Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons review – The jade-tinted revival of a classic MMO
Injecting new life into a sorely underrated MMORPG, Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons is the fresh lick of paint the age-old franchise needed – but is it enough to compete with the likes of FFXIV and WoW?
It’s hardly a secret that I love MMORPGs. Whether it’s Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warcraft, or even Smilegate’s pseudo-MMO title, Lost Ark, immersing myself in sprawling fantasy universes is my idea of a great Saturday night.
For many, WoW was their first-ever MMO experience, but for me, it was Guild Wars 2. While all eyes looked to WoW Shadowlands Eternity’s End for a new open-world story, I set my sights on GW2’s third expansion, End of Dragons, to sate my taste for all things fantastical.
Set amid the bustling streets of Tyria’s Eastern-inspired utopia, Cantha, your Commander sets out on yet another adventure to explore the relationship between the continent’s mysterious Jade Tech and the dragon cycle. Despite being a tale as old as time, End of Dragons breathes some much-needed fresh air into the franchise, but it still isn’t quite there yet.
Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons: Key details
- Price: $29.99 / £25.99 (Standard Edition)
- Developer: ArenaNet
- Release Date: February 28, 2022
- Platforms: PC
Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons Trailer
An emerald paradise
From the first moment I stepped foot on the shores of Tyria’s island paradise, Cantha and its mysterious Jade Tech had won me over. Bathed in sunlight that bounces off of crystalline waters and makes everything shimmer, during the day Cantha is an Eastern-inspired wonderland.
As night falls the city streets get even more beautiful. Enveloped in a soft emerald light that touches even the darkest of corners, New Kaineng City is quite the spectacle. I spent hours darting around these streets in the hope of uncovering their secrets – or even just a good ol’ roadside noodle bar.
Even outside of these sprawling cities, the luscious pagoda-style villages perfectly blend traditional Asian culture with the neo-futuristic cyberpunk vibes that define this new zone. Casting the mind back to the likes of World of Warcraft’s Mists of Pandaria, you can spend hours just exploring these areas in peace.
Plus you can run around petting Canthan Shibas, so there’s also that.
I need a Jade Bot
With new lands come new technology, and ArenaNet have absolutely excelled at creating innovative new Mastery trees that incorporate Canthan Jade technology. End of Dragons grants players five new pathways: Jade Bots, Fishing, Skiff Piloting, Arborstone Revitalization, and the all-new Siege Turtle mount.
Of them all, Jade Bots have to be my absolute favorite. Not only are they absolutely adorable, but these tiny little creatures are also essential to your travels. With the ability to resurrect fallen heroes, provide access to ziplines, and drop a waypoint for you to teleport back to, these cute little mechs quickly become a must-have.
One of the most enjoyable things to do, though, is hook them up to a mech point and fly them around like a drone. I spent hours exploring the skies of New Kaineng’s Garden Heights, grabbing (far too many) screenshots of its spectacular vistas from the Jade Bot’s panoramic viewpoint. It seems simple, but it’s these features that go a long way.
We can’t forget the Siege Turtle mount, though. Allowing two players to tag team enemies in style, whether you’re in the driver’s seat or shooting missiles, it’s a great way to have fun with friends. Skiffs provide a similar function, allowing you and your guildmates to explore the high seas together and, for the more competitive-minded, even race or host fishing contests.
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Masteries maketh the man in Guild Wars 2, but they maketh the expansion in End of Dragons.
Fun combat that’s not without some frustrations
While very little has changed in terms of combat, the new class trait lines add some fresh abilities for some of the game’s core classes.
Unfortunately, having tried out both Mesmer and Guardian, I can’t say I was completely enamored with either. Guardian seems to lack punch despite the focus on tanking enemies, and Mesmer seems to lack a bit of damage despite being a DPS. While I admit this is possibly just me being a bad player, both fell a little more flat than I would have liked.
Couple this with somewhat outdated graphics and Guild Wars is unlikely to stand up to the majesty of either FFXIV or New World. While I prefer its style to WoW, the game definitely needs to innovate on its base to topple its competitors. End of Dragons is a step in the right direction, but realistically there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons blends everything I want in a game together: it’s got an eastern-inspired tech utopia, awesome Mastery lines that are so much fun to explore, and potentially powerful classes.
Despite its futuristic vision, however, it seems that Guild Wars 2 is still a little stuck in the past, innovating very little on its core combat system and visuals. While this is great for those who know and love the game, I don’t know how many new players will choose to dive into the world of Cantha despite all of the wonders it contains.
Only time will tell if ArenaNet’s MMORPG will rise back to prominence, and I truly hope it does. After all, Tyria was where my MMO adventure began, and it will always have my heart.
Reviewed on PC
Where to buy Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons
You can purchase Guild Wars 2 End of Dragons by following this link to Amazon, but please note that