Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire is the second DLC release for ArenaNet’s acclaimed MMO, and the expansion takes players to the Crystal Desert, on a quest to confront the malevolent god Balthazar.
Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire takes players back to the Crystal Desert featured in the original Guild Wars title, and is sure to be welcomed by veteran players who will be able to experience the familiar land in its new, beautiful guise. The map really epitomises what a Guild Wars map should be. Gigantic in scale, full of life, and beautifully diverse. It might be the Crystal Desert, but it’s not all sand and brown. The map features snow and ice, farmland, and countless other biomes just waiting to be explored.
The map, despite its size, is chock full of events, groups in need of aid, and beautiful environments just ready for your exploration. The map is so full that without the guide of the main quest line, it would be rather intimidating. I really enjoy the open nature of the map, as it does not physically force you on a linear path like many other MMO’s do. One gripe with the world however is that some of the DLC’s Heroic Mastery challenges and vistas can be frustratingly difficult to find, even with the marker stating if it is above or bellow your current position.
Jumping puzzles are still here, and just as bothersome as ever. These puzzles however often implement the game’s new mount system, and does highlight the mounts often finicky movement.
That is my only gripe with the mounts however. Mounts have been a long time coming in Guild Wars 2, but they are well worth the wait. The mounts function as much more than a simple speed boost, as they do in a lot of other MMO’s. The mounts have been integrated into the map layout, not just in the terms of the jumping puzzles, but traversing vast chasms with the Raptors glide, and reaching new heights with the Springer’s high jump are all made possible via the mount’s new-found mobility. Path of Fire also handles its Mastery Growth through the mounts, with the completion of challenges, storyline missions, achievements all contributing towards your Mastery EXP, which can then be used on training your mount in a new power. The game currently features 5 mounts, Raptor, Springer, Skipper, Jackal and Griffon, all featuring their own unique abilities to aid in your hunt for Balthazar.
And that’s why we’re all here right? To hunt down Balthazar, god of war, and one again gain some kudos saving Tyria. Path of Fire will see you traversing the plains of the Crystal Desert in your search for Balthazar, where you and your guild of NPC’s will be completing missions across 3 acts. The gameplay follows the cookie-cutter Guild Wars formula, you’ll be helping communities better themselves, exploring the Crystal Desert, Watching your team evolve and develop their own individual personalities as you work your way through the game’s story. The one thing Guild Wars has always done well is Character development, and Path of Fire provides it in spades.
Your band of unique characters will be there to aid you along the way, you’ll watch them butt heads, you’ll see their surprise when they’re actually nice to each other, and watch their interactions develop as the game goes on. All of this is very natural a fluid, taking place in conversation and actions imbedded into key points in the storyline. I personally love the way that Guild Wars 2 has cemented the development of NPC characters into an MMO environment, while leaving the possibility to play with others fully integrated into the title. This makes the experience so much more enjoyable for those who like to run MMO’s solo, and creates a genuinely enjoyable balance.
The story itself leaves you under no obligation to have played through the game’s previous content with your character, or indeed at all. This will prove pleasing to both new players and those who were not fans of the previous DLC Heart of Thorns. I played Path of Fire with an old character from years ago that I boosted up to level 80 with the included booster, and I found the storyline to be fully enjoyable, and all the information as to what had happened prior to this point is easily obtainable before you even embark, meaning you can jump right into Path of Fire without delay.
The booster grants you full level 80 gear and equipment, and allows for some tailoring of your character to your preference. This did leave me spending extra time exploring, to further develop my character more to my suiting, but I can imagine this would be a similar affair to any character entering Path of Fire, or at least it should be, as there is plenty to do in the Crystal Desert to further develop your character.
Players who like to go it alone will be grateful for the campaigns checkpoint system in battles, allowing them to get back into the fight quickly and not feel like they are bashing their head against the wall. You’ll also be aided by your guild of NPC characters, who prove more than helpful as the story progresses. The combat is nothing that a seasoned Guild Wars player is going to struggle with, but players can guarantee a suitable challenging battle to close out the campaign that is for certain.
Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire brings forth an experience that fans of the series are bound to love. They might be a little disheartened by the lack if any new dungeons, or raids, but with the amount of content on offer these wont be to greatly missed. PVP/WVW is also yet to be implemented, but these are released when ready, and not held back for expansions so this is understandable.
Thanks to the massive world of the Crystal Desert, players will find themselves here long after the main quest exploring the world. That’s what Guild Wars 2 is about, the exploration and the journey, and Path of Fire has both in spades.
A review code for Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire was provided to us by ArenaNet for this review.