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I've been doing a few fractals and making some very slow progress on Account Augmentation. 

I've done both of the "new" fractals (deepstone and twilight oasis). 
Deepstone is a joke, it's not difficult and it's not interesting.  The boss and mechanics are boring and aside from some moderately cool environments it's not enjoyable. 
Twilight Oasis on the other hand... this thing is cancer.  Not only is the entire fractal filled with seemingly infinite respawns of adds, but the last boss is an AOE clusterfuck the likes of which I've never seen.  Worse yet, depending on the random fractal instabilities some phases are downright bullshit.  In her grenth phase she summons a bunch of small undead creatures and last night the instability of enemies exploding when they die was in effect.  You can imagine how frustrating that might be, especially when she's dumping aoes, and there are walls cutting the arena in half and if you touch the walls they do damage and fear you.  As someone who generally enjoys doing harder fractals, I was pretty disappointed that the challenge was less about cool mechanics and more about not standing on the entire floor's worth of aoes. 

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I've been running tier 4 fractals with my warrior mostly, but I've been swapping in my guardian for some content and building up my confidence on playing that character. 

Thankfully my berserker gear allows me to run the power Dragonhunter/Guardian Builds:
https://metabattle.com/wiki/Build:Dragonhunter_-_Power_DPS
https://metabattle.com/wiki/Build:Guardian_-_Power_DPS

I can also play condition firebrand with my viper's gear if I really want to, I haven't really messed with that yet but it's another possibility. 

I've also managed to farm up almost all the armor/weapons needed to run the healing/support firebrand build:
https://metabattle.com/wiki/Build:Firebrand_-_Support_Healer

Farming the accessories wasn't particularly fun, but I only have 1 more earring to farm for before I have all the gear.  I have most of it slotted with agony infusions as well so I should be able to run tier 4 fractals with this build shortly. 
I initially went down this path because I felt like playing guild wars 2 but I wanted some variety.  Thankfully because both warrior and guardian are heavy armor classes allowing me to utilize my ascended gear across both characters. 

I suppose I should learn how the hell to play it...

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Update Notes:
https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/49240/game-update-notes-july-24-2018#latest

They added back the queen's gauntlet and the zephyrite stuff.  I'm reading they didn't add much in the way of rewards, but I have a feeling plenty of people will get their own mini-liadri now.  I might have to find a new mini to use...

Data mining:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Guildwars2/comments/91j0gv/datamining_upcoming_features_from_the_july_24/

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I've been sticking to guardian entirely for my daily fractals.  I haven't actually touched my warrior at all. 
I'm still getting used to the guardian panic buttons (F2 is a decent one) and I've been tightening up my DPS rotation and checking my damage numbers to makes sure they're respectable.  So far Guardian feels much more capable of carrying groups with it's larger DPS numbers. 
I've played the healer firebrand spec a few times and it wasn't exactly clean.  I think I'm going to switch up some skills and learn to be patient - I caught myself panic spamming healing skills instead of reacting properly and spacing out heals.  I might also finally use that ascended hammer that's been sitting on my warrior for 2+ years doing nothing...

I already had a ranger leveled to 80, and decided to spend a bit of time getting both elite specs unlocked as well as the necessary pets, thankfully it's just 2 that everyone seems to use.  At this point I'm just debating how much effort I want to put on this particular alt.  I may need to level leatherworking to 500 and finish off some armor/weapons depending on if I decide to gear up a Druid or Soulbeat or both. 

I've been fairly happy that I can quickly hop on gw2 for an hour in the evening to grind out fractals and move on.  I keep saying that I should look into raiding, but that would be another bump in dedication that I'm not sure I want to commit to. 

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Sounds like they're not going to have a new expansion after season 4.  They mention it will lead directly into season 5.  I can't tell if that means they need more time to work on a larger third expansion, or if they're doing something else. 

 

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Big patch regarding runes/sigils being reworked.  I'm just glancing over this list, but every sigil that had a % chance to do something on crit seems to have been made a 100% chance on crit with a slightly longer internal cooldown - that's a pretty reasonable change. 

https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/comment/739793

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Patchnotes: https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/65145/game-update-notes-january-8-2019

They released a new fractal - overhauled some of the fractal instabilities and made a few balance tweaks to existing fractals.  I'm glad to see they're attempting to make fractals more enjoyable, they still feel completely overshadowed by raids, but at least we're getting new content. 

There's also an upgradable weaponset similar to the upgradable armor set that was released previously.  Here's a gallery of the weapons courtesy of a german website: https://guildnews.de/galerie-zu-den-drachenblut-waffen/

Also looks like they released a newer version of the greatsaw I have - Iron Beast Greatsword - of course it's sitting behind some bullshit RNG lootboxes. 

 

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Just a note, I played through the most recent episode last night and I'd like to say this is one of the best they've released.  Really solid on just about every level. 

I'm still a little bit confused about the upcoming release schedule, but from what I understand there should be one more episode in season 4 and then we go straight into season 5.  At this time it sounds like an expansion is pretty far away. 

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This is a bit outside the game but recently Anet laid off 143 people at NCSoft's direction - total staff before layoffs was ~400 which means this is roughly 35% of their workforce. 

The interesting news gets a bit muddy.  But multiple sources have said that most if not all of these individuals laid off were working on other projects/games for Anet and not GW2.  This makes some sense as people have mentioned repeatedly that Anet has a very large staff (compared to similar devs) and seems to release less content than other MMOs.  Additionally, the rumors stated that staff working on GW2 has been reduced repeatedly as more devs were pulled to work on other projects, some of which were cancelled before these layoffs occurred.  Either way a substantial number of those employees were very senior in the company with 5-10+ years on staff, I assume this was in part an attempt to cut higher paid employees (standard practice). 

Anet has announced that future releases might be delayed due to the massive restructuring, but that they will continue to support GW2. 

I'm not super thrilled by this at any level, and while I don't log into GW2 frequently, I've enjoyed the game and sunk some serious hours into it.  I'm actually hoping that this major restructuring gets the company to focus hard on developing GW3, as right now the GW2 engine is straight dogshit and a major limiting factor in some of the content they produce - but more realistically they're more likely to push another 1+ years of living world before possibly pushing out an expansion. 

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Devs posted a very rough roadmap of things coming in the "near" future. 

https://www.guildwars2.com/en-gb/news/whats-next-for-guild-wars-2/

  • Finale episode for season 4 sometime in ~3 months
  • Season 5 will start after Season 4 - and supposedly will follow the same release cadence of ~3-4 months between episodes
  • Build Templates
  • Cooking/Jewel Crafting to 500
  • Legendary Runes/Sigils

Honestly while this looks good, it also looks weak as hell.  I have a feeling they might try to do one final expansion and then possibly work on another game (Guild Wars 3 on a new engine?) but I'm not holding my breath.  Funny enough this game has been one of the better implementations of the SaaS/GaaS model, and it's been holding fairly steady revenues considering the age of the game. 

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Yea they had mentioned a long time ago that this season would get 2 new mounts. 
The rollerbeatle is the fastest mount (in a straight line) but isn't very maneuverable, even when you drift *eurobeat intensifies*
This new Skyscale is supposed to again be slightly slower than the griffon in the air, but it's ability to cling to walls and then keep scaling them seems ultra powerful.  Honestly my issue with this mount if it works as described is that it totally overshadows the springer mount.  I'm also fairly certain there will be a cost/collection associated with this mount and considering the griffon takes ~250g I expect the Skyscale to be significantly cheaper and allow more casual players to unlock it. 

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GW2 has also been stepping up the marketing and adding some "bonus events" which are minor modifiers that provide extra rewards or slight variations on existing content. 

https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/75132/upcoming-bonus-events

https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/weeklong-bonus-event-world-boss-beatdown/

I haven't tracked the recent balance changes too much but I've seen some noise about the warrior/berserker rework being overtuned in PvP but slightly underwhelming in PvE.  Overall warriors are still mostly banner bots with medium damage output. 

I'll be interested to see where they set up the story to go moving forward and how Anet decides to close out GW2, I don't think they can continue pushing this game forever on the current engine and I'm halfway expecting they'll try pushing out one final expansion before they shift full time focus onto another project (guild wars 3? something different?)  I might consider trying a community fix that utilizes the dx12 renderer, but considering I'm also running: damage meters, build templates (anet is supposedly working on this officially) and reshade - I'm not sure how much random shit I can bolt onto this game before I start spending more time dealing with troubleshooting compatibility rather than playing. 

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