Elder Scrolls Online ESO: Exploring One Tamriel and Morrowind

2017-11-28_17-29-54The legendary RPG series that is the Elder Scrolls is really something to behold. I’ve only played Elder Scrolls Online. I tried it a bit after launch, but it didn’t inspire me to want to keep subbing. It wasn’t a bad game, but it needed some time to mature.

Since ESO has been out for a while, it’s had time to build up content and refine some features. If you tried it at launch and haven’t looked back, now would be a pretty good time to figure out what password you used and give it a second look.

The launch of One Tamriel has REALLY been a game changer for ESO. Why? Because now you can play anywhere in the game regardless of faction or level. It really gives the game far more of the single player feel you find in Skyrim or Fallout if you’ve ever played those. Where unless you walk into a death claw, you can pretty much wander the map aimlessly looking at whatever you want and doing whatever you want along the way. Just remember to save often.

One Tamriel makes it a LOT easier to meet up with friends and game together. You don’t have to decide on a faction to play, and if people get a bit ahead that doesn’t matter, you can all still play together since the world scales to your level no matter where you are or what level you are.

Since this is a multiplayer environment, it’s nice to give people the option to play together without making it into a hassle and dropping the standard zone level format is actually a boon to the game. The exploration aspect of ESO was it’s strongest selling point. The fact that you practically needed to have a full level character to get to some of the content felt like a bit of a detractor for me the first time around. Now if you want to head strait to find vampires and werewolves the only thing stopping you is finding the right boat. Since you can now play through the content of all three factions on one character and there’s the DLC content and the Morrowind content, there’s more than one boat to hunt down.

Having all that content to play through also also removes some of the worry over having enough skill points to unlock passives and skills. This can give you a lot more build flexibility as you roam about the content and lets you experiment with different aspects of gameplay without feeling like you have to run back to the respec shrine every five minutes.

 

The evolution of ESO has definitely made for a more fun environment. For old folks like me, the lack of over the top flashy combat effects is also a big plus. The PvP is optional and not forced. Dungeons are optional, not forced. Even the justice system is a mechanic can for the most part be avoided, but can also lead to some really hilarious situations.

If you’ve ever been ‘that guy’ who ended up wreaking havoc in the Fallout games by stealing a bottle of soda, then you know what happens when you have guards after you. Now imagine watching a player who accidentally shot a chicken running from the guards. No that wasn’t me, I accidentally set the innkeeper on fire. I was subsequently killed by the guards and laughed mightily. Best day ever. Safe to say it actually makes the world feel a lot more alive than just the standard roaming annoying npc’s and people who never get off their horse.

CrankyB is of course stealing anything that isn’t nailed down. I can say it’s a grand idea, the stealing system is a really great way to earn the extra coin you need to build up bag space and put those levels on horsey (or insert mount of choice now that there are quite a few more options). For those into the RP sort of thing, you can also pilfer some town type clothing items if you’re lucky.

While some aspects of the game haven’t changed like the bag space gold sink, the positives outweigh the negatives at this point. I can’t say anything about the higher levels as I still have to get one char to 50. I’m also looking at all of those champion levels afterwards, but at least those are account bound so that’s handy.

After finally picking the Warden as the class I really want to level first, it was tough picking the race to go with it. I initially went with Breton to min/max for healing, but since I don’t plan on doing any hard core content I shouldn’t need it. I ended up with an Altmer Warden that I rolled mostly for RP reasons. I found a guild I like quite a bit and that’s actually made the game far more interesting.

CrankyB is hopping between classes. Since pretty much every class can do any roll in their own way it can be hard to choose. Granted some classes do some things either easier or more efficiently than the other classes but you can still play with whichever build your most comfortable with through a good portion of the content.

That sort of flexibility in ESO’s combat system really does make it feel like you’re building a unique character. Granted you can use a cookie cutter build, race, class, armor and weapon included if you choose to, and no one is stopping you. Honestly in chat I’ve seen more people say “play what you want” than those urging people toward specific min/max builds. That is pretty refreshing in an MMO environment.  You know, where there’s 50 choices but only 4 of them are ‘meta’ and therefore viable for use in most of the game.

All that aside I’m looking forward to settling into ESO and recording my rambling journey through the content. Until next time!

Category: ESO, MMORPG | Comments Off on Elder Scrolls Online ESO: Exploring One Tamriel and Morrowind

GW2 The Jackal

gw505 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.

gw503So 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.

Category: Guild Wars 2, Guild Wars 2, MMORPG | Comments Off on GW2 The Jackal

GW2 Path of Fire Fun

gw467 I’m finnally inspired to write again. Hey, it’s process.

Since I’m not one of the people that just likes to back seat dev the games I’m playing and actually likes focusing on the positive, I haven’t had a lot to say about the games I’ve been playing lately.

If anyone cares to hear about that, I’d be happy to lay it out, but there’s more than enough of that on the interwebs.

Like I said, I want to focus on the positive and right now I’m positively overjoyed with GW2.

To be perfectly honest with you Heart of Thorns left a sour aftertaste that never quite went away. As much as I really wanted to stick with Guild Wars 2, HoT wasn’t my bag. Even a living story came and went without me logging in for more than a couple of sessions before just logging back out again upon seeing yet MORE mastery requirements.

Then after another session of WoW, I started shopping MMO’s again. That’s when I came across the Path of Fire videos. To me it seemed like they were teasing a return to what made GW2 awesome sauce. Thing is that for the first time in a long time devs actually delivered.

I managed to pre order in time and I haven’t looked back. So far I’ve unlocked The Renegade and the Jackal. Beyond that I’m looking forward to taking my time exploring the content, seeing the story and getting in some RP. I really don’t feel rushed to do anything in this expansion and I actually feel more rewarded when I slow down and just enjoy the trek.

Honestly I don’t think I’ve felt that way since first logging into GW2. Where you could just enjoy the content at your own pace and there’s no rush to the endzone.

gw440It is really rewarding to just explore in this expansion as the maps are gorgeous. The zone gives you that ghostly feeling of ‘I’ve been here before’ if you ever managed to get out to Elona in the first Guild Wars.

 

Even the mounts are fun, well designed and actually add to game play instead of take focus in it or take away from it.  Their animations and utility make them more than just something flashy that you sit on in your hub of choice.

gw447When you cross a huge gorge on your Raptor for the first time, or unlock the Jackal and start blinking around, you’ll see what I mean. You can get right into combat with your mount and even unlock masteries that aid with getting that combat started as well as just adding to their mobility.

From the games that I’ve played this actually makes mounts out to be more of a useful tool than the thing you need to cross a huge map full of obnoxious mobs without spending an entire night just getting to town.

They dropped the meta events and let you do repeatable hearts OR huge bounty bosses. Which by the way, are butt kickers on timers and you have to wait for them to spawn. When they do, it’s good old fashioned fun.

To me PoF feels like a new map that expands on the base game and gives them plenty of room to expand from here. For the first time in two years I’m actually interested to see what they do with it.

Honestly I feel like they also made the mastery system in PoF a lot more manageable. The lower count of mastery points required takes out a lot of grind and pressure .

Masteries in PoF also feel more like something fun to do and an added challenge instead of something that’s blocking you from being able to enjoy the content because you’re two mastery points short. All the while that annoying star has been sitting there taunting you for months because you just can’t be bothered to look up a guide or video to unlock it.

Which honestly, for me, that’s awesome. Any time you’re expected to go out of the game to find the information you need to play the game, it really detracts from the fun and immersion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m lazy, but I also don’t have a ton of time either. I’d much rather spend what time I do have doing things I want to do. Games that are a pre-requisite hell just don’t inspire me to hit that log in button.

Now building on something that actually adds to the current game play and will be useful in future content? Sign me the hell up!

To me Path of Fire feels like a return to the original Guild Wars 2 that I knew and loved. This expansion adds back the joy of just entering a map and wanting to explore every corner to see what you can find next.

gw415Add that to a map that takes me back to the breathtaking vistas, interesting lore, and now mounts that are so much more than faster movement speed and you have a grand combination.

In the end, don’t take my word for it.

If you’re an explorer type of person and you’ve been on the fence about GW2 Path of Fire, take the plunge. Just watch out for the hydra. Trust me on the Hydra.

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BDO: Still Hooked

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At this point it’s safe to say I’m pretty hooked on BDO.

I love the AFK features, the leveling isn’t bad at all, the open world pvp isn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I finally have a class that I like.

The only problem is that the Ninja and Kunoichi will be released in the NA/Euro version next week. I would like to play this class but honestly I’m thinking that I’ll want to finish building up my Ranger first. I still have a long way to go in completing the armor and weapon upgrades just for that class.

While I will be able to swap the armor back and forth, I’ll have to start at zero again with the weapons unless I farm up some serious cash and just outright buy better weapons. Honestly at this point that sounds like a much better option. Mostly because my level fu with weapons is beyond awful. I have some of the worst upgrade luck ever. I mean really, it’s beyond bad.

There is also some other time sinks I would have to work around like figuring out how to play the class, deciding how I want her to look, and yes adding on the levels.

While it would probably be worth it to at least try out the class, I’m still on the fence about whether the combat style and costume customization will be quite right for me.

Until I decide I might as well keep working on my Ranger. She’s managed to hit 50 and I really should start working on dailies and scrolls. Not to mention finding a guild that won’t make me cringe when I log in.

Yes I have a level 50 character with no guild.

Thing is that getting into just any guild is easy. Getting into a guild with people that you actually want to spend time with, that takes a little more time and effort.

I plan on spending a LOT of time in BDO. There is still a lot that this game has to offer. I also want a stable guild with fun people in it to share that experience with.

Since I have zero interest in BDO’s pvp scene, that narrows down the list a bit. I’m not a fan of PvX guilds since they end up going where the wind blows and it’s usually no where near where I’m at. A PvE guild probably wouldn’t put up with my horsing and constant search for the occasional RP hotspot.

I would like to find another RP guild like I had in Fallen Earth way back when. I just have no idea if I will ever get back to that place where I could just log into the guild, maybe get into some RP, maybe go grind, but always just have folks to chat with.

Maybe one day I’ll find a guild like that again. Who knows?

Category: Black Desert Online, Gaming, Kunoichi, MMORPG, Ranger, RP | Comments Off on BDO: Still Hooked

Having Fun in Guild Wars 2

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“Dinner”

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!

Category: Gaming, Guild, Guild Wars 2, Guild Wars 2, MMORPG | Comments Off on Having Fun in Guild Wars 2

GW2: Elite Name on Elite Specializations Misleads Players

GW2 PvP Lobby
In PvP the “Elite Specializations” are available for viewing right in the PvP lobby. Players can access all of the talents for PvP from level 1 and not even bother leveling a character to 80.

OK now before you flame me, here’s the TLDR:

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.

 

Category: Game Biz, Gaming, Guild Wars 2, Guild Wars 2, MMORPG | Comments Off on GW2: Elite Name on Elite Specializations Misleads Players

GW2: ArenaNet Reduces Elite Specialization Hero Point Cost and More

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Cheering on the changes with the new and improved Creep The Revenant.

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.

Category: Gaming, Guild Wars 2, Guild Wars 2, MMORPG | Comments Off on GW2: ArenaNet Reduces Elite Specialization Hero Point Cost and More

GW2: Beta Bait and Switch

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Introducing Creep The Revenant. The Revenant being the ONLY saving grace of HoT.

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.

Why?

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.

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Creep the Revenant level 23 in the PvP lobby. Notice the ability to select Herald without leveling to 80 AND all of the people in the background. Possibly doing the same.

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.

Why?

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:

Dashingsteel.3410

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.”

Category: Beta Testing, Gaming, Guild Wars 2, Guild Wars 2, MMORPG | Comments Off on GW2: Beta Bait and Switch

GuildWars2: 80 Guardian

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Desderata Geist level 80 Guardian
Desderata Geist level 80 Guardian

My Guardian Desderata Geist hit 80 this morning while working away at the crafting bench. I was working on getting her Weaponsmithing past the 300 mark and just barely made it past.

Once I finished up my crafting though it was time to start gearing up for 80. It’s an important day because for the most part this will be the last set of armor I’ll have to pick up unless I want to min/max for a special build.

I’m going with Exotic grade armor for now and in one morning’s work I picked up a full set of Exotic armor.

I picked up my armor in a round about way. I had (emphasis on had) a bunch of Karma and Honor points in my wallet and decided that for once I’d use that instead of just working on paying for everything with hard earned currency.

All except for the Vigil skins, those guys want gold no matter how far in the story line you are. Guess that’s how they pay for all those helicopters in Orr. Continue reading

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GuildWars2: Points of Interest Tomorrow With Bill Murphy

Maybe a long lost cousin?
Maybe a long lost cousin?

If you’re into Guild Wars 2 you may want to check out Points of Interest the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel this Friday (July 18) at 12pm PDT.

The skinny is that they’ll have and I quote:

Kate Welch is joined by writer Peter Fries, environment artist Tami Foote, and Environment Design Specialist Josh Foreman…

That is right along with MMORPG.com’s Bill Murphy. One of the folks over there I generally agree with.

Hopefully there will be some discussions about upcoming additional weapons and weapon skills, but who can say.

I’ll probably watch it in re-run since I’m on the Euro side of things now, but it sounds like it’s worth checking out.

Category: Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPG | Comments Off on GuildWars2: Points of Interest Tomorrow With Bill Murphy