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.