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The Path of Failure in Story & Lore [PoF Spoilers]


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What can I say? The writers did it again; they failed to tell a coherent, engaging and gripping story that has you on the edge of your seat, that introduces you to interesting characters, has an antagonist that at least you can relate to on a basic level and whose goals actually make sense, all the while respecting the lore of Guild Wars upon which all this was expected to be built. Failing yet again at every level of storytelling and delivering (selling) a rough-and-ready, rehashed plot that's all about feeding you memberberries until you pass out from overdose is not what I expected after they've been told again and again that their direction with the writing is terrible. I truly hoped that they had learned from their past mistakes and the story is going to achieve a quality that is worthy of Guild Wars. I even came back to the game after 3 years of hiatus, bought HoT and S3 to catch up and understand what has happened in the world... I was eager and willing to give them a chance to convince me that I underestimated them, to bedazzle me with the wonders of this world once more. I jumped into PoF full of hope and excitement. And now I'm typing this post disheartened and and disappointed. And I cannot say that I was betrayed or swindled; they succeeded in luring me back with all the memberberries they offered through the Crystal Desert, Balthazar, Elona. But once the last berry melted away, it left a bitter aftertaste of bad writing coupled with useless nostalgia.

Hail Almighty Abad-... Balthazar? What?

A couple of weeks ago we were joking around with Konig and Drax that the worst would be if we got a plot that made Balthazar an Abaddon 2.0 effectively. We came up with names like Abazar or Balthaddon (the latter name led to even more jokes and jabs) and theorized that his Forged are effectively a mix of Shiro'ken and the Margonites, making them Baltha'ken or Balthanites or Baltha'kenites. And voila, all our fears and jokes came to fruition:

"A rogue god who's had a falling out with his kin leads his fanatical, twisted zealots through the sandy dunes, wastelands and savannahs in order to gain power and elevate himself from his diminished state all the while ransacking and desecrating temples, committing blasphemies left and right with the end goal being to wage an apocalyptic war on the other gods and goddesses, murder them or steal their power - or both - and become the One True God. Only for him to die at the hands of the people he sought to destroy, with his powers getting absorbed by an entity he targeted and tried to kill in the first place." Having a feeling of deja vu? Actually, they managed to cram both of Abaddon's cataclysmic missions for ultimate power and reign into one campaign - it wasn't just a simple copy-paste of his first war or his second attempt with Nightfall; it was both in one, hastily and illogically thrown together and resolved even more hastily and in a manner that was underwhelming; even if it was a blatant copy paste, at least they could've made the road AND the destination as epic as they were in GW: Nightfall.

And now onto the man, the myth, the legend himself... oh, he's nothing of that in him anymore? Wait, you mean he never had any of the qualities that made him a likable and honest god of war? So again, everything we've seen and heard of him from the stories in GW1 were lies? Oh, right, I forgot the memo; let's forget everything that made Guild Wars interesting and complex and pretend that it never happened. Seriously? This was probably one of the worst and most painful slaps in the face ANet could have pulled off to hurt people that love good storytelling and Guild Wars. There were dozens of interesting, mindbogglingly compelling ways and twists to explain why he was on this suicidal and apocalyptic warpath. And there was a bit of hope in me after reading the Burning Scrolls by the Herald that he's going to have depth and an understandable justification for his furious campaign. When I saw the chained and broken Balthazar in an epic cinematic of Rytlock's run-in with him, I had this mote of faith that this is going to be fixed somehow. That Balthazar was defeated in the Eternal War, betrayed by one or more of his generals, Menzies gained the upper hand (making sense for him to say "I've learned there's no honor in war"), stripped him of his divinity with Dhuum's or other demonic help, and locked him away in an extinguished Fissure of Woe to suffer alone for all eternity, knowing that the other gods were all besieged and facing their own nemeses or lethal trouble and would be unable to mount a rescue - or they actually believed him to be dead after Menzies's takeover. And there would be a way to reason with him, to make him see that his goals on Tyria were flawed, that this new unity of all races and not just humans has achieved more than he thought was possible, and with their aid he could right the many wrongs that he had done. We could've slain Kralkatorrik with him on our side and then watched together as Aurene became the next Crystal Dragon. In the end, we would have pledged to aid the god of war for Season 4 or raids and help him take the first steps in reclaiming his domain and his divinity; to destroy the scheming, vile half-brother of his for good. Is it really that hard to write a story that is true to the essence of Guild Wars? I don't think so.

And what we got instead was the "Hollywood God of War #132." Yeah, war's a horrible thing; innocent people die, injustice and cruelty are rampant. We don't need to be told that time and again; equating the gods of war with the evil of war is a pretty mainstream and safe thing to do nowadays, I get that. But for goodness' sake, this is a fantasy game where we can suspend our disbelief and immerse in a fantasy that wars can have good and noble causes and must be fought to save the good and the light and life, etc. - but nope, that would be too Guild Wars. Thus Balthazar threw a hissy fit that he couldn't have his dragon fight... and that's it! A divine and ascended being just got mad that he couldn't swing his Uber-Legendary sword at the Elder Dragons, and began cursing and threatening his friends who tried to reason with him. What the kitten... it hurt me to even write this illogical mess down. A god with eternal power and millennial wisdom couldn't understand that they could win but that would kill all their charges and that in the vast and infinite Mists there were potentially an endless amount of worthy conflicts and foes he could pick a fight with, without wiping out the species he had saved from an unknown calamity in the first place. The amount of stupidity in this plot is truly painful.

Since the time of the Guild Wars campaigns and the Movement of the World, they retconned Balthazar so much that they've made him become his half-brother. I wouldn't be surprised if Menzies would never even show up now or it turned out Balthazar gobbled on his soul as well. In Guild Wars, he was a supreme commander who instilled respect, courage and honorable conduct in battle and war, a warrior of devotion and righteous fury... he was flawed, but so were the other gods in their own, unique ways. The Guild Wars and most armed conflicts between human nations were accredited to the release of magic from the bloodstones after Abaddon's Mouth had erupted. It was the greed and lust for power of men that incited guilds and monarchs to wage war on their fellow human brothers and sisters. By now it has been retconned to better reflect the notion that "war = bad" - and shove it down our throats. Balthazar has become a god of mass murder (stated by a high-ranking Priory NPC); a crass god whose followers were responsible for most conflicts in the world (stated by the ghost of an Orrian queen). Originally, he was the one to open the portal to the Mists after Zhaitan's rise and the flooding of the Battles Isles, but that got retconned as well and now there's no mention of it only asura gates (of course...) leading to WvW. In a way, the real Balthazar had been murdered by ANet long before the shadow we fought in PoF came to Tyria.

The Cynical, Stupid Six

For one more paragraph I'm going to talk about the appalling nonsense that was Balthazar's reason in PoF for going rogue. Are we supposed to believe that he whined and cursed for thirteen centuries that he can't measure his D against those of the EDs? And he chose to side with the snowflakes - Dwayna, Melandru, Lyssa, Grenth - against his one real buddy who could at least understand him!? Let me get this straight: he wanted to slay the Elder Dragons the whole bloody time, but when Abaddon decided to give out magic to the races to arm them against the oncoming ED threat and upend the magical "balance" (in order to make them rise and kill them while they are weak and sleepy), he joined the Miss Tyria finalists talking about unity, love, world peace, compassion, and dragon preservation and stabbed the one person who shared the same policies and principles about dragons, magic, and power in the back. Balthazar - the version corrupted by ANet - chose to side with the "cowardly" hippies who wanted no dragon fight. Then for thirteen centuries he was sulking and itching for his Dragonbowl, threw a temper tantrum, and got abated by the hippies. Where. Is. The. Sense. In. That. (Side note: Abaddon was the god of knowledge... I refuse to believe he didn't know about the consequences of releasing magic as well as killing the ED; he must have thought they could kill them one by one, absorb their power and prevent Tyria from going BOOM.)

Just to mention it real quick, the writers went with the least interesting and predictable explanation for the gods' departure: they feared to fight the Elder Dragons. It's like the very first theory that came to everyone's mind after reading the Movement of the World in 2007. No twists, no intriguing intricacies, no mysterious or epic scenarios... nothing. They left because ANet tries so hard to make the Elder Dragons fearsome and Reaper-like incomprehensible yet failing to accomplish that at almost every step of the turn (Mordremoth was a step in the right direction, mind you). So they decided to screw it and cement this idea that the ED are so cool and so powerful that they are beyond the gods themselves, and the gods were afraid. I get the plot that they are aspects of life on Tyria and they are needed to regulate magical levels and killing them without a contingency plan is bad for business. But aside from creating magical imbalance with their deaths they are just overgrown, power-hoarding, ugly lizards. Whereas an "undimmed" god's death can wipe out a planet and a huge chunk of the Mists as well... and even influence said lizards to start waking up as it turns out. According to ANet's "lore", the gods could have roflstomped the ED, and through an understanding with Glint and perhaps more info shared by those self-serving, conniving Forgotten they could've designed a way to destroy the ED, contain them, replace them, supplant them, or convert them. Of course, with this level of writing they can't even make sense of their own, predictable and uninteresting lore either.

Alright, let's go with their explanations. The ED are unknowable and a war with them would wipe out all life, so they decide to leave and not risk such confrontations. And then they help and guide humanity from afar to prepare for the dragonrise, advise them on designs to combat and contain them, and work with Glint and the Forgotten who are onto some kind of plan in creating balance and doing away the extremes of these cycles. <-- What should have happened in a sensible Tyria.

What happened --> "Okay, although we haven't even tried at all, this Project Tyria is a lost cause; we cannot think of any way to solve the dragon problem so let's leave everyone we've saved from the calamity we'd forgotten about to die, all the while letting the guy we beat up pretty badly and imprisoned ourselves to have his fun with the mortals. Oh yeah, it's time we departed fully now, not just like the last time we lied about our absence; I'm getting tired of their constant nagging. I know a great place on the far side of the Mists; wonderful beaches, twin suns, no genocidal eldritch abominations, just docile natives who can worship us and build us cities. They can be taught to serve us drinks, too." - Dwayna, sometime after the Exodus

_Q_Q Bwahahaha... you cowards! I wanna fight the dragonz and kill them so I can prove I don't have the smallest sword in the Mists. Abaddon was right; y'all are mean and weak and you are girls... and you're mommy's boy, Grenth... I'm done with you! QQ - Balthazar, shortly after Dwayna's decree. I don't think this needs further explanation. And even if they didn't realize there were viable solutions to the dragons, they could've come back, bundled up humanity and everyone else who wanted to escape certain doom and took them to the next world to create their utopia there. However, in their ungodly cynicism they just abandoned the descendants of those they brought to Tyria and who worshiped and loved them, with said descendants continuing to worship and love them, and write them off and their descendants as failures. Such a disgraceful reasoning behind the Six Gods' reasoning would never have happened in the Guild Wars universe we've gotten to know and love since 2005.

And lastly, the final chapter on the gods' idiocy in this horrendous story: they somehow strip Balthazar of his divinity without involving a successor (why didn't they do it with Abaddon as well, then?), chain him and leave him just sitting there. If he's such a liability, why not kill him outright? Or imprison him in another prison complex similar to the Realm of Torment? Why leave him alive when he shows the same tendencies that Abaddon did and has become Abaddon 2.0 already? Do the gods not learn from their mistakes at all (with what I described in the previous paragraphs, they don't have the intelligence to learn or think at all)? The whole gods story is a travesty, and the less said about it, the better.

The Fall of a Great Villain - How Palawa Joko became an Overdone Joke from an Evil Mastermind

The fact that the whole story is more rushed after the end of Act 1 than the entirety of HoT was speaks volumes. The grand empire of King Palawa Joko the Magnificent, the Mighty, the Wise is deceived by a ruse of a few banners, a few assaulted camps, and the highest-ranking official after the King himself walks around with an entourage of four lousy Awakened, and nobody notices from the Bone Palace that he's being killed in front of their walls. And all this happens effectively under a day. It's ridiculous, but what's even worse is how Palawa Joko, the cunning schemer and strategist, got duped by a god of war who was never known for deceit and lies - that's his half-brother's way (mind you, he could've adopted these tactics after being betrayed by his forces and learning there's no honor in war, but he wasn't betrayed; he was whining and vowing to kill his kin so he got what he deserved). Yes, Palawa Joko got served his own medicine and is now imprisoned once more... how original. And then he went on to make funny threats and sing praises of himself... yeah, that's the villain who could conquer an entire continent. The Guild Wars Halloween jokes were entertaining with him being made fun of by Mad King Thorn, but by now those jokes have become him. I don't think I'm asking for too much when I say that it was expected to have a memorable showdown with Joko in this expansion. Instead he was just a comical aside and now ANet can milk the players with more PJ-themed Black Lion stuff once he rears his undead face in Season 4. Joke on you, Joko.

Ghosts... ghosts everywhere

No, I'm not talking about the Departing mission. Which by the way wasn't a bad instance at all, but served absolutely no effin' purpose; I hazard to guess not a single person felt suspense and feared his or her character might remain dead or would have to return as a ghost or Awakened to finish the job and remain like that (until a Season 4 episode where we find the Fountain of Life or something, reverting us back to an alive form). That would've taken balls from the writers' part. Instead, it was another nice memberberry mission, taking us back to the fun times we spent in the Underworld in Guild Wars, with more added memberberries as we got to witness the cliché, boring story of our poor characters' once more. We all knew we would return to life and there would be no consequences... we've gotten used to that.

Apologies, in the end I got carried away and actually talked about the Departing. Anyways, what I meant with the title here is that it's getting so tiresome that everyone and their mother from Guild Wars returns as ghosts or souls trapped in armor in some way, shape, or form. Can't the dead just stay bloody dead and content in the afterlife? Right now, it feels like everyone dies with so much anger and frustration (not surprising, given the state of the story) in the world that they cannot pass on. I'm also getting the feeling we'd have been better off with Dhuum as the god of death, since Grenth is just as incompetent in keeping the dead in the Mists as his mother is incompetent in creating understanding between the gods as she was supposed to do (then again, the Six are just incredibly incompetent and retarded in the current setting). I also get that this is part of the memberberry overdose project; running into Dunkoro is fun, but serves no purpose. He's just a heart NPC, nothing more. These ghosts provide no addition to the story that would make their stay on Tyria worthwhile. I just feel sad that they couldn't pass away peacefully and settle into a normal afterlife. It is a shame when you have no other ways to provide exposition and explain lore other than using the ghosts of centuries-old monarchs to speak about it. Sure, with the queens who died in the Scarab Plague I can understand them staying and wanting a resolution to the pain by figuring out why they were led astray by their advisors (was it Joko, perhaps?), how did the plague come to be, and maybe provide them some peace by doing something in Fahranur. But Nadijeh, Wazi, and everyone from the Primeval Dynasty until now staying to just waste their time around and get spooked by branded, Awakened, etc. is simply lame. I felt no awe when entering the Tomb of Primeval Kings because with all those spirits walking around it felt way too "alive." Nothing scary, awesome, thrilling.

Besides, they retconned their own lore from both Guild Wars (not surprised) and Guild Wars 2 (wow... still not surprised) as well. Only Foefire ghosts come back after destroying their ectoplasmic form in reality. Once you off a normal spirit in the world, in physical reality, it's gone and can only act and continue existence in the Mists. While exploring the Desolation I heard there was an event with the ghost of a cruel Primeval King - who was whacked out of Tyria by our ancestors during Nightfall - who is now rising from his tomb again and again and again (just like the Forgotten Josso Essher returns every time after being minced to pieces by heroic adventurers - but the repercussions and issues of the dynamic event system are actually not a story-related matter, so I digress).

Miscellaneous

Some more failed story & lore resolutions:

Vlast

Me: "Oh yeah, I can fight shoulder to shoulder with the legendary dragon I defended from the Destroyers 250 years ago! We're gonna beat some sense into Balth-...Vlast takes a fiery greatsword to the neck after 1 minute of screen time.ANet: "NOPE. You can't have the cool memberberries, you peasant!"

"The Weapon"

In Vlast's memories it was explained as the key that can save the world from the ED once and for all. It turns out it's nothing legendary or supreme; it's the same old spear that Glint gave to Rytlock in EoD... and then it cannot be used because >insert weak and shoddy plot reasons<. Besides, that spear was made out of Kralkatorrik's SPINE, not his blood! His blood was used to amplify Snaff's hijacking of Kralky's mind. On another note, the spear couldn't pierce Kralkatorrik at all. Rytlock was specifically instructed to aim for the groove in his ribs... he threw the spear at the dragon in the end but it bounced harmlessly off of his hide. How could that spear be used against other ED when it is not their weakness at all and it doesn't even work against the one it was supposed to slay?

The Elder Dragons

Despite them being raw power even beyond the gods themselves, they are nothing more than degenerate draconic heads floating "menacingly" in the air/lava/ice and creating easily avoidable AoE circles. Oh, and they can be paralyzed with ease. Zhaitan had the decency to look fully draconic - even if a disgustingly rotten one - and use his body as well to fight, even if by the end he jumped in the "spew AoE circles" dragon bandwagon. Mordremoth floated around and ate islands, Primordus drank lava through that painful overbite, Kralkatorrik howled and floated and created AoE circles. These are the unknowable, cruel forces of nature most players don't care about at all.

The Human Commander

Doesn't give a flying copulation that one of his or her gods returned and went rogue, s/he has basically become agnostic, and otherwise all human-centric spotlight is taken by Kasmeer. Sylvari Commanders had way more dialogue options to react to the world after the revelation about their race's origins.

Lack of Emotion from Dragon's Watch

You just died. Aside from maybe Kasmeer nobody is even shaken when you rise from the dead or is emotional to confess they felt maddening despair at the thought of losing the only person who kept things from falling apart. I would've imagined that at least that bloody annoying Taimi breaking down and having one humane moment where she cries her grief and disbelief through the comm device on our seemingly dead character's back, but no... "S/he was dead. Now s/he's not dead? Poke the Commander to decide what kind of undead s/he has become." And in the end that useless Delaqua has the gall to show up as if she was the star of Dragon's Watch and not even react to the fact that in her absence her Commander was killed - also, it would interest her as a necromancer.

Etc.

I really could go on, but this post has already reached gigantic proportions, and in the end I'd also go into gameplay related issues as well. So that's it for now.

Conclusion

Even before finishing the story, I talked with Konig about my impressions as I advanced through the plot and he phrased my exact feelings the best, so I am going to quote him here: "Ultimately, I think they wanted to do what Star Wars VII tried doing: rehashing a fan-favored plot after a lot of fan hate and outcry but failing to realize what we want isn't a rehash but a new plot with the same quality."

This is what ANet doesn't seem to get or doesn't care about anymore. We've got a slightly different, subpar Nightfall where we went from north to south instead of south to north in our quest to stop a mad, fallen god. We bargained with the Awakened to secure an army to fight his demonic zealots, and in the end there was no redemption for the antagonist only death and usurpation, the absorption of his power. And this is simply the plot without all the lore desecration that has been done throughout the terribly written story of Path of Fire - the ones I have thoroughly detailed above.

I really, really wanted to believe this installation would bring back the desired quality of writing and finally cherish or at least respect the lore of Guild Wars. Again, I was too idealistic and naive to think that. Only Lyssa knows how many times I put aside my gripes and decided to give ANet another chance to deliver a compelling and epic story that makes sense and builds on established lore, and only she knows how many times this yearning was shattered. After what I've seen and experienced in Path of Fire, I'm just unwilling to give more chances. I'll play Season 4 because it's free and I have this masochistic curiosity and urge to see how this story ends, but after this I'll no longer give money for products bearing the title "Guild Wars 2." Some of you who enjoy this kind of "storytelling" will cheer and say good, we don't need you. Yeah, that's true... and neither does ANet need my money because I'm just one person. However, I wanted to have this off my chest at last and tell it all though the most recent example of how the current writing ruins everything that was good and loved in Guild Wars.

P.S.: Despite all this, I love Guild Wars and I even enjoy playing Guild Wars 2 from time to time. I love the mounts, the aesthetics, the music, the combat, the jumping puzzles. You cannot say I'm just a naysayer who complains about everything. I'm a Guild Wars fanatic who's been playing and loving this universe since 2005 - and what I see now in the story is just isn't Guild Wars anymore.

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I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you. It seems like story was written where they liked to write: the events are fun and the "lore pockets" during achievements, like finding Tahlkora, were pretty well done. With everything else however, including and specially the main story, you can clearly notice how little motivation they had to do it. Is it too much to ask that the GW2 writers be acquainted (ideally fans, but they should be professionals regardless) with Guild Wars lore in general?

They quite literally put aside things they didn't like as you would do if writing a "Young Adventure" novel. Just write away everything you don't want to deal with. And this time around they didn't even pretend there was background to their Ex Machina solutions, which makes their disapproval of Guild Wars show even more. If they didn't want to have human gods involved, why even bring one in? Why even have all that exposition inside Kormir's sanctum?

Mysteries are good if played right, like the Wizard's Tower, always looming there above us, but being of no consequence to the main chain of events. The gods however were irrevocably tied to the story and then explicitly put mystery on, and the kind of mystery that would make the story much worse if never solved. Why didn't Balthazar side with Abbadon literally millennia ago? Why do the gods believe there is no solution to the ED problem after we took 2 down? What is more important for them, than the kitten humans he had apparently a lot of work to bring into Tyria in the first place? These are not questions that are better left unanswered: they demand answers.

Both Kormir and Abbadon demonstrate Tyria is of little concern to the Six even though they went through a literal Genesis to bring humans in. If Anet doesn't come up pretty fast with a good reason for this it's gonna be a plothole as bad as not having newbies play Season 1. They are really bad at being Lovecraft and even worse at being J.J. Abrams, and it's about time they learn to play their strengths (and there is a lot of good writing here, sadly hidden under the achievements and collections).

Like you said, It would be (or would have been) much better if we stuck to the ED plots for the main story, which took a turn for the best with Mordremoth, and left the gods for a Raid or Fractals storyline. It's kind of painful that Palawa Joko, Balthazar and Lazarus will probably never get the Saul D'Alessio treatment, or at least to be treated with the same level of detail they saved, for some strange reason, to the achievement/collection storylines.

Hey and you know what's the only way to save this mess now? That's right, have Steve be a master of puppets that was pulling Balthazar's strings all this time! You didn't read it wrong, I am daring Anet to pull a legendary triple Abbadon on us! olololol

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You put everything I feel into one giant post, and I appreciate it.

I'm so disappointed, and in fact, close to being angry to even be able to write a coherent post about my disappointment, so I have always tried to keep it short.

I seriously hope, I seriously hope that ArenaNet did not mean to write the story the way they did, and that the gods are not gone, and there is still time to redeem themselves.

I likened this with six pillars who held up a great statue for people to look at, and then they decide to remove the pillars, make the statue fall down, break and crumble, but pretends the statue is still standing there.

You shouldn't write the gods out of the story so easily. The whole Guild Wars franchise and lore has the gods everywhere in the world of Tyria, and just because we have other playable races other than human, it doesn't mean you have to delete what made the human race and whole Tyria interesting, full of life and mystery.

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I agree with you on some points. They shouldn't just kill important characters like this. It kinda feels like the storywriter(s) want to get rid of stuff they didn't write. 90% of human society in Guild Wars is about the Gods, and now they are just gone? What's next? Norn Spirits of the Wild all leave tyria forever? They could have just said, sorry we can't help you or we would destroy Elona. They are to important to just disappear.

Long i hoped we would see Gleam/Vlast and was hoping for some interaction with Aurene. I mean, if he has to die do it at the last fight. Sacrificing himself at a point it really made an impact. Now i'm just feeling like they could have send us to the Domain of the Lost at the first encouter with Balthazar. Now it just feels like Vlasts sacrifice was just for the plot (they made a dragon for 1 kitten minute screentime). It just feels so stupid to first have someone sacrificing himself only to get us killed after that. But somehow we escape death anyway.

As for the Domain of the Lost part, just killing a monster shouldn't bring you back to life. It died way to easy. Really expected Grenth to intervene there. Sending us back with some sort of blessing. Or killing an actual boss.

However, besides all the bugs. The expansion was fun to play. It really had it's good parts.

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You are too kind in still giving them chances and excuses. The only reason they used the gods is to hype the xpac nothing more. It's as clear as day ANet has no clue about what they are doing with the story. Whoever is writing needs to be changed with a real writer who knows how to write a story and gives value to important lore characters instead of pushing them aside while knowing the lore of GW 1. ANet, get a clue, goodness sake.

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I believe Path of Fire is on par with Prophecies in terms of interesting and engaging story. Balthazar played his cards wisely after losing Vlast, the twists were fine and the maps are filled with lore and cool events (which GW2 vanilla was lacking).

Nightfall is heavily hampered by the need of Kormir to finish the story (the reason we saved her arse in Gandara is still one of the low points of this series' storytelling). That was just gross. And now she left Tyria, while Dunkoro is still there trying to fight the Awakened. Injustice.

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Totally agree with OP. The whole time I waited for the twist, the change, the surprise... Menzies would have fit so perfectly as antagonist behind all that ... but no..

Lets make Balthazar a joke, one of the gods that brought humans to Tyria. The one that has protected humans and helped them to prosper... well to conquer. Lets make the god of war and fire that taught humans honor and glory in battle... . Well Lets take Balthazar and his lore and throw it all away. And why? Because Balthazar wants to kill the elder dragons... because the gods stripped him of his powers... because he wanted to kill the elder dragons.

I dont know how often I have kneeled down in GW1 infront of Balthazars statue to enter the fissure of woe. Fighting against Menzies Shadow Army to help out Balthazars Eternal Army... I enjoyed that a lot. And now with PoF it feels like everything that has been done in the fissure of woe is made worthless.

I like the new maps, game mechanics and I also like the form of presentation of the story.

But the story itself is disappointing and makes no sense at all.

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Not to be rude, but it's very hard to reply to a post this big and to address each point you made. It's a wall of text, even with the little formatting you did. It'd serve you well to be more concise in the future.

BalthazaarAnyway, I'm not too bothered by Balthazaar being motivated by wanting to kill the elder dragons where the gods did not. I don't think this conflicts with his character as the god's choice to leave Tyria in fear of destroying the elder dragons and thus destroying Tyria wasn't something that was decided when they were sealing away Abaddon... or when Abaddon was killed. The six had no plans of leaving at that point (as far as I can tell), so Balthazaar had no reason to disagree at the time.

I do wonder how they managed to imprison Balthazaar without a conflict. It took a war to seal Abaddon, and yet Balthazaar was contained without incident?

JokoI'm pretty sure Joko will be more relevant in Season 4; I'm not worried about that. Joko's impact is a bit more meaningful in the open world. The entirety of Vabbi is brainwashed into believing he is a god, they have courts that decide who is worthy of being awakened when they die, and the people revere the awakening process. It's kinda great, in an disturbing kind of way. Joko definitely lives up to the hype in that regard. I also don't believe it's too crazy that ruling over Vabbi for 250 years would go to the head of a character like Joko.

Elder DragonsIt does seem like a lack of imagination when it comes to how they portray the bodies of the Elder Dragons. I'm hoping that since we didn't actually fight Kralkatorric, they'll dedicate the attention required to do his scale justice. I think Mordremoth was fine with the way he was portrayed, but they should abstain from doing that with every dragon.

PacingI think the pacing was fine, much better than HoT. We had a smooth introduction to the Desert, there was a good twist with Balthazaar arriving to kill the player and giving some urgency to the plot. Speaking of which, I believe the stakes on the Departing instance wasn't whether or not the player character would remain dead... it's a given that we won't. The main drive of that section was the uncertainty of what was happening to Aurene. That created some urgency to the plot that was absent before that point.

I do think Rytlock handing us Sohothin was a bit contrived... but, thank god, it wasn't "Balthazaar's Weakness". It most definitely helped, but it was a combination of that and Aurene (and a quite well executed call back to the Precocious Aurene instance in season 3).

Disrespecting Established LoreI understand that there is a certain amount of disrespect from Anet when it comes to their established lore and actually recalling and understanding it. I cannot deny that the motivation you proposed for Balthazaar would be much better and well integrated into the lore that already exists... but I don't find it offensive. I don't find the events that took place in the story to be unreasonable, and I find the entire thing superior to HoT's by a wide margin... but still far from top tier.

In ClosingI think I can agree that it's probably on par with prophecies' story... (which was likewise good... but not amazing). You could probably nit pick this to kingdom come, but for what it was, I think it was very entertaining, and I'm very invested into what happens next. There's room for improvement, but I believe the quality of GW2's story telling has been a steady climb up, and this is the highest step right now.

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@Malthurius.6870 said:Not to be rude, but it's very hard to reply to a post this big and to address each point you made. It's a wall of text, even with the little formatting you did. It'd serve you well to be more concise in the future.

BalthazaarAnyway, I'm not too bothered by Balthazaar being motivated by wanting to kill the elder dragons where the gods did not. I don't think this conflicts with his character as the god's choice to leave Tyria in fear of destroying the elder dragons and thus destroying Tyria wasn't something that was decided when they were sealing away Abaddon... or when Abaddon was killed. The six had no plans of leaving at that point (as far as I can tell), so Balthazaar had no reason to disagree at the time.

I do wonder how they managed to imprison Balthazaar without a conflict. It took a war to seal Abaddon, and yet Balthazaar was contained without incident?

JokoI'm pretty sure Joko will be more relevant in Season 4; I'm not worried about that. Joko's impact is a bit more meaningful in the open world. The entirety of Vabbi is brainwashed into believing he is a god, they have courts that decide who is worthy of being awakened when they die, and the people revere the awakening process. It's kinda great, in an disturbing kind of way. Joko definitely lives up to the hype in that regard. I also don't believe it's too crazy that ruling over Vabbi for 250 years would go to the head of a character like Joko.

Elder DragonsIt does seem like a lack of imagination when it comes to how they portray the bodies of the Elder Dragons. I'm hoping that since we didn't actually fight Kralkatorric, they'll dedicate the attention required to do his scale justice. I think Mordremoth was fine with the way he was portrayed, but they should abstain from doing that with every dragon.

PacingI think the pacing was fine, much better than HoT. We had a smooth introduction to the Desert, there was a good twist with Balthazaar arriving to kill the player and giving some urgency to the plot. Speaking of which, I believe the stakes on the Departing instance wasn't whether or not the player character would remain dead... it's a given that we won't. The main drive of that section was the uncertainty of what was happening to Aurene. That created some urgency to the plot that was absent before that point.

I do think Rytlock handing us Sohothin was a bit contrived... but, thank god, it wasn't "Balthazaar's Weakness". It most definitely helped, but it was a combination of that and Aurene (and a quite well executed call back to the Precocious Aurene instance in season 3).

Disrespecting Established LoreI understand that there is a certain amount of disrespect from Anet when it comes to their established lore and actually recalling and understanding it. I cannot deny that the motivation you proposed for Balthazaar would be much better and well integrated into the lore that already exists... but I don't find it offensive. I don't find the events that took place in the story to be unreasonable, and I find the entire thing superior to HoT's by a wide margin... but still far from top tier.

In ClosingI think I can agree that it's probably on par with prophecies' story... (which was likewise good... but not amazing). You could probably nit pick this to kingdom come, but for what it was, I think it was very entertaining, and I'm very invested into what happens next. There's room for improvement, but I believe the quality of GW2's story telling has been a steady climb up, and this is the highest step right now.

There is a conflict in how the timeline happens.The gods seal Abbadon before GW1 - then the exodus happens. Balthazar at this point has no issue with them leaving Tyria and going to the mists (why? - if he intends to slay the dragons) . If he is to be consistent it would be at this time that he would have to want to kill the elder dragons and not leave. And then the gods would have to strip and imprison him now - the only problem is that this all takes place before GW1.During the events of GW1 we know that Balthazar has not had his conflict with the other gods - so this conflict happens between GW1 and GW2 or during GW2. Why does it happen? Where exactly are they going and what prompts Balthazar to change his mind? These are the reasons why I don't accept what they've written him into.

Also if we're going to judge this story in comparison to HoT ....well that's just sad. HoT was a complete and utter failure so anything better we shouldn't criticize right?

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@Thalador.4218 said:

Conclusion

Even before finishing the story, I talked with Konig about my impressions as I advanced through the plot and he phrased my exact feelings the best, so I am going to quote him here: "Ultimately, I think they wanted to do what Star Wars VII tried doing: rehashing a fan-favored plot after a lot of fan hate and outcry but failing to realize what we want isn't a rehash but a new plot with the same quality."

This is what ANet doesn't seem to get or doesn't care about anymore. We've got a slightly different, subpar Nightfall where we went from north to south instead of south to north in our quest to stop a mad, fallen god. We bargained with the Awakened to secure an army to fight his demonic zealots, and in the end there was no redemption for the antagonist only death and usurpation, the absorption of his power. And this is simply the plot without all the lore desecration that has been done throughout the terribly written story of Path of Fire - the ones I have thoroughly detailed above.

I really, really wanted to believe this installation would bring back the desired quality of writing and finally cherish or at least respect the lore of Guild Wars. Again, I was too idealistic and naive to think that. Only Lyssa knows how many times I put aside my gripes and decided to give ANet another chance to deliver a compelling and epic story that makes sense and builds on established lore, and only she knows how many times this yearning was shattered. After what I've seen and experienced in Path of Fire, I'm just unwilling to give more chances. I'll play Season 4 because it's free and I have this masochistic curiosity and urge to see how this story ends, but after this I'll no longer give money for products bearing the title "Guild Wars 2." Some of you who enjoy this kind of "storytelling" will cheer and say good, we don't need you. Yeah, that's true... and neither does ANet need my money because I'm just one person. However, I wanted to have this off my chest at last and tell it all though the most recent example of how the current writing ruins everything that was good and loved in Guild Wars.

P.S.: Despite all this, I love Guild Wars and I even enjoy playing Guild Wars 2 from time to time. I love the mounts, the aesthetics, the music, the combat, the jumping puzzles. You cannot say I'm just a naysayer who complains about everything. I'm a Guild Wars fanatic who's been playing and loving this universe since 2005 - and what I see now in the story is just isn't Guild Wars anymore.

I think it's time to look at this from a game maker's perspective. They aimed for a few things when doing what they did.They wanted to close a lot of the GW1 stories. They did this in LS3 with the Mursaat and now did it with the gods.Why did they write Balthazar as Abbadon 2.0? I think it was to add more "variety" to the story. They wanted to move away from the elder dragons for a while only to bring them back as "fresh" and "interesting" later.Let's also not forget the fact that with HoT's abysmal failure from a financial perspective PoF would be make or break for the future of GW2's X-packs. To that end they did what companies always do - they add elements to target various demographics of players to pick up the expansion.Thus we have: PvP-centered elite specs that are clearly designed to be strong and incentivize purchase of PoF among PvP players. PvE centered ( and incredibly overtuned) elite specs designed for the hardcore PvE crowd (raiders). Also the incredibly well designed and fun ( credit where credit is due) mount system. And then - then they needed a hook for the "lore lovers" and "nostalgia fans" from back when GW 1 was the place to be. And that hook was Balthazar. They added him in knowing people would be interested. And they were - I think it was what most drove me to buy this expansion.

Seeing what they did with it - I wish they would have just left the gods alone and not touched that part of the lore.

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hmm my biggest gripe with the story was how they treated Balthazaar, i wouldn't mind him being the villain if he was done...better he felt like a filler, a mini boss which i thought was such a shame because he deserves better. everything else i thought was okay i enjoyed my time during the story those memberberries tasted really sweet.

oh in regards to palawa i think he will pop up sooner or later so i'm not too fussed on whats going on with him.

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@Harper.4173 said:Also if we're going to judge this story in comparison to HoT ....well that's just sad. HoT was a complete and utter failure so anything better we shouldn't criticize right?

When did I say PoF should be immune to criticism because it's better than HoT? I even criticized it in my own post. I don't even disagree with you regarding Balthazaar's motivation... but I don't believe HoT to be an abject failure either; I believe the special scenarios with the Sylvari were well done, the instances themselves were sound mechanically, and the Mordremoth fight was pretty fun to do. The biggest problem with HoT was that it meandered in plots it didn't need to, rushed to a conclusion (with a very contrived "this must be his weakness" plot point), and didn't bother with plot threads it should have investigated (Malyck, for example).

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I agree horrible story writing, have tried to have a open mind and just nope. Wonder why they even called it guild wars 2 if there throwing all the old lore away. Also why the hell did they make a full expansion with one of the gods as the main antagonist and throw away the other gods just like that, feel like they could of done that in just a regular episode update not a full expansion.

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Thank you for putting my thoughts into words. (I tried in another thread which I'll copy here, but still!)

@ThatOddOne.4387 said:I personally did not like the story.It's cool and all, when considered independent from anything else, when put side-by-side with the wider story it does not fit in. There is a lack of internal consistency.What did the Gods do with the power that they drained from Balthazar when they turned on him? It had to go somewhere, like the power from Abaddon when he was defeated/cast down.The Gods 'leaving gone for good' is a cop-out in my opinion. What about Dhuum in the Underworld? Or Menzies? Have the Gods just left those loose ends? Dhuum now free to break free from his prison in the Underworld with Grenth gone? It makes no sense, it is dropping well known and established stories in favour of 'new things' without properly providing closure.Honestly, the reason given for the Exodus is -good-, they cannot fight the Dragons because that would just destroy Tyria from the collateral regardless, and they knew killing the Dragons destroys Tyria. That is a GOOD ENOUGH reason for them to stay distant, only reachable through extreme effort and travelling to the Mist. But to just completely withdraw, can't even be contacted is extremely forced. What about the afterlives and realms they are supposed to manage?The human narrative has been treated unfairly, people go "Oh but GW1 was all about humans now it's time for other things" I would agree with that, but one simple point:The Gods were NOT just unique to Humans. They had a part of the Eternal Alchemy according to the Asura, if they just leave entirely, what then? The Norn consider them Spirits of Action, if not Spirits of the Wild. The Quaggan worship Melandru, the Dwarves worshipped the Six, the Forgotten worked for the Six. Also, did anyone notice the spirits of other races in the Underworld segment of the Story? Yeah. The Underworld is not unique to humans. Something needs to manage it.This is very important: The Gods are not a Human-only thing. They are an integral part of the Guild Wars Universe and ArenaNet can't just strip them away just like that.Also, the Norn still have their Spirits, the Sylvari still have their mother, the Charr haven't needed gods and that's part of their narrative, but for the Humans it very much is part of their narrative and just taking it away or invalidating reeks of "Haha you humans are so stupid putting your faith in beings that just turn their backs on you haha!" It seems -spiteful-, not interesting.I'm just going to headcanon that the Judge is actually Grenth in disguise because the God of the Underworld leaving it unmanaged is a REALLY STUPID IDEA. (Also when he said "Remind Balthazar that not even gods escape judgement" sounded a bit too personal and something that would come from Grenth's mouth)"

It's worth noting at the very least I appreciate the irony of using Sohothin to defeat Balthazar, kind of sowing the seeds of his own destruction there.

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I'd like to note that There was literally zero character development. The Members of Dragon's Watch deliberately set up to have character arcs, Marjory and Braham, were completely absent.

Kas... came to terms with physical evidence the gods don't give a shit... it too about as long as it took us to kill a bunch of branded in a fort.That's like Aliens showing up and saying "we made ya'll" and everyone just being cool with it before dinner.

Rytlock... Made an extremely boneheaded mistake entirely out of his character. Rytlock has an extreme distrust of ghosts and spirits, even moreso than the average Charr. There's no way he should have freed a guy CHAINED UP in the mists without so much as a question why. Then he proceeds to brood about "making it right" while doing nothing particularly heroic or noteworthy the whole time. Oh and then at the end when he has that chance he just decides to give YOU his magic sword and absolve himself of all direct responsibility for taking down Balthazar, the thing that's supposed to be his primary motivation. A massive missed opportunity here to have Rytlock stripped of the Tribune title and made gladium as he places higher priority on saving the world than Charr heirarchy, would have been a much better payoff of the entire Rytlock/Logan plotline

Canach... Is comic relief. Doesn't really do anything except remind Rytlock of the years of knowledge about war and adventuring he apperantly forgot on the way to Elona. Also gives Rytlock a cute nickname. Makes gambling jokes. We're supposed to like him and think he's edgy. Problem is there's nothing genuine about him now. Unlike previously, he's just a caricature that's coming with us for no apparent reason whatsoever.

Meanwhile the GUY WHO IS ON A MURDER CRUSADE TO AVENGE HIS MOM and THE LADY WHO WAS PERSONALLY MORTALLY WOUNDED BY BALTHAZAR AND HAD HER SISTER MURDERED BY A DRAGON are nowhere to be found.

And also Rox. Rytlock's daughter? Remember Rox? Presumably off chasing Braham. Would have made a nicer pairing with Rytlock. They could have had some genuine moments.

Taimi? WHY THE FUCK are we checking in with Taimi every ten minutes. She's not telling us anything interesting. We're getting exposited at every five feet by dead people and dragons, and Taimi's role in the group is usually to figure out our situation. Only in this case nobody has to figure out our situation. because everywhere we go someone or some dead crystal bits of someone tell us exactly where to go next. Taimi exists solely as a stand in for players assumed too stupid to follow the plot, as the Commander regurgitates all of the exposition he just recieved winkingly at the camera. She serves no other purpose. Literally does nothing.

Caithe? So lemme get this straight. Aurene manages to fly ALLLLL the way to Elona. And Caithe's MISSION IN LIFE is to watch her... and Caithe just what, hangs out in Tarir or Rata Novus?

Commander? Okay so I get that we're Aurene's special someone. But that's literally it. We don't do anything in this story but follow directions from random strangers and crystals. I mean I know its a video game and we're technically ALWAYS doing that, but in this stroy it seems like the only original idea the Commander has is 'we should split up so I have time to level up this bunny, I'll meet you at the next evil fortress and/or ruin' At least in PoF the game pretended that we were telling our buddies to do useful stuff or keep their heads about them. Because nobody has personal turmoil or has to actually do anything in this plot, our defining characteristic of "leader" is pointless and makes us pointless by extension.

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@Malthurius.6870 said:

@Harper.4173 said:Also if we're going to judge this story in comparison to HoT ....well that's just sad. HoT was a complete and utter failure so anything better we shouldn't criticize right?

When did I say PoF should be immune to criticism because it's better than HoT? I even criticized it in my own post. I don't even disagree with you regarding Balthazaar's motivation... but I don't believe HoT to be an abject failure either; I believe the special scenarios with the Sylvari were well done, the instances themselves were sound mechanically, and the Mordremoth fight was pretty fun to do. The biggest problem with HoT was that it meandered in plots it didn't need to, rushed to a conclusion (with a very contrived "this must be his weakness" plot point), and didn't bother with plot threads it should have investigated (Malyck, for example).

Honestly, the HoT storyline was overall better paced, better written, had far better characterization, and even bothered to respect certain unique features about player characters. It only fell apart near the end, and there was a questionable circumstance regarding Eir's death, but at least the couple missteps HoT made were done in the service of creating interesting characters arcs.

The multiple missteps PoF makes are done in the absence of any kind of character development and often directly prevent it.

Like, every time I wanted to eyeroll a bit in HoT I forgave it because the eyerolly bit was there specifically to make something cool happen. Like hanging out with a dragon spirit or having a cool boss fight or a dramatic moment for a supporting character.

Every time I wanted to eyeroll in PoF is because they actively prevented something cool from happenning. Like hanging out with a dragon, or having a cool boss fight, or a dramatic moment for a supporting character.

I think PoF is stronger overall in terms of gameplay mechanics, but HoT was heads and tails above it in terms of writing.

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@PopeUrban.2578 said:

@Malthurius.6870 said:

@Harper.4173 said:Also if we're going to judge this story in comparison to HoT ....well that's just sad. HoT was a complete and utter failure so anything better we shouldn't criticize right?

When did I say PoF should be immune to criticism because it's better than HoT? I even criticized it in my own post. I don't even disagree with you regarding Balthazaar's motivation... but I don't believe HoT to be an abject failure either; I believe the special scenarios with the Sylvari were well done, the instances themselves were sound mechanically, and the Mordremoth fight was pretty fun to do. The biggest problem with HoT was that it meandered in plots it didn't need to, rushed to a conclusion (with a very contrived "this must be his weakness" plot point), and didn't bother with plot threads it should have investigated (Malyck, for example).

Honestly, the HoT storyline was overall better paced, better written, had far better characterization, and even bothered to respect certain unique features about player characters. It only fell apart near the end, and there was a questionable circumstance regarding Eir's death, but at least the couple missteps HoT made were done in the service of creating interesting characters arcs.

The multiple missteps PoF makes are done in the absence of any kind of character development and often directly prevent it.

Like, every time I wanted to eyeroll a bit in HoT I forgave it because the eyerolly bit was there specifically to make something cool happen. Like hanging out with a dragon spirit or having a cool boss fight or a dramatic moment for a supporting character.

Every time I wanted to eyeroll in PoF is because they actively prevented something cool from happenning. Like hanging out with a dragon, or having a cool boss fight, or a dramatic moment for a supporting character.

I think PoF is stronger overall in terms of gameplay mechanics, but HoT was heads and tails above it in terms of writing.

I think PoF beats HoT and his "oh, the dragon has a weakness, we have absolutely no idea what it is but let's face him directly" fair and square. There was no plan on the latter stages of the story. What happens in PoF is mostly meaningful 'til the end.

While I agree Canach wasn't very interesting this time, I think Rytlock showed some uncharacteristic openness (I never thought he would go as far as give us his beloved sword), and Kasmeer got closure on what she sought.

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@PopeUrban.2578 said:Kas... came to terms with physical evidence the gods don't give a kitten... it too about as long as it took us to kill a bunch of branded in a fort.That's like Aliens showing up and saying "we made ya'll" and everyone just being cool with it before dinner.It's a little different, considering that she actually met one of the gods. I could feel her frustration during the infodump Kormir gave, and that gives a lot of credence to the thought that the gods don't love you that much after all.Rytlock... Made an extremely boneheaded mistake entirely out of his character. Rytlock has an extreme distrust of ghosts and spirits, even moreso than the average Charr. There's no way he should have freed a guy CHAINED UP in the mists without so much as a question why. Then he proceeds to brood about "making it right" while doing nothing particularly heroic or noteworthy the whole time. Oh and then at the end when he has that chance he just decides to give YOU his magic sword and absolve himself of all direct responsibility for taking down Balthazar, the thing that's supposed to be his primary motivation. A massive missed opportunity here to have Rytlock stripped of the Tribune title and made gladium as he places higher priority on saving the world than Charr heirarchy, would have been a much better payoff of the entire Rytlock/Logan plotlineRytlock repaid a debt for having Sohothin relit, in true charr fashion. But much like us freeing Palawa Joko to kill Abaddon, that turned out to be quite bad in the long run. Plus, it's not too late for a reprimand from the Black Citadel. I was kind of expecting Season 3 to cover it, but Season 4 might show us his legendary reputation isn't good enough any more.Canach... Is comic relief. Doesn't really do anything except remind Rytlock of the years of knowledge about war and adventuring he apperantly forgot on the way to Elona. Also gives Rytlock a cute nickname. Makes gambling jokes. We're supposed to like him and think he's edgy. Problem is there's nothing genuine about him now. Unlike previously, he's just a caricature that's coming with us for no apparent reason whatsoever.Can't really defend this, but Canach is a fan favourite. Plus, we could use a little levity on this trip.Meanwhile the GUY WHO IS ON A MURDER CRUSADE TO AVENGE HIS MOM and THE LADY WHO WAS PERSONALLY MORTALLY WOUNDED BY BALTHAZAR AND HAD HER SISTER MURDERED BY A DRAGON are nowhere to be found.You mean the same Marjory who was severely injured and is probably still recovering? Makes more sense to leave her in hospital until she's all healed, unlike dragging Braham across the map after his encounter with Scarlet.Speaking of, Braham is all about Jormag now. Mordre-who? Jormag's his target. Kralkatorrik can wait until I slay my ice dragon.And also Rox. Rytlock's daughter? Remember Rox? Presumably off chasing Braham. Would have made a nicer pairing with Rytlock. They could have had some genuine moments.First off, the leak claimed Rox was a sister, not daughter. We still don't know the official word except that they're close. She really has gotten the short end of the arrow, though, and I hope season 4 is kinder to her.Taimi? WHY THE kitten are we checking in with Taimi every ten minutes. She's not telling us anything interesting. We're getting exposited at every five feet by dead people and dragons, and Taimi's role in the group is usually to figure out our situation. Only in this case nobody has to figure out our situation. because everywhere we go someone or some dead crystal bits of someone tell us exactly where to go next. Taimi exists solely as a stand in for players assumed too stupid to follow the plot, as the Commander regurgitates all of the exposition he just recieved winkingly at the camera. She serves no other purpose. Literally does nothing.Taimi is our "guy at the computer", an asura for those not playing one. Or even if you are. She is more to inform us of stuff back in Tyria, and be our companion when the others can't reach.Caithe? So lemme get this straight. Aurene manages to fly ALLLLL the way to Elona. And Caithe's MISSION IN LIFE is to watch her... and Caithe just what, hangs out in Tarir or Rata Novus?Last I checked, sylvari don't have wings. Hard to keep up with a dragon if she flies off without a word.Commander? Okay so I get that we're Aurene's special someone. But that's literally it. We don't do anything in this story but follow directions from random strangers and crystals. I mean I know its a video game and we're technically ALWAYS doing that, but in this stroy it seems like the only original idea the Commander has is 'we should split up so I have time to level up this bunny, I'll meet you at the next evil fortress and/or ruin' At least in PoF the game pretended that we were telling our buddies to do useful stuff or keep their heads about them. Because nobody has personal turmoil or has to actually do anything in this plot, our defining characteristic of "leader" is pointless and makes us pointless by extension.Rather than try to defend this choice, I'm curious how you would handle the script for the 10 different versions of the characters. More, if we take the personal stories into account.

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PoF story feels like being a tourist.An Asian tourist.We go to very important and famous places, take some pictures and move on.

HoT felt like a disjointed rollercoaster, one singular area and thanks to that managed to feel more connected

Of course there are very important things happening in PoF. However I often felt left out.

Like we went to places, but I often never knew why. We are just told.Instead of exploring with the narrative, the story expect us know everything already.

This leaves us with great amount of disconnect between scenes.Sure we are able to connect the dots, but often they feel more like an means to an end, checking of a list, instead of letting things happen organically.

Which is weird, because it showcase how much each segment is like a little bubble.First warnings were in prologue. No one was acting endangered and was way to calm.They didn't even show that refugees were a problem (which was way better done work scarlet, mind you)

Then we get to meet the herald, who could be a great foil, but we just kill her the next time.We get introduced to the idea of Vlast, only to have him be killed before we can even talk to him and only getting to know him or any connection by proxy.

We meet a an order of shadows guy, who we just accept and in the end we learn nothing about them, even if we were order of whispers (it's need to know basis). So another thing that goes barely anywhere.

Suddenly we can go directly to the gods and we don't even act surprised. We just take it for granted. It would have been nice to have someone from the outside at least hint towards that, instead of Kasmeer just blurting it out as if it were coming knowledge.

Gods are written out, even though there were several more logical and more beneficial options.

The PC just has an answer to everything. Often with only an handwaved sentence as a reason.

We want to take over an army, with barely any information given in the story.It would have been very nice to have met these leaders beforehand.

Balthazar and Joko happen offscreen

We chose a group at the beginning, which only gives us a backpiece and some environmental dialog. I never saw a sunspear in the story, even though I chose them (except at the end, but I had no idea who she was)

Canach appears cause he is bored and is acting like a rouge spy in dialog, but aside from setting him up the casino, it's only off hand comments.

We gather an army by taking the role of a guy we have met once before, then the next moment we end up in a place, with a Deus ex machina sword, which is not really explained and never acted like that before and run towards the final battle.

Bottom line, too many things just happen, have barely any percussion or very thin explanation in the story itself. Too many things are somewhere else (maybe)

I like the amount of work they put into the world, but the story feels unfinished and could really use more meat, instead of the next funny and witty dialog. Thanks to that I never really got any impression that Balthazar and his army was dangerous. The same goes for Joko.

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Jaken, did you rush through the story and not do much of the open world content? I get the feeling you didn't play the first game - which is fine - but I think that most NPCs explain the significance of the locations when you get there. Try going back and completing the heart quests around the desert. Talk to the named NPCs. Listen to the ambient dialogue. Guild Wars 2 is designed to be sauntered through, not bulldozed like most other MMOs I could name but won't.

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The thing that got me was when we spoke to Kormir she says how disastrous fighting between gods and elder dragons would be, how it would boil the seas, destroy mountains and kill everything...then we simply kill a god and the elder dragon comes and munches the power and flies off.

I mean the fight was fairly epic but....we killed a god, something the other 5 human gods seemed almost incapable of doing without widespread ruin and even then they didn’t really kill Abaddon just made him substantially diminished. Yet here we are, killed myself a god in 1 mission after single handedly plowing through his army, defeating his BFG9000 while the hungry dinner guest throws a tantrum and crystals at me.

At this point I need a crown saying BAMF of Tyria and a statue in DR and most human settlements for people to worship.

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@Rognik.2579 said:Jaken, did you rush through the story and not do much of the open world content? I get the feeling you didn't play the first game - which is fine - but I think that most NPCs explain the significance of the locations when you get there. Try going back and completing the heart quests around the desert. Talk to the named NPCs. Listen to the ambient dialogue. Guild Wars 2 is designed to be sauntered through, not bulldozed like most other MMOs I could name but won't.

I don't think it is right for the story to mostly rely on open world and old game information.It should be cohrend on it's own.

This is our first time as gw2 players to get into this part of the world.So we should act like we rediscover everything and not like everything is common knowledge.Storywise we wouldn't go around as much, as we do with many of the side activities and heart quests.

The open world should enhance the story, instead of being relied upon that heavily.In PoF I really felt that.

HoT have you a much more reasonable tour through the areas and lore in my opinion.

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@Jaken.6801 said:

@Rognik.2579 said:Jaken, did you rush through the story and not do much of the open world content? I get the feeling you didn't play the first game - which is fine - but I think that most NPCs explain the significance of the locations when you get there. Try going back and completing the heart quests around the desert. Talk to the named NPCs. Listen to the ambient dialogue. Guild Wars 2 is designed to be sauntered through, not bulldozed like most other MMOs I could name but won't.

I don't think it is right for the story to mostly rely on open world and old game information.It should be cohrend on it's own.Not sure if you noticed, but GW2 is about 90% open world information and maybe 10% of the story is exclusive to the personal story. The early steps are a bit more lore-rich, since each race has a couple of things to educate us on.This is our first time as gw2 players to get into this part of the world.So we should act like we rediscover everything and not like
everything
is common knowledge.Storywise we wouldn't go around as much, as we do with many of the side activities and heart quests.I've been playing Guild Wars since Droknar's Forge was actually home to an arena (old school GW players will get that reference), so I've got some heavy nostalgia goggles on, but I don't feel like my character knows all that much about the desert, as he asks every NPC for more information, mostly the heart quest givers but others as well.The open world should enhance the story, instead of being relied upon that heavily.In PoF I really felt that.And it does. Augury Rock? Does nothing to the story if you don't do the quests. Mouth of Torment? Aside from map completion (PoI, Hero Challenge and Mastery point), there's no reason to go there. I haven't even seen any events triggered that go there. Tomb of the Primeval Kings? Well, that's actually explored in the story, so it's not a good example.HoT have you a much more reasonable tour through the areas and lore in my opinion.Admittedly, the Maguuma Jungle wasn't heavily settled in GW1, so there's a lot more that needs to be explained as we meet the Itzel, the Exalted and the Nuhoch. Even Bloodstone Fen, while a place we visited in GW1, was basically killing a bunch of centaurs than a fight against Justiciar Hablion (unless I'm confusing 2 different missions there). You might think Path of Fire is weaker story-wise, and perhaps it is, but try living in the world and listening the people talking rather than just pushing for that story completion notch in your belt (or wherever you mark them).

Also, can you do me a small favour, if you really are a GW2-only player. Can you talk to Dunkoro at the Lair of the Forgotten, and see if he says that your soul seems familiar? I'm curious if that's because I have my account linked to GW1 or all Commanders are reincarnations of old GW heroes.

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@Jaken.6801 said:

@Rognik.2579 said:Jaken, did you rush through the story and not do much of the open world content? I get the feeling you didn't play the first game - which is fine - but I think that most NPCs explain the significance of the locations when you get there. Try going back and completing the heart quests around the desert. Talk to the named NPCs. Listen to the ambient dialogue. Guild Wars 2 is designed to be sauntered through, not bulldozed like most other MMOs I could name but won't.

I don't think it is right for the story to mostly rely on open world and old game information.It should be cohrend on it's own.

This is our first time as gw2 players to get into this part of the world.So we should act like we rediscover everything and not like
everything
is common knowledge.Storywise we wouldn't go around as much, as we do with many of the side activities and heart quests.

The open world should enhance the story, instead of being relied upon that heavily.In PoF I really felt that.

HoT have you a much more reasonable tour through the areas and lore in my opinion.

Playing Fallout, have you rushed through the main quests only, completely ignoring all side quests and not talking to any NPCs not marked by the main quest indicator?

Same for Skyrim, Witcher, and any other solo RPG experience.

Side quests, side NPCs, small bits and pieces of ambient dialogue - ALL of that contributes to the setting, the story, and the lore. The main questline is just and only that, and it's only one of the narrative devices used in games.

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