Sunday, 20 August 2017

Bleedthrough : GW2

A couple of weeks ago, while I was hanging around in Krennak's Homestead, an NPC dive in Wayfarer Hills that I like to use as a surrogate home when I'm in the area, I was startled to hear a conversation strike up behind me. The Norn family that live there, none of whom I'd ever paid  much attention before, began to run through some kind of comedy routine.

It was a pretty funny little skit and quite a long one, too. I laughed out loud a couple of times but my amusement was heavily outweighed by my confusion and surprise. I mean, I doubt I'd be exaggerating much if I said I'd spent a dozen hours in that hut over the life of the game. I camp there almost every time after I've done The Frozen maw and I frequently afk there to web browse or write a blog post.

Since I have the sound of the game set to continue playing while I'm tabbed out, I can absolutely guarantee that, had the Norn Family piped up, I'd have heard them. I never had until then.

Since then I've heard them exchange the same banter so often I could almost recite it by heart. It starts up every time I enter the lodge and replays often if I stay there. It's gone from amusing to annoying to "I really have to find somewhere else to afk".

It would seem very strange for ANet to have paid writers and voice actors to add this kind of flavor to
such old content so my best guess was that it had long been bugged until something in some patch nudged it working. That explanation didn't entirely convince me but it was the best I could manage.

Anyway, I soon stopped wondering about it as the dialog became part of the soundscape of the game. Then today I happened to be in Plains of Ashford when something happened that surprised me even more.

I'd logged in my Free to Play account to take the screenshots for my Elite Spec Beta post (because reasons) and since I had it logged in I thought I'd check whether F2P accounts are allowed to claim the free promo item currently in the Black Lion Store (yes, they are).

After that I thought I'd just do the Dailies and one of them was Plains of Ashford Events. My F2P ranger is a Charr and I used to love doing my dailies in Ashford so much I once wrote a guide on the subject (albeit the long-lost and much-missed "Kill Variety" kind), so that was too tempting to ignore.

First I went to the cave under the waterfall to spawn the Rampaging Skale. As I was standing there waiting, I thought I faintly heard a sound I'd almost forgotten: Drottot Lashtail demanding devourer eggs.

Drottot is a Charr given the unenviable task of teaching cubs how to catch and raise devourers for the Legions. His charges are sassy, the work is tedious and as far as I knew he'd given up trying about three years ago. Not his choice: he was retired as part of the New Player Experience patch that, among other things, strove to do away with many non-standard events that supposedly sent delicate new players into a tail-spin.

This particular event required you to activate some small devices that look and sound like old-fashioned gramophones in order to distract female devourers so you could break into their nests and steal their eggs. It was fiddly enough that a three-year old child might have taken five or ten seconds to grasp the mechanics so it had to go.

Well, it's back! I did it this morning. It was joyous. So good, in fact, that I did it twice. With other people. Still busy in Ashford on daily day I'm happy to confirm.

Of course, now I'm beginning to doubt my own memory. I can't find any sign that I, or anyone else, ever wrote about the event going away, much less anyone commenting on it coming back. If it wasn't for that absolutely, definitely, for certain sure new to me after five years, dialog in Wayfarer Foothills I'd think I was losing it (whatever "it" is and always assuming I ever had it in the first place).

Oh, and there's this, which does prove things get changed under the hood now and again without ANet coming out and making a big fuss about it.  I note that was also a belated acknowledgement of mistakes made in the New Player Experience.

Co-incidence? I think not.

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