Through their official blog the folks at ArenaNet let us know that the original Guild Wars' Winds of Change event - part of a series of ongoing events that tie the title with its sequel - has come to a close, while also summarizing the story for those that, for whatever reason, didn't have the chance to witness it first-hand. Here's a snip:
The theme of looking forward in Miku’s story is also a subtle theme for us as the focus shifts more and more to Guild Wars 2, and I want to touch on of the other hints of Guild Wars 2 that were felt in Winds of Change. From the very beginning, we knew that one thing we really wanted was to build up Reiko as a memorable end boss who felt different from those that had come before her, both thematically and mechanically. We felt that Guild Wars lacked a really strong mesmer character—they tend to be comical and flamboyant or prima donnas. The Guild Wars 2 mesmer treats the concept of illusion magic as a physical manifestation, and that was something that we really wanted to leverage for Reiko. Our work with her helps set the precedent for this type of mesmer within the Guild Wars continuity.
Playing around with this concept of mesmers also gave rise to much of Reiko’s character—she is an influential speaker, and that is what brings her to power. We asked ourselves, “If someone was truly powerful with illusions and making people see what they wanted to see, how would they use that power outside of combat?” It wasn’t a point that we chose to really draw attention to in the content, just an implication that people could speculate on. Could Reiko have been using her abilities to augment her words?
Finally, I want to talk about player feedback for a minute. The players were great about giving helpful feedback, both positive and negative. The biggest piece of feedback we got was focused on difficulty. Originally, Winds of Change was balanced at the approximate level of the Titan quests, with the assumption that this was endgame content, and players who had been through everything else would want something on this level to satisfy their need for challenge.
What we found was that the difficulty was getting in the way of people enjoying the story, making it far more of a slog than we’d intended and actively undermining their enjoyment of it. With the latest release, we went back and gave almost all of the Normal Mode content (as well as some of the Hard Mode content) major balance tweaks. This way, players who just wanted to see the story and get to the sweet rewards could, and those who still wanted a challenge could find the difficulty they crave in Hard Mode.