GGG Guild

Meanwhile, in Tamriel… well it sure ain’t Tyria!

Update (23/03/16): Elde has posted her thoughts on this topic here: https://starshadow.me/2016/03/23/eso-vs-gw2/

In my last post I talked why I’ve drifted away from Guild Wars 2 and into Elder Scrolls Online and now in this post I want to talk about the new shiny responsible for turning my eye, the world of Tamriel, and how I currently feel about both GW2 and ESO.

First off I should say that I’m a creature of habit and as such when I bond with something I can find it hard to open up and move to something else. It was the same moving from Second Life to LOTRO and then LOTRO to GW2 and now GW2 to ESO. Each move is strangely emotional time full of conflicting feelings of loss, regret, and bitterness but also excitement, fun, wonder. I have found this move both the hardest and the easiest of them all.

It’s been hard because in the past I’ve generally left games at the end of my tether so I’m looking for something new, but in this case I was (indeed, am) not looking to leave GW2 as it is still a game I love and enjoy.

Conversely it’s been easy because of my mate Elda. She is an experienced ESO player and loves the world of Elder Scrolls as much as I love the world of Guild Wars. She has eased the transition from Tyria to Tamriel greatly and is proving to have no end (well, no visible end) to her patience with my questions and running off and jumping on things like a sugared up 9 year old.

The two biggest problems I have faced in moving from GW2 to ESO have been around the aesthetics and the lore. Putting it simply the look of the game is not entirely to my tastes and knowing nothing about the world made it hard to care about it.

With regards to the lore, I have found an easy and satisfying fix on YouTube by watching the lore videos of ShoddyCast who has done a brilliant job of making me fall in love with the world & lore of Elder Scrolls.

The other issue of the games look is a little harder to get over and in truth only time will help me with that, but at least it’s not a deal breaker (although it very nearly was in Coldharbour, the fugly starting area, as that was very nearly a ‘no sir, I don’t like it!’ quitting moment. Gods! Who sets their opening segment of the game in the ugliest part of the whole world?).

So, seeing as comparisons are inevitable, I guess I should look at which do I prefer? Well in truth both have aspects I find more attractive than the other. Let me explain by way of a list, the contents of which are entirely personal and subjective and presented in no particular order…

Graphics: Both worlds are lovely (the shithole of ESO’s Coldharbour aside) with ESO having better weather and atmospheric effects and GW2 having a more delicate feel. This is hard to quantify but ESO’s world looks and feels bigger and blockier than GW2, with Tyria feeling more attractive. This is even truer of the character models.

Characters: I can not say this enough – there is nothing ‘wrong’ with ESO’s models (and in fact I prefer a lot of their outfits as they have a nicer ‘real’ feel than GW2’s god-awful spike obsession) but I have yet to see an attractive ESO character. The faces are… well… just not attractive. GW2 is guilty of going the other ways in that you can’t make an ugly or old or scarred character, but it’s more than that and ESO characters all look far better with their faces covered up! Both GW2 & ESO have non-human characters but ESOs are basically a human torso with a cat or lizard head popped on top and it looks wrong, whereas GW2 got it right with the Char and the Kodan races. And give me a walking plant made up of overlapping leaves and flowers and bark, over a spoon-faced dark elf with piggy eyes and spindly limbs any day.

Races and Classes: Dead simple – I like GW2’s races better than ESO, hands down and no contest, but I like SO’s flexible class system better. Except for the Engineer. GW2 Engi beats all. GW2 Engi is fun and flames in equal measure. Nothing comes close to GW2 Engi.

Animations: ESO has a huge range of beautiful emote animations that far surpasses GW2’s pathetic efforts so it’s a huge shock to witness the bloody awful animations your character has for running and walking. My guy is part cat yet he runs like he has a broom handle up his arse! It’s only a small thing as ESO has tons of other great animations but it’s the one I have to look at the most and it makes sad inside every time.

UI: GW2 wins because it is lovely. ESO is awful until you use ‘add-ons’ and then it becomes OK.

Gameplay: Hmmm, this is a biggie. I love the concept of ESO allowing me to make a character I want to and play in a way I want to but I dislike its old quest system (icon over an NPC’s head, pick up quest from them, do quest for them, turn quest in to them). GW2’s dynamic questing system feels more fun but looking at how even GW2 is moving away from that in favour of larger ‘meta events’ maybe it’s just too hard to implement. Other than they both feel similar in gameplay term – explore, quest, level, complete a story.

Combat: So far I prefer GW2 but I strongly suspect this is because I understand it. ESO combat has been ok so far but I don’t have the first clue what I’m doing. In short, the jury is out.

Controls: I have to say GW2 wins for me but again this is because I am so new to ESO that I don’t really know my way around. I’m finding the ‘action camera’ style a little hard which is why I never used it in GW2. Again, jury is out. Again I suspect this will be a non-issue.

Mechanics: I’d say that GW2 does a damn good job of removing barriers at the cost of immersion whereas ESO adds immersion back in. Case in point is selling stuff. In GW2 I can sell anything in my bags on the trading post wherever I am. In ESO, as far as I can see, you have to be in a trading guild and that guild has to ‘bid’ for a place to plop down an in-world stall and only then can random folks buy from you by walking up to the stall and interacting with the NPC running the stall. That is both amazing and faffy and I have no idea if I’ll like it or not yet.

Crafting: ESO looks more like LOTRO then GW2 and that can only be a good thing. Crafting in GW2 is horrible turned up to 11. And it’s boring. And shit.

Lore: Both are fun. Both are derivative. I’m enjoying both. Draw 😉

Fun: Tricky one. GW2 feels more fun right now whereas ESO has a po-faced feel about that El assures me isn’t true. I think it’s down to it being, as Gkaruk calls it, a ‘grown up’ MMO. It feels like D&D and MERP did to me when I was a kid pen & papering it with my mates. It feels… old. I don’t mean that in a bad way. GW2 feels new and looks all shiny. ESO feels… chunkier and slower and more bedded in. GW2 still feels like it’s trying to find out who it is whereas ESO has the confidence of middle-age.

Anyway, I’ve waffled on enough. What it all boils down to is:

  • I like both. I’m going to keep playing both.
  • GW2 looks better and feels more easily accessible fun. Also Engi.
  • ESO feels like it has more depth to it.
  • As long as I have the mates I’ve made through the GGG Guild to play with I’ll be having fun 😀

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Life in Tyria: The Clan Keeps Growing…

Jurak Gearwright, my trusty Engineer and first ever character created after beta, hit 80 a long time ago but has only recently killed Zhiatan. That’s three years, albeit with a couple of very long breaks, to reach the end of the original personal story. Ulfryk, the Norn Guardian I created a couple of months ago has already reached 80 and is very close to killing Zhaitan whilst Bercolwyn, my Sylvari Ranger created a couple of weeks after game launch, has no also reached 80 and Jeb is already over 30. This sudden burst of achievement can be directly tied back to three factors: 1) playing in a Guild, 2) playing a couple of hours almost every evening, and 3) the levelling improvements Arenanet have made since launch. Out of those three the last plays the smallest part and it’s been down to the powerhouse of the Good Guys Gaming guild I set up that I’ve maintained such an enthusiasm for the game over a sustained period. There is something just far better about playing with friends than playing alone and these guys are carrying me through the game in such a fun and entertaining way that the grind (such as it is in GW2) never feels like grind, just fun. This has led to me creating more characters and levelling several up with more coming through the ranks, so here, dear reader, is a potted guide to the guys I play in #GuildWars2 …

Jurak Gearwright (Level 80 Human Engineer): So far the only guy I have who has taken down the Big Bad Z, I had thought his place in the Pantheon of Heroes was at risk until the guild started making headway into the Silverwatses recently and now I think he is essential. He’s the most versatile, mobile, control-y guy I have and I love him all over again 🙂

Bercolwyn (Level 80 Sylvari Ranger): Although still to tackle his Level 50 & 60 personal story section, this guy is primed for excursions into the Maguuma Jungle once Heart of Thorns is released, mainly because I really want a Sylvari in there to see how the Mordermoth corruption storyline plays out.

Ulfryk the Penitent (Level 80 Norn Guardian): The poster boy for rapid progression, I created this lad to help the guild through dungeons but he’s so much skull-mashing fun to play with I’m currently running with some other Level 80s from the guild through Orr to take down the Zee-miester.

Jeb Tiler (Lever 30 Human Thief): Created very recently for the Guild Thief Clan runs I honestly wasn’t expecting to like this class as much as I am and now Jeb is the guy I want to get up to 80 as soon as I can. The thief is an amazing class that you don’t play with but rather you dance with. Get it right and you look like an awesome ninja, get it wrong and you look like a clown – I love it!

Twilk (Level 10ish Asura Elementalist): Ahhh, I had such high hopes for this guy back near lunch, sadly he still languishes in Rata Sum unloved and unplayed but waiting for his moment to come…

Raketooth Longclaw (Level 10ish Charr Warrior): Another potential waiting for realisation, his day will come…

Torri (Level 20 Sylvari mesmer): Created very recently and blasted to 20 with a birthday tome just so I could help the guild out with the Lion’s Arch jumping puzzle, this guy has seen no action really and the Mesmer remains a class I know nothing about but sort of want to learn.

Conclusion? The Engineer and Thief are brilliant fun to play, as long you don’t mind managing lots of stuff all at once as well as never staying still 😀

Bercolwyn, ready for the jungle...

Bercolwyn, ready for the jungle…

Jurak

Jurak, in desert garb…

Ulfryk

Ulfryk, saviour and hero

The GGG Thief Clan

The GGG Thief Clan – check yer wallets 😉