of Guild Wars 2’s development.

One other clue not taken from the game but taken from data mining by That_Shaman is that there are around 4 armour sets that for whatever reason have not been released in the gem store. One could speculate that those would be released in an expansion, but I suppose they could just be gem store items…. waiting to be released at the same time as an expansion.

Rant time.

Then there’s the actual company infrastructure. I won’t pretend to know the internal workings of Arenanet but 20 people working on Living Story wouldn’t be a lot even for less successful MMOs and Arenanet has 300 employees. I’ve seen plenty of arguments over the past few months that apparently 300 people is not enough to be working on an expansion or that they’re working on background projects that don’t have an observable effect on the game but I just don’t buy it. There are all sorts of Anet devs with a public profile that aren’t working on Living Story and I’m sorry but it doesn’t take 280 people to run the IT, community, marketing or any other department that supposedly isn’t working on anything of worth anyway. Whenever the subject gets brought up on reddit there seems to be this notion that the person presenting the idea that Arenanet is probably working on an expansion is somehow incredibly naive or a fanboy. Well I keep my fanboy tendencies pretty cynical myself and come the 24th you’ll all deserve a big cup of I told yah so.

And if that weren’t enough, the silence, my god, the deafening silence. I have to imagine this silence is for a reason. Someone suggested on reddit to me recently that the silence is because they’re not working on anything and don’t want to scare players away by revealing that they’re not working on anything. Hence the silence. And then they downvoted me.

I think more and more it looks pretty straight forward. An expansion. Well, aside from the actual wording of the announcement.

Join ArenaNet president and co-founder Mike O’Brien and Guild Wars 2 game director Colin Johanson for an exclusive sneak peek at what’s next in Guild Wars 2 and be among the first to hear how we’re setting up a new framework for how an MMO can grow its universe. The Living World was just the beginning.

The buzzwords are strong here. Strong enough to make me think that perhaps the future of Guild Wars 2 is an expansion in everything but name. Grow the universe. New framework. Just the beginning. Marketing team is on task at least. But I always knew they were pretty good at their jobs.


  1. Aparently, there is the first expansion coming, “Heart of Thorns”.

    IMHO, it is ready for launch, they developed it at secret, they trademark the name “Heart of thorns”at telast moment for take everyone by surprise and living story is moving to create the gate to the zones we will see if we buy the expansion.

    Well, I will buy it, I am not paying anything for play GW2 and I am using in game gold for buy gems, so I can use some spare money for buy the expansion.

    • Sorry I’m so late with a reply, but yes, I agree its probably pretty far along in development and will probably release sometime in the first half of the year but I don’t know if its *completely* ready just yet.

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