Traveller Thursday #7

It’s yet another wonderful week of #TravellerThursday!! Here are some of the fun screenshots I’ve managed to capture over the past week.

gw570

Ahh. The Shiverpeaks. My favourite places in the entire game. I actually get physically cold when I’m here though.

gw571

Accidentally took a picture with my wife’s Asura on there. Turned out pretty awesome!

gw573

oooooOOOOooooo… pretty water.

gw575

I have a thing for architecture in games. ❤ Also, look at that flame!

gw578

So this was the first time I’ve *ever* noticed flame around the temple. Clearly, I am observant.

gw579

The stone. Those vines. The beauty! The Straits of Devastation actually have quite a few beautiful places in it. Take some time to check it out yourself!

gw580

Also in the Straits. What is this? An Asura gate? I wish there was more lore and backstory to it!

Do you have some First-Person Screenshots to share? Be sure to hashtag them to @gw2traveller with #TravellerThursday to get a retweet so we can show off the beauty of Tyria to the world!

Advertisements

Specializations: The Traveller’s Take

Everybody is full of speculation and excitement over the new specialization system that’s going to radically change our current trait system. My thoughts on the changes to the trait system by causing us to unlock them were… less than pleased. If you check my post at this link, you’ll see that I wasn’t the happiest over the changes.

Still, it appears that ArenaNet have heard the cries of many and have been secretly working on something completely new.

Recently in this ReadyUp episode, a lot of new information was given about specializations, and a lot of great things were shown. Mind you, I honestly haven’t had the chance to sit down for four hours and listen to it all, but a few things have stood out to me from what I’ve read, seen, and heard.

Simplicity is Good

Now, several hardcore players may hate how the new system is going to look. Currently, you can put points into as many trees as you want, so long as the points add up to no more than 14. 14 shall be the number. 15 thou shalt not count, neither shalt thou count to 13 excepting that thou then proceedeth to 14. 16 is right out.

With each tier, you can then add one of the previous traits to a new tier. For instance, if you put four points in and unlock a Master level trait, you can slot it with either a Master trait from that line, or even an Adept trait. Grandmaster gives you the option to slot any of the traits from that line.

Well… that’s going to change.

If you look at the image that I’ve linked from the Guild Wars 2 website, you’ll see that you only get three trait options per tier instead of the current five bajillion (I ran the numbers).

At first I thought: “this is insanely restrictive,” but my impression is that they’re amalgamating a lot of current traits that aren’t used, as well as some that have become overly necessary. For example, the Necromancer’s Focused Rituals which allows them to select where they cast their Wells will become baseline. It will naturally happen without the need for a trait. This then frees up the Necromancer to choose where he’s going to specialize without feeling forced into a certain trait line or specific trait–in theory.

I’m a skeptic, so people may still feel forced into it, especially if you’re a hardcore speed runner. That’s not my deal, so I’m not concerned about ‘meta.’ Players will still find their favourite combinations and favourite traits, and I think that’s ok. I do think that there are quite a few benefits to this sort of system:

  • It allows new players to understand the system much more efficiently.
  • It will become even easier for ArenaNet to balance on a PvP-level because of the simplicity.
  • It becomes even easier to change traits on the fly due to the visual patterns, the beautiful artwork of every unique trait, and the simplicity of only three trees.

Yes, you heard me. Only three trees at a time. No more 22442 builds (because you know how often we all run those). I’ve heard some people concerned, but I think limiting yourself to three trees isn’t all that crazy anyway. My Guard build is usually 00446, my Necromancer is 62006, and my Engineer is now 62024, which is my only one that branches into four trees. So honestly, I don’t think I’ll be too hurt, especially from some of the amalgamation, which is officially my word of the day.

So I’m excited for what’s to come with the simplicity of the matter.

1337 Specs

So the elite specializations are what intrigue me the most. So far we know that Ranger will get “Druid” and will be able to use a Staff. Many suspect Engineer with a hammer (well, it’s unconfirmed but you can see it in the Heart of Thorns trailer), and Guild Wars 2 released a beautiful work of art with what looks like a Mesmer holding a shield.

Every single specialization is going to receive a new weapon, so long as they are using that specific specialization. Now, this sort of concerns me.

Does this give an edge to those who don’t purchase Heart of Thorns? Is it too hard to balance a Ranger using a staff if they haven’t specialized into Druid? I’d be curious as to why they are approaching it the way they do. Many people will feel pretty compelled to be specced into the elites. Of course, if they’re that powerful, that will be very identifiable in PvP and WvW. If you see a Necromancer running at you with a Greatsword equipped, you know that he’s using the elite specialization, “Marjory Wannabe.”

Until I have more information on the elites, I don’t think I can make any calls on all of this, other than “my Engineer will be amazing because Juggernaut.” Insta-win. I’m happy!

I digress.

Pre-Expansion Release

One of my favourite things that Jon Peters said in the entire ReadyUp is that the specialization system (not the elite specializations) is going live before Heart of Thorns releases. This is extremely important, in my opinion.

  1. This gives the opportunity for working out bugs and issues that inevitably will come up. Reality is, nothing is bug-free at first, and it takes a lot of time and effort to work those things out. Even if they seem to be working perfect in-house, until it’s released, they won’t know for sure.
  2. This allows the players to get a good feel for the new system before we end up getting into Elite Specializations. If anything, it’ll allow us to build on what we’ve already developed (because these are fairly different than the current trait system).
  3. It may even compel people to buy Heart of Thorns, given that the elite specializations will be locked behind it.

Bigger Than We Could Imagine

One thing I’m realizing is how complicated it really must be to balance this game and make decisions on what should be baseline for the specializations. What things should be tweaked? What things should be eliminated? It’s a lot of work for the developers to go through and there’s a lot of contradictory feedback to work through along with trying to work through what metrics to go by or not.

So here’s a huge shout-out to ArenaNet to keep up the good work, keep moving in the direction of greater communication (this ReadyUp was very transparent in a lot of areas already from what I’ve seen), and keep working through feedback along with your metrics, because nothing can replace the experiences of people.


There are so many things I didn’t cover about specializations, and I’ll leave that for the experts. All I can say is that my thought so far is that there is a whole lot of potential to improve the game, balance things even better, and create Guild Wars 2.1–something I’m very excited to experience with Heart of Thorns!

  • Be sure to check out the full list of notes found at Dulfy’s website.
  • Check out a great Q&A with Jon Peters from Lewis aka @PersistentWorld at TenTonHammer!
  • Finally, don’t forget to keep your eyes on news updates about HoT on the Guild Wars 2 News page.

Got a few thoughts on what you’ve heard about Heart of Thorns? Be sure to comment below. I’d love to hear what your impressions are!

Traveller Thursday #6

This week I’ve got a few more shots that I’m excited to share with you! Here they are:

gw518

Strange yet beautiful, the Pale Tree always bewilders me.

gw519

I get a kick out of the Skritt here. Pirate shinies? Yes please!

gw534

Most people don’t stop and look at the scenery in the Borderlands. I highly suggest it, so long as you’re not getting jumped.

gw541

So much swirl.

gw543

Near the Temple of Grenth in Cursed Short. I managed to scale a few walls. 😉

gw551

Shots like this remind me that Orr was once underwater. I think ArenaNet did a really good job portraying that!

Do you have first person screenshots to share? Tweet them to @gw2traveller with the hashtag #TravellerThursday to possibly get a retweet! Excited to see what pics you have to show off!

Thoughts on the HoT Expansion

Many of us can look back to the day at PAX, whether we were there in person or on Twitch, and remember that rush of excitement when Heart of Thorns was released. I mean, we could easily see it coming with how they ended off the Living Story. Still, it was a moment that I’ll probably never forget. Then came that release trailer and the explanation of all the amazing things we’ll get to discover! Mastery system, specializations, a brand new class called the Revenant… all of these things built so much hype and excitement and then…

Well, it’s gone.

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m not a hyper-critical person. I generally don’t use my blog to vent frustration, and this blog post isn’t intended to be that at all. What I do want to spend a few moments highlighting is the reality of where we are today, and what I believe many players are feeling.

You see, it was all excitement and energy–the hype was real–until those words were spoken: “When it’s ready.”

Although that didn’t phase me much at first, I look back to that announcement and noticed a severe lack of direction. I honestly have taken the approach as “let’s show them lots of great stuff, build it up to be astounding, and then hope that rides us to when we can finally release it.” Frankly, I don’t think that’s a good approach at all. Guild Wars 2 is my favourite game, and I’m actually rather disappointed that ArenaNet has taken this route. No release date? Not even a release goal? No explanation as to what’s going to happen until then? Sure, we got a few minor festivals, but that hasn’t really done anything when they set the precedent of Living Story (which we know is done until Heart of Thorns).

On top of that, I notice the slow roll-out of purchasable things in the gem store to keep them going. I’m not against this at all, but for me it puts a bad taste in my mouth. I think this all could have been done better.

“Well, you’re complaining, so give some ideas on how it should have been better!” you might say. Well, I sort of have some.

You see, the reality is that I don’t work for ArenaNet and therefore, can’t really understand their situation. I also have never worked in the gaming industry. Heck, having a family member in the gaming industry has really opened my eyes as to what it looks like–nothing like I imagined. We often approach it from a sense of entitlement saying: “I’m the consumer! I deserve [insert thing here]” but sometimes it’s not that simple. Wait, actually, it’s almost never that simple. So yes, I understand that I don’t have the full picture. I’m just thinking…

  1. Expansions should never be announced without a projected release quarter.
    • Sure, this gives the challenge of being seen as having a “broken promise,” but people are going to have unrealistic expectations. Such is consumerism. Anytime you’re going to release something that’s game-changing, you need to at least have a projection for people to work with. Otherwise you end up with your players being disillusioned. Judging from many people I’ve encountered in-game, that’s growing at a rapid rate. At least, that’s been my experience.
  2. Be clear about your game plan.
    • This has been one of ArenaNet’s biggest challenges. When they tried to be clear, they felt they got bit, so they pulled back completely. I don’t think this was a smart move at all. I think they need to be clear about where they’re going from here. Even if they don’t give out a projected release date, they should at least say what they’re doing in-between. The problem is if they say “nothing,” then people will leave until the expansion. There’s due diligence that needs to be done on their part. At the moment, I’m left wondering if they even have a game plan until then, or if we’re just abandoned. The time between Living Story updates were painful enough, but we at least knew what would happen–we knew the game plan.
  3. Do small things to bring about a “freshness” in the game instead of “stagnancy.”
    • They’ve played around with quite a few things that used to be in the game as small updates. For instance, SAB was a huge hit among many (I’m highlighting that, in spite of the fact that I didn’t like it at all, most people did). Bring it back. Who cares if there’s nothing new? There’s an expansion coming. Is it possible to reactivate it? Well, I don’t work for ArenaNet but I would assume there is.
    • Perhaps starting another WvW Tournament would be an effective thing to keep things going for a bit?
    • Maybe even a few more basic “Festival” things that they’ve done before could work? I’m not sure how, as Dragon Bash had too much LS storyline in it to my understanding (I was absent during that time), and the Zephyrites are now grounded (no Labyrinthine Cliffs). Still, small things need to be done to keep people engaged when that was the premise of your game since near the beginning.

Now please hear me out. I’m not *complaining* per se. I’m simply pointing out that there are elements that I’m not pleased with, and I’m using this as a medium to hopefully open up some dialogue as to what people think could improve. I’m still committed to Guild Wars 2 and adore it. I’ve put lots of real cash into the game to support ArenaNet as I love what they’ve been doing. What I will say is that I don’t even look forward to logging in very often anymore, and that has a lot to do with the current approach–pure silence.

“When it’s ready.” <– That line right there? It needs to die. It feels rather insulting, to be honest. “Let’s give you lots of great stuff to look forward to, but you don’t know when you’ll ever get it.

Honestly, I was excited on that day for Heart of Thorns. Now? I honestly don’t feel like I care about it because I feel like it’ll never happen. I’m being shown snippets of stuff but none of it really feels complete. Yes, we got the Stronghold Beta (and I’m not a huge PvP guy, I’ll admit), and I think that was a very wise move on their part. Still, I think that things could have been done better.

The bottom line is that I hope ArenaNet starts communicating more openly and giving us something solid to work with. Why? Because I love Guild Wars 2, and I wholeheartedly want it to be even better than it already is!


What’re your thoughts on how the expansion has been handled so far? Post in the comments below and please, keep it respectful of others!

Traveller Thursday #5

It’s time for Traveller Thursday! This has been a crazy week with sickness, tons of work, and a very sick family from a cold that won’t let go. Buuuuuuut… here comes some screens I’ve been able to take in-game!

gw487

I have a thing for old architecture sometimes, so Ascalon really fills that love.

gw511

This is my wife’s future Revenant. We have a whole story on her and my Necro, Griffyn, but for now I wanted to show off her beauty!

gw347

Fearmag can’t fear me from over here! Mwahahaha.

Be sure to submit your screenshots to #TravellerThursday on Twitter to @gw2traveller. I’d love to see what beautiful 1st Person Camera shots you’ve managed to come up with!

Traveller Thursday #4

It’s that time again for another edition of #TravellerThursday! Be sure to share your favourite first-person screenshots with the hashtag, and let me share a few of mine.

gw407

I adore WvW more for the beauty than anything. I should get into EotM and get some nice shots!

gw410

Found this little beauty in the Grove. It’s currently this week’s wallpaper.

gw478

Why has nobody made “Stargate Tyria” yet?

gw479

Am I the only one who thinks that bridges are absolutely beautiful, in-game and out?

gw480

Finally, the most romantic date place in all of the Mists. The bonus? Nobody can kill you here. \o/

Be sure to hashtag me your images on Twitter with #TravellerThursday and I may even retweet it! Join the Traveller fun.

Clicking With Your Characters

There’s something important for me about having a ‘click’ or a ‘story’ about my characters. I can’t just have ‘my Ranger,’ for example, without a connection. I can think of Terrentius Tryanel’s personality and backstory very easily, which makes me want to keep him. I have an emotional connection. I think of him, and his self-sacrificing nature comes to mind. I think of his bear, Illaido (who I rarely run unless I’m RPing), who is some kind of ancient spirit, trying to watch over Tyria through this Ranger, completely clueless to why this bear is so intelligent.

My first Thief (who was my first character) was deleted at 80 with full exotics. Why? Because I didn’t have a ‘click’ with him. Heck, I barely remember his name. Nowadays I have Markk Shadowclaw, a former Assassin with an elite group that simply call themselves “the Organization”–cheesiness intended. He’s a bit of an ass (I can’t think of any better way to describe him) and his looks were based off of my old dog, Edmund. The best part is that he looks over my wife’s character, an Elementalist Asura named Glorra, and sees her like a little sister (and she’s one of the few in the world he cares about). Markk frequently uses the line “I’ve cut people for less.” So he’s not exactly friendly, but I love him. This Thief, I can play because there’s a ‘click.’

So here’s where this post is headed: Griffyn Whitethorn. After rolling several Necromancers, I finally managed to connect with him. Maybe not so much in playstyle (and I’ll ask you all for help there later), but in character. I had an idea and made him very child-like and naive. The whole notion behind him was that he didn’t remember the Dream at all, making him clueless like the Firstborn originally were. He traveled with my wife’s Guardian, Ameera, and learned a lot about the world. Extremely naive, he only survives because of the immense power he has. This power was once augmented when he entered the Mad King’s Realm by himself and managed to walk through some trialing fires that reborn him into something even greater (yay Total Makeover Kits). Today, Griffyn has progressively grown into something tremendously powerful on in Tyria.

Still, Griffyn has a wonderfully childish side. He adores children, and will often be found in Divinity’s Reach, playing ball with the kids along the street. Many adults are wary, but children see his kind and innocent spirit.

And here’s where that development ended for me. It takes a lot to keep me engaged with my characters, I must admit. They need to have progressive development or else I fall out of love with them. So Griffyn will be taking a bit of a new route somehow with his new-found powers that have grown as of late, and is stepping into being a much more mature character than he was before. I’m not sure what this looks like, but with a few transmutation charges, I began the journey.

Griffyn has gone from this…

gw465

…to THIS!

gw466

There’s something to be said about a change in your character. It refreshes and renews them. It makes them something new. Perhaps I’ll write a little roleplaying section one day of my characters, but for now, I leave you with two questions I’d love to hear from you on!

1) Do you ever need to ‘click’ with your character, even if you don’t RP them?

2) What’s the most important thing for you to like a character you create?