[GW] Mystery of the Lost Love and Content

Between cursing at Steam and Shatter, I put in some good time with the next Guild Wars: Beyond chapter, Hearts in the North. I know I am a little late to the party since the content dropped nearly a month ago, but I had to take a small break after vanquishing Elona and getting my Hall of Monuments past 35. I have plans for 40, but it does feel like work sometimes. Thankfully, I have plenty of fun available in my gaming stable. (I want to take a moment to curse at Shatter’s Bonus Mode again. Thanks.)

This next small chapter in Guild Wars: Beyond is a great break from the grind involved in working on the Hall of Monuments. Instead of running around in a party of 8, players take the reins of Keiran Thackeray, an ally of the Shining Blade that went MIA in the beginning siege of the White Mantle on Lion’s Arch. Keiran gets his own skillbar, and the gameplay is balanced for him and his sidekick, Miku, to stand against hundreds of White Mantle.

I have to say that after running around with an “eight-headed hydra” of my character and 7 computer-controlled group members, having just one guy to worry about is pretty refreshing. I don’t really agree with some of the community reaction that this style of gameplay is readying fans for Guild Wars 2. I just think that the Guild Wars Live Team felt it was a good time to return to some of the great gameplay originally offered by the Guild Wars Bonus Mission Pack. This was a really good choice in my opinion.

Here’s how the chapter works. The play goes out in to Kryta and the Maguuma Jungle to find detritus, such as a tarnished emblem, and then they bring it back to the mysterious Hall of Monuments, where a vision emanating from the spiritual resonance of the item is shown to the player and Gwen (Keiran’s future bride). The vision is where the player assumes the role of Keiran. It’s a pretty nice way to tell a story through the limited means available both to the Guild Wars engine and the resources available to the Live Team.

Except, that it either turns in to a frustrating hunt for items or a mad dash to the spoilers at Guild Wars Wiki. For example, the first leg of content occurs in Watchtower Coast, where the player finds an Embedded Arrowhead, and where Keiran’s first mission, Auspicious Beginnings, occurs. The first mission ends on the west side of Watchtower Coast, where the White Mantle target runs west in to the Divinity Coast mission area. Back at the Hall of Monuments, Gwen cries and asks the player to find more “traces.”

The next item is a Tarnished Emblem found nowhere near Divinity Coast. Instead it is found on the way to Maguuma Jungle in the Majesty’s Rest zone, which doesn’t even directly connect to Watchtower Coast. There is absolutely no hint that the White Mantle target, Danthor, is heading in to the Maguuma Jungle. Miku doesn’t mention it in Auspicious Beginnings. Gwen doesn’t mention it as a gut feeling in the Hall of Monuments. Nothing except Danthor’s westward heading. This snipe hunt happens twice more with only a word or two more for a hint at the maguffin’s location.

For me, this was incredibly frustrating. I don’t want to be forced to choose between going to the Guild Wars Wiki for crucial answers or spending a large chunk of time wandering around holding the alt-button down looking for crap on the ground in zones that would not become, later known, even part of the Hearts of the North chapter. It comes as a surprise to me that this small chapter did not also benefit from an over-arching quest, like the one that was finally added for the War in Kryta. Small hints in a persistent quest-style reminder would have gone a long way. Accessibility has been the big blemish on ArenaNet’s scorecard for an otherwise amazing Guild Wars: Beyond campaign.

There is still plenty to look forward to in Guild Wars. Supposedly there will be another costume set for Wintersday. We have the Hero update to look forward to, and many people are excited to return to Cantha for the next big chapter in Guild Wars: Beyond… Winds of Change. Hopefully they keep accessibility of the content much more in mind in Cantha, but until then I suggest judicious use of the Guild Wars Wiki.

–Ravious
my name is ink catherly. I can see the sky

4 thoughts on “[GW] Mystery of the Lost Love and Content”

  1. I absolutely agree. Either going to the Wiki or having to check every corner of Kryta, which is not exactly small, is not a very good “scavenger hunt”.

    Hearts of the North really needs more hints, because there are not any. I also wonder how it comes that Thackeray suddenly ended up near Anvil Rock, near Ice Tooth Cave, a cave outpost only my Explorer and some of my Tyrian chars ever visited.

    I was one of those who wondered if Thackeray’s Ranger skills are a hint of what we can suspect in GW2, but regardless if this is the case or not:

    While his skills were still overpowered and allowing him to take on several Mantle, I liked playing him much more than playing Turai Ossa or Saul D’Alessio, their imba mass carnage skills did not really feel “epic”, they rather made he mobs feel weak and boring. Heck, I even managed to die twice.

    All difficulty in the BMP was getting the bonus as well. I did not like that, while those solo missions are made so that everyone can do them, they must take care that things do not become too trivial to be enjoyable.

  2. The treasure hunt was a little senseless, though fun for a while initially – good Kieran quests however. ^_^

    I must say that the Hearts finale & Wintersday timing is confusing me at this point…

    > Final Friday with which to commence Wintersday is the 17th, and already confirmed Hearts content is distinct from Wintersday because it’ll be available all year round.
    So either they run concurrently or no Hearts finale till New Year at the earliest.

    > Last day of wedding costume set offer is the 18th, by which point I’d expect the new Wintersday set to already be released (as they have always been very prompt with costumes).
    So two store offers running concurrently for possibly the first time ever?

    > Wintersday is supposedly getting a shake-up for 2010 (John Stumme: “Traditionally, that’s a very Dwayna and Grenth affair… but there could be some others getting involved this year”), which we aren’t getting any clues about and which’ll presumably be veering in an entirely different direction to Hearts.

    So overall there could be absolutely any mystery goodies landing on Friday – upto and including a new hero & seasonal storyline – or nothing more than “Wintersday decorations are up”, with updates being punted closer still to Christmas!
    Too tantalising for words!

    1. Yeah, I hope we get some news this week (or the update!). Also, be nice to hear about the next GW2 novel… lots of confusing speculation there, especially since the publisher says it’s being released in just over 2 weeks!!!

  3. Considering that I’m still struggling to get my first GW character ascended, perhaps I can look forward to them adding an overarching quest series to this content before I get to it. :)

    That said, it’s sad to hear that the Wiki is so necessary for this quest to work. On one hand the Guildwars Wiki is an amazing body of work by the community – it’s really a pleasure to use and has a wealth of information in it. However, when I’m playing a campaign I’d really prefer to be able to find out things on my own, rather than going immediately to the wiki to read the easiest way to do it.

    Unfortunately with these sorts of scavenger hunts, once you’ve started looking… it just gets harder and harder to “give up” and go use the wiki – for me, at least; it can really leave a sour taste in my mouth.

    That said, it’s always nice to see GW get more content. I took a break from getting lost in the crystal desert to play a trial of Cataclysm for a couple days, and it really made me appreciate how unique and fresh GW is amongst the sea of WoW clones.

    As someone who hasn’t played the bonus missions, I also look forward to playing GW as a “solo” experience for the first time since pre-searing. While I enjoy the team building and micromanagement aspects of the hero/henchman party, I’ve always preferred games where I control a single character at a time.

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