Category Archives: Other Games

Folk Tale – Is it worth it now?

This week (until May 8), Folk Tale is on sale for 13,79 € on Steam and you may wonder: Is it worth that much money?

For me, games that interest me start being “worth it” below 15 € if they’re new(ish) and below 10 for older games… very old ones below 5. Don’t ask me why, that’s just an arbitrary number that my brain decided is a good anchor.

First things first: Folk Tale is in Early Access on Steam. It has been in development for a very long time (okay, “long” is subjectively used here) which is also because the developers changed the direction of the game and are making it a sandbox game with editors for us players to use and create our own maps and scenarios.

Folk Tale Logo

My readers may remember seeing the topic of “Folk Tale” pop up here from time to time. In fact, it seems that I write about this game about once a year (June 2013, February 2014 part 1 and February 2014 part 2 – and then May 2015 now). The thing is: I actually cannot tell you what has changed in the meantime! I did not have the time to follow its development last year, then I decided to just wait for it to get released and then I got interested in it again this year, but still lacked the time to play with the editor mode. I have been watching the livestreams on Twitch every now and then, but those mostly happen right after I have come home from work and I just cannot concentrate too much at that point and usually just listen to the game’s background music and to the developer’s accent while preparing dinner. :p

Additionally, quite a lot has been added actually and been tweaked with. What I do know is that apart from lots of work on the editor, the old tutorial is gone and a new one is being introduced. You can read more about this in their latest developer blog post.

I have not tried it yet, so I figured when I saw this game is on sale, that I should give the tutorial a try to write about my experience here. You know, just in case you are trying to decide whether to buy it or not and want somebody’s opinion. I am going to warn you, though: My opinion is not meant as a “you should buy it” or “you should not buy it”. Please do not take it as a review or anything of the sort. It’s just my own opinion that you can use to make a judgment of your own if you want to.

The tutorial map has voice over already and it slowly guides you through building a functioning village. I admit, when I first played Folk Tale back in 2013 with the old tutorial I was a bit disappointed. The game I had seen in the tutorial was fine, but when I had first read about the game, I had imagined it to be more similar to Cultures. A gaming series that I will forever hold dear! I spent way too many hours – while studying – playing the game. Okay, maybe Cultures (the first one, not the sequels) was a taaad slow sometimes. ;) Still, I loved the graphics and the game design. So, Folk Tale was good, but did not quite fit that niche. The sandbox direction changed that, though. It feels almost exactly like Cultures and I really love that!

The first thing you do is place a supply waggon, so your villagers have a place to put all their important supplies (the usual: stone, wood, food). After that, you gather a bit of wood and food to get you started. Then you place a woodcutter hut, a fishing hut, a hunter’s lodge and, of course, fields, a windmill and a bakery. Once again, this is exactly what I did in Cultures… or Banished, for that matter.

The soundtrack is really nice to listen to, even for a longer amount of time. I know too many games where the music sounds nice, but the loops are too short and it starts to get on my nerves in no time. With Folk Tale, I can have the game open in the background and just enjoy the songs for a while. Including the birds’ chirping when you’re on a map. ;)

The graphics are more on the comic than on the realistic side and I have to admit, I actually prefer that over the realistic graphics. The voice overs, as far as they are available already, are also really good. Your villagers only have two voices, though: Male and female. I don’t know if more voices will be added.

The economy is in there already with chains like fields, windmill, bakery and well as well as a hunting lodge plus a butcher. Villagers produce and use goods and they can be happy as well as unhappy. If they become too unhappy, they will leave the village leaving you with nobody to work for you.

But building and micromanaging your villagers’ needs is not all there is in this game. It is not like Banished where you focus on building with nothing else. In the tutorial, you are soon introduced to pesky kobolds that you need to fight against with your villagers. So be prepared to train your villagers to defend – and expand – their village! This is another similarity to Cultures where you could train militia as well as equip them with certain items (more so in the sequels than the original Cultures game).

And just after I had typed this and fought against the kobolds successfully, the tutorial asked me to place down a blacksmith. The only problem is: There are apparently more enemies in the fog of war and arrows appeared that shot down my building before it was even built. The resources to build said building were already spent, though. I also then got a message that my villagers were under attack. By clicking on the notification icon, I was taken directly to the action and only saw my villagers walk back towards the centre of the village. I have no idea what attacked them, but thankfully, no villager got seriously harmed either. ;)

With not enough stone, I had to find some and ask a peasant to collect it manually since the tutorial has not yet asked me to build a stonecutter’s lodge. Some people may not like that, but I actually do. This made the tutorial far less boring than some “on the rails” tutorials. On the other hand, if a tutorial goes too fast and overwhelms you with information or if the controls are hard to handle, then I also get frustrated easily if something goes wrong in the tutorial.

Folk Tale_SwampAnyway, this is enough about the tutorial. What else is there to do at the moment? There are a few maps you can choose with indicators of their difficulty (ranging from easy to hard). I have not tried them out, but the swamp one looked interesting, at least. Well, it’s a swamp region where you can settle with your villagers. Not too inviting, but I still liked the look of it.

Right below the “New Game” button, you can find the editors. You still have the map editor that’s been in the game for a longer time already, and then there is the character designer. The latter is funny to watch, especially with voice animations turned on, but other than that, it doesn’t serve a purpose yet, I think.

Folk Tale Location Editor

The Location Editor

The map editor still looks similar to when I last played with it. However, I am completely lost when it comes to the controls in this editor. Thankfully, Games Foundry (the developers) make heavy use of the Steam forums and you can actually find a subforum for this editor there complete with guides etc. Since I already wrote about this part and do not want to read up on the controls again now, I will not write about this again here. But I do feel the need to add that my old post about this editor doesn’t do it any justice anymore, I think. Just by looking at the kits (each kit contains several items you can place that all belong to that kit’s theme), I can already say that a lot of things have been added. When I worked on a map, there were maybe three kits to choose from. Now I counted 33 kits. Some with only a handful items in there, some with more than 100.

Folk Tale WorkbenchOne more feature has been added to the map editor: The workbench! Now this is a feature that I would really love to understand and be able to work with right away! Of course, it took me several minutes now to figure out how to even open this feature. :p As with many other things, there is a guide available from the developers. It is quite easy, actually. You just press “Y” when you’re in the editor. With the workbench, you can create quests and world events, apparently. This will eventually enable all players to create their own maps and missions with goals to reach etc. I am already looking forward to seeing what all the creative people out there will create.

All things considered, I still do not regret having paid money for this game almost two years ago. True, the game is still not finished and yes, I wish it was. :p I am still confident, though, that they will finish this product and that I will enjoy it once it is here, because over the course of the last two years, it has slowly but surely become more and more the game I had at first hoped it would be one day. And once again, the reason why I am confident is that there are constant updates – not just patches that progress the development, but also communication from the developers. You can watch the livestreams on Twitch (or on demand if you missed one) where one of the developers shows you what they are working on and even answers questions that the chat asks (which means that you can ask questions, too!). So if you don’t know whether you want to invest in this game, head over there and watch the videos. You can read through the Folk Tale forums on Steam or read more about the game on the official website.

Games in unexpected places

Part of Koblenz

Part of Koblenz

This weekend, bookahnerk and I had been on a short vacation to Koblenz. The town itself was okayish, but nothing really great. We had primarily chosen it because it’s right next to two big rivers: The Rhine and the Moselle. Unfortunately though, the weather wasn’t too nice either. I can imagine that in summer with lots of sun, the place is gorgeous!

Now you may wonder why I’m babbling about my offline life as I usually don’t do that – but it will become gaming-related in a bit (though offline-gaming, but gaming nonetheless).

On Saturday, we had decided to take a trip to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. You can get there by taking the cable car. That probably saved us about trip by foot of about an hour or even more. Also, the view was awesome! The fortress itself was a bit like a maze, at least for somebody like me who does not have the greatest sense of orientation. It was also impressive to look at. Several parts of the inside had different exhibitions (link in German only. Sorry!). One was devoted to the regional wine – unfortunately, the wine tasting was not open. :p Another exhibition was about archaeological findings from the area, some dating back to about 2000 B.C. There was also a rebuild flat (hover your mouse over the panorama to see part of the flat) from when people used to live there in the 50s (post war, that is). This was more depressing than anything else, because as we were walking through the various parts of the fortress, you could always hear – and clearly see – the air dehumidifiers. And yet, you could see, feel and smell the humidity everywhere. This is definitely not a good place to live at (on the other hand, it most certainly was better than no roof above your head at all). And I also do not envy the people working there today.

Anyway, the exhibitions and the place itself were still nice and we did not regret taking the trip (did I already mention the cable car with its amazing view? ^^). But now comes the unexpected part. So far, we had seen the history of the place and the region. Then I turned around a corner and stared at a 1,50 m high Playmobil figure. What the… It turns out that Playmobil turns 40 this year and of all the places they could have chosen, a Playmobil exhibition was set up in this very fortress.

Playmobil_Figures

I remember Playmobil from my childhood, but I confess: I was a Lego fan! I think it is a bit like the “Star Wars or Star Trek” question with almost everybody having a favourite (Star Trek here, by the way). Also, my parents had gotten Lego for my brother and I got to play with his Lego, too, and then get some of my own and they refused to also buy me Playmobil. I had a few things, but nothing big, from relatives or friends of the family who hadn’t known that we collect Lego instead. :p What I preferred with Lego is that you can build everything that you can imagine. A red Lego piece can be part of a gigantic mushroom, a racing car or a spaceship. A red Playmobil roof will always be a red Playmobil roof. On the other hand, the Playmobil figures, both the humans and the animals, were much nicer to look at, more realistic than the little round yellow thingies that Lego had. I always wished I could combine those two.

So there we were staring in awe at all the different models, reading about the history of Playmobil. It was certainly interesting and while walking through the exhibition, there definitely was no difference between the children who probably have lots of Playmobil at home right now and us adults who were walking around, pointing at things going: “Oooh, I had that!” or “Oooh, I would have loved to get that if it had been available when I was a child!” It’s just that in the middle of this fortress with its century-long history, it seemed a tad out-of-place to be there. Still, nice! And I like when “gaming” in whatever form sneaks up on us and reminds us that we all like good games no matter how old we get.

One Day… I will play you…

I caught myself saying this very sentence several times in the last few days. I have also seen several people say that they won’t buy any more games on Steam unless they have at least played x other games that they bought in the past. How successful are we with that, eh? ;)

In my case, Trine 3 triggered that sentence, but it actually didn’t start nor stop there. The Trine series is a very odd one for me. I remember a guildie (Damagedself, actually) telling me about Trine 2 and that I should give it a try. I am not a fan of platformer games, though. Other than with the Gameboy, I never really played them. And even back then, I was more a fan of the setting, the world than the game itself. Anyway, I did give it Trine 2 a try and I clearly remember that after a few minutes, I was jumping up and down, squealing, telling bookahnerk how I needed to have that game because it’s awesome! I loved the music, I loved the art design, I loved creating boxes with the wizard, Amadeus. It was totally not the game I would usually play, but it was a game I had fallen in love with. I did buy the game not long after and even played it for a bit. I also own Trine 1. Still, up until this day, I did not play either of those games much.

The music and atmosphere in Trine 3 seem to be exactly the way it was in Trine 1 and 2. One Day, I will buy and play this game!

Torchlight I and II are also on my list of “One Day…”-games. I actually got into playing Torchlight I again recently and really enjoyed myself until that one evening last week where I bought weapons from the gambling vendor, got a really great rifle and… accidentally sold it again. I could not re-buy it anymore as the available stock had changed in the meantime. Now I’m broke and with my old crappy weapon still. But before I delve into Torchlight II together with bookahnerk, I am determined to finish Torchlight I. So… One Day…

Another recurring game on that list is “The Secret World”. I love almost everything about it. The only part I really do not like at all is the combat. Unfortunately, as with every other MMORPG out there, combat is an important part of the game (why is that, by the way? Do we really have to focus on combat so much?).TSW_scenery2

Defiance and Skyrim are on my list as well, but both are in the backseat for different reasons. I tried out Defiance, the game, before I had seen the first episode of the TV series. I did not like it too much, although I am always looking for a nice science fiction MMO to play. Then Netflix arrived here in Germany and I saw that they have the first season of Defiance available. I started watching it, more out of curiosity than anything else and I really enjoyed it and liked the world it is set in as well as some of the characters. So for this very reason, I would like to get into Defiance, the game. So far, no luck. Still, it is behind The Secret World for me. Skyrim is the game I want to love, but don’t. Mostly for technical reasons, actually. What annoys me most of all now is the clunky user interface and the lagging mouse for which I have not found a fix that works yet. I just always wonder: Is a game worth my time (especially with so many others on my list) that I cannot enjoy unless I dig through mods first? Still, One Day…

Skyrim_Gechi_2

I am not alone with such a list, right? I’m pretty sure every gamer out there has games that One Day, they will get to play… maybe…, but for one reason or another, that day just keeps getting rainchecks.

Coming to Trove next: Welcome Screen, Meownts & Budgies

Trove’s development isn’t slowing down. Here you can find the written notes from last Friday’s livestream. You can also watch the video on Twitch. Everything they showed during the livestream (as opposed to merely mentioning and talking about it) will go live this Tuesday!

The video settings will find a place in the user interface, so you won’t have to memorize what to type in order to activate them. I just wish they would add that to the club interface as well. Anyway, another time, I suppose. :)

Trove Graphic Settings

Graphic Settings

As Avarem mentioned in the last “AMA” in the Twitch chat, they are going to add more things to buy with glim. I am usually around 10k glim, so 60k sounds like a lot of new stuff but not too much to be overwhelming. You literally get glim by just riding through the world (the grass and flowers on the ground can be harvested when you ride through it with your mount and it drops glim) or fished up. So, no matter whether you take time out of adventuring to go fishing or if you just go adventuring (which will always have you on a mount because it’s much faster to travel this way), you will earn glim! I am mostly looking forward to the new mounts.

So far, we have had a lot of dog-mounts, the Pemblocks. Finally, the cat-lovers among us will get their mounts as well: Meownts are entering Trove! They will basically work like Pemblocks do. You need the basic mount (“Pemblock” or “Meownt”) to craft the special versions. So when you drop your first Meownt (or Pemblock), you will have to make a choice whether to keep the basic version as a mount or use it in the crafting station to craft another version, e.g., the Permafrost Meownt.

Trove Permafrost Meownt

Permafrost Meownt

For me, the biggest addition to the game will be the new Welcome Screen. It won’t just say “Hello! Good to see you again!” it will also tell you about the bonuses that will be active on every single weekday. This is a new feature. So far, we can get 500 cubits by doing the star-quest every day and that amount is raised to 1000 on Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, we will get different bonuses on the other week days: Mondays will be +20 % for harvesting (this is related to the gardening profession). Tuesdays, you will get +50 % ore when out in the world mining. On Wednesdays, you will get 100 % more glim from adventuring. This is important: It is NOT more glim by fishing, but by riding through the world on your mount as explained above. On Thursdays, monsters will drop more special crafting items (bleached bones, faerie dust and so on) as well as adventure boxes. The items within the adventure boxes will have the same drop chances as on any other days. And on Fridays, you will get 50 % more shards from doing Shadow Arenas and Dark Hearts (those are in the sky biome).

Trove Welcome Screen

Welcome Screen on the live server after the patch (April 28)

So far, when I did not have much time for playing Trove, I saved my gaming time for Saturday or Sunday to get more cubits. But now, with the new bonuses every day, I can choose which bonus I want and try to get some gaming time in on that day. The only downside I see is that if, for example, you always have to work late on Thursdays, you will always miss out on that bonus as the bonuses are specific to certain days. But in the long run, these may not even make such a big difference.

Trove Pink Budgie Buddy

Pink Budgie Buddy

The new Welcome Screen will also show you what kind of Adventure Boxes are currently dropping. The new ones (probably also releasing this Tuesday, I assume) are Budgie ones which can contain a Budgie mount. No longer are those Rift-only. :p The general drop rate for Adventure boxes will be reduced come next patch, by the way, but as mentioned above, the drop rate will be increased on Thursdays. So if you’re really only after the Budgie and have limited play time, try to get gaming time in on Thursdays. Of course, I brought up the example of work and Thursdays because that is the one day during the week where I have to work longer and won’t have that much time to game. :p But yeah, I don’t think this will be a big issue. One day, I will have my Budgie!

Trove: New UI & graphics settings

The latest patch, “Blitz and Glitz Edition“, got released today. It is mostly new costumes (in the shop). But they also added the new UI to the game and some new graphics settings to test out. A few days ago, they had already posted a teaser for the UI and it did get some criticism. So, Avarem asked to test it out first and give feedback then.

Of course, I had to test the changes right away. Not the costumes, as I don’t care too much about costumes in Trove. But I wanted to have a look at the shiny new user interface!

New user interface

Here is the direct comparison. Old on the left, new on the right.

Here is my opinion: The icons seem to be much smaller than before. Looking at it closely, they probably aren’t. I guess because of the rest of the design, they just look small. What I really like is that the shortcuts are now listed above the actual icon which means that the icon itself isn’t hidden by white text. Yet, I am missing two clues that were very important for me when I had just started playing: The display of the “hub” icon (“Press H to get to the main hub”) and the two indicators above the “hub” button indicating whether you’re showing your adventuring skill bar or your crafting skill bar. I do not need those images anymore now, but I clearly remember that they helped me starting out in the game because I could easily see that I had the wrong action bar activated – after seeing that there are two different action bars to begin with thanks to those two icons in the middle. This is no big deal, it’s just something I would like to see there.

One thing I definitely criticize is that the amount of charges left for my healing potion (the “Q” skill) is still not easy to see. Those are 13 charges I have there, not 3.

I like the colours and the general look of the new UI, though. The quest/star bar on the upper right also looks nice, although it wasn’t bad before either. With the new colour, I think it stands out more, though, which could help especially newcomers to notice the star bar up there in the first place.

New UI: Crafting bar

New UI: Crafting bar

The picture above shows the UI with the crafting bar activated. The green background (seen on the icon at the “2” skill) highlights which button you have activated now. So I would place green blocks now with pressing my left mouse button. The “5” skill isn’t too ideal, though. It’s the non-activated grey blocks… I think. No, it’s actually “charcoal”. I’m not sure if it was easier to see before, but I am noticing now that it’s difficult to figure out what colour it is exactly unless you’ve got it highlighted or look in your inventory for the tooltip. Yes, while the skills in the action bar have tooltips when you hover above the icon with your mouse, the crafting bar does not have this feature. Another thing I would like to see.

So, in short: I would really like to see tooltips on the crafting bar as well as an easier to see number of remaining charges for my healing potion. I would also like to see the action bar indicators and the “hub” icon back. Other than that, I’m really happy about the new UI!

When you're in the middle of a fight, the dark red in front of the dark grey background is easy to miss...

When you’re in the middle of a fight, the dark red in front of the dark grey background is easy to miss…

Edited to add: After playing with the new UI, I noticed that I don’t notice my health dropping low with the new UI. The health bar is only half of the sphere now and the red is too dark to be noticed fast since the background is also quite dark. This is, of course, less than ideal. ;)

Graphics changes

“There are now some new graphics settings that are testable for high end users (coming soon to actual video settings near you).
Type /postbloom to test out bloom
Type /postssao to test out ambient occlusion.”

In case you want to test them: You can disable them again by typing “/postbloom off” and “postssao off”.

The Bloom setting:

The Ambient Occlusion setting:

I don’t think there is even one game where I like the bloom setting. I turned it off again after taking the screenshots. But I actually like the ambient occlusion. So far, it also works nicely on my PC, but I stood in the club world, afk while writing this blog post. ;)

The thing is: Those screenshots don’t show that much. Especially with bloom, I actually don’t see a difference and in game, I don’t see that much either. Ambient occlusion, on the other hand, looks very nice in game! On the screenshots, a lot gets lost again. But look closely at the glass house on the left.

Still, I don’t play Trove for its fabulous graphics, so this isn’t important for me either way. The user interface is the much more important change for me and I think I can certainly live with it quite well. :)

Guild Wars 2 vs. Rift vs. Trove: Part 2 (Lore)

GW2 vs Rift vs Trove logo

This is the second part of the blog post series “Guild Wars 2 vs. Rift vs. Trove”. The first part was about “Basic information“. This part now focuses on the lore of the games. Once again, my goal is not to say which game has a better lore. Neither do I want to bore you with lots and lots of tiny details of the story. Instead, I want to give you an overview of what the main story is about and to give you a feeling of the world that you will enter should you decide to pick up the game and play. There will be a comparison, but I will definitely not call any game superior here.

Warning!

As the title and introduction text already suggest, this is a blog post about the lore in those three games. Do not continue reading if you don’t want any story spoilers!

I am now going to start the lore part with the big mystery question:

Does Trove have lore?

trove-logoThe answer isn’t as easy as one may think or hope. Yes, it does have lore, apparently. It just doesn’t really seem like it. The game does not have a consistent world, but rather ever-changing maps which are generated as soon as players enter the map. It has biomes with undead, with pirates, but also with candy-fied enemy NPCs. It has lava, water plasma and chocolate lakes. It even has candy fish! And fish in lava, too. But so far, there is no coherent story part and no real background lore. With the recent revamp of the tutorial, they added lore cubes to it, but those aren’t present in the general world. Those cubes tell a very short story.

The tutorial takes place in the ruins of the Sun Goddess’s temple. Apparently, the Moon had become jealous of her. Something – it says “a great shadow” got released and the only way to save the world was for the Sun Goddess to sacrifice herself.

The main story in Rift when you first enter the game

Rift_Logo_transparentThe lore in Rift is delivered mainly through quests. There is a comic book that came with the original Collector’s Edition, but as far as I know, this is all there is outside of the game. Some more information can be found on the website, like general information on Nightmare Tide, the game’s second expansion and in the lore forum, a sub-section of the official forum. The developers posted a timeline there about the events in Rift back in 2011.

Rift_Lore_Book CollectionApart from quests, you can also “collect” books in Rift which, once collected, you can click on and read through. Of course, those aren’t real books with several hundred pages. But they do give additional lore and they are neatly stores in the collections tab of your character panel.

I actually had to go and read through several postings on various different places to find out more about the lore myself. I’ve known bits but I admit, I’m not the person who always reads the quest texts. :p There are lots and lots of names to memorize when you want to get into the lore and I have always had problems telling the important figures apart (who’s the bad guy, who’s the good guy? And who is the good guy turned bad? ^^). So, I will try to summarize the basic lore as much as possible. Let’s start with the world of Rift as a whole. It consists of several planes of reality. Each plane “belongs” to a certain element. E.g. water, air, but also death and life. The name of the physical world we are on is “Telara” and it is located between those planes. Telara was created by five gods called “The Vigil” who used a material called Sourcestone to do that. The names of the gods are Bahralt, Tavril, Thedeor, Mariel-Taun and Thontic. For this short introduction to the lore, the names aren’t going to be important anymore. I just thought I should add them in case you start playing and come across the names in the game. However, the Vigil aren’t the only gods in this world. In fact, the exact number of gods is unknown. Another group of gods that is known and that caused quite a lot of trouble is called the “Blood Storm“, six dragon gods. Each of them represents a different plane of reality: Regulos (Death), Maelforge (Fire), Laethys (Earth), Greenscale (Life), Crucia (Air) and Akylios (Water). All of them wanted to control Telara and tried to invade it with their legions while also fighting against each other. This gave the inhabitants of Telara and the Vigil the opportunity to eventually fight back. All Blood Storm gods with the exception of Regulos were imprisoned on Telara. Additionally, the Vigil placed a Ward around Telara to protect it from the invading forces from the planes. All could have been peaceful and well now.

So, let me summarize: We’ve got Telara in the middle of the planes now with a Ward made by the creators of Telara, the Vigil, to keep the invaders out.

The bad thing with this Ward is that it’s been getting weaker through the centuries. I mentioned the Sourcestone above already. The Guardians (one of the two factions for player characters in the game) use this to commune with the Vigil. The other faction, the Defiant, use it to build and power their machines. Jostir, king of the Mathosians (the playable human race on Guardian side), died about 25 years before “current game time”. His two sons (Aedraxis and Zareph) fought over the throne. Aedraxis used machines powered with Sourcestone and managed to get a crack into the Ward in the process. Additionally, he was corrupted by Regulos. To put it shortly: With this crack, the Rifts came. Rifts are tears through which the forces from the planes can enter Telara. In game, they are open world events… more on that in the PvE part of this blog post series. Hardly any place is safe from the rifts. I will leave the rest of the story to be told in the game.

The role of your character in this world

You are still following, right? So, Aedraxis was corrupted by Regulos. Longer story short: Regulos is back in action.

You can either play a character in the Guardian or in the Defiant faction – and you are an Ascendant (more on that in a bit). Guardians get their Ascendant status from the Vigil, while Defiants use their sourcestone-powered machines built by Eth  (the human race on Defiant side). The Guardians are strictly against using sourcestone in this way, see it as blasphemous and some also claim it to be the source of their current problems (as sourcestone was used when the Rifts appeared – see above).

Defiant or Guardian - Choose now

Defiant or Guardian – Choose now

Now it’s getting a bit trickier. In the “original timeline”, the Vigil chose people to be Ascendants! They returned them back from the dead to fight against Regulos and his legions. However, only those who believed in them and followed them

Asha Catari

Asha Catari

rigorously got chosen. Asha Catari was not one of them. She did get resurrected by Orphiel, a Defiant who used a source-stone powered machine for this resurrection process. The Guardians fought against the Defiants and wanted to destroy not only their machines, but their whole existence. At the same time, apparently, they failed the fight against Regulos. This is where Defiant players enter the game. All hope is lost, basically. But they are able to resurrect their own Ascendants by using their machines and – this is why telling the lore gets a bit tricky now – they also have a time machine and send you, the player, back in time to before Regulos won the fight.

While your character, being an Ascendant, is basically a “special snowflake” in the world, there are many Ascendants. I don’t like it that much when an MMO treats the story as you are the only and the strongest special person around. Having several special people is much more realistic considering all the other players around you fulfill the same role anyway.

The game has been out for four years now, so of course, a lot of things have happened already. I am not going to write about all of these happenings here, however, because I don’t want to spoil all content for you. This is just the basic and short summary for you to get to know what the main story is all about when you enter the game. If you still want to know more about what has happened since the game’s release, I found a nice little summary in the lore section of the official forum.

The main story in Guild Wars 2 before you first enter the game

GW2_Logo_kl_transparentGuild Wars 2 takes a slightly different approach to delivering the story to its players. There are no traditional quests in the game. Most of the main storyline is delivered by their living world and personal story concept. The personal story starts out differently depending on which race and which options you chose during the character selection screen and also by what you choose at certain points throughout the personal story. It does eventually end the same for every character, though. The personal story is finished at some point and does not continue. Instead, the living world concept took over after the game’s release. The living world so far has seen two “seasons”. Season 1 was only temporary and cannot be played through and experienced anymore now. If you want to know what happened there, you have to rely on outside sources. Season 2 needs to be bought or played through with a player who previously unlocked it. It is similar to quests. You just don’t need to visit a quest giver in the world, but instead, can access each story’s steps in your character panel. This is also where you can find very short summaries of what happened in each story step (both for the personal story as well as for the second season of the living story).

As the name already suggests, Guild Wars 2 is a sequel. The original game, Guild Wars, takes place 250 years prior to where we are in Guild Wars 2. If you want to experience the original story, you can buy the game (3 campaigns and 1 expansion – the campaigns are all “standalone games” and can be played through without owning the others) and play through the story.

Additionally, there are three novels that take place before the main story of Guild Wars 2 starts: Ghosts of Ascalon, Edge of Destiny and Sea of Sorrows. They were written to bridge the time between the original Guild Wars and the sequel.

The world of Guild Wars 2 is called “Tyria“. Do not confuse this Tyria with the other Tyria, the continent. ;) Tyria, the world, is only one among several in the Mists, the “proto-reality that exists between the worlds”.

Tyria, the world, consists of several continents of which Tyria, Cantha and Elona are the major known ones. In the current time, players do not have access to Cantha or Elona and we do not, in fact, know what is going on over there. The land route to Elona has been sealed on Queen Jennah‘s order because of “dark events” going on there. Jennah is the Queen of Kryta and Kryta is one of the regions in Tyria mainly inhabited by humans. Cantha, on the other hand, is cut off from Tyria because of Zhaitan, one of the Elder Dragons (more about those in a bit). With Zhaitan awake and active again, any ship trying to sail to Cantha would be sunk.

So, about those Elder Dragons now – they started to rise about 250 years ago with Primordus being the first. There are six different Elder Dragons in total: Primordus (Fire), Jormag (Ice), Zhaitan (Death and Shadow), Kralkatorrik (Crystal), Mordremoth (Plant and Mind) and a dragon suspected to be in the Unending Ocean. The name of the sixth Elder Dragon is not yet known and since nobody has heard anything, it is assumed that this dragon hasn’t awoken yet.

The Elder Dragons had been asleep for about 11,000 years. Naturally, not much is known about the history in the present time, though the dwarves – now near-extinct and the ones alive are turned to stone – had preserved some knowledge in their legends as did the Jotun. Now they are back and together with their champions and their minions, they destroy everything in their paths – or, even worse, turn every creature into their mindless and will-less minions that fight for them.

One group of adventurers, called “Destiny’s Edge“, was the first to slay one of the Elder Dragon’s champions, the Dragonspwawn. They rose to fame for this heroic deed, but when something went wrong, they – all coming from different racial backgrounds (Asura, Charr, Human, Norn and Sylvari) – could not overcome their partly culturally based distrust for one another, some blamed each other for the death of a beloved former group member and the rest of the group eventually split up. Not long after, your character enters the scene…

The role of your character in this world

Every character enters the world near their racial main city. You begin with a story related to choices you have made during the character creation process. I would say the story is pretty “local”. You certainly do not start out as a hero and throughout the personal story as well as the living story, you gain recognition among the NPCs. In Season 2, you will have some NPCs even calling you “boss”. It is also safe to say that of course, your path will lead you closer to the Elder Dragons and you will play a role in fighting against them.

As you can tell, I’m being deliberately vague here. While I do want to introduce you to the basic lore of the game, I do not want to give you too many spoilers, because I think this would seriously diminish your fun in the game. I will get more into the different races’ in the next piece of this blog post series where we will look at the options available during the character creation process. So, this is all I am going to tell you about your character right now.

If you still want to know more about the history of Tyria, I can recommend the lore videos by WoodenPotatoes.

Conclusion so far

Rift’s strength, if you ask me, is that they also give you the collections to go out there and find all the little lore pieces. Additionally, you can feel the threat everywhere and the open world events make sense. And last but not least, neither faction is the “good” one. Both believe that what they are doing is right.

Guild Wars 2’s strength, on the other hand, is the strong and active community making sure that you can read all about the lore or listen to podcasts telling you about it. The continuous addition of content (up until season 2, at least. At the moment, we’re waiting for the expansion) has moved the main storyline further quickly. There is also lots of information to be found outside of the game including novels and the first game, Guild Wars.

One note about fantasy and steampunk: Even though I mainly mentioned machines in the Rift section, Guild Wars 2 has just as many steampunk elements in it. So if you really cannot stand steampunk in your game lore, neither of those games is a good match for you. Other than that, if you care about lore and want to get into a world full of story, I think both of those games will give you that. Trove, on the other hand, is very, very, very light on lore.

The next blog post will focus on the character creation as well as on the playable races and their background lore.