Thus far, Guild Wars 2’s story has revolved largely around the six elder dragons. The base game’s personal story crescendoed with the slaying of Zhaitan, the undead dragon, and the first two seasons of the living world and the game’s first expansion led to the death of dragon number two, Mordremoth, the jungle dragon. In season three we got the plot twist that killing dragons is actually bad for the environment, so we decided to put the ice dragon Jormag and the fire dragon Primordus to sleep by having their magical energies cancel each other out. After a quick detour to kill the war god Balthazar in Path of Fire (you know, no big deal), season four thrust us immediately back into the fray against the crystal dragon Kralkatorrik. While he’s not dead yet, we’ve kicked him in his branded teeth, and now we’re left on the worst cliffhanger since Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Best of Both Worlds.ArenaNet is going to have to take the story in a new direction, be that in future Living World chapters, expansions, or Guild Wars 3. So what kinds of stories could Guild Wars tell without falling back on dragons?
GW2: Civil War
For a game with “Guild Wars” on the box, there are surprisingly few guilds warring with one another. I think it’s high time that we changed that.
The three orders that make up The Pact started out at odds with each other and ended up banding together to fight the Elder Dragons. With the dragons no longer a threat, it’s easy to imagine The Pact quickly falling apart. I can see it now: The Vigil accuses the Order of Whispers of stealing secrets and keeping information from the other orders, and of course it was, because that’s what the Order of Whispers does. The Durmond Priory rolls its collective eyes and seals itself away with its collection of secrets and artifacts, while an increasingly paranoid Vigil strikes out against the Order of Whispers. In the middle of it all is Marshal Thackeray and the Commander, trying to hold everything together and avert an all-out civil war.
Since we’re already speculating wildly here, there could even be multiple variations on the story depending on which faction the player decides to ally herself with, showing the motivations and perspectives of each side.
I’m getting excited just thinking about it!
The Largos and the Unending Ocean
I know I already said that nobody wants an underwater zone, and if we end up with an aquatic theme, it would probably be to go after the ocean dragon. But dragon or no, what I would be more interested in is learning more about the Largos, the race of aquatic hunters who have been teased a couple of times in Guild Wars 2 but never really explored. We know they’re assassins, and we’ve been told that their homeland in the north has been overrun by some kind of “horrors,” but what exactly does that mean? I’ve always loved the concept of underwater cities in various sci-fantasy settings, and I would love to see ArenaNet’s take on one for the Largos. Areas that take place inside aquatic dome cities could break up the awkward three dimensional movement that underwater travel brings.
Also, the Largos wear breathing masks similar to those worn by players, but are those for them to breathe underwater or above it? Why are they so distrustful of land dwellers? Are those wing things part of their body or artificial? So many unanswered questions!
Also, any excuse to include the Quaggans again would be a welcome one! Coo!
Guild Wars 2 players have wandered all over the locales of both the original Guild Wars campaigns Prophecies and Nightfall, and a lot fans have been asking when they’ll be able to visit Guild Wars Factions’ East Asia themed Cantha region since day one. What have the people of Cantha been up to in all of these years? Have they also had to deal with repeated horrible catastrophes, or is mainland Tyria just special?
Personally, I’ve always been sad that ArenaNet almost gave us playable Tengu, but opted for the Charr instead. Nothing against Charr, but lots of games have cat/beast people; playable bird people seems like the much more unique choice. Given that the Tengu were originally from Cantha, maybe this could be their chance to add them as a playable race? There are a lot of reasons why we’ll probably never see a new playable race in Guild Wars 2, but I can dream.
Attack of just some regular dude!
Does everything we fight really have to be a world-eating dragon, disgruntled god, or some servant thereof? I really liked the beginning of Living World Season 3 because the bad guy ended up being Caudecus – just a regular old human who used his magical prowess for evil. As any Star Wars fan will tell you, there comes a point when you don’t have to keep one-upping the story or it just starts to get ridiculous. “The original trilogy had a moon-sized space station that blows up planets? Well the sequel trilogy obviously needs a planet-sized space station that blows up multiple planets!” After seven years of this kind of plot inflation, Guild Wars 2 could use a little bit of dialing back.
Also, a plain old mortal villain is a lot more relatable. It’s something any player character could have fallen into given some bad circumstances and surrounded by the wrong crowd. It also gives the possibility that the villain could be redeemed, which is something that I feel doesn’t get done enough, and something you certainly can’t do with dragons that are simply programmed to consume everything in their path.
The Guild Wars franchise takes place in a rich universe with a lot of life to it. There are many stories out there just waiting to be told. The Elder Dragon arc has served us well for more than seven years, but there are still many other ways the story team could go. I’m sure our readers have some great ideas that I haven’t thought of! I’d love to read some of them down in the comments!