I wanted to start this particular thread for 2 reasons.
First, for the past 8 years, I have watched a pattern that I strongly feel needs to be changed up a bit. An episode/expansion/content drop occurs, and Feedback is given. The Feedback is visibly negative for the most part in the forums, severely debated about on livestreams, and People voice their disdain (or joy) until the next content drops. Lather Rinse Repeat.
Second, as someone who Genuinely has a love for the story, lore, and the overall game itself, I also know that I am not alone, and I truly feel that there has got to be others out there that are willing to voice what they actually enjoy about what is being delivered by the Game developers.
I'd actually Like to hear the opinions of those that enjoyed the latest episode in the Icebrood Saga, and what you enjoyed about it.
Yes, I am serious.
Here, I'll go first:
The voice acting was fantastic. Adding the voice acting to previous encounters prior to this episode was very welcoming, although to understand what was going on in the story itself, I truly didn't need to hear the voices. It did add to the ambience, and added meat and emphasis at just the right moments. Kudos to the Voice Actors for stepping up, remaining safe, and delivering stellar performances.
The Usage of EOTN and the Crystal Bloom (minions of aurene???) as a staging area and response team for the Destroyer attacks was both familiar and new at the same time. GW1 fans remember how the Eye of The North was used as the heroes would venture out seeking allies and prepping for their fight against the Great Destroyer. GW2 players remember how Fort Trinity was used as a staging area in the battle against Zhaitan. Utilizing EOTN as a staging area that all races of Tyria could converge upon and respond to the various assaults that Primordus' minions deliver works well with the story, and utilizing the asura gate there to enter each instance, similar to the strike missions, is both very convenient and lore-friendly.
I will be honest here... I was taken aback a bit from this idea of us working alongside the Icebrood. Side by side with Ryland. Aurene agreeing with Jormag, albeit reluctantly. After being convinced since the beginning of the Icebrood Saga that Jormag was the bad guy, Ryland had turned on us, Bangar was the unwitting victim of Jormag's influence, only to hear from "the voice of jormag" that _ no... Jormag wasn't that bad... the real bad dragon was Primordus and we have to join forces to beat him? _
That, IMHO, is good storytelling.
When it comes to the combat and the response missions, I found it to be a little bit of a breath of fresh air. It wasn't too difficult, nor was it too easy. Using the open world as separate instances reminded me a LOT of the Nightmare Tower, Lion's Arch, etc. the instances weren't some special room with a giant circle that we only get to utilize to whack a boss; they genuinely gave a feel that the destroyers are attacking all of tyria, not just a super secret arena somewhere. the locations were real, and the combat itself did not feel rushed.
The combat felt fluid to the story rather than being the entire story. If i am entering an instance of the Living World and my sole purpose of that instance is to poke a stick at a bad guy, then the substance isn't going to keep me there long enough. However, having the combat be a part of the overall telling of the story gives the story itself a little more horsepower.
The champs at the end of each instance did not disappoint me. Was i expecting some uber hard boss battle? no. I go into Living world episodes without expectations because i want to be surprised. The champs were just the right amount of difficulty and, as stated above, added to the story rather than dominated the story.
Replaying the missions makes sense in this episode. It's Primordus. The Big Guy. From a lore perspective, realistically I would not expect us to just clear Metrica Province and be done with it... the destroyers will likely come back the moment we leave that area. That's what minions do... they just keep going. The incentive... is to prevent the Destroyers from... Destroying??? I know... it sounds far-fetched. People want rewards. People want shiny things to say they did the things. The rewards for this Episode are there... and IMHO they only enhance the telling of the story, rather than being the sole reason for playing. Of course we want our super powered shiny weapons that can... well... do the same thing as the other 50 super-powered shiny weapons do. From a Story perspective, however... the Crystal Bloom... heck, all of Tyria, is joining forces to defend against a pretty BIG dragon and some pretty nasty minions. Primordus could very well eat Tyria. It only makes sense to have blacksmiths, etc creating things for the fight against Primordus. Again... it enhances the story, rather than being the sole purpose for playing.
Overall, The episode IMHO is very well written and very well delivered. I am Thankful for the efforts of all involved in making this episode and i can't wait to see what happens next.