Digging Up the Past
Guild Wars 2 gets praise for a lot things, but none strikes new players to the game more than the vastness in the open world of Tyria. The world is full of characters and events, from comedians to important story elements, and has hundreds of stories big and small to tell to every player. However, as the game has aged, many of the bigger open stories that have been created within this world have been collecting dust. That is, until Living World Season 3. This season has seen a massive return to the unanswered plots of the game, and for a veteran player, has been both its biggest success and its biggest danger. THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD – YE BE WARNED!
Starting with something that was a definite win, was the latest current events concerning the reforging of Caladbolg. This story chain has earned a huge amount of praise for both its lore and its execution, with instanced content created and a heart tugging meeting with Trahearne being some major highlights. One of its biggest accomplishments aside from the well-designed gameplay was that it finally gave us closure on the fate of Caladbolg, and a farewell to one of the game’s biggest story characters. Players have been hanging on to Broken Caladbolg, a rare grade item received from completing the expansion campaign, for over a year now, with not a single mention of it. Now players finally got rewarded for the wait with excellent story and a free ascended level weapon, a huge boost for players who are still struggling to gear up characters.
This kind of content is perfect, and brought up something players had been talking about online for a long time, giving closure to yet another story that before this season was wide open. Other honourable mentions go to the story of Caudecus, which was left in limbo after the Caudecus’s Manor story events. Then there was the breaking of Jormag’s tooth, a story that had been in the game since launch. The Dwarf in Ember Bay finally gave us news of the fate of the Dwarves, as well as the activity of Primordus. The White Mantle were brought back, as well as the fate of the Mursaat, albeit heavily imbedded in the story of the raids rather than the story episode releases. There are other, smaller plots that have come back up, like Demi Beetlestone’s (short lived) return, but all of this has been an excellent way for Arenanet to bring back interest from long term players and create new content without the introduction of brand new elements to the game.
Of course, not every arc has been executed as well as Caladbolg, or even as in depth despite having entire story episodes dedicated to it. The story of Braham fetching a long-lost scroll to break the tooth was rushed in to the last section of an episode, allowing him to achieve a feat others had spent decades attempting. It was also a sore spot for many players, and showed that bringing up these long existing stories can have a backlash from people who are heavily invested and had their own ideas about what should have happened. Another example of this comes in the latest raid wing and the story of Saul D’Alessio, a plot that was a huge part of the franchise’s origins but was then locked behind the last boss of a raid wing, content many players lack the time, skill or experience to take part in. The line is very fine indeed when it comes to these old plots, as the capacity to upset players is huge compared to any other story release.
To be consistent in bringing out a solid story release is something that almost every company struggles with. Going back on their past successful story lines and continuing them now is a smart move from Arenanet, and one that will hopefully see many more of the forgotten story lines brought back in and concluded. If they continue with the good execution, the game will have a long life ahead of it as it continues to round out the world of Tyria.