[Spoiler] Fridged. Again. — Guild Wars 2 Forums

[Spoiler] Fridged. Again.

Rauderi.8706Rauderi.8706 Member ✭✭✭✭

I'll just come right out and say it. Death in GW2 is cheap.
And I don't mean "WP when dead" kind of cheap.
We can't get a shiny new character to hang around for a while before it has to die to appease the plot. Belinda, Eir.
And now Vlast.
I'm disappointed because we got this cool dragon, good guy, but in the end, we get less than five minutes of screen time before DEAD. Business as usual.
I felt nothing but disappointment. No rage, no woe. No shaking of fists, just rolling of eyes.
Vlast dies so we feel guilty (except I don't) for being Balthazar's target, and so Aurene can . . be an edgy teenager?

Many alts! Handle it!

"A condescending answer might as well not be an answer at all."
-Eloc Freidon.5692

Comments

  • Zoltreez.6435Zoltreez.6435 Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 28, 2017

    @Rauderi.8706 said:
    so Aurene can . . be an edgy teenager?

    made me laugh.....

    on a serious note: at this point i just want prety much everyone except taimi to outright Die so we can get fresh new better writen characters.......
    im bored of the ones we have...... especialy how badly most of them writen they are bland as hell..... especialy with the plot hole that the nonexisting season 1 gives.......

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

    Pretty much. My prediction as soon as I heard that Balthazar was after Vlast is that Balthazar would kill Vlast before we could have any meaningful interaction. Sure enough...

    Now, if we'd had a chance to get to know him before he was summarily fridged, that might have been another matter.

    (Also, it just struck me... it didn't seem as if he grew much since EotN...)

  • @draxynnic.3719 said:
    Pretty much. My prediction as soon as I heard that Balthazar was after Vlast is that Balthazar would kill Vlast before we could have any meaningful interaction. Sure enough...

    Now, if we'd had a chance to get to know him before he was summarily fridged, that might have been another matter.

    (Also, it just struck me... it didn't seem as if he grew much since EotN...)

    Balthazar didn't want to kill Vlast in the first place, but the combination of us wanting to meet Balthazar and Balthazar wanting to kill us led Vlast to sacrifice himself because of our status : Aurene's champion.

  • Vlast: tying up loose ends. As with a lot in PoF, the writers wanted to write loose ends out so they have more freedom to progress in completely new directions with new LS / expansions.
    I did hope for more time and action with Vlast, and I did feel disappointed from the player perspective, but it is completely understandable from writer perspective, especially when compared to all other loose ends written off in PoF so as not to deal with them in the future, so that the world can develop without the burden of old lore.

    Belinda: minor character, introduced specifically to be killed off and progress plot, also to hint at necros getting greatswords (Marjory picking up her sister's sword).

    Eir: had a lot of screen time, bringing her up is unjust.

  • Thalador.4218Thalador.4218 Member ✭✭
    edited September 28, 2017

    @drkn.3429 said:
    Vlast: tying up loose ends. As with a lot in PoF, the writers wanted to write loose ends out so they have more freedom to progress in completely new directions with new LS / expansions.
    I did hope for more time and action with Vlast, and I did feel disappointed from the player perspective, but it is completely understandable from writer perspective, especially when compared to all other loose ends written off in PoF so as not to deal with them in the future, so that the world can develop without the burden of old lore.

    Woah there... just what exactly do you mean by "develop the world without the burden of old lore?" You want to develop the world that is built on existing, established and sensible lore by taking out this foundation? How does that even work? So do away with everything the entire Guild Wars setting and universe is based on and come up with random stories that the writers would actually enjoy writing about. I get it.

    Here's the deal, then: stop calling the game 'Guild Wars 2' (they can go with 'Dragon Wars' instead, for example) and sure, go ahead with writing and creating stories separate from the Guild Wars universe. The game mechanics are fun and as it seems that people don't want to play Guild Wars stories anymore, so it would be a viable choice. But for as long as the story is built on the 'old' lore of Guild Wars and they continue giving the Guild Wars name to their products, let's not fantasize about sweeping the very basis of the universe aside so the bored writers can have more fun.

  • Yeah.

    Look at this from perspectives other than the player's.

    For one, the writers team has changed over time. There are few of the original writers, if any. I doubt there was extended documentation for GW2 storytelling and lorecrafting that would be supplied by the original writers, let alone any coherent, large plans from the GW1 era.
    The new crew will want to tell their own story, not being tied by old details on each step. Sad but true.

    For two, there's no point beating a dead horse for years, focusing on the same bits of story and lore over and over again, paying homage to details from a few years back. This will not bring new players - or, rather, this will not hook new players in, as they do not relate to the majority of PoF lore the way that someone who played GW1 does.
    From business perspective, it's ill-advised to stay deeply rooted in a product from years past, one that no one will pick up nowadays (unless to get HoM points, but then you already need to be hooked into GW2 and want to grind HoM).
    The game needs new conflicts, so it's understandable the writers want to cut as many loose ends as possible before introducing new issues, or going back to dragons (while we would be asking "why the gods don't step in and do X?" - PoF told you why, quickly and to the point; it's irrelevant whether i like it or not).

    Look at Vlast.
    His story goes back to GW1 and the defense of Glint's eggs. People who never played GW1 or cared for its lore have no hooks into this particular part of the story / lore.
    Then there were some bits and pieces, some mentions of an older Glint's scion, named Gleam. We entered PoF and suddenly the name is changed to Vlast (?what the name change served?), the dragon is introduced and killed in the span of a minute, then his memories serve as points of exposition and the way to gather them as an additional nudge to explore the map.
    It makes sense if you view it from the writer's perspective. I'm not saying i'm happy that a big mystery, a mystery hyped for me - as i did play GW1 and cared for that particular challenge, saved the egg over and over again - was written off like that.
    But it served some writing purposes: the name change might show that we mustn't be absolutely sure about anything that was said by unreliable sources in the game, as it all may be proven wrong. Mind it, the name was not ret-conned, we just were told what the dragon's real name is (while not getting any good explanation as to why he was called Gleam). The quick death meant that Balthazar is a deadly threat, and it also meant to escalate conflict between our character (and, by proxy, us) and the rogue god. The memory crystals were used to encourage you to explore the map a bit more, learn to use springer, and see the new map from a nice, high-up view; not to mention the exposition they provided.
    It also tied up a loose end, a lore piece that was introduced back in GW1 without much plan and now doesn't need to be ever cared for again.

    Look at the gods.
    We were told they went silent, but we weren't led to believe they are completely gone. We had high hopes of exploring the gods' domains, interacting with them, seeing them step in into the fight against the dragons, and so on. Those sentiments were especially strong within those who played GW1, who played in FoW and UW, who visited the temple of Abaddon in Nightfall story mission for the first time.
    While i am included in that group of players, we are not the primary target of GW2, not from the business perspective.

    Now look at a wider perspective.

    Look at Heart of Thorns.
    S1, S2, and HoT introduced a lot of turmoil, a lot of new conflicts, many new plot items - the majority of which were already planned around the original release. Not to look too far: COE indicated that there is the sixth dragon and its name is Mordremoth.
    HoT has also finished a lot of branches (yes, sylvari were created as dragon minions), introduced new elements (the exalted and the egg), and left some loose ends (are sylvari immune to corruption because they technically are dragon minions?). Still, whatever the story was, however rushed it felt, it resolved a lot.

    Then S3 came, all of which set the tone of not only tying up a lot of story elements, but also brutally cutting the story branches off.
    It was already visible in S3 that the writers took the course of touching on established lore and story elements only to finish them once and for all.
    The whole White Mantle build up that culminated in killing Caudecus and Xera.
    The Lazarus plot that introduced a god (more on which later) and brutally cut off the real Lazarus (and the mursaat as a whole) from existence, after only a minute of screen time (does it remind you of someone? a crystal winged someone?).
    There were also funsies with the mursaat buildings and bits of lore from the Fire Islands, all to answer the longtime question "why don't we go to the Fire Islands, we went there in GW1". We even got some fan service for players of GW1.
    The Jormag and Primordus draining that put them into weakened state and allowed the writers to focus on other things for any arbitrary amount of time.

    Now, PoF came.
    Vlast branch was finished.
    Gods branch was finished. I would argue that a major reason to make Balthazar the antagonist was to reintroduce the gods plot in the first place, so that it may be resolved in a flashy culmination, and the only god that would step against Tyria at large would be Balthazar now. I still think it was a weak story point and none of the Six would intentionally do harm to humans and other sentient races like this, but my take is irrelevant: it makes sense if you think that introducing a rogue god (with Balthazar as the only option here) allowed the writers to deal with the gods once and for all.
    A lot of loose ends were finished and/or touched on: from meeting Kossan and finding Tahlkora's skeleton, to Devona becoming the Herald, to getting the Flameseeker Prophecy (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this CANNOT be underestimated! from writer perspective, THIS is the ultimate "this is to be dealt with once and for all" - after 12 years, even though no one really thought about it, it's now laid to rest and will never be spoke of again), to loads of bits i haven't seen yet.
    After how S3 was handled, we really could have expected the trip "north to Vabbi!" be a fan-service and a tip to old-timers, while setting the world for new actors and new conflicts in S4.

    The writers do want to deal with the 'fallout' of GW1 and the Movement of the World so that THEIR world can really move on.

    Again, I am not saying all of that was done right, or that i like how it was done.

    If you focus only on the receiver side, that is how you view what is presented - as a player - while being ignorant of how the story and lore are spun from the writing side, you're oblivious to a lot of answers "why X was done this way". We may not like it, but this is how it works, especially when a large group of people work together on one final piece of art, and even more so when a part of that group rotates out and another part rotates in.

    You can find similar approach in many other pieces of fiction that span across years and different writing crews. Everyone wants to tell their story and put some of the old lore/story loose ends to rest.
    Do i like it? No. Do i understand it? Yes, as a writer sometimes needs to follow the "less is more" principle. I do think it could have been done better, avoiding inconsistencies and plot holes, but "oh well" - we have no idea how would have we done it in the actual writers' boots.

    Even with all of that said, there still is a lot of established lore and story to build up on.
    However, the writers will naturally want to focus on lore and stories that were established - or clearly visible - in GW2 as is, rather than on ties to GW1 or Movement of the World. I expect to see a lot about the Kodan, for example, as this is something any new player can relate to after playing just the core game, without ever reading up on GW1 or the world's history.
    You can also see that Joko was re-introduced much more carefully, slowly, and may yet play a bigger role rather than die in a minute in a side event in S4.

    Wherever we move on from here, new GW2 players need to relate to it, be introduced to it, and care for it. This, actually, is the right overall direction.
    How some of the steps are executed is a whole other story...

  • @Rauderi.8706 said:
    Vlast dies so we feel guilty (except I don't) for being Balthazar's target, and so Aurene can . . be an edgy teenager?

    Honestly, when Taimi told me that Aurene was wigging out, that was my exact fear. I knew that if they'd pull a Braham with Aurene, I'd be done. Utterly done. Then she showed up to save me instead. I really wish we could have had a proper reunion and some quality time with her, though, and considering that she takes off again in the end, I still have some twinge of worry over how LS4 will develop the bond with her.

    Vlast's death made me both sad and angry, but I don't think it was comparable to Eir. Eir was an existing, important character who didn't get remotely the attention and treatment that a person of her standing should have had, and her death was just disgraceful, as is the way Braham is allowed to wield it like a club as if nobody else ever lost anyone. Vlast could also have been very important, and I'd honestly have loved to meet him and introduce him to his baby sister, but we never knew him like we were supposed to know Eir.

  • Konig Des Todes.2086Konig Des Todes.2086 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 28, 2017

    @Rauderi.8706 said:
    Vlast dies so we feel guilty (except I don't) for being Balthazar's target, and so Aurene can . . be an edgy teenager?

    Vlast doesn't die for any of that. He dies so that Balthazar can use Aurene as a tool in his attempt to kill Kralkatorrik so we feel more pressured to kill Balthazar.

    Because we've 'bonded' with Aurene. Supposedly.

    Or at least that's how it felt to me. I can just see this conversation happening:

    Anet Employee 1: So to kill Kralkatorrik, one must use crystals he made. So let's have him use Aurene, a scion of Glint, to put pressure of importance on the player.

    Anet Employee 2: But... Vlast is right in the Crystal Desert, right? Why wouldn't Balthazar use him?

    Anet Employee 1: Uhh... because... Because Vlast dies! Right, Balthazar ties to kill the PC when players catch up but Vlast takes the hit to ruin Balthazar's plan and save the PC!

    Anet Employee 2: Okay... why would he? Why not just take Balthazar's distraction and high tail it out?

    Anet Employee 1: Hmmm. Okay, we'll add in memory crystals - kind of a memoires of Vlast, right? They'll show that Vlast was depressed and didn't care about living! But he kept acting because family is important to him, and he can sense the PC is Aurene's champion! That should solve all the loopholes.

    While the concept of a depressed dragon is interesting, I do feel that Vlast died way too fast. And his death was too obviously wedged in - like Eir's - for the sake of putting pressure on the player or Dragon's Watch. In this case, the primary purpose was to explain why Balthazar would use Aurene rather than Vlast, and they wanted Aurene used because player bonding.

    All these squares make a circle.
    All these squares make a circle.
    All these squares make a circle.

  • JayMack.8295JayMack.8295 Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 29, 2017

    I don't think Vlast's death was meant to make you feel sad or guilty. Unless you played GW1, you'd have no attachment to him anyway, so banking on an emotional attachment for 5 minutes of screen time would be foolish. Even in GW1 his exposure wasn't exactly high.

    Though his on screen time was disappointingly short, I don't think ANet necessarily disserviced a character this time around. We got a fair chunk of story from Vlast's memory crystals and from the Forgotten explaining his background.

    I'd rather we had more exposure to him first OR seen his early life (being raised by the Forgotten/Exalted) before they killed him off because his actions would have made more sense and we'd have more of an idea of him.

    Also Vlast was a vessel for dealing with the balance of magic until he died. That has now been passed on to Aurene but I wonder if it would have been more interesting for them to not kill him but instead build on his depressive side after he absorbed Balth's magic and made him a kind of neutral force. Not good, not necessarily evil. Then he and Aurene could have had a dynamic. Obviously saying this is pointless because of the direction they went in but still.

    I'd always be interested in knowing what sort of storytelling got cut from the expansions either due to resources or some other force. I know ANet tend to NOT let us know what's been cut in case they later want to use it in future updates but...I feel like a lot more instances were meant to happen for PoF that didn't for whatever reason. Particularly for act 3.

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

    @drkn.3429 While I get what you're trying to say - the writers want to move on to tell their own stories without being held back by sticking to stuff other people wrote - I don't think that really excuses the issues here.

    There are two ways in which you can not deal with plot elements that you don't want to deal with right now. You can put them "on a bus", so that you or someone else can come back to them if they so choose. Or you can kill them off hurriedly (literally or figuratively) so that it doesn't take focus from the story you want to tell, making it so that nobody can do justice to them later.

    The gods were already on a bus. They could have left them on the bus. Heck, they could have used the PoF plot with Menzies instead (would have been entirely in character). Instead, they chose to drag him off the bus so they could kill him (or, rather, make us kill him). It feels like they're just pulling the WoW trick of taking any character with shades of grey and turning them into a villain because they didn't have an idea for a proper villain. If the current writers don't want to write the gods, it would be better to not write them - and keep them intact for future writers that might be inspired to go in that direction in the future - then to cut one out in a haphazard way because of course all gods of war are Always Chaotic Evil.

    In Vlast's case... Vlast IS part of the story they're telling. Now, it's perfectly reasonable to say that Vlast's death is equally part of that story - Glint's plan involved Vlast, and not having Vlast is going to make it harder to make that plan work. However, criticisms that Vlast's death was poorly handled are entirely independent of the argument that the writers want to focus on their own stories.

  • drkn.3429drkn.3429 Member ✭✭
    edited September 29, 2017

    Draxx: that's because Vlast was used just as a plot-driving device, and for many plot-points; not only to give urgency, not only to close a dangling plot branch, but even more so he had to go to 'strengthen' Aurene (or give her the Plot Power, if you prefer). Vlast was never introduced or developed as an actual character.
    And yes: it was a poor choice, it was rushed. As i said earlier - i don't like or appreciate handling it this way either, but it's irrelevant.

    However, from this perspective, i understand why a lot of PoF things happened and i can just move on, focus on what they aimed to achieve and what went right rather than what went wrong.

    Rather than raging "Vlast was just another character that was killed off just because, ANET WHAT YOU DOING ?!?!?!?!!!?!!!!!11111eleven", i prefer to understand what was his use, even if mishandled, grumble over it for a while, accept it and focus on the story that the writers wanted to tell, rather than one i wanted to hear.
    It seems to be a surprisingly large issue, and a huge part of it is because the world we know and love has so many storytelling and lorecrafting bits and details that are not consistent with the direction of the franchise anymore. Edit: that is, we expect a lot of things while the writers go in different direction, so then we feel disappointed.
    I, too, would prefer to visit FoW again and meet Balthazar in person there, ready to help him finish Menzies off once and for all, rather than do that with Balthazar because reasons. That's irrelevant. That's not the story i was told, so rather than raging over it, i want to enjoy what i actually was given.

  • TexZero.7910TexZero.7910 Member ✭✭✭✭

    I dont think you can count Eir in that. We've seen her in pretty much every dungeon, personal story and LW s1&2.

    Now then i still want to agree but for a different reason. Vlast had been a huge enigma to the story one which may have been better told by having him around before his untimely demise. Granted i still enjoyed learning about him and his insights of the world but the way it went down was kinda counter to his story. He was able to pretty much fend off Kralk's other champs and prevent even more damage to the desert but was rather quick and irrational when it came to taking a sword to the chest. Which is made even more silly by the act where we the PC come back from deaths door via the mist. The PC could have died there with the same consequence and we would have still had the two scions to fix the imbalance of power which would have prevented us having to deal with Demi-god Dragon in the future.