WARNING: GW2’s Broken Norn Story Quest

EDIT:  It’s broken, but I beat it.  With level 18 gear and abilities, I went back almost 10 levels over.  I suggest, if you are a Mesmer, to pick up Feedback.  It shreds ranged enemies and then you might want to roll with a Scepter / Torch and Staff combo with Feedback and Mirror Images as your spells.  Activate Mirror Images for aggro and stealth away.  Use the scepter to hit them with confuse (while inside of Feedback, for extra goodness).  When you die – which you will – and they are coming down the hill, use Chaos Storm to AOE them, phase retreating from within the storm for Chaos Armor.  Follow this with Phantasmal Warlock, always keeping at least two clones up for aggro.  Die some more, start over.  

When you get down to the Veteran, use all of your skills.  Feedback then storm then Warlock, switch, then confuse.  It’s a tough one.

Hey, are you waiting to play Guild Wars 2 (why didn’t you just pre-order?) tonight?  Well, I have some bad news.  Speaking from experience, there is a broken quest in the Norn storyline, so beware.  After consulting numerous sources, from forums to videos to search engines, I believe it comes about when you choose the “I lost an heirloom” option when creating a character.

From there, around level 10 or 11, you will have to do a story quest called “Rumors of Trouble” and it is, without bias, completely broken.  Now, I don’t expect ArenaNet to balance every quest for every class; that’s ridiculous.  But this is pretty glaring.  It’s literally imbalanced, poorly scripted and the game’s own rules get broken.  Here’s how:

You start with four NPCs to fight with you.  Now, the quest starts with two of them attacking a baddy in a cutscene as a mob of enemies appears.  This is problem one.  See, by the end of the cutscene, they’re half dead.  Literally.  The rest of your NPCs die within 10-15 seconds because the mob of teeny, tiny Ice Imps are improperly leveled.  They can, without exaggeration, kill you and anyone there in two shots.  There are about six of them, so everyone dies instantly.

For reference, there are the very same Ice Imps outside of this quest–at higher levels than the ones in the quest (supposedly)–that go down with little to no effort.  It makes the improperly-balanced ones inside the quest a certainty.  These are not the Imps you’re looking for.  The issue stems from the fact that, to keep the game fun, my level 18 is downgraded to a level 10 for this quest.  Under the hood, some numbers got mixed up or something, I assure you.

Not a problem, you say, just respawn and try again.  This typically works, but on top of them clearly being incorrectly scaled and your NPCs poorly scripted, their AI is broken.  When you respawn, even if the Imps are on the other side of the map, they will advance on you.  This is clearly broken because every other single encounter in the game works in the complete opposite fashion.

Oh, did I mention that after this there is a fight against some Ice Elementals (actually easy because they’re correctly leveled) and then the same broken Imp mod, but with a veteran this time?  And the veteran regenerates HP.  What fun!  Look, don’t take my word for it if you think I’m whining.  I cut my teeth on hard games.  I love hard games: Mega Man, Dark Souls, Halo LASO, Super Meat Boy, Cooking Mama.

It’s easy to say that this is a “learn to play” issue but, c’mon.  The game is so well-tailored and balanced for soloing the main quest that it’s apparent.  Considering you are auto-leveled down to the quest’s level. Considering you can’t grind to better yourself.  Considering I can fight multiple over-leveled enemies outside of this quest easily, I know they’re mixed up.  Considering the broken AI, the point of reference and the useless NPCs, this quest is broken as-is; stay away.

Still, everything that I said in my preview stands.  The game is amazing.  Watch out for this quest until it’s patched, though.

Written by: Nick Cane

Game writer, fervent lover of mac and cheese. Favorite games are ES4: Oblivion, Kirby's Adventure, Link's Awakening, Final Fantasy 8 and Mario Galaxy.