Posted by : Wendy B Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I haven't been playing Guild Wars 2 as much as I was initially. Or at least, I've made time for other distractions, but I'm still fond of GW2 and plan to stay around for a while. The general monotony inherent to MMOs has set in, but not enough for me to lose interest completely. My girls are all at or approaching level 50 now. Each time I try to focus on just one or decide to give up on another, I invariably end up motivated (usually by fashion) to level them all anyway.

My husband's interest appears to have waned. His XCOM run may be just a temporary hiatus, or it may be the final sign that we need to stop buying him MMOs, no matter what he says. Still, he hasn't levelled all his crafts yet or completed his storylines or levelled his second character to 80, so perhaps this is just a break. When he was playing, though, it was nice to be able to play together. The zone-specific level capping and the vast number of zones and activities made things interesting, challenging and enjoyable, without being overly repetitive.

Hmmmm other stuff to report on...

Halloween
Halloween is here, so I might as well write about this first. I am enjoying GW2's Shadow of the Mad King far more than I have enjoyed holiday events in other MMOs because there is far more involved. From costume brawling to ghost hunting to spectral food fights to dungeons to scavenger hunts... Most of the events occur in Lion's Arch, which has been decorated accordingly, but the events also persist around the entire world, with pumpkin carving, puzzles, ominous portals and candy corn mining popping up on your everyday adventures. And this is only Act 1!

Achievements
I normally only vaguely pay attention to trophies and achievements, but I'm finding myself more and more wrapped up in this process. I don't know what the achievements achieve in the end (you get points for it, but what those points mean, I don't know), but it doesn't matter! I must fill the nice orange bars! Despite not enjoying WvWvW, I plan to kill 10 more invaders to fulfill my final requirements for October's monthly achievements. I already blarghed over 50 candy corns last night to make the second last achievement. Goals. I have them.

Story time
The story and characters aren't fantastic, compared to other video game stories and characters I've dealt with, but they are memorable, and as I make my way through the stories with each of my characters, I can't say I'm not enjoying them. There's enough room for me to fill in a few blanks here and there, but more importantly, they are all, thus far, fairly unique thanks to the effort ArenaNet placed on your “personal story” and allowing you to make several choices along the way.

Edge of Destiny
Since story and characters are a big thing for me, I inevitably ended up reading (or at least skimming through and flailing) the related book, Edge of Destiny.
I have read a few game tie-in novels now and my main reason for doing so has been to learn more about the antagonists. The books I've read haven't let me down in that vein, giving me further insight into the antagonists' motivations and personality, etc. In this case, I wanted to know about the protagonists - the six heroes of Destiny's Edge. Specifically, I wanted to know what happened prior to the start of GW2 to make them all so emo. Edge of Destiny was a disappointment. I can't really tell you if it was well written or not, because I really did just skim through it to find out exactly what I wanted to know. It was a disappointment because I discovered that these characters I initially thought were really cool, turned out to be idiots and jerks and now are subjected to my shaking fist when I have to deal with them in-game.

Cheaters gonna cheat
Botting continues to be an issue that ANet is reportedly addressing, but we’ve seen no change yet, save for the increase in “power rangers” swarming various areas. I do my best to report them, but sheepishly thank the ones that saved me from spider swarms... This article speculates that ANet is benefiting from the bots some how, and part of me can’t help being suspicious of how ANet was supposedly so unprepared for the hack programs, but more importantly, why they haven’t banned the bots at all. They are ridiculously obvious and many people are reporting them specifically for botting (through the option provided by ANet), yet, the same bots remain, achieving level 80 just from running around in circles in the same areas for hours. It’s been weeks since ANet announced that they were working on a solution yet the bots not only increase in number, they get better. And better. And the hackers have a whole damn catalogue full of offerings.

I can only hope this means ANet is working on something BIG (please give us Botany Bay!) and will bring down the Ban Hammer of ALL Ban Hammers very, very soon, backed with a month’s worth of data on all the relevant exploit, hack and bot activity to pre-silence all the whiners who will try to claim they were banned for illegitimate reasons. Right ANet? Right?
I must run with my people!
The little things
I like the little touches in the game. From paintings at a market, to the Thackeray family, to romance novels, to norn dating services, to ambient conversations where a pair of Skritt discuss the health of their king. A lot of people will just run through and miss it all – and I admit, I do that from time to time – but there are so many little things implemented in the game to make it worthwhile to stop and have a look and listen.

Fashionista
GW2 employs a transmutation service that allows you to transmute the look of one piece of equipment with the stats of another. This initially made me very happy, but as I grow more an more aware of the style options available and the limited storage space, I find myself missing DCUO. I miss being able to change my attire whenever I wanted (which meant each time I logged in). ANet needs to give me a wardrobe – separate from my bags and banks – where I can hang up my favourite styles. You know, the ones I’ve specifically levelled up characters for just so they could find and wear them? Just make it an additional tab in the Hero menu! Like my dye collection that I sometimes obsessively buy. I appreciate that they put consideration into costume design and the fact that people like personalization – but it’s not enough, dammit!

PvP
I’ve tried this twice now, specifically with my warrior. I learned previously that I suck at PvP when up against fast moving rogue types, so I figured I’d try it out with someone who can at least take and give a good amount of damage before she falls to the flailing. I did surprisingly well in my first go, and in my second, I was up against guildmates, which added to the amusement. Overall though, PvP is just another repetitive event, with only the scenery changing. There are a number of maps, but the goal remains the same: take the bases, kill the opponents. I now appreciate SWTOR PvP, which offered refreshing options to go along with that basic concept.

WvWvW
I don’t love it, but I definitely like PvP more than WvWvW. We tried that out in one of our weekly guild events and eventually left for PvP. The commander of the event was reasonably good and patient. There was no attitude regarding new players, but we got the swing of it all soon enough anyway. The swing of it basically involved a larger scale version of PvP with lots more opponents, a larger map, lots more lag and someone yelling about a trebuchet. Swarm the invaders before they can swarm you.

Community
I usually avoid forums, but the few times I’ve been there, I’ve seen the whining and the trolling. Thankfully, most of that does not leak into the game itself. I’m surprised and pleased to see how often I actively choose to leave the /map chat open, where I’ve shut it off in disgust in other games. The nature of GW2 removes the competitiveness and promotes group activity. This has positively affected the overall attitude of the players, who are, from my experience, very helpful. I keep /map chat open now to answer questions and learn and occasionally for amusing commentary.

Dungeoning
We did our first dungeon as a guild earlier in the month. Aside from yelling at Eir, Logan and Rytlock, the adventure was fun and challenging. There were many, many deaths, which increased when we tried the dungeon in explore mode (as oppose to story mode). The rewards were reasonable, and of course, there’s new gear that results which I want. And when it got very late, there was naked dancing, which is important to guild morale.

In conclusion
Still enjoying, but the light is fading. There are still many things I haven't done, including getting at least one character to 80 and exploring the entire world. I'm still motivated by new gear options and at least seeing what the story holds, but I am somewhat bored. Fortunately, friends are still playing, so that helps.

WHAT IS THIS?

This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two.

I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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