Global Chat: Does Guild Wars 2’s newest episode reach for the stars?

    
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Guild Wars 2’s newest living world episode seems to be grabbing the MMO community’s attention in a way that the season so far hasn’t. It is garnering quite a bit of praise, winning over even some of the game’s grumpier contingents.

“In recent episodes I’ve gotten used to groaning or shaking my head at some of the sloppy dialog, in-jokes and all-round loose writing,” wrote MMO blogger Bhagpuss. “This time, so far, there’s been none of that. Everyone sounds like they’re taking it seriously for once, which doesn’t mean there’s no humor and no jokes but that those there are seem to derive — fairly convincingly — from the characters and the situation. It’s a relief.”

Jeromai is equally effusive: “That’s perhaps the highest praise I can produce for whatever Anet is doing right in this episode, that I’m more happy to be playing and experiencing the content, than complaining or commentating on it because something broke or didn’t feel right […] It reads a bit like a love letter to some of our long ago wishes, hopes and dreams.”

Read on for another awesome tour of MMO essays, including a return to LOTRO, imagining living in an MMO, fun with Elder Scrolls Online, and more!

Moonshine Manor: BFA one month in

“Overall the leveling experience was pretty great. I was blown away with the storytelling and leveling in Legion, and BFA is at least as good, if not better. Now the real question is: What is there to do at the level cap, and is it fun?”

Tales of the Aggronaut: BFA — The good and the ugly

“This is not something I thought I would be into at all but I am shockingly loving it. Now some of that love will probably dissipate as the lure of 340 gear becomes less. I remember enjoying Alterac Valley back in Vanilla because it was about more than just fighting other players. The Warfronts are essentially all of those elements that I enjoyed divorced from the player versus player interactions I didn’t enjoy. Also did I mention 340 gear?”

GamingSF: A tentative return to Middle-earth

“Despite this, and returning now nothing has changed difficulty-wise, I am still happy to be back in Middle-earth. I spent a session like a plate-wearing ninja, carefully jogging or riding between more dangerous mobs, winding my way across the landscape to progress any quest I could that didn’t require me to take on something with over twice my character’s morale.”

Plus one.

MMO Gypsy: So long, cupcake! It was fun while it lasted.

“I don’t want to sound cynical when a game of such quality and promise gets shelved -– I think Carbine are one of the greater studios out there and they did some unique things with WildStar that I wish more people had experienced. WildStar was often unjustly compared to WoW when it really did its own thing. However, no MMO shuts down because it ‘didn’t have enough players.'”

Occasional Hero: MMO living conditions ranked worst to best

“A while back, my wife and I got into this anime called Log Horizon that involves thousands players getting trapped in an MMO world. Not in a virtual reality way, but actually physically there, having to work out how to navigate the intricacies and politics of a world where former players are apparently immortal. Since then, we’ve often joked about what it would be like to wake up one day in the various games that we play. Here are a few of the games that I play or have played over the years, ranked based on how much I would or would not want to live in them.”

Parallel Context: Fun with Elder Scrolls Online

“To be frank, Zenimax did what I thought to be impossible: stabilize a bad situation and return a game to the reputation that fans expected […] One Tamriel is credited with saving ESO from oblivion (or is it Oblivion?), but I have to admit that just about every single MMO I’ve ever played should take a serious look at what Zenimax accomplished with this update.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.

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Loren?ろーれん

Honestly, I wanted to be emotionally moved by the latest LW chapter but in terms of character and storytelling it was one of the worst yet. Anet never made me care about these new characters they suddenly introduced for five seconds only to (spoiler), the same problem they’ve chronically had since the original personal story – they would’ve been much better off bringing back some of the many memorable asura characters we’ve had previously and giving them more substance. And all the emotional impact of the big finale was ruined by how I was too busy repeatedly dying to the forced jumping puzzle while half the end dialogue failed to play (all the end dialogue, in fact, for my very confused friend who was doing the story with me).

They also wasted a very nice title drop line on a very poorly written character.

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Baemir

Looks like firing Price was the right call after all.

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Line

It’s the first episode she was leading, actually.
And the story will be Price and her team’s work for the year to come or so.

Damn females fixing the story and shit, eh?

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Baemir

Jeez I never said anything about her gender.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Did you forget that the only peep that brought gender into that controversy was Jessica Price and a bunch of scrupulous blogs and publications looking for a cheap buck by spinning fiction out of cherry picked details?

The OP certainly never mentioned gender.

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Line

Of course, there was no hate campaign by the usual gamergaters rallying against the female enemy and the dirty SJWs bank rolled by Georges Soros.
Totally not the reason reddit and twitter were brigaded by people that never played the game.

And let’s not forget about all the people that suddenly (re)discovered GW2 when the evil spirit of Karl Marx was fired, even on massivelyOP we had plenty of those liars.

We don’t hate Jessica Price, we just hate what she represents, feminism, progressive thinking, minorities, gay people, inclusive movements; and things are getting better when she’s not here.
Right guys?
Totes not the usual hate gloating that the game is better now that she isn’t here, even though it’s her entirely her work.

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Skoryy

I’m starting to feel like I’m on an island here with my own dismay at the state of GW2’s storytelling. The last chapter kinda hit home that the Tolkein-esque heroic journey from launch has devolved into a Cormac McCarthy trudge into perpetual despair. I mean, I kinda get why we’re headed there, but it’s not my bag. If I wanted an apocalyptic story, SWL is telling a far better one.

Which also dovetails into Bree’s discussion about optimism vs pessimism from the other day that I was too work busy to jump into. My own opinion has been less optimism vs pessimism than just how seriously are you supposed to take the story. But I have lunch and a sunny day so I can’t delve into that quite deeply just yet!

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Hikari Kenzaki

Yeah, this episode was really good.
I don’t like Braham. He’s generally poorly written and mostly just a reason for the devs to send the PC on a stupid mission no sane person would embark on.

But there is that moment (you know what it is if you’ve played it) where I just went “Dayum” out loud while playing. And it all happens in the middle of a fight so you aren’t able to emotionally process it properly.

And the double gut punch of the ending. Yeesh

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Arktouros

Yea Braham by far is my least favorite written character at this point. Like everything about him his tuned up to these caricature levels that he comes off less like a believable person and more like either someone’s statement on something or entirely as a plot device.