We were curious to see how many things change in the home instance once you are done with your personal storyline. Flummi, my mesmer, is the only character that is through with her story so far, so I used hers to see what’s in there. I then created a new asura with exactly the same choices, ran her through the tutorial instance and then immediately entered the home instance. So she hasn’t done anything other than the tutorial zone. For fun, we also included screenshots from bookahnerk’s home instance. His thief has also completed the personal storyline, but made different choices than my mesmer. Other obvious differences: My mesmer joined the Durmand Priory, his thief joined the Order of Whispers. Obviously, we also decided for different paths throughout the story, but it would be too much to list every single different step now.
A word of warning: Since this is about the personal storyline, you will find spoilers about the personal storyline here!
Edit: If you want to know more about the personal storyline, I recommend this article: “Personal Storyline – In a Nutshell”.
First things first, apart from the personal storyline, we have seen some bits of living story that gave us items in the home instance. If you haven’t done those, I’m sorry to say but you won’t have them in your home instance and it looks like you may never actually get them unless ArenaNet decides to reintroduce them somehow. Those items are the raw candy corn and quartz crystal formation gathering nodes which give you candy corn and quartz crystals once per day per account and the krait obelisk shard.
Going up on the right side of your home instance in Rata Sum, you can find a little well or spring. If you have done the corresponding living story part, this is where you will find the krait obelisk shard. It gives you one skill point per character (if your character is level 10+. My poor test character could just stare at it in awe, but was not allowed to commute with it yet) and after that, lets you transmute 25 quartz crystals into 1 charged quartz crystal. This can be done once a day per account. You do not need this shard to do that, though. Any “commute” skill challenge can be used for that. It’s just handy to be able to do it when you’re already in the home instance anyway to gather candy corn and quartz crystals.
Other than that, you can also see Peredur. He’s a sylvari that joins your home instance when you have chosen the transatmospheric converter during character creation and when you have played through the corresponding personal story quest. Bookahnerk chose the Infinity Ball, so he does not get Peredur. But you can see a little quaggan in his screenshot: Shashoo joined him as he chose to help the quaggans during his personal storyline.
Further up, you can enter a small area which I almost forgot to screen capture. Bookahnerk reminded me of it. During character creation, you choose a former master. This one will be here. My mesmer chose Professor Blipp, bookahnerk chose Professor Bronk with his thief. As you can see, Meffa, my test asura, has the professor in her home instance as well. So this isn’t something that appears after playing through the story. The NPC will be here as soon as you can enter the home instance for the first time.
Let’s leave this area and go down again. Hronk is another asura that is here from the beginning on. He is there in all three home instances, because each of our characters chose the College of Dynamics. So this is identical to the professors above: It does differ between characters, but it’s an NPC that will be here from the start. You do not need to do anything or play through a story step to unlock the NPC.
Next up is yet another asura, Krasso. This one is an NPC that you get only after completing the corresponding personal story quest. I do not know which one it is exactly, but I assume it’s at the end of joining an Order. Krasso belongs to the Durmand Priory. This explains why my little test asura does not have her in her home instance and bookahnerk doesn’t have her either. As mentioned above, he joined the Order of Whispers. Instead, you can see another asura on the left in bookahnerk’s screenshot: Shodd. He is the counterpart to my mesmer’s Peredur above. You get Shodd when you choose “Infinity Ball” during character creation and after playing through the corresponding story step.
Carys, a female sylvari, is a bit of a mystery here. She does not appear for my test asura, but she is there for my mesmer. At the same time, she cannot be found in bookahnerk’s home instance. He also does not have another NPC instead. So while I got her, he got nobody. Consequently, I must have made a choice during the personal storyline that led to her joining me and he either never met her or did something that made her not want to bum around in his home instance. ;)
Shashoo was already mentioned above in the Peredur screenshots. Next up is Gara. He is not there for my test asura and bookahnerk doesn’t have him either, as he had decided to check out what the quaggans are up to while my mesmer decided to find out more about the grawl. I already knew that quaggans are cute, but can be deadly if provoked. Grawl sounded intriguing. And now I have my very own personal grawl in the home instance. Not sure what he’s doing there, though. I doubt he can help that asura with her research.
Octavian Inkblood with his pet Amphebe and Mira. To be honest, I do not remember ever seeing any of them. Apparently, they do appear at some story step that has to do with Orr and I may have not paid any attention to what I was doing at that point. ;) I just wanted to get through with the personal story after a while. I loved everything up until the end of joining an Order and then it got boring. But well, this is not supposed to be a rant about the personal storyline. This is just showing what’s changing in your home instance. So there you go: My personal corner with the comfortable hammocks is now taken by those three. When I first saw it, I really loved this corner. But it’s no longer mine, apparently.
And we’re already at the last part: Kalliee. She belongs to the Durmand Priory. Neither my test asura nor bookahnerk have her in their home instances. Bookahnerk found another member of the Order of Whispers in his home instance, though: Otto Barenjaard.
Let’s summarize this: My test asura, Meffa, has two NPCs that she got by choosing her former master (Professor Blipp in her case) and the College of Dynamics (Hronk).
After completing the storyline, my mesmer, Flummi, had those two plus six more NPCs. Octavian Inkblood and Mira seem to belong together which is why I’m counting them as one. Other than this couple, there are Peredur (Transatmospheric Converter), Gara (grawl), Krasso and Kalliee (both from Durmand Priory) and Carys.
Bookahnerk, on the other hand, only got five more NPCs: Octavian Inkblood and Mira (again counting as one), Shodd (Infinity Ball), Shashoo (quaggan) as well as Batanga and Otto Barenjaard (both from Order of Whispers).
I did expect a lot more from the home instance when I heard ArenaNet talk about it before release. I knew very well that it was no housing or they would have told us all about it immediately. But I did imagine there would be a lot more changes than just adding static NPCs. The worst part of this is that those NPCs seem lifeless. They stand there, doing idle animations, but nothing else. You cannot even talk to those NPCs! If you don’t recall a name, well, don’t even think about hearing anything from the people hanging out in your home instance. There isn’t even any flavour text, nothing. Go google it, use the game’s wikipedia page, but the game won’t help you.
I’m disappointed and them adding the gathering nodes does not really help make this place more interesting. They did announce it as such a great feature to see what great things you have accomplished during your personal story and that they will be different from one character to the next. The differences bookahnerk and I found were 6 out of 8 NPCs. So yes, while that is definitely a difference, it is rather small, since you cannot even talk to them and well, they’re only a handful NPCs. The structure itself does not change at all. I don’t even know if the home instance is my own lab or not. There is no personal space in there, nothing. Maybe we will see improvements in 2014, but at the moment, I doubt they will use their resources for that.