The obvious route is never the one that ArenaNet seems to take in their storytelling. This can be both confusing and exciting. Much to the frustration of many lore delvers, whole threads are kept dangling while others are simply snipped, seemingly prematurely. Either way, some will likely never have their complete story told. Yet, ArenaNet keeps pressing forward.
In the current living story arc, Flame and Frost, the dredge are buddies with the Flame Legion. Who saw that coming? A xenophobic ex-slave race teamed up with an abrasive, slave-loving faction. Perhaps dredge found new owners, but that seems unlikely for an “alliance”. Either way, if someone had asked me in December what was the next story to be told it is unlikely I would have thought of either party, much less a combination of the two in a “Molten Alliance”.
My first guess would have been advancing the plot of the Consortium and Southsun Cove. ArenaNet decided that it should be advanced too since it appears the Consortium is taking big interest in the refugees running from the Molten Alliance. My next guesses would have been wrapping up Orr (perhaps on Claw Island), bringing up Jormag or Kralkatorrik’s stock, or dealing with the fallout from the dungeons.
Is the tale of Orr complete? I really don’t like that we are just told Zhaitan is dead. Can we see it? Can we discuss it with anybody? Aren’t asuran techmagilogichnicians watching the Eternal Alchemy with that regards? I understand that a lot of the zones have to stay locked in time, but I just can’t believe that we get “Zhaitan’s dead. Moving on.” Even just seeing Zhaitan’s body would have helped.
Jormag and Kralkatorrik also seem like the immediate Elder Dragon threats, which Destiny’s Edge made sure to mention at the end of Arah, story mode. Unlike the other known, surviving Elder Dragon Primordus, the Elder Dragons Jormag and Kralkatorrik have whole zones dedicated to the danger they present. Also the destruction of Zhaitan would start to open up sea lanes to Elona and the Crystal Desert, where Kralkatorrik landed. Perhaps we will get another Elder Dragon story in an expansion or later on in the Living Story. I thought ArenaNet did explain that they didn’t want the advancing Guild Wars 2 to be Elder-Dragon-of-the-Month.
Finally, a lot of story was told in the dungeons, which is humorous since dungeon runners seem to care the least about lore secrets. I have not made it to explorable Arah yet, but I am really surprised at how scattered the lore is surrounding that dungeon. I really dislike when MMOs stick hardcore lore in a place a fraction of the players will see. Lore-happy players might be really surprised to learn at how much the story dungeons change the world.
For example, Citadel of Flame is the bastion of the Flame Legion. Throughout Ascalon players should be running in to all manner of Flame Legion all praising their leader-god Gaheron Baelfire. In story mode players get to the Citadel just in time to stop the ascension of Gaheron to actual godhood, which should raise tons of questions right there. Anyway, Gaheron is now dead thanks to the players, and the Flame Legion becomes leaderless for a bit.
In other words, all of the story hinted at throughout Ascalon about the Flame Legion and Gaheron is pretty much wrapped up in the Citadel of Flame story mode. There are aftershocks in explorable, such as players stopping Gaheron’s attempt to resurrect, but from all appearances the Flame Legion was dealt a magnificently crushing blow. The dredge take a similar, if less crushing, blow in their Sorrow’s Embrace dungeon where players stop the Inquest from manipulating and arming the dredge.
In a way, I feel that Flame and Frost is a follow-up to the happenings in Sorrow’s Embrace and the Citadel of Flame. These two enemies to the good peoples of Tyria will not go quietly in the night. Perhaps it is a whole ‘nother sect separate from the chumps in the dungeons. It is a little weird to have one-half of Diessa Plateau’s Flame Legion in timeframe pre-dead Gaheron and have the other half of Diessa Plateau’s Flame Legion warping in with their dredge bunk buddies post-Gaheron.
Not only does ArenaNet have to make sure that all these new Living Story events don’t muck up the flavor and feel of the current zones, but they also have to watch the entire zone’s timeframe. I wouldn’t want a colony in Orr planting daisies and talking about Zhaitan’s death while the fort next door is yelling at me to rip Zhaitan’s control of the god statues. It’s a tricky business, these MMOs.
Across all the Guild Wars campaigns and expansions the only one that feels mostly wrapped up is Factions. There was a bad guy, and now he’s dead. The Guild Wars Live Team thankfully took it a step further with the cleansing of Cantha in the Winds of Change. And perhaps that’s it. I saw Shiro die, and I was able to experience the effects of his death. These are two things I feel are still missing in Guild Wars 2 with the death of Zhaitan.
I want to know the reason behind the Molten Alliance. I am very interested to meet Braham and Rox, and I hope in doing so ArenaNet will show us how they are adapting to the feedback from the personal story. I also just don’t feel like this whole Zhaitan/Orr thing can just possibly be over. Is it for real? Perhaps someday it will be.