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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Speaking 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
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.
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.