No menu items!

    Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons review

    Need to know

    What is it? The third expansion, and the finale to the MMO’s Elder Dragon saga.
    Expect to pay $30/£26
    Developer ArenaNet
    Publisher NCSoft
    Reviewed on Ryzen 7 3700X, 32GB RAM, RTX 3080Ti
    Multiplayer? Massively
    Link Official site (opens in new tab)

    $27.50 (opens in new tab)View at Amazon (opens in new tab)$31.99 (opens in new tab)View at Amazon (opens in new tab)738 Amazon customer reviews (opens in new tab)☆☆☆☆☆

    Since the release of End of Dragons, I’ve spent as much time in Guild Wars 2’s older maps as I have in its new Canthan region. It’s a peculiar quirk of the game that a new expansion doesn’t replace what came before. This is an MMO that, in the nine years since its release, has never raised its level cap. The gear and weapons you earned before remain just as relevant today. In that context, End of Dragons doesn’t just need to be good in isolation, but—through its new maps, features and class specialisations—has to weave itself into the larger tapestry of the overall endgame.

    Even now, a month after launch, it’s hard to predict what its enduring legacy will be. But one thing is for certain: End of Dragons makes a great first impression.

  • Amazon Prime Day deals: see all the best offers right now!
  • The campaign is the strongest Guild Wars 2 has delivered yet. In pursuit of a band of sky pirates, the player crashes into the continent of Cantha—triggering a diplomatic incident that results in the region being reopened to the outside world for the first time in hundreds of years. As the vanguard of this new era of trade and tourism, you’re quickly embroiled in the problems of the region.

    Broadly I enjoy what ArenaNet has done here. Guild Wars 2’s writing has varied over the years, but tonally it can often feel too arch and sarcastic. Here, instead, it’s breezy—a fun adventure even as the story becomes steadily darker. Its characters are given enough space to work through their feelings as events unfold, but there’s a lightness to the delivery. The conclusion isn’t exactly a surprise—End of Dragons was not a subtle name in a game that has, in recent years, seemed in a hurry to move beyond the Elder Dragons that have dominated up to now. But the route to that point is frequently surprising, and full of memorable moments for both new and returning allies.

    It’s more deft in its presentation, too, doing a good job of letting the player revel in both small moments and grand spectacle. It helps that its big, act-ending boss fights are also repurposed for the instanced strike missions. Before End of Dragons, I would struggle to name a campaign boss fight I actually enjoyed. Here, though, there are plenty—likely because their reuse in a more mechanically complex endgame form gives ArenaNet the excuse to spend more time on their construction.

    (Image credit: ArenaNet)

    End of Dragons is a quality expansion, but also one that’s arriving at a point when Guild Wars 2 at large is going through a major transition. After years of what felt like neglect, the game has a renewed focus: moving to DirectX 11, revitalising World vs World through a new Alliances system, undergoing broad changes to profession and specialisation balance. This work is still ongoing. The DirectX 11 and World vs World improvements are still in beta—the former still somewhat buggy, the latter appearing occasionally for limited trials. And the fact ArenaNet has only recently committed to quarterly balance updates makes it hard to judge the new elite specialisations—because the old ones are in the midst of some sweeping changes.

    In this sense, despite its name, End of Dragons isn’t really an end. Nor is it an entirely fresh beginning. It may close out the Elder Dragon saga, but in every other sense it’s a continuation of a game with a long, complicated and sometimes messy history, that nonetheless seems committed to refreshing itself for the future. In an MMO that has only ever become larger and more sprawling—one structured so that new regions only add to the amount of stuff there is to do day-to-day—End of Dragons successfully carves a place for itself alongside nearly a decade’s worth of maps, events and endgame challenges. That the quality of what it adds so often exceeds what came before leaves me hopeful that Guild Wars 2’s best days are still to come.

    TODAY’S BEST DEALS$27.50 (opens in new tab)at Amazon (opens in new tab)$31.99 (opens in new tab)at Amazon (opens in new tab)

    As seen on PCgamer

    Latest articles

    Related articles