Ahem...getting back to the point, Azuriel alludes to something mentioned by several people (I was one) in his comments section: "a lot of people are suggesting that the zones/enemies/storylines get dumber the farther South you go". Which puts a finger neatly on one of Guild Wars 2's real problems: Orr.
I vaguely remember reading about Orr before launch. How it was where all the promise of the Dynamic Event system would bear fruit, how it was GW2's equivalent of raiding, how it was going to be a step-change from the rest of the game, which was really only there to prepare you for Orr. Yadda yadda and indeed yadda.
There's a good discussion at GW2Guru which goes over most of what's wrong with Orr in some detail. The thread's called "I Hate Orr" but there are posters there who don't and make a fair case. Everyone, different, see above.
I don't hate Orr but I dislike it enough that I've been there just twice. I'd say that having three large maps at launch, which quite few people visit once or twice and cross off their list of "Places I'd Like To See Again" is a fundamental problem.
Issues that I have with Orr from just those couple of quick visits include:
- It's frickin' ugly, especially the lighting and color scheme.
- It's chock-full of the same mobs over and over and over again.
- Mob density is overcooked.
- There's far too much of it.
I didn't stay long enough to confirm whether the other big complaint is true, namely that for such a supposedly important area, nothing much that matters happens there. I also have sufficient concern for my blood-pressure not even to have attempted the underwater parts which by most accounts are truly awful.
Orr wasn't all bad. The undead chickens made me laugh out loud. The way the dead Zhaitan raised carry on their now meaningless lives is mildly affecting. I may even go back for another look, some day, although it's a long way to go just to laugh at a chicken. As an aspirational set of end-of-game zones, though? I don't think so.
Since I'm not there I can't estimate from experience how well-used Orr is. Is it busy down south? Let's hope not, because if and when we get new maps it's going to be a disappointment if ArenaNet attempt to emulate or even outdo Orr in "difficulty" and "challenge".
There's been no word that I've seen on what part of the map might open next, but my money's on Crystal Desert. In Ebonhawke the guards at the Southern Gate are already fielding questions from interested adventurers:
Let's just hope that when that gate does open there's something more interesting behind it than a barren wasteland filled with mindless husks.
Coming Next: How It Should Be Done or "North with the Charr!"