PoF story: good build-up, disappointing ending (some spoilers) — Guild Wars 2 Forums

PoF story: good build-up, disappointing ending (some spoilers)

Kundry.1249Kundry.1249 Member ✭✭
edited September 24, 2017 in Lore

I think the build-up was very good: we were learning significant things, visiting important, mysterious places, and the pacing was good. I particularly enjoyed: getting to learn more about Vlast only after he died, being lost and just asking everyone around for what to do next; Balthazar actually killing you, which made him look dangerous enough even for your plot armor; using Palawa Joko's undead army for you. But then the ending was anticlimactic.

First, the final battle wasn't as epic as the Mordremoth fight, or even the Zhaitan fight. Suddenly with a sword (which Rytlock had been carrying with him all along) you are so much more powerful and enemies melt before you. You don't really get the feeling of fighting against impossible odds. And Balthazar lacks any character, even more than other standard villains. He's a human god after all so you'd expect he at least has some coherent motivation other than just "being evil because he's a villain," but no, he doesn't have any. His manners don't even feel dignified enough for an end boss. Vlast's inner conflict that we learn about from the crystals and in Kesho turns out to not amount to anything. The fact that we end up siding with Kralkatorrik (though only out of convenience) and the mention of a previous attempt at "converting" Kralkatorrik suggest there could be some interesting interaction with Kralkatorrik but we never get any.

Overall, the PoF story feels like it's just a prelude to the inevitable fight with Kralkatorrik coming in LS4, with Balthazar being a complete filler villain, a mid boss rather than an end boss. It sets up a lot of things, which I suppose LS4 will expand on, but the Balthazar storyline itself was very disappointing.

Comments

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

    i liked the build-up and ending. Balthazar is a mad-man.

    "It's a testament to the folly of the humans and their gods. They say Arah was sacred, but all I see is one big dragon nest."(Rytlock Brimstone)

  • @Euthymias.7984 said:
    The buildup was nice, but I feel like Vlast and Balthazar's Herald shouldn't have been killed so soon. Maybe as we drew closer to the ending - say, he could have accompanied us up to the point of finding the Spear, and be killed while helping us protect it from the Forged/Herald finding their way into Glint's lair for the weapon. I would have loved some dialogue between him and the PC, with an Aurene illusion watching and interacting with him briefly.

    Kormir's involvement was barely notable, and the idea that the 5 were staying not only out of the matter but leaving Tyria entirely is just....
    I mean, couldn't she at least have Blessed the Sword so that it could be more believable that its charged up state could fell a god/offer divine protection against getting insta-gibbed by Balthazar like before,

    Well really, Balthazar himself blessed the sword because he re-ignited the blade in the mists.

  • BrandontOO.2389BrandontOO.2389 Member ✭✭
    edited September 25, 2017

    The story overall was quite good IMO. The build-up was nice and i liked the ending.
    It was cool to be able to use Sohotin even tough it felt way to OP. We have to keep in mind that the more casual players should be able to clear this aswell.

  • Jaken.6801Jaken.6801 Member ✭✭✭

    Okay, I guess I am in this camp here.
    Great build up, dissapointing ending.

    Let me say up front, PoF is no desaster. There is actually a lot of good stuff here. Lot's of lore, lot's of attention to detail. Lot's of great throwbacks to Guild Wars 1. You really feel like the writers and designers went back to all these places and tried to bring it all back.

    Which brings us to the stuff that didn't go so well. Everything feels like a footnote. While the overworld does do a great thing to paint an awesome, well, world. The story we experience only brushes along, cherrypicking, kinda randomly, specific parts that suit the intended storybits.

    For me, a story should get us involved in the world and if we are to explore further we get the details. This was something they actually balanced in HoT. You get to a place and you had a complete grasp on what is going on and you touched upon almost everyone important.
    PoF however is so massive, that the story feels like we are tourists in each area. We often just run through, not really interacting with important characters. Only saying Hi and moving on.
    We do go get back to some, but in the end I knew nothing about them.

    At the epilog, I really felt that they struggled to fill the place with meaningful people. For some reason the mount handlers were there and the sous chef, as someone important.
    I didn't recognize the second spear from anything and many other characters who were there, were people I had bearly one conversation with.

    The worst thing, looking back is, that beside from silly quips of Canach and Rytlock and some exposition, I don't really remember the connections on how we got to certain places or resulutions.
    I can roughly follow why we ended up at certain points, but it feels like often there was no proper build up. We just came to a conclusion out of nowhere and our PC made it sound so witty and smart.
    I really wished there was more dynamic there. For example the sudden jump to get Jokos armies. It is a logical solution to the problem at hand, but it just came out of left field.
    Let me say it this way. My father was part of a QA team for driving assistances, mostly for parking. In the early stages the car was able to get into the place where it should. So it completed the task, but it wasn't aproved. The reason is, that it did it in a mechanical way, which just didn't feel natural. It was scary and uncomfortable.
    So there were adjustments done, so it take the task more like a human (without bumping into things of course) and it did made a lot of difference.
    PoF (and most of GW2 in general) feels the same way.
    It goes from point A to point C, but going over point B would have better.

    For example. At the very end, we suddenly see Majory appearing. She was a major character in LS3. She had a falling out with Kasmeer, but this was never (really) adressed in PoF. Now she is there and they make up. Okay? Why? Just so we can have them back together in LS4? Was there really a build up in PoF? I can't remember.

    Overall, many characters feel rather flat. Mostly the new ones who often only have one purpose: Exposition. We don't see them or interact with them beyond that. We get a piece of information and off you go.
    It really would have been nice, to have someone with us more and get to know him, because our members, while funny, didn't really get much deeper.
    Sure we saw Rytlock admiting his mistake and getting more humble and finally spilling the beans about his mist journey, but I only learned about Canach that he is easily bored and likes to gamble. Kasmeer didn't get much more depth either, aside from emphazising stuff we already knew.

    The overall story idea was okay. I didn't like the direction and the (in my opinion) stupid idea to write out the gods. I was hoping for a good twist, but maybe I have to take that there was no twist as that.
    Balthazar was as uninteresting as he was introduced. There was no deeper meaning to him. In the end ther was nothing redeeming about the whole scenario.
    Most stuff happened off panel. We are only seeing the aftermath and end of his whole ordeal. Which is weird, because the name Balthazar is part of the GW2 mythos for so long. As well as the other gods.
    However in the end we didn't really learn anything. Balthazar and all the other gods are handwaved. One becoming a shallow antagonist and the gods just walking of the stage.

    TL;DR: I really enjoy the world of PoF, however the mainstory could have done better with keeping characters around explaining a bit more there. The things PoF's story are adressing is way too much, to have it mostly explained in the world. As the title of this thread says. Great build up, disapointing ending.

  • fighting with Rytlock sword Sohothin was cool but stupid. i don't think everybody likes to play without their own class abilities.
    Therefor the sword is massiv op. The way ontop zu Balthazar was repetitiv and boring. The fight against the machine was ok.
    Fight against Balthazar was visual clusterf... to many effects ;-) but it was pretty good. maybe a bit to easy.

    He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster

  • witcher.3197witcher.3197 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Killerbot.8645 said:
    the end fight was much better than Zhaitan and Mordremoth combined.

    also, striking Balthazar down with the blade that he reignited himself was pretty nice.

    @witcher.3197 said:
    Came here to make a thread like this, looks like I'm not alone.. really good buildup, especially how we get to encounter the main antagonist several times before the final battle, but during the entire expansion I kept telling myself "we're not gonna kill him, the lore team wouldn't do it, I'm just not buying this sudden evil-take on Balthazar" which somewhat soured my enjoyment in some story steps, and then we got to the end.. yeah..

    Anet hates everything that's human lore. Too bad the entire franchise was build on said lore and demolishing it piece by piece is killing the things that made me fell in love with the game in the first place back in GW1.

    I think this just made me give up on the game and Anet as a whole.

    Yea, they really must hate human lore, why else would they create 3 campaigns around it where you see things from the perspective of a human.

    I'm not sure how path of fire could really demolish anything for you, the gods were already absent and useless for a very long time, pretty much the entirety of PoF is human lore yet you're still sitting here acting like ANet stomped on your sand castle.

    What are you even talking about? What 3 campaigns? I'm talking about GW2-era Anet's deep hatred for humans not GW1 Anet.

    Imagine if the Norn got an expansion that was all about the spirits of the wild leaving forever and as an endboss we kill the Bear spirit because reasons.. or HoT ended with killing the Pale Tree. Pulling a race into the expansion's focus just so kitten over their lore is not fun.

    At this point I hope they only focus on races and lore i do not care about. Thank god we didn't get an Abaddon fractal.. what a disaster it it could've been.

  • Gorgaan Peaudesang.8324Gorgaan Peaudesang.8324 Member ✭✭
    edited September 25, 2017

    I hope they'll expand on Elona during LW4, because it felt like we "rushed" those maps since Aurene got captured before entering the kingdom.

    As for the Gods conundrum, it didn't bother me at all. I care about Tyria, not about those entities. They decided not to play this game anymore, but it was in the air for a long time.

  • @witcher.3197 said:

    @Killerbot.8645 said:
    the end fight was much better than Zhaitan and Mordremoth combined.

    also, striking Balthazar down with the blade that he reignited himself was pretty nice.

    @witcher.3197 said:
    Came here to make a thread like this, looks like I'm not alone.. really good buildup, especially how we get to encounter the main antagonist several times before the final battle, but during the entire expansion I kept telling myself "we're not gonna kill him, the lore team wouldn't do it, I'm just not buying this sudden evil-take on Balthazar" which somewhat soured my enjoyment in some story steps, and then we got to the end.. yeah..

    Anet hates everything that's human lore. Too bad the entire franchise was build on said lore and demolishing it piece by piece is killing the things that made me fell in love with the game in the first place back in GW1.

    I think this just made me give up on the game and Anet as a whole.

    Yea, they really must hate human lore, why else would they create 3 campaigns around it where you see things from the perspective of a human.

    I'm not sure how path of fire could really demolish anything for you, the gods were already absent and useless for a very long time, pretty much the entirety of PoF is human lore yet you're still sitting here acting like ANet stomped on your sand castle.

    What are you even talking about? What 3 campaigns? I'm talking about GW2-era Anet's deep hatred for humans not GW1 Anet.

    Imagine if the Norn got an expansion that was all about the spirits of the wild leaving forever and as an endboss we kill the Bear spirit because reasons.. or HoT ended with killing the Pale Tree. Pulling a race into the expansion's focus just so kitten over their lore is not fun.

    At this point I hope they only focus on races and lore i do not care about. Thank god we didn't get an Abaddon fractal.. what a disaster it it could've been.

    As though GW2-era Anet and GW1-era are Anet are completely separate entities. As though a massive portion of the devs and writing team aren't holdovers from the glory days of Nightfall you love so very much.

    If you're not satisfied with the way the story played out, that's your business. But what you're doing is the equivalent of insisting George Lucas never cared about Star Wars because you didn't enjoy the prequels. We can accuse Arenanet of many things, but "not caring" about the story they had a personal hand in creating? Balderdash.

    http://wanderingstoryteller.tumblr.com ~ The Most Amateur of Amateur Guild Wars Blogs!

  • @Jokubas.4265 said:
    I feel the opposite.

    Most of Victory or Death was a pretty typical instance. I wasn't bothered by the fight with Zhaitan as much as others, but aside from Zhaitan himself being a unique sort of enemy, the instance was fairly standard. Likewise, while I felt it was appropriate in context, aside from the giant helix room outside, the Modremoth instance was pretty generic. Boss arena circle, boss arena circle, boss arena circle, against a tough but fairly standard enemy.

    On the other hand, the final Path of Fire instance involved an entire army, a siege spanning an entire city that you were running through, and you work your way up to a high point with an absolutely crazy view (before you get one more fight in a separate instance that features callbacks to things you trained for). It actually felt different to me than your standard dungeon or story instance, and that alone made it feel a lot more climactic to me.

    Also, I feel the opposite about handing you a special weapon. To me, being able to blow everything away with ease thanks to a special item is one of the things that makes something climactic. This is the ultimate showdown, and an ultimate weapon can certainly make it that. It doesn't make it feel too easy to me when I have a reason to be destroying them like that, it makes me feel like I earned a reward and get to have an exciting finale. If I could kill both armies and Balthazar with my own weapons, that might have made them feel too easy to me. Alternatively, if they weren't easy with my weapons, it might have made the instance too hard and make it feel like I didn't really win, I just had a game mechanic allow me to keep trying until I did.

    I don't know if I'm articulating it well, but for me personally I really liked the last mission and it was one of the most epic things I've experienced in awhile.

    100% agree. The siege and final fight are probably my favourite thing I've done in GW2. When I killed Zhaitan and Mordremoth, I didn't feel like I'd done anything too awesome. When I was finished cuttinf down legions of Forged, running through a burning city, and killing a kitten god whilst a giant kitten dragon fired down at both of us, I was estatic. Throughout the entirety of those instances, I was constantly thinking "aw hell yeah, I'm actually doing it!"

    Anyway, far and away the best story instances they've ever done IMO.

  • Konig Des Todes.2086Konig Des Todes.2086 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 26, 2017

    My opinion: I rather liked the story. The open world has thus far been a bit disappointing but I'd label this as mechanics over lore - I think the major cause is the maps being designed around mounts.

    I liked the build up and the ending. My only real complaints would be the obvious and massive cliffhanger ending, that the fight with Balthazar felt a bit too over the top (the world was literally on fire), and that Kralkatorrik is basically a hammerhead Shatterer (how is it that he has a heart if his body is hollow?).

    I do like the nod back to the Episode 3 training with Aurene in the final fight, but I feel that Aurene should have held a bigger role in that battle. To help explain that it wasn't just Joko's army and Sohothin that allowed the Pact Commander to survive and be effective against Balthazar. It's pretty clear Aurene had a much bigger impact than mechanics showed when you think about it, but it's not really shown well at all.

    That said, there are things I would nitpick about. But in large these are small things - like timeline order (Kesho was sunk when Joko dammed the Elon, right? That'd be either 1135 or 1175 AE; but Vlast was kept there after Glint's death in 1320 AE? All the while, people have long standing legends of Vlast, indicating he's been around for more than less than a decade...). My most major complaint is a moment I just wanted to bitchslap the PC. Why did the PC antagonize Joko? We were just told Joko was bound by Balthazar's magic, and as such that magic would likely disappear with Balthazar's death, so then we follow that up with antagonizing Joko? I get not letting him out, but why the salt in the wound?

    One other thing is that I really felt that the PC should have been humbled by his deathly experience. Instead he learned nothing from it. He went in the battle expecting plot armor to keep him alive, even said to Balthazar "I don't want to kill you" despite being injured twice by Balthazar though Balthazar's health bar at 10% (and not even including the fact we nearly died to Balthazar the first time). It felt like a proper kitten moment for Balthazar when he responded with "You won't." and subsequently downed us again. I feel that the Commander should have come to realize he isn't so invincible just because he managed to down two Elder Dragons with armies at his back.

    @Kundry.1249 said:
    First, the final battle wasn't as epic as the Mordremoth fight, or even the Zhaitan fight. Suddenly with a sword (which Rytlock had been carrying with him all along) you are so much more powerful and enemies melt before you. You don't really get the feeling of fighting against impossible odds. And Balthazar lacks any character, even more than other standard villains. He's a human god after all so you'd expect he at least has some coherent motivation other than just "being evil because he's a villain," but no, he doesn't have any.

    While I can agree with the oddity of Sohothin's tide-changing capabilities (would have been better if we got Magdaer for this and dual-wielded the two to create a spark of powers), I disagree on Balthazar lacking character.

    There is coherent motivation with him, and it's explained in Facing the Truth. The other gods learned a lesson from the battle with Abaddon - that powerful entities like themselves and Elder Dragons battling each other leads to catastrophic outcomes. Balthazar didn't learn this lesson, or didn't care enough about Tyria (anymore) to take it to heart. He just saw a powerful foe and wanted to prove himself the better. He saw leaving Tyria to avoid a confrontation as cowardice that conflicted with his moral code of honor. But being prone to anger (something we've known since GW1 as well), he threatened the other five gods claiming to defeat them once he was done with the Elder Dragons. This led to them confronting and defeating him - likely through deceptive means given his loss of moral code as presented in Flashpoint - and imprisoned him, much like Abaddon.

    Angered at being bested so easily, and finding a way out of imprisonment, he goes to fulfill his promise made in rage.

    How is that not having personality or coherent motivation?

    And this fight was far superior to Victory or Death.

    @Kundry.1249 said:
    Vlast's inner conflict that we learn about from the crystals and in Kesho turns out to not amount to anything. The fact that we end up siding with Kralkatorrik (though only out of convenience) and the mention of a previous attempt at "converting" Kralkatorrik suggest there could be some interesting interaction with Kralkatorrik but we never get any.

    And what were you expecting to come out of a dead dragon's memoires? Or a failed attempt that was really only placed there to explain the existence of branded Forgotten?

    Were people honestly expecting Kralkatorrik would bow his head and thank the Dragon Slayer for saving his life or something?

    @Kundry.1249 said:
    Overall, the PoF story feels like it's just a prelude to the inevitable fight with Kralkatorrik coming in LS4, with Balthazar being a complete filler villain, a mid boss rather than an end boss. It sets up a lot of things, which I suppose LS4 will expand on, but the Balthazar storyline itself was very disappointing.

    Like the end of Season 1, and the end of Season 2, and the end of Heart of Thorns, and the end of Season 3, ArenaNet ends their plots with a very, very clear sign that there's more to come. This... surprises you?

    @Animism.6849 said:
    Why didn't we just send Rytlock and some pact armies to go take down Balthazar in the beginning? Got the sword, and presumably a much larger army than we saw from all the undead Marshalls.

    Because no one considered a fiery dragon sword would be effective against a fiery god. Which is honestly a rather logical conclusion... Especially since Sohothin made destroyers stronger when used against them (per Edge of Destiny novel). It wasn't until Rytlock realized that the man he freed was Balthazar, and putting that together with Kormir's words, that he realized Sohothin would indeed be effective.

    And the Pact is still in shambles.

  • Fenom.9457Fenom.9457 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Balth had some reasons, and Kralk is still being addressed so don't complain yet

    HARRY! DIDYA PUT YER NAME IN DA GOBLET OF FIYAH?!

  • Coulter.2315Coulter.2315 Member ✭✭✭

    I struggled with Balthazar being strong enough to beat an Elder Dragon but weak enough to lose to Sohothin and a baby dragon.

    I really enjoyed the story though (except the bit where we spoke to Kormir without an intermediary, the "blind" debuff didn't give them a free pass in my opinion - though her character model was beautiful).

  • Fenom.9457Fenom.9457 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Coulter.2315 said:
    I struggled with Balthazar being strong enough to beat an Elder Dragon but weak enough to lose to Sohothin and a baby dragon.

    I really enjoyed the story though (except the bit where we spoke to Kormir without an intermediary, the "blind" debuff didn't give them a free pass in my opinion - though her character model was beautiful).

    to be fair it was him, his army, and a kitten cannon against the ED but just him against us

    HARRY! DIDYA PUT YER NAME IN DA GOBLET OF FIYAH?!

  • Daharahj.1325Daharahj.1325 Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 26, 2017

    So, like HoT?

    I get that this is fiction, but the inconsistency is too much.

    You either spend the entire plot hyping up a god to be powerful enough to raise deserts from the ocean, or you let a 3 feet asura and his pet kill him. Not both.

    Also, Sohothin, what the hell? Last time someone smashed a weapon like it into the ground the Foefire happened, yet my character was smashing it like it was nothing.

  • @Coulter.2315 said:
    I struggled with Balthazar being strong enough to beat an Elder Dragon but weak enough to lose to Sohothin and a baby dragon.

    I really enjoyed the story though (except the bit where we spoke to Kormir without an intermediary, the "blind" debuff didn't give them a free pass in my opinion - though her character model was beautiful).

    He never beat an Elder Dragon. He had to use machines to paralyze any Elder Dragon he fought. He never directly fought any Elder Dragon.

    Hell, he only directly fought Vlast and the Pact Commander the entire time.

    Not sure why an intermediary would be needed for Kormir though? We've always known since learning that the gods can blind, that it isn't instant. Heck, the blind debuff even strengthened over time during the discussion, which was neat.

    @Daharahj.1325 said:
    So, like HoT?

    I get that this is fiction, but the inconsistency is too much.

    You either spend the entire plot hyping up a god to be powerful enough to raise deserts from the ocean, or you let a 3 feet asura and his pet kill him. Not both.

    Also, Sohothin, what the kitten? Last time someone smashed a weapon like it into the ground the Foefire happened, yet my character was smashing it like it was nothing.

    No single god is ever presented to be powerful enough to raise deserts from the ocean. All six gods duking it out resulted in a desert rising from a sea though.

    And... it wasn't Sohothin that made the Foefire but Magdaer. Also, smashing Magdaer into the ground alone wasn't the cause of the Foefire. And Season 2 already established that Sohothin does something different than Magdaer. You might have forgotten that bit though, since it was, what, 3 years ago?

  • draxynnic.3719draxynnic.3719 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Personally, I didn't particularly like the buildup either. Because it was all so... predictable.

    I was excited about Vlast's introduction, but very quickly predicted that Balthazar would kill him before we had any meaningful interaction. Sure enough...

    Going and seeing 'the gods' had potential, but we get a speech from Kormir about how neither she nor the other gods would intervene... which is about what I was expecting from that instance. Meanwhile, we get exposition that Balthazar's story is that what he wanted to do was going to cause more harm then good, the other gods acted to prevent that, and he threw a massive tantrum... they really did make him Abaddon 2.0.

    Frankly, there was a point in there where I was thinking that the whole thing had jumped the shark (never mind that, given raptors and sand sharks, you can literally do exactly that in the very first map...). It was the second half where things did actually stop being completely predictable... apart from Balthazar being able to grab Aurene and turning it into a rescue mission, of course. At least now we have an explanation as to why 'Lazarus' protected Aurene in S3E2.

    @Euthymias.7984 said:
    The buildup was nice, but I feel like Vlast and Balthazar's Herald shouldn't have been killed so soon. Maybe as we drew closer to the ending - say, he could have accompanied us up to the point of finding the Spear, and be killed while helping us protect it from the Forged/Herald finding their way into Glint's lair for the weapon. I would have loved some dialogue between him and the PC, with an Aurene illusion watching and interacting with him briefly.

    Kormir's involvement was barely notable, and the idea that the 5 were staying not only out of the matter but leaving Tyria entirely is just....
    I mean, couldn't she at least have Blessed the Sword so that it could be more believable that its charged up state could fell a god/offer divine protection against getting insta-gibbed by Balthazar like before,

    Yeah, I think they really did need to have Kormir's appearance there be a little more significant. She could have informed the PC that what they needed next was in the Riverlands, giving a reason to go that way. There could even have been a mention, in the afterlife instance, that the Judge had been asked by Kormir to let the PC be resurrected. Instead, she just... leaves us a few words of encouragement and expects us to fight a god.

  • For me personally, I felt satisfied with the ending and very much enjoyed the cinematic with Kralkatorrik flying over the city and corrupting the area. I had no issue with the boss fight and preferred it much better than heart of thorns fight with Mordremoth.

  • @Stalkingwolf.6035 said:
    fighting with Rytlock sword Sohothin was cool but stupid. i don't think everybody likes to play without their own class abilities.
    Therefor the sword is massiv op. The way ontop zu Balthazar was repetitiv and boring. The fight against the machine was ok.
    Fight against Balthazar was visual clusterf... to many effects ;-) but it was pretty good. maybe a bit to easy.

    You had the option to switch to your normal weapons with Special Action Key...
    Were you blind for that extra Icon on your screen?

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