Editorials

Seeds of Truth: First Impressions

Seeds of Truth, episode number seven in season 2 of Guild Wars 2’s Living Story, launched this Tuesday and I’ve been tasked with telling you guys and girls what it’s all about. In my opinion, like with the last episode, you’re in for a real treat. If you’re a real lore buff then there’s mountains of juicy content for someone like you to really sink your teeth into. If you’re less into the storytelling of this living story branch and more into the fighting, this specific episode might quite hit the mark for you. However, as is the way with the living story, you are (almost) completely free to complete it as quickly, or as slowly, as you personally see fit.

The starting instance of episode 7 leaves the new Silverwastes map and takes you to the sylvari hub, The Grove. ‘Tangled Paths’ saw you finding the Master of Peace and finally getting your hands on the dragon egg, learned about in episode 5. Right at the end of episode 6, though, the egg was snatched from your grasp by Caithe, who has now mysteriously vanished. At the start of episode 7 you are told to go and speak about this happening with the Pale Tree, who is in a bad state and has awakened only for your arrival.

She tells you that to find where Caithe has gone, and ultimately where the egg has gone, you will have to search for her memories in significant places, essentially where her roots are. This then opened up a sort of mini-game where you had to walk around the Omphalos Chamber, while filling up a proximity bar, in an attempt to find the location where Caithe’s roots were. When you find the spot, you plant a seed and become Caithe, taking control of her memory. Without spoiling this section, the scene includes some very interesting plot points concerning Faolain and Wynne.

In this scene you find out that the asura, or ‘imps’ as the sylvari flatteringly name them, have kidnapped a large number of sylvari secondborns. You then end up going to Metrica Province to try and recapture the sylvari that have been taken from you (again playing as Caithe). While at Metrica Province you encounter a mad scientist who has been experimenting on the sylvari and has discovered they can be used as a valuable power source for powering their golems. The game then puts you into what seems at first to be an interesting boss encounter, relying heavily on stealth mechanics.  To me at least, these mechanics were not signposted anywhere nearly well enough and I found myself failing on every attempt to sneak past the guards and deactivate part of the boss’ shield. What I was hoping and expecting to be a relatively new and fun experience, I have to say, overall ended as a rather stale and generic boss encounter. I would, however, be interested in any kind of feedback on how any of you found the boss encounter, and whether the stealth sections went any better for you. Once this fight ends, the boss escapes, you rescue the sylvari, and Faolain demands travelling to the Silverwastes to find Wynne, as she has disappeared, along with a secret Faolain wants. Then the memory ends.

Returning to the Silverwastes as your own character, you go around Camp Resolve investigating where the centaurs may have been, and eventually find out from a skritt that the camp was located in the remote Far Silverwastes, and this area is only accessible via skritt tunnels. What it didn’t tell me, however, was what a messy ride the game would take me on attempting to reach the Far Silverwastes … Trecking a large distance of the map I got to the tunnel that I was meant to go through to get to the area, only to find that it was locked off and I had to complete an event to be able to go through. An event that was not showing up on the map. Eventually after asking a few people, I found where the event was supposed to be, in an area taken from the skritt by bandits. Me, and anyone else in the open world, were there to drive the bandits out. Logically it seemed a bit odd to me that this would be the reason I couldn’t go through the tunnel on the other half of the map, but hey-ho video games. What is inexcusable to me, however, is the 15-30 minutes spent standing around in an (admittedly lovely) area waiting for the event to start. This should not be happening. There were clearly bandits in the area; there were a lot of people waiting with me for the event to start so we could move on with the storyline; just let us.

After completing the event you go through to the site of the old centaur camp, plant a seed and go back into a memory again. A memory which has an important plot point, and forces you to do something that you would not personally like to do. I found this to be quite a powerful moment, in the otherwise mostly frustrating story episode. And for this reason I’m not even going to begin to spoil it.

The episode ends on what some would call a cliffhanger, but I don’t personally think it’s done well enough to be called a cliffhanger.  I would call it a pretty horrible annoyance, but I guess it is doing its job of keeping me engaged and excited for the next episode little under a fortnight away. Overall, I did find the story fairly interesting, and although it was just slightly ruined by the waiting around and similar boss mechanics, I would still class it as a solid entry in this season’s Living Story. What it also does nicely  is throw up a few questions about the future of the series and the future of the game, such as how are they planning on tying this Living Story stuff into the upcoming Wintersday? And clearly we are eventually going to be asked to kill Mordremoth, and with many fans calling out for an expansion of the Guild Wars 2 universe, this, to me at least, seems like it could be the perfect opportunity for that.

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