[GW2] Scope of Flame & Frost

Before the mob’s attention is diverted to Southsun, the vocal players on the Guild Wars 2 forums appear to be unhappy with the ending of Flame & Frost. It distills down to “4 months and we just get a few bonfires”. That’s a lot of distillation, and even in the final hours of Flame & Frost, it is not very accurate. Still I think a big issue is the handling of the scope of Flame & Frost.

Flame & Frost revolved around the Molten Alliances assaults in two zones. In the norn starting zone, Wayfarer Foothills, the Molten Alliance took roughly the northeast corner quadrant, and in the second charr zone, Diessa Plateau they took a large chunk of the west-central side. This is where the action was. This was where the yellow sunbursts were yelling at me to go. It became such a focus to players, yet it really wasn’t a focus to the world.

In the cutscenes both norn and charr leaders mention that while the Molten Alliance is noteworthy, it is not the only fish to fry. Wayfarer Foothills still had the Sons of Svanir to deal with in addition to the primitives, and the charr still had ghosts, rebels, ogres, and dredge-free Flame Legion. In a sense the devastating Molten Alliance had to fight for attention from the capital cities. The Pact’s Orders also had plenty of fight in other parts of the world (like the remaining Elder Dragons).

Cutaway to said capital cities, and the focus of the players was again on the starbursts leading players to refugee camps all lazing about because of the Molten Alliance. There was still the usual hustle and bustle of the capital cities, but the new hotness was on the ‘fugees. The same can be said about Lion’s Arch situation, but with the twist in that the Consortium did take interest in the refugees a tad more than anybody else.

The Vigil eventually responds with a contingent of soldiers, but they are still going too slow for our heroes, Rox and Braham. We help them because only we know the direness of the situation. Except, is it really that dire? Sons of Svanir are still rampaging the norn settled countryside, and all sorts of denizens are still killing the charr’s cows.

I feel that in one sense ArenaNet was trying to wedge in the Living Story without upsetting the zone’s balance. While the Molten Alliance was the bad-guy du jour, there were still plenty of enemies around Tyria. However, the player’s ultra-focus was on the Molten Alliance. It seemed like that was an enemy on the level of an Elder Dragon! It really was just a double-scoop of the usual that had gotten a bit more momentum than the stagnating meta.

So when the Molten Alliance was actually unforged, the celebrations in game were about right on. It would be the equivalent of Molensk being permanently removed from southwest Wayfarer or the Silex Castrum being forever cleansed in western Diessa. Yet, after 4 months of Flame & Frost updates it seemed like it should have been more magniflorious. Talking with the refugees at the affected capital cities and heading back to the Flame & Frost instance areas – North Nolan Hatchery and Cragstead – nets quite a bit more aftereffects of the Molten Alliance’s defeat. Some vocal players though were practically asking to be forcefed a final cutscene. I wonder what the cinematics department is up to because they would’ve been a nice ending.

I think it is a good idea that we aren’t simply getting the Elder-Dragon-of-the-week style Living Story. ArenaNet’s first big story shot for Guild Wars 2 was aimed at a cool idea (mashup) as a temporary encounter that might change a few zones in Tyria. It just felt like it was really hard to get a sense of the scope of this cool idea. Focus makes it seem like it should’ve been bigger, and in hindsight it might not have been.

The Secret of Southsun Shore is only planned to be the headliner for about a month. The scope of it already feels “contained”. It’s dealing with a tourist/refugee colony. It’s a mystery instead of taking on a region-conquering alliance, and the crux of it seems to be helping one Lionguard instead of two entire races. I hope there are more permanent changes to Southsun, but then it also has much more room for it. Anything permanent in the other zones would have to consider hearts, events, meta-events, NPC chatter, etc. Sweeping aside the local wildlife won’t result in much lore destruction.

 –Ravious

 

9 thoughts on “[GW2] Scope of Flame & Frost

  1. Asya

    Totally ignored the living story. Didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary except LA got a bonfire buff.

  2. bhagpuss

    It’s all very well to look at the bigger picture but really the whole three months of the Living Story is just yet another example of how the whole concept is never going to work. We went through all of this last November with the Karka event. Players, the majority of them, or at least the majority of those who express an opinion, just hate it if anything happens that inconveniences or disadvantages them. At the same time players frequently complain they are bored and say they want a “dynamic” world. Square that circle if you can.

    They loathe one-off events or anything that happens so quickly that they miss it. They detest anything that stops them traveling in areas they are used to traveling, using facilities they are used to using or disrupts routine activities they are used to doing. If anything does dare to get in the way of them playing the exact same way they played yesterday and the day before then it damn well better come with more than adequate compensation attached.

    I enjoyed Flame and Frost for what it was, which was a bit of fluff bolted on to some harebrained “lore”, plus a couple of instances and a dungeon. I’m pretty sure they could just have added the instances and the dungeon and left out all the rest and it wouldn’t have made much difference to many. If anything else in The Living Story comes to much more than that I’ll be very surprised.

  3. João Carlos

    @bhagpuss

    I disagree, the concept will not only work, but it is working. However, they are still learning how to do it (so, the next living story will take only one month and not the 4 months the last one had), but take note that living story makes GW2 completelly diferent from any other current MMO in the market.

    1. moondog548

      @Joao

      “note that living story makes GW2 completelly diferent from any other current MMO in the market.”

      WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???

      Some fetch quests, some npc dialog, some instances all dished out (over 4 months!!!!) under a thin layer of fluff.

      They were neat little things! But, the sheer *insubstantiality* of it all contrasted with the the hype about it from ANet and the fans like you just absolutely boggles my mind.

      I guess it worked just fine, I mean the quests and their accompanying fluff text were right there in game, no problem. It’s nice, I enjoyed it; it’s just not particularly interesting from a meta/game-design point of view.

      1. coppertopper

        For a game that hasnt even been released a year, it has tried things out with a goal of a lore filled world that no one else is trying to do currently. There really is no other MMO on the market that is still trying to mess with the standard formula like GW2. So far, its been hit and miss with the living story content, but Anet is working towards something way better then your standard quest grind. And hey, if you don’t like whats currently on tap, you arent losing a dime.

  4. The Ogre

    “The Vigil eventually responds with a contingent of soldiers, but they are still going too slow for our heroes, Rox and Braham.”

    And that right there is the biggest problem with GW2 – you still aren’t the hero.

  5. Jeromai

    What I suspect is happening is a longer form story. The bigger picture may make more sense as more months pass and more is revealed. We’re in the setup phase and barely into any rising action, so to speak.

    We haven’t even found out who was behind the Molten Alliance yet, no named villains showing up (the two comedic sidekicks of the dungeon are definitely stooges, not masterminds.)

    Nor have we found out much about our burgeoning NPC heroes – Rox adopted a new pet (or the other way around) and may have been involved in a mine accident with possible use of explosives that decimated her warband, and Braham is related to Eir and is looking for a special someone who has gone missing. That suggests threads to be picked up later on.

    Switching back to Southsun should let us find out more about Ellen Kiel and Subdirector Noll and whatever the Consortium thinks it’s up to.

    Only two problems with this format. I don’t know if players have enough patience for this kind of thing when they’re mostly used to having a simple beginning, middle, end story told with each quest text, and may not stay an extended amount of time with an MMO.

    And the shorter term details seem to have problems gelling with a overarching story arc. I still can’t really resolve with good immersion in GW2 lore busting down something like 40 identical molten facilities with a giant red robot dredge and a glowing blue mutant charr that look like they stepped out of WoW with the rest of the more realistic (if slow and boring to some) storyline.

    1. João Carlos

      @Jeromai “What I suspect is happening is a longer form story. The bigger picture may make more sense as more months pass and more is revealed. We’re in the setup phase and barely into any rising action, so to speak.

      We haven’t even found out who was behind the Molten Alliance yet, no named villains showing up”

      The fact is, while we don’t have named boss villains (we have some small villains like Noll… and I am not talking about the fact he is an asura), there are clues that say who was behind the Molten Alliance (http://dulfy.net/2013/05/12/gw2-flame-and-frost-epilogue-guide/). The players just need give more attention to WHAT the NPCs are saying. Some players noted that the “[fire legion] fast-talking friend from the city” is problably

      /SPOILER

      the Consortium.

      I too noted that the Molten Alliance was a “consortium” (wikipedia – “an association of two or more individuals, companies, organizations or governments [...] with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal”), that make me think what the original one really is… and for me Noll is inquest and that makes a lot of sense… inquest/nightmare/white mantle…

      /end SPOILER

      So, everything we are seeing from the karka invasion to LA last october until the return to Southsun in this new living story is a longer story really being developed.

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