Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rambling through Ascalon

A week has gone by and my Charr warrior has been wandering across the Diessa Plateau.  I've probably just ticked into level 20.  While I've been adventuring, I have an odd feeling of ambiguity about what is happening around me.

For example, in the Asford plain as I visited the many regions within the zone, I kept having the feeling that I should know more about what happened here.  As if Guild Wars was casting a shadow across the area.  So when I encountered the Ascalonian ghosts, I would piece together clues about the ruined human civilization that lost a war with the charr.

When I reached the Northern Wall, even more fragments of the past fell into place and I learned about the Foefire, unleashed by a cornered and desperate King Adelbern.  And this was in response to a magical assault 30 years earlier by the charr shamans called The Searing, an attack that broke the back of the Ascalonian Kingdom and signaled their ultimate defeat.

I'm not going to bore you with more GW2 history that you probably already know, but I thought this was great world-level lore, using environmental clues, narrative fragments, and actual history.  I just wish there was more of it.

It was at this point, I'll admit, that I was driven to the Guild Wars 2 Wiki to try to fill out the larger story.  But I'll also admit that I did so reluctantly.  I didn't want to have to go outside the game to learn the story being told in the landscape.  I felt like entering the Abbey Ruins should have yielded something more than just some tightly packed oozes, for example, particularly for those who wanted it.

I realize, though, that this is more my thing, and others are probably fine with the level of the narrative.  This is, after all, the earliest of the starting areas, and players are presumably just learning how to play their characters.

And in addition, as I traveled further east, I got the sense that the story here was more about the defeated humans than about the triumphant charr.  While environmental storytelling was all about the fallen Ascalonians, the Charr race story was a very personal one directly focused on my character.  Again, I felt that it was entertaining and drew me into the life of a charr legionaire.  But I had an odd feeling of disconnect between my personal story and the zone story.  While both were good, the two seemed unrelated to each other.

What I would like to do is come back when I'm a little more experienced with the game, and see if I can pick up anything I missed.

This is my seventh offering in the Blaugust challenge to post once a day for the 31 days of August.

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