Life in Tyria: Meet Ups and Clan Runs – Come One, Come All!


The Good Guys Gaming Google+ community guild (All the Gs) I set up a month or so ago is going strong with group runs each night so far, but we are aiming to be a little more… adventurous in the future but to do so we need more members and higher level characters so we are trying a few of things:

1) If you are stuck on a tough personal story mission of a hard quest line or if you need to get to a vista or POI that’s in a rough neighborhood then you can call us to come and help you.

2) If you are looking for a group to run a dungeon with you, call us. Brad in mind we are inexperienced at dungeons but what we lack in experience we make up for with raw enthusiasm and friendly chat over Teamspeak 😀

3) We are holding an open event this Friday, 28th August at 7pm UTC (8pm in the UK). We are meeting up at Morgan’s Spiral in Caledon Forest with the aim of fighting the undead and completing the two jumping puzzles there. Bring a new or low level character (try to get to the Spiral ahead of time or you’ll spend ages running there on the night and miss it).

4) We’ve set up a Thief Clan Run for Sunday nights (7pm to 9pm UTC – 8 to 10 in the UK) and you are welcome to join. You have to be a human Thief and we are aiming to level together. Right now we are at 10 and still in Queensdale. Come and join us – here some guidelines to help you:

All the Gs is a casual and friendly guild – come and join us if you are curious about Guild Wars 2 or are looking to get back into it after a long absence.

Life in Tyria: A Guild Wars 2 Primer for joining in the fun!

Over in the Google+ community “Good Guys Gaming” I have tempted a few people into playing GW2 and buying the Heart of Thorns expansion and so to help those totally new to the game I wrote this very brief primer on getting started – I thought I’d re-post it here just in case anyone wants to check out #GW2HOT and join in 🙂


A Guild Wars 2 Primer for the Good Guys Gaming G+ Community (updated 27th July 2015 – originally written 21st July 2015)

Buying the game. First thing to know is that the game is buy-to-play so you buy the game and never have to pay a sub. Ever. Most updates are free with only Expansions requiring payment (also the Living Story episodes if you miss them when they are released) as Arenanet make money from their cash shop which sells cosmetics and ‘quality of life’ items. When you are looking at buying the game there are currently two main options each with three sub-options:

1) The Core Game only – this will give you everything you need to play up to the Heart of Thorns Expansion that is currently in beta. The only exception is that you won’t have access to the Living Story Season 1 (no one does as they haven’t yet found a way of making it available) or Season 2 (you can buy access to the story episodes in the store for a couple of quid each). The three variations of this version offer additional cosmetic and QoL items that are nice but you don’t need – if you are a budget get the cheapest one (currently about £15 via Last thing to note is that is you buy this version you will have to buy the Heart of Thorns Expansion separately (which has the core game bundled in – see next).

2) Heart of Thorns Expansion – this bundles in the Core Game (see above) and grants access to the HOT content once released. As above there are three versions offering increasing levels of cosmetic and QoL items but the bottom line is if you can afford £35 then the HoT Standard edition represents the best base content value for money as you get Core & HOT together. You can get it from here:

Choosing a Server. As we have just found out (sorry Max!) you can’t play together across the Pond – EU & US servers are totally segregated and so if you want to play with the GGG players and join the GGG “All the Gs” guild you need to select Piken Square in the EU server farm as your home server. This might give US players a 100ms to 500ms lag according to various Reddit posts, but many GW2 players play across the divide with no lag effects at all. One thing to note is that changing servers can cost about £20 so choose wisely.

Joining the GGG Guild. Simply whisper one of us in game or ask to join in the GGG G+ community and we’ll add you to the list – once added you need to open your guild panel and accept the invitation with a small button at the bottom. The GGG guild is called “All the Gs” and once you accept and ensure you are representing the guild (you can be in 5 guilds but only represent one at a time – again see the guild panel for the represent button) you’ll have the following tag after your name [GGG].

Choosing a race and profession and crafting skill and… ARGH! It’s a wee bit beyond the scope of this post to advise you on that so I would suggest you check out the following resources first but bear in mind the game is well balanced so race doesn’t give you any real benefits and professions and skills are going to be situationally useful rather than over-powered. Choose what you like and enjoy 

Story Telling. When you start you will be in a small story instance that sets you off on your quest to save the world. After that you are treated to a new episode in your Personal Story each 10 levels or so – the Personal Story can be great at times and totally awful at others but Arenanet have learnt a lot about story telling in the three years the game has been live and it does get a lot better. Arenanet release a season of “Living Story” each year (or more) and these are episodes released each two weeks or so over a two to three month period. You are free to ignore all aspects of the story and just adventure through the world, but you’ll need to complete the Personal Story to defeat the big bad boss of the core game.

Arenanet’s introduction videos to GW2 (a little dated now but still good):

Arenanet’s Living Story videos:

Arenanet’s Heart of Thorns videos:

Arenanet’s Points of View (PvE) videos:

Arenanet’s Ready Up (PvP) videos:

Arenanet’s profession guides videos (again, dated but good for an overview):

Wooden Potatoes – UK YouTuber who’s played GW for 10 years now so knows it inside out and provides tones of lore and insights as well as updates, news, views and comment:

Guild Wars Reporter – Under the MMO Rorter banner, a great and friendly weekly podcast about the state of the game:

Races of Tyria:

Official GW2 News feed:

Life in Tyria: Like I’ve never been away… only better!

A Quagan ate my Charr!

A Quagan ate my Charr!

Like a warm embrace from a lovely aunt or the the sound of your own kettle boiling after a long holiday, Guild Wars 2 have welcomed me back as if I’d never been away, only this time it’s better because I bring friends!

Friends make GW2. I never thought I’d be in a game where having people to talk to and game with would significantly alter the enjoyment factor but then I go and play two that absolutely need them to get the best experience possible. Imagine a chicken sandwich without a sprinkling of salt. Shudder.

In GW2 I’ve seen the “All the Gs” Guild slow grow from three active people (me, Ian J and Paws) to about 10 and last night I did something I’ve never done before – I stayed online just to chat to the guildies who were in the teamspeak channel. I actually ran around doing I can’t recall what just so I could speak with Susie and Eldaeriel and it was fun! I am beginning to think that as long as the impetus to play doesn’t wane with members of our fledgling family then we could be heading towards having a great deal of group fun once the Heart of Thorns improvements come to guilds – hell! we might even have enough of us to go and claim a guild hall!

From a character viewpoint, I’m really enjoying levelling up my Sylvari ranger and Norn guardian, the latter will prove useful in dungeons, something I got to try out again last weekend with an experienced player who was very patient with Ian and I (thanks Gary!) and I can honestly say I really enjoyed the way we pulled together to coordinate and strengthen our efforts rather than just stand in a huddle and DPS a kneecap to death. More dungeonering is called for, I think 🙂

If you fancy joining us then it can cost you as little as £15 (although the £35 Heart of Thorns version is probably a better investment) and I wrote a guide here:

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! 😀
  • 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!):

*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.

The Beep Beep Boop post editing system seems a bit… shit, if I’m honest.

I didn’t mind when WordPress added in the Beep Beep Boop alternate post editing page because there was a link that said “Click me if you want to use the old editing page” and when I clicked it the Beep Beep Boop page went the fuck away like a bad smell being sucked out of a car window.

But now that link is no more! WordPress, annoyed with their users failure to love the ginger step child they have created after one too many expensive hipster coffee jams, have decided we must all be forced to use the Beep Beep Boop Bollocks because we are too fucking stupid and ungrateful to know what is best for us.

Sigh. Look, I love you WordPress. I even loved you enough to move my blog from Google and I bloody love Google! But blocking me from using a perfectly good dashboard in favour of the bag of poo that Beep Beep Boop seems to be related to is not my idea of repaying my slavering, blind love. No, making me use Beep Beep Boop means that I can no longer get a simple link (something that took 2 seconds and now takes a lot longer and involves sharing to a tweet and then C&Ping the link out of that tweet so I can post it somewhere useful) and I can no longer copy a post (something I had come to rely on hugely as it saved me much time and help ensure I didn’t miss tabs and categories).

It turns out I can get back to the old dashboard and posting format by using the following link ( but really that is a faff and WordPress is becoming very faffy these days.

As much as it pains me to say it, it may well be time to quit WordPress once and for all and head over to Blogger again. It’s been a good 10 years WP, but frankly my time is limited and my patience wears thinner with age. I’m going to have a peek over the hill and see if the grass is any greener (and if Google have stopped Blogger being a fugly sack of kak). I might stay, I might not. Loyalty isn’t what it once was, but that runs both ways I think you’ll find.

Exploring the Big Black: All that was left…

If you recall from my last post, I accidentally blew a ship up and not my ship either. Well here is a snap I quickly took of the wreckage… poor sod.

All that was left of the ship I unwittingly mass locked as it tried to jump to hyperspace...

All that was left of the ship I unwittingly mass locked as it tried to jump to hyperspace…

Just zoom in on the wreckage to see the detail given to even that part of the game. God I love this game!

I’ve uploaded all of my screenshots so far to here:

Me and… You Tube

I’m a recent YT convert, really only getting into it in any way once I got an internet capable TV about a year ago. Before then I had seen YT, used YT and enjoyed YT but only whilst sat in front of my desktop and that’s not a position I enjoy doing anything for very long. No, for me YT has only begun to play a part in my viewing life since I could watch it from the comfort of my sofa (or now I have a tablet, my bed) and so until recently I’ve never had enough experience to form any real views about it.

Now that I have, however, I can say that whilst I find the medium certainly fun I also find it immensely frustrating! and dissapointing. From the fact screen links don’t work on mobile devices to the seemingly odd way videos are located by a search, I find using YT an unintuitive minefield. Here are my main gripes:

  1. Whilst watching, for example, a Tech Feed vid on my phone or my tablet, I’d like to click on the ‘further stories’ boxes that appear at the end hovering to one side of the reporter. Except I can’t. I can only do that on my desktop or laptop. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that I can’t simply touch the video and the highlighted link would work, because it does me and I find watching YT on my tablet or phone a very unsatisfactory affair.
  2. Another thing that baffles me is the diversity of user experience I get from using YT across all the different devices in my house that can run it. From my desktop to my my tablet & phone via my Sony TV and my Virgin TiVo box, every single one works different. Obviously the first three are closest in look and feel, but the last two could be entirely unconnected services with nothing to tie them back to YT bar the content.
  3. Parental controls. Jesus Effin H F-bomb, YT is not something you could let your kids loose on, is it? Even innocent things like video reviews of lego toys are laced with effin & jeffin minefields. If I can’t put it on the TV without having to dive for the controls to cut off profanities then it’s *never* going to be a mainstream TV channel in my house, it’s as simple as that.
  4. Finding stuff is way too much effort. The current Geek Week & the recent Comedy Week feel as though there should be a central ‘guide’, maybe a web page with links but instead there is a cool intro video and then you’re on your own. God help you if you want to find a specific video you saw in the trailer because so far I haven’t been able to.find much that seems directly connected to them, just re-badged shows that sometimes only have a very tangential link to the theme – more frustration that drives me away from it.

The various differences listed above along with the lack of confidence that I can let my kids watch seemingly innocent stuff which can prove too bloody hard to find anyway annoys the hell out of me and prevents me from adopting YT as a main media viewing medium. I want my YT experience to be smooth as silk and instead, at times, I feel as though I have to battle through a briar patch just to find something to watch, and when I do I have to be mindful of what I’m watching at every point in case someone starts effin and jeffin, and what I’m watching on in case I want to explore further. This does not a restful viewing experience make and I’m afraid YT still has a looooong way to go before I’ll see it as anything more than a place for adults to watch funny, risqué videos – more of a post-watershed TV show than a TV channel if you will, which is a shame.

Adventures in Ingress: London Calling…

In in London again and whilst working on my papers for tomorrow’s meeting I noticed a hell of a lot of unclaimed Portals around St Pancras & King’s Cross so I grabbed my phone and went for a late evening wander.

I now own most of King’s Cross, all of St Pancras and a few bits of the British Library 😀









Tomorrow I think I’ll try and reclaim the small park I took over in my last visit. Wish me luck!

Adventures in Ingress: A sprightly wee thing…

My Ingress client updated overnight and I’m now on v1.30.2 and it’ a sprightly wee thing indeed! Gone are the large screen-covering windows and in are small pop-up toasts messages informing you of stuffz. Also the hacking animations are pretty slick now with a more firework-y type pop of particles and wee 3D icons whizzing about – it’s all very pretty 🙂

Here’s a video showing the changes from this great site:

Adventures in Ingress: Battle Royale

The Smurfs didn’t manage to take all my portals back yesterday so I went around at dinner and claimed back what I could and took a few new ones for good measure. I had just sat down at my desk when my phone huuwuumed to let me know someone was attacking my newly gained gains. I opened up the scanner just in time to see the one portal I can sometimes reach from my desk (the fickle gods of GPS willing) being attacked.

The fickle gods were indeed willing and I hacked right back in and so began an Epic Battle of Epicness! As he took down portals I threw them back up, as he smashed in shields I lashed more on. I sucked up all the XM I could and broke into power cube after power cube to keep up with the dizzying speed with which he attacked my portal until I received a message from my enemy.

“OK, I’ll let you keep that one :)”

I had won and, being honest, it was a hell of a thrill 😀