Lionguard Tours Presents : Burning Lion's Arch
10.00 AM - Your Lionguard representatives will be waiting at the entrances in Lornar's Pass, Gendaran Fields and Bloodtide Coast to escort you on your tour of Lion's Arch.
10.05 AM - There will be a brief display of local customs, including a martial arts performance, before we enter the Burning City. Please be aware that this is a full-contact demonstration so please be sure to wear the appropriate protective clothing.
10.05 - 10.40 AM - The following events will run frequently during your visit, approximately every ten minutes or so, giving everyone plenty of time to enjoy them all:
- Black Lion Dolyak "Stampede"
- Children's Parade
- Lighthouse Workers' Fun Run
- March of the Ogres
There will also be many opportunities to see spectacular displays of local customs and dress throughout the city, including the incredible Flame Legion Burning Effigies, the astonishing Dredge Mining Suits and, of course, the flamboyant Sky Pirates. So dashing! So debonair!
- Moa Race (Please note: due to the potentially hazardous nature of the current course, this race is for entertainment only. No bets can be taken. We'll be sure to let you know if that changes. We do understand that everyone enjoys a little "flutter" on the birdies!)
- Commodore Lawson Marriner's "Dignified Retreat" (Comedy gold!)
(Please also note that these two events take place at the same time so you will not be able to attend both on the same tour).
10.40 - 10.50 AM - Grand Finale!
- "Shadowstep Tag" with the Champion Molten Berserker
- Elite Aetherblade Display (meet at the Broken Lion)
- Jungle Wurm Fun and Games (a great one for the kids!)
10.50 AM - Tour Ends. Captain Magnus (The Bloody-Handed!) will call time across the city as your tour comes to an end. Please be aware that Burning Lion's Arch is still a working city (you may notice some drilling taking place in the harbor) so please heed the Captain's Call and make your way promptly to the exits.
Didn't get to see everything you wanted? Don't worry! Lionguard Tours understands there's just far too much to experience in a single visit. That's why a new Tour begins every hour, on the hour!
Come Early! Come Often! Bring Your Friends!
|Is this the 3D photo booth?|
Well, that's about what it feels like. Jeromai has a great piece up about the problems of getting players to take the whole thing seriously, but is it any wonder? How are we supposed to take any of this stuff seriously when it runs on auto-repeat 24/7?
It's a very well-rehearsed problem. GW2 was built on the concept of dynamic events and an ever-changing world but it's also a "game" and it turns out that the one thing players of games won't put up with is missing out on "content". ANet burnt their fingers very badly on the first ever GW2 mega-event, The Karka Invasion, (although I rated it rather highly) and ever since they've been in full-on retcon mode, retrofitting their dynamic world into something much more predictable and consumable.
The Escape From Lion's Arch update really brings into perspective just how far they and we have traveled since the Karka managed to knock down just the one lighthouse in Lion's Arch before promptly decamping for Southsun. This time supervillain Scarlet Briar's air armada arives in the skies above Tyria's unofficial capital, launching a devastating aerial bombardment that destroys most of the infrastructure in minutes. She follows up with a ground invasion and her seemingly inexhaustible armed forces take control. Lion's Arch burns.
|There was more than one lion statue in Lion's Arch. Who knew?|
And burns. And burns. For two weeks. On the hour, every hour, just to be sure no player misses out on the opportunity to finish his or her Meta (fifteen achievements, very quick and easy to get, just as well since the "reward" is nothing more than another hundred of the same little loot bags you already get by the score every single time you run the event). It also gives us all plenty of time to find the thirty piles of rubble needed for "Memories in your Hand", the solipsistic and selfish achievement that Commanders yell at you for doing when you should be rescuing citizens.
Ah yes, those poor Lion's Arch citizens. There they are, cowering in corners with massive yellow fists hanging over them like the wrath of some Simpsonian god or, worse still, lying unconscious in the street as adventures trample over them as they chase after the blue-doritoed pipers.
Is it really any wonder no-one cares about you, citizens? We rescued you an hour ago and now here you are, back in the exact same place! What did you do, sneak back in? Looking for your heirlooms, were you? Well get a clue, Lion's Archling - all your heirloom are belong to us! And you can dam' well rescue yourself this time!
|Wake up, lazy cat!|
The 1200 citizen rescue target isn't actually that hard to achieve. Like most things in GW2, if you want it done, do it at reset. I spent fifty fun minutes last night mother-henning the Ogre cave and environs, bucking up citizens, picking up Lionguards, speeding up ogres and generally aiding the cause. I estimate I rescued at least 50 citizens all on my own, although I had plenty of competition on and off from butt-inskys who wanted to rescue them first.
The main reason I was doing it is because working to achieve a shared goal is fun in and of itself and one of the prime reasons for playing MMOs instead of single-player games in the first place. God knows I wasn't likely to be doing it either because of the immersion factor (there isn't one) nor the for the reward (it's derisory). The best part of an hour's work during which a hundred or so people co-operate, largely against their own self-interest, nets you a shabby "Rare" bag containing more of the same inventory-clogging rubbish you already get throughout the event plus a chance at some old rubbish from previous events that you never wanted the first time round.
|Perfect for those parties where everyone has to come dressed as a mechanical spider.|
And there you have my real problem with GW2: I love the gameplay for its own sake but the "Living World" often feels like watching a news-reel on Repeat and when it comes to the "rewards" for participating there's almost never anything that interests me in the slightest. The armor and weapon skins are largely vile. I have literally never used any of the dozens I've acquired. Mini-pets and illusions are fleetingly amusing but I just can't get 1% of the pleasure out of them that others seem to find. The boosters sulk unused and unwanted in my bank. Even the Rares and Exotics I salvage just turn into unused stacks of ectoplasm.
As I read that post linked above describing the last time Lion's Arch was invaded I was struck not only by how much more immersive, compelling and memorable it was for being a one-off but by how much better the rewards were: "In the end I got a couple of rares and a couple of exotics, one of which I could actually use, and everyone got a 20-slot bag (worth about $10 in real money) and a level 80 exotic jewellery item. Some folks even got Legendary Pre-Cursors". A 20 slot bag, if you can believe it, which needless to say I am still using. That's the kind of rewards you can afford to give out when something only happens once.
|4/30 today, 4/30 tomorrow, 4/30 'til the heat death of the universe|
Horizontal leveling is great in theory and it works pretty well in GW2. I already had just about everything I needed a year ago. Now I can just play. It's taught me a valuable lesson about myself, though. It turns out I prefer rewards that increase my character's power significantly to ones that...don't. Oh, I've always known that the incremental upgrade path, where your new Mighty Legionnaire's Sword of Mightiness makes you 0.35% more Mighty than your old Mighty Soldier's Sword of Mightiness, doesn't work for me, and GW2's a bit like that even when you're leveling up but I never realized until I got there just how it would feel at 80th, where you'll spend almost all the time you ever play.
|Now that's what I call a reward.|
It takes a while but eventually the awful realization dawns: you'll never see a real upgrade, ever again. Oh, you can grind til your fingers bleed for Ascended gear but we got our wish there - it's the ghost-image of Vertical progression, not the real thing. You don't need it and if you get it you won't notice it. And it might still not be so bad if the cosmetic "upgrades" that make up the supposed alternative progression path didn't look like they'd been designed by a fifteen-year old Hair Metal fan on mescaline.
So, take away the visceral St Crispin's Day thrill of the one-time only event and replace it with Repeat Performances - Showing Every Hour, then lard heavily with pointless, worthless "rewards" I neither want nor need and there you have it: GW2 one year after the start of the Living Story.
So, here's my question: why am I still playing the heck out of it and having a great time anyway?