Bhagpuss recommended that I skip the Living World Season 3* and go right into Path of Fire, which by all accounts is far superior, but I’m stubbornly persisting in my efforts to complete the whole season first. Partly it’s because I’ve been recording this adventure, so I’ll have videos of it all. And partly it’s because I want to experience it “as it was intended.” I see a lot of people using their new mounts to get to places which seems like cheating. :)
Lastly I’ve found that Living World Season 3 actually isn’t too terrible, compared to the Heart of Thorns story. I’m not sure what it is but I’ve been a bit more engaged and less ragey about it. (At least until I got to the end of Episode 4, but that’s another story.) I think the fact that the story moves to different locations helps a lot. After the first episode, it’s not just the same accursed jungle setting every time. There is a genuine feeling of, “Hey, this is actually new!” I cannot overstate how much new scenery influences me to stay in an MMORPG.
Episode 2, for example, moves to another new map called Ember Bay, an island at the edge of the Unending Ocean. (Some day they are going to feel dumb for naming it that.) There’s a lot of rocks and mountains and fire and brimstone there. I’m hard pressed to remember why we went there at the time of this writing, but the most important thing about it is that there are no trees anywhere to be found. It just looks different, and that’s a big plus for me.
I’m writing this after I’ve finished Episode 4, so I have to dig back into my recordings to remember what actually happened in Episode 2. That’s how much of an impression the story made on me. :) It started out with a weird simulation that Taimi created for us to fight things for no apparent reason. Then Taimi sent us to Ember Bay, where we have to fix a bunch of dwarven spheres before the island blows up. (I don’t even know what to say about “Stone Face.”) Then we had a vision, so we had to go back to Tarir in Auric Basin and protect a dragon baby. Lazurus showed up to help with this.
The overall story did not get any easier to understand. I’m pretty sure this episode was created entirely with a random number generator. I guess the main takeaways were that Lazurus tried to convince us that he’s a good guy, and there’s a new dragon Aurene in the world. Marjory randomly volunteered to keep an eye on Lazarus. I say “randomly” because it always seems completely random which of my Dragon’s Watch companions show up and/or volunteer to do things.
It was very cool to see the return of hearts to the Ember Bay map. They are more like daily achievements now, but it’s still nice to see them again.
Next up, Episode 3!
* I’ve been calling it the “Living Story” forever but I only just realized when I actually read the text in the story journal that it’s supposed to be “Living World” Season 3.