My, What a View!

Have you ever looked at certain locations in Guild Wars 2 and thought to yourself, “No way…” when your first set your eyes on them? That’s my ongoing experience as of late. I jump around places, still discovering areas that I used to love visiting in Guild Wars 1. One of the most mind-blowing ones was Droknar’s Forge, a place where you would get your highest tier of armour. People used to run other lowbies there (for a cost, of course) every single day. I have so many memories of seeing how far I could make it while the runner ran through it for us. Then the realization came: ‘Droks’ is no more… I can’t even really take a picture of it, because it’s just… gone. It’s not snowy… it’s not pristine. All that’s left after 250 years and some Elder Dragon activity, is water.

It’s moments like this that make me love Guild Wars 2. This isn’t to say that you need to play Guild Wars 1 to actually appreciate this game. This game has merit, all in its own for beauty and interesting areas to see. Lots of detail was put into the less-travelled path, which is what makes this traveller a huge lover of Tyria.

For instance, have you ever stood back and gazed upon this?

So many memories...

So many memories…

The Searing Crystal, a physical reminder of what the Flame Legion did to the people of Ascalon. Sure, we can argue over whether the Charr were right in trying to take Ascalon, but the Searing was never a good thing. Yet this crystal is beautiful to look upon, especially up close! If you’ve never noticed it before spend some time looking for it in the Plains of Ascalon!

Another impressive (although I’m not sure “beautiful” is the word I would use) area is an amazing river of lava in Fireheart Rise, known as the Lavafall Vista! It’s something I suggest you take your time to look around (and you may find a jumping puzzle near there).

Here a lava, there a lava, and another little lava?

Here a lava, there a lava, and another little lava?

Finally, the last little token I’d like to show off is another little piece of Guild Wars history. The Northern Wall was built to stop Charr incursions into Ascalon. When the Searing happened, it dealt some pretty nasty damage. Throw in some influence of Kralkatorrik and you’ve got yourself a beautiful sight to behold, albeit, creepy.

This is probably one of my favourite places in the entire game (ok, I admit, I have many). I remember my first time jumping around there before the Shatterer attacked, which led me to feeling pretty overwhelmed and excited. I mean, I had no clue what I was doing at the time, so my Thief got slaughtered and I only managed to get Bronze. Yeah, I have a clue now. Still, exploring ruins around Ascalon always makes my heart jump a little bit. It brings back far too many memories, and it’s created far more.

The great Northern Wall... or, what's left of it.

The great Northern Wall… or, what’s left of it.

What’re some of your favourite sights? Feel free to link them in the comments. I would love to see them!

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The Great Key Farm

Ever wanted to key farm? Check below for my guide!

So once in a while, my wife and I get it into our heads that we need to get a Black Lion Ticket in order to buy the latest weapon skin. Before the Tormented Skins went up to 5, we decided that we should try to make the ugliest characters possible. Of course, this escalated into me making a huge series of different characters which contained some of the following:

  • Sir Husky, the shirtless, masculine, super sexy warrior that spent most of his whole key farm shirtless.
  • Captain Patrikson, a bearded pirate who was in love with a creepy necromancer named Death Granny–because hey, Captain Patrikson has no standards or dignity.
  • The aforementioned Death Granny, who was a creepy old lady that would lure children to her basement to take their soul. Ok, actually, she’d just flat out take people’s souls. This turned into a huge laughter fest (in a creepy way) over lines like:
    • Come in, sweetie! Granny wants to use your innards to make you a friend!
      • The lesson? Never trust a creepy old necromancer of a lady. You’d be better off going into a gingerbread house.
  • Ugly Mugg (where Big Nose Ted was a huge improvement)
  • Captain Keyrk
  • Poor Keypig (ok, the name started with me saying “Porkey Pig” and a guildie took it to a beautiful new level)
  • My terrible, ugly, Michael Jackson-David Bowie love child, whose name I completely forget (find that picture down below).
  • Benedict Cumberbatch.

That’s right. You heard me. Benedict Cumberbatch. Why? Because he’s awesome. Coolest voice on earth (tied with Leonard Nimoy, with Morgan Freeman coming in a close second).

When you can make any character you want for fun, why not make Benedict Cumberbatch?

When you can make any character you want for fun, why not make Benedict Cumberbatch?

If you could choose to be anyone for key farming, why wouldn’t you be Benedict Cumberbatch? Of course, the full name wouldn’t fit giving naming length restrictions, but come on! Sherlock, Khan, Smaug, and now an Elementalist. This guy is pretty awesome. Well, he was until he got his key… then he was deleted into the Mists, or wherever deleted toons go.


Asmund’s Guide to Key Farming

  1. Roll a Human with the commoner storyline. In timing all the quick storylines, this has been the quickest for me.
    • Hint: I much prefer using a Necromancer if I’m soloing.
      • If you choose Necro, use the intro to try to unlock as many Death Shroud traits as possible.
  2. After completion the introduction, be sure to grab a long-ranged weapon for whatever profession you’re using. Staff is usually a good choice for a lot of professions that use it, as they have a lot of AoEs, especially with the Necromancer.
  3. Follow your personal story, unlocking as many skills as possible for your chosen profession.
  4. When you reach the Personal Story quest, Infiltration, be sure to choose the hospital (not the orphanage).
  5. The Hospital in Jeopardy is much easier than Arson at the Orphanage. I find myself dying much less.
    • In your key farm, this is one of the hardest quests to do in the human commoner storyline.
    • Watch out for Deadeye Della, as her long-range attacks tend to do serious damage to an under-levelled character that key farmers are.
    • If you have too much trouble, do another heart or two to level up if needed.
    • Dodge, dodge, dodge.
    • Try to pull mobs out of the hospital, one by one if possible.
  6. Finally, you’ll reach the Commander, which is the last personal story quest before you get your key!
    • Let Logan and Anise do most of the effort on this battle.
    • Watch out for the Ministry Guards with rifles. They’ll snipe you before you get the chance to react.
    • Feel free to hang out in the cell for a little bit.
    • Once the boss goes down, you’re good to go!

Congratulations! You’ve gained a Black Lion Key! My wife and I duo it and usually take about 15-17 minutes per key. It’s an exciting thing to do, is very easy, and can sometimes be rewarding (if the great RNG gods show their favour on you), but the best part is making interesting characters–even the ugliest things you’ve ever seen.

I’ll leave my Michael Jackson-David Bowie freak to bid you adieu.

He-Who-Is-Too-Ugly-To-Be-Named

He-Who-Is-Too-Ugly-To-Be-Named

I’d love to see your ugly or creative key farmer creations! Link them below!

When I Step Through the Wardrobe

One of the biggest things that ArenaNet pushes in Guild Wars 2 is their aesthetics. With the new wardrobe coming out today, we’re going to be seeing a whole new level of skins being mixed and mashed together! Imagine, being able to preview everything you’ve unlocked so you can make the most beautiful (or terrifying) character in all of Tyria! This will open up a whole new level of identity for your characters as you strive to make them more and more unique (especially for us RPers).

Over the past while, I’ve been collecting pictures of some people that stood out to me. Sure, you might think it creepy to take pictures of strangers, but I don’t think it’s creepy when they’re Tyrians (there has to be some law about F12-ing people and being able to distribute it or something). 😉

In my excitement for the wardrobe to be released (my favourite thing coming in the feature patch), I wanted to show a few designs that really stood out to me. I’m a huge fan of aesthetics, so this will be a whole new level of excitement, and I can’t wait to walk through Vigil’s Keep (or any other major city) to see what comes up next:

Arah gone wild. Frankly, I'd hate to meet this guy in a dark alley in DR.

Arah gone wild. Frankly, I’d hate to meet this guy in a dark alley in DR.

Ahh, the great Arah skin. Yes, it’s pretty standard and a full set, but it’s still rather unnerving (as he stands in the old Bank of Lion’s Arch… *sniff sniff*). I can’t say I’ve ever felt compelled to get this armour, but it’s very unique and very details–something that definitely works for a lot of people! Of course, it’s going to freak me out to see Lv.5’s with full Arah skins. What a nightmare Tyria will become!

Beautiful Asura Twins

Beautiful Asura Twins

Since we’re talking about Arah skins, I encountered these twin Asura recently. They took the very creepy and twisted skin and made it into something beautiful. Two little angels that made me smile (sure, that’s pretty easy to do, but these two are awesome). The weird thing was that I saw another one (with a different name) that looked very similar to this a few weeks earlier. Maybe the Asura started cloning each other? That’d explain why they all look the same to a Norn.

I'm not sure if he's a captain or what, but he's pretty fearsome.

I’m not sure if he’s a captain or what, but he’s pretty fearsome.

This Charr caught my eye with his ascended gear. I have to admit, I think ascended gear is ridiculously ugly (ever. last. piece), but he managed to pull it off. I’m guessing it’s because of his fur pattern, but I was impressed! Throwing in the eye patch and we have a Charr that looks like some very intense (and very rich) pirate. Good job!!

Beautiful, enticing, yet slightly disturbing. One of the most eye-catching Sylvari I've seen.

Beautiful, enticing, yet slightly disturbing. One of the most eye-catching Sylvari I’ve seen.

Next is one of my favourites. There was something about the texture of her skin that worked extremely well with the colour she chose for her outfit. I found her slightly disturbing, but in a good way. I walked by, came back, and couldn’t resist taking a picture of her. In my eyes, she’s one of the most beautiful and enticing Sylvari I’ve seen. Perhaps this is what Lyssa would look like, were she a Sylvari?

If he were Norn-Crying, he'd be the Incredible Sulk!

If he were Norn-Crying, he’d be the Incredible Sulk!

Last, but not least, is this Hulk that impressed me so much, I couldn’t tell if a Guild Wars 2 avatar was cosplaying! Definitely a humorous take on a character. I’d love to see some more Avengers done!! (<– Kudos to Reddit user, Dylanjosh for making these!)

 

I’d love to see some of your creations! If you want to share, post links to your pictures in the comments!

What’s in a Guild? (Finding the Right One)

I’ve spent a lot of time in a lot of games, trying to find the right guild for me. It wasn’t until LOTRO that I managed to find a Kinship (the name for LOTRO guilds) that I finally encountered a group of people that became great online friends! I still remember meeting the Supergirl of Lothlorien, Danania who became a great friend for a very long time! There are memories of people who I got excited to talk to, and often looked forward to logging on to chat with them. The thing is, when I hit Guild Wars 2, I just couldn’t find people like that ever again. Forever, I found myself longing for a guild of friends and family that matched who I was, and what I was looking for–something about the Riders of Rohan clicked with me, and I hadn’t found it since.

It wasn’t until recently that I found the Angels of Eternal Destiny [ANGL] and really clicked with a lot of them. The problem that held me back for the longest time, was this: I didn’t know what I was looking for.

So what changed?

Well, I decided to lay out exactly what I was looking for in a guild. Here’s some questions that may help you, as they helped me:

  1. What gameplay do you prefer?
    • This is the first question you need to ask. Why would you join a guild focused on WvW if you hate it? Why would you join a guild focused around dungeon runs if you hate dungeons?
    • Take a look at what you currently do. Then take a look at what you’re willing to do. Then write out what you don’t want to do. This will help you find that “sweet spot” of gaming that you desire!
  2. How social do you want to be?
    • Some guilds may come with an expectation to have 100% representation. Is this valuable to you?
    • Some guilds may require showing up to lots of events, or even being verbally active in conversation. What’re your limits?
  3. What’s your preferred form of communication?
    • There’s no point being in a guild where they all want to chat through text, if you could care less about typing. The opposite applies as well, where there’s no point being in a guild where they want to use Ventrilo, Mumble, or TeamSpeak, when you just want to type.
  4. Why do you play Guild Wars 2 (or your given MMO)?
    • It probably seems like a funny question, but this is the most important question for me to know. It links back to #2 and #3.
      • If you’re playing to get away from the social pressures of life and/or your job, you probably won’t want to be engaged too often in communication.
      • If you play to have all the achievements, this should be a requirement for you.
      • If you play casually, or you play hardcore, then this is going to be thrown into the mix of the decision-making process.
  5. Finally, are you willing to do a “trial run” of a guild?
    • The reality is, you’re not going to like every guild and every person. I don’t like every person in this world, and that’s ok (although I still choose to treat them with dignity and respect).
    • Asking to do a trial run for a week or two, even when the recruiter hasn’t mentioned it, is often really healthy. It gives you time to schmooze, see if there’s a click, and not feel hard-pressed about moving on.
      • If you’re anything like me, you hate letting people down, so leaving a guild (even one you don’t like too much) can leave you a little guilt-ridden. Take a week or two to see if there’s a click. If there is, you may have found a home!

These 5 questions help me develop good relationships, improve my experience in Tyria, and have really paid off with a great guild that I’m in who I’ve been building awesome relationships with.

What about you? What are some of the things that have helped you find a healthy home in Tyria?

Guild Challenge

Celebrating after doing a Guild Challenge of a Branded Ogre and two Branded Devourers! Go [ANGL]!!

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Life isn’t easy. Gaming sometimes doesn’t even seem that easy (or maybe I’m the only one?). The one thing I do know is easy, is celebrating fun times. After an overwhelming amount of support and memories from last week, I heard tons of you say how many laughs you’ve had in video games–especially in Guild Wars 2! If you haven’t read them, check the comments under Memories, New and Old!

It’s in the silliest of moments (and yes, even the silly things you may be lied to about today on April 1st) that we choose to laugh and enjoy the fun of gaming life! A few days ago, I met some amazing Norn who decided to dance like nobody’s watching, and let it all hang out! Of course, after a while, a few of the men decided to let too much hang out, making me laugh hysterically. To be honest, I have *no* sweet clue who these people were. Does that matter? Well, in this setting, absolutely not. Of course, I was of the opinion that the Carlton Dance should’ve been our dance of choice, but few seem to agree with me.

I wonder if Norn can shake it like Shakira?

I wonder if Norn can shake it like Shakira?

When you play with friends, fun is to be found everywhere in Tyria. Even if they’re not friends, there’s always opportunity to goof off and have fun–that’s the reason we play video games, right?

I recently connected with a woman with a fun blog that covers her pastime of gaming, enjoying multiple MMOs, and dealing with even some of the more personal things. I’d encourage you to check out Jaedia, as she has some pretty honest and insightful things at times. Yet I can relate with her on many levels, because there are times in life where you need to have an escape. Many people would think this wrong, but we all find ways to do it: sports, cooking, tv, reading, writing, music, gaming–all ways that we escape and unwind to prepare ourselves to tackle other parts of life. To some, each of these is much more intensive and “hardcore,” while to many others it’s a release of the stresses of the day. We need it.

Perhaps you struggle with depression or anxiety? As gamers, take time together and laugh. Frankly, I struggle with both of these (more often the former than the latter). Yes, take time to breathe together. Grab a bunch of Norn and dance around a quaggan. Is it silly? Absolutely it is! Is it crazy? You bet! Is it a break from the stresses that this life offers? 100%.

Sometimes we’re so caught up with our day-to-day lives that we aren’t breathing in the most beautiful things around us. I mean really, have you called up that friend you haven’t seen in a while? Have you told your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend how much you love them today? Have you encouraged a person who’s feeling down? I encourage you to live life. Even more so, I encourage you to love and to enjoy the simple things, even if that’s dancing around a quaggan with a bunch of Norn that are getting a little *too* comfortable in their skin.

Whoever you are out there, I just want to tell you today that no matter who you are, you have value. No matter what life seems like right now, there is hope. No matter how much pressure you put on yourself for that next achievement, things go on if it doesn’t go right (whether virtually, or in real life). You have a purpose, you are beautiful, you are wonderful, and you must take time to enjoy the sweet things of life–even in Tyria.

Maybe I feel mushy and reflective right now because of a lot of personal things going on with some friends. It reminds me of how beautiful and important friendship and life truly are.

So I urge you to sing; I urge you to laugh (no really, click this link); I urge you to dance…

Dance like nobody’s watching.
Asmund & Briony Dance