Posted in Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs

GW2: PoF Story Completion, Impressions

With FFXIV Patch 4.1 releasing tomorrow, I sat down Saturday with the express intention to finish up the GW2 Path of Fire story line. I’m happy to say that I was a lot closer to being done than I thought I was, and that I did, indeed, finish it! (Now I just need to go back and finish HoT and all of Season 3… but that’s another story.)

This is where I plunk down my opinion of the story line as a whole.

Note: There will probably be PoF spoilers.

Overall Impressions

So, what’s my verdict of PoF now that I’m done with the main story?

Not bad. I’m sincerely interested in Season 4.

Hint: For someone who had sworn off GW2 during the HoT days, mostly due to the story just being a jumbled mess and the zones being a frustration, this is a very, very positive verdict.

Also note, my standards for MMO story are a lot higher than when GW2 first released. I’m now comparing it to games with story like FFXIV and Secret World… and even the original GW1… so it has big shoes to fill.

Compared to where I left off at the end of Season 2, the storytelling in PoF has come a long way. Is it going to win awards… no, probably not. But, the writers were able to gather up the vast amount of lore from GW1 Nightfall, the lore being built in GW2, and mesh them together quite well.

I kept waiting for another Scarlet Briar or Caithe moment, and I was super pleased when neither of these happened. Kudos, writing team for keeping things fairly consistent!

I went in with somewhat low expectations, and what I got was a pleasant romp in the desert with a lot of nods to GW1, just as I hoped. I was even pleased with how they worked in Joko… and the interesting, but macabre, situation of the Vabbi society. *shudder* Could have been worse, I suppose.

If I had to nit-pick anything, it was that the whole Balthazar thing was kinda shallow — he never really developed much as a bad guy, but he didn’t stray too far from consistency either. It really felt like the team was playing it safe with him, and maybe that was for the better.

About Dragons

Instead, we got a slight focus on the character Vlast, whom we never really got to meet, but got a strong sense of as the game unfolded. I think his sad history is so important in developing the concept of dragons and their place in GW2, especially reflecting upon Aurene… who is going to be the future.

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Now, I’ve always liked Glint as a character, even in GW1. I have a soft spot for “good” dragons. So, I find the concept of replacing the “bad” dragons with “good” dragons an interesting way to approach the problem this world is having.

However, do we really know what it is that causes these dragons to flip out? Will Aurene remain on our side once she’s got a taste of power?

And what’s up with Kralkatorrik, who seemed to be assisting me in my fight against Balthazar, but then went on a rampage shortly after? Who knows.

About Characters

I think the fact that the team hand-picked a small group of characters to act as the main NPCs for this worked well. Instead of a big conflicting group of characters constantly chattering at each other, we got a tighter-knit, more focused team that had amusing chemistry.

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It was nice to see moments like Rytlock grieving at the tangled remains of Snaff’s golem in Glint’s lair. Heck, it was nice to see Rytlock in general, as he’s always been one of my favorite characters. Add to that the bantering with Canach, who is also a favorite character, and I had something little to look forward to in each story mission.

Disconnects

My one huge gripe was one of more technical issues — GW2 has been terrible about disconnecting me and other guild members lately! We’ve been tossed out of instances before finishing them at least twice that I can remember, forcing us to redo them. Once, was on the very first mission into PoF, when I was trying to introduce friends to the game in general (not a good first impression!). Another time forced me to re-fight a really annoying boss, which I wasn’t happy about.

After that, I felt the need to rush through instances out of fear of disconnecting and having to do them over again. Oh, the fear was real in some of those final battles. The one before the big boss fight stretched on and on. The thought of being kicked from that just brought me dread.

That Final Fight

gw356Speaking of the final battles, while I appreciate being able to use Sohothin, it’s rather sad that I felt I almost needed it as a crutch to get through the fights. Without it, those battles felt like they would have taken forever (they were already pretty long). I guess that’s their way of balancing that fight (eg. Giving a Win button) for the folks who may not have the best builds and might struggle through it… while giving people who want the challenge, the choice to not use Sohothin for an achievement.

My other big question is… so if Sohothin is really that powerful, how the heck did the Rytlock NPC ever come close to dying when he fought battles with me? How did he not just one shot everything on the screen?

Yeah, silly, but the question did cross my mind.

Rebuilding the Guild

wayemblem
Similar to the emblem we used in GW1!

So, just as the ending of the story notes that this Dragonwatch guild (never played Season 3, don’t know all what that means) is going to be rebuilt, so it seems is our GW2 guild. We’re slowly adding new folks to the roster, mostly friends we know from FFXIV, interestingly enough!

I talked it over with Syn, and put in a support ticket to get a name change for our guild. I’m not sure how long that’s going to take, but I feel like refreshing the old guild with a new name is a good idea. I still don’t really understand what we need to do to level it up more, but maybe I’ll worry about that once we get a few more active people on board.

It’s mostly going to focus on being casual and just playing through open world content, or getting people through story. I just don’t see raiding as an interest — there’s too much of that in FFXIV already.

Conclusion

PoF isn’t perfect, but I had fun playing through it. I still have a LONG way to go to earn my griffon mount, which is a major goal for me. I haven’t explored all the desert yet, and I still have tons of content in the form of older seasons to complete. I’m also playing the PoF story through with friends, and revitalizing our guild.

You can say that if nothing else, PoF has brought a few of us back to the game, so it must have done something right.

My overall focus will probably shift back to FFXIV with the new patch dropping, but I’m still going to push to get dailies done and chip away at the crazy collection quest for my griffon. Just might take a while.

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Author:

I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects! https://aywren.com/fantasy-fiction-webcomics/

8 thoughts on “GW2: PoF Story Completion, Impressions

  1. Rytlock is so much better than every other character in the entire five-year storyline it’s embarrassing. It comes entirely from him having had actual books written about him, I think. Zojja, Logan and Caithe are all also head and shoulders above any of the newer characters in terms of depth for the same reason. Canach (who I like a lot) on the other hand, is basically a one-trick pony – a snark machine. Remind me who he is and what his original motivations were, back when we met him at the introduction of Southsun Island. Didn’t he used to have some kind of political agenda? What happened to that?

    Kasmeer was the weak link in the PoF story. She was clearly only there for the human gods angle and she was about as interesting on that topic as your maiden aunt discussing fund-raising for the church roof with the vicar. I’m far more interested in Kas and Jory’s ongoing relationship problems than Kas’s wavering faith but they totally fluffed that with the dimwitted cameo right at the end.

    Aurene’s appearance as the deus ex machina made absolutely no sense whatsoever. I don’t claim to know much about dragon development but surely she’s barely even a toddler yet. As for leaning on Sohothin, what with that, Aurene and Kralkatorrik all weighing in I wonder whether The Commander needed to be there at all. When you add in actually having been killed earlier in the storyline it scarely counts as any kind of victory at all. Indeed, what with the Ascalonian ghosts, the malleable afterlife, the Awakened and who knows what else, it ‘s very much beginning to feel that it doesn’t matter if you die in Tyria – you always get to come back and have another go.

    I am now pretty much certain that the Scarlet storyline, far from the nadir it was received as by some, was actually the best storytelling GW2 has had – and probably ever will have. I’m on record at the time it was happening as having enjoyed it a lot and it looks better than ever in the rear-view mirror. The highlight of the entire PoF storyline for me was Scarlet’s brief appearance as a memory. If everyone else gets to come back when they die I can’t see why she can’t make a glorious comeback.

    I may cannibalize this comment for my own post on the PoF story so apologies in advance!

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    1. No problem – cannibalize away!

      I agree that Kas was the weakest character in the NPC in the group, and that she was only there to question the will of the gods (over and over and over and over). She got a tad bit redundant, but I have never liked her much. Unlike you, I have little interest in revisiting her relationship with Jory… as I got more than my share of those two fawning over each other through Season 2. I actually liked Kas more when she stood on her own without Jory. Those two annoy me to no end because they’re way over the top – we get it, they’re lovers.

      Anyhow — sorry. That was one of the huge complaints that turned me off of Season 2 and the game in general. It was terrible “relationship” writing. If they can just tone things down in that camp, it’ll be nice.

      Since I don’t know a thing about Aurene (never finished HoT or Season 3), I probably couldn’t understand inconsistencies you did with the Balthazar fight. But I agree with your questions about how much weight death has in Tyria. I mean, Joko and all of modern Vabbi speak for this enough. Though I doubt we’ve seen the last of that plot point.

      I think the whole Scarlet thing would have been better if (IMHO) she was written better for her character type – she came off to me as some Harley Quinn wanna-be who just attacked with seemingly chaotic randomness. I enjoyed the nature of Season 1 events much more than the journal entries we have now, but never liked her character (sorry if you feel differently). The sad thing is that the writers seemed to really love Scarlet and wanted to go into a lot more depth about her motivations. But they dragged the story out so long, and people disliked her so much, they were forced to just speed it up and jumped to the end. Not sure where I read that — writers kept saying “hang in there, we’re going somewhere with this” but had to drop a lot of Scarlet’s development to cut to the chase.

      So, with that knowledge, a more complete picture of Scarlet might have made her a better character (to me), but it’s one we will never know. It’s obvious from the beginning of Season 2 they intended to do so much more with her backstory… but bad feedback cut them short.

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      1. The thing about Scarlet was that, for all her many, many faults as a character, she was genuinely intriguing. I always wanted to know more about her and I still do. Every time we learned something new about her I felt like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle was falling into place. In the end, as you say, they rushed the ending so that the final picture never came clear but at least i was never bored by her or her storyline, even if it rarely made much sense. Now we have stories that still don’t make much sense but I no longer find them very intriguing – or even interesting.

        The most interesting character in the whole of LS3 (and one of the most intriguing since launch) is Countess Anise. Well, her and the still-unexplained (unless I missed it) “E”. The problem with both of those, though, is that they always look as though they’re going somewhere…and then they don’t. Which is, in fact, a frustrating feature of far too much of GW2’s writing. Just off the top of my head, the snake oil, Levvi’s Device, the guy down the well, the whole Consortium… there must be a couple of dozen interesting beginnings that just fizzled out into nothing by now.

        The PoF story does at least avoid most of that by dint of being so limited in scope but that’s not much consolation.

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        1. I can see your point in that with Scarlet. I wouldn’t doubt that the writing team did have a direction they were trying to get to with her development, but didn’t get to do it justice. I didn’t dislike Scarlet for the sake of disliking her, so I would have been open to exploring why she was the way she was. We got a tiny taste of it, but never enough for me to feel sympathetic to her. It’s a shame because I think that’s what the team was trying to build and just ran out of time to do it.

          I think the issue with PoF is that many subtle things meant a lot more if you were a fan of the original. So I was delighted by a lot of little things — even locating places on the map that I remember from GW1. Without that, it may not have had as much magic for a player.

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  2. Now we know, Rytlock’s been holding back on us to let the young cub get into trouble and clamber his own way out. 😉

    Since we’re in a spoilerino post, I’ve been wanting to weigh in with my comments on the final cutscene for a while. Does anyone else think that Aurene doesn’t look scared, she looks happy-thrilled?! Like she’s either joyriding in Daddy’s or Grandpappy’s arms, or suddenly got to take over Kralkatorrik’s body and is trying to drive a car she doesn’t know how to drive yet. I dunno if Kralk is actually “attacking” per se, it may be that he just crystallizes anything he flies over, without care for anything underneath.

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    1. I agree. That look was somewhat ambiguous. That’s why I was asking in the article above what exactly tips a dragon to be “bad.” Because Aurene sure got her fill of absorbed power there, too, it looked like. Hopefully the fact that she’s made a connection to the Commander will be something that will keep this in check, but I have a lot of questions.

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      1. I’m amazed either of you had the chance to register Aurene’s expression. I was far too busy wrestling with the mechanics of the fight to look at anything. I didn’t even realize Kralkatorrik was involved as anything more than Balthazar’s target until afer it was all over. I might have to go watch someone else do it on YouTube.

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