Following on from the less than successful beginnings of the Living Story through Halloween and the Lost Shores and we arrived at Christmas 2012. Wintersday and the story of Toymaker Tixx was a total tone change for the living story which I’ll go into now.
Wintersday wasn’t really about the story as such, although they were careful to work out something credible, but what it all essentially came down to was a 5 player dungeon where you had to fight waves of rampaging toys until you fought the boss, Tixx’s malfunctioning golem, Toxx. The dungeon, well it was just one room and a higher platform, was a breath of fresh air. It moved between all the cultural cities over 5 days, giving a different reward each day but staying the same inside. The design was refreshing, an open air dungeon with a bright white snow theme. It was pretty, and it was also fun. I remember one of the achievements in particular, rewarded for destroying every single piece of wooden scenery during your fight. Sounds fun? It was!
The new items release in to the game were fun too, especially choir bells (which you can still buy and use off the black lion trading post – and I do have a personal stash!) which would can play. I heard one person playing the Star Trek theme tune on a choir bell in the centre of lion’s arch. It sounded beautiful and must’ve taken them hours to nail down! Whoever you were, you have my respect. For me, Wintersday was a big success from Anet.
What came after Wintersday? Flame and Frost. Flame and Frost was the beginning of a big story, and a good one as well. The dredge and the flame legion had created the Molten Alliance to rain death and destruction upon their Charr and Norn enemies. Naturally, our heroes were there to help the Charr and Norn fight back. The fight back took the form of 3 dungeons, in a similar theme to Wintersday. Firstly you joined a newly introduced Charr hero, Rox, as she fought back against the Alliance (her character design was especially fantastic) and then a newly introduced Norn hero, Braham, as he fought back before Rox and Braham combined with our hero in a 5 man dungeon to fight the Molten Alliance in their headquarters. The final boss in that final dungeon was a killer (it was technically two bosses combined I suppose), but immensely rewarding when you completed it.
Rox and Braham were the best characters to ever, and since, be introduced into the living story. They were interesting characters, with interesting stories, interesting appearances and even seemed better than average for NPCs in a fight. You cared about Rox and Braham, that was the real seal of success with Flame and Frost.
The icing on the cake of the two dungeon focused Living Stories were the weapon skins that they created for them. The Christmas ones were silly, and fantastic for it. My Sylvari mesmer even at level 80 still uses a Princess Wand skin from Wintersday, with is as silly as it sounds and surrounds him in a cloud of pink stars – because he’s that fabulous. Flame and Frost’s weapon skins did the exact opposite and created fantastic looking weapon skins that you really wanted for your level 80, even if they were frustratingly difficult to obtain through the random drop system from black lion chests (although they can now be earned in other ways). I’ll include a picture of my Sylvari guardian below with her Flame and Frost weapon skin, which although doesn’t really match her colour scheme, just looks so awesome I couldn’t resist giving it to her.
All in all, Wintersday and Flame & Frost were big success stories as far as the Living Story goes on GW2. They weren’t perfect, but they were a big departure from the increasing failures of the previous attempts and a definite step in the right direction. The success of these two Living Stories hopefully should give the game developers some indicators on where to go with future Living Story releases, especially now that they’re going to be every 2 weeks, but unfortunately the success of these two was a bit lost between then and now – as I will go through soon in another blog post!
Digital Salad – https://lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com