Clockwork Chaos is back in Tyira. With the End of Dragons stepping forward to a very different future for Tyrians, it’s a fantastic time to look back at one of the seminal moment’s in recent history. Living World Season 1 Episode 3 brings back the Clockwork Chaos event and the first face to face with Scarlet since the inaugural season of Living World launched. After nine whole years new players can finally meet Scarlet Briar, the notorious villain that divided fans and cut a swathe of chaos across the land. Guild Wars 2 is a very different game now, and with a. whole host of new and old team members ratcheting up the excitement for this re run of a classic, Gamespace got to talk to Joe Kimmes, Season 1 Team lead, and Indigo Boock, Narrative Lead for Season 1, about Clockwork Chaos and all the other improvements coming to Guild Wars 2 today.
How does it feel returning to Clockwork Chaos (or indeed experiencing it for the first time) ?
Joe: Clockwork Chaos was a wild event the first time around, and it’s been one of the most exciting to bring back as it sets the stage for the remainder of the Season 1 storyline. The first appearance of Scarlet Briar is one of the most memorable moments in Season 1, so the first time that was restored on the test servers it felt like the Season 1 project was really happening!
Indigo: I’m thrilled! Before I joined ArenaNet as a writer, I was a player (dating back to when Factions first dropped). Living World Season 1 was wild and fun, unlike anything I’d played in an MMO at the time. Getting the opportunity to rebuild this content was an absolute dream, and I’m thrilled for players to revisit Scarlet’s climactic return (with a couple of new secrets!)
Although we opted to maintain as much of the original experience as we could, we did get the chance to bring Tara Strong back into the booth to refresh some of Scarlet’s VO. Ultimately, Scarlet would go on to make waves as a leading antagonist in Guild Wars 2 (largely because her actions would continue to ripple long after the season…spoilers!) We wanted to make sure that her arc hit hard and fast, so that newer players could easily understand her motivations as they branch off into Season 2 and Heart of Thorns. We also wanted to maintain the sense of nostalgia for players returning to Scarlet’s Playhouse. Everyone can expect to find something new and exciting, while also re-experiencing that content for the first time in almost ten years.
From a narrative standpoint, the 2013 Clockwork Chaos was a critical turning point but focused a lot on Pavilion encounters. Are we likely to see the same balance of content or has the content in this release been repackaged?
Joe: Uncoupling Season 1’s story from the festival content that some chapters were paired with has been one of the balancing acts of restoring it. Episode 2 took place parallel with the first Dragon Bash celebration, and Episode 3 was tied in with Queen’s Jubilee, which is now folded into the Four Winds festival.
The episodic incarnation of the story still references the Queen’s Jubilee, but like Episode 2, you’ll have to wait for the annual festival to experience the festival content associated with it. The episode’s linear story is focused on the behind-the-scenes events as the Commander thwarts the attack on Divinity’s Reach, so compared to the original, it’s a much tighter focus on the story without the festival occurring simultaneously.
Clockwork Chaos was one of those events leaned heavily into the open world, although not as heavily as South Sun did. How do you an event like the Clockwork Minions Invasion and rework it for instanced environments?
Joe: Simply put, we didn’t. Rather than shoehorning them into a solo mission, Scarlet’s Invasions have been brought back in a limited form in the existing open world. To reduce the complexity and not destabilize the game quite as much as the original, it’s been rebuilt as a new series of events in Gendarran Fields, which was the focus of the player’s original investigation into the attacks alongside Ambassador Vorpp. The story will take players through the zone in the process of creating a backdoor to Scarlet’s lair, and the original Invasion achievements can be completed again by participating in the updated event when it runs.
Have you locked put the spray paint away this time?
Joe: Part of the fun of restoring Season 1 is there’s always a few things you didn’t remember from the original! I don’t know if there will be any paint antics this time but I’m not going to tell the team no.
We’re going to see some improvements to the early game world bosses. How extensive will these be? Are we talking Tequatl levels of rework?
Joe: Since these are early-game bosses, I wouldn’t expect to see players struggling to even complete the event for a few days as was the case with Tequatl! The changes are far-reaching in some cases under the hood, but that’s because these are old events. The goal is to bring them up to modern standards not in endgame difficulty, but in presentation, stability and polish so that new players are encountering fair challenges that will prepare them for later events. Expect to see things like modernized warning markers, updated visuals and visibility on attacks, and modern scaling for the boss’ durability as players enter or leave the fray.
Not so much of a question but an opportunity to just say thank you for bringing back Lord Faren in his teeniest tiniest speedos once again. What are you looking forward to players seeing in this release?
Joe: Scarlet Briar’s first appearance during the Closing Ceremony is a personal favorite of mine because it took a lot of work to restore that sequence – its original construction used every trick in the book for our ingame cinematics, and over the years a lot of it had fallen apart. I think we’ve not just restored but improved it with a more modern backend, so hopefully that effort is visible!
Similarly, the player’s final face-to-face confrontation with Scarlet in Clockwork Chaos is something we were able to revisit and substantially improve – I won’t spoil the changes, but I’m hoping players will appreciate the updates from the original.
Indigo: Faren’s fancy panties will live on forever, so help me. I’m most excited for players who didn’t get the chance to experience Season 1 the first go around to finally dig their claws into the early workings of the story. It’s so tonally different from anything else in the game, and an absolute hoot to play. Scarlet’s actions set the stakes for a solid potion of the story moving forward, so I’m eager for players to experience her special brand of chaos as the Commander is introduced to a darker side of Tyria.
Another thing I’m especially excited for players to track down and find, new and veteran alike: a handful of new audio logs recorded by the Queen of Chaos herself! These logs dive a little bit deeper into Scarlet’s motivations and struggles as a character, and give us a subtle, new glimpse into her interiority. Players will find these not only in Scarlet’s Playhouse, but in the final two episodes of Season 1 as they’re released later this summer and fall.
With more than just a syndicated re hash of old content, this is probably the perfect time to introduce friends that have haven’t quite been able to commit to Guild Wars 2. Clockwork Chaos is the turning point and the start of a huge journey for Commander’s that were just dealing with an irritable undead dragon up until this point. You can check out the latest episode of Living World right now in game, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a chance to rescue a grateful Lord too. Find out even more on the Guild Wars 2 website.