Rebuilding Lion’s Arch Should Have Been Interactive

We now know the new improved Lion’s Arch will be in the next content update for Guild Wars 2. After just shy of a year and a half (about a year in game time) after the city was attacked and ruined, it will finally be rebuilt. Unfortunately Arenanet missed a golden opportunity to give their players a way to be personally involved in the rebuilding effort.

You might be thinking to yourself “hey we got a poll and got to pick names of some locations” and yes we did get to do that. However, how important is a name really? As much as I really dislike the name Phoenix Roost, at the end of the day it is just a name. It’s intangible. We got to actually help people evacuate and helped defend the city; why don’t we get the chance to actually help rebuild as well?

gw281I know we aren’t going to get anymore Living Story before Heart of Thorns launches, we’ve known this for quite a while. What we are getting are various events to fill the time between the end of Living Story 2 and HoT and although the rebuilding could have happened as part of the Living Story, nothing says it has to be a Living Story update.

Imagine instead of logging in one day to a completely rebuilt Lion’s Arch there’s a month long event which progresses in stages over the course of the month. Each week could be a new set of events for players to participate in to help with rebuilding. Some events could be as simple as donating various supplies to the cause, others could be more complex.

Maybe there’s a group out there who don’t want Lion’s Arch to be rebuilt? Maybe they feel like having a city which symbolizes the great things the different races can accomplish when they work together is a bad thing because they don’t want peace between the races? There could be events where players need to protect the workers or caravans arriving with supplies. Or maybe even search out these groups and deal with them directly.

There could also be events where the players could more directly help with rebuilding. Maybe help to clear out the harbor rubble or laying boards and bricks to build the different structures. These events could even be sequential where if the goal for one is met, there will be a break and at a predetermined time the next leg could pick-up where the last left off. If the goal wasn’t met the event would repeat until it was.

At the end of all of this we’d finally get to log in and see what our efforts built. Players would get the feeling of being a real part in the rebuilding and feel like they did something which actually made a difference. We could point to a memorial and say “I helped build that” or a building or road or harbor. There would be real attachment there.

gw284The downside of this is it would be nonpermanent content and some players really don’t like the possibility of missing something. This criticism was a big part of Areanet’s choice to make the Living Story content replayable; which was a great choice on their part. However, nonpermanent content still could play a valuable role in Guild Wars 2. As it is once Lion’s Arch is repaired players won’t be able to go back and experience the different stages it has gone through anyway. So it is already nonpermanent content some people will never see.

It’s also worth mentioning this is likely not the last time Lion’s Arch will be at least partially destroyed, and it would be surprising (and a bit sad) if no other major city is ever destroyed. Even though players couldn’t experience a specific rebuilding event again, they likely would have the chance to participate in others based on the same concept.

At the end of the day I’m glad I got to be a part of protecting Lion’s Arch. I’m glad it stayed in ruins for a substantial period of time. I’m glad it is being rebuilt in stages, and it isn’t being rebuilt to be exactly as it was before. I just wish I could have had a hand in the actual reconstruction.

Dragon Bash Is Sort Of A Letdown

When the Dragon Bash event was first announced I was really excited to experience it and see all the new things Arenanet had come up with. I must admit after the weekend I am a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong the holographic dragon flying around Lion’s Arch is pretty cool, and the fireworks are pretty neat as well. My annoyance really centers around three specific things: the cost of the holographic dragon wings, moa races, and the Dragon Ball.

To earn the holographic wings through the festival you have to collect 100,000 candies. How do you get these candies? Well you can get 1 from every Dragon Piñata you break (which is the most anemic piñata I have ever heard of) or from Dragon Coffers which drop from mobs out in the world or from destroying the dragon holograms. Thankfully there are a variety of methods to gain these candies but you still only seem to get one candy per thing. Not to mention Dragon Coffers don’t always have candy in them. It just feels in the end the price for the wings is a bit high.

Moa Races are fun because it is pretty amusing to watch them run around and try to guess the right one. However, for me the annoyance is in the fact you need a certain number of wins to get the related achievement. In addition you are betting on the moas so if you want the achievement the Moa Races are basically a money sink. Thankfully you do get some money back if your moa gets second or third, but unless you are very lucky you will leave with a lighter purse.

My last complaint is the Dragon Ball, though the issue is only slightly an Arenanet issue and more of a player issue. The set-up of Dragon Ball is actually a really interesting one. You join a five person team to fight against another team. Everyone starts with just one ability but there are orbs around which will grant additional abilities. There are also other orbs which will return health and will power you up. In addition there are tunnels to run through and air jets which will shoot you all over the map. If everyone in a fight is playing, Dragon Ball is a ton of fun… If.

Over time players have started looking at MMOs with less of a “what can I do which will be fun” outlook and more of a “what’s the fastest way for me to get x achievement”. I personally don’t really get that style of play, for me I like to play games to have fun and achievements are just a dandy bonus, but it is valid for people to just have the goal of getting whatever achievement they want. The issue is many people I have come across in Dragon Ball queue in and then just stand there waiting for the match to end. They don’t attack anyone, or try to dodge or anything. They are just there to be fodder.

Now I agree with Arenanet making the requirement for the achievement be participation in matches instead of wins. If players had to win 20 matches we’d have a whole other can of worms on our hands. What they should have done was to allow people to queue up with other people for the fights. It probably would have made the queues longer but at least then you could be sure to have a team who will at least try to play, for those of us who actually like to do things in MMOs.

Aside from these things I am mostly happy with Dragon Bash, just a couple of tweaks could have made it an all around exciting event, instead of being mostly good with a few large downsides.