Updated Thu, Mar 03, 2011 by Xerin
Embark Beach is the new destination for denizens within ArenaNet’s popular Guild Wars game. This content update patch includes an entire new zone which serves as a major meeting hub for players. In addition, there is sweeping changes to the game including an all new “minion U.I.”, seven hero parties, and more. All of these changes serve one much larger goal: the empowerment of the players to gain more points in the Hall of Monuments.
The biggest change that will apply to most PvE players is the new seven hero parties which will allow players to create an entire party with heroes. This means players have the option of choosing skills, weapons, and more of every member in the party. This update will trivialize a lot of the content, but due to the age of the content I personally see no problem in this. Especially since a lot of PvE content in GW serves now as a way to gain points at the Hall of Monuments.
Embark Beach is the new “hot spot” to serve as more of a central location for all players to meet up and is available to everyone. The main feature is the daily Zaishen Vanquish quests which should be made easier now thanks to 7 hero parties. It’s also supposed to act as a hub for all players but we’ll have to wait and see if it happens.
Title changes aplenty. Survivor now resets once you die, so you’ll keep whatever progress you currently have whenever you die, but you get to restart the title and see if you can go further this time. It’s pretty cool that you don’t have to restart an entire character over and make it through some of the trickier missions just to get your XP farm going. Drunkard is changed too so that it is based off of the number of drunks consumed versus how long you’ve been drunk for, saving a lot of in-game time but no in-game money.
A lot of pre-searing changes were included. Legendary Defender of Ascalon is now obtainable via daily quests in pre-searing (that start at level 10) which are an option for those who don’t want to death level their way to level 20. That should make it more accessible, although who knows if it’ll be more or less time consuming then letting the Charr kill you forever. You can now also buy all of the pre-searing skills in the pre-searing and dedicate titles to the Hall of Monuments too.
A huge, slightly controversial, change is “Mercenary Heroes.” This is available to purchase through the NCSoft store and allows you to take one of your PvE characters as a hero. This allows you to bring their likeness (and profession combination) into your party. This should allow players to create “perfect” teams that shred everything in their way if they want to pay the money.
A few other minor changes were added in, like a ready check and the ability to change your online status, but as usual these are just minor game updates.
GW doesn’t have a lot of microtransaction items beyond standard fluff items and bank slots, but this update allows players to buy the ability to have up to 7 custom heroes created from their own stock of PvE characters. This is a huge update because it allows anyone who buys the Mercenary Hero pack to craft their own dream team with their characters and the available stock of heroes. What does this mean for the game?
Well, not a whole lot in my honest opinion. It means that a lot of content is a bit more trivial and a lot of the titles are a lot more accessible. That’s not an entirely bad thing by any measure, considering the Hall of Monuments gets you the goods in Guild Wars 2 so there is no reason while you’re waiting to start farming for your future characters.
I totally appreciate the change because I see this as something that’s entirely optional. If anyone wants to pay $45 to have an entire party of their alternate characters then by all means, more power to them. The more sensible option, $20 for three slots, is the most anyone would need to benefit from the feature. After all, you get a ton of combinations as is with the standard list of available heroes and you get to change their secondary.
The biggest advantage I see in this update is that it’ll bring in some return players who are looking to farm up those points for the Hall of Monuments. Most of the changes are aimed towards farming the points (title changes, 7 heroes, mercenary heroes, etc.). So I see this is a great thing and can’t wait to start seeing how the world changes now that I can take seven of my best friends with me.