Digital Salad Guild Wars 2: Giving Escape From Lion’s Arch A Go

Lion’s Arch is burnt down and swarming with the forces of Scarlett. It’s not exactly a surprise, there’s pretty much been big flashing lights pointing it out for weeks, but it is quite a surprising change for the game. Lion’s Arch, the centre of Tyria and the real focus of the world is gone (for now). So how is the fight for Lion’s Arch to play, and what does it mean for the Living Story as it comes to a close? Digital Salad reviews, a little late but better than never!


Its inescapable for any GW2 player at the moment. Lion’s Arch, the capital city and focus point for nearly everything is a smouldering wreck. The fight to save any remaining citizens is the theme of these two weeks of Living Story content, leading up to a final showdown with Scarlett in Lion’s Arch and the culmination of what Anet is now calling Living Story Season 1.

First important question. Is Escape From Lion’s Arch (EFLA) fun?

Digital Salad himself saving the remains of the Black Lion Trading Company's outpost in the city
Digital Salad himself saving the remains of the Black Lion Trading Company’s outpost in the city

It’s not too bad actually. I know; that’s practically a glowing endorsement compared to my recent glum overview of the recent state of GW2. Don’t get too carried away though, there’s plenty of buts!

I’ve taken part in a few events now, charging in to the city with the Lion Guard and my fellow players. For most of it you will be fairly busy in large events that do get really excitingly intense if you’re with enough players – in fact, I’ll give Anet their dues here, they seem to have got scaling pretty much right with EFLA.

Sadly though, there are times when you might well find yourself without much of a fight going on nearby, it tends to get a little too centralised around one big zerg even though the mechanics aren’t really meant for that play style. I guess the zerg-bug is difficult to shake off, which is a shame in some ways but understandable as well.

Talking of zerging, the lag seems to be horrendous even when you’re not in the zerg. Even on best performance (which runs smooth as anything with a busy Tequatl kill for me) I lag awfully when practically alone and not doing anything in the burning Lion’s Arch. When I hit zergs the frame rate drops like a brick, and its painful. I don’t know why the lag seems to be so bad on this release, but it seems to be quite a problem that really reduces enjoyment. Lag reduction is definitely something that Arena Net should make a priority with such flagship releases as EFLA.

This sums up my emotions to GW2 at the moment pretty well ironically
This screenshot sums up my emotions to GW2 at the moment pretty well actually

Second important question. Is the Living Story fun?

I don’t know if that’s an entirely fair question, but what is really important is if all this chaos in Lion’s Arch really makes much sense and if its headed for a good conclusion.

I think the answer to that has to remain a probable no. It doesn’t look like there will be a satisfying conclusion to season 1, with Scarlett facing off against our heroes in a final battle in Lion’s Arch in a week which will lack the epic feel it really needs. After that, she almost certainly won’t be dead. But we shall have to wait and see!

All in all, the Living Story Season 1 remains a disappointment for me. There was great potential with EFLA but its missed the mark. Technical problems, as well as questionable design that left too much room for dull zerging to dominate, have made it a let down that seems to be headed towards a conclusion that will leave many players feeling unfulfilled.

Keep tuned to Digital Salad in the coming weeks as I take you through the latest developments, and my opinions of them, on GW2 as it closes one chapter and begins to open another.


Digital Salad –


2 thoughts on “Digital Salad Guild Wars 2: Giving Escape From Lion’s Arch A Go

  1. lothirieth February 23, 2014 / 8:55 pm

    You say there are times you found yourself with out a fight.. well, one doesn’t always need to be in the centre of an event to be plenty busy. In fact if everyone only sticking to the zerg is great way to save the fewest citizens as possible. ANet has actually done a good job on forcing people to split up if the server wants to hit the final 1200 citizens saved reward. Commanders are being asked to turn their tags off to prevent too much zerging and people are encouraging spreading out as many citizens can be found in all the corners of LA. I’ve spent several events, entirely on my own, saving citizens. My only gripe is that doing so isn’t as rewarding regarding loot as zerging is. But it’s much more enjoyable and less tiresome.

    Also, I’ve not experienced one bit of lag. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve encountered actual lag in GW2 since launch. I think often people are calling bad fps ‘lag’ which isn’t accurate. It is true though that GW2 is poorly optimised. On my old PC, I had everything on low and still would have abysmal fps during these LS events, world events or WvW. WvW was practically unplayable for me. But that was never lag. It’s been so lovely experiencing the game with my new PC. Whilst 20-30fps wouldn’t be considered good, it’s been refreshing having everything on high and actually see what’s going on around me. But yeah, the very, very much need to work on optimisation.

    • Digital Salad February 24, 2014 / 9:48 pm

      I’d definitely agree with the optimisation side of things. I say lag, but you’re absolute right, I was just using it as a lazy short-hand for very bad fps. The only effort they’ve ever really put into optimisation was the whole culling/pink blobs saga. It never really had much of an effect though, and if anything made it worse for many. I think its something they’ve far too often overlooked – especially when adding new things with plenty of lovely particle effects which, whilst lovely, make my PC cry at the thought!

      I like the fact that there is the part of EFLA that allows for individual actions working together for the collective good. The trouble is is that often the zerg mentality continues to win out. Accidentally, with the way that individually saving citizens gives only a fraction of the personal reward that zerging champions does like you say, Arena Net have promoted the zerg on EFLA. I’m sure they didn’t mean to, but they have accidentally; and I think that’s one of the core problems of it – it would be much more fun all-around if the rewards were balanced in that respect.

      Have you seen Why I Game’s blog on EFLA, talking about the conflict between the selfless and selfish? It kind of touches on that stuff, so if you haven’t spotted it I’d recommend a read. The link is:

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