Guild Wars 2: The upside of having a “content drought”

I saw a post on MMORPG.com about the potential correlation between content updates and increased earnings for ArenaNet and Guild Wars 2 which got me thinking about my gaming behaviour related to their content updates. In general, I would say that the less new content they release, the less money I spend in Guild Wars 2. I remember giving them at least 5 € a month (remember: I try not to spend more money on online games than I would on a monthly sub), but since the expansion has been released, I did not give them any additional money anymore. I only spent some gold to trade for gems. However, I actually did not want to focus on how much money I spend on this game. I would just say that my spending behaviour is related to the amount of time I give to one specific game over others more than how much content a game actually releases, although those two factors are related, of course!

When I looked at the charts of that post, I remembered what Guild Wars 2 was like within the first year: New content every two weeks, content that would leave permanently after two or four weeks again. It was… stressful, actually. I found myself playing more because I had the feeling that I have to or I would miss out on something instead of playing because I was in the mood to play this specific game.

If I could choose, I would definitely want to have new content every two months or so that would stay permanently! But this is not a wishing well here. So, I’ll instead look at what we had back then and what we have right now. Back then, we had new content every two weeks. Now, we don’t have much new content. In my personal and subjective case, there is even no new content, because I don’t raid (you can thank World of Warcraft for making me swear never to get into raiding again). Which of the two do I prefer then? As I already said, I found the constant temporary content stressful. So for that alone, I choose the “content drought”. I kind of embrace the slow content releases. I work full-time, I work on my dissertation, I exercise regularly, I have a social life away from the PC (well, sometimes, at least), I like getting variety by playing more than just one game when I do decide to play and last but not least, I have this little blog here. In other words: I am not a hardcore gamer at all.

Having no new content means that whenever I feel like playing Guild Wars 2, I start it up and play. I enjoy myself in the game, because I never feel as if I am in the game only because I have to. There is nothing to catch up with and no feeling to play in order to not fall behind – and that’s refreshing!

Mind you, I say that only because there is still lots for me to do in the first place. :p At the moment, I am playing in Edge of the Mists whenever I find a bit of time to gather Proof of Heroics, so that my engineer can get his scrapper specialization unlocked. Yes, I am lazy. Or rather, I don’t really want to do all those hero challenges again. I much prefer battling in the Mists. I guess I would actually prefer “real” WvW over Edge of the Mists, but when you only have half an hour or so to play, this game mode is perfect. It’s fast with good rewards for your time.

GW2 Edge of the Mists

In the long run, I do of course hope that we will get to see a lot of new content and my hopes are for season 3 of the living world to be really good and exciting!

And if we pretend that there is a wishing well for a moment, then I would definitely wish for more content like the marionette fight, but with a longer time frame to participate and learn the encounter. I just really enjoyed the open world content and that is one thing I definitely miss from the content releases of season 1.

But hey, there will be an update tomorrow. Maybe we will get something new after all. :p

Why the rush? – Blaugust Day 16

I was so close to level 18 with my spellslinger, that I headed off to a nearby quest hub, grabbed all the quests I saw, killed whatever had the quest-icon next to its head and ran back as fast as my Aurin’s legs could take her, just so I could finally get this new level. Then, immediately afterwards, I wondered: What for? What will I do when I’m max level? Why did I even start playing Wildstar?

It is quite silly to rush through the game. The main reason I play it is because I find the world intriguing. I love the game’s humour. But if I rush through quests, then this is exactly what I’m going to miss. I will not stop to sniff at the flowers (which then swiftly grow to three times its size and attacks me as the so-called flower was rather the whisker of some alien creature) and I will not get to know anything about the world because I don’t even know why I’m killing those mobs… except for the Dominion. I know very well why I’m killing these guys by now. Sadie will be revenged!

Wildstar Level up graphic

But seriously, my focus is not on the traditional “endgame” anymore in MMOs. I do not raid, I don’t even do many – if at all – dungeons anymore. I mainly roam the world and explore it. I focus on crafting, building and decorating my houses, chatting with friends and all that stuff. So instead of rushing through the levels, I should enjoy the way to maximum level as much as I can and try to do that slowly. If I remember correctly, Wildstar also has some pretty fun quests or at least, neat corners in the world that you wouldn’t necessarily find if you didn’t get off the (quest) path to explore what’s around the corner. Or maybe that was just because I was too inexperienced in the beta and just missed the quests leading to said corners. :p

This post is part of Blaugust 2015.

GW2: Which specialization to play? – Blaugust Day 6

GW2 Heart of ThornsThe first beta weekend event is fast approaching and I can’t seem to make up my mind. I know I want to try the new specializations, but I don’t know which one. On my live account, I mainly played my warrior and my thief in PvE and my Mesmer in PvP. However, I am not sure I really want to get into learning the Chronomancer on a weekend. Mesmers are tricky to play and the Chronomancer specialization doesn’t sound any easier. I get quite uncomfortable not knowing 100 % what I am doing, so there is that. Additionally, since I plan on changing back to my Mesmer as my main, I don’t want to “spoil” that moment of playing the specialization with my asura once the expansion has launched (same reason I do not want to play the Revenant during beta). So, I will leave the Chronomancer until HoT’s release and will then take my time learning how to play it properly. But the other revealed specializations aren’t helping much either with my decision.

I have all professions at level 80 by now and I played most of them all the way through to 80. The necromancer and the elementalist got a boost with Tomes of Knowledge, mostly because I didn’t really like playing them much. So did my guardian on my main account, but only because I already have one on my second account at level 80 and I did not enjoy playing her at all. Can you see my issue here? My three least favourite professions have their specializations revealed…

Maybe I could use this beta event to give those three professions – or one of them, at least – another try, now that they have their specialization as that could maybe result in a bit of a different play style. After all, this is what ArenaNet is aiming for, right? That the specializations make the professions feel fresh and “new” without changing everything about them. I always thought that in theory, I should love the guardian. The problem here was that I found the guardian very boring to play. The virtues were mostly left untouched or all activated at once right before activating the elite skill that reset the virtues again. Quite boring. Okay, maybe also not an efficient way to play Guardian, I admit that. ;) Still, I never felt the urge to really get into Guardian builds in the first place. Dragonhunter (let’s ignore the name, shall we?) sounds interesting as they get access to longbows and can finally be played as a ranged profession. And traps sound fun. I loved playing with traps on my hunter in World of Warcraft – but that was in PvP situations and not so much in PvE. Altogether, it still does not sound like changes that will make me fall in love with the Guardian.

The elementalist was actually fun to play, but I never liked the spirit weapons and I only played with the earth and air attunements. This always made me feel as if I was wasting that profession’s potential by limiting myself to only two attunements. As I said above, I don’t like playing when I don’t really know what I’m doing. The Tempest seems to play with the attunements with the “Overload” function. Other than that, there is still attunement-swapping, I assume. It is still more interesting than the Dragonhunter, so I will consider trying that one out… maybe.

GW2 Necromancer Staff Necrotic Grasp

And then there is the Necromancer… my main class in WoW was warlock for quite some time. I like that style… you know, demons and all that – or minions, same thing, right? There certainly was something about the Necromancer when I did play her that I liked. It just never really clicked and I can’t even really put my finger on what it is that I don’t enjoy about playing her for a bit longer. Another problem is that the specialization, the Reaper, gets access to the Greatsword and this is the one weapon that I hardly ever use with any of my characters. But even so, out of all the revealed specializations, this one certainly had the most style! And then there is the “changed Death Shroud”, the “Reaper’s Shroud“, which changes the look of your weapon to a scythe! My inner dervish is very pleased to see that.

So, looking at all of this, it would still be so much better if only we had the thief’s specialization or the engineer’s or the ranger’s. I would love to try those, whatever they will be! But alas, Necromancer it will be this time then and maybe it will finally hit me and I will end up loving that profession! :)

So, am I the only one who has trouble deciding for a specialization to try out?

This post is part of Blaugust 2015.

The Seven Gaming Sins – NBI 2015 Talkback Challenge #4

nbimediumThe 4th “Newbie Blogger Initiative” topic has been released this weekend: “The Seven Gaming Sins“. This one is not a single topic that you can write about, but seven questions instead. What they focus on is probably rather obvious… ;) So, here you go. My answers to Joseph Skyrim‘s seven gaming sin questions.

Lust – Do you enjoy games more if they have scantily clad and “interestingly proportioned” avatars? Do you like playing as one of these avatars? Why or why not?

My favourite races are dwarves, gnomes (in World of Warcraft) and asura. Does this answer the question already? :p I do like characters (I mainly play female ones, so I’ll concentrate on those now) that are aesthetically pleasing to me. But this is a very subjective term and far from the tiiiiny waist and huge breasts that game designers like to put on some of their characters. I do like my characters wearing clothes that show their body, but I can do without the skin. So, I would say I am in between. I like “sexy clothes” as long as they are not over the top or look silly on my character (like a dress showing off breasts that asura just don’t have).

Gluttony Do you have a game backlog of unfinished games but still buy new games regardless? Why or why not?

Oh dear yes. I recently told myself to at least try to play some more games and finish them and I have been kind of successful. Tropico 4, Torchlight I and Shadowrun Returns have been played through. I am currently giving Skyrim another try (no promises here) and have also picked up “The Book of Unwritten Tales”. I strongly predict I will finish the latter in a bit as it’s very entertaining to play. As I just said, I picked up the latter. I have not stopped buying new games, I just try to slow down and finish some I did buy some time ago. At the same time, especially with games like Civilization or Warlock 2: The Exiled, there is the open question: When is such a game finished? With those games, I instead look at how much time I have spent in the game and if it’s a couple of hours (depending on how much money I spent to buy the game), I am satisfied. I always like to compare it to the price/hour for a cinema ticket.

Do you enjoy hand outs in a game? Have you ever opted to NOT do an action / in game activity because the rewards were lacking? Why or why not?

I have refused to do something in game that was not fun and the rewards were lacking, yes. But as long as something is fun – or an activity leads to something that will be fun later on – then I’ll do it regardless of the rewards. Rewards are a nice bonus, though. :)

Sloth – Do you ever leech or AFK in a party? Do you discourage others from attempting things that you feel are difficult? Have you ever seen someone that needed help, but decided not to help them? Why or why not?

No, I don’t ever leech or go AFK unless there’s a need for a bio break – which I would inform people about in a dungeon run, for example, so they know I’ll be gone for a minute. I don’t discourage people from playing the game, no. I do discourage them from trying to make me come, too. ^^ In MMOs, when I see somebody needs help, then I usually do help. Unless it’s a person that passed me before without helping me. In this case, I deliberately choose not to help either (though this would not be “sloth” but “wrath”, I guess).

Wrath – Ever get angry at other players and yell (or TYPE IN CAPS) at them? Have you ever been so angry to stalk a person around in game and / or in the forums? Why or why not?

I have gotten angry with others countless times. Most of the time, those are random players who were rude, impolite or just generally offensive. I tend to rage and rant in front of my PC, but not in public chat and not in direct messages either. Blocking them is much easier and faster and more satisfying because they can’t talk back to you. ;)

Stalking people has never even occurred to me. I only remember one person that annoyed me very much – unfortunately even a fellow guild member until we finally decided to flee from that server – that popped up wherever I was. So, it was the other way around. But I don’t think he stalked me. He just happened to be a very active player (and yet, still a very bad one who insisted on knowing everything better…). That one player did get me close to yelling at him, but instead, I opted for laughing in front of my PC instead. Oh, the stories I could tell (well, if you’re a WoW player, at least…).

Envy – Ever felt jealous of players who seem to be able to complete content you can’t? Do you ever suspect they are hacking or otherwise cheating? Why or why not?

Of course! Who doesn’t know the feeling of trying over and over and over and over again just to see somebody pass by, hop around a bit and get to the end of that jumping puzzle to reach into the chest and pull out a precursor item? Grmpf. ;) I usually don’t think they are cheating. I just think they are there to make me feel especially incompetent. :p No, seriously, unless they appear and disappear randomly at various spots in the world (teleport hacks – I’ve seen them often enough in Warhammer Online), then I don’t think they are cheating.

Pride – Are you one of those people that demands grouping with other “elite” players? Do you kick players out of your team who you feel are under-performing? Why or why not?

I demand grouping with sensible people! People who know that others make mistakes, but who try their best to help each other and have fun. I admit, I get frustrated when there is another player who is severely underperforming even after telling them how to do something (e.g.: Do not stand in the red puddle on the ground. It’ll kill you instantly!). But I haven’t kicked them out yet or asked to have them removed from the raid, because this would also make me feel bad. I usually just hope that one day, they will finally understand what that red puddle looks like and get out of there quickly enough – or get a better PC or a faster internet connection which could also always be the reason for why they are performing the way they are.

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… ;)