Guild Wars 2 Origins of Madness Review

By Jeff Francis
Guild Wars 2 Origins of Madness review

The challenges facing the world of Tyria continue to escalate in the latest update for Guild Wars 2, Origins of Madness. The diabolical, and incredibly insane, Scarlet Briar has created a new monstrosity that the players will need to face in heated battle. However, Scarlet Briar is not the only menace as a new threat in the form of a three-headed jungle wurm has appeared in the Bloodtide Coast. There's plenty of action in the latest installment of ArenaNet's Living World storyline for the mmorpg. So does this latest content update pull our strings with joy or with agony? We delve into the latest machinations of Scarlet Briar in our Guild Wars 2 Origins of Madness review.

Overall, there are two main features of the Origins of Madness update. The first is the Twisted Marionette, which is a huge twisted watchwork mega-weapon created by Scarlet Briar. The second is the introduction of a three-headed jungle wurm that has been brought to the surface by the vibrations of Scarlet Briar's energy probes. The three heads (amber, cobalt, and crimson) have to be fought simultaneously in order to be defeated. While the Twisted Marionette is temporary, the three-headed jungle wurm is a permanent addition to Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2 marionette

While other mmo games sporadically put out new content, Guild Wars 2 has been pumping it out pretty regularly. Most of the content was playable by more casual players, with an occasional nod towards hardcore players. Origins of Madness is definitely geared towards the hardcore player as the boss fights are extremely demanding. If you're a casual gamer that leaps in before finding out what needs to be done, be prepared to be yelled at by other players. What really sets these fights apart from other updates is the sheer scale of them. In the past, you only needed to coordinate the actions of a party, but in Origins of Madness, up to 150 players need to be on the same page. This is both a strength and a great weakness.

Let's take a quick look at the fights in Origins of Madness. One solid aspect is that you know when the events are going to trigger as they occur every two hours, with the two alternating. The Twisted Marionette fight requires five separate groups of players to guard the five different lanes leading into an area that's sealed off. Scarlet Briar will send hordes of minions to breach the area and it's up to the players to stop them. Mobs will also spawn inside the lanes so a few players will have to play defense. When the gate for the lane turns green, the second phase of the fight begins. Here players are teleported onto one of five different discs. Each lane has its own group of discs and upon each disc is a champion to be fought. The champions vary in their mechanics by lane. Every individual group must defeat the champion within a few minutes, which will then sever a chain of the giant marionette. If a group fails, they're pushed back to the first phase and their chain is given to the next lane to attempt to complete. Fail a few times and the marionette's aethercannon will explode, killing everyone.

As for the new jungle wurms, they also require a great deal of coordination. This event begins with a long escort quest, with three different paths taken at the same time. Players will have to decide beforehand, or rather quickly, how best to split into the three groups. After the escort quest, the three heads of the jungle wurm will appear. The three heads need to be killed within one minute of each other, at which point they'll respawn as decapitated heads. These heads need to be killed within two minutes of each other. Did I mention that each head has its own unique mechanics?

Guild Wars 2 fight

The fights in Origins of Madness are very unforgiving. If people do not know the mechanics of the fight (which had to be picked up by doing the event), then the event will fail. This is where Origins of Madness both soars and crashes to Earth at the same time. If you're a hardcore player and love a challenge, then this update is tailor-made for you. Working with over a hundred other players to bring down a world boss gives an amazing feeling of accomplishment. However, if you're a more casual player, this update is an exercise in frustration. There really is no scaling for smaller groups, so if you're on a server that doesn't engage in such events regularly, you'll definitely need to hop onto another. The biggest issue I have with Origins of Madness is that it takes so little to have the entire event go wrong. Dealing with a PUG in a dungeon is bad enough, but multiplying that by twenty can make one insane.

I love that Guild Wars 2 is an mmo that provides new content regularly, and that content has been of consistent good quality. My feelings for Origins of Madness is that it's a mixed bag. I love the regular schedule of events, making it far easier for me to hop on and give them a whirl. However, the fact that you need so many players to know what they're doing and to be on the same page undermines the update as it so rarely happens. It's a brutal, bruising update, and if you can weather it, you'll enjoy it. If not, you'll just get frustrated and want to punch your monitor.


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