With Halloween done and Christmas not yet upon us, it’s a good time to look forward and speculate. Or, if we are being honest, it is less speculation and more wild guessing, and we aren’t sure exactly when the next episode of the living story will come along.
We are going to briefly discuss the mastery abilities of living story season 3 and the end of the Path of Fire story. The “hidden” mount can hardly be considered such anymore, between the skin sold for it over Halloween and the sheer prevalence of griffons hopping around cities.
Instead, let’s quickly discuss the mastery abilities and give people one last chance to avoid the story spoiler if they have been taking their time.
The six abilities we gain through season three are simple enough. A counter magic ability with great use within the story or two of the zones and limited use thereafter. Koda’s flame, which is tied to the zone it is in and serves in a minor way to train firebrands on tome use. Sirens landing gives a buff that is thankfully tied to the zone, keeping the number of effects on player’s characters down. It is Ember Bay and the volcano that concern us. Both episodes by that team introduced a travel power. Lava fonts for Ember Bay and Oakheart’s essence for Draconis Mons.
Still, the team added fun extra travel options which have not made their way out into the wider world.
At this point, we spoil the story: Kralkatorrik took flight at the end of our small victory. We won’t argue which way he went exactly because the living story can jump around however it pleases. This brings up two questions with regard to the next chapters of the story.
Do we have sufficient ways to get around? Will they go for the big one?
Mounts are amazing. With all my mastery points spent, there are precious few gaps my raptor cannot leap, cliffs my springer cannot scale, bodies of water my skimmer cannot tear over… And for anything else, there is my griffon. Using all five mounts in concert gives such amazing freedom to us in Tyria. Throw in gliding and jumping mushrooms and things become a lot less tied to the ground. Moving from gliding to the griffon mid-air is glorious.
The question here is whether we have sufficient ways to get around. Clearly, there has to be something to chase and achieve in the living story, outside of the actual story itself. It is a game after all. Will one of the living story teams bring in a way to traverse the world that isn’t covered by our own legs, five different mounts, gliding, jumping mushrooms, fonts, targeted vines or the occasional teleport?
Should they shy away from it or will we end up seeing zone specific mounts that don’t work anywhere else? I adore my mounts and I want to do more with them, not spend points to get an ability or mount that will only ever be used in one place for one slice of time. I understand though that feature creep on the mounts is also a concern. They work well now, why overcomplicate them?
The one thing we cannot do, no matter how much we love our chirping feathered mount or fancy glider skin, is take genuine flight.
Dragons clearly can, Zhaitan apparently thought the ground was lava, and Kralkatorrik went flapping off into the distance. Is this something we should look forward to or forever try to avoid?
Each new method of getting around has an impact on the game and on the previous methods. I don’t actually mind that lava fonts and vine shooters haven’t made their way into the wider world. We have enough going on with giant rabbits scaling the Queen’s palace without adding ballistic propulsion to the city.
I haven’t yet felt that the mounts shrink the older world, in fact, I adore their inclusion. I adore the hero point runs in the jungle with mounts making it easier to get around. I just wonder about the future, both in what little methods the living story will add and what might be in store for future expansions. Taking flight seems logical, we have gotten more and more mobility. Moving in Guild Wars 2 is about more than not standing in the red puddles of pain. It adds to the game and gives it that certain feel. Whatever comes though must be balanced against not only what came before, but what we players might do.
I don’t mind keeping my griffon as the ultimate expression of motion in Guild Wars 2. Whatever freedom I might gain by taking flight in the future has to be weighed against garishly colored Norn trying to loop de loop in Lions Arch.
Though the wing backpacks would finally fit in…Related: ArenaNet, Column, Guild Wars 2, MMORPG, Mounts, The Tyrian Chronicle