[GW2] Living Story Season 1 Startup

The first hints to this year’s Living Story kickoff dropped this morning with an ominously voiced video showcasing the major content of next week’s Origins of Madness. The Origins of Madness chapter is one of the last four for the first season of the Living Story. I think maybe we will learn about Scarlet’s origins? That’s mostly unclear with the official preview page not up yet. I am hoping for some personal story-ish content as well.

Massively, and others, got a press preview of the next chapter. It focuses on two major boss battles. The non-permanent addition is fighting a stories-high Twisted Marionette, which has testing cycles as it seemingly descends from Scarlet’s UFO to stomp on players. The permanent boss battle involves gigantic jungle wurms in Bloodtide Coast.

I am pretty excited. Open world boss battles have become pretty core to my favorite things in Guild Wars 2. I play Tequatl as much as I can, and the Temples and other world bosses are pretty much go to content when Mrs. Ravious and I ask what’s next… especially when we are bit too wound out or wine’d up to play in WvW. (Though, playing drinking games based on commander… uhh, commands is pretty fun. Protip: do not take a sip every time someone yells “stack”.)

I also imagine the difficulties for each boss battle are going to be a bit different. I would imagine the permanent wurm battle is going to be difficult, and an iteration forward in their “raid” content (Tequatl), and I would imagine the Twisted Marionette is on the more pug-able level, perhaps like Scarlet Invasions.  The latter would be great, given the transiency of the content; however, I am a bit worried about the former. It already takes about an hour to get in to the “sure” Tequatl killing overflow, and I can do it within half an hour sometimes to get in to OF2 (which usually wins anyway). How will the wurm battles affect the rhythm of Tequatl attacks?

Going past the next update, I really liked reading the hostile interview at Eurogamer. ArenaNet gave some really open and interesting answers to things like sales, server health, and Living Story iteration. Sales are dropping slower than expected, and they are still heading towards untapped foreign markets. Server health is great, especially during WvW times. Finally, they have learned and refined the Living Story for 2014.

I doubt that doge-master Colin and Mike Z told Eurogamer all the Living Story update plans, but it seems like ArenaNet has taken note of all the “expansion” clamor from fans. What he did announce was that they were going to take a [hopefully short] break from the Living Story at the end of Scarlet’s last four episodes. Then they were going to release a feature-heavy update, which would include gameplay changers, quality-of-life upgrades, and more features bundles together.

The reason? It seems that things were getting muddled between story release and feature release. I think it will be interesting to see which gets more attention across the board. They also mentioned two “big” projects happening in the background, and they avoided answering the expansion question more than they usually do.

I like the coined “bumper” update to pause the flow a bit. I feel that the community really seemed to appreciate this winter break from the two-week cycle. Even if we do get an update every two weeks from the 21st on until next winter break, having a feature-related “break” I feel will be a good fresh bit of air. Plus it could give the Living Story teams a bit more dev time.

I am excited to see what 2014 brings. I was actually kind of nervous heading in to 2014 with all the new MMOs coming, but I think that with ArenaNet’s plans and the way Guild Wars 2 works, there is no reason to worry. I see no issue with a bit of raiding in WildStar, a bit of minecrafting in EverQuest Next, and possibly even checking out the RvR-natured Elder Scrolls Online, although I need to hear some more reviews on that first. So far the next big MMO seems to be a love-it or hate-it deal. Guild Wars 2, at least on my playlist, will carry on.

–Ravious

2 thoughts on “[GW2] Living Story Season 1 Startup

  1. bhagpuss

    I’d already noticed a distinct change of tone in ANet comments on the possibility of an expansion before you brought up that specific interview. The “not everyone is working on the Living Story, there are secret projects” card has been played a few times recently.

    There was a very interesting reply in that “Many Questions So Dev” forum thread that morphed into Dolyak Express. Someone asked if we would get playable dwarves. The reply was “no”, which was predictable, but the coda was “there are a lot of races we’d like to pursue first”. That suggested expansion to me and then they started throwing in mentions of all the other teams working behind the scenes on secret projects every chance they got so I knew something was up.

    On server pops I can only speak for Yak’s Bend. We picked up a ton of completely new players around Christmas. Lots of people must have got GW2 as a present. ll the hotspots are always busy, Lion;s Arch is barely playable at the weekend. I guested the other day to go to Temple of Balthazar and every single NA server was orange or red. Game seems to be doing just fine.

    The new wurm event worries me a little. On Yak’s Bend, last time I checked, which was within this month, our server had downed Teq a grand total of four times, ever. We are by all accounts a reasonably strong, well-populated PvE server but there has never been any interest in killing Teq reliably. The Teq event has gone from a well-attended if easy romp to a total ghost town.

    I’m not against the concept of cross-server mega-raids but if that’s what these new world bosses are going to require then I’d rather we had something similar to the upcoming WvW permanent overflow server to accommodate them. Otherwise all it does is render a part of the open world untenable for normal play. Have you tried doing the other events around Tequatl’s spawn recently?

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