The following article contains a story spoiler for Path of Fire based on a recent interview with a developer from ArenaNet. If you do not wish to know what is and isn’t going to be in Path of Fire please do not read this article. If you still want to get your Guild Wars 2 article fix though, consider checking out our recent 5th-anniversary review of Guild Wars 2.
This is your final warning. Beyond the picture below there be spoilers.
Thanks to a recent interview on Gaiscioch Magazine we’ve learned a very interesting, and potentially very annoying piece of information. Braham is not in Path of Fire. Specifically, the interview from Content Designer Matt Medina says, “Braham is focused right now on the things that most concern him, and he won’t have a role to play in Path of Fire.” Personally, I’m a little bit torn on how I should feel about this. On the one hand, I hate Braham, he’s turned into a whiney child lashing out for no reason so I’m really rather happy to not have to deal with him more. On the other hand, as a roleplayer, my Norn characters have pretty much been unplayable since A Crack in the Ice released. That was in November. That wasted time bothers me, and I feel like we should have at least had some payoff.
What Could Have Been
I’ve actually found myself wondering: did Braham’s story arc have to go the way that it did in Season 3? And right now, I think the answer is no. Eir died, he took her body home and mourned in his own way, resulting in his head being shaved. But by the end of Heart of Thorns, he was back at our side, ready for the big fight against Mordremoth. We defeated Mordremoth, and he got the closing on his mother’s death that he was after. Or at least that’s how it could have gone. He could have become a better man who stepped out of the shadow of his mother to begin his legend.
After her funeral, he could have ventured north with Garm to find the ancient Jotun scroll which he hoped he would be able to use to break Jormag’s tooth. While searching for it discovering that Jormag is awake. He then gives up on the search, the mature thing to do, and returns to his guild who are facing a Human God and all sorts of other issues. The scroll remaining where it was.
This way the tooth doesn’t get broken and people who play Norn aren’t stuck waiting to see if the Norn will unite and go to war. Which is the scenario we found ourselves in.
In this alternate Guild Wars 2, Braham could prove himself to be a valuable asset in Path of Fire, perhaps even rise to be an equal of Eir. Once Path of Fire finished Braham could have been like, “Hey guys, that was a lot of fun, I’ve got an idea for our next adventure. See, there’s this scroll…” And then the entire guild joins him on the hunt for the scroll. That’s living story season 4, which ends with the tooth being shattered and the teaser for the next expansion, named Melting of Ice. That expansion being all about the Norn people coming together under Braham to return to their ancestral homes in the Far Shiverpeaks, without killing Jormag.
No Pay Off
Based on the information we had during the living story it was impossible to know what Norn should be doing. Should all the Norn be preparing to go to war as we were told would happen when the tooth shattered? ArenaNet gave us no sign that this was happening. The reason for that is we’re The Commander. No matter what race you are The Commander has been busy. That would be fine if this were a single player game and you could only roll up one character, but it isn’t and roleplayers tend not to say that they are The Commander. It makes for messy roleplay. So, if you aren’t The Commander and the Norn people are possibly getting ready to go to war…shouldn’t you be with them? For this reason, I shelved all but one of my Norn since the tooth was broken. The one who I didn’t put away lives in Divinity’s Reach and is a bit out of touch with her people.
So with Braham not playing a role in Path of Fire…there’s no pay off. All those months of waiting, not sure what Norn should be doing and complete silence on the matter from ArenaNet have been for nothing. Basically, the entire part of the living story involving Braham finding the scroll and breaking the tooth didn’t need to happen when it did as it would seem, at the moment at least, that it was completely irrelevant to the story.
Setting the Groundwork
It feels like Braham’s arc throughout Season 3 was setting the groundwork for either the next chapter of the living story or the next expansion. Something that was, in my view, incredibly premature. It’s also possible that ArenaNet is reacting to player’s hatred of whiny man-child Braham and cutting him out of the story. If this is the case then the story is being harmed based on how the players react. Will we see Braham again? Without a doubt. It’s just a question of when, how important his role will be, and if he will have matured by then or not. And I think it is his maturity that needs to change the most.
Maybe while we’re all busy with Path of Fire he’s doing a little bit of growing up. So, when we next see him he’s a much more mature, level headed man who is worthy of the Eirsson name. Then he can get to work on leading his people north and sweeping Rox off her feet. What? I know I’m not the only person who has been shipping those two!
I’d love to know what you think of Braham not being in Path of Fire. Are you annoyed or relieved? What would you like to see ArenaNet do with Braham? Getting eaten by Jormag is still an option.Related: ArenaNet, Column, Expansion, Guild Wars 2, MMORPG, Path of Fire, The Tyrian Chronicle