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Flameseeker Chronicles: The game at the end of Guild Wars 2, revisited

I tend to dislike the term "endgame" because I suspect most people have scribbled out their own definition of the word and that anyone who dares to use it in reference to anything outside of that definition is summarily dismissed and excommunicated. I'm never quite sure what it is I'm being excommunicated from, mind you, but there's definitely a feeling of being suddenly, inexplicably, apart. Alien. Other.

Anyway, I hope we can agree that endgame is what happens at the, well, end of the game -- after the game has been, in some way, finished. We all know that this is ludicrous, right? As long as you're playing the game, the game is not ended, and expecting that it will change substantially enough to be classified in a new way is kind of silly. But people persist in using the term, and they persist in differing over when, precisely, the endgame starts. Does it start when you've hit the game's level cap, if there is one? How about when you've finished the game's storyline, if it has one?

You might've noticed that I'm kind of endgame agnostic. Regardless, let's go ahead and talk about Guild Wars 2's.

Flameseeker Chronicles The game at the end of Guild Wars 2, revisited
If you are an incredibly long-term and faithful reader of this column, you may remember that we addressed this topic a few months before launch. Before the game was a substantial thing. Before, essentially, we were in the know. We are now in the know, and as I've hit 80 (twice!) and finished the main storyline (once!), I suppose that what I'm doing is, if not endgame proper, at least very endgame-like.

What you do in the endgame zone depends on what you want from the game. That may sound silly, but the moment I say, "Well, you need to start doing this thing over here," I just know that someone is going to say "But I don't want that; I want to do this other thing!" You know what? You do whichever thing makes you happy.

Let's say shiny gear makes you happy. Well, then you'll probably be going into the Fractals of the Mists quite a lot. People have reached staggeringly, mind-blowingly, astoundingly high levels in the Fractals dungeon. I'm at, like, five. Maybe six. The problem is that I'm at five or six but I've been in 20 or 30 times because of the whole thing where you can only go in at the highest common level, and I'm really bad at being picky about those kinds of things.

Flameseeker Chronicles The game at the end of Guild Wars 2, revisited
Happily for folks like me, a change is a-comin'. ArenaNet's Isaiah Cartwright recently revealed two big, wonderful changes coming up. The first is that the current problem of disconnected players being unable to rejoin the party (made all the worse by the high level of disconnects from that dungeon) will have a workaround. The second and possibly more awesome change is that parties will be able to enter at the highest tier available to any one member of the party. If I were to enter with some buddies who had, say, level 22 unlocked, we could enter in at that level. At the end of the round of fractals, everyone who was at or below that level would go up a tier.

But we weren't really talking about that, were we?

So you figure out what you want to do and you start doing things that help you get there. I assume that if dungeons or replays or dynamic events or PvP are your thing, you've pretty much got the basics covered. If your "endgame" is just "more of the same stuff you've been doing this whole time because that was actually kind of fun, you know?" then you're set. The endgame is before you, and I'll be darned if it ain't behind you, too.

There are a lot of ways to get what you want. I'm going to go under the assumption that most folks' PvE endgame translates, however roughly, to "make an exorbitant amount of money and/or accrue an impossible amount of other in-game resources and/or currencies." After that step there may or may not be a step where you spend it on stuff. I'm not here to judge.

Flameseeker Chronicles The game at the end of Guild Wars 2, revisited
Accumulating money requires doing things -- specifically, it requires doing things with a modicum of efficiency. If you're breaking an entire set of armor on a dungeon run, you're not going to be stockpiling cash. So you find things that you enjoy doing and are not all that awful at (this is actually my standard, and I find that it leaves me with plenty to do and a more or less unaffected ego) and you do those things.

For me, one of the biggest subsets of things within the set of "things I enjoy doing and am not all that awful at" is dungeons. Within the dungeon subset, I find that I really enjoy, well, some of them. In the effort to help a guildfellow of mine get his complete Citadel of Flame armor set, I've found myself running about a path of that a night. CoF is fairly lucrative: You'll get about a gold worth of vendor trash and coin drops, plus the chance at nice things from the chest, plus 60 or so dungeon tokens per unique path per day. If you're like me and you're not saving up for the CoF armor or weapons, there's a very nice thing about CoF and all the dungeons after it: The tokens can be traded in fairly inexpensively for rare armor that can be broken down for as few as zero and as many as three ectos per piece. Ferrah's path can be run in a silly amount of time and isn't brutally punishing or anything. (Run past the bridge event. You'll feel awful the first time, and then you'll realize what a marvel of efficiency skipping things can be.)

I like other dungeons, too. In fact, we've barely got into what I like to do, and there's a whole bunch of stuff outside of what I presently do that can be placed under the endgame umbrella. Let's talk about it some time -- say, next week? Here? Great!

Oh. Before we say goodbye, I'd like to add: I CALLED IT. A blog post earlier today listed several features as additions to look out for in the next several months. Among those features are an improved LFG tool, varied daily achievements, eSports improvements like observer modes, and a couple other things that I totally called at the start of the year.

Elisabeth Cardy is a longtime Guild Wars player, a personal friend of Rytlock Brimstone, and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column updates on Tuesdays and keeps a close eye on Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. Email Elisabeth at

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