GW2: Shaping History With Your Vote

So, all the latest excitement both in-game in Lion’s Arch and in the Guild Wars 2 Reddit is the discussion about whether one is in #TeamGnashblade or #TeamKiel for the upcoming update of Cutthroat Politics.

Before we get partisan here, I’d just want to point out that this is an exciting development in player involvement with the Living Story. It harkens back to when one was given the choice to vote for Dwayna or Grenth in Guild Wars 1 in order to get a shiny hat, but a lot deeper.

Players get to both control the story and the direction of the game with their vote.

Players are making lasting history.

Whatever way we choose, we are giving up something in order to get something else. Choices and consequences. Meaningful decisions in gameplay.

Now for the analysis:

The hardcore in the Guild Wars 2 Reddit and the GW1 old guard appear to be all over Evon Gnashblade. The Fall of Abaddon as a fractal is a very tempting lure because it’s a link to both old GW1 lore (one of the major strengths of GW2 is being able to tie back into a long established history) and all bets are likely that it’s going to be gorgeous to have a look at Old Orr and the City of Arah before the Fall. There’s Gods and shit. How epic would that be?

As for Black Lion Keys, well, they’re a side benefit, but no one really gives a toss.

The fear of #TeamGnashblade is that Ellen Kiel may promise the ‘casuals’ and the not-interested-in-lore (the unspoken feeling is that it may in fact be a majority over those who prowl Reddit) decreased waypoint costs for a month.

How freaking tempting is that? Gold is always hard to come by and waypoint costs are a sneaky goldsink that affects everyone playing the game.

Finding out more about the Thaumanova Reactor explosion seems less appealing a fractals choice than the former as familiarity breeds contempt and a lot of people see the fire elemental in the reactor remains every day. Though again, some of the fear is that the new GW2 crowd who doesn’t appreciate the past may vote for it out of familiarity with the name. Others argue that we know a lot less about the reactor explosion, and that it may be an important crux point of recent GW2 lore, what with all the dealing with the fallout and chaotic portals and magic going awry that has been established in various zones in the game.

I just want to point out something that may be overlooked in all this fractals-focused excitement.

Let us not forget that this is part of the active and ongoing Living Story storyline.

We’re familiar with Ellen Kiel. She’s been established as a key ‘good guy’ type of character – a Lionguard who has worked with us since Southsun. She seems to have fairly good relations with Magnus and she now owns a frigging’ Aetherblade airship.

On the other hand, she is just a grunt out of nowhere and may not have the political acumen to last a day on the Captain’s Council. Then again, she managed to balance the pressing demands of the Consortium and still cater to refugee needs and be a good person on Southsun. She appears to be keen to work for fairness and balance, a reasonable deal between Lion’s Arch and the Zephyr Sanctum.

Evon Gnashblade seemingly comes out of nowhere, cast in the light of the greedy profiteering merchant owner of the Black Lion Trading Company and looks a little typecast as the ‘bad guy.’ Then again, most Charr look like bad guys, and you can’t really hold genetics against them, eh?

He’s an established citizen of Lion’s Arch and claims to be looking after the interests of Lion’s Arch first and foremost. He may end up doing a cutthroat deal with the Zephyr Sanctum to put LA (and/or himself and BLTC) first. He has no doubt plenty of backstabbing political experience to survive well on the Captain’s Council. And if he’s in charge of the Black Lion Trading Company and the Consortium are its competitors, that’s probably okay, right?

What are the things being left unsaid?

The most pressing question is why the hell Evon Gnashblade? Why him, just popping out of nowhere? Is he just a new unheralded NPC?


In the Molten Alliance denouement, the only thing known of the figure behind the alliance of dredge and Flame Legion charr, is that he or she came from a city and was a persuasive talker.  The dredge prisoner curses out a ““Lying, silver-tongued, snake-nosed trickster.”

At the end of the Aetherblade Retreat dungeon, Mai Trin says that someone else was also behind this, and that “Scarlet is going to have my noggin for screwing up.”


You don't fool me. (Then again, maybe I'm Scarlet and trying to throw you all off the scent!)
You don’t fool me.

Thank you, I rest my case.

I’ll be voting for Ellen Kiel.

And if the worst happens, well, there’s a cool fractal as a consolation prize.

GW2: Last Thoughts on the Molten Facility

Six days.

That’s apparently the period of time it takes to progress from fun discovery and exploration to a grim and bitter execution of efficiency.

Maybe I’ve had a run of bad groups, but everyone still running the facility seems mostly tired, lazy or focused on getting as speedily to the end as possible now. In the wake of this kind of pressure, I’ve also lost the drive to say anything and just wordlessly run along with everyone else.

Most alarmingly, it’s taken a while for someone to even respond to the question “which boss first?” – which always bodes well when the group can’t settle on a target.

And more and more, everyone’s running into the corner at the first weapons test, and stacking inside berserker for the last bit.

(Even more telling is when half the people cowering in the corner fail to even attack the core at the last phase – suggesting that they either don’t understand the point is to destroy the core or are too lazy to move and letting someone else do the work, and no one bothers to arrange stripping stacks off the other boss because it’s faster to just burn one down and screw the ‘fail’ party members who get pwned by the empowered boss, they were just useful as additional distraction targets.)

That -really- leaves me feeling drained.

Fortunately, no one minds if I stay out for the first section – it’s my business if I die (and guardians are hard to burn up or knock about) but I feel obliged to go with the group if the majority is going to stack, as not doing so delays them and you know how speedrunners are about that tiny minute wasted.

More and more, now that I know it’s actually possible to attempt the facility by myself, that option sticks in the back of my mind telling me that it’ll be more peaceful and more challenging and more fun. Just longer.

In fact, I gave it a go again last night and got up to the supercooled rooms with zero deaths and 40 minutes on the clock. (Then the gunner/brawler got me for my first death, and I decided that continuing on at 2am was probably not going to be wise.)

It was Champion Trolls this time around, by the way, and keeping two stun breaks on the bar as one kites them around is my suggestion for if they catch you or you accidentally stumble into one of their falling rocks.

I have a feeling I’m going to drastically cut down the number of facility groups I join to about 1-3 a day, and just silently crank it out with the rest for the last few lottery ticket chances, and either venture in myself or go wandering around the PvE world farming stuff or peek in on WvW to see how Arrow Cart Wars are getting on. (The constant disconnections on the red map are just making it plain unfun at the moment though.)

As usual, RNG has not been kind, and I will probably never own a miniature firestorm unless I buy one from the TP at an exorbitant price. (That seems to defeat much of the point of running around with one though, so I may not bother after all.)

I did however pick up the berserker tonic recipe as it’s dropped to an affordable 1g 70 silver or thereabouts, so I’ll be able to work towards having a souvenir of the event some day, regardless of RNG cruelty.

The biggest reward for me seems to be the satisfaction of improving enough to solo it at least once, having gotten much better at the concept of circle strafing and moving while meleeing, and the optimum range to kite and dps with the scepter.

Back to being mostly a lone wolf again for a while, I think. People overload. Do some quiet materials farming, then move back to the other aspects of the game that I enjoy more.

Speedrunning dungeons with every last glitch and exploit to get to the end ASAP is just not my cup of tea.