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Category Archives: Guild Wars 2

Life in Tyria: Welcome back, Mr Antfarm…

So I’m back playing Guild Wars 2 and it took exactly 30 seconds for the addiction to flare up and flood my bloodstream with the delicious chemicals of total control again. Just how deeply must I love this game that I can walk away for an entire year and come back still enjoy everything about it including all the changes I have no idea about and events I now have no connection with? This game is obviously my soul mate and we are in a romcom where the two leads spend a lifetime drifting apart and back together again and the sex is always wonderful. Sigh, I love you Guild Wars 2.

Sorry. Where was I? So yeah, I blame Gitbot over on Google+. You see I was the one of first of the Elite Dangerous players in the ED G+ Community to state I was going to take an extended break from the game. Gitbot was concerned that the great work the community had done to foster such a pleasant place to chat and debate would be lost so he started up his own G+ Community for gamers who wanted nothing to do with the aggressive eco-systems that many forums descend into – hence Good Guys Gaming was created. It’s not just a way for us to keep in touch when not playing Elite Dangerous, but rather a place for us to discuss, share and enthuse about any games we are playing and it was here I posted I was considering restarting GW2. To my surprise a few of the members, both old GW2 players like me and people who’d never played it at all, were interested in joining me.

So now we have a guild in game (my first ever!) and have spent a week running about trying to learn or re-learn just how to play this amazing game. Every event, every location, every NPC conversation just delights me and I find myself wondering why I wandered away in the first place. I suspect this will ever be my pattern with games – fall in love, become consumed, grow restless, wander away, play another in the same way, drift back, fall in love again*.

Our guild, “All the Gs” if you are interested, is small and we haven’t even looked at guild issues yet as we are a tiny group of players struggling to remember how to play or rolling a character for the very first time, but we are having a blast with it. It’s especially nice for me to finally get people to play in a game with me as I’ve tried for years to get friends into games and so far the only one to follow has been Justin but with him being in America we rarely get time online together. But now with GW2 there are a small handful of players joining me and suddenly the game feels more alive and fun :)

There have been so many changes to GW2 in the year I’ve been away that most of the last few days have felt like ramming a toilet roll into my ear hole but I’m getting there:

  • Builds are very different now so I’m starting to learn how to build from the ground up.
  • Levelling up is vastly different with access to things I took for granted with Jurak now locked behind progression. Luckily levelling is still just as quick.
  • I have bought my son his own version of the game and deleted all but one of his characters from mine – if he wants to make a new one he has start at the bottom on his account now :)
  • This has freed up a lot of character slots for me and I’m expanding my family out to:
    • Jurak Gearwright L80 human engineer
    • Bercolwyn L30 Sylvari Ranger
    • Raketooth Longclaw L10 Charr Warrior
    • Twilk L10 Asura Elementalist
    • Ulfryk the Penitent L1 Norn Guardian
  • I’m saving one slot for the new type, the Revenant, but I would still like to try a Thief and a Memser at some point (Not too fussed by the Necro – just too… goth looking for me)..
  • I’m really looking forward to completing the Living Story Season 2 with Jurak, especially now that the locations visited will be as they were at the time of the LS and not as they are post-LS (this means I should see the village in Dry Top free of tendrils).
  • Speaking of story – I hear that the final acts of beating Zhaitan are now solo-friendly so maybe I can finally get Jurak over that finishing line and actually have one character kill the big boss a mere 3 years after launch! :-D
  • I’d like to think we (either “All the Gs” or “The Gearwrights”) can grab a Guild Hall when the expansion is released but I don’t don’t if we’ll have enough characters of high enough level to do so. Hell, in the case of The Gearwrights, there is only me and my son in that guild so there is only one level 80 character.

So that’s me for a while, back into Tyria I go and I’ll see you in a few months when Elite Dangerous does something to turn me back on after Power Play doused me in cold piss…

HBA – somewhere in Tyria.

P.S. Want to know more about GW2? Check out these videos from Arenanet on YouTube.

P.P.S Interested in trying out GW2? You can buy it here for £35 and never pay a penny more (and it includes the core game *and* the upcoming expansion!): http://buy.guildwars2.com/

*Not with LOTRO though. I’ll never go back there. That grind heavy, time stealing, money grabbing bastard will never get its claws into me again, no matter how much I would love to see Bree again. Some sins are unforgivable.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 20 July, 2015 in Guild Wars 2

 

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What a Burro’s playing – June 2015 update

It’s been over a year since I last wrote one of these posts and in that year my gaming life has really shrunk, both in terms of time and scope. You see, my work has been horribly busy over the last twelve months (continuing the trend of the last four years, if I’m honest, and I can’t see it getting any better) and most of my free time is taken up with family time, very important when you have little kids. In that time I bought into the premium beta of Elite Dangerous and that became the all encompassing obsession I knew it would, although I did find time to play a few other games and a year after first piloting a Sidewinder my love of Elite is on the decline. So, what am I playing?

Elite Dangerous: After a year of playing and finding myself taking short breaks throughout I think I’m finally at a point where I’m not going to go back for quite some time. It was the recent Powerplay update that broke me because it showed me that the kind of gameplay I’d like to see isn’t likely to be implemented anytime soon. Of course I’ll probably go back but only once Frontier add multiple character slots (so I can experience different types of gameplay without locking myself into one form for extended periods), planetary landings (I want to explore alien worlds, not just take screen shots of them from orbit), and a more immersive mission structure (to give me a sense of purpose in the galaxy without drinking the Koolaid of Powerplay). It’s still a good game but just one still awaiting many key features that will raise it to a great one. Hopefully ED will flesh out enough in 2015 for me to go back, but for now… meh.

Guild Wars 2: I started Elite just as the Festival of The Winds came to an end and Living World season 2 started. I logged in enough to get each of the season 2 episodes but I have yet to play a single one of them. Now there is an expansion, Great of Thorns, and I’ve not read a thing that makes me want to play it, let alone play it.

MCPE: Update 0.11.0 came out at the start of June and it continued the run of strong, feature packed updates released in the last couple of years. Mojang have taken on three more devs devoted to the pocket edition and the pace of updates is likely to increase dramatically, especially if the additional features they added to 0.11.0 in just a few weeks of being hired is anything to go by! This continues to be the most fun when playing alongside my kids on tablets :)

Transmission and Hook: Both of these are mobile logic puzzle games (I use Android but it’s a fair assumption they will be available for iOS too) and both are totally recommended as they are both beautiful and fiendish in equal measure.

These are the games that are available now but there is at least one other upcoming game I’m now pinning my hopes on…

No Man’s Sky: If Elite Dangerous is all hard sci fi and stark, uncaring beauty, the upcoming No Man’s Sky is a throw back to the eye-popping wonder of the 1970s sci fi heyday. Both offer an immense procedurally generated universe. Both offer open gameplay and the freedom to explore and play in whatever way you choose. But NMS seems to offer a more complete offering of fun over ED’s patchwork of genius and boredom. NMS may also prove to be a big but dull game too, but until it does I’ll be keeping a hopeful eye on it…

Unfortunately that’s it for games and me. A combination of little time and even less interest means I’m facing a bleak few months on the gaming front. What about you? What are you playing, enjoying, not enjoying, waiting for? Leave a comment below.

 

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MMOs and the weirdness of raiding…

I’ve been chewing over this post for a couple of months now, ever since I undertook my first dungeons runs in Guild Wars 2 earlier this year but I’ve been meaning to write something about raiding since I began to tag along with raids in LOTRO back in 2011. Now there are huge differences between those two games but there is also a striking similarity, at least for me, and that is that I find raiding not only profoundly boring but also confusing in its stylistic switch from the rest of the gameplay.

GW2 is probably the best example of this. The game itself is anything but boring with the heart and soul of it engineered to allow you to play pretty much alone whilst giving you something to do all the time. Wherever you are you are never more than a few minutes from an event chain and you are encouraged to use the various weapon and profession skills to complete them. As an engineer I know I have certain rifle skills that work well with turret skills and I need to use both, as well as constant movement and healing, to win the fight and this feels right, it feels like the game Arenanet designed. But when it comes to raiding it all changes.

From a position of knowing your skills and understanding how to dance around an enemy in order to survive, you are thrust into a game mode where all you have to do is stack, i.e. all stand on exactly the same spot and mash attack, heal & rez skills, and that is mind-numbingly dull. Not only is the game play style dull, but what it does to your experience of the world is criminal! Do you know what I see of most fights in raids? A firework display of particle effects centered on a strange multi-limbed beast and nothing else – none of the amazing wotk the devs have put into the area because we are all stood in a crush hitting and healing and checking out emails on your phone instead of concentrating on the fight.

I would love to experience more of the dungeons and areas built by Arenanet but not stood in a clump. I want to use the skills I’ve learnt in the game, not be forced to play a whack-a-mole. I want to take the awesome moves I pull fighting a group of Tamini Centaurs and apply them to fighting a dungeon boss so that when I bring it down I look awesome, not like a strange mutant-blob-thing!

Sigh. Maybe I’m missing something obvious but for the life of me I can’t think what it is. Raiding is boring.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on 15 July, 2014 in Games, Guild Wars 2, LOTRO

 

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Life in Tyria: The Tyranny of Gold…

I’m by no means rich in RL. I have a job but also a mortgage and kids so I have to make choices every days about what I spend my money on and, if I’m honest, that sucks, yet it’s also life and there is no point in worrying about it. But that’s not to say I want that experience in my games and if there’s one thing I’ve discovered I hate hate hate about MMOs such as LOTRO and GW2 it’s that I’m always poor in there too!

In LOTRO I spent ages trying to get enough gold to buy enough equipment to make me more or less effective and it got me nothing. In GW2 I’m always on the edge of poverty and having to sell everything I can just to fund the purchase of armour and weapons for one character. I’ve had 100 gold pieces recently but that didn’t last long and I’m usually hovering between 20 to 50 as I buy new exotic sets for my Engineer builds. I don’t craft and I’m not saving up for a legendary, I salvage and gather and therefore you think I’d be rolling in moolah but I’m not and that ticks me off. And there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get gold in GW2 outside of mindlessly running dungeons.

Frankly I don’t want to be poor in two worlds. Sigh.

 
 

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Life in Tyria: Guilds and stuff

I’ve just been asked to leave a guild. Well, actually I was asked to represent 90% of the time or leave. I choose to leave because if I have to dedicate all of my precious time to one group of people in a game where the ability to join multiple groups of people is central then I don’t want to be with those people. Now of course the choice of 90% rep-time is up them but it’s a new rule that wasn’t there when I was invited to join so I feel cheated, as though we have both wasted our time and I have wasted all the influence points I ground out in events.

Sigh.

So now I’m back to being in just two guilds (well, three but one of those is mine and I only opened it for the 50 bank slot facility), one being the Celt group I joined way back in 2012 and the other is the Crimson Ashes group I joined recently for roleplaying. The Celt group is super casual friendly and full of really nice people who take me on guild runs, and the Ashes are a nice bunch too but both have a similar issue I’m increasingly having problems with – they don’t seem to like the Living World stories.

Why is this a problem for me? Because I like the Living World content and I want to share my time with people who do. With the Celts I can share guild events and dungeon runs so it doesn’t matter too much, but with the Ashes it’s all about roleplaying and storytelling and yet they dislike the main storytelling medium in the game. Now I know that LW season 1 had problems but for a RP guild to turn off from it means there is a whole world of content I can’t explore with them and therefore if I go off and take part then I’m not doing stuff with them. And I can’t find a way to square that circle.

Ye gods but being in guilds is harder then I thought.

 

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Life in Tyria: All the fun of the Festival!

Some people are calling it filler and bemoaning both the reuse of “old” content and the lack of Living Story but I’m actually rather enjoying the Festival of the Four Winds in Guild Wars 2 and I don’t care who knows it.

Partly it’s because I missed the Bazaar of the Four Winds last year (along with all of Season 1 of the Living Story until the attack on Lion’s Arch this year) but largely it’s because it’s damn good fun! The Boss Blitz is a blast and the Labyrinthine Cliffs are seriously beautiful. The rewards are pretty nice, I’m enjoying the expanding stories of the main characters and there seems to be some rather nice teasers dotted around that I hope will lead to something down the line. All in all, apart from the grind of getting the reward tokens (and that wasn’t really all that bad, trust me), I’ve had a fun time. Let me break down my thoughts a little…

Boss Blitz: Wowsers this was fun! True it’s a circle-zerg but I quite like zerg content. And this was clever zerg-content in that that whilst a zerg could do it, it could be done faster (and for greater reward) by a small number of co-ordinated groups. To be honest, were I a more structured player I may have found this very aspect annoying as the public nature of the event meant that even with a coordinated group zergs could drop in and blow all the good work by scaling up the bosses, but I’m not so I liked it. I got bronze most times (i.e. zerging it) and a couple of silvers when I ran with people desperately trying to organise a coordinated effort (all of which were fekked up by zergs). The worst part was map chat which became a furious rant-fest so I turned it off.

Gauntlet Matches: I only had a brief goo at these and they were fun. In the end, duels are just not my bag so I had little interest in them. Still they looked and played beautifully (love the opening floor idea!)

Charged Crystals and Baby Doylak Racing: Both were great fun. I love the cliffs and the idea of the aspect crystals and I made as many tokens here as I did in the blitz, just with a lot less map-chat rage and carpal tunnel than with the blitz.

Crystal hunting and other cliff events: Jumping puzzles tend to annoy me and PvP stuff just isn’t for me so I never tried those. Sorry Anet, I’m sure they were great though :)

Divinity’s Reach and the Labyrinthine Cliffs: I really miss the Great Collapse in DR. Sure the Queen’s Pavillion is amazing (and it really is!) but I can’t help thinking that the Collapse was such a wonderful well of story ideas that was erased in favour of an arena, albeit a very beautiful one. The Zepherytes’ cliff-side home is just beautiful! What an amazing build! I would love Anet to make it even bigger so I can spend more time exploring – and using aspects to get around is a joy, what a shame I can’t smuggle those powers out into the rest of Tyria ;)

Living Story: I know there’s not much as it’s not a LS release, but the summary of Season 1 for the Chinese & returning players is really nice. I know there have been criticism of the charactisation and writing of the heroes known as “Edge of Destiny 2.0”, but I’m really enjoying their exchanges. Tiami is funny as hell, it’s nice to see a couple in love with Kasmeer & Majorie and I think the Braham & Rox team is a really interesting friendship to watch develop. Hopefully they’ll avoid making the Norn too dumb as I’d find it harder to identify with a dunce then I do with a simple man of action. Ultimately though this don’t give any more clues as to what will come in Season 2 and I don’t mind that. Time and place, I say, time and place..

Other story type stuff: Now, beyond the summary of LS season 1 I think Anet have been clever about sprinkling a few tidbits around that could (hopefully will) lead to more storylines that could be (hopefully will be) unrelated to LS Season 2. Taimi is talking about the Zephryites getting ready for a long journey – but where to, when & why? What about the Jade Fish Statue? Does that link to the Jade Sea and therefore Cantha? And then what about the paranoid guy Carden? He’s forever trying to desperately sell something shady but when the Zephyrites see whatever it is they won’t deal with him anymore because of what it is and who he got it from – what is it and who did Carden take it from? I’m sure there are more hooks I’ve missed but these stand out as potentially really interesting adventure leads that, were this an open world or paper-based RPG, I’d be following instead of the road leading to the jungle dragon.

So there you have it. I’m really enjoying the Festival of the Four Winds and I don’t care who knows it :)

p.s. Kookoochoo is amazing! See him now!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 28 May, 2014 in Fun, Games, Guild Wars 2

 

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Life in Tyria: Legendaries are another miss, just like in LOTRO.

OK, let me start this by stating two things:1) GW2 legendaries are *not* as bad as LOTRO’s clusterhump system, and 2) I don’t actually own a legendary in GW2 so have never used one but I still think they suck and here is why.

1) It’s grindy, complex and frigging expensive to make one. I just haven’t the time or the money to do it so owning such a weapon (and armour should it ever be added) will be out of my reach. Given that the next level down, Ascended, seems to be just as much of a ballache to craft it looks like my gear progression in GW2 stops at Exotic and this strikes me as a damn shame.

2) They are as ugly as hell. Jebus H Pressley but the GW2 devs like to design some tacky, spiky shit. True, this is purely subjective but the fact remains there are almost no legendary weapons I’d want to be seen with anyway. Hell, look at Orcrist from The Hobbit, it doesn’t look like they were bought in a Blackpool £1 shop does it? Here, let me demonstrate.

Orcrist - how lovely, almost as if created by talented craftspeople/elves.

Orcrist – how lovely, almost as if created by talented craftspeople/elves.

A fugly sword bought from a cheap kid's toys shop and made with no love or care.

A fugly sword bought from a cheap kid’s toys shop for £1.99.

Some weird looking legendary sword from GW2 - it makes my eyes sad.

Some weird looking legendary sword from GW2 that makes my eyes sad.

So given that I will never be able to get a legendary weapon in GW2 and if I ever did I’d never want to be seen with one, why am I moaning about it in this post, beyond something to post & moan about I mean? Well just because I don’t want to be seen with a legendary weapon that looks like it was made by my seven year old and coloured in by my 4 year old doesn’t mean I don’t want a legendary weapon. Let me explain something about the way I play my games, from SL to LOTRO to GW2.

I carefully design the look of my characters. Now this may come as a little bit of a shock to some of you, but I think long-term readers and old friends who know me well and have played along side me in SL will know that I always find a look and then I stick to it. HeadBurro Antfarm went through a few trials before I hit on the half-gazelle skin in urban clothing and ethnic jewellery. Hell, just finding that backpack was a huge undertaking that I still remember fondly. In LOTRO I dressed all my guys in what I considered to be appropriate gear – the hobbits in Bounder’s garb, the human warrior in armour but with a backpack fit for the scholar he was, the dwarf and elf in similarly suitable ethnic & profession gear. None of them have been showy or ostentatious, none have gone in for garish colours or effects, weapons have been suitable for the lore & professions, armour has been muted and, as far as possible, realistic in nature.

And then I come to GW2. Oh boy. Someone in Arenanet has a spike fetish. Someone likes huge shoulderpads. Someone dreams of bling. Just look at this unholy monstrosity!

Jesus. H. Christ.

Jesus. H. Christ.

Who in the name of all that is holy would wear that? It would be fuck all use in a fight and if she as much as coughed her tits would pop out. And how is she going to get in to any tavern with that stupid hat on and those mahoooosive shoulder… things strapped to her? And curly toes? Jesus.

Look, I can live in a world where this shit exists but is it too much to ask for some of the armour and weapons at the top of the tree not to look like the vomit pattern of a caffeine & red bull riddled mentalist?

Oh, what’s that you say? There’s a Transmutation system? I can give this amazing stuff the look of my boring looking armour and we are all happy? Hardly. That costs money in GW2 and at about a quid a pop which could make transmuting all your armour and weapons cost you upwards of ten British pounds every time you upgrade them en masse. Call me odd if you like but the thought of paying multiples of monies just to keep the look of my character the same somehow doesn’t appeal.

Now my understanding, without ever having owned or used one, is that these legendary weapons are not a huge stat boost. Arenanet, wisely in my opinion, veers away from sudden and huge jumps in the power of gear and instead makes the changes small but relies on the ‘improved’ looks they design to entice players in for the bigger, brighter shiny. As I think we have discovered this won’t work on me and given that the power uppage is small why do I want one?

Because I do. Because it’s a game genre about, among other things, continually improving your gear.Part of the fantasy (and scifi and spy and etc…) genre is the finding of the bigger, better weapon and playing an MMO RPG should be no different. I’m not dashing all over Tyria helping people out for the good of my health you know, I want a reward. Several rewards. I want a legendary weapon. I just don’t want the ones Arenanet are offering.

So what is the answer? What is it I want? Well dear reader, I’ll tell you that in another post soon…

 
8 Comments

Posted by on 24 April, 2014 in Fun, Games, Guild Wars 2, LOTRO

 

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