Last week ArenaNet dropped the third and final release of Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure. Now that the expansion is complete, I would like to share my thoughts on how I experienced the story & gameplay as a somewhat casual player of the game.

Plot

The Elder Dragon cycle has come to a close. In the quiet that follows, a new force rises to threaten Tyria. As you fight back against Kryptis invaders from the Mists, you’ll uncover the answers to mysteries that have haunted Tyria from the time of the original Guild Wars. Ancient rivalries come into play—the world is at risk. Now that the cycle is “over,” Tyria is blood in water. The Mists are watching.

Thoughts

As stated before, I consider myself to be a casual player of Guild Wars 2. While playing the game, I mainly focus on the story, events in the open world and doing achievements. While playing the new expansion, I did not engage with the fractal or strike missions. I also wasn’t active in the PvP or WvW game modes.

When Secrets of the Obscure was announced, I got very excited about the fact that we would learn more about the mysterious Wizard’s Tower that has been hovering in the sky near Garenhoff for ages. I thought it was quite nice to see that the disappearance of the Wizard’s Tower actually has impact on Garenhoff. I also enjoyed snooping around the camp in Gendarran Fields, before all hell breaks loose and we find ourselves in the Skywatch Archipelago. I wouldn’t have mind if we did more events in the core maps of Guild Wars 2.

Some players feel that the assets in Skywatch Archipelago were simply recycled and thus low effort. I don’t mind seeing familiar settings from the previous expansions. I hope that new players who haven’t touched the Elder Dragon Saga are inspired to do so after getting a sample from the various fractals. After New Kaineng City I’m actually glad to see that Amnytas has enough life to it and isn’t just pretty to look at. I personally love Inner Nayos the most, even though I felt a little overwhelmed when I first set foot in the map. There are so many events going on at the same time. Still, I love the ambience and the loading screens of Inner Nayos truly have beautiful concept art.

As someone who has played Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) back in the day, I’m no stranger to dealing with closing rifts and fighting demons. When I learned about having to close rifts in Secrets of the Obscure, I initially felt underwhelmed. Hunting rifts in Secrets of the Obscure doesn’t feel as epic as in Dragon Age: Inquisition, but I do like how it brings players together to tackle higher tier rifts. I’m forever grateful to the commanders who set up a squad to hunt T3 rifts together.

I definitely noticed how hunting multiple rifts in a row can start to feel like a slog. Having 100% map completion, a griffon, and being able to teleport to a commander tag made things a lot smoother. The knowledge that doing the weekly rifts help with collecting essences for the new legendary armor also kept my motivation up. I have to admit though, as soon as I completed my first set of Obsidian Armor and unlocked the Master of the Rifts title, I stopped doing the weekly rifts. I only do a rift event when it’s a Wizard’s Vault objective and focus on convergences to collect essences.

Convergence – a group instance during night supporting up to 50 players

I usually stay away from instanced content, so I never expected to enjoy convergences as much as I do. Not everyone enjoys tackling more difficult content with a random group of players, but I love it when a squad of 50 strangers somehow still manage to get things done. Overall I really enjoyed doing the convergences and meta’s in Secrets of the Obscure. During the first month after release, I actually did the two meta’s in Skywatch Archipelago and Amnytas back to back almost each day. Haha yes, I still consider myself casual. It was just so much fun!

I do think however, that if I already had legendary armor.. I would not have played Secrets of the Obscure as much as I have. The new rewards in the Wizard’s Vault are nice, but since the objectives have replaced the dailies and I’m only focusing on the PvE ones.. I actually think they’re quicker to complete than the old dailies. The Astral Ward and Kryptis are intriguing and there’s so much background stuff you only learn by actively looking for it or by doing the achievements. Unfortunately the main storyline is quite shallow, which is truly a shame. For the first time since I’ve started playing Guild Wars 2, I found myself not caring much about the characters or story. I actually miss the more darker tone of the Icebrood Saga.

I understand why ArenaNet decided to change their schedule to an annual expansion model with follow up quarterly releases, but I do feel it worked against my enjoyment of Secrets of the Obscure. While waiting for a follow up release, I had plenty of time to play other games. The year started out strong with Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and Dragon’s Dogma 2. It actually felt so nice to game on the couch again that I finally got to complete Assassin’s Creed Mirage (2023) and finally picked up the complete edition of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (2020). Every time I returned to Guild Wars 2 the contrast between the games that had swept me off my feet and the shallow story of Secrets of the Obscure became more and more jarring.

Slumbering Suffused Obsidian Legendary Armor – Light

Even though the story felt a lot weaker than previous expansions, I do feel positive about Secrets of the Obscure. It gave me the opportunity to craft my first legendary armor set. I also crafted a legendary rune and got a free legendary relic as a reward. The Wizard’s Vault has some great rewards. The expansion offers a lot of opportunities for players to again play together in the open world. Even without new elite specializations, it’s nice to have access to new weapons. The Standard Edition of the Secrets of Obscure expansion costs € 24,99 and you definitely get a lotta bang for your buck.

Looking Back and Forward

Just as I’m wrapping up my thoughts on Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure, game director Josh Davis shared a brief retrospective on the official website. I’m glad to see the team has learned a lot while developing Secrets of the Obscure and moving to the annual release model. I can’t wait to see how their knowledge will be implemented in the next expansion.

It seems we’re in luck as the new expansion will be revealed next week on Tuesday June 4th, 2024. Of course I will be back here at NERDSHOCK HQ to celebrate the reveal of the new expansion, go over all the information and share what my hopes are for our next adventure in Guild Wars 2.

See you next week!

Love,
Aleida

Author

Gamer, Geek & Digital Hermit