I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around what I just played.
Spoilers for Guild Wars 2’s Living World Season 3 Episode 5
As someone who has been heavily involved in the Guild Wars franchise for 12 years now, I’m speechless right now. I can’t even begin to describe how much time I’ve invested in this franchise and its lore over the past decade plus. I’m not the biggest lore geek out there but I do know a lot about it and I’ve committed to it. I play all of the story missions, I read the books, I read all the dialogue, I investigate some of the lore mysteries, I engage in discussion with other members of the community and I seek out videos about different aspects to the game’s lore. Yet after finishing the most recent episode in Guild Wars 2’s Living World… I feel wronged.
Guild Wars 2’s third season of the Living World has been built around the awakening of both Primordus and Jormag at the same time. The entire season has been about rallying our squad together and trying to find a way to take down two elder dragons at the same time; an impossible mission. On top of that, the Mursaat make their return and we have the very real challenge of Lazarus on our plate as well. There are all sorts of different parties involved and potential angles to the situation. This whole season has been building to this enormous eruption of conflict and it all literally went poof in about ten minutes.
After discovering in the last episode that Lazarus was an imposter and not the real Lazarus, we learned that it was actually Balthazar; one of the human gods making his grand return to Tyria. But why did he do that? What purpose did Balthazar have in pretending to be Lazarus when he’s a fucking god? Why did Balthazar show up with an army of mercenaries when he could have wiped us off the face of the planet in an instant? Why was my human character immediately ready to square up with a god that they should have been in utter awe of his presence like Kasmeer was? The whole concept of Balthazar pretending to be Lazarus and the way my character reacted to just it didn’t make any lore sense and it’s poor storytelling.
But that’s not even the biggest problem here. The elder dragons are these gigantic dragons that have the ability to corrupt the entire planet, destroying everything in their path. These are the most powerful beings of magic in the entire game. The idea of defeating two of them at the same time is supposed to be a daunting task. But then out of nowhere we just killed/put to sleep two of them at once? All that had to happen was for Balthazar to connect the two of them with Omadd’s machine, jump into the middle of the magic beam and then Taimi just had to overload the connection? That’s it? Just like that, everyone’s out of the picture?
All of a sudden, the impossible odds we were facing just literally went up in a cloud of smoke. The god is out of our hair and the two elder dragons are dead/asleep (for the time being). Poof. Gone. Hell, at least we got to see the front of Primordus’ head in the final instance of this episode; we never even got a chance to see Jormag or his work first hand. And now they’re gone. The whole thing that the season was building towards just evaporated in about a ten minute span after fighting off a couple of Balthazar’s pet dogs.
Now I’m certainly being a bit reactionary here but it’s not totally inaccurate. We obviously don’t know what Arena Net has in their plans and I can’t fathom that this is the end of the story but I invested quite a bit of time and energy into the game’s story and I feel like my legs just got cut out from under me at the climax. So what, Kralkatorrik is just going to take up in the season finale and we’re onto the Crystal Desert for the next expansion? That just rubs me the complete wrong way. It’s completely anticlimactic and it doesn’t make sense.
This has been the majority of the reaction to the episode that I’ve seen so far. It just feels like what Arena Net did was a gigantic disservice to not only their story but the community that has invested in the story they’ve been telling. I’ll be curious to see what Wooden Potatoes’ thoughts on the situation are within the next couple days. WP is the most prominent lore geek in the game’s community and he’s either going to articulate things way better than I can or tell me why I should feel differently. We’ll see where things go from here, but it doesn’t feel too hot right now.