Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fun In Southsun : GW2

Everyone and their Aunt Aggie has weighed in already on GW2's Secret of Southsun update. I'm late jumping that train so I'll keep it short.

It's a big improvement. It's tighter; more focused thematically and geographically than Flame and Frost. Judging from map chat people seem to like the content better. More importantly they're using it. I've spent much of this week in Overflow and I don't even play primetime hours for Yak's Bend.

Ravious has issues with the delivery system. I think Southsun makes a better show of laying out the intel than earlier iterations but it remains a rattly old communications chain all the same. If you're going to replace a system that works (quests, tasks, missions) with one of your own making it's probably incumbent on you to make one that works better. This doesn't.

Don't have nightmares.
Still it gets the job done. There have been complaints that using the Achievement system this way builds in spoilers and it does but I can't say I felt there was much in there to be spoiled in the first place. If there's anything that makes sense of the Molten Alliance storyline then it passed me by. I also admit to not remembering either Inspector Ellen Kiel or Canach. If I met them before then I apologize. They didn't make much of an impression, obviously.

Southsun isn't heaving with people day and night out of love of story anyway. ArenaNet built a farm and everyone put on their straw hats and set to work tilling the fields. The prize fruit, Southsun Supply Crates, seem rare as arctic strawberries but there's compensation in everything around. Blood, scales. poison sacs, karka parts and passiflora; huge coin and Magic Find buffs; karma trains the like of which I haven't seen
Festival? Does he mean the Dragon Bash? That's here?
outside WvW.

The best part of the Southsun update is the community-building. Map chat is filled with helpful people answering questions on where to go and what to do. Events are called all the time. Mesmers are puzzle-porting just because they can. Commanders running their tags are using them to focus PvE zergs. Anyone getting knocked down gets picked right back up again. It's a microcosm of what the whole game could and should be; communal, mutual, positive, open, empowering.

Any mesmers porting to JP?
It also occurred to me quite early on that it isn't an entirely new phenomena. I've seen it before. Now where could that have been? Ah yes, of course! Southsun is an Everquest Hot Zone. It reminds me of nothing so much as the weekends we spent in Dulak's Harbor or Grieg's End farming xp and hoping for the augs to drop. Hot Zones always were a great idea. Every MMO should have them.

This is a good direction. This is what we want. Well, it's what I want. Wouldn't it be great to see this approach rolled out to different parts of Tyria every two or three weeks? Intense, focused bursts of content that funnel a critical mass of players to a specific map, offering desirable, distinctive rewards for a limited time only. Yes, it's a dirigist approach but don't we all need a little direction from time to time?


  1. Canach, Inspector Ellen Kiel, Researcher Levvi and Subdirector Noll are the main characters from the "Lost Shores" event ( IMHO we can consider the Lost Shores was the first Living Event. They are learning how to make these Living Events better, each Living Event have important lessons that they use latter.

    A list of the current NPC dialogues is at The NPCs make reference to the "Last Stand at Southsun" ( and to the "Dragon Festival" ( events, that will happen in the near future.

    @Bagpuss "Wouldn't it be great to see this approach rolled out to different parts of Tyria every two or three weeks?"

    IMHO, aparently they have two more living events ready for launch, one for may 28th and other for june. Problably they have more living events being built, they have at least two diferent teams working at it. The fact they are deactiving the team that made the living events at GW but Anet are having no layoffs suggest me that that team too is moving to create GW2 living content.

    The problem they have now is HOW they tell the story. Quests and some NPC dialogues are not a good way to pass the message. Players are having a hard time for understand that the events from Lost Shores, Flame and Frost and Secret of Southsun are connected. Maybe they need add more cutscenes. Videos with devs explaining the story so far and texts at the official game site are poor substitutes to know how to tell a story.

    1. I figured out from context that Canach and Kiel were from the Lost Shores event. The thing is, I did all of that when it happened. I even wrote about it (sorry for the blue on blue link - couldn't figure out how to change the color in a comment).

      I have no memory of them whatsoever, which suggest that, at least for me, the story of Lost Shores was entirely unmemorable. But then, that applies to most MMO stories. I remember Lost Shores very fondly for the chaos and the mayhem. Whatever it was supposed to be "about" was largely irrelevant even at the time, so a callback to the plot and/or characters isn't going to have much resonance.

    2. As I wrote above, IMHO they need look for a better way to tell their story. Lost Shores, Flame and Frost, Secret of Southsun, The Last Stand at Southsun and whatever comes after it are diferent acts of one play, because they wrote a plot for span one year.

      Dinamic Events, NPC dialogues and questioning specific NPCs are being not good ways for the players see the general picture. Players simply lose all that content at the middle of quests and farming and combat. Maybe they need make more cutscenes for explain what is really happening, like the cutscenes from FFXI.

      For what I saw, all that main characters from Lost Shores and Flame and Frost will work together or fight one another, following diferent objectives. The new character introduced now at Secret of Southsun (the blonde female noble, that I think /spoiler is from Shining Blade /end spoiler) too will be important for the story conclusion. taht is important for the concept of "living" world, NPCs need move the world and be moved by the world and start complex interactions. Like the real world.

  2. That's a funny pic with your charr. It looks like he pooped out those coconuts, which I guess is a valid reaction for some people to seeing Faren or Kasmeer like that. :P

    1. Heheh! I spotted that but only after I decided to use the shot. Unintentional toilet humor ftw!

      Mrs Bhagpuss got a Lord Faren mini out of a Southsun Crate on the second day, which went straight on the broker. I saw one following someone around in Frostfell which looked beyond bizarre. Not convinced swimwear models were ever a good addition to the game but definitely not in the Shiverpeaks.


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