Max level in Rift… again

Even though I am an altoholic, my dwarf cleric was my one and only max. level character in Rift – until Thursday. My warrior, who had been my first level 60 back when that was the maximum level, had been put away collecting dust while I was playing my cleric instead.

Since free players (as in those players who do not pay a monthly sub) do not get rested experience anymore, I decided to use some XP boosters I had gotten some time ago. In general, I am not that impatient when it comes to levelling my characters, but as I have mentioned one or two times here already, I despise the new expansion continent, the Plane of Water. I still wanted to get her to level 65, though, because at some point after the expansion, they introduced another new region (for level 65 players), the Planetouched Wilds and that’s what I want to play in!

Rift Paeroka warrior hits level 65

Rift and Guild Wars 2 may be very different games, but when it comes to choosing a main character, those two games are just the same for me. Warrior or mesmer in Guild Wars 2 and warrior or cleric in Rift. I just cannot decide! The main problem that Rift has is that there is this thing called “reputation grind” and the issue of gearing a character. Yes, the gear treadmill is alive and well in Rift and it’s annoying as can be! My fresh level 65 character tried to do the story quest chain that introduces her to the Planetouched Wilds and I had to get bookahnerk’s help because despite running around with a solo-build (self-healing capabilities) and doing fine with single enemies, I died over and over again as soon as several enemies appeared. Then again, have a look at the comparison picture. My warrior has blue level 65 items and the purple one is the current T3 raid item. I strongly assume those who raid and have those items have much less trouble than me!

Rift Item comparison T3 raid and level 65 blue items

Thankfully, when bookahnerk and I played together, we had no problems whatsoever and could enjoy the storyline. :) Still, Rift just shows its “old age” or rather, that it is an old-school MMO in many areas and at the same time, I love Guild Wars 2 even more for not being like that! Yes, I am trying to get my ascended gear together and it costs a huge amount of gold (for me, at least). But the difference between my current gear – mostly exotic items  – and ascended ones really isn’t that huge. And exotic items are easy to get as long as you’ve got a bit of spare gold. No reputation grind, no having to do dailies or weeklies or anything.

Anyway, this post was actually not meant to complain about the gear treadmill – well, a little bit. But it was mostly meant to celebrate my warrior’s level 65 and me being able to explore the Planetouched Wilds! The parts of it that I have seen so far when I did a quest related to Rift’s latest festival got me very excited. I don’t only want to see the area, though, I also want to play through it and read all about the lore. As I understood it, it’s the homeland of the Bahmi, one of Rift’s playable races, which got lost. Well, lost or deliberately detached from the rest of the world or something like that. It was found again now and reconnected… Rift’s lore is a bit weird. But there you go: the Planetouched Wilds… and I am ready to explore them, finally!

Rift Planetouched Wilds

GW2: Buffing my playstyle by 100 %

Guild Wars 2 is getting another balance patch this Tuesday and it looks like this one was made especially for me! :D

While I have every profession at level 80, the ones I’ve played the most are warrior, mesmer and thief – and all three get buffs to the weapons that belong to my favourites!

I know that rifle on warrior is bad and doesn’t do enough damage, but the longbow and I just don’t get along. Whenever I have to get into ranged combat with my warrior, I still take out my rifle. I also just really prefer the style of a rifle over a bow. When I saw the notes for the skill balance changes this morning, I squealed a little as the rifle will be getting a “bit of a damage buff”. The main question, of course, is whether it’ll be enough to get this weapon back to a competitive level compared with other weapons. However, as I said, I just really like this weapon and I love reading that it will get a much-needed buff!

GW2 Asura Mesmer

The moment my first mesmer got a sword in her hand was the moment I knew I had to play this profession! This was back during a beta weekend event where we were only allowed to play humans (ugh…). But this weapon still made it fun! Of course, I switched to asura as fast as I could which made the sword even more fun to play. Some of the asura combat animations are just too cute. I was surprised to read that the sword (main hand only) is getting its damage buffed as I hadn’t even known this was necessary. I have been playing with a scepter lately, though, so I did not pay attention to where the sword stands. And well, what do you expect from a person who plays her warrior with a rifle, eh? ;) Still, I take that buff and I’ll definitely try it out again after the patch.

GW2 Skkia asura thiefLast but not least, the thief. I had originally not even considered playing a thief, because I don’t much like relying on stealth or positional combat. But then I realized that neither is really necessary. What I really liked was the pistols (in any way and form: main hand, off-hand as well as dual-wielding). I don’t know what it is with rifles and pistols and me in fantasy games. Again, I think it’s so much more fun than the bow! And it is a lot more stylish with the thief, after all.

Thankfully, when I’m talking about weapons here, I’m talking strictly about games. ;) My love for rifles and pistols stops right at the “exit game” button.

Anyway, three weapons I love, three weapons that are getting buffed! Additionally, being able to see how much time I have left to put down the exit portal with my mesmer is priceless! Something I’ve been wanting to get for so long (3 years, to be precise… :p)! So far, I’m very happy with the balancing. Then again, I use a rifle with my warrior… what do I know? :p

Pondering about which profession to choose…

WoWScrnShot_041710_184501When I wrote about my favourite profession in Guild Wars 2, I was looking at the topic from a pure PvE point of view. This entry is about WvW now.

I used to play World of Warcraft on a PvP server and I always hated it. As soon as I got the chance to get away (because I founded a guild with friends on a PvE server and later transferred to join a guild that bookahnerk had been with back in Ultima Online who are also on a PvE server), I left and never looked back.

The ironic part is that I actually love open world PvP. However, and here’s the big caveat: There have to be “safe” zones and going to either (PvE or PvP) zone has to be optional. I want to decide when I want to PvP or PvE! I do not want some random player who passes by to make that decision for me. Especially since that usually meant players that were much higher in level or had much better gear and thus, much better chances than me.

Defending a tower.
Defending a tower.

I found out how much I enjoy PvP when I played Warhammer Online. For those who don’t know: The game has 4 tiers, which are basically four level ranges. Each tier had different zones that belonged to the different race pairings. For example, dwarves and greenskins. So there you were, a level 5 player in the dwarf/greenskin T1 area. You could either do your PvE – regular quests or public quests (events) – or hop into the RvR lake which was marked on the map with a brownish border. When you entered the area that was marked as RvR, you got a warning and had a few seconds time to run back in case you did not want to get flagged.

This is what I miss most in my current MMOs. The ease of joining RvR when you wanted to (PvE and PvP was on the same map in each zone) and do PvE if you wanted to do that. There were clear borders (on the map, at least, not in the world per se). Joining was as easy as setting a foot into the area.

Guild Wars 2 Mini Lion CubAll this long-winded history of my gaming habits is just here to explain what I love about “world PvP”. For some reason, Guild Wars 2’s WvW hasn’t sticked with me yet. I’ve been in there a couple of times (almost literally) and I enjoyed my time there, but it seems to be so distant from the rest of the game that I find it hard to get in there, but yesterday, ArenaNet talked about the upcoming WvW area Edge of the Mists, and it makes me want to get into WvW!

The problem here is: As much as I love melee and swords in PvE, I do not like playing melee in PvP. So, the warrior is basically out. I did think about taking my mesmer there, but I really dislike that she’s so slow… or I’d have to get builds that make use of the focus which is a reliable way of getting some swiftness. On the other hand: Maybe this weapon IS the perfect one to use in WvW?

All I know is that I want something tricky to play. The warrior is too straight-forward. I absolutely loved playing a frost mage in World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade. That mage was about controlling, freezing, slowing, the enemies. Making sure they can’t hit you. Something like that would be great. And this is why I’m rambling about this topic. Maybe some of our readers can help me here. Which profession would resemble such a playstyle in Guild Wars 2? Maybe the engineer? Anything tricky that isn’t melee… it’s okay if it’s not easy to play. I get used to it… I hope. ;)

My favourite profession in Guild Wars 2

Before Guild Wars 2 had been released, I had already narrowed down my choice to play either mesmer or warrior. After the game had been out for a few months, I looked at the topic again and the mesmer had come out on top. Some of you may already know it, I am actually not playing the mesmer much anymore. My warrior is my main and I do all the high level content almost exclusively with her. But it’s not really the mesmer’s fault per se, instead, it’s more an issue with conditions not stacking above 25 and me not liking shatter builds. But I digress.

I was looking for a new profession to level to 80 on my main account. My guardian is now level 65, but she’s on my “German account” (the one I play on a German server). I really like the elementalist, but I couldn’t find a weapon combination I liked. The necromancer is cool as well, but again, I just could not settle for a weapon set. And then I tried the thief and after a bit of research, I found a build that’s supposed to be good for levelling. Don’t ask me about that build, I forgot to bookmark it and have since decided to just go with my guts. ;) The point however, is that I fell in love with the thief.

And then I realized it: My favourite “profession”, “class”, whatever you want to call it, isn’t the mesmer or the warrior. It’s also definitely not the thief or the elementalist. It’s much simpler: I fell in love with each of those professions as soon as they were holding a sword in their hands! Yes, it’s apparently that easy. Give me a one-hand sword and chances are high I will love playing the class. With one exception (in Guild Wars 2’s case): the ranger. There was too much leaping, evading, aimlessly moving around…

In general, I love the movement the sword gives you in GW2. The guardian has a teleport skill to get to the enemy fast, the warrior can leap, the mesmer can call a clone to the enemy and swap positions, the thief has shadowstep. On top of that, combat usually feels dynamic and fast. This is why it needs to be a one-handed but not a two-handed sword. I have never liked combat with two-handed weapons, no matter which game.

So, am I alone with that? Loving a certain… playstyle, I guess, so much that it doesn’t really matter which class you play, as long as there’s this little something that they absolutely have to have.

Choosing between the mesmer and the warrior: Which one wins?

Update: The following post is from before the game’s launch. I wrote about this topic again after having played both professions for a bit longer. You can find the post here.

In case you’re new to my blog: I’ve been to the EUFanDay in Brighton where we got to play Guild Wars 2. After our return, we were allowed to write about our game experiences. So I’m not breaking an NDA here by writing about my time in the game and my thoughts about the warrior and the mesmer class. You won’t find any deliberate beta leaks (it’s sometimes hard to know where somebody got their information, especially on the game wikis or the various websites listing the classes’ skills) in our blog! But enough of that. On to the great big horrible dilemma: Should I play a mesmer or warrior (as my main character)?

You may wonder why it’s even a question because those two classes are really different. But now that we don’t have roles like tanks, damage dealers or healers anymore, it’s really a question of which playstyle you prefer. And no, it’s not even as easy as melee or ranged as both the warrior and the mesmer are capable of both. Though it’s physical DPS with a rifle or longbow for the warrior while the mesmer has a scepter, a staff or a greatsword for ranged magical damage. Yes, a greatsword. And since there are no auto-attacks, this means that the mesmer doesn’t actually hit enemies with the greatsword.

What I like about the warrior-class in general is that they’re usually… well, not exactly “easy to play”, but straight forward. They jump right into the battle and are generally not as fast to die than, say, a cloth-wearing mage class. And I do tend to get my character into trouble regularly by running forward without looking around the corner first. ;) So a warrior-class is usually the better choice for me as it leads to less frustration. While I was in Brighton, I tried out the warrior, of course, and the mesmer. So what was it like playing them? I played the mesmer for the first few levels in the Norn starter area. And I played a warrior in structured PvP (level 80, of course) and in a dungeon (level 30). I know this doesn’t make both classes 100% comparable. But I did get a general feeling of how it could be like to play those classes.

The warrior was more or less the standard that you would expect if you have played such classes before. I was told by two others that the warrior can dish out quite a lot of damage when played with a two-handed weapon (I was dumb and didn’t realise I could have two weapon sets once she was set to level 30. This was no upscaling, by the way! We had an NPC that allowed “members of the press” to level their character to 30 immediately, which obviously was too much input at once for me ^^). I went for my usual routine: Sword and shield! Together with traits/skills that gave me health regeneration, less incoming damage etc. I must say, I didn’t die that often during our dungeon run. I also don’t think I was in downed state too often (I didn’t count, of course). All in all, I was happy with her. She jumped into the fight and dished out damage. Occasionally, she could stun the enemy for a second or so (if I remember correctly, that even worked on bosses! What didn’t work was a knockback on some bosses. But my memory could trick me here ^^). What I loved, however, was the active blocking. I could activate this skill and block incoming damage for a few seconds while waiting for my healing skill’s cooldown to run out! Lifesaver in more than one situation, let me tell you. That was just a short overview of what I experienced. It was… as I had expected. A brute playstyle, always in the middle of the fight, never hiding or backing down. Well, dodging away but only to jump right back into the action! Guild Wars 2-style, of course! So yes, I had a lot of fun playing her. You do notice that the combat is different than in a lot of other MMOs. So even the warrior class, as straight-forward as it was, wasn’t boring to play at all. And that was just one weapon set (and just imagine what I could have done if I had realised I could use two weapon sets… silly me). There are so many other weapons to play with – and, of course, other traits and skills to choose.

The mesmer, one would think, is the kind of class I wouldn’t enjoy: She’s a cloth-wearing class that has a melee sword in her hand. That can’t go well, can it? But, amazingly, it did! At least for the few levels that I played her! Now she’s not as brutish as the warrior. She’s a mesmer, after all, elegant and skimpily dressed. You never play alone as a mesmer as you can have up to three illusions with you! ;) There are two kinds of illusions: The first one is called a “clone”. Those look exactly like you do. The second one is a “phantasm”. They are see-through and thus, easy to differentiate from you. They also have different weapons than your character (you can find more information on the official website). But you can’t control them in a way a pet class can. Which is good for me because while I like the control, I’m also usually annoyed with the whole micromanagement. You can, however, switch positions with an illusion for a few seconds after calling one (depending on the skill). Now, if your enemy (mostly thinking about PvP here) has you as their target, you won’t just disappear from their target when you call an illusion. However, if you’re in the middle of a fight and somebody else from the other side appears, it will certainly be fun hiding in between the illusions. Okay, I admit, I have no idea how difficult – or easy! – it will be later on once we’ve all got tons of experience under our belt. But I assume it’s great to have this moment of confusion for yourself.

As I said, I played my mesmer with a sword and a pistol. The pistol gave me two skills. One is a shot that gives a debuff to three different targets. Well, it gives three different debuffs, to be more precise. And the other is a phantasm with a pistol. I have to admit, I never paid attention to how much damage each of my illusions did. I only know that I was intrigued by this playstyle. It’s certainly not comparable to how a warrior jumps into the middle of a fight and still survives due to brute force. The mesmer relies on tricks (switching positions, going invisible for a bit, teleporting, etc.). The end result, however, is the same: Both attacked in melee, which I love doing, and survived, which is a nice side-effect, isn’t it? ;)

So, which one does win? It’s hard to say right now. I know that when I first heard about the mesmer, I was intrigued because it reminded me of my frost mage back in Burning Crusade’s WoW. But after playing the class, I know it’s even better. It’s a mix of that frost mage (playstyle-wise) and a melee class (if played with a sword) and it almost sounds like it was made just for me! I’ll definitely also create an asura warrior. But I guess the asura mesmer will be my main character. I like melee but I’ve been looking for a class like that frost mage (back in BC, the playstyle in PvP did change since then, unfortunately) and I’m just excited about trying out the mesmer and I do hope this class will give me what I’m looking for… which is a melee-capable class with lots of annoying tricks up its sleeve (and no, thief is out of the question because I’m too impatient for stealth).