A Sincere Farewell

If any of you have been following me on Twitter, you’ve noticed that  I’ve been playing Black Desert Online and it’s really gripped me. I’ve fallen in love with it in the same way that I did with Guild Wars, LOTRO, and Guild Wars 2. I’m enraptured by its unique appeal to allow you to do a huge variety of activities.

With that being said, I have been posting less and less over the past year to the point that this blog is pretty much inactive. So with that, I want to give a huge thank you to a few people/groups.

First of all, thank you to Dragon Season for their support and contacts through the years. They have been (and still are) an astounding team who bring people together over the love for Guild Wars 2.

Secondly, a massive thank you to the people who have stuck through it with me over the years on Twitter. I made some massive changes in my career and life, and you have been amazingly encouraging. I couldn’t have done this without you.

Third, thank you to people like Rubi Bayer, Peter Fries, Bobby Stein, Mr. Barefoot Matthew,  Roy Cronacher, and many others who have shown love and support for the community of Guild Wars 2 (and continue to!).  There’s something that makes you feel special when you have a message or a tweet from one of them. People like this bridge the gap between the idea that ArenaNet is just a company, to the fact that it’s real people, passionately pouring into the game that they so love. These are only the first that come to my mind, but there are many others from ArenaNet who have also reached out, and I am forever thankful.

Fourthly, thank you to my wonderful wife, “Briony” for all of her support in my blogging, my gaming, and the stories that we’ve created together in Tyria. I love you, and couldn’t have done the blogging I did without you.

Fifth, thank you to ArenaNet for making an astounding game that held my attention and heart since its launch in 2012. I stopped playing only for about a month in that entire time. In hindsight, the sheer amount of hours that I’ve invested in this game really show how much it has meant to me.

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During depression, anxiety, family challenges, career change, etc. Tyria has been there for me. So thank you ArenaNet. You’ve truly impacted my life through what you’ve created! I will forever find my way back into Tyria time to time, just as I do with LOTRO, because of how much it means to me. During the existence of this blog, ArenaNet highlighted it three times, posting it to Facebook and/or Twitter. It is a huge honour to have a company enjoy what you wrote so much that they would share it with their community.

Finally, thank you to all of you readers who have faithfully read and/or posted on my blog. Without you, all this time of writing wouldn’t have happened.

With my final words of this entire blog, I want to conclude with this:

Be good to one another, both in-game and out. Respect one another, both developers and gamers alike. Instead of tearing down, always build up. Together, make Tyria and/or any world, something greater than reality itself.

Things That Make Guild Wars 2 “Home”

My last three blog posts were specifically about the new expansion and both positive and negative things that it has brought to the game. Although I could add on some more on both sides, I think enough has been said on those.

Recently I’ve been playing a lot of different games to give myself a bit of a break. I’ve been playing:

  • Rift – In spite of a few newer P2W elements that were recently introduced, I’ve been playing around to get an older school MMO fix like other games I used to play.
  • Neverwinter – Even though those dang Astral Diamonds (a form of game currency) take forever and a day to get, and the shop is terribly overpriced.
  • LOTRO – Which is my old home and I have a hard time going back, as I didn’t like the direction once they hit Isengard. It’s pretty desolate now, sadly. I miss the world though, as well as Shadows of Angmar.
  • Final Fantasy X-2 HD – A game I absolutely adored in college, and still really love the dressphere system.
  • Pokemon Omega Ruby – Don’t get me started on my fanboy obsession with this game right now. I got a Mew. Over 15 years later and I finally have a Mew!!!

One thing in those first three really stuck out to me… there are elements that make me rather unhappy compared to Guild Wars 2 that, in spite of feeling a little bored with it as of late, still have set a certain standard in my mind that other games don’t seem to match.

GW2 Changed Things

  1. Gathering Materials
    • I get so sick and tired of running up to an ore node and having someone mine it… and then I get nothing. Guild Wars 2 made it disappointing when that happens in other games. I love being able to mind the same nodes as other people.
  2. Rezzing
    • Alright, in a lot of other games I have the option to rez people, but even in Rift I can’t just click a button and rez someone from a dead state. There’s something fulfilling about helping other people out and to be honest, I find that doing this has made me want to help others in every part of the game if I can.
  3. Quests
    • Ok, so I tell myself I’m going to read quest lines and immerse myself in other games. You know what? I don’t. I really don’t. I try time and time again, but I just can’t sit there and read pages upon pages of text that really doesn’t flavour anything. I’m sure there are other games that do it. LOTRO, I read almost everything I encountered because I genuinely loved the lore and the atmosphere of the game. Guild Wars 2, I find I’ll even stop and read little snippets here and there because I love it. Other MMOs, I just can’t bring myself to do it.
  4. Gear
    • So here I am, thinking that I’m annoyed with Ascended gear and acquiring all the crazy stats that are now available. I get bored of my setup and think “this is going to take forever.” I swap over to other games and realize that if I ever want to actually be useful, I need to raid for hours on end (I abhor raiding in most games, to be honest. It’s not my thing). Get gear, so I can get more gear, to get more gear, and constantly try to get more gear… for what purpose? Yeesh. I can grab exotics in Guild Wars 2 and still be good enough for almost everything in the game. Heck, they even made it possible to change my Ascended gear for a small investment.
    • On this topic, the only two things I could think of that should be changed would be the runes and sigils being unlockable instead of destroyed when you swap ascended, as well as WvW having a PvP Build setup instead of using your actual gear. After playing a few other games though? Wow. I’m spoiled. I’ve got it good.
  5. Exploration
    • The sheer amount of games that are focused on “go from point A to point B” is maddening to me. I love that I can openly explore, choose my own path, and fight my own way through Tyria. It’s exciting that to this day, I can choose what Vistas to see, what enemies to fight, and what part of the Shiverpeaks I want to explore. In many other games, I’m forced to go from point A to point B, collecting a series of quests that eventually turn into senseless clicking instead of immersing myself into an entire world. Even worse are those games where you literally cannot explore and you’re pretty much stuck on rails.

Some Thoughts of Thankfulness

In all honesty, I have a lot to be thankful for. Yes, I have some criticism of the state of Guild Wars 2, but I also have a lot of things I adore that keep me coming back, and are exactly why I call Tyria home. I’m pretty sure I’ll be on this ride for a *very* long time. So today, I feel very excited for what’s in store, and definitely still put my trust that they’ll figure out where they’re going. If there’s one thing I can respect and appreciate about ArenaNet, it’s that they’re always looking to improve on what they have. Do they always get it right? In my opinion, no, but I can immensely respect them for being willing to take risks and step out to do something creative with what they’ve made.

HoT Thoughts – Part 3: Elites and Love

The past month I’ve been writing about the story of Heart of Thorns, as well as the maps–two of the biggest things that HoT brought to the table. It was rather critical, because there are definitely a lot of areas that ArenaNet could work on that would help me enjoy their expansion better.

With that being said, I’m excited to finally share with you my thoughts of what I’ve been loving about Heart of Thorns!

Elite Specializations

One of the biggest changes that Heart of Thorns brought is the elite specializations. Every single one of them brought new things to the table (don’t shoot me yet for that statement). By now, many of you have played most of the elite specializations and have started to see how they change the base professions to at least some extent, so I’ll give some of my (very) brief thoughts on them all!

Dragonhunter

As someone who mained a Guardian for quite a long time, I was rather disappointed with Dragonhunter. Traps feel more like symbols all over in the sense that they’re stationary rings. I’m not convinced Guard needed this. The longbow? People have been asking for it since launch, and it can be quite powerful. I just find it doesn’t synergize as someone who was a straight up Hammer Guard. The more I played Dragonhunter, the more it seemed like DPS was the focus. Not a bad thing, but it just didn’t click. Since then, I’ve pretty much abandoned my Guardian.

Druid

Oh. My. Goodness. I adore this profession, but this brought something radically new to the table with Rangers. I know a lot of people would’ve loved to be able to get rid of their pet for bonuses, but I think ANet took a very interesting route. The Druid is quite possibly the best healer in a game where healing was pretty much useless as a whole. Since raids (which I won’t be touching on), a healing Druid is pretty much meta, and they offer a whole lot more group support than Rangers originally did. It brings something new to the table, for sure, but I also wonder if it makes Druid feel too much like its own new profession all together? Maybe this is a good thing?

Whatever way you lean, I personally find my Druid to be a blast, and the glyphs really give some extra flexibility in playstyle, even if you go DPS.

Tempest

Ok, I know that I’ve complained on Twitter time and time again about how much I can’t click with Ele, in spite of maining it for an entire year, but let me say this… I FREAKING LOVE TEMPEST. I don’t know why. Those overloads, the Warhorn, and shouts, all give me a great sense that I’m more in control of my toon instead of mindlessly doing a rotation between elements. Right now I’m running a Fresh Air Tempest build, and I’m having way too much fun. The burst is amazing, the support/utility is somewhere between staff and focus, and it’s a fresh take on the Elementalist to me (see what I did there?).

Reaper

I’m still figuring Reaper out, but I’m getting the picture more and more. I think the Necro needed this a lot. There’s some stability in there, there’s some great melee outside of dagger, and as someone who ran a Power Necro (Wells), I’ve finally put together a build that jumps off of that and makes me more of a beast in melee. I’ve duo’d champions with random players in Auric Basin, so that’s a great start with a profession that I always struggle to be good at, but still love.

Daredevil

I’ve enjoyed most of the elite specs. Heck, I actually really love playing the Daredevil. Dodging and dealing damage, the extra dodge, and the staff as a whole, all really click with how I play the game. The down side? It still doesn’t bring great utility to a group, and it’s still horribly selfish. It makes me wonder how Daredevils do in raids? I don’t really know many that main it.

The biggest issue people have (and I do as well), is that it feels like they took away things from the Acrobatics line that made us great at dodging, and then put it into the Daredevil. There were recently some changes to the Acrobatics line, but I haven’t delved into it much to see if it really helps.

Regardless of that little chip on my shoulder, I actually love how the Daredevil feels. It doesn’t seem to bring great team support still, but it’s a blast to play!

Scrapper

I’ve been looking forward to Scrapper. I played a Power Engi for quite a while there, and suddenly I find I’m not really figuring Scrapper out at all. Gyros seems underwhelming and while the hammer is fun to play, I find my Rifle is much more powerful and useful. To me, that’s an indication that I need more time spent into Scrapper. Does anyone have any advice or ideas on how to use their new weapon and utilities?

Chronomancer

Alright, I’m not a Mesmer genius. I’m actually a Mesmer moron, but I try. My wife’s the one that adores Mesmer as well as Chronomancer. Alacrity radically changes a lot of things and gives greater group support to this profession. The wells are well-needed AoEs (look! I did it again!) that were sorely lacking outside of Shatters and Chaos Storm. I personally love the shield, although my wife barely uses it. As a whole, I find it adds on to what already existed for Mesmers and filled in the gap.

Berserker

Fun. Chop chop. Slicey dicey. I don’t really play Warrior, but I’ve heard a few people say that conditions are now a little more viable with the Berserker, and Berserk adds another fun layer on to how Adrenaline is used. I don’t play Warrior enough to actually give any thoughts on what it does as a whole.

 

The Revenant

Alright, this is where I really want to get a bit more in-depth, other than a few opinions. Why? Because I main the new profession, the Revenant now. My Guardian has taken the back-seat and become a crafter, and I’ve been able to put some serious effort into building him up. I rolled him, and haven’t been happier. The Revenant has a unique set of weapons:

Sword

The Sword is my main go-to weapon. It used to simply be used for auto-attack which wasn’t very engaging and didn’t force you to use your profession mechanic (managing energy–sort of like the Rune Keeper of LOTRO’s class mechanic). The changes now force you to use 2 (Precision Strike) and to use 3 (Unrelenting Assault) very carefully. This is a positive thing.

Mace

The Mace is a condition-based weapon that deals Torment and Burning. Although it’s fun, it’s definitely underwhelmed by the Revenant’s sheer ability to tear through things with its Power and Ferocity stats.

Staff

The Staff is a support weapon. People have to get this through their heads very quickly. A lot of complaint at the beginning was how little damage it did (which they may have buffed at one point). It’s honestly my favourite weapon of all, considering it has a condition cleanse, CC control (they totally nerfed it though… at launch, you could tear through a Legendary Wyvern’s CC bar and break it with one attack), and a few other CC abilities. It also drops healing orbs with its auto-attack. Frankly, staff is my favourite weapon in the entire game and is a lot of fun!

Hammer (Ranged)

A hammer as a ranged weapon is one of the most amazing ideas ever. It feels hilariously awesome. They’ve recently attempted to fix 2 (Coalescence of Ruin) since it was critting for way too much and hitting way too many people, especially in PvP. It was over the top and needed a nerf. I do believe it still needs a few more tweaks though.

Axe (Off-hand)

Axe is also condition-focused and pairs well with Mace or Sword, depending on your build. Its 4 (Frigid Blitz) is amazing for shadowstepping and is very satisfying to use. Axe 5 (Temporal Rift) is fun to use, causes some Torment, and pulls foes into it (giving a CC side to it). I haven’t used Axe in a while for Shield (coming in a bit here) , but it’s definitely a fun go-to.

Sword (Off-hand)

Sword off-hand is ok, I suppose. The block on 4 doesn’t seem all that significant, and 5 (Grasping Shadow) is rather clunky and strange since it’s so single-targeted. I may play around with it again soon since I’ve been getting bored of my Shield.

Along with this, the Revenant also brings four Legendary “stances”:

  1. Ventari – A healing tablet you can move around, cleanse conditions, and destroy projectiles. It’s a little awkward because you have to constantly be moving your tablet around for healing and positioning, which is challenging in big boss fights. Regardless of that, it’s my favourite legend to run (even though I don’t ever use it since there are better options).
  2. Shiro – An assassin stance that is focused on quick attacks and movement, as well as a powerful CC with its elite (costing 50 out of your 100 max energy) called Jade Winds. I run this legend constantly, and for good reason.
  3. Mallyx – A strange condition-based legend that needs some tweaking, especially since some of its traits are still based on what it was before HoT’s release–taking lots of conditions on itself and creating conditions so you could spread them to others. Not much to say here.  Resistance is a great boon, but Mallyx needs some Dev love still.
  4. Jalis – Supposedly the tanking legend, Jalis has a few elements of healing, some condition removal, a taunt, damage mitigation, and

The Herald – Revenant’s Elite

The Herald brings in another level of power to the Revenant. Given that the Revenant was built with the Elite Spec in mind (compared to the other professions), I find that Herald is almost needed, and you feel gimped if you don’t run Herald. It brings a few things:

  1. Glint Legend – Facets that you activate like a signet but create new skills to use. Facets take energy to maintain and share boons to people around you. Using the next skill will cancel the boon-sharing ability of said facet and create an effect, such an AoE that burns and chills, or healing you for all damage done to you for a few seconds.
  2. Shield – The shield brings some interesting skills, but given the recent nerf to Crystal Hibernation (which blocks all damage and heals you periodically while you’re rooted and blocking), I’m finding it not as good anymore. I don’t really use the 4 on shield and honestly, I find myself using it more because I have the Flameseeker Prophecies (which, thematically, works so amazingly well together with Glint).
  3. Traits – The traits are pretty useful to any build, like increased damage per boon on you, gaining toughness for each point of upkeep you have (be careful if you’re in a raid), stun breaking nearby allies if you stun break, etc. I find as a whole, it’s a no-brainer and radically improves the Revenant.

Conclusion

HoT has brought quite a bit of content, but most of it has been gated in time or massive amounts of grinding. Thankfully, the Elite Specs are built in a way that are fairly accessible if you just start getting some hero challenges done in the HoT areas (which most aren’t as daunting as you’d think, and people have an incentive to help since they get rewarded daily for helping with a hero challenge). I would say that of all things, the elite specializations are the best thing Heart of Thorns has brought to Guild Wars 2. The problem? There is a sense of a power creep here, where those who are F2P or haven’t yet purchased HoT are going to notice that they’re underpowered in WvW and PvP.

I’d say as a whole that from these three blog posts that Heart of Thorns is both a success, and a struggle. They brought some amazing content with some serious blaring flaws. There are some great things that have been offered, but some areas that myself, as a gamer and consumer, am left longing for something more. Because of my time zone and work life, I’m not able to play how and when they want me to play.

I think overall, they’ve created a good base with the mastery system on where they can go. Hopefully, Heart of Thorns is a bold step in a direction they can tweak to work for the masses, and deliver us bigger and more engaging content than what HoT offered.

For now, I’ll play my Herald, finish my dailies, and cross my fingers for what Living Story 3 will do for the game as a whole.

HoT Thoughts – Part 2: The Jungle

DISCLAIMER: This post contains spoilers. If you have not finished the Heart of Thorns Story and Maps and do not wish for spoilers, I suggest reading after you’ve completed them.

Last week I took some time to write about the story in Heart of Thorns. Specifically, it was the most critical of this 3-part series about my HoT thoughts. This week I want to talk a little bit more about the story, as well as the open world, events, maps.

HoT Thoughts – Story (the good)

Last week you may have noticed that my views on the story were highly critical, and could possibly be mistaken as negative. While yes, I believe that there are some not-so-well-done elements of the story, there are some amazing things as well!

Recently I decided to bring my Necromancer through a bit of the story as a Reaper, and I remembered how much I absolutely love that your character speaks. This is huge. They converse, express thoughts, and vocalize their experience as they step through the journey to the Heart of Thorns.

Furthermore, I love that there are some minor choices that change the direction. Verdant Brink gives you this option with either going out with Tizlak or defending the Itzel village in Chapter 4: The Jungle Provides. Sure, it’s small, but it definitely lets you have multiple experiences of the story as you do it on alts.

Finally, I really love that not everything is instanced. You are engaged with the world around you, since the story itself isn’t just tied to the chapters you complete, but also to the meta events that take place. Each map itself is a part of what’s happening in the giant narrative of Heart of Thorns.

Moving on, HoT radically changed a lot of things in Guild Wars 2. Some for the better, some for the worse. I’ll step through some thoughts from each

Open World

Verdant Brink

This is probably my favourite map in terms of the meta event. If you haven’t played it, the Pact is scattered and need to set up encampments. During the day, you’ll be completing meta events to establish these encampments throughout the map. During the night, rally points are established that require that you claim them, deliver pact supplies, and escort pact soldiers to boost the supply level. Like the meta events in the day cycle, these contribute to the map meta level at night. After a certain point, choppers are placed at the rally points and encampments, and you can go up to the canopy and fight a set of bosses that also contribute to the map meta completion (up to Tier 4).

This is an astoundingly well done map meta because there is always something going on. I’d say of all the events, this is the one that’s done perfectly well. Sure, you may not get Tier 4 rewards if you’re not on a great map, but there is always something happening that’s worth doing. I find of all the maps, I end up back here the most.

Auric Basin

This is a beautiful map, and quite possibly the most beautiful of all of them. Exalted are all around the map, and Tarir is absolutely gorgeous. The problem that arises is the need to taxi into a good map to make the map worth the events. I won’t go into the detail of the rest of the map metas, but this one is a weird mixture of Vinewrath, Marionette, and the Ogre Guild Challenge.

It’s actually a really fun meta event that’s pretty easy to do if people cooperate,  but the issue is that the map is rendered rather worthless unless you do Hero Challenges every day for Aurillium (10 per repeatable challenge), or taxi to a better map. The good part is that of all of the meta events, this seems to be the easiest to get into and to do. The down side? Nothing else happens if it’s not the meta event.

Tangled Depths

As you get further into the jungle, you hit Tangled Depths. This is actually my favourite map in the entire game because of its complexity. It’s beautifully done, full of mobs to destroy, and has a lot of nooks and crannies outside of the Ley-Line Confluence Waypoint where the meta event happens. Some find it highly confusing, but once you’ve explored quite a bit, navigating gets much easier.

There are two issues I see with this map though:

1. Meta is Everything

Like Auric Basin, the meta event is all that matters here. You won’t find events worthwhile to do unless it’s hero challenges, which will net you some Ley Line Crystals, the currency for this map. To me, this is a huge down side though since the meta for this map isn’t ongoing. At least with Auric Basin, there’s a progressive meta with very little down time. You can always get in. This one? The meta builds up fairly quickly, only to end abruptly if one lane should fail (more on that in a minute here).

2. Wham-Bam, Thank You, Meta

Harsh, but that’s how I feel this meta event is. I actually LOVE doing the Chak Gerent battle. Problem? It’s every two hours, meaning I rarely ever get to attempt it. It’s also extremely difficult compared to all the other metas in HoT, and you need it for some collections. I’ll be blunt and say that this is a poor design, and should be looked at again.

The map meta starts with pulling different lanes together, consisting of Rata Novus, Ogres, Nuhoch, and S.C.A.R. These events pull together pretty quick. Then every two hours the event takes place… for a very brief time.

You see, multiple lanes gather to face the Gerent, each having a different mechanic to get the Gerent up for a burn phase. This happens a few times, with multiple opportunities to fail. Should one lane fail, the entire group fails. Some lanes like S.C.A.R. are simply DPS checks as opposed to being heavily mechanic-based.

It’s hard to explain my feelings for this. I honestly feel that Tangled Depths is too long between meta events, too insignificant in the grand scheme of the map (it runs for what… 20 minutes, if that?), is too important for collections when it’s that infrequent, and is far too difficult for how important it is. I enjoy the idea behind it, but it relies too much on way too many people doing it perfectly, when you don’t get enough time to practice.

Overall, I love the map itself… it just feels empty and purposeless in the grand scheme, as if it were forgotten about. Also, if you want to do the meta? Taxi in an hour before, other wise there’s no hope.

Yeah. I want to play the expansion by standing around, waiting for a 15 minute meta event that’s most likely going to fail. Thrilling.

Dragon’s Stand

This is the shining beacon of excitement in terms of the design of meta events. The entire battle pulls together the entire map meta stories and joins all the races and groups together (even the Nightmare Court) in a final assault against Mordremoth. Well, specifically, the Mouth of Mordremoth. If anything, this is one epic battle that culminates in an amazing raid-like boss fight with great mechanics. Is it hard? Absolutely not. Is it fun? Completely.

The big problem? That this expansion should have been called Guild Wars 2: Heart of the Taxi. You need to taxi into this map as well to make any use of it, and it has a two hour time limit to succeed. Reality is, I rarely get to do this one as well because of real life. I have a job, kids, and things to do, so when I have a few hours at night to actually play, I don’t get to touch Tangled Depths or Dragon’s Stand. It’s sad, because this place is amazing.

If you haven’t done DS, you need to. Take some time, sit down, and enjoy the giant war that is the siege on Mordremoth.

A Few Thoughts

I really do love Heart of Thorns, but the extreme need to taxi for events, the long wait time between many meta events, and the lack of maps outside of these four, is really one of the biggest down sides of Heart of Thorns. Yes, you get four maps that have some serious events to them, but if you don’t get into a good map, you don’t get to play a large chunk of the expansion. This type of taxi-gating is infuriating at times and has, in some moments, made me wonder why I purchased Heart of Thorns.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I bought the expansion and you’ll see why next week, but there are definitely some frustrations. This expansion is not perfect, but I think it’s a great start. When you do get to experience a lot of metas, you’ll find that they’re quite engaging and exciting, with some fun mechanics to them. Are they game-changers? Definitely not.

More

As a disclaimer, I hope that you all take this with a grain of salt, realizing that I’m speaking more to myself about this than anybody else, so here goes…

I find that we, as people, are always dissatisfied. Lately I’ve been thinking about my posts on wondering what’s even happening with Heart of Thorns. I’m very thankful that a lot has been revealed so far about elite specializations and the specialization system as a whole, but I can’t help but still feeling dissatisfied. I try to log in and although I’ve had a bit of renewed excitement over my Guard by trying different weapon sets and builds in WvW (yet I keep going back to a Hammer + something Medi Guard for roaming), I still feel like things are lacking.

Being the introspective person I am, it’s got me wondering… what’s my issue with where things are at in Guild Wars 2 right now? Is it actually ArenaNet, or is it me? Am I entitled for wanting more content, even though they’ve released quite a bit over the years? (Yes, I stand by that) Am I wrong in feeling like I want more content now? It’s really hard to know. Everyone has an opinion on it, and I’m not sure if my expectations are a little too crazy.

Part of me really misses the Living Story updates because of the small “sandboxy” feel to it. Perhaps, I’m just impatient as a whole for Heart of Thorns to come out because of all that’s been promised?

As a whole, I feel restless with where we’re at, and part of that is the excitement for something fresh and new. It makes me wonder: “Are we ever really satisfied, as gamers?”

I mean, as soon as things are released these days, we begin asking about expansions or DLC before we even complete it. We push through to get as much as possible, consuming content like a swarm of locusts, and rarely stop to smell the roses and truly appreciate what the developers have done to create the game. Isn’t that what Guild Wars 2 was originally supposed to be about? The journey? Exploration? Discovery? Heck, even recently I discovered a beautiful location in the Grove I never knew existed:

gw364So why is it that I feel tired of Silverwastes, Dry Top, dungeons, making a legendary, etc? Probably because I have it in my mind that I need to chase the carrot. It’s been conditioned in my head by games my whole life. Better loot, more power, and more “stuff” for the sake of stuff.

Is this actually the way to enjoy things though? It’s like the rat race all over again. We push and push in real life to have more and more money so we can have more and more things so we can work harder to get the things we achieve to have more objects that’ll never make us feel happy because we’re constantly searching for something more and still feel like we’ve come up short because we haven’t savoured the journey. (That massive run-on sentence is very intentional…)

I’m really asking myself as to whether I’m going to enjoy what’s offered to me, or end up going crazy and getting sick of the game? If it’s a constant grind for gold and more “things,” then I’m going to lose interest. I think I need to step back and enjoy what has been created, whether it’s little things in Hoelbrak or hidden gems in Malchor’s Leap.

Ultimately, while I wait for Heart of Thorns to release, the biggest problem is me–I keep wanting more, but more always seems like too much work.

Is it possible for me to simply be happy with what I have in Guild Wars 2?

**********

There you have it, people. Some random, unedited, free-writing from the brain things inside my head. Does it resonate with you? Have you asked that question about chasing the carrot at the end of the stick? Where are you at? Post your questions or comments below, because I’d love to hear from you!

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!

A New Journey – The Juggernaut

Guild Wars 2 is about the journey, not the end. One of the biggest things that I’ve experienced is setting my own goals and achieving them. For instance, I recently managed to get every piece of Ascended armour and trinkets! Furthermore, I even have an Ascended Hammer, Staff, and Greatsword (although I rarely run the latter). Even accomplishing my WupWup’s Ascended Armour (Celestial Stats) was exciting for me.

Yes, people argue and debate over whether Celestial is great for a Guardian or not. Perhaps it’s not optimal, but I never have to be swapping my gear to accomplish what I want since, in Guild Wars 2, skill > stats. Also, I generally hate full zerker builds (and spend way too much time rezzing full zerkers during World Bosses and other events). With that said, my Ele, Thief, and Ranger are all full zerker (although I’m contemplating tweaking my Ranger). Anyway, I digress.

After completing my ascended gear, I felt pretty accomplished and thought: “Now what?”

My lovely pieces of Ascended gear!

My lovely pieces of Ascended gear!

Well, I have an answer to the “Now What??” — The Juggernaut!!!

Now, I’ve heard people say that legendaries are absolutely impossible (and I’ve actually stated that in the past), but I stopped and took a look at what it takes for a legendary, and it’s not as bad as I thought.

For the Juggernaut, the main things I’m looking at gathering are the following:

Gift of Metal

  • 250 Mithril Ingots (Complete)
  • 250 Darksteel Ingots (Complete)
  • 250 Platinum Ingots
  • 250 Orichalcum Ingots
    • This isn’t as hard as it seems. Legendaries take time, so I just hold on to all the ori I find. I’m not big into farming. I get lots from salvaging from world bosses!

Vial of Quicksilver

  • 500 Manifestos of the Moletariate (Sorrow’s Embrace Tokens)
  • 150 Molten Lodestones
    • Ok, these are one big pain. Not horrific to get because they supposedly drop from Citadel of Flame but still, they’re expensive. It’s not the toughest part though.
  • 250 Silver Doubloons
    • I think this is what would make someone want to scream and cry. They’re extremely difficult to get, so you may as well dish out the 300g on them. Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of people trying to send me the one or two that they get. It means a lot!
  • 250 Steel Ingots (Almost Complete)

Gift of the Juggernaut

  • Gift of Metal
  • Vial of Quicksilver
  • 100 Icy Runestones
    • 100g on the nose
  • Superior Sigil of Sanctuary (dirt cheap!)

77 Mystic Clovers

  • I’ve already gotten my 77 Mystic Clovers, but if you’re curious as to how to make them, throw in 1 Obsidian Shard, 1 Mystic Coin, 1 Glob of Ectoplasm, and 6 Philosopher’s Stones.

These are what I’m focusing on at the moment, while saving up my Elaborate Totems, Piles of Crystalline Dust, Powerful Venom Sacs, Vials of Powerful Blood, Ancient Bones, Armored Scales, Vicious Claws, and Vicious Fangs (T6 Crafting Mats), along with getting to 250 Ectos. World Bosses and Champions definitely help me with these!

To be honest, I’ve heard many people say that precursors are the worst part of legendaries and that’s true, so I figure if I have everything else taken care of, then I can keep saving more money for the precursor.

Yes, this takes a long time. No, it’s not “easy.” Still, I love the Juggernaut so much that I know in the next 6 months, I’ll have it for sure. It’s a journey, not an instant reward. Still, I think it’ll be worth it to show off my beautiful armour with that metallic effect. *Drools*

Have you ever wanted a legendary? If so, which one, and why? Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from them, and respond!