Saturday, January 19, 2008

Guild Wars: Bringing In the Harvest

No Mythos for me this weekend. Instead, it's all Guild Wars, all the time thanks to yet another weekend event: this weekend, all Sunspear and Lightbringer points are double. The dart throwing monkeys that decide these things having been kind to me since that's something I can actually use.

Sunspear ranks make my PvE skill pew pew harder, after all. And one of these days I'll get around to farming in the DoA again so even the Lightbringer ranks are valuable to me.

To get them, I've been spending quite a bit of time in the Sulfurous Wastes. By combining a few quests and Hard Mode boss bounties you can easily rake in several thousand Lightbringer points an hour. And that's normally, before this weekend's double bonus is taken into account. You can also earn nearly as many Sunspear points along the way so it's ideal for my purposes. Better yet, the whole process takes place in the comfortable confines of a worm so there's virtually no danger of failing as you mow through hordes of enemies. You have to take it a bit slow if you care about your death count but, since I don't, I can pretty much just set a way point, alt-tab out, and get on with other things and still pile up point after point.

It's not exactly a secret and, in fact, there's a handy guide here for the popular farming spot. There's a table there which should list a handful of locations, the time it takes to clear them, the points you're expected to earn, and your expected take each hour. The one you want are the Sulfurous Wastes. Because, if you're like me, you'll be drawn to that "points per hour" that's far higher than anything else out there. Although it's an ideal you're unlikely to reach, it's a fast run that nets 1.3k Lightbringer points each run this weekend. You'll also get about 1k Sunspear points by killing all the undead around the route. Now, you can farm your Sunspear points almost if not more efficiently in other areas (I think boss runs in the Holdings of Chokhin top out better.) but there's no other place that comes close for Lightbringers and there's no area that gathers both quite as well. Add to the fact you'll be cruising around in your Junundu form like a gigantic armored tank trailing a wake of destruction and drops behind you and it's the place to be.

The only real drawback is that it takes a bit of work to set up your runs. There are some quests you have to have and you need to do their prerequisites beforehand, otherwise you won't be able to gather nearly as many points. There are two quests you need to have active before you head out from the Remains of Shalahja. The first is A Show of Force which you can get from an NPC at Shalahja. But first, you'll need to complete the Temple of the Monoliths quest that precedes it. All you need to do for that is head out of Shalahja, hook your worm, and head towards the quest marker. Turn in the quest, grab the follow-up, head to the Bone Palace for the first step, then back to Shalahja to talk to the quest NPC again who'll give you an all-important quest item that needs to be in your inventory before you step out of the gate. The importance of the item is that, with it, the are you just visited to comple the Monoliths' temple quest will be full of shrines that, when pressed, will spawn a bunch of enemies. The one on the very right hand side of the doorway as you walk in will summon a pack which includes three Margonite bosses. Killing them with the Margonite bounty you can grab from a rez shrine along the way will give you 150 Lightbringer points each (300 this weekend.).

The second quest you need to have is what lets you kill enough Margonites to get the full boss bonus. And that's Requiem for a Brain. The tricky part here is finding the quest in the first place since the quest giver is tucked off to the side in the Sulfurous Wastes. To reach him you need to first knock over a pillar on a cliff that overlooks the path you'll take to reach the Monoliths' Temple (There's no marker or icon or anything. You can't target the pillar at all. But it should be fairly obvious.). This can only be accomplished by using your adrenal Junudu Smash when you're passing nearby - there are packs of enemies around where you can build up your adrenaline but none exactly on top of that location so be careful you don't calm down bobbing across the sands. Once that's done you'll have to leave the safety of your worm form and fight your way through a few packs of Margonites to reach the undead soldier guy. It's not exactly something you'll stumble upon, in other words. Once you've done that, an item called the Ancient Tome of Knowledge will spawn just outside of the Monoliths' Temple guarded by some loose packs of Margonites. Picking it up will summon a few more additional groups, giving you enough kills to get to the magic number.

Along the way, you can also grab an Undead bounty from the shrine just outside of Shalahja and kill enough undead creatures along the way that the undead boss - an annoying healer Rit one - just a ways up the road from the Temple will also give you a full bonus. Yopu'll make nearly as many Sunspear points as you will Lightbringer with all the foes you'll kill along the way.

It's a bit of effort, as I said, but well worth it since once it's done, you can make as many runs as you like, collecting massive amounts of points each and every time. The drops generally aren't anything to write home about but you should make a decent profit on each trip. Also note that there's a Treasure Chest in the Monoliths' Temple that'll pop out a bunch of gold and a random item. You can only open it once but it resets every so often and you can grab it again if you wait long enough. Like, say, when you only make the occasional point farming run every month, if then, the way I have.

It's also the kind of play that I hate. The dreaded grind. I'm doing the same thing over and over again for the same exact rewards. With the worm factor it's not even a challenge, it's mindnumbingly dull and easy enough that I can read the paper or surf the web while I direct my AI allies o their designated killing fields. This is why I don't tend to point farm much. But, when it comes to piling up those points there's no better way to do it. You can't earn nearly enough to get close to the max rank just by playing through the game normally - otherwise I would have already had them. The amount required mean that it becomes all about how long it's going to take you to perform your favorite farming technique to get them. Since I'd rather that time be as minimal as it can be, all I care about is efficiency - gathering those points as fast as possible.

It's not fun. It's not challenging. It's utterly and irredeemably boring and I'd much rather be doing something else. But, I need those points so I can make my character better and get into groups and everything else, so I do it anyway. I'm just not very eager to do so otherwise I'd probably have capped out by now already. This weekend gives me an excuse to get some massive farming done since it'll go even faster. And I intend to spend as much time as my schedule will allow doing so. If my eyeballs don't drop out of my head from the unrelenting boredom midway through, that is.

So far, I've managed to get one of my characters up to Spearmarshall or Sunspear rank 9, now. Adding nearly 10k in points to their starting total. I'm not likely to get to the max, Legendary Spearmarshall any time soon, though, since it requires a staggering 50k in points, or more than double what I've already earned so far. Their Lightbringer lags behind at only rank 5 but that's not too bad since that title tops out at rank 8, instead of 10. But, again, it takes 50,000 points to get there. I'll be happy if I can get at least a few more characters up to Sunspear rank 9. And if I can remember to get everyone out there so I can make some quick easy money off that chest.

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