ArenaNet might have finally found their stride with the Living World by destroying the community jewel of Lion’s Arch. In its place is a pretty intense hour-long event that is shaping the economy. This update is forceful, and I am really enjoying the more heavy-handed approach to shaping Guild Wars 2.
Ideals about ‘Fugees
The main event is about an hour-long event to evacuate Lion’s Arch. At the start of each hour there is a short event to gate three entrances to Lion’s Arch. It’s a short blitz, and then the gates are open. Players rush in to see absolute destruction of Lion’s Arch (see Jeromai and Bhagpuss’s photoblogs). The goal is to save citizens, kind of. Another goal is stop Scarlet’s armies from salting the earth with miasma.
The score shown to the right is saved citizens. At certain levels, like 100, 300 and 600, all players on the map get a treasure bag. Supposedly at higher levels there are better treasure bags. I don’t know, I haven’t been there yet.
The reason I haven’t been there is that the rescue effort is led by the heroes, who are non-governmental and barely organized. The immediate shiny are the bloodbaths near the events, which shockingly scale as more “heroes” aid against one of Scarlet’s armies. Citizens lay downed on the ground or cowering in a nearby corner, largely ignored.
While much improved over Scarlet’s invasions, the Escape event still has the same problems. The easy, immediate route is to kill things, and NOT to set a further goal to get as many citizens as possible. The ironic thing is that players working towards citizen bags are reinforcing the shortsighted (but not necessarily wrong-sighted) players by giving them the reward as well.
I like that ArenaNet is trying to shape the goals of their events. Figuring out ways to mobilize an entire map to get as many citizens as possible is an interesting community puzzle. But, that path has to be dotted with rewards along the way. For instance, getting a single bag for helping a citizen would have been a perfect breadcrumb. It doesn’t take much. I’ve accounted easily for 100 citizens trying to man one small area of the map (northeast 1/6), but then the amount of bags I get plummets.
I am hoping as the bi-week matures the players that are active in the event are happy to follow ArenaNet’s lead, but this is by no means certain. It is just as likely that players find the best way to get rewarded is to upscale events and farm things down.
A War Economy
The other thing I really like about this update is how it is readily apparent that ArenaNet is watching the economy. I was making out like crazy with mid-level cloth, which is now lowering quite quickly with silk. This is also possibly the last chance to get Scarlet army resources such as sprockets and spores, which are gained through the tokens within bags.
Surprisingly, iron is also back as prime commodity because of the new tiered ‘Queen of Blades’ backpiece. I really like this approach that ArenaNet is taking. It’s one thing to get 250 heirlooms to get a memento of this update, but it’s another to use the mementos to drive the economy. I think it’s great that I can run a new iron ore run to make a couple gold in a matter of minutes.
Now if only ArenaNet could find way to up leather’s worth.
There is little story in this besides “Lion’s Arch” got nuked. There’s no instances to sit through as pounds of evidence and dialogued are sifted to. It’s what you see is what you get. But that’s not right. The whole update is rich in story.
For instance, at the very end of the hour long event, Kiel drops in with an airship of her own to save Magnus, leader of Lion’s Arch, and Canach, the prisoner. During the event, Evon Gnashblade gets his commodity-laden dolyaks through an asura gate, and then turns off the asura gate from the other side stymieing refugee efforts. Back at the Vigil Keep Gnashblade tries to incite the refugees and also has discussions with the working-golem Heal-O-Tron.
The whole update is very rich in story. The dialogues are great. I feel more and more ArenaNet writers are finding their stride in making the world feel alive. Also be sure to check out the snow covered marionette that has been left behind.
Apparently the cinematics team is still going through growing pains, but they have created one of the best cut scenes in Guild Wars 2 to date. I am still working through alts that were silver doubloon farmers at easy Lion’s Arch jumping puzzles, and I am given the opportunity to watch the destruction of Lion’s Arch each time. It is skippable, of course, but I keep watching it.
It’s a bit of flash in the pan because animation costs a lot in the development, and this is where I feel the team deserves high kudos. The camera work was really good and gave the cut scene a really active feel.
Oswald claims that things will be improving. I am hoping for many more concept art 2.5D animations such as the Tower of Nightmares fall. Those are amazing.
Overall, I feel that Escape from Lion’s Arch has been a Living World update that players have been waiting for. I’ll be in the trenches.