Why I Love the Living World in Guild Wars 2
I realize that some of you haven’t been playing Guild Wars 2 for a while or maybe you just haven’t picked up the game yet. You need to know what you have been missing out on and how ArenaNet has been pulling all the stops to make this season something memorable. They have stepped up the quality of just about everything since last season of the Living World and if you haven't been participating then you need to know what you're missing out on. I'm in love with the new season of the Living World and here is a couple reasons why.
Have You Seen This Map?
The new zone Dry Top has been blowing my mind ever since they released it in the Gates of Maguuma update. This map flows from a thriving rain forest-like environment into a dry mesa with a beautiful oasis in the middle. It is gorgeous and with the addition of hourly sandstorms it makes it a map that is constantly keeping you on your toes with a changing rotation of enemies and bosses.
Furthermore this zone was used in the original Guild Wars. You would end up travelling through this zone when playing through Prophecies. You can see parts of that old map in this one and there is certainly pockets of lore that hints to what it looked like in the original game. The best part is that they didn’t make it look exactly the same to show that this world has changed so much between the two games.
Oh and did I mention dragon corruption? This zone is where we start to see one of the Elder Dragons, the one Scarlet woke up in the first season, start to cause some serious trouble. It is intense and it goes to show what this dragon can do.
It is safe to say that the guys from ArenaNet have learned a thing or two from when they released Southsun Cove. That map remains one of the least popular zone in the game since its release early on in the first season. Dry Top is certainly a step above any other map in the game and it is bound to remain popular even well after the Living World moves to different areas. The loot you can get here certainly helps that fact.
The World Is Alive
By now you have to know about the two week update cadence that Guild Wars 2 has boasted about for some time now. They are right back to it and tomorrow we get to see their next update: The Dragon’s Reach Part 1. There is something refreshing about a game that constantly rolls out new content every two weeks to keep you actively engaged.
However what is impressive about this season of the Living World are these things I’m dubbing “micro-updates”. In between the Gates of Maguuma and the Entanglement updates there were quite a few patches that addressed some bugs and other issues. What they didn’t advertise was the fact there were very minor changes in the world that kept players on their toes. All throughout the game there were instances of vines starting to wrap around and attack various points. You could visit these old zones and see these vines starting to attack these magical points to show them becoming an ever growing problem.
Updates like that is how you make a game feel like a living, breathing world. An update every two weeks is too long if you’re going to make some serious changes to the world. The guys at ArenaNet are taking the time to make the world feel like it is growing naturally with subtle changes to maps and altered dialogues. Players are keeping a keen eye on all the changes in the world more than ever so that they can see just how the world will grow.
We can’t neglect to say that the updates this season have been impressive on their own. When Entanglment released it altered a few areas in other maps with these vines. Now we can see in the next update they are beginning to tackle storylines that players thought were going to remain untouched due to how they tied to the personal story.
They are proving that this world is changing and breathing. The only other time I have ever felt like an MMO has made this much effort to feel alive was during Everquest where Game Masters (GMs) lead custom events for players. Exciting things could pop up at any time during the times the GMs wanted to get mischievous. Guild Wars 2 has captured that unpredictability with these updates.
These are just a few reasons as to why I love the Living World in Guild Wars 2. The game breathes like never before and the guys at ArenaNet seem intent to continue to make this a thriving world. It makes me eager to see what they will bring out next. If nothing else just consider this: What other game also gives you the ability to be a snowman floating through the world’s inner workings?