Everything old is new again in the newest content update for Guild Wars 2, which goes live today. Visions of the Past: Steel and Fire doesn’t do too much to advance the current storyline, but it takes a look back a few months, and a few years, into past adventures in Tyria, offering players the ability to re-live adventures that currently exist only in memory.
MMOBomb was invited to preview the story mission included with this update, which Lead Designer Joe Kimmes described as “both a setup episode for some future things and taking a detour.”
The “new” chapter that we got to experience is actually a side story called Forging Steel that chronologically takes place earlier in the season when Ryland Steelcatcher and his charr warband were forging north to create a supply depot for Bangar Ruinbringer and his splinter group. Along the way, we performed sub-missions for the various members of the warband and even got to ride along in a charr war tank, which carried a full suite of impressive armaments – when we provided it with ammo and kept it properly repaired, that is.
Our trip into the snowy Shiverpeaks led us on a detour through the former territory of the Stone Summit Dwarves, who are all extinct and won’t be any trouble – well, you can probably guess how that turned out. In the end, we were confronted by the Ancient Forgeman, a construct of steel and fire made by the dwarves, and rewarded with a basic version of one of the weapons from the warband members. These can be upgraded until you get a sweet flaming version of the same, and there’s also Stone Summit armor to be won.
That’s not the “flashback content” that’s really making the news, though. Visions of the Past also sends players to a new version of the Eye of the North, the iconic location from the Guild Wars expansion of the same name. You can build up the Eye of the North to recruit vendors, and, after completing the main storyline, you can visit the Scrying Pool to start a collection of memorabilia from earlier Guild Wars 2 adventures. Those include the first time we met some now-famous characters – Braham in Cragstad, Rox in the North Nolan Hatchery, and Canach in Southsun Cove – as well as challenging the final boss in the Tower of Nightmares.
It’s all part of the “nostalgia trip” Guild Wars 2 seems to be on lately, both by revisiting Season 1 content – which we were told there might be more of in the future – and the recent announcement of a seemingly Cantha-themed expansion. Given some of its recent struggles, both in terms of finances and personnel, it looks like ArenaNet is digging hard into the tried-and-true content that helped make Guild Wars 2 one of the top MMORPGs of the last decade.