Guild Wars 2: The Story Continues
Daniel Weinell / Dec 3rd, 2013 No Comments
For the uninitiated, Guild Wars 2 features a unique way of telling stories with a feature called the Living World. Every two weeks, the developers at ArenaNet release a new chunk of content that includes new features and tells small bits of a larger story. Since June, the story has ramped up and introduced various feature additions to the game.
Dragon Bash was a festival where the citizens of Tyria gathered in Lion’s Arch to celebrate their unified hatred of the dragons. For two weeks, Lion’s Arch was decorated with piñatas, fireworks, and effigies. A series of achievements had players running around smashing piñatas to collect delicious Dragon Bash candy, while a fireworks show lit up the skies. All around Tyria, holographic projectors displayed images of dragon minions for players to fight. A new game called dragon ball was introduced and players could bet on Moa races. Unfortunately the event wasn’t all fun and games – a member of the Captain’s Council was murdered. Players aided Marjory Delequa, a newly introduced NPC, in finding out information about the culprit.
Dragon’s Bash led directly into its follow-up event, Sky Pirates of Tyria. Inspector Ellen Kiel along with Marjory Delequa discovered a new threat called the Aetherblades. Players delved into a new story dungeon called Aetherblade Retreat, where they brought the Captain and First Mate to justice. Along with this continuation of the story came a few game changes which included skill and trait balancing and the introduction of custom arena matches and spectating for PvP.
With the Aetherblade threat at bay, Tyrians once again rejoiced as the Bazaar of the Four Winds arrived. Merchants from around the world gathered in a new map called the Labyrinthine Cliffs to sell their wares. The Zephyr Sanctum, a floating airship created by the Zephyrites, landed in the Labyrinthine Cliffs as well. The new zone had three new types of power ups dotting the landscape, which granted players special movement abilities such as a jump, a roll, and a lightning whip. These abilities came in handy for the Sanctum Sprint, a competitive race that played very much like a kart racer. Players ran through a course, collecting power-ups to increase their speed or hinder opponents. A new mini-game was introduced called Belcher’s Bluff, which pit two players against one another in a special drinking game where bluffing was key. A new crafting material was added and a meta-achievement that actually granted player a permanent resource node for their home instance. A new PvP map called Skyhammer was added to the game as well as a new mastery for WvW. The achievement system was revamped to include an improved user interface as well as an account reward system for reaching achievement point tiers.
The next content release concluded the story arc that began with Dragon’s Bash. Cutthroat Politics featured a unique new idea: player choice that would permanently alter future game additions. With the recent murder, the Captain’s Council had an empty seat and both Ellen Kiel and Evon Gnashblade, the owner and operator of the Black Lion Trading Company, vied for the seat. Both candidates wanted to secure a trade agreement with the Zephyrites and that’s where players came in. During the course of this content release, players could collect support tokens and increase the chance that their chosen candidate would get elected. To earn support tokens, players took part in Candidate Trials, which meant facing waves of Aetherblades and holding out as long as they could. Two new activities were added during this release – Southsun Survival and Aspect Arena. Southsun Survival was a fun reference to the Hunger Games wherein players were pitted against one another in the wilderness with very few items at their disposal. Only one player could come out a winner if he survived traps, arrows, and hunger. Aspect Arena was a competitive mode where players could use the new movement abilities introduced in Bazaar of the Four Winds to play a variant of capture the flag. It was a tough election, but ultimately Ellen Kiel won the seat on the Captain’s Council. Both Candidates made promises, but only Ellen’s would see fruition.
The next event was called the Queen’s Jubilee and it celebrated Queen Jennah’s 10th year as the ruler of Divinity’s Reach, the human capitol city. Player rode hot air balloons to the palace for the opening ceremonies. Queen Jennah commissioned a new gladiator arena where players could fight against Watchknight constructs designed to fight like monsters from around Tryia. The Queen’s Gauntlet pit players against powerful fighters for a chance to win the Queen’s bounty. Along with these story changes came a slew of new game features such as an account-wide wallet for storing all of a player’s currencies. Dungeon rewards were revamped as was loot received from Champion-rarity enemies.
It seems that the citizens of Tyria can’t have nice things. During the Queen’s Speech, a new villain named Scarlett Briar appeared and kidnapped the queen. Scarlett, a maniacal Sylvari, unleashed an army of twisted Watchwork constructs to torment the world – thus began Clockwork Chaos. Every hour, Scarlett would attack a random zone in Tyria. Players had about an hour to close all her portals and defeat all her minions before facing down Scarlett herself. Strangely, Scarlett seem to employ all the villains from previous releases – Aetherblades, Flame Legion, and the new Clockwork minions. After closing enough portals, players took the fight to Scarlett by fighting their way through a new instance. As a special unrelated bonus, players who have had a character for a year received a special birthday gift.
The next four updates added relatively unrelated new experiences. Super Adventure Box returned with new levels. For those that missed out the first time, Super Adventure Box is a video game within a video game full of retro graphics and hilarity. Tequatl Rising revamped all of the world bosses. Twilight Assault added a new level 80 path to the Twilight Arbor dungeon. Blood and Madness saw the return of the Mad King Thorn for Guild Wars 2’s Halloween event. Many features returned such as the Mad King’s Labyrinth, Mad King’s Tower, and Lunatic Inquisition. The twist this time around was that the Mad King’s son, the Bloody Prince, makes an appearance. Through a series of story instances, players must drive the Bloody Prince back into his box.
The Tower of Nightmares was the most recent Guild Wars 2 content release. Kessex Hills received a significant change as a horrendous tower was revealed hidden behind a sheen of magic. Marjory Delqua returns to guide player through the introduction of this new story. Yet another alliance has arisen between the Krait and the Nightmare Court. Toxic seedlings crop up around Tryia and players must collect seeds and destroy monsters. A new ability is available for all players to purchase, which heals players and removes the new toxin de-buff. With the release of The Nightmares Within, players can fight their way up the tower and inject anti-toxin into the heart of it. It seems Scarlett Briar’s minions are showing up everywhere.
There is a lot going on in the world of Tyria and Scarlett Briar seems to have a lot to do with it. Familiar faces continue to crop up and remind players that this is a living world. Each release comes with a new set of achievements to earn as well as completion-based rewards. Be sure to keep coming back to Guild Wars 2 to follow along with the ever changing events as they unfold. And be sure to get ready for the upcoming content release called Fractured, where Ellen Kiel finally makes good on her electoral promises and uncovers a brand new fractal dungeon.
tags: guild wars 2 , mmo , opinion , pc