Hey gang, sorry if this has come up in discussion before. It's a story post about the LW/saga situation. Even the expansion packs so far, I suppose.
I know the devs are limited by time and money (that gem store tho) but I have to say as a player who loves the world, not just the lore of the game, I've felt increasingly squeezed into a narrow alley of exploration in the game.
What I really liked about Guild Wars the First was that you could choose to play each campaign in any order. It really felt like replaying the game gave you a fresh new experience even if it were the same story. Even Eye of the North took this approach and gave you the option to complete its 3 branches (charr, asura, norn) in whichever order you choose. Crucially, while some maps were locked off until parts of the story were completed (looking at you, Cantha) you had free reign to run around and explore new maps. Yes, smaller back then, yes, no voiceovers, yes, I know. And yes I know I can skip my character ahead to new maps in GW2... but not really. And that brings me to the second point.
The tradeoff is that now the world feels more responsive to current events... but it doesn't feel like a world. They feel like levels (very square, too). Let's say I make a new character. The way that the whole of Elona reacts to me assumes I've completed all of living story season 1 (missing) and 2, HoT, and Season 3. It's linear. I'm playing the same character out of necessity of the plot. There's no way to "fast track" my character to the new content. Which... it's fine, I understand why. There's a story the devs want to tell... but. It's getting top heavy and bloated. There's no sense of a new horizon. Only "what's the next check box?"
Finally - the reason people prefer expansions over sagas and so on isn't because they're just blazing through content or entitled to """free""" (gem store funded) content. We know there's a minutiae of arbitrary tasks to complete in the achievement window. It's freshness that we yearn for. We want a square deal; vast lands to tread, new assets. New stories, side stories that aren't necessarily linked to us, apparently now the centre of the world... A land to truly explore. We're willing to pay for it.
The LW felt like a drip feed. Don't get me wrong - it had it's highlights. But did it feel like I was exploring? A little. Like exploring a theme park.
I'd be interested to see what you think. For all the wonderful choice we got in the beginning (personal story and core Tyria exploration) it sure feels like we've been squeezed through a funnel.