[GW2] NGOs and Refugees in Lion’s Arch

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.

The Writers

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.

The Winner

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.


12 thoughts on “[GW2] NGOs and Refugees in Lion’s Arch”

  1. You sure it was Evon that closed the Asura Gate? I heard it was Captain Shudd, the Asura on the Captain’s Council who’s directly responsible for the gates. Whoever it was, clearly the gates need to be closed to prevent Scarlet’s forces extending their reign of terror to the five capitals. I haven’t been to Black Citadel yet but I assume the Iron Legion have already blown up the gate from their side. They were always iffy about the potentialities for invasion it represented.

    I’m in several minds about this event. It’s spectacular, sure, and it would have made an absolutely amazing one-off event in the style of the Karka Invasion, but as a two-week regular it really struggles. Leaving aside the inevitable damage to any sense of verisimilitude caused by the groundhog day repetition (really, just how much of a largely-wooden city do you think would be left after two weeks of pounding by six armies, one of which sprays fire everywhere they go?) I question how well it’s going to stand up even as an event in a video game.

    You point out a number of the flaws in the design. Another is that, at least for those of us who got in early, it’s really rather an easy Meta. I’m at 14/15 already and I’ve only done it a handful of times. I got almost all that in just two runs. As more and more people complete all the events they need for the Meta there’s a strong chance that many won’t come back and that those who do will have a very specific agenda. I hope it scales well because by the second week late starters may find it hard to get people interested in the more co-ordinated event chains.

    It’s also surprisingly dull for a city on fire. I’ve done it twice seriously and perhaps three or four times where I just explored and messed about and I’m already quite bored with it. Mrs Bhagpuss has done it once and said she wouldn’t want to do it more than once a day. I think having it run 24/7 on the hour every hour with barely enough time between runs to clear your bags is far too much of a not-all-that-good thing.

    Then there’s the rewards. I don’t do this stuff for the rewards but even I can’t help noticing they’re pretty dismal. The Meta reward is just 100 of the same bags you already get during the event, isn’t it? I got 87 of those in a single run anyway. As for the backpiece, it breaks new records for hideosity.

    On the plus side, all the character stuff is excellent. By far the most satisfying part is going round all the refugee camps talking to everyone and eavesdropping on all the storyline characters. Some nice writing in there. The plot is getting interesting, too. And it’s actually fun exploring Lion’s Arch now it’s a battle zone. I might even get map completion for my Ranger since he’s the nominated participant (my Necro on the same account did it long ago).

    Presumably this is just the taster for the main course next update. I’m guessing that’s when we find out what Scarlet’s drilling for. Now excuse me, I’m off to find my stack of Vote Gnashblade buttons. This would never have happened if he’d got in!

    1. Haven’t touched it yet, busy week, so it’s been run the daily as quickly as possible and log out without looking around (too much).

      If the player population dynamic is the same as it was with the Marionette (which now lies in a discarded heap in Lornar’s Pass, you can watch the occasional tourist walk through, striking triumphant a martial pose next to it while taking a selfie), there’s should be an influx of first timers through the weekend, so the event shouldn’t be on farm again until the weekday regulars start dominating the event populations again on Monday.

  2. Just had one round with more than a 1000 citzens saved on an overflow, so I think there is some learning happening. Players are realising just how punishing the scaling can be, the miasma event with the molten alliance is the one that has especially tough mobs that decimate a zerg and can become unfinishable with scaling. Behaviour should change again when players get their achievements done, hopefully not to desert the event, it’s a fun challenge. I’m doing it once or twice a day on various characters, sticking to the edges of the map and rescuing hostages and looking for rubble piles. It is a great way to level alts too because tomes of knowledge can be bought for a reasonable price.

  3. LA needed to go. The instant free portal via Mists was a huge immersion breaking shortcut. Glad to see it become a PvE location and hope it stays permanent.

    1. Vigil Keep has all the portals now, and in fact, the exit from the Mists is right next to the gates to other cities, making the shortcut even more convenient. The only things that didn’t survive the transition are the Laurel vendor and crafting stations, you need an airship pass or a trip out to a racial city for those.

  4. For anyone who played through the destruction of Arwic in Asheron’s Call 1 (sadly, I missed it), how does this event compare? I’m bemused to see one of the iconic events of the AC1 story getting reused in GW2, but I’m enjoying it immensely. I like the atmosphere (WW2 bombing raid), and don’t mind that the fighting doesn’t degrade the city more as the week goes on.

    The designers and writers have certainly played many of the same games I did over the years (e.g., all the things inspired by/borrowed from Dark Age of Camelot). I’ve been waiting ever since AC1 for this kind of living world, and ArenaNet has really delivered.

    1. I was reminded of Arwic, yes, but only in the big picture. Inside LA is not similar to the empty crater that was post-blast Arwic.

      1. The effect on gameplay afterwards may be pretty similar. Arwic was the commercial center, largely because of the great portal connectivity, The other racial cities were thinly populated, but Arwic was always full of people. Lion’s Arch has played much the same role in GW2. It will be interesting to see how the aftermath plays out.

  5. Its a fun event and I am enjoying it so far but like Bhagpuss say some of the achievements are easy to get so I am not sure what will happen in couple of weeks time for people who missed it now.

    As mentioned in blog post, its interesting to see how they are driving the game economy with these events. Its also kind of fun for people who play the the TP. Those player who have predicted the iron shortages must have been millionaire by now!

    Its also interesting to see how they drive gem sales with these events as well. They moved pretty much all services from LA to Vigil Keep but left out crafting stations. I wonder why? Not enough space in Vigil keep have crafting stations? :p

  6. By the way Ravious, now SoR’s WvW side is imploding, are you going to stay on SoR or considering changing servers?

    1. I’m staying. Tbh, the WvW fights as of late have been way more fun. Sure we are losing, but Mag and FtA feel much more on our level. Plus our PvE community is pretty fantastic.

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