Spring Roadmap Announces End of Servers in Guild Wars 2

ArenaNet announced their Spring Roadmap for the next few months which includes festivals, new features, competitive game mode updates, and even a new fractal.

May Adds End Game and Story

As planned, the spring roadmap starts with the final segment of this expansion’s story, which will be released with the ascent into the Citadel of Zakiros to fight the Midnight King on May 21st. This is the fourth quarterly patch of the year and the final story episode of this expansion, meaning that the Wizard’s Vault will reset and update with new rewards to obtain as well as offer new special objectives to gain a good portion of Astral Acclaim to redeem those rewards. Make sure to check the Secrets of the Obscure guides if you need to catch up.

The next tier of the Obsidian Legendary Armor will also be available to obtain. This is the open world legendary armor which could already be obtained through the map events of the new expansion. However, the appearance of this set will now have a second version with a more pronounced skin. After obtaining the second tier, you can choose which one you want to use. Most players will want the more pronounced effects and appearance so they can feel like the main character, but others will want the more subdued tier to better match their character’s fashion.

Wizard's Vault Seasonal Refresh | "The Midnight King"

Obsidian Legendary Armor Tier 2 Preview | "The Midnight King"

One of the more anticipated updates is the introduction of a new fractal. The Lonely Tower fractal will be the newest five-player dungeon. Judging by the name and theme of this expansion, it will probably cover a story concerning the Wizard’s Tower and its isolation from the rest of Tyria. The Silent Surf fractal came last year, but before then there were no dungeons released for quite a long time, so this is a welcome content addition. While there will be a challenge mode added to this fractal, it will arrive later in the June patch.

One of the newest added activities was convergences. These were like instanced open world events that happened on a regular schedule. They had great rewards, but could be a bit repetitive due to their lack of variety. There will be a new boss added and a challenge mode for those who want to bring in their coordinated squads for a greater challenge. Check here for a guide on convergences.

Alliances Come In June

At the beginning of the month on June 4th, the challenge mode of the Lonely Tower fractal will release along with the Dragon Bash Festival, but the big change will come on June 14th when Alliances are finally here, at least somewhat.

They are still in beta, but it is the end of an era. The spring roadmap announces that Servers will no longer exist.

World Restructuring and Alliances have been on the table for development for several years, so the anticipation for their full release has become very charged. Some are excited to finally be able to play with their friends instead of being stuck on a server, others prefer the identity and rivalries that come from server matchups. Another subset are tired of waiting and will make do with what they have. If you aren’t sure exactly what Alliances and World Restructuring entails, find out here.

There have been plenty of beta tests for World Restructuring, but on June 14th the final beta test will take place. Alliances will exist permanently. WvW will work through the Alliances/WR system 24/7 and every day of the year. Then when alliances are no longer a Beta, some kind of official change will be made, but the game mode will have already been in beta for a while. For how long, we don’t know, but it will most likely be a while because they would have used another word to say this than permanently, which suggests a very long time.

There will most likely be more meaningful rewards for winning when Alliances are fully released, but it may be functionally the same gameplay. The issue is that players might miss being in a server which facilitated long-term communities. There’s a tradeoff of having a comfortable expectation of what will happen when you enter WvW, but also a sort of stagnation when playing with the same players every single matchup. Change is probably the best here, but in recognizing this tradeoff ArenaNet will compensate players with a title that allows them to show which server they were on before the end of servers.

So find yourself a good community to play with and join the action in WvW now to prepare. In preparation, players will also be given an additional sixth guild slot which they can use to be in more communities or just as their “Alliances Guild.” This is so no one needs to leave any of their existing guilds to play with their friends.

Another interesting part of this spring roadmap is the updates related to PvP. June 25th brings a new balance update and Ranked PvP rewards. The Champion Brawler title which is obtained after winning 10,000 PvP matches will have a color to it just like other prestigious titles. Ascended gear and Karma rewards will be available, but the real content will be the new balance changes to the classes which will include all the normal class changes as well as new PvP amulets and Runes to bring more diversity to PvP builds.

New Amulets and Runes

  • Heretic (+1,000 power, +1,000 precision, +500 healing power, +500 ferocity)
  • Tyrant (+1,000 power, +1,000 condition damage, +500 precision, +500 toughness)
  • Ogre Rune (Power, Ferocity, and Vitality)
  • Tormenting Rune (Condition Damage and Torment Duration)

Heretic Amulet is a nice addition because before there were only two amulets with healing power on them. With the new weapons added, many classes have support build options but did not really have an amulet that was perfect for their build. Compare this to Marauder amulet, but instead of Vitality it gives Healing Power. On guardians and elementalists this won’t work due to its lack of Vitality. However, a support Spellbreaker will love this amulet since they are a more aggressive support and Warriors have high base health anyway.

Tyrant Amulet is basically Wizard Amulet which was a hybrid Power, Precision, and Condition Damage amulet but Tyrant will have Toughness instead of Vitality. This is great for duelists that want higher sustain rather than that health buffer. The Wizard amulet will still be great on necromancers who want vitality, but for mesmers who still enjoy precision on condition duelist builds, this will be great for a condition mirage or even a condition berserker.

Ogre Rune may become the new meta option for thieves and other classes that want to go with a Berserker Amulet, but put in a bit more vitality from other sources so they aren’t dead in one shot. This can be seen as a small buff to those burst builds if the rune ends up being preferable.

Tormenting Rune will help condition builds that use Torment as their main condition. However, even on those builds you may not care for torment duration as much as defensive or pure condition damage stats.

PvP and WvW Quality of Life in July

Not only will Restructuring and Alliances be enabled by now, but the spring roadmap announces extra changes. July 16th will bring small changes to how WvW objectives works. Objectives that require you to defeat a Lord to capture them will now show their health in the UI so it is much easier to keep track of them in the hectic fights that occur in WvW. This also enables clicking on the health bar in the UI to target them.

The Chilling Fog tactivator will no longer chill assaulters but will now heal the defenders. This was a very powerful but very annoying and unfun mechanic that is nice to see changed. However, the healing may not be impactful enough to make a difference in larger scale fights.

Supply will also be more accessible through the base amounts and through the Supply Drop tactic. This along with the addition of the unblockable effect to all Siege Disablers (so that reflect bubbles can’t prevent them) will make defending objectives more feasible when outnumbered.

These changes aren’t massive, but the tried and true mechanics of the WvW game mode is what keeps players coming back. The imbalances can be unfair, but they don’t play to win as much as they do for fun. For it to be a viable competitive game mode, the systems and scoring need to be reworked to make it more balanced. In its current state, this seems impossible due to the nature of a 24/7 game mode where players can capture objectives while others sleep, so perhaps an entire rework would be needed to reach balance and meaningful rankings.

The spring roadmap also announces changes to PvP related to the Daily Automated Tournaments which will occur less often to try to make them more exclusive and competitive, but this is only artificial and will only prevent more players from getting into them. However, the Tournament of Legends is returning as a semi-annual event. This is like a Monthly Automated Tournament, but the biggest prize is a legendary weapon box, allowing you to choose any legendary weapon of your choice. Lower ranking teams get components to create a legendary.

The Djinn’s Dominion map will also get updates to its secondary mechanic which was too underwhelming to be worth investing time to go for it. The special-action-key abilities were not powerful enough to swing fights, and therefore no one wanted to risk a fight for little to no reward. Changes to these abilities could be very interesting to the flow of the match because they change how you interact with the combat. As opposed to other maps where the objectives merely give a flat amount of points to your score, these can be fun to play with or challenging to play against.

These changes aren’t bad, but they only serve the players who already enjoy PvP, which is already not a popular game mode. Hopefully more changes are made in the future to add more PvP game types or to update the already existing Stronghold game type. Investing in some variety would help intrigue players to get into PvP or for veterans who have quit to come back and try something new.

The final step of the spring roadmap is on July 30th, when the Festival of the Four Winds returns.

But we are still waiting for more news. A new expansion launches later this year if ArenaNet sticks to their schedule of one expansion per year. We will see where that goes when it does.

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