For me Guild Wars 2 and Warframe are taking MMO Gaming up a notch in some interesting ways. Their PvE is amazing and the way they’re adding movement as an art form to their games is incredible in a lot of ways.
I mean who wasn’t excited to get their first horse back in the old days of MMO’s. I mean you usually had to grind forever to get enough gold to buy it and then just sat on it in town taking screens shots so incredibly happy that you finally have something that’s faster than running.
Ah those were the days right?
Well those days my friends were dead as soon as Fallen Earth offered a horse to new players within the first hour of gameplay. Not to mention as soon as Runes of Magic offered the ten dollar horse.
But sure, having a faster way to get around is nice and all, but what if it just adds so much to the game play that it’s just fun all by it’s self?
Well I’ll give credit to Wildstar for kicking off the concept. They had hoverboards! The hoverboards and the housing were probably the two things about the game that kept me logged in for an extra month after the game launched. I even built a skate park in my house just to play on the hoverboard. No foolin’. It was pretty fun, it added a neat extra way to get around and it was something else to do.
Guild Wars 2 decided to take mounts into a whole new direction with Path of Fire in that the mounts are actually a part of the game play. They can be openers for combat, you need them to get to specific places and to get specific items and their animations are just amazing.
While Riders of Icarus made an interesting go at making riding in game more involved by adding your mount as a combat pet, I’ll be perfectly honest with you, it was not a game that captured my interest and I’m not exactly sorry about that.
Even in Final Fantasy XIV your Chocobo is a friendly helper and not just a funny mount. Also not something I’ve played with much myself, that’s a game I tried and was pretty quickly turned off by.
Now with the launch of Fortuna Warframe is reviving that sweet sweet hoverboard action. If you’ve gotten as far as Venus in the over all story chain you’ve probably unlocked it. It’s worth giving it a go. I really liked the story and the hoverboard animations and controls are SUPER fun.
While granted it’s not as complex as the over all mount structure in GW2, the hoverboards in Warframe do have their own mini games associated with them. You can participate in races and just try to hit up random stuff around the map. Doing these things helps you “grind” rep with the kiddos in Fortuna that sell… get this… even better boards!
I want one… I want one so much!
Safe to say this kind of thing actually adds some fun to games. Funny thing is that if you add something fun to games people actually enjoy them. Hard to believe I know.
Warframe needs to have little fun extras like the fishing, mining and now hoverboarding to kind of distract a bit from the grind. Yes it can be a grindy game, but it’s pretty rewarding if you’re the kind of person who just loves getting dropped off on a random planet somewhere and thinning out the population.
I can’t explain why I like that, but I really do.
I’m betting that in the future we’re going to be seeing a lot more games work on trying to implement this kind of game play. If we don’t I’m thinking that those games are going to start losing players to the games that do. Not overnight of course, but it doesn’t take long these days for word to get around that there’s just more cool stuff in this other game.
Once again the devs at GW2 and Warframe are pushing the MMO genre forward in some interesting ways. Even their revenue models are something that the other companies could take a long look at. Just saying.
Anyway, until next time remember your F budget and have fun out there. Also… get the hoverboard… it’s AMAZING….
So Vinny and I are hitting up the GW2 Season 4 Living Story. Yes I’m late, I’ve been kind of busy grinding achievements in ESO and building amazing houses just to have you know. Worst part is that I feel better about life when I’m slacking than when I’m walking around with a shiny title, but I digress.
I mean, not that I haven’t accomplished a thing or two in GW2, Vinny and I did complete the story line for Living Story 3 and Path of Fire. Which is an accomplishment for me since I pretty much putter off to do other stuff before completing most of the GW2 stories.
I did want to find out what happened in the 3rd Living Story. In Path of Fire I MOSTLY wanted my Griffon mount, but I did want to see what happened in the story.
I just can’t wait to see more Aurene since she really brings out those odd maternal instincts that I managed to end up with somehow. You known when I’m not cackling maniacally while backstabbing Altmer with the blade of woe.
I may or may not have been caught doing that. My explanation was that “I’m not hyper, I’m just mildly psychotic.” Only mildly.
Now back to funzies…. I’m really glad I switched it up from Engie to Druid to do the stories since the new content does include some really fun condi situations. The condition cleanse and over heal I’m able to pump out on the Drood has really made a big difference in plowing through things.
Vinny however is debating on swapping out Reaper for Scourge for some boon conversion action. I’d like to see how that works out.
Since we’ve already picked up a lot of the hero points for these new toons in the Path of Fire expansion it’s going to mean heading to Heart of Thorns to snag what we can there to get the second specialization. With a bunch of masteries Heart of Thorns isn’t remotely as bad as it once was and the mounts help a bunch.
As for ESO I’m pretty much logging in to do my crafting dailies and logging out again. No sense in wasting time on not getting dem monies. Though I still need to work on getting a few more toons up to max crafting so that I can actually make some real coin on that instead of barely enough to cover my costume changes. Speaking of which I changed up my warden’s outfit… again.
I have the Fang Lair stuff and quit using it because it was ‘too racy’ for some folk. Honestly I love the rag tag look of it so I’m going to rock it and not feel bad about that. Besides, being shiny is grand. Now I just need to save up some materials and get her build re-worked to suit my needs as opposed to working off a meta only designed for content that I don’t do anymore.
Well till next time remember your F-Budgets and have fun out there.
It’s my favorite time of year again! Halloween! Which is probably evident since one of my first posts about 10 years ago was just before Halloween and I pretty much cover Halloween events in any game I’m tooling around in when that time of year comes around again.
So much spook, so much fun!
This year instead of having my head stuck ostrich style in only one game I’m actually straddling two games instead. I’m slacking in Guild Wars 2 and actually accomplishing stuff in Elder Scrolls Online.
In ESO we’ve been doing the Witches Festival thing. In the first couple days of the event I completed the achievements to purchase that awesome house I’ve been waiting to get the whole year. A big thank you goes out to Vinny and El Duderino! I could not have done it without their help and I’m really, really grateful.
Why might you ask? Well the Exorcised Coven Cottage is totally worth the gold and the effort. Spooky sounds, mist all over the place and a pond you just know is teeming with wildlife… probably… It’s the perfect setting for Halloween hijinks.
After going through and doing the main story line for the Aldmeri Dominion I managed to get some pretty cool effects for the place as well. For those curious it was that glowy skull you get from getting all the way into the fourth zone of the AD quest line and the brazier. Totally worth it to make your place look creepy cool. There’s some great resources out there on where to find what achievement furniture. The stories are totally worth doing, you get skill points for the char you do it on, and the housing items are awesome and reasonably priced so all in all it’s a win/win.
PS if you want to get 100 plunder skulls relatively fast and you don’t mind waiting 5 minutes at a time, camp a world boss. They’re on a 5 min respawn timer and you can hang out getting the requisite skulls pretty fast. If you have a high dps toon, pick a world boss right next to a delve. Run in, kill the delve boss, run back out and kill the world boss, rinse and repeat.
Skull drops are on a 5 minute timer so you can’t just camp the delve bosses and get them when those guys respawn since they’re on a much shorter respawn timer. If you’re doing it for xp and skulls this can be a better method, but if you’re just semi afk and messing around, the world bosses are a great option.
Public dungeons are another great place to get skulls from the bosses there because you pretty much get one from each boss since they’re on a fat respawn timer and far enough apart. Keep in mind though that if it’s a popular public dungeon you may end up losing out on a boss to folks who get there before you do.
That’s pretty much why I suggested going for world bosses as the first option, because you can pretty much just hang out with your homies and chat it up on Discord while you wait for the bosses. Granted it’s not the most exciting thing to do, but to be honest, sitting in the queue waiting for dungeons isn’t all that much better especially on the days where the queue is pretty much pointless as too many people are trying to use it.
Keep in mind though if you want to get that one sweet gold skull from each type of boss, you do have to do each type of boss, BUT if you don’t really care about that kind of thing, then don’t cause it’s not a big deal. The only reason to do the other content would be to get the Dremora armor motifs but since those are dropping steadily in price on the guild stores there’s no reason to slug through stuff you don’t want to do, when you can just use you’re ill gotten gains from murder hobo’ing across Tyria to buy it off someone else.
This is pretty much me applying my F budget to gaming. If I don’t give an F, I’m not doing it. I don’t have time to waste doing content I don’t want to do.
Speaking of content though, I have managed to gather enough tickets to get the first feather for the “Exclusive Indrik” mount they’re dangling at people. Kind of happy about that, and I’ll probably milk a few more tickets out of that event so that I can do as little as possible during some of the other events.
In getting back to my f-budget, I’m not sure if I’ll have access to Clockwork City by the time the next event comes up, I haven’t bought that DLC and I’m probably going to let my ESO Plus run out. The Undaunted event is also not something that I have interest in since I don’t have fun doing dungeons. Hey at least in ESO I have done them. Serious! I even did a couple of raids and some veteran dungeons as a healer no less. Though I can’t really say that I enjoyed them enough to want to do more, so I don’t really do them.
While I do have to say that even though you can get some fun loot and housing items out of the witches festival, it’s no where near as entertaining as either the Winters Day thing or the Jesters Festival. It’s just roam around and kill stuff looking like a skelly. The skelly IS pretty cool, but it’s not the same as eating so much candy that you puke on the auctioneer. Not that the bankers in ESO deserve that kind of treatment outside that one Altmer in Alinor. You know who you are.
Anyways on to GW2. I’ve been keeping it patched and logging in to have access to the living story, but I really had not felt inspired to play GW2 again until the Mad King’s festival this year. I’m pretty sure it’s been almost a year to the day since we’d actively played GW2.
Over the weekend Vinny and I went from zeros to heroes using scrolls, xp boosters and the Mad King’s labyrinth. I think we also managed to sell off a load of candy before the auctioneer was glutted with folks doing the same thing.
The Mad King’s labyrinth is SUPER fun when you can get in a group that does all of the content including the legendary bosses. We were lucky enough to get in with one group with a chill commander that just hopped back and forth between buff banners while leaving a swath of destruction in our wake. I need a moment…. it was beautiful…..
Ok Moment over… the labyrinth makes for great loot and those bosses are actually a fun challenge instead of the usual nerve frying frustration. Then again the fine line between fun and the ‘I have sufficient achievements to prove that I’m an accomplished player’ is of course always tough to balance… Well not for me since I don’t give an F about achievements. I get the stuff I want and then enjoy poking at the really cool bugs. Because REASONS.
PS if you want to get the most out of the labyrinth… you’ll want to look for a map with either well geared players or a pretty big zerg to take on those bosses. If you are on a map with just a handful of folks just wait until someone pops a commander tag then you can pretty much just tag along. If you have a commander tag, then you may as well make it pay for it’s self by popping that puppy and enjoying the sweet sweet loot.
On getting back into GW2 I’ve noticed a lot of quality of life features in the game that I didn’t realize I missed until I spent more time actually playing it. There really is a reason why a lot of the innovations of GW2 are becoming industry standards and it’d be nice if a few more of their features were adopted across the board as well.
That however is a post unto it’s self for another day.
For now, happy halloweenie to anyone entering this dark corner of the internet. Remember your f-budgets, and just have fun out there.
I am loving this mount. The Jackal in GW2 is pretty awesome. Once you can get used to how to do the blinking mechanics it can be pretty close to the canyon jumping raptor. It would be nice if you could go vertical with it to be honest, but I’ll stick with it’s range now just to have access to the Jackal portals.
Once I unlocked the mastery for those portals it felt like a total game changer. It makes you feel like you have the VIP pass to the bar and you get to bypass a bunch of stuff just sneaking into portals.
Granted sometimes there’s some mobs at the other end, but the whole point of this mount is the evasion. You just jump and blink. Poof you’re good! It really adds a whole lot to the game. Now I find myself constantly looking for Jackal portals and I love it.
This mount really brings me back to Fallen Earth and the Blightwolf mount that I worked my butt off to get in that game. I rode that thing everywhere because it could go a lot of places that other mounts couldn’t. It wasn’t the fastest, but it was economical and fun. And trust me, in a land where you make your own gas, having something that didn’t eat it’s own weight every five minutes was pretty awesome.
So far Path of Fire has been a blast. Though I’m still working on getting some weapon skins that I want and I’m still wondering if I have the right dye job for my priory explorer RP character, I’m enjoying the hell out of the game.
If you really want to get a lot out of it, I would reccomend going with the explorer’s approach to this content and taking your time. You know, savoring being a stranger in a strange land. Getting that “I’ve just logged into a new MMO feeling and I want to see everything there is to see.”
I’m lucky that I have someone reminding me to play that way and I’m loving it. Besides, it’s not like this game is going anywhere.
We’ve recently had some of our friends join me and CrankB in Guild Wars 2. Even my Mom has gotten back into the game. Currently she’s working on her Druid. I kind of sold her on the slightly more mage-like aspect of the Drood.
Since her only level 80 character is a Ranger, it works for her. Now before you say anything my Mom does have other gaming obligations, a full time job, pets and a home to take care of so she doesn’t really need nor have time for an army of alts.
Our Danish friends however are having a blast discovering the little fun aspects of Guild Wars 2 and those awesome features that made the vanilla game a cut above the average annoying MMO.
In fact two of our friends had quit playing MMO’s all together because they were tired of the grind, the inventory management and the the typical back and forth bull that goes along with playing MMO’s.
They like the crafting system that gives you xp and levels pretty darn quickly through discovery. Especially when a guildy is donating materials.
They also like the fact that you don’t have to go back and forth to NPC’s. Honestly that was one of my biggest selling points of the game.
They LOVE the fact that you can send things to your bank from your bags. That makes obtaining crafting materials SO much less of a grind.
They also like the fact that the game has FUN elements to it. Well at least the base game. BEFORE they sold out to the “challenge” and “raid” morons.
Take Dinner here for instance. In Nageling not only is there a giant that can even one shot level 80’s, but there’s a chicken that runs around called Dinner. If you find him you can catch him and run around with a chicken.
There’s quests where you can corral cattle, catch chickens, smack bad chickens with a shovel (they’re just fine by the way it doesn’t kill them) and you can even blow up stumps.
Honestly Diessa Plateau is one of those zones in GW2 that was just done right. It’s full of fun easter eggs. I mean really, whoever planned out and designed that zone should have been given a medal, and a pizza trophy. Oh and whoever came up with the Mighty Ouou. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about.
Even the events in GW2 don’t get old. Sorry Rift but the tears opening and then closing them in exactly the same fashion every single time. Well it gets really, really old.
Even if a zone gets taken over and you have to clear it out, it’s still not as interesting as taking back the Harathi Hinterlands from the centaur.
There you have an actual story, actual goals, real bosses and a real challenge. Not just tab target, button one, tab target, button one, tab target…. Well, you get the picture.
Right now in GW2 we’re all goofing off. CrankyB and myself are remembering what the game was like when we started and a lot of the times we’re reminiscing about the olden days.
In the mean time we’re also looking at the future. What things we want to do now.
Chances are we won’t do any raiding. To me it just doesn’t sound fun and I’ve never been a raid fan anyway.
We might look into getting a guild hall, we might not. Really the guys enjoy watching the chests try to eat the Charr Lionsguard in Lion’s Arch. Which honestly I can’t blame them, it’s funny as hell.
I won’t be grinding masteries, I won’t be grinding the meta events in the convoluted new content, I’m just going to stick to the game that I know and love.
Though I will be enjoying my Chronomancer. It’s so much fun!
They should be called Sub Class Specializations NOT Elite Specializations.
Here’s my reasoning:
They change the way you play a class that you have, giving it more of a sub class feel.
They are not MORE powerful or more difficult to play in any way than the vanilla classes.
The problem with giving ANYTHING the title”elite” in gaming is that a small subset of rabid players assume that if something has the elite tag on it that only they should be able to have it. They also assume that it should be very difficult if not almost impossible to obtain.
The Guild Wars 2 (GW2) Elite Specializations are not THAT elite let’s face it. They are VERY fun to play, but they are not so over powered that they should have the elite tag OR the original super high price point.
Maybe some of the ITEMS they hid in with the Elite Specializations are. That of course is subjective.
The items could have been part of an ‘elite’ story line. They could have been only obtainable through raids. These could also be items that could only be obtainable through a hefty grind like the iridescent armors, some GW2 back pieces and legendary weapons.
The sub class skill lines DID NOT need to be gated.
If the PvP’rs do not have to unlock these sub-classes, then they cannot be THAT elite otherwise too many people would be complaining of a PvP pay to win situation.
With that being said, if PvP’rs do not have to unlock these sub-classes why does the rest of the game have to?
Because like that one kid in the front row of the classroom who always reminds the teacher to assign homework, there’s a subset of gamers who say they want ‘more challenging content.’
Though what they REALLY want, is some special snowflake item that is super rare and hard to get. This way they feel like they can stand out among the masses as someone that has truly accomplished something.
Come on kids, getting a fancy helm in a video game is not an accomplishment, it’s an unlock. Curing cancer, preventing wars, or even finding time to play games while holding down a full time job and keeping your squealing, projectile pooping, newborn alive are accomplishments.
The downside is that these kids are the ones that have more time to haunt the forums. They get their entire twitch channels to log into x, y or z game and demand whatever it is they want.
Sadly a lot of developers capitulate to this because they think that it must be what the players want.
The truth of the matter is that the silent majority is too busy with real life to bother looking at the forums. They’re spending their precious free time actually playing the game not roaming the forums bitching about it.
As one person states in the GW2 forums, it’s not the casuals that ruined GW2. It was a casual game from the start and was advertised as such. It’s the purportedly “hard core” gamers that are trying to ruin the game for the casual players by complaining that they want more difficulty.
IE, trying to turn the game into World of Warcraft.
Developers are willing to make these changes because hey, they want more players.
The problem is that then they piss off ALL of the players that have been paying for the game the whole time.
An actual compromise is the best way to go and honestly ArenaNet did a good job with this. Leaving the actual grind of the masteries but reducing the hero point cost for people who just want to try the sub-class specializations on more than one class.
Now however the “hard core” gamers believe that the entire game is ruined. Not because there’s easier access to the sub-classes, but because other players will be able to wear the same helm.
I am dead serious, that is one post in the forums at the moment. I mean really, did this guy assume that NO ELSE was going to unlock the Reaper, EVER? Now that is naive.
Keep in mind that these are probably the same players who blindly follow commander tags, stand on top of one another for buffs and always, ALWAYS use whatever build is the meta at the moment. All of which leads to getting the most done in the least amount of time possible so that they can stand around complaining that they don’t have enough to do while watching “let’s play” of 6 different games. This is the GW2 “hard core” player.
These “hard core” people are also stating that they can obtain all of the Hero Points in 2-3 hours. Now has anyone posted screenshots, how to’s or videos on how to complete the masteries, stories, content AND obtain the Hero Points in 2-3 hours?
That I’d love to see.
To wrap things up let me just state that while I agree with ArenaNet’s changes I can’t say that I fully agree with gating skill based content in games. I get that they have to do it to a point for players who get the jibblies when things aren’t just so. Thing is though, I really hope that in the future they don’t try to force the point cap to huge quantities. Hopefully they keep in mind that they built a game with a lot of fun classes and that the bulk of their players like to play more than just one at a time.
Making challenging content is one thing. Telling people who WANT to play more than one class that they better have a crap ton of time on their hands or just choose one toon is not challenging. It’s a slap in the face to people who enjoy experiencing the game using more than one class and who have invested the time in those classes.
Not to mention the people who have invested the MONEY in additional character slots.
After all, who is going to be worth more cash over time. The handful of people who have one main that they push through the content at release and then bugger off to the next new game as soon as it’s available, OR the people who take their time and play an army of alts through the content.
It was a smart move on ArenaNet’s part. Seriously.
If you take a look at one of the latest Guild Wars 2 (GW2) news posts today you’ll see that ArenaNet is making some very popular changes to their Heart of Thorns content. Changes I would have to agree are only going to improve what is overall solid post 80 content over all.
Despite a few nay sayers, it looks like most people are willing to accept that ArenaNet has agreed to a valid compromise for the Elite Specializations.
Howso? Well they are reducing the Elite Specialization to a 250 Hero Point price range. That is sitting a LOT easier with GW2’s more casual and super alt happy player base.
Many players felt mislead by ArenaNet in that there was no announcement of the 400 Hero Point cost until 4 days before launch. Couple that with the fact that we all had instant access to the specializations during the beta weekends without seeing any of the end game progression aspect that ArenaNet intended.
We’re going to update the elite specialization unlock to find a better middle ground by reducing the cost of unlocking every possible ability for an elite specialization from 400 hero points to 250 hero points total. This means you will be able to access them much earlier inGuild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns PvE or World vs. World and fully unlock them much earlier as well. This also means you’ll be able to experience more of the expansion story as your elite specialization earlier on while still maintaining some of our core goal. This should also help players with lots of alts try out more of the elite specializations. If you’ve already put more than 250 points into your elite specialization, surplus hero points will be refunded to your character for future use.
To me this is a solid compromise. It still offers the progression aspect that ArenaNet originally intended while making the Elite Specializations much less of a grind for folks who wanted to use the Specializations to better enjoy the content.
I’m sure they also probably can’t just decouple all of the items included in unlocking the Specialization either.
While you will still see some who try to argue against the decision, in this game the casual player is the majority and they not only made their voice heard but are also grateful.
They are also fixing a Megaserver issue that made it harder for players to group up for the new content.
Now as you can imagine CrankyB will be telling me that I have no excuse for NOT getting into the new content.
Here I am, out of semi-retirement otherwise known as hating my hosting provider to gripe about the new Guild Wars 2 (GW2) expansion Heart of Thorns (HoT). Well not all of it, just one tiny aspect that I had been SERIOUSLY looking forward to.
Which part? The elite specializations.
Now to tie in the title, I feel that the elite specializations in HoT were not much more than a beta bait and switch.
Here’s my reasoning. They allowed testing of the elite skills by players who purchased the new expansion. When we created the characters we had access to the Specialization Line, all the Skills and the Weapons specific to each class. Well once they were made available of course.
Secondly, during the final beta weekend, when we started at the beginning of the new content we instantly had access to the Elite Specialization.
To my knowledge during all of this time nothing was mentioned about gating the Elite Specialization line, at least not by ArenaNet. There was a post related to earning Hero Points in WvW. Though honestly I ignored it as I thought it was a quality of life improvement for WvW players who wanted to level exclusively through WvW. Note that even THIS announcement was made 4 days before HoT went live.
While there probably was some form of announcement made about gating the Elite Specializations with Hero Points made earlier than even the news blast about earning Hero Points in WvW. I don’t recall seeing any earlier posts about that in the forums. CrankyB haunts them religiously so I’m pretty sure we’d have seen something. If someone else can link an earlier post, I’ll be happy to revise the statement.
Apparently after the WvW news blast people started asking questions. At this point we all found out that it would require 400 Hero Points to unlock the Elite Specialization. Not 400 total Hero Points for your character, but 400 Hero Points on top of completely unlocking every talent and skill available to your character’s class. Remember, this was all of 4 days before HoT went live. Some of us paid for the expansion MONTHS in advance of release.
For those who don’t play GW2, you use Hero Points to unlock your skills and you earn those throughout the PvE game world. You also earn a good portion of Hero Points just in leveling your character. You kind of need this so that you have enough talents to actually engage effectively in combat.
The most dedicated players who have completed the whole of the old world end up with about 200 hero points. So that is about half of what you need to completely unlock the Elite Specialization.
ArenaNet tried to calm it’s solo happy and path of least resistance PvE content players by stating that they would be able to unlock 10 Hero Points per Hero Point location in the new HoT zones. Personally I was skeptical but CrankyB wanted to give ArenaNet the benefit of the doubt.
It turns out that I was valid in my skepticism because guess what? Those lovely 10 point Hero Points are gated behind Masteries. Masteries are gated behind both story missions and small to large group oriented zone content.
What this boils down to is that players who were expecting to use the new Elite Specializations to play the new content in PvE, have to UNLOCK the PvE content BEFORE they can unlock the PvE content that lets them unlock their Elite Specializations.
Yo Dawg I heard you like gating content.
To the bulk of the PvE’rs looking forward to playing this expansion, this logic is completely ass backwards. They wanted to use the Elite Specializations to enjoy playing the new content. They weren’t expecting to slug through such grindy content just to eek through their Elite Specialization one excruciatingly earned talent point at a time.
To ArenaNet, a bunch of goodies hidden in with unlocking the talent points justifies adding such a large talent point cost to the Elite Specialization. ArenaNet is adding new crafting recipes, item skins, and exotic gear. I assume they believe that these unlocks justify gating talent trees behind not one but THREE layers of content.
That’s right, THREE layers of content. Story content, Masteries content, and then Hero Point content.
The Story Content is similar to the living stories, where you follow along some of the most whiny and annoying emo heroes since independent comics just to complete a set of objectives. Also, you can’t access the new content or begin unlocking the new content Masteries without first completing a story mission.
The Masteries Content is basically zone xp that you garner through a zone chock full of events. Don’t get me wrong, unlocking glider mastery seemed super neato, but needing to level up using a bouncing mushroom seemed a bit off.
Now once you manage to master the basics of the zone, you can then BEGIN to start looking for and obtaining the zone Hero Points. Some of which apparently are jumping puzzles that require the new gliding skill. That seems neat enough. But some of them require defeating a melt your face champion before you can access them. In the old world you maybe had to defeat a veteran or an elite. There may have been some champions guarding Hero Points in Orr, but these were for the most part ignored by anyone that wasn’t trying to get a map complete.
Now, honestly the Masteries idea is a neat and novel concept. I also agree with CrankyB that the day/night cycle in the zones is also pretty bad ass.
What isn’t so bad ass is that there are very few waypoints in the zone and almost as little players. That’s right, brand spanking new content almost completely devoid of players. So those Hero Points with the face melting champions? Well you better hope that you have someone in that new mega guild you just joined to come help you out or you’ll just have to wait until either other people are desperate enough to go against the champion OR ArenaNet nerfs the content.
We saw maybe 3 or 4 players other than our group in the content. Except when one waypoint was unlocked. Then a few people showed up just to go for the unlocked Hero Point and subsequently disappeared again.
So there’s this whole new set of zones chock full of group based content that people more or less have to solo because no one else is playing in the zones.
Which is funny because a great deal of GW2 players enjoy solo PvE, but can’t solo this content because it’s designed for small to large groups.
I’m not sure if that’s the definition of Irony, but it’s got to be close.
While the lack of players might be a megaserver issue, I highly doubt it. Every other zone entered worked just fine and the standard PvE hotsposts were still humming right along.
Now this means that despite the fact that ArenaNet is trying to force players into the new content by gating the Elite Specializations behind these Hero Points, no one is taking the bait. Why? Because people would rather slog through the old world content to unlock at least half of the require Hero Points OR they’re farming them in WvW.
Because despite the few players who tell the rest of the player base to just “get better” or “toughen up”, the bulk of the GW2 player base is the “path of least resistance” type of player. They’ve been trained to play that way based on the options that had previously been available in the game.
Obtaining the most grindy loot in the game the Ascended gear and the Legendaries, wasn’t really even that grindy. You could just farm for gold to buy your legendary or even use gold to buy a spot in a fractal which awards ascended gear. If you just convert gems to gold you don’t even have to work THAT hard.
Honestly I’d love to see ArenaNet pool the numbers to see which of the Hero Points in the new zones are completed the most frequently. I’m pretty sure that they’d see that the ones that don’t require player assistance are the ones completed the most often.
The people that play solo in GW2 silently outnumber the folks who loudly whine for more challenging group content.
So while these up until now silent solo players have been happily humming through almost 2 years of barely changed content in GW2, they’ve just been slapped in the face with a huge expansion cost and a bigger Hero Point bill.
Hero Points that they can barely access or can’t even access at all without the help of players that they hadn’t needed to play with before. I mean maybe we all grouped together in short spurts to take out a champion or two, but then we all went on about our own merry way.
Even in WvW you have roamers that prefer to play solo or in small groups when running around looking for other players to kill.
Solo WvW roaming or 1v1 PvP is still a viable option for gameplay in GW2, but solo or small group PvE is quickly becoming frowned upon. Honestly I have no idea why this is even becoming a thing except for those few players who log into the forums demanding “more difficult content.”
The problem is that I’m not even sure that developers understand that “more challenging” content translates to “give me a loot grind.”
The bulk of the PvE players are in Orr, SilverWastes, or batting at any event that proves to be a loot pinata as CrankB likes to call them. SilverWastes proves to be one such loot pinata. You can obtain a crap ton of loot just for spending relatively little time in a zone as long as you’re stubborn enough to endure the annoying knock down mobs and load up on condition purging skills. The attack on Lion’s Arch was another such loot piniata and let me tell you, that map was ALWAYS full during the event.
The old world PvE seems to be alive and kicking without a hitch. The new, large player focused and grind happy content that was made for the “I want a challenge players” is practically barren ONE DAY after launch.
So yeah, apparently players aren’t going to play “challenging content” over loot pinata content. They might play raids if they offer enough rewards. Chances are though, if they don’t the megaguilds that were so anxious for the raiding content are going to be hard pressed to find enough players willing to bother doing raids for more than a one time achievement unlock.
What players are doing is earning the additional Hero Points through World vs World, or the old world content. IE, they’re going to take the path of less resistance to get what they want and maybe, just maybe, they’ll swing back through your difficult content if it turns out that there’s some achievement or another they feel they need.
Also, if they just want to play with the new Elite Specializations without doing ANYTHING at all, they can simply enter the PvP lounge where they have direct access to the Elite Specializations, no Hero Points required. Because PvP.
I’m sure that this is part of the “Play Your Way” bull crap that they’re trying to advertise. To begin explaining how much of a farce this line is becoming in GW2 post HoT requires a blog post of it’s own.
If they really wanted to let us play it our way, they’d let the PvE and WvW players have access to the Elite Specialization the same way the arena PvP players have access to it.
Now before you tell me “well that’s just GW2”, let me politely remind you that this game has not been a grind up to this point. It was even advertised as such.
If someone who plays as casually as I do has 6 max level toons, that has to tell you how little grind there is to be had.
With that in mind, I really, really, don’t understand why they had to add the Hero Point grind, on top of the Masteries grind on top of a Story Arc grind. Though apparently they are removing some of the Story Arc requirements. With the new stat types they’ve added, I’m pretty sure that adds a gear grind for using optimal gear with your Elite Specialization, just a icing on a grind-tastic cake.
It wouldn’t surprise me if all of this crap was just considered to be raid attunement for HoT. Look how well grindy raiding attunements worked for WildStar.
What bothers me is that as a player who has NO interest in raiding period, I feel almost forced through this content just to “play my way” with an Elite Specialization.
Ask anyone who has a Guardian. You don’t see them even attempting the new content as you simply need a solid range option until you unlock enough masteries. Sure you can try it and die horribly and repeatedly, but let’s be honest, who finds that to be FUN?
If “Playing Your Way” was truly something that ArenaNet wanted to take to heart and wasn’t just some marketing scam, then the PvE and WvW players would have as direct access to these skills just like PvP players.
They can gate the crap out of the fluff content that goes along with it. That part I agree should be earned in a 100% fashion. But the skills themselves? No.
Rift tried gating talent trees behind dungeons when the game launched. A small part of the player base thought this was a novel and ideal approach.
Let me tell you that a large and largely non vocal majority thought this was bull crap and didn’t buy the game. How do I know this? Because later all of the talent trees were available from a vendor. Then later still they were all available to all players from the start. If players LOVED this option, why didn’t it remain gated?
I might also add that Rift went from pay to play to free to play in a year. Meaning that the game did not keep enough players to support its self on subscriptions alone.
It doesn’t matter if a few players think that things that are a horrible grind make them feel elite. The fact that the rest of us paid for the content too and would like to at least have a chance to play it, makes our say just as valid as theirs. Furthermore, the bulk of players out of any MMO are going to choose the path of least resistance and aren’t even going to bother with the difficult content until they have people that can help walk them through it.
WoW has been listening to their players tell them this. That is why their dungeons and raids are the way they are now instead of requiring the heavy attunement and 40 man spread that was found in vanilla WoW.
I don’t even listen to the old fogey gamers that try to tell me that such a thing was the epitome of gaming. I’ve talked to players who actually DID the 8 hour 40 man raids and they wouldn’t go back to them unless they were paid to do so.
WildStar tried to out the elite old school WoW raiding and ended up hemorrhaged players in it’s first month live. They THEN went free to play in it’s first year live. I was there for the first two months. Many of the zones looked even more barren than the new Hot content.
Hopefully developers will finally figure out that trying to gate content needlessly and limiting their players’ character doesn’t make their players happy. Like ever. Also, grind without a significant loot factor is also not going to win them any awards.
I’m hoping that someone politely reminds ArenaNet.
Though I do feel assed out in my HoT purchase, my one saving grace is that I still have the Revenant to level. For the time being that is the ONLY aspect of HoT that I will have access to for the forseeable future.
Because despite buying the expansion IN ADVANCE, and PAYING to beta test their product, I’m assed out of a good quantity of the product because I’m not willing to join a faceless megaguild just to participate in the content I paid for.
Now what I fear is that all soloable or small group PvE content will be removed from the game in favor of trying as hard as they might to get MORE players to play the game by making content that just plain requires more players to play it.
From what it looks like now all that is going to create is a bunch of empty zones.
Having one zone like Silverwastes that requires a large amount of player cooperation is one thing. Trying to spread that out through 4 zones where people are trying to accomplish all kinds of goals on their own on top of getting bumpkiss for loot?
Yeah, I wonder why people are asking for refunds.
No matter how hard the 1% of Min/Maxing hard core gamers try to convince the rest of the population, the bulk of the player base wants loot now, and with minimal effort. What they’ve forgotten is that the bulk of players go for the path of least resistance and probably won’t play content that they can’t cake walk through.
That means that the bulk of the player base is not going to play this new content until it’s dumbed down or until it becomes enough of a loot pinata that they won’t be able to resist.
This also means that few people are going to bother completing the Masteries or Stories in the new content. Also few are going to bother gathering the 10 point Hero points until the entire area has been made accessible by at least the median class of casual player.
So hopefully them raider types got everything they were hoping for out of this new expansion.
Though granted, they didn’t get their raids, because well, those aren’t done yet. But hell, at least they have 4 maps worth of large group content to ignore until their raids are ready. Because everyone knows that raiders spend a lot of time grinding through open world PvE content.
Way to go ArenaNet.
Now I will leave you with one of the best analogies yet for HoT:
I go into a restaurant to have a meal. Before I can get throught the door, the hostess asks me to prepurchase my meal. I’ve eaten here before and thought their stuff was amazing so I go ahead and give them some money. After I sit down at a table, a waitress comes over with a dirty plate and utensils. She says, ” The plate and utensils are the ones you used the last time you were here. We recently have changed to new plates and utensils but if you want to use those to enjoy the contents of your meal you will have to sweep and mop the kitchen and wash the plate and utensils you previously used.” I told the waitress that this was unreasonable and that I wanted to enjoy the contents of my meal on the new plate and utensils. She shakes her head and says, “I will never understand the sense of entitlement some of these customers have.”
Right now my current goal in Guild Wars 2 is to finally fully level a Necromancer. I think I’ve created and deleted 5 or so Necros and so far only Epona has managed to make it past 50.
On top of just leveling her and part of what keeps me from giving her the ax sometimes is the host of other mini goals that I have for her that tie in with Epona’s long and winding path to level 80. I am a slacker so I take my time.
I plan on doing some Tailoring and Artificing on Epona. I want the sigils and consumables available from Artificing as well as just having some sweet looking armor with fancy stats that I can build via tailoring.
To complete the look I want at level 80 I’m going to want to make the light Ascended legs. That’s going to be a pain, but itl’ll look kind of sweet. Well to me anyways. I’m not worried about making a full Ascended set. Just one piece is good enough for me really.
Since I’ll need materials for leveling crafting. I might as well do some roaming about for trees and work on actually completing some zones. I’ll probably start out with the low level zones to get those out of the way and then work on the higher level zones later.
That not only gives me good gobs of XP but it also helps me work on map completion. I would like to manage to do that with one out of my 6 characters one of these days.
The sweet part about GW2 is that it’s almost impossible NOT to level your character. Walking through zones gives me XP. Completing the hearts or quest type objectives gives me XP. Helping out on random events, oh yeah XP there. Killing zone bosses, yeah that gives me XP. Oh and going back to town to craft with all the junk I just picked up also gives me some XP. Best part is that aside from the quest objectives, I can run back through the same zones and still get XP. Not too shabby.
As for my combat goals for my Necromancer, that is all going to revolve around having a fun grouping AoE killer with handy supporting elements. On the AoE note, basically I pan on going with a staff build and targeted wells. Then I plan on pumping as much of my build into those two things as I can at the moment. My husband designs my builds for the most part so I take no credit in what I end up with. Though playing them is all me.
Until next time I’ll be roaming about Tyria, killing stuff and poking my nose around every corner. If you’re on the Euro servers and want to say hi just let me know.
I have to make a lengthy confession. I have been playing Guild Wars off and on since April 2013. My husband remembers. I’m horrible for dates.
I wanted to get into another MMO. I took a look at GW2 and decided that it was something that I wanted to try even though all of my friends had already played and left the game.
While I have also been in and out of GW2 just to have a change of pace I always find myself going back to the game. Now every time I play an MMO, I really enjoy it until I end up comparing it to GW2.
This is pretty much the growing list of GW2 features that keeps me coming back.
This is a new reason, but no less valid. Now you can’t go into a zone in Guild Wars 2 and NOT see another player. Even if that player is from another server, it doesn’t matter. If they are in a zone you are in, the Megaserver technology merges them and you get to play with other people.
This means zones aren’t empty. This is big for an MMO because when you are playing an massively multiplayer game you shouldn’t be playing by yourself.
This is a big one for me. So you hit 80 and now what? In GW2 the the whole map is your plaything. Same as in the original Guild Wars where you can go where ever with your fully leveled toon.
When you enter any zone your level scales to the zone. So if your level 80 goes back to a level 10 zone, you keep your traits, skills and abilities but you are scaled down to the zone around you. That basically means that if you’re not on your game a level 10 champion can still kick your level 80 butt.
This makes it a lot easier to enjoy playing with folks just starting the game as well as just being able to enjoy and get a ton of XP for completing even the starter zones of the other races.
In Guild Wars 2 the loot scales with you. So if you’re in a level 10 zone as an 80 killing stuff, you get level 80 gear. I am not joking. You won’t get high level harvestables from that zone but you will at least have something to sell to fix your gear. That’s really only necessary if you play with one of those special friends who love running head first into champions on a whim. I have those it can be awesome and it can be painful but it is all good fun.
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that sometimes you get gear slightly below your level, but you still get stuff you can sell if not use.
Events Add Repeatable Content
In GW2 there is something to do in every zone even if you have completed the hearts that are the GW2 equivalent to quests. The events give you more XP than the quests and usually more loot than you can shake a stick at. Remember too that the loot is for your level whatever level that may be.
This also means that if you are on a higher level toon and going back to help a friend level, you will be able to get XP in that zone not just from killing mobs but also from doing these events again. So this means running around with your friends gives you event XP and loot on top of kill XP even if you’ve completed all of the quest type based content.
The events also mean that the zones rarely feel like the same zone twice. Very rare events mean that you can go through a zone once or twice and only once run into some of these events. If you power level through a zone (which is really easy to do in GW2) you can miss a lot of content that you can always go back and see another time.
In Guild Wars 2 you get XP for harvesting, you share harvesting nodes with everyone, and your harvestables can be sent to storage so they don’t fill up your bags or your bank.
The only downside to harvesting in Guild Wars is that you have to buy the tools. It’s not such a big deal for me though, I just make sure I have some extra tools in my pack. You can also buy permanent tools for Gems that don’t wear out and some offer extra loot. It’s up to you if you want them.
In GW2 you can harvest like a mad person on every character on your account and right click to send all of the crafting materials to one central harvestables bank. You can access that bank while you are in the main city to pull things for sale on the auction house or you can access them directly while crafting. You don’t even have to have the items in your bags, the collectables bank counts.
You can extend your max collectables storage if you hoard things. That does cost gems on the market. Once again though, totally optional. I’ve played the game for over a year now and still haven’t extended my collectables.
This set up lets you have one or two characters you roam the map with and one character that just lives in town and does nothing but craft. This is handy for a character that you’ve invested a lot of time in but don’t really feel like playing their class too much.
Crafting Helps you Level
I did mention that you get leveling XP from crafting right? In GW2 if you want to craft while you are leveling it is actually beneficial. It not only gives you stat boosts and stuff you can sell on the auction house, but it also gives you level XP.
The downside is that if you have to buy any crafting materials from the auction house, it will seriously ruin your profit. On the upside, if you spend extra time in a zone at your crafting level collecting components you can still get plenty of XP from mob kills and events.
Join Multiple Guilds
In GW2 guilds are account bound. So if you join a guild every character you have is also in that guild. However you do not have to represent that guild on every toon or all of the time.
Representing a guild means that you are active in that guild at the moment. If you are a member of mutliple guilds, you have to represent another guild to access that guild bank, perks and/or chat channel. This lets you join multiple guilds that specialize in different areas of the game. It also means that you can be a part of one guild that is active at the moment, but not leave another guild that is less active for whatever reason.
Guilds are also cross server. You can also visit them whenever you like and not have to transfer server just to say hello or go on a rampage through a zone. If you want to get the guild skins or access the bank you have to have those perks unlocked in a guild based on your server though (last time I checked).
Free Trait Resets
GW2 now lets you change your trait build whenever and wherever you are as long as you are out of combat of course. This makes it much easier to trade out your weapons, skills and traits to match whatever content you intend to tackle for the day. The best part is that you can save the cash you were spending on changing your build to pay for more map travel and or the bigger bags you’ll need to carry extra weapons and loot.
Weapon Based Skills
In GW2 your weapon determines how you fight. Most classes can weapon swap on the fly to use different skills and weapon sets in battle. Even for those classes that cannot weapon swap on the fly, they either have access to a lot more skills per weapon or can slot in different bundle type weapons. That and being able to swap weapons out of combat means that you can be so detailed as to having the perfect weapon set up for any one type of encounter. That is for your class of course. Now with the free trait resets you can also revise your build on the fly to match the change in weapons.
Account Bound Dye and Free Dying Costs
In Guild Wars 2 dyes are an investment. For some rare colors you can spend quite a bit on the Auction House. Thanks to new changes every dye you buy binds to your account so every character on your account has access to whatever dyes you unlock.
Also dying your gear at any time, with any color you have is free. So if you want to go all green for saint patty’s day then back to the standard red and black the next day, you’re not going to pay extra for that.
The wardrobe is actually one of the newer features but it’s pretty neat. You can unlock as many armor skins as you can find in the game. It also stores them in a collectables fashion which means that you don’t have to actually retain that piece of armor to have an unlock for the look of it. Once you have the armor skin unlocked you can transmute it over your current armor. The only limitation is of course that it has to be an armor value that your class can use in the game. A light armor class can only transmute light armor for instance.
This lets you set up some very unique outfits for your characters based on what you’ve managed to pickup. So despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of players in the game, you may be the only bright pink Sylvari wearing that top and those trousers.
The downside is that you have to pay for the transmutes with gems that you buy with IRL cash. The upside is that it supports the game for a pretty minimal fee and is purely aesthetic. The cost for a handful of transmutation charges is still less than you’d spend on a monthly sub. You can also buy some unique skins too, but once again it is a purely aesthetic purchase and is purely optional.
Rotating Story Arcs and General World Events
So on top of the generic in game holidays that give you fun little side things to do in between the general grind, there are large story arcs. These are incredibly cool as they actually effect the world. When they call them “Living World” stories they’re not joking. Lion’s Arch still hasn’t fully recovered after a story arc turned it into a war zone.
End of story is that the whole map in GW2 isn’t static. As wars and battles rampage the map they actually leave lasting impressions. If you were a part of the stories you’re able to say ‘hey I saw this happen’ and if you weren’t you log in and it leaves you asking no end of questions.
So if you like the living stories but don’t really have the time to participate, Arena Net has added a fun new feature. The Story Journal. This lets you go back to events you missed for whatever reason and experience them even if you aren’t able to participate in the living story while it’s live. This has been one of the biggest criticisms of the Living Story in Guild Wars 2 and this is probably one of the most interesting new changes.
PvP is a big part of GW2 and World vs World or WvW is another aspect of it. This is really the PvP in the game that I enjoy. It has it’s own explorable map, keeps and siege weapons. I haven’t personally done a lot of it, but from what I have participated in, I can say that it’s PvP that I can get into, eventually.
Wrapping it up:
The purpose of this post isn’t to sell anyone on playing Gw2. You either want to play it or you don’t, the choice is yours. The purpose of this article is more to serve as a reminder to myself of the things I need to remember about GW2 before I check out another shiny new game. Thing is that if a game doesn’t have a lot of the features on this list I am probably not going to bother.
The thing about GW2 is that it is more of a game for ‘the other half’. I’m talking about people that do not want to ‘raid’ or ‘pvp’. I mean exclusively pvp because GW2 does have a heavy pvp focus, but it isn’t the only post level cap activity.
GW2 isn’t top heavy leaving the starting areas empty while people rush to get to end game content. This is a game that scales level 80’s down to participate in low level content but still gives them loot worth their time and effort. This is also a game that will scale players up to 80 just to participate in current Living Story content so that they don’t feel rushed to get their level cap. They still have to be high enough level to get to the zone to participate, but they can still participate.
To me the fact that GW2 is less about levels and more about content really is a selling point. The fact that I can roam the map with my friends and still feel like I’m enjoying and exploring the map regardless of whether or not I’ve already completed it, is also a big bonus.
For tonight I’ll be in GW2 working on a Sylvari Elementalist or maybe finish my 40 plus Human Necromancer. Either one would give me my 4th level 80 in the game.
In the meantime I’ll be debating whether I’m going to go back to WildStar and give it another shot. Either way I will have to log in and talk it over with my guild. I am still subbed for one more month of WildStar but at this point I really do not think the game is right for me. I am not saying it isn’t a great game. For people who love raiding and pvp content WildStar is totally for them.
Until next time I hope that you too enjoy playing whatever game you enjoy the most.