Guild Wars – Dead Ends

Guild Wars is a great game. You’d probably expect me to say something like that, considering that I run a Guild Wars fansite. I’ve been playing the game for years. But every once in a while, ArenaNet does something to annoy me. Usually it’s with their storyline. It started with Rurik and it seems to be getting worse. Eventually, the lore travels down roads that are so twisted, I can no longer follow them. I like to beat video games, to complete them entirely, but I have not been able to finish Guild Wars Chapters 3 & 4. There are parts of the game that I consider to be dead ends.

It reminds me of a classic Hall and Oates song. “I’ll do almost anything, that you want me to…. yeah… but I can’t go for that, no no… no can do!”

Follow Rurik over the snow covered Shiverpeaks… fight a dragon in a grain of sand… collect 50 Red Iris flowers for a simple pack… craft obsidian armor… drink for 10,000 minutes… these things are annoying, but not enough to make me stop playing. But when I haven’t bothered to complete Nightfall and Eye of the North, there’s something terribly wrong.

Here’s an example…

Vlox’s Falls – Lork

You’ll never get this project off the ground without Oola. She’s the most proficient golemancer around. Problem is that she’s locked herself away in her underground laboratory. I don’t know exactly where it is, but I do know someone who can take you there. However, for that information, you will owe me a favor. Deal?

No Lork, no deal! I’m fighting to save all of Tyria and this peck is looking for profit. Maybe the little guy needs help, but he doesn’t know the proper way to ask for it. Nope, this story doesn’t seem to have a happy ending… at least not yet. From what I’ve read on the wiki, this guy still pesters you about the favor… even after you beat the game. Why write something like that? Eye of the North is the last expansion, Guild Wars 2 is 200 years in the future. How does this story conclude? Is ArenaNet just trying to annoy me? That’s where I stopped my Eye of the North progress.

ArenaNet seems to forget something important with their storytelling. MMORPG players like to feel like heroes. You mess with that and you mess with your customer base. I don’t like how the humans are portrayed as losers. Why should I help the Asura if they’re going to insult me? In another MMORPG, I could have killed him right there. I could have spent my days waging war against their pathetic population. I don’t like the Asura, but the game forces me to make friends with them.

I think I understand ArenaNet’s logic. They don’t want to create the stereotypical fantasy lore. They want to create something a little more dark. I better understood this when I watched Troy Baker (Voice Actor) explain Logan – a lead character in Guild Wars 2. Troy says, “The thing I like about Logan is that he’s really more of a… he’s a hero, but he’s the kind of hero that I like to play because he’s got this dark past… this pain that’s actually kind of compelling him to be a bigger hero than he ever thought he could be.”

Dark past… pain… that’s what I don’t like about Guild Wars. It’s too dark… too cluttered. There’s a reason why Hollywood pumps out the same generic movies… that’s what the majority of people like! The same is true with video games… Super Mario has been saving the princess for over 20 years. Don’t mess with what works! But OK, if ArenaNet wants to try something different… how about giving players a choice?! Guild Wars gives you no choice. Their storybook gameplay gives you no options. You ether follow Rurik into the chaos, or you hide out in Pre-Searing… death-leveling your way to 20. The game starts off great, but it just grows more and more depressing and less fun to play. Pre-Searing is still my favorite place in the whole game… a land that was beautiful and a place where the humans were strong.

Lork isn’t the only problem I have with Eye of the North. Pyre Fierceshot is another example. The game forces me to team up with a Charr. This is a precursor to the sequel, where the Humans and the Charr ultimately join forces. Um… no… I don’t accept this. Here on Earth, we still have differences that go back thousands of years. Somehow I doubt that the Humans and the Charr would be allies. Gwen and Pyre should not be on the same team. I’m even more frustrated by this when ArenaNet asks, “What’s your story?” Without choice, what story is there to tell?

The only choice I have is not to play… Lork are Pyre are Guild Wars dead ends for me. Joko is another cul-de-sac too.  How can I release Joko in Guild Wars: Nightfall, when I know it will lead to great destruction? Even without that knowledge, it seems like a silly thing to do. Why not just go around the poisonous area?

It reminds me of another quote from the 80’s… “Strange game, the only way to win is not to play.” That’s a bad feeling to have. Clearing the game should give you a sense of accomplishment, and excitement towards future expansions/sequels.

3 thoughts on “Guild Wars – Dead Ends”

  1. If there is no way to go around the posionous area, then you have to ask joko. When a hero promises to let someone go, then he will do so.

    Lork knows someone who can help you, he offers you an information. Maybe there will be a favor in some days, because arenanet is uploading new conent.

    10,000 minutes are nothing, we have time! I also don’t like this, but if everything is perfect, then it would be boring.

  2. So, you are saying you would rather Abaddon take over Tyria than have Palawa Joko control 1 out of 3 continents? Admittedly you aren’t given that choice but quite honestly it boils down to the lesser of two evils.

    Lork, the asura in Vlox’s Falls, sure he is making you pay for him to help you with saving the world, but then again, he’s an asura, a narcissist, he thinks that his race can stop the destroyers alone. He doesn’t want to talk to you, let alone help you.

    Guild Wars is quite unique in the way that most of the quests are possible to skip, you don’t have to go kill Galrath just because the Lionguard tells you he is evil, you don’t have to assist Palawa Joko any further than freeing him unless you want to do the quests.

    As far as going around the wastes, there is no around, the entrance to the realm of torment is right in the middle, the only path is through. ArenaNet doesn’t let you kill Joko same as Nintendo doesn’t let you kill Bowser, sure you know he is going to kidnap Peach again, but for some reason you always let him go.

    Although your character does seem to be largely written as a “ends justify the means” type character, if it was the end of the world that was at stake I’m pretty sure most people would do the same unless they were helping to bring that about.

    Who knows, maybe you’re a jerk who never pays Lork back his favour. There are some things you can choose, and other things that have to happen or the world just ends. Helping out a narcissistic asura just happens to be one of those things.

  3. Actually, I think you do kill Bowser. Nintendo brings him back. I think that’s because the whole Super Mario series might just be Mario’s dream… he’s just a regular plumber in the real world.

    HERO… he dreams he’s a hero… isn’t that what MMORPGs are all about? I don’t play these games because I want to choose the lesser of two evils. I play because I like to be the hero. When ArenaNet goes off on a dark tangent, it loses my interest… it also makes it harder for me to introduce the game to others.

    When I show Guild Wars to people, it’s a dark and depressing world. Pre-Searing looks great, but it’s all downhill after that. I didn’t get that feeling from World of Warcraft. I could fish, craft, level up to 60 without the pressure of ANY quests. I could solo or group with whomever I wanted. I didn’t have to chase Rurik. I don’t remember too many dead end spots. (But once Goblins appeared in Stormwind, and PvP got messed up, I left.)

    Guild Wars… so simple really, don’t know why they keep screwing it up… GUILD… WARS… make an MMORPG with a decent/fun combat system and make the battles huge. Instead, we have teams of 8 and we have a twisted storyline. In Guild Wars, it tries too hard to be serious. I think it should just be fun! It’s a game.

    Sure, by the same logic, I shouldn’t take the game too seriously… but I can imagine what it would be like if the game was different. Why do the Asura have to be arrogant? Why can’t they be fun and friendly? Why not make them so fun you want to pick them up and hug them? I think that would make the Asura would be more popular, ArenaNet could them move into merchandising and sell plush Asura dolls… put them on cereal boxes… make Saturday morning cartoons.

    What… does something have to be dark, so that adults can like it? Why not add more romance to the storyline then? Instead of this Joko garbage, why not make Mhenlo and Cynn a forced mission? There’s a wonderful love story there… but it’s just reduced to minor text bubbles.

    Lord of the Rings, a standard in this genre… there were bad guys… there were good guys… the bad guys fought the good guys. They didn’t stop halfway and say, “Hey wait a minute, this Orc is just misunderstood. We should give him the ring and let him help us.” They didn’t say, “Hey, let’s cut the ring in three parts… give one piece to Golum, one to Sauron and we could destroy the last piece.” It’s not a… well, the world is 33% less evil or 66% less evil. Maybe I’m missing something, as I’m not huge Lord of the Rings fan.

    My point is that Guild Wars, with dead ends like this, is setting itself up as a niche product. That’s cool, if that’s what you want to build. I don’t think it should be that way. I think the game should be opened up… give players freedom to make their own stories, to find their own paths.

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