Smudge and I are still playing and enjoying Guild Wars 2 these many months later. Just last week we hit a big milestone in the form of the end of the original story.

Of course, we hit the level maximum of 80 quite some time ago, but we’ve been slowly exploring the world, and advancing the story as we go. For about a month now, we’ve been working through the stronghold of the enemy, the ruined nation of Orr. I have to say that was handled quite well; it’s a creepy, dangerous place, without being at all cliche about it.

The story itself was a little more standard, with a number of different missions as the Pact works it’s way across the landscape of Orr, introducing important people, and killing a number of those off. There’s not a lot of real plot twists here, but the progression is well done. This all leads up to a mission/dungeon dealing with the Big Bad Guy, the elder dragon of death and darkness: Zaitan.

Who has a bad case of ‘someone started drawing and never stopped’.

I’m not so happy with the dungeon. A number of cliches pop up in this one, and there’s not a lot of real fighting. Given that this is the only dungeon required for the storyline, it makes sense that it is easier, as it may get a lot of people unused to them. But I’m unhappy with the amount of… non-fighting fighting (manning cannons, which I would like better if this wasn’t just a wait for the target to become available, and mash the button, unlike every other time GW2 does something like this), and the pacing, which is too rushed to talk to the NPCs in places, and leaves you just waiting around in others. I imagine the explorable mode will more than make up for it….

I was also less than happy with the immediately preceding mission, which was a lot easier than I felt something that climatic should be. On the other hand, the ending sequence when you win was very good. Also, the final epilogue of the story is… huge. Pretty much every surviving NPC of the story is there and talkable. The requisite celebration is there, and you can join in, and they remind you that Zaitan is not the only world-ending problem out there.

Smudge and I have since gone through the summary of the first part of the Living World (season 1) both in-game, and the extensive one on the wiki. It’s a pity we can’t go through it directly, but at least ArenaNet caught on and made season 2 playable after the fact.

I also think that the continuing story is another area where GW2 has been doing better than most of the other MMOs we’ve encountered. When World of Warcraft was released, there were plans for a number of areas that weren’t in the game yet, and a number of hooks were in the storyline. Most prominent were the nagas and murlocks which were noted as having just arrived from the deeper oceans in the places where they were encountered. The implications were that something was up, and the Maelstrom was a planned area of expansion. All of this got pretty much paved over and permanently ignored in Cataclysm. Neverwinter starts with the siege of the city by the forces of Valendra, but much of the plotline in the game barely touches on it. It’s pretty obvious that ArenaNet is still following, in some form, their original vision for the narrative arc of GW2. I kind of wonder what they’ll do as the number of elder dragons available diminishes, but so far, they’re nicely focused.