A Review of Season 4 Episodes 3-4 — Guild Wars 2 Forums
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A Review of Season 4 Episodes 3-4

Maelor.2370Maelor.2370 Member
edited February 20, 2021 in Living World

Hi,

I previously reviewed episodes 1-2 and liked the exercise, so here I go with episodes 3 and 4 of LWS4. As previously, I will be structuring my review along the following 3 criteria:
1. Story (how interesting, what excited me most, etc.)
2. Map(s) (the metas, how well I liked the look, structural setup, etc.)
3. Comparison to previous content (expansions and seasons)

Season 4 Episode 3: Long Live the Lich

  1. This started well, with Gorrik's trial and "Lord" Faren's shenanigans. Then Joko appeared, again a bit out of nowhere, and we were sent to invade Gandara. We also get sent to the Tomb of Primeval Kings for "advice", but basically we just get the adherence of a ghost army. So we teleport to Domain of Kourna and have to secure the "landing zone": I think this was a great narrative idea, but gameplay-wise, the stealth golem arm got old mostly because it was over-used when going beyond the starting town. I would've preferred getting the town secured, and then going on a skirmish to get the outer parts. Anyway, eventually we push into Gandara, get through Joko's contraptions and confront him. Going through the palace and the lasers was fun, and the fight with Joko was also fun and not over-done. Appreciated meeting the Beastmarshall one last time before that. No spoilers, but while funny and enjoyable, the ending of the Joko saga was as abrupt as its beginning. One really nice touch was being able to view a prophecy of the final cutscene while flying in Kourna.

  2. Domain of Kourna itself was somewhat underwhelming. Cool to get the roller-beetle collection, but isn't it a bit... excessive? I want to keep going through the story, but doing the collection would slow me down immensely, so that's just not going to happen. At release though, I understand it would give you something to do. Still, it feels excessive even in those circumstances. A few places on the map are locked unless you get the mount as well, which was disappointing. The feel of the map was also somewhat bizarre, and I honestly didn't even do the meta once, I simply didn't care for it and even was repulsed. One heart I enjoyed doing was Arjok Farmlands, figuring out the Joko statues inside the houses was nice, because the big statues throw you off as to the objectives (until you do the story). Appearance-wise, it didn't click with me. Maybe I missed some things, and was rushing, I don't know.

On this point, I also want to mention the Deepstone Fractal that was released with this Episode: I think it's a very good fractal, solid stand-alone story and good mechanics all around. I would love to learn more of the dwarves, and I like thinking this is a foreshadowing to Thunderhead Keep, which I understand also goes a bit more into that.

  1. Compared to the last two episodes, this one was a pretty big letdown. Except for some good moments in the instanced story towards the end, I honestly feel this was filler content except for wrapping up the Joko saga, the Fractal, and introducing the new mount, so I imagine a lot of time went into those. In that case, however, and considering the map quantity bloating this game is gradually getting, just do those things on previous maps where a lot of thought went into the design rather than throwing a map together.

Season 4 Episode 4: A Star to Guide Us

  1. I liked this, quite a bit. From the conference of the four powers of Elona and its shenanigans, to the investigation of the "twilight zones" of the Mists on the map, and ending with a pretty dope sequence of finding and reigniting the fire within Sun's Refuge, not to mention the lore-rich collections you got there (which I didn't do but would've been exactly what I would be looking for in a LW release when it comes to story), it was all topped off by huge character developments (Taimi and Blish, Aurene after her visions, etc.). The part about Balthazar's sword felt a bit like filler, but this does not take away from the fact that in this episode, the overt and subtle story-telling was some of the best I've seen in the game. Also, how dope was it to navigate the sniper boss?!?!?!?!

  2. I don't really have much to say here. I realize now, writing this review, that except for its place in the story, I didn't spend any time playing the map as its own thing, meta and all. I will probably revisit it because I think it's navigationally interesting and I've heard good things about its meta, but it does indicate to me that compared to all other LW episodes, this is the episode where the notion of a map meta as a feature was pushed away by the very strong, and diverse story-telling. I also didn't yet play the raid wing that released with this episode (Mythwright Gambit): what do you guys think about it as a raid wing?

  3. This is probably my favourite episode yet, of S4 and all other seasons. I loved Sun's Refuge in terms of gameplay AND story, character development was off the charts and filler content was minimal. Of course, this is subjective: I'm not playing the game where this is the latest release, but rather in a context where I just want to do the episodes to finally be up-to-date. In this sense, this is my favourite GW2 episode and, honestly, my favorite part of storytelling from the whole game, except (maybe) for the Tybalt storyline.

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That's it for this post. What do you guys think about the metas from these two releases? Have any insights about the raid wings or hidden story points? Did you hate the story, instead, if so why? Cheers!

Comments

  • I definitely agree that "A Star to Guide Us" is one of the strongest story episodes in the game. I also agree that DoK was underwhelming.

  • Randulf.7614Randulf.7614 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 21, 2021

    Ls4 ep4 is one of my top 2 episodes of the Season (not that what comes after is any competiton apart from a single instance which I wont spoil in Ep5 and the Ep6 map). It had a small map, but really crammed with storytelling, atmosphere and things to do. Even though Suns Refuge was a huge missed opportunity, it was still fun to do all the related tasks and collections.

    The only real downside to Ep4 is how badly it has dated. There was so much group based content, it is hard to really keep it going as an active map at this point. Which is a shame, because it was really fun to play. during those initial months

    Ep3 has been well documented in opinions. The map as far as I am concerned is one of the biggest let downs and the story was killed off at the end right as it was getting exteremely interesting and engaging with one of the most painfully bad scenes in all of the franchise. Even the devs indicated some regret for what happened. The Scarab Plague was the basis for a decent, world threatening arc which didn't involve the dragons and could have kept going whilst keeping Kralk in the background for some time. But, the killing off dragons and the Aurene push derailed what was for me, the more interesting story to tell.

    It is however a divisive episode. It does have a fair number of people who like it - esp the ending. The map simply needed more time. It was hurt by the demands of what was a pretty hectic and punishing release schedule in terms of development

    What sleep is here? What dreams there are in the unctuous coiling of the snakes mortal shuffling. weapon in my hand. My hand the arcing deathblow at the end of all things. The horror. The horror. I embrace it. . .

  • Ashantara.8731Ashantara.8731 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Story-wise, both episodes were truly well written and executed (regardless of what one may think of the tedious hearts or the unfinished map meta). I thoroughly enjoyed LWS4 and never thought I would say this, but I miss the level of quality...

  • Fueki.4753Fueki.4753 Member ✭✭✭✭

    I didn't like how easily and cheaply Joko got dispatched.
    He had potential, but Arenanet just scratched the surface and then moved onto Kralkatorrik.

    I don't like the Jahai Cliffs.
    I don't like the Mists shenanigans with the pockets of different locations and times appearing in those bubbles.
    I don't like Sun's Refuge and didn't even bother unlocking things for it.
    I don't like the sniper mission. It's just annoying and the poison depletes health too quickly.
    And lastly, I don't like the timed Jumping Puzzle after leaving Blish behind.

  • I just love LWS4 in general. Interesting dialog with Joko, a giant Elder Dragon battle (most epic one so far?), two new mounts, suns refuge, well designed maps with various movement mechanics, pretty decent character development (e.g. Blish).

    I see how Anet thought they could make expansion level content with Icebood Saga, since honestly, LWS4 was so close to expansion level content.

  • ugrakarma.9416ugrakarma.9416 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 25, 2021

    Kourna was rushed,
    I dont remember why, the studio at time probably had internal problems that public didnt know,
    The dev that made the roller bettle left just after episode released.

    Also few people remember at time, the map/episode come with tons of bugs, the mobs at "frontline" didnt drop anything, the mess on loot in general was a clear sign of untested/rushed content like a "oops we forget define loot table for the map".

    main pvp: Khel the Undead(power reaper).

  • Those turrets are the biggeest proof of that, this massive grind to unlock this somewhat "complex" thing, and it's not even used outside the map, and even in the map itself is not that great.

  • ugrakarma.9416ugrakarma.9416 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Brandon Uzumaki.1524 said:
    Those turrets are the biggeest proof of that, this massive grind to unlock this somewhat "complex" thing, and it's not even used outside the map, and even in the map itself is not that great.

    Sure im near complete all LS4 content, all grindiest stuff(already did skycale, golem y mark, the joko staff etc), except this. is boring and useless.

    main pvp: Khel the Undead(power reaper).