The Scrying Pool: A Lively World

Flame and Frost is over, but GW2's Living Story is just beginning.


In each article of The Scrying Pool, I look at what is and what could be. After taking a look at what is present in Guild Wars 2 now, whether that be lore or game mechanics, I then ask What If? What if this happened in the lore or this feature was added in a future patch.

The final act of the Flame and Frost saga was released last week. This was the first arc of the Living Story, ArenaNet's way of making Tyria a living world.

The Flame and Frost saga began in January with the Prelude. As not much time had passed before ArenaNet thought up the Living Story, not much happened in the Prelude. Players would assist Refugees by building signposts directing them toward the cities and collecting mementos from fallen refugees. The enemy behind the attacks on the Refugees was still unknown.

In the Gathering Storm content added in February players still continued to assist Refugees, but the enemy was now revealed: the Molten Alliance, a partnership of the Dredge and Flame Legion. As the Alliance made its move more Refugees moved on to Lion's Arch, where some would ask players to retrieve lost keepsakes. The Consortium also showed up in Lion's Arch to help some of the refugees as well as direct them toward a new settlement on Southsun Cove.

March brought the Razing where players were introduced to Braham and Rox, a young Norn and Charr out to prove themselves and protect their friends from the Molten Alliance. They were involved in a set of story instances followed by retaking an area of importance to either them or their race back from the Molten Alliance. The Razing was not entirely instance content, as the Alliance became more ambitious in the open world, setting up listening devices and revealing a hint of its new combined powers.

After Braham and Rox's victory against the Alliance on home territory, they took the fight to the Alliance, in Retribution. In this last part of the Flame and Frost story, players joined Braham and Rox in assaulting Alliance weapon facilities to shut down weapon manufacturing, save prisoners and take a few prisoners of their own. On May 12th the weapon facility dungeons will be closed for good and celebrations for defeating the Alliance will commence.

Overall the Flame and Frost was a success in my opinion. It introduced a new enemy (or coalition of previous enemies), built the conflict between the enemies and brought the entire arc to a close. It also told a story with the introduction of the new heroes.

For those who read the Scrying Pool: Shards of Lore, I mentioned how the story in Guild Wars 2 is told in little bits that no character can complete solo, like trying to finish a puzzle with only half of the puzzle's pieces. With the Flame and Frost story, however, players can see the entire story on a single character, in order. Players witness as Braham and Rox progress from nobodies to heroes.

The story of Braham and Rox has added depth by all of the content that has filtered out into the open world. The Molten Alliance has been causing trouble for a couple of months before the two new heroes show up. By the time they need help against the enemy, it isn't some enemy that had magical popped up out of nowhere on the whim of a developer. This enemy has been around, building up its forces and causing problems in the world.

When we got to the new dungeon, Braham and Rox never mention the players that are there fighting with them throughout the dungeon. This story, however, isn't about the players. We had our story in defeating Zhaitan. This story is all about Braham and Rox, which is good for not only their story but also in keeping them from being the next Trahearne. They never stop, dumbfounded, asking the players what to do, but they don't completely ignore the players either. They will run to help fallen players in the middle of fights then later thank players for their assistance. It is almost like the players are the Trahearnes of Braham and Rox's personal story, trying to take credit for the successful mission that Braham and Rox set out on.

What is in a Living Story? -->

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