Updated Tue, Feb 25, 2014 by Lee B.
Today is the day for the Living World update in Guild Wars 2 that will shake of foundations of Lion's Arch and pit us against all of Scarlet's might and ingenuity. I had the opportunity to sit down with Steven Waller, Associate Game Director; Steven Hwang, Living World Coordinator; Karl Horvath, Game Designer; and Meelad Sadat, Head of PR to talk about the Escape from Lion's Arch. We spoke about the Lore and Mechanical implications of this update after they showed me through some of the key features of what was going to happen.
The main thing that caught my attention first was the implications of the attack itself for lore and mechanics. The main question on everyone's mind was twofold. First, can we still finish map completion, jumping puzzles and the History Buff achievements? The guys reassured me that these would still all be achievable, though considerably harder than they are now. "Possibly the hardest to finish now will be map completion. You will have to fight your way through all of Scarlet's minions to get to the points all within a certain amount of time while navigating a completely war torn Lion's Arch."
The second part was the effects of this assault on things like the Black Lion Trading Company, the Mystic Forge and all of the other minor services that were home within Lion's Arch. All those minor services managed to escape under the initial assault and will be found at the Refugee Camps or the Vigil Keep for the time being. The Black Lion Trading Company may be crippled slightly, but Evon isn't the type to throw all of his eggs into one basket. "Evon will certainly feel this attack, but he has a strong trade network to make sure the Black Lion won't fall under something like this." Zommoros and the Mystic Forge you might be asking? "Zommoros is incredibly powerful. It is safe to say he got out of there."
One thing did nag at me, however. The Living World stories have been through many different plots and stories with the Karka, Super Adventure Box, the Alliances and now Scarlet. Things we didn't anticipate to be connected ended up being connected a lot more deeply than I initially expected. However, I think we all needed to know if it was always the intention of focusing Lion's Arch under an attack from the beginning of the Living World story? "Scarlet's story line was always very clear that the end plan was always to be Lion's Arch. I think we've shown that she had to learn where she needed to go, but it was the intention to always bring Scarlet here in the end."
This answer immediately brought me to the question of the Election we had between Ellen and Evon. If it was always the intention to do this, was the Election as impactful as we were originally told? Would either candidate have made a different in the way this story was presented? They reiterated to me that it was always the plan to bring Scarlet to Lion's Arch. It is clearly where all the main activity is building and it had to be that Scarlet would discover more about herself there. "It is the helm and direction of the response that would have changed depending on who was elected. Ellen and Evon play two very different roles in this release, and those roles would have been drastically different if the election played out differently." This makes sense in regards to Ellen's response to Marjory's letter to warn them. Ellen boasted they could handle another attack, but I get the impression that Evon would have responded with as much strength as he could muster.