From the first to the second season of what it calls its "living story", ArenaNet has made some drastic changes. Massive live events that you had to experience then and there made way to replayable solo content that was released episodically. The third season, however, for the most part at least, follows the same pattern as the second. Therefore, we were not overly surprised to see that the season finale didn't break the mould either. It's more of the same, which was to be expected, but perhaps is a bit disappointing nevertheless.
That said, if you are satisfied with the format as it is, there is a significant amount of new content to consume. We won't go into details in regards to the story for fear of spoilers, but suffice to say that fans of the original Guild Wars will feel very nostalgic. Perhaps this is obvious considering the season so far has involved both White Mantle and Shining Blade, but rest assured ArenaNet has saved massive reveals for the grand finale!
This latest entry also offers an entirely new map, this time on the Orr peninsula, with accompanying dynamic events and heart missions. As we haven't spent much time in Orr since the end of the core game, this was a surprising and refreshing sight to see (to the extent that the putrid landscapes of Orr can be described by such a term). Unfortunately, we had very limited time to explore the new map, although, from the section that we had time to take a look at, the map design seemed solid. We also noticed that the mushrooms introduced as a way of traversing the Maguuma jungle have now spread to Orr.
With season three, it's clear that ArenaNet has found a living story format which they are comfortable with. The first season was probably overly ambitious, and the lack of replayability made it difficult for players to return after any kind of absence. That said, we feel that season two and three lack the creative spark which season one delivered in so much style. For that reason, we can't help but be a little disappointed that the season finale wasn't a grand event as opposed to primarily solo instances.