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Feedback regarding the ending of the episode

monkcrabswamp.9315monkcrabswamp.9315 Member ✭✭
edited September 28, 2018 in Sep: LWS4 Ep 4, Raid, & more!

For starters, I want to say that I love this episode. I had so much fun with it and adore so much of it! It was honestly a great episode, with loads of features and very very few misses.

I found one of those misses to be at the very end of the episode, though, and felt like I should comment on it. Please please don't take it the wrong way. I genuinely love your work, and it bugs me that I couldn't love it wholeheartedly. To summarize in the least textwall way possible!

1) the cinematic where Taimi explains her sickness to the Commander has them out of frame the whole time, not even seeing their backs. This makes me feel like she's talking at us instead of talking to the Commander, which was disappointing considering how important this should be to the Commander, personally. I love Taimi, she's very important to the Commander, and I wish we got at least one voiced line expressing our reaction. This should gut us as hard as LS4-1's finale, and I wish it did.
2) with the SWATHS of character deaths in our wake (mentioned very often! in this episode itself, in fact), some parts of the dialogue are written as if this is the Commander's first real loss. It really isn't. I wish the dialogue would concentrate more on Taimi's loss instead of the Commander's loss here. Blish's death stings, sure, but it's got to be much worse for her.
3) The way Taimi brought it up was a bit...abrupt, I think? It feels like 'oh my best friend died and he told me no more secrets, so here, let me tell you I'm dying" and I don't think that's what you intended. You were laying groundwork for this and Blish's relation to the reveal back in LS4-2, after all, you didn't want it to be abrupt...

And....that's it, I think. I hope this doesn't sound too negative....I really, really love the whole episode and I wish I could gush at you forever about what I love in it in a more 'what worked and what didn't' kind of post, but you said 'please no textwalls', so.....

It's not a question so you don't need to answer this. I just want...to deliver feedback, I guess. It's probably not even a majority opinion, but I hope it's helpful anyway in gauging how various players may respond to the story.

Comments

  • @monkcrabswamp.9315 said:
    1) the cinematic where Taimi explains her sickness to the Commander has them out of frame the whole time, not even seeing their backs. This makes me feel like she's talking at us instead of talking to the Commander, which was disappointing considering how important this should be to the Commander, personally. I love Taimi, she's very important to the Commander, and I wish we got at least one voiced line expressing our reaction. This should gut us as hard as LS4-1's finale, and I wish it did.

    While I'm definitely not an ArenaNet dev, I can point out that ArenaNet has previously mentioned that it's really hard to include the player character in cinematics. Apparently, including the player character in Joko's death cinematic in Episode 3 was a real challenge, even though you're completely frozen the entire time. I'm not too sure why, as they didn't elaborate there, but that probably accounts for why the Commander doesn't show up while Taimi explains her sickness.

    @monkcrabswamp.9315 said:
    3) The way Taimi brought it up was a bit...abrupt, I think? It feels like 'oh my best friend died and he told me no more secrets, so here, let me tell you I'm dying" and I don't think that's what you intended. You were laying groundwork for this and Blish's relation to the reveal back in LS4-2, after all, you didn't want it to be abrupt...

    I completely agree with all of this. In general, I think Guild Wars 2's storytelling suffers a bit from most major moments feeling sort of abrupt. Part of it, I think, is that we really only check in with our major story characters during emergencies--expansion storylines and Living World episodes are almost always situations with a lot of urgency and forward momentum. That means major character moments never really get a chance to breathe.

    I can speculate as to a lot of reasons for this. Sometimes I compare Guild Wars 2 to Final Fantasy XIV here--FFXIV tends to pace its character development much more believably, largely because it takes a lot more time to include scenes that are just the player hanging out with characters and talking about things. But there are a few reasons FFXIV can do this. For one, FFXIV only has voice acting for select scenes, usually plot-important scenes. Many character-driven scenes aren't voice acted at all, which likely saves a lot of money. (Not to mention that the player character is silent in FFXIV, while in GW2, the player character has ten voice actors per language.)

    Another thing is that FFXIV's solo story missions tend to follow a much more MMO-like structure. There's more filler along the way, which weirdly enough gives time for more character work while telling the story. At the same time, while FFXIV does have the occasional solo instance, they tend to be a lot simpler than GW2's. So far it might sound like I prefer FFXIV's approach, but that's not what I'm saying--I'm highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each. And one of GW2's biggest strengths is just how elaborate and unique its solo story instances are. GW2 puts in a lot more effort to be a compelling solo gameplay experience than FFXIV does.

    Even assuming roughly equal budgets for story patches--which is a massive and almost certainly inaccurate assumption--I think it's interesting to see how each game's different priorities lead to telling different kinds of stories.

    That said, I agree with you that this is one of the strongest story chapters ArenaNet has ever done. I'm especially a fan of the small stories you can take part in after you complete the episode, like the Elegy collection and everything else to do with Sun's Refuge. I think that's a huge step forward in making the world feel like it's full of real people living their lives and I love it.

  • @Agent Noun.7350 said:

    @monkcrabswamp.9315 said:
    1) the cinematic where Taimi explains her sickness to the Commander has them out of frame the whole time, not even seeing their backs. This makes me feel like she's talking at us instead of talking to the Commander, which was disappointing considering how important this should be to the Commander, personally. I love Taimi, she's very important to the Commander, and I wish we got at least one voiced line expressing our reaction. This should gut us as hard as LS4-1's finale, and I wish it did.

    While I'm definitely not an ArenaNet dev, I can point out that ArenaNet has previously mentioned that it's really hard to include the player character in cinematics. Apparently, including the player character in Joko's death cinematic in Episode 3 was a real challenge, even though you're completely frozen the entire time. I'm not too sure why, as they didn't elaborate there, but that probably accounts for why the Commander doesn't show up while Taimi explains her sickness.

    Ah, that would explain it if it's really hard, since there's plenty of things going on in this chapter already that's probably a pain in the [small baby cat filter word] to do already, techwise. Still, I wish we'd get at least one line of the Commander actually reacting to it after the cinematic, instead of just the missable optional dialogue that's unvoiced for some reason even though Taimi's reply is voiced. Just them saying "Taimi...." would've worked.

    They'd have plenty of time to react to it in the following episodes, so I hope that's what happens.

    Another thing is that FFXIV's solo story missions tend to follow a much more MMO-like structure. There's more filler along the way, which weirdly enough gives time for more character work while telling the story. At the same time, while FFXIV does have the occasional solo instance, they tend to be a lot simpler than GW2's. So far it might sound like I prefer FFXIV's approach, but that's not what I'm saying--I'm highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each. And one of GW2's biggest strengths is just how elaborate and unique its solo story instances are. GW2 puts in a lot more effort to be a compelling solo gameplay experience than FFXIV does.

    I have pretty limited experience with FFXIV, but I feel that FFXIV's strengths give it stronger NPCs (because they carry most of the story) while GW2 has a stronger main character (sometimes they feel like a singleplayer PC nerfed by the fact that they star in an MMO). Unless that's changed recently? That gives them different strengths and weaknesses, for GW2 that probably makes balancing between the PC and the NPC cast like tightrope walking above a river of lava.

    Unlike many people, I actually like the Commander a whole lot so I'm not complaining about GW2's approach, but it leads to the whole issue of flanderizing/repeating the NPCs' most recognizable traits and abrupt developments for the NPC cast, I think. And I'm the sort of person who didn't think Braham's meltdown in LS3 was too abrupt...still, it can be mitigated, and for most of LS4 GW2 has actually been really good about this. Amazing compared to previous, even. So it was disappointing to see their old flaw rearing it ugly head again.

    I hope they continue to improve!

    (And I would LOVE some story content where we just have a slow moment with the NPCs, really!)