[GW2] The LA Effect

ArenaNet released a double-whammy yesterday with an overview of the city of Lion’s Arch in Guild Wars 2 with a video and a developer post on the creation of the new Lion’s Arch. The city starting from Guild Wars has a rich history both in-game and out. Yet, ArenaNet is starting fresh with the a total re-envisioning of one of the most well known cities in Guild Wars. Will it become as powerful a hub of activity as its predecessor was in its own heyday?

The old city of Lion’s Arch became the iconic outpost in the original Guild Wars Prophecies campaign, and due to festivals and Eye of the North content, it remains one of the three best trade hubs. The final campaign’s Kamadan and the newly added Embark Beach now likely generate more activity. It wasn’t the first Guild Wars town (read: large outpost) as players first visited the ruined Ascalon City, complete with shades of brown and more brown. Nor was it the last as players hubbed around Droknar’s Forge during the level 20 (max) content. Yet, Lion’s Arch became the most popular town out of a total of 5 towns in Prophecies.

I’ve seen this discussed by the community before because it is interesting that Lion’s Arch took the population crown. Droknar’s Forge and Henge of Denravi might have been too sprawling. Ascalon City was too low level and brown. The Anmoon Oasis felt too transient as the real hub in the Crystal Desert seemed to be Augury Rock. Henge of Denravi further faced the same crisis compounded by the fact that in the game’s story it was supposed to be “destroyed.” Yet, many believed the key feature of Lion’s Arch was that it was the first town players found when they started to be ready for trading, socializing, etc. after a long haul through the Shiverpeaks, and it felt like the only town available as players looped through Kryta and the Maguuma Jungle.

In Guild Wars 2, the old has been washed away in the cleansing waters of Orrian tsunamis. The new is now a melting pot city where people of every race (even non-playable) band together as the front-line bastion against the Elder Dragon, Zhaitan. Yet, this is going to be the bastard sixth city with the five playable races each getting their own.

While old Lion’s Arch became the central city by default, the Lion’s Arch of Guild Wars 2 is going to have some tough competition as freshly-hatched players are going to learn to feel comfortable with their home town from the outset. Plus, each player’s personal home instance is located in their home town. It appears that the ace-in-the-hole for Lion’s Arch is going to be it’s location as a stronghold against Zhaitan’s forces making it possibly an active hub for characters at the higher levels.

Regardless, I am very interested to see if there will be a main Guild Wars 2 city or town. Certainly Lion’s Arch can get players away from racial arguments and aesthetic arguments, and possibly even functionality arguments if one racial city has a more efficient layout than another. (With map travel, functionality arguments are going to have small weight anyway.) Will Lion’s Arch live up to its former glory? That’s one question that will have to wait until launch.

–Ravious

18 thoughts on “[GW2] The LA Effect”

  1. It looks huge and I really hope it is as huge as it looks. I hope you can really explore the city like the video shows. People on balconies. People on roof tops.

  2. They’ve said you can PvP from the very early stages of the game, so i don’t think LA will be integral to pvp but i also think much of pvp will center around LA, the lore seems to point in that direction. There is a portal to the mists, for instance.

    Plus there are pirates, and none of the race cities have anything on that.

    1. They’ve also said that if you want you can get to any other major city pretty much right after the tutorial section for each race. So if you so chose you could complete the tutorial bit and then immediately hop through the asura gate to LA for PvP.

  3. I wonder if there will be some instanced content in L.A. for players to attach themselves to. We know that there are areas in divinities reach outside of the player’s home instance that are instances such as the Guard Captain’s office.

      1. oh right! I forgot about Caithe D:

        is that because of the Sylvari reskin that i heard rumors about?

        1. What rumours? The reskin is true and yes, there wasn’t any of the Sylvari in that video.

          1. So it’s true then! That must be the reason Caithe isn’t there!

            How much longer do you think the game will be delayed because of the sylvari reskin? possibly till next year?

  4. Most awesome thing about that video = Charr with a peg leg. :-)

    I know LA will be my base of operations for all of my characters regardless of race/class, in part due to the availability of all amenities, but mostly due to the overall ambiance of the place… I can almost smell the sea air already.

    (I did catch the Norn and Asura heroes, but the others didn’t stand out to me.)

    LA will most likely be the hub for most folks’ higher level characters/content with the racial cities serving as the “starter” hubs for the early levels of the game.

  5. Hopefully Lion’s Arch does become the main hub. It looks absolutely magnificent, Matthew Medina did a superb job on the whole city and I cannot wait to explore it fully.

    It seems through the old Guild Wars Lion’s Arch lost most of it’s popularity as more expansions came out and finally it rested upon Kamadan or “Spamadan.” That city became the main hub for trading and usually had the most population. The city of Lion’s Arch seems to be the center point for the storyline at higher levels so it will probably get a high amount of traffic. I am hoping there are actual sieges on the cities we can take place in, it would be a momentous battle indeed.

    Great take on the whole city Ravious :D

  6. I’ll definitely be spending the majority of my in-city time in Lion’s Arch. I love piratey things, so seeing LA makes me really excited and I can’t wait to explore it.

  7. I feel that LA will become a central hub in GW2. Due to the fact that around level 20, every player regardless of race will have to go through Lion’s Arch at some time will bring together all the people, so no one is really left out if another race’s main town became a central hub. Furthermore, the people who played GW1 will probably feel some lingering affection towards Lion’s Arch, and may just stay there simply for nostalgia reasons. If they’re there, then it’s quite possible that many others will follow.

  8. Based on seeing the video two interesting questions came to my mind, they are also related to somehow to the population issue.

    One is the ambient voices of the cities: many articles and interviews detailed the excellent voicing work anet does. I wondered if e.g. a city is almost empty (of players), will there be different ambient noises compared to a full city? I wondered if an empty city with buzzing sounds would be a bit awkward.

    The another issue is whether arenanet also plans average server population while tweaking with cities? In GW1 many outposts became quickly haunted places as the world grew and/or population decreased. Now with servers, they must have a pretty good figure how many people they might have. Does this influence their planning so they avoid barren places?

    1. I think npc’s will make the ”ambient noises”. Ofcourse you can expect towns to turn a bit more silent right after a dynamic event, when some npc’s could be killed.

  9. I recall first reaching Old Lion’s Arch with my very first character. I had played what seemed like the content of many other full games by time I finally reached it, after many, many hours spent in pre-searing, Ascalon and the Shiverpeaks. I raced there one night with a friend just in time to see the Christmas event. I was blown away by how populated and vast it seemed. Little did I know getting there was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of content and thousands of hours of play.

    I have very fond memories of it, and can’t wait to see it reincarnated in GW2.

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