[GW2] Secret of Southsun Impressions

There are many ways to view the Secret of Southsun update. The most objective is ArenaNet has added an hour or so of content, and then you are done. This is the worst way to experience Guild Wars 2. In another view, it’s easy to see that Southsun has become the de facto hotspot for some time. Ignoring the checklist-type content, this zone is alive with players now. Finally, Southsun has received a much needed injection of life, love, and polish.

Guild Wars 2 continues to use achievements to replace quests. For Secret of Southsun players are tasked to explore the updated areas, talk to a few key individuals, and find a bunch of samples around the island. I find it to be a poor guide especially given the dozens of achievements in the Secret of Southsun achievement category. The mail sent to all players tells them to get to Southsun to talk to the Inspector, but the real guide to the content is the achievements. I feel that if ArenaNet is going to continue to focus on achievements as the quest-like director for new content serious iteration needs to be done to make it a better means of communication.

Anyway, savvy players seemed to burn through the quest-like content pretty quickly. I would not suggest focusing on the achievements to such a narrowed degree. Might as well enjoy the passion fruit flowers on the way.

There are a few reasons to stick around in Southsun for the whole duration of the event. The biggest is that while on Southsun, players can represent the Consortium or Settlers. Represent the Consortium and players get a near-permanent buff to gold drops, which seems like a 300-400% increase. I was getting 3-4 silver per creature, when they would drop coin. The Settler’s buff in a 200% increase to Magic Find, which was really nice. I was noticing that I was receiving a lot more greens than usual, even a few rares now and then. This buff is removed if the player leaves Southsun to go to another zone. I have a hard time believing there are better open world farming spots with those buffs available.

The other reason is that the events are hot and heavy. Settlers and the Consortium are having a go at one another in the tropic heat. The frenzied animals are constantly attacking the outposts/resort areas. I was having a lot of fun because the mobs are challenging, and the reward feels proportionate to the increased challenge. The active population also feels really good (haven’t gotten out of overflow actually).

One area I have to point out is the scaling. Secret of Southsun has some of the best scaled events I have seen in Guild Wars 2 yet. For the players active in the event I’ve seen it scale numbers and mob ranks really well. I am really impressed with these, and I hope that a new bar to the quality of event scaling has been set at ArenaNet. It feels spot on for what a level 80 difficulty should be. This might feel even more so since I’ve been consistently failing events in Orr lately.

There’s a bit more to talk about, which I’ll save for some more focused posts on Crab Toss, specific events, and use of Southsun geography, but this feels like a nice update for what I would hope to expect from coming Living Story updates, especially if they are coming like this every 2-4 weeks. It makes good use of player focus, new content, and lots of activity. There are a few neat carrots to the achievements too for new back items with exclusive skins and account bound-ability. It’s definitely an update worth checking out.



14 thoughts on “[GW2] Secret of Southsun Impressions”

  1. Played crab toss and its crap. About as exciting as the snowball fights you got into while waiting in the lobby before entering the actual pvp map during the winterfest. Good to read about the rest though – cant wait to get my engineer out there.

  2. I’m really starting to like and love the living story and it’s temporary content. Never before felt the world so alive. Without the living story (I feel) about 80% of the people farmed in Orr, now people visit different zones and make them feel alive. New content adds a lot of replayability and things can be found out by exploring.

    I agree that the UI for achievements makes it quite difficult to follow. I’d wished they rework the achievement UI and add something which tracks our journey more effectively + adds some kind of diary which can be shown to people who haven’t experienced the content.

    Look newbie friend: this is the story of my journey in GW2. See this nice concept art about southsun cove (points at the concept art of the karka invasion). This really happened.

  3. Overall update is a nice piece of work. Except crab tossing, which makes me vomit rage-rainbows, anytime I think about it. 3 won games and no achievement or daily achievement for that. Extremely laggy in my case, bugy as hell (skill 3 sometimes work as charge, sometimes don’t, sometimes doesn’t make my character run at all…), with poorly design in achievement (craptaculator) and gameplay mechanics overall.
    While I’m the guy who can enjoy good stuff, I usually end up on short end of stick, barking on this few things that don’t work – yep, I’m shallow like that. I’m glad that crab tossing works for some players, but it’s a big cup of bitter blood to drink for me ;P

  4. day 2 Crab tossing:
    -) chapion now rewards the daily achievement
    -) personally I had much less lag than yesterday

    I also like the craptaculator achievement, not everyone should easily get ALL achievements, otherwise they’d be worthless since it’s not a challenge.

    1. @Maarius.
      -) maybe, but not for me :P. It’s great that they fixed this issue for many people out there – but it’s still bugged for me. And heh – I don’t play for other people, I play for myself. And yep – I’ve tried today, more or less hour ago, so hey, it still is bugged for some.
      -) agree on that, but non the less, massiveness of lag spikes are over the playable level

      And about craptaculator – don’t get me wrong. I love achievements that are hard to get. Best titles are those, that close to none was able to acquire. Mad Kings Clock Tower was great, because it was hard. It had it’s issues (damn big norns and charrs, blocking my view), but at the same time it required neat game skills. At the end – it wasn’t that hard. Anyone who really wanned could pull it off. Same with dungeon master (not that hard), or any money/minipet/armor related achiv – it isn’t that hard, more like patience required. GW2 doesn’t have at the moment really hard+rewarding achievements, because most of them are easy but time consuming, or semihard because of bugs/bad design. Crapachievement is on the latter – dependent on luck. You need to be in right place, right time, on map with players soooooooo unbelievable stupid, that they will die all at the same time. It was doable – sure. In first 2 days. When people didn’t know the rules. Its getting harder every day, because even if majority players are part of braindead zerg, they still learn. So hands up for achievements hard to get, big no-no for achievements that need work around (like organizing during match, to herd all players to the middle of map, to commit mass suicide).

  5. I do understand that A-Net wants to push dynamic events. But for stories like the investigative part of “Lost Shores” and “Secrets of Southsun”, a quest-like (or, if you want to stick with GW2, “personal story” like) approach would mechanically work better.

    I play both EQ2 and GW2, and I increasingly wish that I had something like EQ2’s quest log, along with the ability to “uncheck” things I’m not following right now. If I’m doing “Secrets of Southsun” don’t show my the next step in the Personal Story unless I want to see it, etc.

    Often the team’s assumptions about what I want to track are incorrect. Especially since they seem determined that I simply must want to track my Daily and Monthly until they are completed. Still, at least in “Secrets” you can check up to five of the achievements and track those. But you can’t do more than five, which is a bit annoying if you aren’t yet sure what you’ll run across.

    TLDR — more fine tuned control over quest log, please. Oh, right… “achievement tracker.”

    1. What’s particularly odd is that ArenaNet does have the ability to hide achievements until their precursor is completed : Flame & Frost used it, as does a couple salvage-related achievements. I dunno why they didn’t apply it here, especially since several of the NPC conversations and sample collections do have a logical order they should occur in.

    2. “Guild Wars 2 continues to use achievements to replace quests.”

      The funny thing is that what links the current living story to the next one (that starts may 28th) is NOT the achievements (that spoil the info about the next living story anyway), but ONE Dynamic Event that happens at middle of isle. If you follow that DE you will see Inspector Kiel having a secret meeting with other NPC and saying at the end “A sylvari that hates the Consortium? Must be Canach.”

      However, it is easy to not give attention to what NPCs do and talk after a DE because no other MMO teach us to give attention to what NPCs are saying…

      1. Well, that and the fact that its easy to miss if you aren’t facing the right way, don’t have the NPC immediately nearby, are busy rezzing a downed friend, are checking your inventory, what have you…

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