Last time I played through a chapter of the Living Story I sure enjoyed the experience. Now, months later, I come back to see if it still lives up to the standards the devs had set with the first half of Season 2. Long story short, I still quite like it.
I started my journey with Episode 5 aka “Echoes of the Past“. The pattern of content delivery follows the familiar path laid in previous releases that has most of the narrative talking place inside instances. However, this doesn’t necessarily make you lose touch with the rest of the world, as part of the plot has you interacting with it in one way or another. This particular release for example introduced the Silverwastes, a new area about which I shared my thoughts the other day.
Story-wise Echoes of the Past really did everything perfect for me. There was lots of content to go through, with the “Hidden Arcana” instance most of all being super long and awesome, the references to the lore of the original Guild Wars were literally everywhere to be seen and the pace of development was right on point. I spent hours in that Priory library, moving from bookshelf to bookshelf, studying carefully every book I could get my hands on. It felt like being in a vault of thoughts, one that connects Tyria’s history with the lines all the great minds at ArenaNet can come up with.
Another strong point of this episode, in my personal opinion, is encounter design. I know that this is something that I bring up a lot lately, but being aware of the potential the game has I can’t help but ask for more. Even though Guild Wars 2 has a long way to go until it reaches its limits, there’s been a vast improvement in the way mechanics play out in combat. This is something that can clearly be witnessed during a playthrough of Echoes, where every single encounter requires a different approach. I had lots of fun, especially during my second run through, when achievement-hunting improved even more the overall experience. It’s also good to notice that the long duration of the Priory instance was taken under consideration, with that bringing to life a system that allows you to retry for an achievement without having to start all over again.
Now, if you excuse me, I’m heading back in game cause I’m dieing to find out what happens next! Please, bear in mind that I have yet to go through the rest of the episodes, so in case you want to leave a comment below, I’d appreciate it if you leave spoilers out of the discussion for now. ^^