Sad news for Guild Wars 2 fans: ArenaNet President Mike O’Brien has indefinitely suspended development on the new set of Legendary Weapons originally set to launch with recent expansion Heart of Thorns. This comes on the heels of a recent Reddit AMA where O’Brien ruffled feathers with news that at least 70 of its total workforce was dedicated to the next expansion, despite much of the promised content of both the base game and Heart of Thorns remaining in a state of flux. O’Brien states in his opening post on the official forums that the team previously dedicated to Legendary Weapon content was comprised of six people which have since been transferred to the team working on Living Story content, yet followed with a later reply that this may not effect the release of said content. If the suspension of content and the absorption of its team do little to increase the productivity of another, this begs the question, why bother?
The decision has created division in the community as fans rush both to defend and condemn ArenaNet for the removal of content felt promised by an expansion long-since purchased. O’Brien has taken to the forums in effort to defend the decision and point out the slew of features that did indeed launch with Heart of Thorns, including Guild Halls, new Elite Specializations, and The Revenant, an entirely new profession. For some, however, his defense has fallen on deaf ears in the wake of ArenaNet’s instances of over-promising on what exists now as unfinished raids and missing Fractals content and updates, both part of an expansion launched last year. This is in addition to the stagnation of Living World content and abundant, long-standing issues with WvW population imbalances.
It’s worth noting that the suspended development of Legendary Weapons applies only to those which were still in the design stages, with the recently released Pistol, Axe, and Staff Legendaries available for acquisition and the nearly finished Shortbow, “Chuka and Champawat”, due to release with the upcoming Spring 2016 Quarterly Update. Of the initial 16 total Legendary Weapons planned, this means only four will see release. This news also applies only to the teased Second Generation Legendary Weapons, with the promised Legendary Backpiece and Armor still in development. Immediately following the news of the cancellation, the official Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns website continued to advertise the new Legendary Weapons as part of the expansion’s offerings, contradicting O’Brien’s post that their release was meant to be alongside the expansion’s content, rather than a part of it. This section has since been removed.
Even as a long-time ArenaNet fan, it’s easy to be torn by this news. Content is what Guild Wars 2 has been most light on, with time between Living Story updates becoming progressively longer and an expansion campaign that ended quickly. So, that Legendary Weapons – an extremely grindy piece of “content” that’s largely a repetitive slog of busy work – are put on hold to dedicate labor towards continued story development could be a great thing. However, snatching content away from an already-paid expansion is a terrible precedent to set, let alone one easily accepted.