Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons Review - GameHaunt

Unraveling the Mysteries: A Comprehensive End of Dragons Review in Guild Wars 2

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Guild Wars 2 expansions have consistently offered a unique and refreshing experience in the MMO space. Unlike other games, Guild Wars 2 does not heavily rely on vertical progression through gear upgrades. Most players have already obtained their optimal gear since the release of ascended equipment in 2015. Instead, the game focuses on delivering high-quality content, horizontal progression, and innovative mechanics to entice players when new expansions are released.

End of Dragons: A Unique Approach to Expansions

The Heart of Thorns expansion introduced gliders, completely changing the way players traverse the game's vertical spaces. Path of Fire took it a step further by adding mounts with unique mobility options, revolutionizing how players interact with every map. However, what sets the End of Dragons expansion apart is its lack of groundbreaking features. Instead, it offers a beloved setting, ambitious new maps, and some of the most engaging gameplay to date. This approach showcases the game's commitment to providing a captivating experience for its dedicated player base.

Captivating Story and Setting

The highly anticipated story of End of Dragons begins with an exhilarating and action-packed moment. Players find themselves at the forefront of an assault on airships, engaging in daring battles and displaying their swashbuckling skills alongside their loyal sky pirate crew. However, the excitement quickly takes a dramatic turn as the largest ship crashes into the unexplored region of Cantha, a place renowned for its technological advancements and isolation from the outside world for centuries.

Suddenly, the player and their companions are thrust into a complex and perilous situation. They must navigate the treacherous conflicts between the Aetherblade, the local gangs, and the mysterious and dangerous Jade Tech contraptions that now inhabit this once secluded land. The stage is set for an epic adventure filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Visually Diverse and Engaging Maps

Cantha, the visually diverse region introduced in Guild Wars 2's expansions, boasts a stunning array of maps that range from vibrant green forests to futuristic cities. However, my personal favorite map stands out as a perfect blend of nature, technology, and ancient ruins seamlessly intertwining. These maps not only look incredible, but they also offer an unparalleled gameplay experience. Each map is brimming with exciting and engaging events, some of which bring together dozens of players.

Among these events, my absolute favorite is an exhilarating assault on a gang-run laboratory. This particular event showcases the brilliance of the expansion's new mount, a colossal turtle. The turtle serves as the game's first-ever two-player mount, with one player steering the turtle while the other rains down artillery fire from its back. The sheer absurdity and enjoyment of this experience cannot be overstated.

Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons Review - GameHaunt

New Kaineng City: A Breathtaking Aesthetic with Gameplay Limitations

While End of Dragons boasts an array of impressive new maps, one that falls short of expectations is New Kaineng City. As the most ambitious map in the expansion, this massive, sprawling city had the potential to be a game-changer. With its captivating neon-lit streets and mesmerizing holographic displays, the aesthetic of New Kaineng City is undeniably breathtaking. However, disappointment sets in when it comes to the gameplay experience.

Despite being a city, the map fails to capture the essence of a bustling metropolis. Rather than feeling densely populated, New Kaineng City is no more crowded than a typical explorable map. To truly embody the energetic atmosphere of a technological hub, the city would have greatly benefited from a reduction in size. This would have allowed for a more authentic representation of a bustling, vibrant urban center.

New Kaineng City, as the first map in the End of Dragons expansion, introduces players to the innovative and exciting concept of Jade Bots. These little mechanical companions are bestowed upon players early in the story, offering invaluable assistance during gameplay by performing various helpful tasks, such as reviving players when they fall. However, the true brilliance of Jade Bots lies in their integration within the map itself.

Jade Bots: Seamlessly Integrated Mechanics

New Kaineng City is teeming with intriguing contraptions that players can activate using their Jade Bot, further enhancing the gameplay experience and allowing for even more interactive and engaging exploration. With the introduction of Jade Bots, End of Dragons not only revolutionizes the moment-to-moment gameplay but also seamlessly integrates this new mechanic into the very fabric of its maps, adding a layer of depth and excitement to the already immersive world of Guild Wars 2.

Interacting with Jade Tech devices in Cantha requires players to charge their Jade Bot by locating and stopping at various batteries scattered throughout the region. While the devices themselves, such as zip lines and pilot consoles, offer a fun and unique experience, the need to constantly recharge the Jade Bot can feel unnecessary.

Although finding a battery is usually not a challenge, the time it takes to charge, typically around 15-20 seconds, can quickly add up when repeated multiple times. If these key traversal devices did not require a charge, moving around maps would be much smoother and players would be more inclined to utilize these devices to their full potential.

Unraveling the Mysteries: A Comprehensive End of Dragons Review in Guild Wars 2 19

Skiffs and Fishing: Unique Traversal and Recreational Activities

In the latest expansion, End of Dragons, skiffs have been introduced as the newest traversal mechanic. These small boats can be dropped in almost any body of water, including maps from previous expansions and the base game. At first glance, it may seem redundant to have a boat when there is already a mount for fast water travel. However, the addition of a fishing system in End of Dragons gives skiffs a unique purpose.

Players can now take their skiffs out on the water with their guildmates and indulge in the art of fishing. While the fishing minigame itself may not be groundbreaking, the joy of traveling from one region to another and discovering rare fish is truly delightful. Moreover, these fish hold value in crafting, providing even more incentive to explore the fishing aspect of the game. Personally, I found myself thoroughly enjoying fishing and even participating in the fishing competitions that were held on various maps of End of Dragons.

The End of Dragons expansion may not introduce any groundbreaking mechanics, but it compensates with a plethora of smaller features and systems that provide an immersive experience for players. However, the true standout of this expansion lies in its captivating campaign.

From the exhilarating airship battle in the introduction, the narrative introduces a delightful array of new characters while also shining a spotlight on beloved favorites from the series. One standout newcomer is Detective Rama, a witty and sarcastic Canthan officer who quickly became a personal favorite. Every interaction involving him in the story was a sheer delight, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to an already engaging campaign.

While the characters in End of Dragons are undeniably charming, the quality of the writing falls a bit short of grandeur. In comparison to recent Living World stories in Guild Wars 2, it does show improvement, but the standards for MMO storytelling have significantly risen since the game's initial release. Therefore, Guild Wars 2's storytelling remains slightly above average.

Although there may be only a few standout moments in the story missions, End of Dragons compensates for this by incorporating worldbuilding seamlessly into its maps. As I delved into these maps during my exploration, I gained a deeper understanding of the region's problems and the impact I was making on the world. Taking the time to explore the world rather than rushing through each mission greatly enhances the overall story experience.

Compensating with Immersive Gameplay

While End of Dragons may not have the most captivating storytelling, it certainly compensates with its enjoyable and diverse gameplay. The story missions in this expansion go beyond the usual battles against pirates or gang members. As a player striving to maintain the world's safety, I found myself engaged in tasks such as resolving power outages, operating drones, and even obtaining an identification card from the Canthan counterpart of a DMV. The wide range of missions guarantees a constantly refreshing gameplay experience, and I was consistently eager and excited for the next adventure that awaited me.

End of Dragons takes its biggest step up from previous expansions through its boss encounters. Bosses contain more unique and complex mechanics than ever before, which better prepared me for more difficult endgame content. Much of the endgame content consists of harder versions of story bosses, so I had an idea of what some of the mechanics would be in advance.

Endgame Content and Boss Encounters

End of Dragons marks a significant improvement in boss encounters compared to previous expansions. The bosses in this expansion introduce a plethora of unique and complex mechanics that challenge players in new and exciting ways. This increase in difficulty and complexity has been incredibly beneficial in preparing me for the more challenging endgame content.

What sets End of Dragons apart is that a substantial portion of the endgame content comprises harder variations of story bosses. This means that players, like myself, who have experienced the story mode, have a solid understanding of some of the mechanics they will encounter. This familiarity, combined with the added complexity, creates a thrilling and engaging endgame experience.

Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons - Dragon's End

Fresh Specializations and Weapons for Professions

In the latest Guild Wars 2 expansion, End of Dragons, each profession is treated to a new specialization and a fresh weapon, as is the norm. As an avid player, I found myself particularly engrossed in exploring the new possibilities for my Engineer and Warrior. The Engineer's new specialization, the Mechanist, revolves around the fascinating concept of Jade Tech minions.

It was an absolute thrill to engage in combat with the aid of my enormous Jade Tech robot companion. However, despite the excitement, I eventually found myself gravitating back towards my tried-and-true Holosmith build from previous expansions. The allure of the familiar and the comfort of my well-established playstyle proved difficult to resist.

The Warrior's Bladesworn specialization was a definite highlight for me. With the addition of pistols to the Warrior's arsenal, it brought a fresh and exciting element to the gameplay. However, what truly captivated me were the gunsaber skills that the specialization introduced. These skills allowed me to charge up attacks, resulting in massive damage. It was a true embodiment of the tech-powered samurai fantasy, and I couldn't help but feel empowered as I unleashed devastating blows on my enemies.

The key to success was a combination of patience and attentiveness to enemy attack patterns, which added a layer of strategy to the gameplay. Although I only had the opportunity to explore two of the new elite specializations, I am eagerly looking forward to experimenting with the rest in the coming months. Each specialization appears to bring a unique and game-changing dimension to the professions, and I can't wait to see how they enhance my gaming experience.

Verdict

Guild Wars 2 fans will be delighted that the latest expansion, End of Dragons, may not have one standout feature, but it makes up for it with many more minor yet exciting additions. What sets this expansion apart is its delightful campaign, surpassing its predecessors in fun and engagement.

Moreover, players are treated to stunning new maps that are not only visually appealing but also provide a fresh and immersive gameplay experience. End of Dragons also offers challenging late-game bosses that are sure to test the skills of even the most seasoned players. With an abundance of content to explore, Guild Wars 2 fans will find themselves eagerly returning to this expansion time and time again.

Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons Review - GameHaunt
Unraveling the Mysteries: A Comprehensive End of Dragons Review in Guild Wars 2
Conclusion
Guild Wars 2 fans will be delighted that the latest expansion, End of Dragons, may not have one standout feature, but it makes up for it with many more minor yet exciting additions. What sets this expansion apart is its delightful campaign, surpassing its predecessors in fun and engagement.
Positive
Visually Diverse Maps
Fresh Elite Specializations
Challenging Boss Encounters
Negative
Lack of Groundbreaking Features
Tedious Jade Bot Charging
Skiff's Limited Purpose
4
GAMEHAUNT SCORE
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