Monday, January 14, 2008

Guild Wars: Where I'm At

Yep, I'm still playing. Wintersday is over, no matter how much some people might protest; and, yes, sucks to be them. And if you ask me, it's all about people wanting to farm the ultra-rare pet that nobody knew about. Didn't get one myself even though I did manage to play though those very quests after collecting my latest Gamer title. Oh, here's a picture of that, by the way.

That's my lovely attired Mesmer. I played a lot of the professions - didn't quite manage to get through all of them like I wanted so no harrowing tales of Paragon suckiness from me but I did manage to get through what I consider the better ones - and, out of all of them, I had the most success on that Mesmer. Not the world's best interrupter but that 10 second recharge was brutal, and, by the end, I was definitely getting to the point where I could take advantage of it. Shame the candy cane weapons aren't there to complete the effect but since I'm functional rather than flavorful, I mostly ran around with actual weapons instead of the stylish I began most rounds with (For the record that was generally a one-handed weapon with a focus. I had two sets. One with increased duration on Crippling for Dwayna, the other with the same for Dazing for Grenth and for what I gleefully call rock-swapping. They both had increased enchantment duration and as much half-casting/recharge as I could squeeze on. Minor effects, I know, but I'll take every advantage I can get.). It's all about style in the Snowball Arenas, after all.

I did stop in for my hats this year. Unlike last, I pretty much just parked on a circle and afked instead of joining in the festivities. I like the hats but, at this point, I've got a bunch of them and I hardly ever use them so it's really not appealing anymore. And after long hours in the Snowball Arena, my tolerance for rubbing shoulders with the unwashed masses of the rest of humanity was at an all-time low. I think I picked a bum circle, though, since I went with the assumption it was like the nine rings of the Dragon Circle and the corner ones would have the highest cost/reward ratio. Instead, it seemed they didn't scale the rewards to match the probabilities and I lost out on some canes I could have gotten by, say, standing in the middle. Since I finished the event with something like seven full stacks of candy cane shards (All those won 3 by damned 3 while getting over 2.5k Gamer points in the Fights and some left over from storage last year), I wasn't exactly disappointed with that. My last act before I logged off that final day was to convert the vast majority to presents. The going rate was 5 canes to a box and that alone saves me some inventory space. And, I figure, at least a few of those presents will convert into something useful, like a DP erasing Candy Cane. Which might come in handy, some day.

At the moment, though, with the holiday activities over, I'm at something of a loose ends, as it's back to the long, slow slog towards...well, that's the problem. I'm not exactly sure what I'm working towards anymore. Having beaten the GW:EN campaign. Having played through the BMP (And, hooo boy, am I sure that Friday's announcement rattled the cages of the chattering masses. I'll hopefully have more to say about it later but, for now, let me just say that it's fully expected and no less depressing.). Having unlcoked all the skills and plunged through - almost - all the dungeons. Having reached the point where my characters are beyond the point of scraping for money and items. There's not much left keeping me playing the game at the moment. Besides my lingering fondness for it and a lack of anything better to grab some relaxation with a few hours at a time. Legally, anyway.

I suppose I could try and get back into PvP. But I don't really have the time. Or the energy, frankly, to invest in it. Not to mention how long it would take to get to anything like competitive and the further erosion of my skills combined with the general mudflation of strategy meaning that I'm going to suck for a long, long time before I learn to get better. And that's assuming, of course, I can find a team and the time to play and nothing else in my fucked up life explodes. There's always casual formats like the Arena or Comp Missions or, lord help me, Alliance Battles, but I'm not too interested in any of those. Put the Costume Brawl back in game and maybe we'll talk. But just having to keep abreast of the current metatrends enough to slap together a build that's not completely atrocious so I don't make a fool of myself during the ocassional hour or two of consequence free romping is work hard enough to disuade me.
And I could try to finish off my nearly full DM guide by conquering Slaver's Exile. That's the hardest dungeon of the lot. The one that's only unlocked after you beat the game and features several interlinked floors that have to be cleared before you fight the big bad. But while I appreciate the modular design, I'm really the type who enjoys a long dungeon slog. I've also - briefly - tried the place and I know it's tough and going to wind up with my Powerstones burnt out and 60DP zerg rushing from the rez pad while hoping I can whittle away one foe at a time. I'd like to get it done one day but, again, ugh.

I could start up another character. I did it recently with a Rit that I've since soured on. I only brought her out of the Shin Jea island so I could test out the low-level access to the Far Shiverpeaks. At this point, creating a new character means deleting an existing one, though. And while I'm normally loathe to do that, I have a few candidates, it's largely all the time I'd have to spend juggling inventories and shifting stuff around that's disuading me. The thought of tromping, again, through content I've already beaten into the ground is likewise off-putting.

There's always Hard Mode. But also really not my thing. Sure the better loot is nice and all. And I really should play it more to optimize my efficiency. But it's "hard", not "challenging". The same missions and areas that I've already seen just brutally more difficult thanks to cranking up the pain dial on the monsters. I'm not exactly the kind of player who goes for things like hours of tracking down every last spawn for Vanquishing. I want the new areas and content that's never going to come again to refresh my interest. I've hit the end of the expansion, I've beaten every other campaign, I've activated the Hard Mode and that icon will sit there, temptingly, from now on, and that's good enough for me.

So, what I'm doing is working on equalizing my stable of characters. Getting them all through every campaign. Unlocking every skill that each character, not my entire account, wants. Hunting down the perfect weapons.

At the moment, that means I'm tracking down the PvE only skills from GW:EN. After a whirlwind tour through the Polymock circuit, I'm done with the Asura ones. I've even done the maddeningly difficult Brave New World defense quest. It's not so bad since the NPC you're supposed to protect has a permanent Divine Intervention and you can be slaughtered time after time by the waves of Destroyers without fearing that he'll die and set the quest to a failure state. It's just a lot of rez rushing. Needless, really. Make it hard to win, make it challenging to complete, don't just make it tedious to slog through. And the skill reward isn't that good. The Pain Inverter you get for the capstone of the Cipher cycle is, though. There's a quest that comes after that which offers yet another opportunity for hunting down the various spirit-god-dragon things. But I'm not going to complete it since the reward is only the useless Air of Superiority (And a green staff that's marginally better than the Hourglass preorder. Yawn.). But the main reason not to turn it in is that you can easily farm it for rep points. Go around, kill enough creatures to get your kill count up, and then slaughter the nicely clustered Ciphers for a few thousand Norn points a run. Sadly, that's the only way I've found to quickly farm points in the frozen North but since the Norn offer the Totemic Blessings getting it nice and high is a good thing.

Next, I think I'll work on the Vanguard skills. My Ele, for example, has plans for that one ward which increases your damage output. Might lead to some fun buildcrafting. And while I have the knowledge for how to get those quests done, I might as well have my other characters pick them up, too. Unlock Anton, the new Assassin Hero, all that stuff. It's not exactly gripping, it's more like maddeningly grinding, but it's something I can get done popping in, an hour here and there, a quest at a time. And that's where I'm at, at the moment.


Revan Ancaria said...

CongoRatz on the gamer title Rex - that's one I've yet to attain myself. I certainly can relate to "where you're at". That all feels pretty similar on this end too. All campaigns completed, all heroes unlocked, lvl 20s of most classes, etc...
With that feeling of an end of an era for GW in the air, I've been putting all of my time into my flagship toon, Rev (Ranger). He will be the one to carry the torch to GW2, even though I had been neglecting him for some time up until GW:EN was released.
Getting Rev's heroes tricked out, capping elites (maybe to the point of Legendary Skill Hunter ranks), working some Cartography clearing here and there, filling Rev's HoM slowly, but surely,(including a massive fucking army of minis).
What else am I forgetting... Ah the Black Moa angle - The mini and the capped ranger pet. Finish up the titan lord quests from Prophecies, as well as the SF quests.

Blah blah blah... So much I'd like to accomplish before GW2 beta, that I know will never get done.

Sausaletus Rex said...

CongoRatz on the gamer title Rex

I got the mad skills and now I got the title to prove it. The next rank is going to be incredibly annoying to get to since it's nearly 5k points away, almost double where I'm at now. It took a few weeks of solid snowballing just to get just half of that.

He will be the one to carry the torch to GW2

I'm not even worrying about the transition to GW2 yet. It's still a while away and, from what I understand, very little will be carried over from this account to the next (And that's assuming I'm even going to play. I really don't want to, but I suspect my resolve will be broken down in the end.). And it'll be something like running out to buy Destroyer weapons or farm armor upgrades for your Heroes so you can get a slightly better starting weapon or henchmen/hirelings/companions or whatever.

All campaigns completed, all heroes unlocked, lvl 20s of most classes, etc...

It really is a problem with games like this, especially if you're not interested in whatever the engame happens to be. GW has several but, at the moment, I'm unwilling or unable to participate in any of them. It's one of the reasons I think there should be more episodic content. Not a wealth of content on the level of a new expansion or anything. But things like the Sorrow's Furnace Update or the BMP. Even as simple as a new cycle of quests. Released every few weeks or months, just to give everyone something to do. Nothing major, you hand it off to the junior designers and let them get some experience working on the game while supplying your playerbase with a fresh stream of small, targeted updates that make the game broader, if not better. That, unfortunately, looks increasingly unlikely as more resources are diverted to the sequel and the developers are deciding to squeeze every last penny out of the BMP rather than, you know, essentially giving it away.