Due to a devastating blizzard of perhaps a half an inch of fine powdery snow, I had 2 extra hours one morning to look at The Origins of Madness, the new Living Story content for Guild Wars 2.
I patch up, log into my Necro, and I have mail telling me to go to Lornar’s Pass. Naturally it’s one of the places my Necro hasn’t been so I can’t fast-travel there, so I get out my Norn Ranger, who has been all through those wintry mountains. I go to lookup the location in Lornar’s Pass again, only to find that the mail was not sent to my Ranger. Nice.
I get back onto my Necro and run all the way to Lornar’s Pass, through mobs that are actually dangerous to my endgame character because of course GW2 takes away all of your power wherever you go. (My feelings about that have gone from ‘okay, whatever’ to ‘holy crap this is annoying’ over the past year, if it isn’t obvious.) I pass several radar-like stations prominently marked on my map, surrounded by mobs. They look new to me, but I can’t tell if they are part of this patch or some previous one, and I’m in a bit of a hurry so I don’t stop to fight them.
Once I’m in Lornar’s Pass, there’s no in-game way to know where to go unless I click on "Show Me" in the mail. No signs, no friendly NPCs standing at the entrance to the zone saying, "Hey if you want to do that cool new thing you heard about, go down that road there!" But that’s the GW2 we’ve all come to know and love. (I’m ragging on them, but this is actually an improvement over previous content, which did not even send me mail.)
Once I have the general area pinned down, it’s very obvious where the action is, because there’s about ten "commanders" there with bright blue markers on the map. So I run down there, going the wrong way about fifty times and getting trapped in mountains, trying to jump down a cliff and remembering halfway down that you take falling damage in GW2, running back from a waypoint after dying from said cliff dive.
I find one of the blue commanders standing with a group of other people at the end of what appears to be a narrow canyon or cave. Beyond him, there is a wall with a big opening onto a much larger area. There’s a control panel there, but otherwise there is nothing happening. Just the commander and a group of twenty or so people standing around. Some of them are jumping up and down, some of them are running in circles, some of them are dancing. Very clear signs that these are people waiting for an event to begin.
Other commanders are in different places on the map, spread out in a semi-circle around the big chamber. I think I see some vendors on the map in the other places, so I head toward them hoping to find out why these people think something is about to happen, or get an idea of the progress of whatever pre-event things are happening, or maybe just see something other than a cave and one control panel that might give any kind of visual or audible clue about what is new in this patch. (There is not even a gold Living Story star marker anywhere on my map; I have looked and looked for it even though I know from past Living Story episodes that it doesn’t always take you where you’re supposed to go.)
I find one of the other commanders and his group of followers waiting around. I see now that these caves are like spokes radiating from the central area, where one presumes "something big" will appear. It looks like there’s another control panel at the end of this cave, too. I have to surmise that someone will have to push a button on this control panel at some point, and I guess that glorious duty will be the responsibility of the commanders. It turns out that the vendor I saw on the map was summoned by a player.
Running to another cave spoke, I notice that there are NPCs standing at the entrance to each cave. I recognize Rox the outcast Charr from previous Living Story installments. Finally! I think. Rox will surely tell me something useful. I click on her, and she says a single forgettable paragraph, not at all helpful to me in any way.
Thoroughly befuddled and having exactly zero fun in this new patch so far, I spot a little village hub a bit south of all the caves and commanders. Surely that’s the logical place to find all the special event NPCs with all the instructions for what is about to happen and how I can participate. Even though there is nothing on the map to make me think that. But surely there must be some kind of base camp there with Asura gizmos and gadgets and control panels.
Well, if you’ve followed the story this far, you can probably guess that nope, there was nothing there either. At least nothing obvious.
I got tired of looking, and my window of free time was closing, so I logged out.
(To be fair, kind of, I knew there was supposed to be a big giant death turtle or something there, which is supposed to be super hard, kind of like the super-charged Tequatl. But I only know that because I read the email that ArenaNet sent reminding me to log back into the game to see The Origins of Madness. To be honest I have no interest in participating in another massive, laggy, chaotic, uncoordinated boss battle; I just wanted to watch from afar for a moment and chuckle at all the people raging in chat about noobs not doing their jobs.)
(P.S. It’s a Great Jungle Worm, not a Big Giant Death Turtle. My memory is quite bad sometimes.)
(P.P.S. The place I described above is actually the easier Twisted Marionette event.)
p>EDIT: (P.P.P.S. It’s entirely possible that control panel I mentioned up there was a figment of my imagination, because I don’t see it now in lane 4, just a couple of pillars.)