Small changes in the Living Story

It seems every Monday there are some small additions to the Living Story that is unfolding in Tyria. This week saw some small changes that I would like to update you on. All-in-all the Living Story is slowly moving forward. In less than a week the latest patch will go live, hopefully, bringing some life back into this story. If you haven't checked out the Living Story yet be sure to see my initial review and my update from last week.


If you head over to Hoelbrak, just north of Wolf lodge, to our old friend, the Refugee Coordinator, you will find that this characters dialogue has changed. Here is what she now has to say,

So there are two things to take away from this. One, Whitebear sent some Wolfborn to scout the effected areas, and two, rumour has it that dredge are rising up with magically help. Firstly, Whitebear could refer to Knut Whitebear or one of his two sons, Skarti, and Sigfast. I first went to talk with Knut Whitebear in the Great Lodge. He didn't have anything to add.

Next, I went to Skarti's Steading just south of Shelter Rock by Bear Lodge in Hoelbrak. Skarti is, afterall, the head of the Wolfborn. If anyone would know anything it would be him right? Well his dialogue has not changed. Here is what he has to say,

Skarti's dialogue is a little different if you are on a Norn character, but still there is nothing about this scouting party. For completeness sake I went and talked to the last of the Whitebears, Sigfast. His home is just northwest of Shelter Rock.

Again, nothing. Finally, I went to Wayfarer Foothills and looked for the scouting party. I looked high and low and could not find a Wolfborn scouting party. Maybe I overlooked something or did not look in the right spot. I kind of expected there to be something...

The only other thing to discuss is the "magical" help that the Dredge are receiving. The obvious answer is that it is the Flame Legion based on what we learn in the Black Citadel but are things that obvious? Or is something more subtle going on? I had more speculation in last week's update that still applies. There were also some great theories in the comments to that post.

The Black Citadel

The story in the Black Citadel is similar to that of Hoelbrak. The Refugee Coordinator has updated dialogue, but beyond that there isn't anything else to see. Here is the updated dialogue,

Seems like we are not the only ones in the dark as this guy knows nothing and has begun to speculate. I went looking for the scouts in Diessa Plateau and has unable to find any. Also, I have been to everything in the area that could be considered a ranch and everything seems fine. The coordinator says Tribune Brimstone sent the scouting party. The only Tribune I know with the name Brimstone is Rytlock, so I went to have a chat.

Again nothing. If you speak with the "aide-de-camp" you will learn what an "aide-de-camp" is but little else.


As you can see, I enjoy the idea of the Living Story. I like the idea of the world feeling more like a living place with dialogue changing and such. It has forced me to learn the lore of the land. I had no idea who the leader of the Wolfborn was before I decided to figure it out. I did all the research in game finding other NPCs that spoke of the hierarchy of Hoelbrak. I had a lot of fun doing that and have a lot of fun looking for changes in the Living Story.

What I do not like are the choices Arena Net has made in the delivery of this story so far. For example, in this most recent updated they changed the refugee coordinators dialogue to say that a scouting party had been sent by Whitebear to see what is going on. I do not get why they choose those words if in fact there is not a scouting party to be found and Whitebear has nothing to say on the topic. The scope Arena Net choose for this new dialogue is far to broad. The dialogue could have simply read something along the lines of "Wolfborn from the area are beginning to report in. Surely, there will be more information soon."

The above example fits the profile of the problems with the Living Story in general. The premise is that something has occurred in Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau that was large enough to cause a stream of refugees to funnel into Hoelbrak and the Black Citadel. Yet, there is no evidence of this what so ever in the zones. Where are these refugees coming from? Where are there damaged homes? It seems to me that Arena Net has bit off more than they can chew. The scope of the Living Story is just far to large for the amount of effort that they are willing to put in. It doesn't mean that the Living Story idea is bankrupt it just means that the writers need to be far more clever than they are being or they need to dial back the scope of the story. The story needs to be far more subtle for them to get away with the small changes they are actually making.

Maybe I am not seeing everything, or maybe Arena Net will blow me away in the future. I don't know. All I can tell you is how I feel about the current state of the Living Story which in a word is frustrated. What do you guys think? Are you enjoying the Living Story? Have you seen anything change in Tyria that I haven't pointed out? Let me know in the comments.


  1. My opinion of The Living Story hasn't changed - it's a great idea - I'd love it if they'd do one someday.

    What's happening (or rather not happening) at the moment is neither living nor a story as far as I can see. Like many things that happen in MMOs, from the outside it looks as though it would be easier to do this better than to do it this badly. Since MMO devs repeatedly *do* do things this badly, though, I'm forced to assume that forces behind the scenes (cost, techincal issues, internal politics, personality cults...) mean this really is the best they can manage.

    All your critical points are valid. All your questions are questions I've been asking since this thing began. If this were an actual story in a book we'd still be on the first page. If it was a movie we'd still be in the pre-credit sequence. What would take another medium thirty seconds has taken this one three weeks.

    If stories are going to be told there needs to be a much smarter way of telling them than this.

    1. Just reading the Dragon Season interview with Colin Johanson and I came across this little tidbit, "You’re not going to see a ton of stuff in February, [it’s mostly about the story] more setup stuff. (When) we hit the end of the year and decided to really make that a big thing for 2013 and as a result [this didn’t leave us much time to] build a lot of stuff yet, so I think [walking towards March and April we’ll get into the cadence of what a living story can be and then that will build from there as the year goes on."

      This seems to confirm my pet theory that they probably had some sort of Karka Island style event planned for the new year, but with how badly November went they decided to try something else, and that is where the Living Story comes from. It is Arena Net trying to stylize there monthly content to something that the players can enjoy.

      At this point though, I would have rather had a Karka Island style cluster.

  2. I just learned about this blog after it was mentioned on Guildcast, I'm going to bookmark it now :)

    Thanks for checking into the Living Story. I'm a story hound and it's great to know that there are people like you keeping far better track of it than I could.

    1. Was surreal hearing Richie mention my blog. Thanks for taking the time to check out this site out. I hope to keep on posting on the Living Story in the future, no matter how small the change :D