It’s been a week since Guild Wars 2 released its final episode of its episodic content for Living World Season 4. War Eternal wrapped up the main story line involving Aurene that has been brewing for many years, in addition to adding a new map, achievements and of course, the much publisized new dragon mount, the Skyscale. While the game delivers (we’ve played it) on the story and map meta fronts, many however were disappointed with how ArenaNet handled the acquisition of the new mount. Here’s the what and why.
What Is A Skyscale?
The Skyscale is Guild Wars 2’s first dragon mount. It flies obviously, but not in a similar way to the Griffon, the game’s previous airborne mount. While the Griffon glides and requires height to leverage its superior map crossing abilities, the Skyscale is a more subdued version. It takes off vertically, and is able to hover in the air much like a helicopter. It can also cling to walls and cliff-sides to regain its flight recharge resource. Naturally, many players can see the benefit of owning such a mount, in a game where Points of Interest and other map goodies are usually hidden on the terrain. From a lore point of view, how and why did a dragon mount appear? Being magical beings in Tyria, aren’t they rare? They are. Without too much story spoilers, your war against the Crystal Elder Dragon involved opening rifts and portals from the mists, which eventually grounds him in Tyria. The repercussions of that brings the Skyscale to Dragonfall, the new map in Episode 6.
Why Players Are Upset
The backlash regarding the Skyscale’s acquisition is quite easy to explain. Prior to launch, ArenaNet hyped up this mount a ton in press previews. It was also hinted at being available on launch day, which was true – players could rent the mount from roosts all over Dragonfall. However, earning the mount permanently required an insane amount of scavenger hunt style tasks, Gold and patience, and it’s no surprise which one of those was poorly received. See, the Skyscale requires a collection style set of achievements that many Guild Wars 2 players are familiar with – we’ve been doing this sort of thing for years. What players didn’t appreciate was, that to unlock the next set of collections (there’s 5 in total), players had to wait a day until the next reset. And on day three, there’s a time-gate within the time-gate, where players had to feed their newly hatched Skyscale 12 times, but only 3 per day, so that’s 4 days of additional time. Once that’s done, combine it with the tedious travel all over the game world, the gold expenditures for other collectibles and more, and you get an unimpressed mob, who were let down by the poor managing of expectations and lack of communication regarding what unlocking this mount requires. Remember, this was advertised as a core feature of this episode, unlike the Griffon which was a complete secret and hidden mount that no one expected, and for the record, that mount is arguably superior with no time-gating whatsoever. Some hint or heads up from the developers would go a mile to mentally prepare players. To compound matters further, XP progression in the Path of Fire maps were halted (now fixed) because players weren’t able to get the new mount and its mastery track in a week obviously, so many felt running new meta events on Dragonfall felt wasted.
What Are ArenaNet Doing About It?
As any good MMORPG developers would do, listen to feedback. Yes, there were tons of it. Numerous posts of Reddit, the official forums and YouTube videos about the Skyscale was bound to get attention. The good news for players – especially those who haven’t started the grind for it yet – is that ArenaNet has heard the players loud and clear. Majority are not in favor of this artificial padding of time for a core feature, and in a recent forum post, the developers have addressed the issue. On May 28th, the time-gating will significantly reduce from 24hrs to 2hrs per collection. That’s good news overall, and hopefully lesson learned.