Guild Wars 2 Living Story: Southsun

After the dungeons of Christmas 2012 and Flame and Frost came a pair of living stories based in Southsun, the new high level area introduced with the Lost Shores Living Story line. This is where I admit that I did nothing towards either of these.

All I remember from my brief adventure into the area to investigate the living story events was mini games and achievement gathering (similar to the pumpkin carving of Halloween 2012 – since when I was determined to never do that again). The worst bit, though, had to be the Last Stand at Southsun dungeon. I like Living Story dungeons, as I said before, but this one was singleplayer! I like dungeons as an interesting challenge, with a story, which I can do with friends in a small group. I liked the idea of the dungeon, but why couldn’t it have stayed true to the central point of GW2 dungeons and had the ability to bring friends along!!

last_stand_at_southsun_web

Southsun highlights a problem with the whole living story though. Because I had no interest in the area, the achievements or much to do with the living story at all I passed on it all. Although it wasn’t very clear at the time, some important story advancements happened during these two living story lines that, since I missed them, left me repeatedly confused with following story lines. The best example is Ellen Kiel, now victor in the Lion’s Arch Council election, who was introduced in these stories as a marmite character – the forums lit up with people either loving or hating her. Because I’d missed it I didn’t have the first idea who she was when she waltzed in like a character you’re supposed to know well in following story lines.

That’s a problem with the living story, the temporary nature of it. People have real life commitments that mean that sometimes they can’t play, and it’s not too far fetched to understand that someone might have to go away for work for a week for instance. If this happened they would, not of their own choice as such, be totally left behind in the living story. The very core point of the living story, that it is living, is also one of its major flaws in that it undermines player involvement in it through time.

So, thats all I can say about the Southsun living story. They hit a real low note in the progression of the living story for me, but that was because there was nothing at all they offered that interested me.

Dragon Bash:

gw242However, Southsun lead on to the Dragon Bash. This was a big festival to replace the original Canthan Festival for new year in the original Guild Wars. However, with no Cantha in GW2 the Dragon Bash was a rehash of the same idea.

I liked the premise of the Dragon Bash, it got into the story telling seriously again, something which I was beginning to miss from Flame and Frost. However, a very stale pattern began to emerge from the Dragon Bash.

*Warning – Spoilers*.

The Dragon Bash was a festival where emissaries from around the world came to Lion’s Arch to celebrate an anniversary before being attacked by surprise by an arch-evil enemy. Remind anybody of the Queen Jennah Jubilee story line at all? It’s a very boring and over-used story device that I was hoping they would switch away from.

Although the story itself was nothing ground breaking I liked how it was told, I liked the instances where you could bring friends along and the artsy cut-scenes before each section. I also quite enjoyed the gathering event, Dragon Holograms (the Dragon Bash version of pumpkin carving) which although was boring in the sense you had to essentially farm the holograms; the fights when you reached one were fun and there was plenty of them around so that it didn’t take stupid amount of time and traveling. I did so much of the Dragon Bash that I achieved the Holographic Wing skin for my Digital Salad, which doesn’t exactly match his overall look but I just love the idea of flapping wings on his back, as you can see in the screen below (click to enlarge).

gw264

Overall, although the Dragon Bash wasn’t all as great as was promised, it was very solid in many ways. I’d gone off the ‘gathering’ achievements in the Living Story until the Dragon Bash, where I actually enjoyed touring Dredgehaunt Cliffs smashing all the holographic mobs. Not fantastic loot, but a good fun fight. I quite liked the skins from the story as well, and although the story itself really didn’t hit the right note for me it was done and presented in a way I really liked.

Essentially, for Living Story lines that aren’t focused around dungeons I’d like to see them done like the Dragon Bash. But, please, no more story lines where a festival gets attacked! There are plenty of story lines Anet could choose to develop, and if they implemented them in the way they implemented the Dragon Bash it would probably be a great Living Story. Unfortunately, that hasn’t yet happened.

Digital Salad – https://lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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