Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Guild Wars: Snowballing the Night Away

I quickly got bored with the game last night – it was pretty apparent early that it was going to be one-sided. So I swiftly commandeered the nearest computer and fired up Guild Wars figuring I'd show off the Snowball Fights and maybe win some converts (My friends in the waking world are heathens. They'd rather play WoW or LOTRO that GW. Don't worry, they'll learn.). Not much luck there as, again, the game's pretty hard to follow unless you know what's going on. Did convince a few people to give it a round or two but they didn't last long – in-game or otherwise.

Anyhow, it was a much better night than the last one. Far fewer bots around although there were, of course, a lot. Just not enough that I couldn't get some actual games. It's getting to the point where I can recognize some bots just from their name alone. If I actually thought reporting them would do anything, I would. But as far as I can tell filling out a report is an annoyingly clunky process that will result in next to nothing being done so I don't bother with it. Now, if there were an easy way to do so in-game...

It started out pretty rough but I finished the night with some decent streaks. More than that I think I'm continuing to get better. I'm now at the point where I can throw up an Ice Fort quickly enough to avoid a Hidden rock – after the hidden rock is cast and just when the snowball's starting to be thrown. Reflexes are getting faster as the game slow down, in other words. But it's a nice trick and it's saved more than one present to the surprise of my pursuers. I still have trouble fighting off multiple opponent's when I'm running a present. One person chasing me and I can dodge and fight them off with little problem (Can't say my record is perfect or that the gift never hits the floor but, most of the time, that present gets home.) but when there's two or more and I can't watch their skill bars as closely or dodge as effectively then I struggle. I'd like to come up with a good plan for when that happens but, at this point, I don't think there is a way to reliably prevail. Except, you know, “have good teammates” who'll take the pressure off. Which can be a bit dodgy with the random grouping and all.

My account stands at 2720 gamer points at the moment. I was hoping to make it an even 2750 but I fell a bit short. I think, at this point, that unless I camp in front of the computer, the 4k I need to get to the third rank, Numchuk Skillz, is out of reach. I'll be happy if I can get past 3k before the event ends on the 11th. As far as faction goes, I'm up to 325k now. Not counting skills, all I have to unlock is about five spear mods. Since I nearly capped out again last night that's not going to be a problem. So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do for my PvP fix once the snowball fights close down for the year. Trying only to play for a little bit each night means I won't be able to sit in on a lot of Tombs or GvG runs. There's always RA or Comp missions, I suppose. But I have a feeling they're going to be as frustrating as the snowball fights can be sometimes.


Clamatius said...

You could try HvH, if you only have a short time to play.

Sausaletus Rex said...

Ah ha, someone's been peeking at the script to get a look at the next chapter!

Yeah, Hero Battles are what I've been thinking about trying. Mostly because everyone I've talked to says they're horrible and I should avoid them - so of course I have to see what they're about. It's only 125 wins to the first rank and that +5k to my faction cap is mighty tempting. There are a few problems, though.

First, controlling the Heroes well seems to take a lot more micro than I have at the moment. I've still struggling with how to revise my interface to include all the new elements they introduce to it - and I'll need to do so more to be comfortable because I tend to play mostly with the keyboard and not the mouse that seems best for controlling them so far.

Second, I only have five Heroes unlocked. Two Monks, a Warrior, a Ranger, and a Dervish. Plus I'm a bit light on the Nightfall skills myself. I have no idea what the HB scene is like but I imagine the design considerations aren't that different from Team Arena. You want a balanced team that can handle a lot while still controlling those vital points. The Heroes will probably just mob each other while I and my opponent run around on capping duty. That means some kind of runner solo build for me and something that can break through defenses for the team, I'd think, while still being resilient. My preferred team for the TA goes something like this: Damage dealer, caster shutdown, melee shutdown, healer. Or, by stereotype: Warrior, Mesmer, Blinder/Warder, Monk. I'm kinda missing some of those pieces for my team (And, yes, I refuse to burn good faction unlocking Heroes. Not when there's so many skills to scoop up still and I can get Heroes even easier than skills through campaigning.).

Third, it's one on one battles which are just cringe inducing to me. Not just because there seems to be a real push towards making this a legitimate format as the "ultimate" in dueling or whatever but it's also probably not going to be drawing the kind of people I need to play with, I think. I'm worried that spending too much time there will be like hanging around the Snowball Fights too long - good for the ego but introducing a lot of bad habits that I'll have to unlearn for other formats. Simply put, I'm worried it'll throw the curve of my progress back towards being able to play in GvG all out of whack. It's not so much that I have a limited time to play so much as I want to play a lot during that time in order to get better - formats where I can get battles quick without a lot of setup and waiting around are what I'm looking for. Snowball Fights, because there's absolutely no thought beyond "Hmmm, today I'll play....oh, Mesmer" are perfect for that.

Anyhow, I'm going to look into it. It's just going to take me a bit to gear up for it - wish there was an obs mode for that format so I could see what's going on in there without getting my butt handed to me and all. I've been riding the PvP hard lately and with this weekend's XP bonus I think it's time to plunge back into PvE. Maybe by the time that's over I'll have picked up an Ele Hero, and either a Necro or Mes although that's less critical - I think I could put together a team with those.

Clamatius said...

introducing a lot of bad habits that I'll have to unlearn for other formats

Unlike RA, of course, which encourages good play habits. ;)

Just FYI, the default (annoying) HvH metagame build that people are playing right now looks like this:

Ritualist spirit spammer hero
Monk hero
Monk hero
Assassin (player) capper w. Shadow Arts

The heroes camp the central altar while the assassin caps the other shrines via superior mobility. It sometimes wins without getting a single kill (er, yay?) via morale boosts from the central altar.

Of course, not all the builds are like this - I saw a bunch of SF ele builds too, which are mildly effective because heroes tend to clump up.

Sausaletus Rex said...

Hah, yeah. You'll pick up bad habits wherever you are if you're trying to prepare for another format. If you want to learn how to play RA then play RA. If you want to learn how to play GvG then you, well, need to play GvG. It's just that takes a lot more time. As anyone who's sat and waited while people logged in and filled out their bars can attest to.

I'm just worried that the dominant metagame in Hero Battles is, as you say, winning without having to kill anyone. That's just urgh. And sounds way too much like the degenerative effects that dais maps like the Hall has on Tombs. I've heard about the "holding" plan of Monks and Rits (Which, of course, I can't get until I can get to the recently released Hero Razah. The 6k to unlock him is two of the many elites I still need, after all. Although I could fake it through secondaries, it's not going to be my strategy through personal preference alone. I suppose it could be worse and he actually could have been variable professions like it said in the manual - people could run with three primary Monks and a capper then! Um, hooray?) being the flavor these days. So, obviously, the thing to do 90% of people are running something is to take what can beat them.

Searing Flames sounds pretty close to what I was thinking, actually. Some kind of combined hex/caster pressure. AoE would be the way to go to clear out spirit spammers and the weaker AI that's sure to control the center - and Searing Flames is meaty. Throw in a Nec/Mes with a lot of caster punishing enchantment removal and hexes. And some kind of anti-melee flagging build - I was thinking an Air/Shadow E/A myself although maybe Water/Shadow would work better. Porting to keep up with the enemy and get to the relevant shrine faster and some kind of condition/hex based melee shutdown to keep them from killing anything - if I can keep them from doing anything then I can wand them to death, if need be while I chase them around the map. Even the Sin secondary might be overkill - I had success in Aspenwood and ABs just running with a blind/blur bot (Which, really, shouldn't work but most people don't have the necessary condition, hex, or enchantment removal to fight it off.) and Storm Djinn's Haste makes it even nastier. If I can figure out a way to crack the center and keep my opponent from taking shrines at will then I figure I have a decent shot at things.

But trying to run that red queen's race means I not only have to understand how most people are running the hold but also come up with four solid builds to beat it - lots of work to do. And I've never been much at team builds. Or, really, builds in general. As I *just* started playing the game again, I have no idea what are the best hexes to use or how people are making Monks these days or anything of the sort. It won't take me as long as some to figure out, I hope, but it still takes a finite amount of time (And I'm obviously going to overthink things - really, I should just load anything and go in to see how I do. Over and over again until I get something I can work with.). Like I said, this is why the snowball fights are so perfect - no need to think, just hit the enter button. And concentrate on the controls and how to chain skills together and everything else that's important beyond having a decent set of skills to use.