So I made a vow to myself that I’d try my best to keep up with the new living story content in Guild Wars 2 instead of being half-hearted about it. So far, so good in that respect; I’ve taken my Engineer to Southsun for the first time (I didn’t want to touch Lost Shores with a ten-foot pole) and become engrossed in achievement hunting. Is there a story to go along with all of this? If there is, it’s downright subtle and I doubt many people are paying attention to it. Instead, the event has turned the zone into an achievement-hunting, event-running, loot-farming frenzy, which is pretty fun at this scale.
I felt uplifted when I realized that the achievements to get the title and backpacks weren’t the most insane grinds (you never know with ArenaNet, after all) and that a casual player such as I could probably get them. I’ve been dutifully plugging away at them and am more than halfway done so far, having already gotten my sparkly flower back item. I AM ALL THAT IS MAN — FEAR MY FLOWER!
OK, I’d rather have a steampunk backpack, but beggers can’t be choosers.
I do have a few quibbles with the zone, however. It’s right up there with Orr in terms of troublesome navigation at times, and while the mobs are loot pinatas, they also hit like a Mack truck. It’s not that enjoyable to suddenly find 60% of your health gone and you sprawled on the ground like a floor mat just because a mob sneezed in your direction.
The crab toss game was interesting until I started playing it. This right here encapsulates all of the things I loathe about PvP: Feeling as though I am struggling to catch up but never can, getting owned by twitchy players who are far better at all this, and watching my precious time being wasted with little or nothing in return. After one game I dusted my feet off and never looked back.
Finally, I am just bashing my head on the desk at this skipping stones jumping puzzle. Who likes jumping puzzles? One of the devs, apparently, and maybe a legion of sadomasochistic fans. I’ve ranted on platforming in MMOs before, so I’ll just give my monitor the evil eye.
Quibbles aside, I do like how the atmosphere of the zone has turned into a social cooperative party. People are doing a lot of stuff together and generally helping each other out — rezzing, porting, tag-teaming mobs, and so on. It shows me that the Guild Wars 2 model works, not just for the novelty of the first month, but throughout. It’s a game that genuinely encourages people to play with each other and help each other instead of viewing each other as node-hogging, mob-stealing competitors. Hopefully this living event will develop a story better than the last one, but at least the activities so far are worth the price of admission.