When Guild Wars 2 first launched, players flocked to the game in swarms at an insane pace, which of course had to have made ArenaNet very happy. As those players continued on their quests they eventually reached max level, and needed more content to play through. ArenaNet came up with the Living Story to not only add more content, but to constantly evolve the game world. While the Living Story may help keep players occupied, is it enough to quench our thirst for new content, or is it time for an expansion?
The Living Story is actually a great idea that over the course of the next year, ArenaNet will be able to hopefully fine tune. It currently uses events to change the game world, which is its primary purpose. Thanks to the new story, it also adds a bit of new content. Sounds like a great idea! You can add new content without using expansions. But the Living Story events only add a tiny amount of content, which isn't even close to what many players are wanting.
Sure we have seen one large dynamic events open up a whole new zone, but we need more than just one new zone (especially since no one likes it or visits it regularly). We need more of everything! ArenaNet has done an expansion in the past, so this concept isn't new to them. I think they are more interested in maybe replicating what they did for the original Guild Wars series which was made up of three games that took place in the same world, at the same time, and were connected through story. Storytelling was a huge feature in the games, which is where I think the Living Story comes from. Still Factions and Nightfall were just as big, if not bigger, than Prophecies, so even though the Living Story continues to use the art of storytelling to change the world, it still falls short in order to replace the need of an expansion.
Does this mean Guild Wars 2 will receive huge installments that will double the size of the game? I wouldn't count on that, just because the game is already massive. But a true expansion that opens up whole new maps, offers new personal stories, brand new dungeons, and hopefully adds in a ton of new skills, is greatly needed. ArenaNet is smart however, using the Living Story to introduce some of these new features into the core game.
It also comes down to the pace of the Living Story. Just look at how long the Scarlet story arc is taking. In order to add in as much content as an expansion, it would take the Living Story years and years. They would have to focus each story arc within a new zone in order to unlock the rest of the world. And that would take a long time! I'm not sure a lot of players are willing to wait that long to see the rest of the map.
Am I saying the Living Story content needs to be released faster? Absolutely not! When it comes down to it, the Living Story is a great idea, and ArenaNet just needs some more time to polish it. But it will never be enough to replace the need for an expansion. The Living Story is a great supplement to the core story of the game, not the main attraction. I believe they just want a way to expand on the game without forcing players to wait a couple of years for new content. To be honest I think that's exactly how ArenaNet plans to use it. I have a strong feeling an expansion is on the way.
2014 is going to be an amazing year for MMOs, and Guild Wars 2 is going to need something in order to retake the spotlight. All of these great new offerings are right around the corner, like WildStar and ESO, so ArenaNet is probably planning their next move. While we've heard that there are no plans for an expansion a billion times, ArenaNet has always been very quiet about what they're up to. It's possible they have been working on it this entire time. For now, I'm going to go play some WvW while I wait for an expansion announcement.
Is it time for an expansion? Do you feel the Living Story eliminates the need for a traditional expansion? Tell us what you’re thinking in the comments below.
David North / David North is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com. David loves to play and makes games, but now he writes about them! If you want to creep on him and make fun of his ability to draw, follow him over on twitter @David_the_North.
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