Tag Archives: Guild Wars 2

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (November 25, 2014)

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch and the first Geekwatch in 2014! The place about miscellaneous interesting gaming news.

There was no new update today in Guild Wars 2, but as is custom on the non-update Tuesdays, we got to see a short teaser for next week’s update. Be warned, though, before you click on anything: If you haven’t played through last week’s update, this video may contain spoilers! If you have played through the story already or if you don’t mind spoilers, then go ahead, click this link and enjoy the video. :)

Next week, we will not just get an update to the living story, we will also get quite a few changes for sPvP. Mostly on how matchmaking works (see the official blog post for more information) and changes to queueing, a system to vote on maps to play on and a bit more. Again, see this official blog post for more information. The best news: Since you need to stay in the Hearts of the Mist while queued, you will find services like the trading post there with the update!

Because of the upcoming changes, there will be an episode of Ready Up tomorrow at 12 pm PST (should be 9 pm Berlin/Paris time). “Ready Up” is their PvP-related Twitch livestream.

 And in case you are interested in Guild Wars 2, but haven’t bought it yet or know somebody who would like to get the game, it’s currently on sale again on the official website (you can only buy the digital versions there!).

But Trove has stuff on sale as well. Block Friday has the starter packs 50 % off! The official store currently does not list the sale, which is very weird. But when you add the starter pack to your cart, it shows the discounted item. Please also note that credits are not on sale.

The Primal Pack currently costs 8.99 €, the Hero Pack is 22.49 € and the Voxstar Pack is 44.99 €. According to the recent patch notes, this sale will last “this week only”. I would assume this means from Tuesday to next Monday, but I’m not certain. You can also buy those packs from within the client where it’s actually showing the correct prices! :)

Trove_Block Friday Sale

“This week only”

I’m sorry if this all sounds a bit like an advertisement for those two games. I guess it is, in a way. But as always: I would never tell anybody to go and buy a game. Only do so if you really want to buy it and if you do, well, then a sale is the best time to actually spend that money, right? :p

Now excuse me, my candy barbarian is calling for me as she wants to gain another level tonight. ;)

Edit: Ohohoh! I am so excited to see that they added an extra line to the terraformer items’ tooltips! You may remember me writing in my Second Impressions Review

Then we decided to expand the club world and added a few more biomes. What we did not know: Everything built within 40 to 50 blocks from the border of where the new biome will be placed will get destroyed. The tower got hit and disappeared and with it all the items we had placed there.

I had sent in feedback and just now, when I looked at the terraformers, I saw that they added a new line to the tooltip. It now says:

BE WARNED – this will destroy everything in that zone, as well as the borders of the adjacent zones.

I cannot tell you how happy I am that they added this! Too late for us, of course, but I hope it will keep other players from losing their buildings and losing precious hours of work.

Trove_Terraformer_BE WARNED

BE WARNED – this will destroy everything in that zone, as well as borders of adjacent zones.

Are you concerned about getting spoilers?

Heads-Up: I’m trying to be as vague as possible when I touch the area of the story and will not talk about the actual content!

When the latest piece of the Living Story was released last Tuesday, I knew I would not have the time and patience to go through it in one go. On Wednesday, I usually listen to the GuildNews podcast, and I really appreciated them warning their listeners/viewers about spoilers when they started talking about the living story. One day after release, I assume there were still quite a few who hadn’t played through it yet. I quit the podcast at that point, because I did not want to know what would happen.

The funny thing is: I did get spoiled about the ending right before the patch got released. I just didn’t know that this piece was the important new story bit until I reached it myself in the story.

GW2_combat_silverwastes

So, did I get annoyed? No. Surprisingly not. I hadn’t known about it until the end, after all. ;)

I think I just watched too many episodes of Columbo as a kid. I remember a friend who made fun of me liking Columbo. He said: How can you like watching that show when you already know who the murderer is within the first minute? I replied: The point is not finding out who the murderer is. The point is finding out how Columbo finds out!

In games – or MMOs rather -, it’s a bit different, of course. Especially in Guild Wars 2, I am not sitting there watching how anybody finds out something. My own character is in the middle of the storyline. It’s not made to be like Columbo. On the other hand, games aren’t like watching TV either. You’re not passive – which may make you get bored when you already know what’s going to happen next. You are actively playing. The fights against the NPCs can still be challenging. There may even be a few good loot drops (spoiler: No, there most likely aren’t. Unless you’re very lucky with the RNG :p). And, of course, there are friends to play with. The latter is probably true for movies as well. I may even have had the most fun watching really bad things on TV with friends, because we would just laugh about it and make jokes. But I digress. The point is that while I’d appreciate not knowing what’s going to happen in advance, it doesn’t bother me much in MMOs. The story and its plot has never been the reason why I’m playing an MMO, after all.

GW2_combat_silverwastes

Having said all that, I still very much appreciate all those who start their blog posts with spoiler warnings or say loudly that they will be talking about the story in a bit in their podcast, so you can turn it off in time in case you do not want to get spoiled!

Diversity in regional design: Spring

I really love spring in “real life”. When the sun starts to feel warm on your skin again. The snow is melting (if there had been some). The first birds are chirping again in the morning (as opposed to the cooing of pigeons). The trees and first flowers are starting to bloom. It’s just something I can’t get enough looking at.

In MMOs, you usually find a wide variety of regions all with different looks and feels: The desert, the jungle, grassland and so on. Of course, regions with snow or regions with lots of sun near a beach exist as well. But are there any regions that depict spring?

In Rift, the only one that came to my mind is Tempest Bay.

spring_rift_tempest bay

The rest of the city mainly consists of buildings and water – it’s basically a little island far away from the other regions in the game. But of course, I may forget some region at the moment.

Guild Wars 2 was equally difficult. Maybe the Grove or Caledon Forest. They’re not really spring-like, but they feature vibrant colours in the pinkish-spectrum.

spring_guild wars 2_caledon forest

It is a tiny bit disappointing to not see more spring regions. You could have them with snow in some areas, melting in others. Some flowers looking through the snow and all that. I would certainly love to see it. :)

My gaming update

Day no. 6 and I already need to add a “filler post”. I had planned to post about my dimension in Rift tonight, but due to a horrible back ache, I cannot spend any lengthy amount of time typing.

So instead, I’ll just tell you what I’ve been up to lately in terms of gaming.

GW2_warrior_candy cornGuild Wars 2 had been on the back burner ever since they made a break from releasing new content. Without the constant living story updates, I just realized that – apart from said story – Guild Wars 2 currently isn’t offering me what I want from MMOs. Now with the release of the new map, this may change again. I am also trying to avoid any spoilers about the story as I haven’t played it through yet. I’m still mainly playing my warrior with my thief as a close second. I am trying to level my elementalist and after that, the necromancer, as those are the two professions I don’t have at level 80 yet, but I’m not sure I can do it. I find both of those professions lacking in fun when it comes to combat. Maybe I just haven’t found the right builds yet. Anyway, my goal is to play through the “living story” story before I get any spoilers.

Rift_Monster in townRift has released its expansion and with that (and the CE I had bought), I could finally boost my cleric to level 60. When I had started playing Rift when it became free to play, I had switched from cleric to warrior because I didn’t like cleric anymore – only to realize I actually like cleric a lot more once my warrior hit 60. Now that both of them are 60 (well, my cleric is 61 now), I’m wondering if maybe mage would be a better choice… thankfully, the game only has four callings. ;)

Trove_club world castleTrove is a cute side game that I’m mostly playing when I don’t want to play either Rift or Guild Wars 2. They just released a new patch (and went into open beta yesterday!) and released a new crafting profession. After gardening, you can now also delve into ring-crafting. I don’t really have any goals there other than wanting to have the crafting profession at max level. Just because I can. :p I am waiting for them to release the candy barbarian, though. No idea what that will play like, but it sounds like fun! It will also come with the candy biome and I’m pretty sure this one will be very bright and colourful.

Last but not least, I own a ton of games that I bought at some point but never played or hardly played. But let’s not even go there… ;)

I am the “eternal soldier” kind of Guild Wars 2 player

ArenaNet currently offers Guild Wars 2 for 50 % off until November 9 – and to celebrate that (or in order to direct more people to that site, I guess), they added a little quiz: What kind of Guild Wars 2 player are you?

My result was this:

You’re a…

Eternal Soldier

You know what makes me happy?

Smashing castle gates down. Raiding enemy supply camps. Wreaking havoc on the battlefield with a few dozen friends. These are a few of my favorite things.

War is my business – and business is good.

Good, I guess. The thing is that of course, since it’s focusing on the current Guild Wars 2 game, they cannot ask questions about things that aren’t in the game. If I had to guess, I would say they focussed on WvW, sPvP, personal story (or feeling like a hero), open world events and living story? It’s hard to tell. Of course, it’s also light-hearted and not a quiz to be taken too seriously. Still, I do wonder what others – you who is reading my blog post right now, for example – have gotten as a result. :)

GW2 Asura Guardian

The text above is exactly the kind of player I used to be in Warhammer Online. In Guild Wars 2, not so much. Once defending makes sense, I may have a look at it again. Back in WAR, I thought we had bad zergs. Now that I’ve played WvW in Guild Wars 2, I really know what a zerg is. :p

And if I had to classify my gaming type in MMOs, I would say: A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I like to alternate between questing and gathering resources and then crafting/earning gold (mostly through crafting except in GW2 where crafting is a money sink), I like to do dungeons every now and then, I like to play instanced and open world consensual PvP. I like owning a place I can call home and decorating it. I like collecting things like mini pets. I like to play different classes and create a ton of characters. I love exploring the virtual world. I don’t like doing any of the above exclusively for a too long time or delve too much into any one area. I want to be able to switch between all those modes. But there is one thing that I cannot stand at all: Being THE hero. Being one of the heroes is fine, though.

I still wonder if maybe a “What profession suits you?” would have been the better choice to advertise the game’s sale.

NaBloPoMo 2014

NaBloPoMo_NovemberJust as I did last year, I have joined November’s National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) again. Just as last year, I would not have the time for National Novel Writing Month, so I’m going to substitute it again with this initiative.

I had wanted to make this “announcement post” yesterday, but then the Trove developers published their unlimited access key and I figured that it was more important to spread the word than to tell my readers about NaBloPoMo. I find it quite funny that last year, I did the same. I had published a different post on November 1 and only talked about NaBloPoMo on November 2. ;) I sense a pattern there! You may also go back to November 2013 and see what the last post was… you may or may not expect something similar for the end of November this year, depending on how busy we’ll be by then in real life.

I still remember how last year, I didn’t think I could make a blog post every day without using some lame short posts with no real content, but in the end, everything had turned out fine.

Of course, November is also going to be the busiest month at work with several projects and a research meeting that I am organizing with colleagues. All exciting stuff that, unfortunately, keeps me from gaming and blogging sometimes. ;) We will see how it’s going to turn out.

You can expect me to write about the usual stuff. I have been playing Rift and Trove a lot more than Guild Wars 2 recently which is why the focus has turned towards those two games here in the blog as well. However, I haven’t left Guild Wars 2 and I don’t intend to do so! I am also looking forward to the return of the living story and while I do know that the game will very likely not get the features that I want in an MMO (like housing – I’ve got Rift and Trove for that urge now :p), I am expecting some cool fights because for me, the combat system is still where Guild Wars 2 shines the most. Being able to move while fighting, having to use dodge and all that. I also miss fights like the marionette one (yes, despite its flaws it was by far my favourite… especially when the people on the lanes did manage to fight together and coordinate).

 

Then & Now: Reliving the newbie experience (1-5)

With the recent feature patch, ArenaNet released the new player experience. There has been quite a lot of controversy around the related changes. For example, your skills unlock one by one when you level up. The last one, your elite skill, is not available until you hit level 40 (it was at level 30 before). Some of the changes annoy some veteran players because when we create the 10th alt, we obviously do not need the handholding anymore. However, not all systems should be hidden and/or disabled for veteran players who already levelled a character. As usual with patches, there are bugs (I wish there weren’t, but we all know how it is… :p).

Anyway, as they said, these changes are to make it easier for new players, to keep them playing the game instead of running away screaming and to give a nicer feeling of progression as they get rewards with every level.

GW2_asura creation

My initial reaction was a very negative one. Those changes sounded bad! Very very bad! And yes, while I agree that ArenaNet throws a lot at the players at once, I always thought a better tutorial would help, but not stretching everything mercilessly without giving you a choice. You know, an actual tutorial before you start the actual game. Not this very short story introduction. However, I assume making a tutorial is very costly (and time-intensive). So here we are.

And instead of ranting and raging about the changes, I decided to “recreate” my first steps in Tyria as much as I can! Keep in mind that I have been blogging about Guild Wars 2 since before its launch. So, I was in no way new to the game even when headstart happened. I also have experience with a lot of different MMOs. Both do not make me the “problem child” of ArenaNet (as in: the one that needs more hand-holding). However, my goal was to remember what it felt like being new in Tyria (and I, too, was confused about some things!) and compare my reactions to the gameplay now with the reactions I had back when my first asura stepped into the world for the first time.

GW2_the original Flummi

The original Flummi

My first asura was no other than Flummi, a mesmer. In hindsight, while I really loved that profession, I also had a few issues with the mesmer. It took a while, but I figured out how to survive even difficult skill challenges (judging by how often I ran past them later on and found players in the downed state :p). When compared to levelling the warrior afterwards, the mesmer still was much harder to play. So she seems to be the perfect choice to test the new player experience. Luckily, I did take screenshots of the settings in the character creation screen, so I could literally create a clone of her: Flummi Two.

I also do not play on my main account, because that one comes with lots of XP bonus thanks to achievement points. My second account isn’t often played and has 0 extra XP, and 1 % karma and gold gain. I figured the last two won’t be that much anyway. I sent all my gold (4. In letters: Four… -.-) to my main account and wrote down how much karma I had in the beginning: 255.125. So, while adventuring through Tyria with “Flummi Two”, I will not spend more karma than she has earned herself and I will not use my other characters to help her out. I want the real newbie experience again! :p I will write about my experiences here in our blog. Very likely not level by level, because that would be boring. Today’s part will be about my first impression and the first five levels.

Back at headstart, I remember that with the first “boss” mob that appears at the end of the tutorial zone, I got downed for no apparent reason. “Fight for your life” – yes, but… why? I was perfectly healthy in one second and downed in the next. Does this happen all the time? What can I do to be sure to predict when something like this happens? What is even causing it? This annoyed me to no end. If ArenaNet wanted to show us that they have a downed state, they should do it differently, not in the middle of a big fight and certainly not without indicating why you got damage. But maybe it was also just a bug. I never figured that one out. However, Flummi Two now had no such issues. In fact, if I understood correctly, she cannot get downed (and thus, die) until level 5. I had no problems surviving with her, though, so I did not experience this.

The collections which were also newly introduced with the feature pack, popped up at the right of my screen when I collected an item that belongs to a collection. I feel that with the whole revamping and making it easier to understand, they could have also thrown a tooltip with an explanation towards that notification window.

GW2_NPE_level 2

Level 2 gives you your second weapon skill slot.

Flummi Two started with a scepter and only the first weapon skill slot. This wasn’t bad, actually: I quite enjoyed the slow unlocking of weapon skills per level as it meant that I had time to learn and try one skill before the next one appeared. With the previous system, we also had that, but it happened faster. After killing a mob with a weapon, that weapon’s next skill got unlocked a bit further. After killing a certain amount of mobs, the skill got fully unlocked and you could use it. This had to be done with every single weapon the character could use. When you were higher in level, this could get a bit annoying. Say you found a staff for the first time, you equipped it and only had one single skill to use. But it still meant you could slowly get used to the weapon skills. The system now works great for a new player who hasn’t played the game before, but only until all 5 weapon skill slots are unlocked. When the player then equips a new weapon, all weapon skills are immediately available. If this truly was about “slow pacing” and not overburdening a player new to the profession, then the new system would fail. On the other hand, I guess this is more part of the “levelling should feel rewarding” as getting a new weapon skill slot is not dependant on X killed mobs anymore (especially annoying when you levelled by doing peaceful things instead). At the same time, more experienced players do not need to unlock a new weapon’s skills one by one, but can access all of them immediately.

GW2_NPE_no water bucket

I remember there being useable water buckets for extinguishing the fire instead of just running through them now…

Anyway, it didn’t take me long to experience my first disappointment: The golem game in Soren Draa was taken out. Well, the little golems are still there, but you cannot interact with them anymore. In fact, you cannot use any items anymore. At least not in the low-level area (like picking up a bucket of water and throwing the water at flames to extinguish them). Back at release, I did play a few games with the mini golems. It has no real purpose. It’s just there to fill the bar and get you closer to the heart reward. I lost the game, repeatedly, because I had trouble with the control skills. Yes, I was a newb. ;) But I still had fun and loved seeing this little touch from ArenaNet! It just showed how detailed the world and the game was that they cared enough to add something like this. It’s also so very cute! I want one for myself.

GW2_NPE_level 5

Level 5 rewards: My beloved F-skill and the downed state

What I really did miss was the F skill. With the mesmer, the first F skill lets you destroy your illusions for some nice damage on the enemy. When I first started playing the game, I created several professions to see what their F skill was, as I felt that this was what’s making the professions feel distinctive and special. Even if both the mesmer and the elementalist are using a staff and cast spells, the F skills are what makes them very different from each other. Having to wait until you finally unlock those skills is a bad decision if you ask me. Or, maybe not having to wait per se. But it should be a level 2 unlock. Level 2 happens so fast, after all. And it just lets a new player see what’s special about their profession almost immediately after starting playing them.

GW2_NPE_dodge tutorial

This is a great addition! A dodge tutorial was certainly needed to introduce the mechanic to new players.

There was also a dodge tutorial in the open world and this one is definitely needed! I would have loved to get this when I started playing. Even though I had read about dodging, I still felt a bit overwhelmed when I first had to do it.

However, not everything is nice and good about this system. There is also the “navigator” (not sure what it’s officially called). That navi shows you an arrow of where to go next. It mainly led me from heart to heart and to the dodge tutorial. This resulted in me looking at the upper right corner of my screen instead of looking at the world. It made me follow the arrow, because… this is what you do, right? Other MMOs work like that as well in a way. You get a quest, which leads to another quest, which leads to another… And here in Guild Wars 2, it’s hearts and little tutorials. You follow the navigator. But this isn’t what us veterans learned about Guild Wars 2 when we started playing! We may have been overwhelmed sometimes and I know there were a lot of players asking: “Where should I go now?” but this was what set Guild Wars 2 apart. The answer usually was: Follow your nose. Go, explore the world! Well, try not to run into mobs a lot higher in level than you. But other than that, take a stroll, sniff on the flowers and you may run into an event that you can participate in.

GW2_NPE_navigator

The navigator (upper right corner) tells you what to do and where to go next. No need to think for yourself here.

Flummi Two is now level 5. All in all, it took me one hour and 8 minutes to get there. This is long, in case you’re wondering! I took my time, looked around, read every tooltip, etc. As I said, I wanted to recreate the original experience. I imagined being new in the game again. I don’t think a new player who needs guidance will play much faster, if at all.

My impression of the new player experience, so far, is a positive one. I did not expect that, to be honest. ;) The slower unlocking of things isn’t as bad as I thought and just as ArenaNet said, getting rewards for level ups is neat. At no point did I get too many things thrown at me. Everything was nicely paced and levelling feels very rewarding. This part I like and I’m sure it’s great for new players. On the other hand, the heart of Guild Wars 2 seems to be missing. There is no sense of wanting to go and explore the world. Not as long as the navigator tells me where to go. But maybe this will change. Flummi Two is only at level 5, after all. There are many more levels waiting for the two of us now and I’ll be sure to report about my progress here.