Two weeks ago the Flame and Frost Living Story was introduced into Guild Wars 2. Nearly everyday since, I have taken a quick run through Hoelbrak, up the Wayfarer Foothills, across Diessa Plateau, and finally, to the Black Citadel looking for new developments. I reviewed the initial content added to the game shortly after release but have yet to provide an update to what is happening. Today I would like to do just that by sharing with you some of the things I have seen change and the stories I have seen beginning to develop. If you would like to explore the story on your own and would like to avoid spoilers then I suggest skipping this article.
The story in Hoelbrak takes place between Wolf and Bear lodges where a refugee camp has been setup. It is marked on your map with a yellow star. At the entrance to this camp is a coordinator where you can get more information. Well you can try.
Not very helpful. In the beginning this was all that the player could discover within this camp. Since then things have changed, including the dialogue of the coordinator.
I think we will have to give up on this NPC. She still does not know what is going on. Luckily for us, not so much the refugees, the camp has grown in size.
Quite a little camp has sprung up and there are now more NPCs to talk to. Among them is a steed holder that seems to know more.
Dredge and fire! Interesting. We shall have to keep this in mind when exploring other areas. There is another story here though. Talking with a refugee Blacksmith we learn of a poor orphaned boy.
Perhaps this is a seed for a story that is to develop? Or maybe this is just trying to set the mood. Either way I am curious to learn more about the fate of the boys parents.
The Black Citadel
In the Black Citadel a refugee camp, similar to the one in Hoelbrak, has been setup near Memorial way point. The Charr are more forth coming with information. Before we even get to the refugee camp a herald, near the Asura gate to Lion's Arch, gives us some info.
This Charr seems to know more then the Norn do about the situation in Wayfarer Foothills. At least we get some confirmation of that the dredge are involved in this some how. When we arrive at the refugee camp we are met by a member of the Adamant Watch who is acting as a coordinator. This is what he has to say,
Up until recently, this was all there was to discover in the Black Citadel. Like Hoelbrak, things here have evolved a little, including this NPC's dialogue.
Things seem to be getting hectic, but the consistency seems to be the Flame Legion's involvement. We can get more confirmation of this in the now expanded refugee camp.
Within this expanded camp are two new NPCs we can speak with. The first NPC we run into is a grouchy rancher who really wants nothing to do with us.
More talk of Flame Legion! Perhaps, once this rancher calms down, she will have more to tell us. For now though, this is all she has to say. As we continue to explore the camp we run into this well dressed chap.
And he has a bone to pick with, you guessed it, the Flame Legion.
Butcher's Block is the small town in the north-west of Diessa Plateau. I will discuss this area more below. Suffice to say there are more Dredge in this area then Flame Legion. Are the Flame Legion some how behind the disturbances in the north? Or are they just taking advantage of the chaos? Could the Flame Legion be working with the Dredge? Or maybe flame throwing Dredge are being mistaken for Flame Legion? Or is something else going on here? So many questions, so few answers.
Things start to get a little more interesting as we explore Wayfarer Foothills because we start to get closer to the source of the problems. In my previous review of the Living Story, I discussed the events you can participate in including, completing your volunteer achievement by helping streams of refugees coming from the north and by completing dynamic events that involve fighting ice elementals and plugging ruptures in the ground.
This has not changed. You can still participate in these events and no new events have been added to my knowledge. The other thing that has not changed is the mysterious frozen dead merchant in the north near Solitude way point,
It is still dead and still just as mysterious. One possible explanation for this dead merchant, that I did not discuss before, is found nearby at Dolyak Pass way point. Here, in a tent, we find a Merchant Bodyguard that seems to be more concerned with counting his coin than guarding merchants.
What a guy. Unfortunately for us this is all we are able to learn. It does seem, though, that the merchants know something is up. Too bad the only one around is a frozen corpse. We will just have to keep looking around and in fact we do not need to go far. Just south of Dolyak Pass way point some refugees have setup a couple small buildings.
There are three NPCs in the camp but none of them have anything to say. As we continue to explore the zone we discover this ominous looking mountain north of Dolyak Pass way point.
Which looks even more ominous when viewed from another angle at a different time of day.
Those ruptures look an awful lot like the vents that we are required to close during the dynamic events. Here is one for comparison,
Similar? Exploring further around this mountain reveals little. Heading further north leads to Frost Gorge Sound where these events have yet to spread. Going either south or west just leads away from the mountain where nothing else seems to be occurring. If we look on the slopes of the mountain there is one cave, called the Warm Spring Grotto, which contains some steaming pools of water and a lot of spiders.
This isn't the only place in Wayfarer Foothills with hot springs though. On the other side of the zone at Zelechar Hot Springs way point are more hot springs.
But, there are no geysers shooting steam into the air here. Are the Wayfarer Foothills volcanic? Or is there more to this? The center of the activity appears to be in the North East around the steaming mountain. Next I want to explore the eastern slope of this mountain in Diessa Plateau.
The story here in Diessa Plateau is similar to Wayfarer Foothills. Refugees are streaming from the north to the south towards the Black Citadel. These poor refugees still need help if you are willing to provide it. You can also still participate in the dynamic event that has the player fighting earth elementals and plugging ruptures much like Wayfarer Foothills. Unlike Wayfarer Foothills, there are no refugees setting up camps nor are there any mysterious dead merchants. Thus, my attention is drawn to the north west of the zone to explore the eastern slope of the mountain I discussed above.
Even on this side we can see the vents blowing steam into the air. Is it any surprise that this is right near an area ripe with Dredge? The whole north-west of Diessa Plateau, named Burrows of Moledavia, is infested with dredge. Seeing as how the Dredge have been brought up before I thought it worth exploring this area some more. Upon reaching the north-east corner of Moledavia I saw this as I looked to the north and east.
I exited Moledavia and worked my way around to the other side of a small ridge for a better view.
It seems there is activity all around Moledavia. Here is a map showing the different things I have discovered crossing over between Diessa and Wayfarer Foothills.
If the Flame Legion is involved it is sure hard to find evidence for it besides some raving Charr in the Black Citadel. There seems to be a lot more activity around the Dredge areas.
It is hard to say, just yet, where this story plans to go. There are some good theories floating around though. Some people thing the Flame Legion are solely to blame, while other blame the Dredge. A guild mate suggested the Steam Creatures, but they seem to be located only in Lornar's Pass. Just about every elder Dragon has been invoked in some theory at some point. A theory I like involves a continuation of the story told in the dungeon Sorrow's Embrace. If you have not played through the Sorrow's Embrace Dungeon you can watch the cut-scenes in this video,
The gist of it is that the Inquest and Dredge got together to try to harness the energy of a dragon. They are defeated in the story but the head Inquest scientist escapes. Are the inquest still supporting the dredge in these experiments with dragon energy? Perhaps, the Dredge have started experimenting on their own, or maybe they have a new backer in the Flame Legion. We will have to wait and see as this story plays out. Hopefully it picks up in speed as up until now things have moved forward at a rather slow pace. There are lots of seeds for stories that I would like to see develop. I would also like to see more far reaching effects. Arena Net has me hooked now they just need to reel me in.
What do you guys think of the Living Story so far? Have you been exploring and trying to find hidden story elements? Have I missed anything? What are your theories about the cause of this disaster? Let me know in the comments below!