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Is the concept of a living story a good or bad thing for Guild Wars 2?


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#1 Susanoh

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:53 AM

Just curious to see what others think, not just about Flame and Frost, but about the entire concept of Anet's living story as a whole. Personally, I can think of a few reasons why I'm not so sure if this is a good thing for the players.

For one thing, typically in an online game, content can be added over time and the game grows bigger and more varied. In the case of the living story, the game does not get bigger or more varied over time. It can potentially become bigger for a small period of time, but then is reverted back to its previous state after it's over. Any resources being spent creating content intended to be temporary is taking away from resources that could be spent on permanent content. Over time, this could create quite a bit of content that gets added and taken away, and in the end, not really increasing the total content that the game offers. This is especially noteworthy for anyone who either takes breaks, or anyone who is thinking of buying Guild Wars 2 in the future. Imagine if you got into Guild Wars late, only to find that "War in Kryta," "Winds of Change," and "Hearts of the North" were all temporary events, rather than permanent additions to the game. That the developers actually put in the time to create more content for the game you are currently playing, but have decided to remove it. I'm actually one of those people, and I'm very happy that they weren't temporary, because I found them very enjoyable and it would have been a little disappointing if I never got to experience that content.

The other thing that I'm not much a fan of, is that if content added is only temporary, then the legacy of this game is lost over time. If there's a story that you find particularly cool or interesting, or a dungeon or instance that you want to replay or show to a friend or (in the case of a new player) experience for the first time, you can't. You can always go back and experience the content that Anet decides to leave in the game, but are not given the option to experience all of the content. I fully expect to see events from that story removed from the open world, but would it not make sense to leave the instances in the game in order to allow people to replay past events that they may have found enjoyable? They've already been created, all of the work is done. It seems a shame to just throw it out after a short period of time, only to begin working on the next instances and dungeons which will subsequently also be thrown out in a constant cycle.

But that is just my opinion. What do you guys think of the whole concept?

#2 madmaxII

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:08 AM

I don't like it. It is annoying that they spend months of their developing time to create limited time only content when there are so many things in the core game that need a lot of rework and love. Or when they could have created some permanent content instead.
However, the worst part is that nothing but the latest dungeons felt very exciting to me. It was just killing some mobs, collecting stuff lying around in the open world and watching dialogues. Even the dungeon is only fun for one run.

#3 Cescoxonta

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:18 AM

I completely agree with OP, and for the very same reasons. I hope at least the dungeon will remain in some form (it can become a fractal, for example?), but I will prefer much more that it stay as a regular dungeon, with explorable paths and new skins for weapon and armor. It is very strange that they work so much for creating an istance and then remove it completely from the game. Even if in the open world this make sense, but at least the istance should be kept. Let's see what happens in the future. I will like to have permanent content! But it seems that this is not the idea of the developers.

#4 Diovid of the Land

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:37 PM

On the one hand I like the idea of a constantly evolving world which does come at the price of not all of that content being available at a later time but that doesn't bother me much.

On the other hand this evolving requires the main game to be solid so I think Anet should've waited with the living story until they ironed out most of the bugs and added enough features and permament content. In other words, I think the living story came too soon, just like I think Southsun Cove came too soon. They should focus their resources on the main game right now.

Edited by Diovid of the Land, 02 May 2013 - 02:38 PM.


#5 Juanele

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:49 PM

I really like the idea of it. Hopefully as they learn with making it and refine the process it will flow better than the current one has.

#6 Inraged Twitch

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:56 PM

I liked it, it sort of reminds of the dungeons/storyline of Guild Wars EoTn.  I do wish more parts were multiplayer-story rather than the SP that 3/4 of F&F was.

#7 turbo234

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:02 PM

I'm not a fan. I like the events like the karka event more. If they could do something to make another event, but without all the lag that'd be perfect to me.

#8 Soki

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:04 PM

The concept is fine.
The execution, ANet's writing, the months of buildup to this dungeon, and the sensationalist "13 days guys! Please all log in at once to play it! And be sure to check out the gem store for the Exclusive™ themed skins!" are not.

Edited by Soki, 02 May 2013 - 03:05 PM.


#9 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:14 PM

The living story should supplement the additions to the game, not replace them: as the only form of additional content it's simply not worth it. But if we got new areas, new weapons, new skills, new classes, new dungeons .... (even in the form of paid expansions!), then this could work.
But as it stands now, as we are getting just bug fixes for the things that should have worked on release and the LS - I don't see it being worth it.

#10 Guardian of the Light

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:56 PM

I like the idea of it but I think if they want to continue with the concept, they should downscale it. A couple interesting events happening every once and a while and then going away is fine especially if your leveling an alt but I don't like the idea of designing a full dungeon with unique enemies and having it go away forever eventually.

#11 MazingerZ

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 04:18 PM

View PostDiovid of the Land, on 02 May 2013 - 02:37 PM, said:

On the one hand I like the idea of a constantly evolving world which does come at the price of not all of that content being available at a later time but that doesn't bother me much.

On the other hand this evolving requires the main game to be solid so I think Anet should've waited with the living story until they ironed out most of the bugs and added enough features and permament content. In other words, I think the living story came too soon, just like I think Southsun Cove came too soon. They should focus their resources on the main game right now.

The world isn't evolving though.  By any indication, things will go back to the 'status quo' after this Living Story is done in preparation for another.
It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#12 pumpkin pie

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:23 PM

Doesn't the living story has a team of its own? we can't just speculate that no one is working on something else as we type.

IMHO. it would only be bad if the finale - the celebration A Rallying Flame is a one time event .... like karka and mad king ... i would be extremely mad, if they make it one time and i have to miss this one as well.

However I do think they aren't utilizing their full potential to make this a truely Living World.  (which is quite contradictory to hating one time event) but this is a game that players all over the world play, so its quite terrible to make them miss important events everytime :P

#13 MazingerZ

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:30 PM

View Postpumpkin pie, on 02 May 2013 - 05:23 PM, said:

Doesn't the living story has a team of its own? we can't just speculate that no one is working on something else as we type.

Speculation is all you have when no one is willing to tell you what they're doing.  That type of deduction is what separates us from the monkeys.

Edited by MazingerZ, 02 May 2013 - 05:31 PM.

It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#14 I'm Squirrel

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:58 PM

I would say it's a horrible idea, from the way they've done it so far.

It should have just been ONE HUGE patch giving us the entire questline + dungeon + weapon sets. Honestly we've been getting like one event every month. And the finale(I think?) is one dungeon that lasts half an hour.

War in Kryta in GW1 was awesome, because we were introduced new characters, a TON of new dialogue, a ton of weapon sets, the story was a complete mystery. It also affected the main storyline in a way with Gwen and Thackeray getting married. You could SEE the devastation happening in the land. The missions and zones had ARMIES of white mantle swarming the areas, swarming the villagers and towns, etc.

This flame and frost thing is.. not exactly interesting. I mean 90% of the players don't even know what's going on, we're just looking for the reward and doing the events.

Alright so... refugees..? I don't exactly.. SEE the danger here.
Dredge and flame legion.. why are they working together? I still don't get it.
A really badass dungeon.. It's cool, but I don't understand what's going on.
What are these sonic machines shooting at me? Why do they need to spy on ME?
Okay.. so we have... dredge and flame legion coming out of portals together and standing there, doing what exactly? Is that how they scout?

It really doesn't make sense.  

It really should have just been released as one big flame and frost patch or developed much better with visible devastation in the lands, much more dialogue and characters, a LOT more personal storyline missions, in the way War in Kryta was.

Well that's my take on it. horrible idea, horrible development. Arenanet really needs to see why GW1 was considered one of the most brilliantly unique MMO's of the past.

EDIT:
Winds of Change was awesome as well, although it was... extremely difficult later on. But, extremely difficult is what GW2 needs right now.

Edited by I'm Squirrel, 02 May 2013 - 06:03 PM.


#15 Feathermoore

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:44 PM

Interesting idea that is being poorly executed.

The living story would be amazing if it really changed the game and stuck. If players had stories to tell after it was over. If outposts/towns/forts were destroyed by the story and then stayed destroyed or if he landscape was visibly scarred from the effects for good then the world would evolve. Old players would be able to say "Yea, I remember when there was a town here. The dredge came and wiped it off the map with a big drill. Everyone tried to work together to save the town, but we failed." New players would be all "Man that really sounds cool, I can't wait till something happens again so that I can be a part of the world."

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#16 moomooo1

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:50 PM

^I agree. And if they're scared of wasting valuable resources designing an outpost or what not only to have it permanently removed from the game, they could add an aftermath set of DE for it, like "collect wood" or "defend it from pillaging centaurs" etc. and have the outpost slowly grow back to how it was over the course of months. Similar to how the Lion Statue was under construction in LA.

In this way, the outpost would end up back to its original state, but for a period of months, players could be to new players, "yeah, that outpost? yeah it got owned a few months ago".

#17 MazingerZ

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:54 PM

View PostFeathermoore, on 02 May 2013 - 07:44 PM, said:

Interesting idea that is being poorly executed.

The living story would be amazing if it really changed the game and stuck. If players had stories to tell after it was over. If outposts/towns/forts were destroyed by the story and then stayed destroyed or if he landscape was visibly scarred from the effects for good then the world would evolve. Old players would be able to say "Yea, I remember when there was a town here. The dredge came and wiped it off the map with a big drill. Everyone tried to work together to save the town, but we failed." New players would be all "Man that really sounds cool, I can't wait till something happens again so that I can be a part of the world."

We'd either fail or succeed consistently though.  Succeed because the mechanics are such that everyone just zergs it and the antagonists will fail.  Fail because the mechanics are such that you're going to fail the first time before you learn it, but since it's a 'one off' it'll be likely to fail.

Really they needed to do something like the Ahn'Qira Invasion.  Part of what drove that was World Firsts (though guesting probably won't help there)... Also the simple fact that the change would have to be consistent across all servers, so how do you even gauge that?

Due to how the game is designed, world changes have to be scripted, they can't be based on player actions, otherwise its a development nightmare to maintain consistency.  Unlike WoW servers, they aren't closed systems either, so if you metered people's contributions to opening up content or something, everyone would just guest-pile onto a server and rapidly open it up (tho any sane person would just THROTTLE it).
It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#18 Draino

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:21 PM

Maybe we're interpreting the phrase incorrectly: maybe it means, "Here's the story of how ANet keeps people playing a bit each month to keep making a living off of the gem store." ;)

But seriously, the writing, or delivery thereof, is really weak. many thousands or tens of thousands of refugees? Where did they all come from? What city or villages have been destroyed and overrun, to make so many leave? Can we go there to fight the spiders and dust mites, to let the refugees return? What's the objective of the molten alliance? Now that we've destroyed their arms production (presumably) will they just vanish? Will we just decide to let bygones be bygones and go fight Claw some hundreds of times more, with a shrug and a "well, I'm glad that interruption is over?" Will whatever is left of MF just turn to empty turf with a "Closed" sign outside (totally unique in a game terrain where every other hole in the ground is infested with nasties, original occupants or not)?

Like personal story, this is a mother's bedtime fable told to children, with no relevance to the ongoing game-lives of the players...a beginning hanging in thin air, a progression with some interest, followed by a world-changing ending that just...goes away. No change to the world. "And they all lived happily ever after."

New writers, please apply.

Edited by Draino, 02 May 2013 - 08:26 PM.


#19 Susanoh

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 09:52 PM

View Postpumpkin pie, on 02 May 2013 - 05:23 PM, said:

Doesn't the living story has a team of its own? we can't just speculate that no one is working on something else as we type.

Even if they are, any resources that are placed on content that is temporary is resources that are not going into content that gets added to the game. It makes sense that the open world would reflect what is going on at the time, but instances and dungeons are apparently being created and then being thrown out.

The question I have is whether the benefits of having a living story such as what we've seen in Flame and Frost outweigh the cons of intentionally limiting the amount of content in your game by spending time creating and then removing significant content. I can't really think of a reason that it benefits players to remove the instances from the game completely.

#20 Susanoh

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:09 PM

View PostFeathermoore, on 02 May 2013 - 07:44 PM, said:

Interesting idea that is being poorly executed.

The living story would be amazing if it really changed the game and stuck. If players had stories to tell after it was over. If outposts/towns/forts were destroyed by the story and then stayed destroyed or if he landscape was visibly scarred from the effects for good then the world would evolve. Old players would be able to say "Yea, I remember when there was a town here. The dredge came and wiped it off the map with a big drill. Everyone tried to work together to save the town, but we failed." New players would be all "Man that really sounds cool, I can't wait till something happens again so that I can be a part of the world."

I have to admit, I agree that if the living story involved significant open world changes, I could see the benefit of having them even if they are lost after the events are over because that is something that simply could not be done any other way. As it is now, the living story seems just like a mini personal story with a few open world activities thrown in. There's no more reason this would need to be limited time content than the personal story, or any of the dungeons in this game. If they had released the Flame and Frost instances as a permanent addition to the game and simply added the extra open world content and events in order to add a little extra immersion to their new story, as if to say, this is really going on right now and it's having an effect on the world, it would be exactly the same as it is now but without the lost content.

#21 brokerib

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:19 PM

I quite like the living story concept, though I think it's going to take a bit more time before its properly mature as a method to deliver content.

And I think it's not helped by misconceptions about how it works.  The living story makes use of temporary content (the molten legion invasion) to add permanent changes to the game world (in this case, populating Southsun Isle).  And it also provides further foreshadowing of other living world events to come (consortium being behind the char/dredge alliance, and now making use of the refugees as a work force to expand their development in Southsun/flame legion char talking about an upcoming apocalypse outside of the dragons/etc).

So in the end current players get to experience something unique, while future players will benefit from the expanded game world, and it all ties together to tell a (reasonably) coherent story.

#22 Featherman

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:30 PM

The living story is a good concept, but the story part implies that you need good story writers to pull it off. It won't be any good until ANet's writers learn how to tell worthwhile stories. The "changing the world" aspect of the system will only be as impacting and meaningful as the story behind it.

Edited by Featherman, 02 May 2013 - 10:39 PM.


#23 Feathermoore

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:37 PM

View PostMazingerZ, on 02 May 2013 - 07:54 PM, said:

snip

No need for it not to be scripted. I prefer it is scripted actually because the devs can focus on developing a better event and story/world evolution. If the players can actually have an effect, the devs have to plan for both scenarios which would increase the chance of a mediocre event.

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#24 Fernling306

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:43 PM

I think it's a terrible idea. Way too much work put into the game for temporary content. if they wanted this to work, it would have to be released much more often with much more content that is temporary. With what they have done so far, they are at about 10% of what is needed.

#25 Bloggi

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:46 PM

Well I could be wrong and stand to be corrected here. But aren't the additions to the map (ie. the new locales added to the map for this living story) supposed to be more permanent fixtures while it's only the dungeon finale that disappears about 2 weeks after its announcement?

That strikes me as a reasonable compromise. We have had people lament about one-time events that were missed due to time zones (precisely the reason why I missed those sorts of events), and then we have people lament about the other extreme: events that can be completed over and over again yet never actually disappear (ie. the events respawn as if they were never done in the first place leading to the lack of feel of continuity). So if my assumption about the living story is correct, then this was, IMHO, a good way to get it done. Having a dungeon around for two weeks is *scores* better than their one-time events, which some of us folk missed because we couldn't be around for a few hours. What they choose to do then with the new locales has yet to be seen...maybe they will add new DEs, new quests? There is potential to work on those areas which will add content to the game.

Now I made the mistake of running the dungeon with some friends before doing the Rox and Braham storylines. After doing the dungeon I did immediately go and complete both those storylines and was somewhat annoyed that the system didn't register and give me credit for the dungeon accordingly, so now I have to run the dungeon again, which although quite fun for everything up till the final boss (with instagib attacks that I found difficult to time and could only avoid about 50% of the time), is not something I actually want to repeat again simply because I'd rather spend my limited in-game time on something else. That's a minor annoyance.

Maybe my mind is too simplistic, but honestly I'm pleased with what was done with the living story, particularly since it's content that came absolutely free and I didn't have to fork out a cent for it. They had new gemstore items which I completely ignored so they didn't affect me whatsoever. However I'd be more than happy to see the new dungeon persist in one form or another...somebody suggested that it could, for example, become a fractal and I think that's a great idea. Fractals can actually become a semi-collection of past dungeons, allowing players to 're-live' these events again.

As far as I'm concerned, I have all the time in the world to wait for new content, and in the meantime playing the game for what it is, or taking a break whenever I don't want to play it. I'm prepared to wait and see if any semi-permanent changes come of this living story arc.

#26 Featherman

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 12:19 AM

IMO, ANet should just focus on instances for future iterations. Their design of open world content is just bad.

#27 Pyrea

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 10:45 AM

A bit of a waste of time imo, I have literally played The Living Story elements one time, even the dungeon and have not touched since. Better to spend time with giving new areas to the world, particularly in Crystal Desert, Fire Islands etc :cool:

#28 Mastruq

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 04:01 PM

The living story is a good thing for GW2.

Implementation and what exactly is done how is another can of worms and I have my beefs with this first chapter. But overall, yep definitely good.

#29 Xunlai Agent

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 05:20 PM

The concept is an excellent one, the real question relates to the implementation of it!

#30 MazingerZ

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 05:46 PM

View PostXunlai Agent, on 03 May 2013 - 05:20 PM, said:

The concept is an excellent one, the real question relates to the implementation of it!

Really enjoying the skirting of the question, such as above.

So how about talking about ArenaNet's implementation of it?
It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"




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