However, as a result of LA's popularity - each of the racial home cities is relatively neglected. Even at peak times you'd struggle to find 10 people wandering around these superbly constructed metropolises. This is a shame, all that effort made by the designers really shouldn't be going to waste. We need to encourage a sense of ownership of each city for the equivalent race. So, here's a few rough thoughts about how ANet might encourage people to return home.
1) Add in certain inherent bonuses for races when they're in their home cities. Buffs such as increased crafting critical or increased chance to salvage armour successfully would really bring the people home. This is a tough one, because you don't want to intentionally split the community down racial lines and essentially force people to city-hop when they're doing tasks (ie, craft the armour in LA, hop to the Grove to salvage it for ectos). So, perhaps these could be on a cycle? During the day in the Grove sylvari huntsman have a higher chance to critical due to sunlight aiding in their tree-singing. Asuran artificers have a higher chance to critical during the hours of 9-5 in Rata Sum because of their fantastic work ethic. On Sundays in Hoelbrak norn cooks have a higher chance to critical because the weekend is for feasting! By making the bonuses relatively short-term it would mean that if people choose to craft in LA they wouldn't be significantly disadvantaged - but it would draw some of the crafting crowd to home cities.
Perhaps you could even do away with the racial element entirely, and just say "Huntsman in the Grove gain a crafting critical bonus during the day" to draw in the tourist crowd.
2) For the love of all that is holy - free.fricken.waypoints. The current process to get to Divinity's Reach is: "click crossed swords at top of screen - travel to the mists - run across the courtyard into the portal to LA - reach LA - waypoint to city portals - run through portal to Divinities Reach - arrive at destination". This is ridonkulous - just give us free travel to LA for everyone, and free travel to our home cities for the equivalent races.
3) Add in more city-based events. Currently the only thing which gives anyone a reason to travel to another home city is keg-brawl in Hoelbrak. Give us a Sunday market in Divinity's Reach selling cut-price "food-in-bulk". Give us bar-crawls in Hoelbrak on a Friday night, pit-fighting in the Black Citadel every Wednesday and Polymock in Rata Sum (get that portal working for crying out loud). Give people the chance to say "Hey, *insert guildmate name here* it's Saturday, we should go to the Grove and watch the Tree-singers!".
4) Improve the home instance. Currently the place is pretty pitiful - most people don't really know where theirs is, and if they do they might have been there only once or twice in 300 hours of playing (speaking for myself). Improving this feature could be the subject of an entire post in itself. But I've got a few quick suggestions:
- A noticeboard showing your friends'/Guildmates' stats.
- Buffs for visiting certain NPCs you encountered along your storyline. "Go and visit the orphanage you saved and get an hour long 5% speed boost (to get away from those snivelling little... *cough* bundles of joy)"
- Weapon/Armour racks. What am I going to do with my Mystic Battlehammer once I (a long way off) get Sunrise? I want to display it!
- Allow us to waypoint directly into our instance.
Those are just a few of the ways we could improve the home cities. I think even one or two would improve them immensely.
EDIT: Or you could just fill Lion's Arch with scaly monsters from the deep. That might encourage people to visit the other cities.