Change My Brain

My apologies for the lack of updates lately. I’ve been travelling a lot and had limited access to the internet. In hindsight, I should have scheduled some posts for you lovely people to indulge in!

Long time no see, fellow Travellers! Has Dry Top drawn you into where we’re going? Today they’ve dropped the next segment of Living Story: Season 2 and I know we’re all itching to see what Mordremoth has in store for us, but there’s definitely a few adjustments I’m having to make.

You see, in other games, I buy an expansion and I end up indulging for hours upon hours into new content left, right, and center. Whether the Living Story is supposed to be expansion-filled content or not, this season has been said to contain a whole lot of permanent content, and we’ve experienced that already with the new Story Journal. In a sense, it reminds me of doing Missions in Guild Wars 1 which honestly, I sort of miss. This renews a bit of nostalgia for me and, although I haven’t had much time to do the replay for Season 1 to get the achievements (ok, so I’ve been travelling in RL, as well as working towards Celestial Ascended Armour in-game), I’m excited to do it. Still, as I said, there are adjustments that I’m having to make in terms of my mindset:

1. Achievements Aren’t Totally Rewarding

  • Maybe it’s because I’m not a guy who cares how many achievement points I have, but I find that the rewards aren’t as compelling so far as Season 1 was. Of course, I only have one episode, and the second episode just dropped today. Sure, there are random items through the chests crafting, and other means, but I actually enjoyed meta achievements. |At least, so long as they felt pretty balanced (and didn’t require incessant grinding). Who’s to say that we won’t have the season segmented into groups of episodes, with a meta achievement for getting all the achievements in that section? That would definitely be an interesting approach. Since it’s permanent, you would have all the time in the world.

2. Length of Playtime for Releases

  • I don’t think it’s fair for me to expect content that will take up all of my GW2 time when it’s based on releasing every two weeks. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it, and I’m excited to take my time and enjoy it as best I can. There’s progressively more permanent content that we can revisit, and we’re slowly watching bits and pieces of the world change already (no spoilers, but try checking Fort Salma in Kessex Hills). While last season it took a long time for things to change, it’s happening quickly this season.
  • Given that things are actually progressing and physically changing in Tyria, I need to remind myself that there is lots of content available, and I have no right to complain that there’s nothing to do if I haven’t tried to enjoy it myself in the first place–a pill I need to be sure to swallow from time to time.

3. Keep My Expectations Lower

  • It’s not because I shouldn’t expect great things from what ArenaNet’s doing, but I think we hype ourselves up in our heads over what we think the game ought to be (and often times, I think it’s unrealistic compared to what any human being is capable of doing). I find this attitude will keep me more pleasant and excited for what’s to come.

4. Don’t Let My Critical Nature Overtake Me

  • So this is one of my “I’m getting pretty serious” blogs, but I think this is important. I know a few people both in-game and in real life that can only focus on the negative things. Instead, offering constructive criticism can be very useful (and has been stated multiple times that it’s exactly what ArenaNet are looking for on the forums). It’s more than ok to express what you like or don’t like about the game, but when that’s the only thing you talk about (or you aren’t able to offer a way it should be improved), then it’s just a complaint. This isn’t useful for anyone, and this is a trap I can find myself in very easily as I’m often a cynical person by nature.

5. It Takes Time to Turn a Boat

  • ArenaNet, I feel like I should say “I’m sorry” about my impatience sometimes. I don’t really post negativity on forums or anything, and I avoid being negative with people (because it comes too naturally for me), but I’ve found myself irritated that things aren’t improved “immediately.” Yet ArenaNet still needs time to look at metrics, feedback from their content, as well as to sift through what works for them and doesn’t, and find a middle-ground with where they should go. They can’t put out one patch and say: “Ok, these three things should have been done different” and change the next release’s content in less than two weeks.
  • The great thing about this, is that I believe with the knowledge that ArenaNet has from LS1, LS2 is going to be amazing. I can’t wait to play it tonight!

Is there anything you find yourself having to work through when it comes to being patient with MMO developers? Anything you’ve learned that you could add? Please post your comments below!

On a completely unrelated note, here’s my Aussie buddy Mahdloc who, apparently, needs to know that he’s loved:

Mahd has great taste in armour!

Mahd has great taste in armour!

Beautiful You, and You, and You

So one of my favourite things about Guild Wars 2 is the aesthetic part. When people put a little bit of effort into how they look, I rarely find two people that look the same. Sure, you’ll find similarities if people use lots of temple armour, or if people are using ascended gear (and why not, since you took all that time to make it), but most of the time I find that each character is very unique. Throw in a Total Makeover Kit (or even a Self-Style Hair Kit) and you end up being one-of-a-kind. I mean, of course if you’re an Asura I can’t help you, as you all look the same. (KA-BRAHAM!)

I want to take you along a quick little journey of some beautiful photos I’ve captured of some beautiful people I’ve seen in-game. The first is a little afk friend from the Edge of the Mists. It was a beautiful day (I mean, it’s ALWAYS daytime in EotM, but whatever) and we saw this cutesie little Asura girl from Badlands (we were Frostreach at the time). We could have killed her and were ready for it, but she just stood there and was obviously afk. Frankly, I see no honour in killing someone who’s afk, so we sat down by her and decided to make friends. All was peaceful and wonderful until a zerg of Overgrowth came and slaughtered the three of us. Our beautiful friendship came to an end, but we would always remember our little cutie pie alien-looking girl-thing. (Although I was pretty sure I saw Esfir, on the left, licking her lips…)

EotM Friend

So next up on the list is me showing off my wonderful Markk Shadowclaw in PvP. I was in the Battle of Kyhlo and figured I’d take a brief break (actually, I was scouting too many thieves out thieves out there that were stealth-based in their build) and see who was where, doing what. I’m pretty pleased at how I did his look. He’s a terrifying killer but don’t worry–deep down he has a heart of at least bronze…maybe silver…Markk PvP Clocktower

Then we have our little magical lady of death. I saw her in the Heart of the Mists and felt pretty convinced that I didn’t want to meet her in a dark alley. I’m not sure what exactly it was, but she was absolutely stunning!
Creepy Asura

Now this one is a personal picture of my wife (Briony, on the left), myself (the watchwork knight), a guildie named Scarlet, and my Mini Armoured Scarlet! We were doing guild missions and had three guilds joining us in it for the puzzle in Snowden Drifts! I figured that we should show off “our stuff.”Scarlet Frenzy

Now here is one that I saw last night. I have to admit, I rather detest the Zodiac Armour, but this Sylvari pulled together an amazing look that made him both magical and majestic! Throw in that Light of Dwayna and he looks a little righteous and angelic! I was impressed.Sylvari Zodiac

Now this guy blew me away with his colours. I can’t remember them exactly, but it was a set of Enameled Dye mixed with some Shiver Dyes. I couldn’t help but stop and take a picture of how amazing he looked. In my mind, this is the type of character that reminds me of Golbez from Final Fantasy IV, for some reason. Or I could just be crazy.Beautiful Armour

Finally, there’s my return to my old outfit. After running that Ascended Gear mixed with Banded and a Berserker’s Helmet, I’ve returned to my Phalanx (hey, I paid real cash for it, and I remember staring for months at the armour). I even put on my Tybalt Backpack after running my Tempered Spinal Blades for a while there.Asmund AC PoseUltimately, the best part of Guild Wars 2 is the aesthetics. You can grow and change your character, and really make them more unique than any game that I’ve played up to this point. Perhaps it’s a big draw to me, as if there’s anything in a game that pulls me in, it’s my love for improving and changing how my character looks. It’s refreshing, renewing, and exciting for me!

Feel free to post links to your favourite outfits you’ve seen people put together in the comments below!

 

Oh the Sights We Should See!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately (you know, while you’re drugged up on Tylenol 3’s and going through healing from a wisdom tooth extraction that’s being a total beast) and we’re getting closer to July and Season 2 of the Living Story! My heart is pounding (no, not because of the codeine) and I’m thrilled for what’s to come! Mind you, I’ll be in Ottawa, ON for the first week in July but still, exciting! Yet I still find myself longing for some things to be said and done in Guild Wars 2 because there are sights that we should see, and things that we should experience!

  1. PvE – Variety in Dungeons:
    • The Problem: So I’ve only recently started to get involved with dungeons lately (having two young children who often refuse to sleep can inhibit your dungeoning) and it’s only just hit me that the explorable dungeons aren’t really… unique. The similarities between each path you take is rather saddening, to be honest. Sure, it’s a great way to get some extra gold, but it’s far from engaging.
    • The Solution: Well, the solution is obviously to have greater dungeon variety that can engage a person more than normal. Of course, that takes a lot more effort. Mind you, this is coming from a guy who’s never done Twilight Arbor: Explorabl Path 4, or Arah Explorable (any path), so feel free to tell me if I’m way off base here. I’ve just found that overlap so far between your paths isn’t extremely entertaining. Perhaps you find it different?
  2. WvW – Roaming Rewards
    • The Problem: There’s a time and place to zerg for sure, but as someone who recently has been putting a lot of roaming into my S/D Thief, I feel like the rewards don’t really make roaming worth it (outside of patting myself on the back for taking on 5 consecutive enemies). I can make quite a bit of money, loot, and mats (from bags), along with champ bags for sticking with a zerg in Edge of the Mists or in any WvW. If I’m not in Eternal Battlegrounds, then skirmishes don’t really happen much at all because there’s little value.
    • The Solution: I wish I had a solid solution. I don’t think zerging rewards can be nerfed because that would be absolutely frustrating for people who enjoy that (I zerg quite frequently). Bye-bye Karma Train in  EotM would be a very bad thing! At the same time, if you buff loot drops from individual kills, then you’re not encouraging people to work together–also an issue as it contradicts the purpose of GW2. You may say, “just PvP,” but that’s not a solution as WvW and PvP are two very different beasts and have to be approached uniquely. So I guess I have nothing on this one.
  3. Living Story – Moar Dragons!
    • The Problem: Although I absolutely loved how we ended Season 1 of the Living Story, I have found that we’ve moved so far away from the dragons being an impending threat. To be honest, I tend to get the sensation that many don’t consider them to be a threat at all. Jormag is up north doing his thing, Kralkatorrik is off branding something in the Crystal Desert, and Primordus is off doing his tunnelling thing. The sensation of fear isn’t very huge. Zhaitan was a giant threat, and we could see that, but I’m expecting something much more intense in terms of the elder dragons.
    • The Solution: Living Story Season 2, I’m looking at you. Bring us dragons. Bring us Mordremoth. Throw your worst at Tyria and let all hell break loose as we fight for the survival of the races. Give us a reason to work together as multiple races, because our entire world is at stake.
  4. Living Story – The Gods
    • The Problem: I usually play Norn or Charr, but something has never sat right with me. There’s mention of the gods, and you do get some connection with them throughout the Personal Storyline (not going to share spoilers), specifically some stuff relating to Grenth, but we have so little information concerning them. They were such an intricate part of Guild Wars 1 that I’m not satisfied with the lack of their involvement. Whether it was the Dervish Elite Skills, allowing them to turn into avatars of the gods; the war on Abaddon that pulled together the story of Guild Wars 1 (for the most part); or the constant encounters with the avatars throughout the story of Guild Wars 1–I find myself scratching my head. Sure, the gods left, but there’s so much possibility for their return. Of course, the case is made that they left due to the dragons waking (who devour magic) and they wouldn’t return as they would be at risk. Makes sense, but I’d love more info.
    • The Solution: I guess they can’t really be brought back for now, but I’d still be curious to have the Mursaat tied in a bit more, as well as other connections to GW1 (which I hear we’ve been promised some references and tie-ins with Living Story Season 2!).
  5. PvE, WvW, PvP, etc. – “End-Game”
    • The Problem: This is more due to the mention of many of my friends who have (or almost have) legendaries, have done all the dungeons, played all the areas they absolutely love playing (and continue to play) and mention to me that they wish there were a few new game modes or things that were fresh to engage them. Please know that this is not said out of anger or frustration! This is out of a statement that they love Guild Wars 2 so much, they wish there was more of Guild Wars 2, especially for those who have collected so much and continue to beat (multiple times) the major content that’s available. They’re just craving something fresh and new.
    • The Solution: Once again, I’m putting all my chips in with Living Story Season 2. Is it going to be the best thing ever? Doubtful. Is it going to be mind-blowingly amazing and focused on Lv. 80s?! Oh yeah! Do I think that it’s going to be an expansion’s worth of content? I honestly do. Do I think that existing players need some fresh life to the game, as we were accustomed to new things happening every two weeks? Absolutely.

I guess, for now, it’s a matter of having patience.

Those are some of my thoughts. What are the things you’re longing to see while we’re getting closer to LS2? Share in the comments below!

Gauntlet of Madness (and Liadri)

I’m sure all of you have been enjoying spending time with the Zephyrites and the Crown Pavilion. I must admit, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having both of these here to dabble in.

My journey began with taking care of Sky Crystals with my wife (on Briony). We had quite a bit of fun exploring, as the Labyrinthine Cliffs would be the most beautiful place in all of Guild Wars 2, as far as I’m concerned. It didn’t take us long to complete that, the master sky crystals, and many of the other minor achievements. Progress, progress, progress!

Of course, I held back in fear (yeah, I still do that in spite of my past post on the matter) of how hard it will be. The Gauntlet seemed terrifying to me. I did the Boss Blitz quite frequently and am at the point where I actually find it rather boring (overplayed it much?), but the Gauntlet was a whole new level of challenge! ArenaNet did an amazing job on ensuring that it included actual mechanics instead of spamming the same button over and over. Once you had the mechanics figured out, it got a lot easier, other than Liadri.

Now, if you don’t know what the Gauntlet is and still haven’t tried it, just go for it. You have nothing to lose. Seriously. Go into the Crown Pavilion, follow one of the walkways to the outer edge, and go up your next ramp (it doesn’t matter which one). Talk to the Fight Master to choose your battle, and talk to the Ringmaster to go into the battle. Just do it because you won’t regret it. It’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time!

So, going back to that evil queen of darkness we know as Liadri (who’s actually a really pretty character they designed, if you ask me). You can find guides for every single challenge in the Gauntlet, but Liadri is one that still perplexes people. She’s a little bit more unique and really depends on your profession, how you’re going to handle her. You may find you have to play around with your build to find that “sweet spot,” but really, it has more to do with how you battle her. The amount of times time ran out on me was ridiculous! I tried multiple builds that people recommended online, and I still found myself going to what was most comfortable. It’s going to be different per person, so let me break down some basics for you.

 

Beating Liadri the Concealing Dark

Hints Before You Start

  • Bring condition removal. You’ll see later why.
  • Turn off Post-Processing Effects. Liadri can blind your entire screen.
    • (I never tested this myself, but read it somewhere about her in 2013 and thought I should pass it on, in case it’s still in effect)
  • Zoom out.
    • I can’t stress this enough. Maybe there’s someone out there that could beat her zoomed in, but I’d say you’re insane. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Turn your screen with your mouse (right-click).
    • Not everybody does, but I can’t imagine beating Liadri if I tried to turn with “A” and “D.”
  • If you have some Endurance Regen food or sigils, I’d suggest using them once you have a handle of the battle.
  • Do the battle a few times until you understand how it works. This is the most important part.
  • Increasing your DPS with zerker gear may be very helpful, depending on your profession. If you get hit with an AoE or a Vision, you’re dead anyway (more on that in a bit).

Phase 1 of Liadri

What you need to know:

  • Liadri will be standing in the middle and is completely immune to all damage.
  • There will be Cosmic Rifts (irritating orbs) that are summoned which die with ease (one hit), but suck you into them. This is a very bad thing, because…
  • Visions of Mortality (sort of like they’re shadows of Liadri) will slowly follow you around. One hit by these suckers and you’re dead.
    • I heard you can blind these things. I never bothered trying.
  • Liadri will constantly summon a massive AoE attack that will annihilate you, taking up 1/4 of the arena at a time.
    • There will be an orange area to warn you.
    • Don’t try blocking this, and try to even avoid dodging it if you can.
    • The pattern is consistent, so once you get used to it, there’s no surprise. You can read all you want, but just experience it to understand (at least, that’s how I learned best).

The Battle

  1. Liadri will be firing out a long ranged attack (which looks the same as the Necromancer’s Necrotic Grasp). It deals a fair amount of damage, but nothing that’s too terrifying (or so was my experience as a Guardian).
  2. White voids will appear that you must lure a Vision of Mortality into. This will turn them into an Orb of Blazing Light.
  3. Pick up said orb and fire it (using 1) at Liadri.
  4. Do this 3 times and you will move on to Phase 2 of the battle.

Hints

  • If you can get the orbs to appear from the first 3 Visions of Mortality, then do so. The more time you have going into Phase 2, the better chance you have to win.
  • Seriously, be careful of those stupid Cosmic Rifts. If they pull you into an AoE, it’s game over for you.
  • Master the pattern of the AoE to make things easier. It’ll always be the same.
  • Only use dodge when you need to. It’s helpful to keep away from those Visions when you didn’t notice one coming.

Phase 2 of Liadri

What you need to know:

  • Congratulations, you just royally ticked off this tiny little 5’7″ beast. Prepare to die (at least, a few times).
  • Liadri is now mobile and gunning you down.
  • At this point, ranged weapons are probably your friends. I’ll explain why in a bit.
  • The AoEs begin to take up just under half of the arena, but they alternate from a North-South blast to a East-West blast.
  • Visions keep coming, Cosmic Rifts keep appearing.
  • You don’t need any more orbs unless you’re going for the achievement, Light up the Darkness.
  • Make sure you have condition removal, as she’ll cripple you–very bad with the AoEs and Visions.

The Battle

  1. Liadri will be assaulting you with a whip, using both long-ranged and short-ranged attacks.
    • She’ll leap at you, so prepare to dodge.
    • She’ll sometimes do a whirling stance. I took this opportunity to lay a Symbol of Swiftness on her, as I was playing a Guardian with a staff.
    • She’ll keep trying to cripple you and inflict weakness. If you get crippled, be sure to clear that condition as soon as you can. AoEs will annihilate you, as will the Visions.
  2. Stay at range as much as possible and keep hitting her.
    • Your goal is to wear her down before the time runs out.

Hints

  • As I said before, condition removal. The cripple will kill you, hands down.
  • Stay near the center! This was probably the most significant thing I learned.
    • It allows you to stay just outside of the AoEs.
    • It keeps you away from the Visions of Mortality that spawn close to the edge.
    • It gives you a better look at what’s going on.
  • Breathe if you die. It’s going to happen, and it’s ok. Ask yourself: “why did I lose?” and “how could I have done better?”
    • Being constructive and not too hard on yourself is the best way to go. It’s not impossible, and it’s very rewarding when you complete it!

 

Hopefully that helps you a little bit if you’re stuck on that evil woman. When I beat her, I was pumped and had to take a picture of my new reward!

Finally, my dark little mini!

Finally, my dark little mini!

Asmund’s Adventures in Armourland

Quite a while ago, I posted about my journey towards getting an ascended weapon, which was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had in Guild Wars 2. I worked hard to get my weaponsmithing to 500, gather all the mats needed, and finally piece together my beautiful Zojja’s Claymore. This led to my Ascended Hammer. Now, I have my beautiful ascended armour as well (well, 3/6 pieces). It feels like an amazing achievement for me, but I have to say that it’s not for everyone.

People debate all the time whether ascended gear was a good thing to be introduced into the game and to be honest, I’ve heard many complaints about ascended gear all around. One side will say that it’s just a time and money sink for the economy. Others will say it was a much-needed progression that had minor impact on your stats and gameplay, while giving us something less-accessible for gear than exotics. Regardless of where you stand on ascended weapons, it’s a heck of a lot more achievable to get a couple ascended greatswords than to craft Twilight or Sunrise (or Eternity). Although I noticed a difference in DPS with an ascended greatsword, armour has next-to-no impact. There’s very little incentive to get ascended armour unless you’re planning on doing some extremely high levels of fractals.

Yet I still chose to get the gear. To be honest. one of the biggest reasons I wanted ascended armour had absolutely nothing to do with the stats. Let’s face it, an extra 1-2 points per stat on ascended armour really isn’t going to make or break your gaming experience. No, I decided to make it because I wanted to make it. Do I really need more reasons than that? Whether a person wants to collect every mini, every skin for the wardrobe, clear every dungeon at record time, fill up every bank space to 250, or collect ascended weapons and armour–it’s your story.

Guild Wars 2 is about forging your own path, doing things the way you want them to be done, and seeing the entire game as “endgame.” Whether you’re all about levelling alts, getting the best gear, finding rare treasure, doing jumping puzzles, WvW, sPVP, tPvP, or anything else, it’s all your choice. I rarely feel pigeon-holed in GW2 to do anything. Of course, this does lead me to be overwhelmed with options at times where my wife and I sit wide-eyed, asking each other: “Uhhh… so what do we want to do tonight?” Still, working towards my ascended gear has been a casual progression that “just happens” so long as I’m making the time-gated materials (Spool of Silk Thread and Lump of Mithrilium), they come together pretty easy for me.

So without further adieu, here is my new armour set consisting of:

  1. Barbarian Helmet
  2. Banded Shoulders
  3. Banded Gloves
  4. Ascended Heavy Chestplate
  5. Ascended Heavy Leggings
  6. Ascended Heavy Boots
I am MIGHTY!!!... and slightly terrifying.

I am MIGHTY!!!… and slightly terrifying.

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

Memories, New and Old

Do you ever think back on a video game you used to play and get those “warm fuzzies” deep down? Maybe it’s the Zelda Theme that sparks something inside of you? It could be Diablo II. Maybe it’s the first time you ever caught Mewtwo in Pokémon Red or Blue? Ok, I’m giving away some of my most nostalgic memories of video games. Whether it’s the sound of the Magus Theme from Chrono Trigger, or that first moment I saw the Searing happen in Guild Wars, I’m filled with memories that stick with me and help me revisit them to at least some degree. They may never seem the same when I try to play these games nowadays because the time has come and gone.

The problem we often experience is that everybody (young or old) tend to fall into the trap of dreaming about the “golden days.” We end up with selective memory and think that things in the past were clearly much better than they are today. Yes, there were great times, but we can’t relive them. Instead, I offer a different approach.

Make new memories.

This takes work. We have to choose not to be (negatively) critical about what we’re playing, and open ourselves up for new experiences that we’ll enjoy. Sometimes I think, especially as the larger gamer community, we tend to critique a little too much. Check out any video game forums to see that happen.

No, I propose we look at what we love and what sparks our imaginations. This isn’t to say we lie to ourselves and admit we love everything about a game, but instead we should make the game a journey to be discovered. In the same way you would eat a rich cake, or would take in the sound of a symphony, we should breathe in such beautiful experiences instead of rushing on by.

Make new memories by listening to the music, staring at new sights, and choosing to get extremely excited over the little victories and accomplishments.

With that being said, let me share two super exciting memories that I’ve just made in the past month!

My first Ascended Weapon!

My first Ascended Weapon!

It took me about two months to get all of my mats together (and cost me way too much gold), but it was a victory that’s well worth it! Why not get a legendary, you say? Because I actually really don’t like the look of most of the legendaries, and find it’ll take me way too much work that doesn’t fit in with my schedule. I’m ok with that, and would much prefer to grab some more ascended weapons as time goes on! The beautiful thing in GW2 is that there are a lot of options for what you want to work on, so choose something and work towards it. It was rewarding for me!

My Mini Armored Scarlet!

My Mini Armored Scarlet!

This was one of my favourite memories to be made. After beating Scarlet and finishing Season 1 of the Living Story, I felt it was the time to celebrate. When I was interested in grabbing one, it was pretty easy. It ran me 500 Gems though. I purchased the Scarlet’s Champion Mini 3-Pack from the Gem Store, threw it into the Mystic Forge with one Mai Trin Mini (found on the TP), and voila! Mini Armored Scarlet Briar. I was quite pleased, especially since I can crush her with my boot, should she ever get out of hand.

There are many more memories to be made, so my question today for you is:

What’s your favourite memory of Guild Wars 2 so far?
Answer in the comment section! I’d love to hear from you!