I admit I was a little concerned with the story of Guild Wars 2 within the game. Of the three starting zones we’ve seen, there seems to be absolutely no mention of Zhaitan, the Elder Dragon of Death. This seems very much unlike ArenaNet’s Guild Wars mode of storytelling where the crisis is told early on, such as the dragon-forged destroyers chasing players towards an asura gate. It really wasn’t until late last year at the big conventions did ArenaNet show us “the Enemy” with Sparkfly Fen and the Tequatl the Sunless zone boss. How would our character stories progress from racial issues to Big Bad Zhaitan? How much focus would there be on the villain that had the first Guild Wars 2 trailer dedicated to it?
In the latest lore interview by Guild Wars Insider, Ree Soesbee, hints at the great focus that was originally seen in the first trailer only to be diluted by later trailers and demos of actual play:
GWI: Obviously with the return of Zhaitan comes the return of Arah, so what role will that city play in Guild Wars 2?
Ree: I can tell you a little…Arah is where the dragon lives. Zhaitan doesn’t get up and wander around the world, he sits in Arah and his minions bring him things to eat and things to make him powerful, and anything else that in inscrutable mind of the hurricane is looking for. As a player character, you’re going to need to defeat Zhaitan. That’s simply where you have to go, because he’s not going to come to you. So it’s playable, and we expect the players to look forward to the great battles against Zhaitan, on his turf and in his city. We expect players of Guild Wars to recognize, and players of Humans to point out, that this was once the city where the Gods walked, even if they’re not there now.
She goes on to say that even getting to Orr is a big deal involving a naval attack on Orr. Soesbee also points to many water preserved lore gems found in the still sunken parts of Orr.
I know that Guild Wars 2 has to build that brand, but as a Guild Wars player I kind of want Guild Wars 2: Death Dragon (or another cooler title) instead of Guild Wars 2 [Lots of Stuff]. The Elder Dragons seem so epic and worthy of huge focus. Anyway, I think this is pretty good evidence that there is going to be significant play based on Zhaitan and his minions, likely at the “end game.” Soesbee flat out says that players are going to need to go there to beat him.
I hope that ArenaNet can return some of the focus of the first trailer back to players’ minds. Anyway the whole 7000 word interview is really good. Listening to the audio is even better because Soesbee is so passionate about her work. Check it out at Guild Wars Insider.