GW2: Gemstore Rising

Yep, still ugly...

It was bound to happen.

An update where I get to take a turn at being fairly uninterested in what has dropped this patch.

tequatlturret

Oh, I went to Tequatl.

I even went in my knight/cleric support gear on my sturdier asura guardian.

I managed to get my hands on a turret, which was amusingly like a super-charged version of what I like to do in teams (support first, damage later.)

Since I read map chat, even though it was my first time, it was quite easy to see the buff stacks on Tequatl when targeted and link them with turret skill 2 and promptly proceed to spam it as demanded by ever more strident yelling over the channel.

To be honest, I don’t think anyone was purposefully NOT spamming skill 2.

I think, for one, between the krait attacking and whatever it is that causes the poison attack to land on the turret, a number of people were no doubt getting overwhelmed off the turrets. I was lucky to have a bodyguard or two and was pretty darned sturdy to boot (the only gear that is sturdier still is if I switched into PVT with cleric jewelry), but still occasionally had to break off for a second to spam heal with shelter before getting back on. Usually skill 2 would still be recharging, so there wasn’t too much interruption.

For another, it occurred to me that we might have been better served -coordinating- the turret launches so that 4-6 stacks are knocked off at once, rather than steadily one at a time while he regens.

Still, no one was on voice, and I didn’t feel up to screaming on map chat, so I just shut up and kept spamming 2.

In between, I experimented with hitting 1 to tickle Tequatl for 2k damage or so, and going crazy with 3-5, which apparently did some happy buff providing and poison removal.

As you might expect, we didn’t even get him down by 5%.

To this, my biggest reaction is mostly to shrug. I’m not a fan of raids in general, and while world bosses are acceptable to me because they’re inclusive not exclusive, I don’t see what else can be done besides wait for everyone to learn the fight and for those who like to organize these things to lead and teach until everyone knows the fight.

I did my job to the best of my ability, as far as I could figure out on my own. If I can’t get on a turret, I’d probably choose to stand as melee guard for someone else operating one. I’m only one person, so that’s that, job done.

There’s nothing more I can do to change the fight even if I am a good player.

(Besides buy six accounts and six computers and wire six keyboards/mice together to operate all turrets in sync, but that is absurd, is it not?)

I also presume that his hp was scaled to make him a worthy challenge for a full zone, which is about 80 players, if I am not mistaken. I was on an overflow, so we may have been short on numbers to begin with.

Time will change this fight. It’s just a matter of waiting. I have no interest in achieving server firsts. It’s just a matter of popping by every now and then to try my luck, that sort of thing.

Other world bosses were also updated. I don’t regularly chase dragons, so I haven’t visited any yet.

Guild feedback seems to be positive on them, some parts appear to be better scaled and more lethal, prompting caution, range and actual use of tactics other than stand in the electrical fire, heal through it and laugh.

My guess is that it’ll actually feel more like the tactics I used to -solo- Golem Mark II on a non-level 80 thief before he was put on all the dragon timers and got popular.

I can’t see this as a bad thing either. There’s usually enough people around to rez others through the learning process.

The downside would be that I don’t know if it’ll ever be possible to solo one of these upgraded bosses again -  whether they have the capacity to scale back down – but with dragon timers being as entrenched as they are, there’s probably never a time where soloing is necessary.

I briefly checked out the Borderlands changes.

newborderlands

It was only my second time back into WvW after a self-imposed two month break, so I don’t have any strong opinions about it.

It’s just there.

More land to fight on, more control points to fight over, more opportunities for fights and with some significant effect to them, so that’s good, I guess.

That’s pretty much the level of care I wish to give an eff about regarding WvW, as I was getting too obsessed half a year back for my own good. (Reading every forum I could get my hands on, feeling obliged to stay logged in for 10+ hours, waking up bright an early to catch server reset and then playing on through the afternoon without lunch, that sorta thing.)

More relaxing to pop in, follow a blue dorito, zerg around and karma train for a bit, engage in some zerg fights, respond to a defence call here and there, emergency build siege, rain arrows down on a teeming red name mass, engage in more zerg fights, pop out when sated.

Really, the biggest thing that caught my eye and attention were the gem store announcement.

MORE MINIS, WTF.

I’ve already spent $20 this month on GW2, which is supposed to be my limit.

I was working myself up toward the notion that I might put down another 10 bucks more near the end of the month and get two sets of the super adventure box minis that way.

Now there are TWO more sets of Risen minis that I dearly want. Especially the Abomination.

Even more galling is that I’ve been slowly working towards the Mini Collector title and was at 49/54 minis to go, where the announcement drops that Series 1 is evaporating soon.

As you might expect, my overnight bid for the Mini Snow Leopard at 5g 77s became swiftly run over by sudden increase in demand and I ended up staring at the damn mini in the TP this morning and buying one out for 9 gold because I’m not sure if the price will drop again before the end, and my OCD would die if I was one mini shy of 10 achievement points for a long time (until their next celebratory limited-time return sale anyhow.)

A certain amount of economic logic dictates that the price of blues and greens -might- drop slightly before October 15, because people might be frantically buying up a bunch in the hope of getting yellows and oranges.

Then again, they are forgeable and people might be throwing more into the mystic toilet too.  Plus speculators might be buying up some of the supply to hoard for later. So I dunno how the price would swing.

Anyway, I am now in the same boat as a number of other people, left staring at the five exotic minis and needing/wanting 4 out of those 5.

I can’t even afford half of one, so… yeah. Unless I get lucky with a precursor drop or sale, I don’t think there’s any way out of this one.

I very very briefly entertained the idea of dropping cash to convert into gold, but $35 won’t even buy one of those suckers, and I would be extremely out of my mind to spend $150 a month on a game for cosmetic miniatures.

I next briefly entertained the thought of putting down $35 and gambling for it  by buying some series 1 sets. Of which I would probably pop 18 blues and 9 greens, rather than see a yellow or orange light of day. So that’s probably a fool’s hope too.

The orange minis are likely way out of my league. I should probably just focus on trying to get my hands on 2000 gems for the non-RNG minis.

Since I really don’t want to be spending more cash this month, the alternative is gold conversion to gems.

Except none of the activities I enjoy are real moneymakers, especially since I’ve been salvaging everything for lucks to up magicfind, and hoarding T6 materials for a precursor. *groan*

I have no real idea what I’m going to do. I might run a few more dungeons for a guaranteed 2 gold a day. I might sink precursor hopes further and start selling any T6 stuff I see.

I wonder if trying to farm Black Lion Chest keys are worth it.

GW2: If You Can’t Beat Them…

Because everyone is going to read this anyway...

Today, I’m grumpy.

I checked Guild Wars 2 Reddit only to find that a ton of sites had -major spoilers- for the Sky Pirates of Tyria patch, which hasn’t even landed yet.

We already had an egregious example of this turn up on the front page of the Guild Wars 2 website for the noir mystery – which spelled out in crystal clear detail exactly where to go, on which day and so on.

I kinda skim read it very quickly, shying away the moment I realized it was a spoiler in order not to ruin my sense of discovery and fun later playing through the story instance, but forgave it as I figured a lot more achievement and progress oriented players would appreciate that sort of crystal clear direction and guidance.

It took 15 seconds of moral dilemma debating, but I eventually decided to read the fucking guide on Dulfy’s website regarding the Aetherblade Retreat dungeon.

Mostly because I was majorly alarmed by her description that said it was like Molten Facility, IF NOT HARDER. (Emphasis mine.)

Because you know folks who want to complete this sort of thing in an efficient and optimal manner have a higher chance of actually making it than your random casual putz that wanders in without a clue.

Because if you’re going to do a fucking raid complete with shitty complex mechanics, you’d better have read the fucking manual and watched the freakin’ video guide beforehand.

(Or at least, that’s what the elitist folks -who will have completed this sort of thing a lot more times than the casuals – will tell you.)

I immediately got a headache on reading the guide, with all the multiple phase mechanics that were going to be in play. This is going to be some learning curve when actually doing it.

And I’m a little freaked out at the thought that they:

a) decided to spell everything out and release it to the online media hounds early, suggesting that trial-and-error discovery is not the way they’d want you to attempt this dungeon (possibly because it may involve a great deal of rage and frustration)

b) are rewarding a rare and a gold piece on completing the dungeon, which hints at the difficulty level that they tuned it at

To be honest, I’m beginning to heavily reconsider trying to PUG this. It sounds like it may be a massive crapshoot of whether you’re going to get good party members or not. It makes me want to run back screaming to guildies only, who will at least be patient as everyone learns the dungeon and works through it together.

The one good thing that might come out of this is that this may be a dungeon that rewards control and support group-oriented builds. I’m not 100% sure of that. If the leet berserkers can find a way to bypass all the trash, I’m sure they will. And some of it may be a dps race.

But I’m seriously wondering how I may be able to fit Stand Your Ground and Hallowed Ground in my utility bar, along with Wall of Reflection and Hold the Line (something’s gotta give) and if I should be wearing my PVT gear with soldier runes to cleanse more conditions on shouts instead of the crit-focused knight’s. And hoping any warriors that come along have soldier runes and shake it off.

Maybe this may actually be a chance for necros and engineers and classes that can deal well with conditions to shine.

I’m going to apologize now to the one PUG that I will be squeezing my spirit weapon guardian in at an early stage to attempt. YOU NEVER KNOW, maybe the bow will come in handy removing your conditions, and the hammer interrupting, and maybe you’ll like the projectile absorption of the shield. And there will be blinds to interrupt things. I will just NOT BE TANKING on him, deal without your anchor guardian crutch.

Then as usual, once I’ve gotten that worked out of my system, and seen if 50% extra damage helps the poor glowing minions any, it’ll be back to the asura rocking cookie cutter.

If it really turns out too horrible, I may simply just give up and decide this kind of content is not for me.

Fortunately, I’m not at all attracted to the monocle – though I suspect a lot of engineers might be. (Please bring your utilities and support and show the leet jerks what you guys can really do besides chuck grenades around.)

I admit to being a lot more greedy for the guaranteed rare and 1 gold on dungeon completion. Between Dragon Bash and trying to get my new warrior in basic exotic gear, I’m somehow down to 15 gold in the bank, near broke.

If all else fails, I guess I can go hog the dragon timers like lots of other people are doing for rares instead.

GW2: Lost Shores From Yet One More Perspective – Part 1

I was there... not sure if worth it....

As mentioned, I’m crazy enough to attend these events when I can, simply because I HATE the thought of missing out, even if they ARE scheduled at 4am local time for me.

It so happens that I was able to arrange my real life schedule to accommodate being up at 4am on MONDAY morning -this- time around, but I admit to this sense of impending dread that I won’t be able to manage it for all subsequent Mondays where ArenaNet has the “bright” idea of scheduling their goddamn one-off events at such an hour.

I really HATE the thought of missing out. And yet, fear of missing out becomes an obligation, rather than fun. So fer heavens sake, ArenaNet, these one-off events are NOT FUN to me.

So I have thusly conveyed in the survey they have just sent out to ask their players.

What was the whole experience like for me?

Let’s begin.

Phase 1:

It started with some promise as eagerness and anticipation overtook everybody.

Attracted by Blingg’s incessant voice-overs (normally I don’t stay in LA long enough to be annoyed,) I was running about checking the new Consortium location and admiring the soon-to-be Fractal portal and talking with the NPCs and screenshotting everything as I suspected these might change once the event was over.

As you can see, at this point, I was still open to the idea of a one-off event for the whole ‘impact’ after, permanent-consequence sort of thing as I was running around trying to capture memories of the “before” event state.

Some person kindly announced in map chat that ArenaNet had just twittered a hint to hang around the lighthouse.

Being the explorer I am, I knew where the LA lighthouse was and made an immediate beeline towards it, while groping for my iPad to check out the Guild Wars 2 Twitter feed for myself (couldn’t find it, settled for grabbing my phone.) Sure enough, that report was a real one, so I joined the couple of others who had made it to the lighthouse at this point.

Meanwhile in map chat, you had the expected “where is the lighthouse?” questions and some griping about ArenaNet and their propensity for using social media to convey this sort of information.

I’m kinda neutral about this. I see their points, and they are valid ones, but Twitter, Facebook or Reddit is a convenient fast way to make announcements too, if the forums can’t cope for whatever mysterious reason. And I’m obviously a hardcore enough player to be able to check them as needed.

The lost ones who needed guidance to find the lighthouse, I feel a little bit more for, but you gotta admit, this sort of “I know and you don’t” makes a certain subset of Explorer types very happy/smug, and too few MMOs these days allow for these guys to have their day in the sun.

Eventually the news, linked waypoints, map directions and so on filtered down to the rest and we were soon joined by a throng of people.

Halp! Can’t breathe….

I eventually found a seat with a much better vantage point. Pretty much lucked into it by accidentally falling off the edge of the throng *ahem*

There was plenty of time to do this, as we waited… and waited… and waited some more for the appointed hour to arrive…

…and were finally treated to a presentable cutscene of the Ancient Karka’s arrival.

Keen eyed observers (or those who don’t mind risking bleeding from your eye sockets) may note that my graphics level has been cranked down to the lowest setting of shitty as I harbor no illusions about my 32-bit Windows GW2 client not crashing out of memory during such crowded events otherwise.

Even so, as the Dynamic Event began and the hordes of veteran karka and young karka and hatchlings began spawning at all the orange fist areas, amidst the throngs of people in varied armors, lag hit. Quite badly.

My framerate went down to about 6.

Which was about 4 better than what some reported, 1-2 FPS.

Skills took a couple seconds to fire off, around 1-3 seconds (this would be still better than what hit during one part of phase 3, which we will get to later.)

And I was sure the karka no doubt looked quite impressive, if only I could see them.

Thank you, invisible culling.

Fortunately, I am clever enough to equip a staff on my guardian for such events. The wide cone means I can just keep spamming 1 and point in the general direction and probably hit something even without actually SEEing it.

Here I am surrounded by young karka corpses, which I can see, and a veteran young karka whom I actually can’t, but at least there’s an arrow and a nameplate, so what the hell, point and spam.

Sheer fear and self-preservation in the face of an enemy that didn’t render got me retreating to the edge of the battle for safety and fighting the miniature-sized ones at first, which worked out for the best, as I lucked into popping two karka samples quite early on.

I scrambled my way through chaos, trying to head for the sample collector NPC icon, stopping to hit one of the veteran karka egg layers which finally appeared on screen for me.

Long enough to register pretty much zero damage, and a check on his buff yielded an “armored” buff which said it was apparently immune to damage. The sheer weight of players and conditions and what-not eventually nickle and dimed this one to death… at which point, another popped up in its place.

Being fairly immune to the Look-Straight-And-Shoot-Everything-In-Front-Of-You syndrome that plagues most players (be it in DEs or WvW), that was the point I said “screw it, I’m booking it out of here” and backed off to get my samples to the NPC.

Whom I couldn’t see either.

But I assume he is there from that helpful icon. In between trying to talk to him and actually, I dunno, READ some of the story, some young karka decided to get extra-friendly with me. From the icons, I think I got face hugged, leg chomped and god knows what else.

If I weren’t on my guardian with heals and heavy armor and toughness and some vitality out the wazoo, I do not even want to begin imagining how many more times I would have gotten downed.

A lot more chaotic fighting later, the collect karka samples DE was completed, through very little effort on my part.

 

I managed to get the 2 samples I popped early on in, and one more later, that was about it. It had turned mostly into a fight for keeping myself alive, rather than attacking anything on purpose.

Alas, after that, we were supposed to get rid of all the karka plaguing Lion’s Arch. Armored immune-to-everything egg layers and what not. Urgh?

Cue more banging away at seemingly invincible health bars. One take away from this that I hope all designers will pick up, it’s not really fun for players to just keep repeating the same actions with decimal point progress at best, it just becomes boring and tedious (see karka reinforcement stages in phase 3 later too.)

Eventually, after a few more of these so-attractively-big-but-cheating karka, a greater number of immensely bored players decided to shift focus and just clean out the young ones which we could hit. Which was probably the designed intent to begin with, but you know, the more people and chaos you add to a situation, the harder it is to form any kinda of plan, tactic or strategy besides hit the first thing in front of you, preferably the biggest most obvious ones. Cat herding and all that.

Suddenly, while we were still a third of the way through on the progress bar, three mails popped up.

Whuh?

Because I am immensely curious, and can multi-task, and hell, it’s not like I’m actually making much progress or a significant dent on these crabs anyway, let’s let the 23094714 other people do it, I engaged in social loafing and took time out in combat to skim read the mails.

Spoiler: The lighthouse bites it.

Also, I was somewhat tickled, amused and pleased that ArenaNet took the previous feedback about being able to donate construction materials to the lion fountain which was lost on Halloween and applied it to the lighthouse.

Which was still conveniently there on my overflow server, so I took advantage of the foreknowledge to catch one or two last shots of it.

Though to be honest, it’s not much of a lighthouse at these graphic settings. But there was no way I could adjust it up any higher while in the middle of such crowded combat.

Shittons more karka later (are you tired yet? I’m getting exhausted simply recounting this to you,) we finally completed the event, and were treated to the expected cutscene of the Ancient Karka taking out the lighthouse.

Thus blissfully ended the lag-ridden somewhat buggy (mail mid combat, really?) chaos that was the phase 1 one-off karka event.

Subsequently, as the servers (or my computer anyway) stopped choking on the immense amount of people in one place, I eagerly rushed the marked NPCs to talk to them and see what had changed after the event.

Again, I was full of anticipation and hope. The one-off event didn’t really do much for me, but ok, all that lag and stuff was understandable, a bit buggy but we did see the story progress some… now that we were back to something that can be done at leisure during a time convenient to you, surely things would be much better, more sedately paced and more immersive.

Discovering the scavenger hunt was quite fun and thrilling. Most achiever players were still milling around the lighthouse, or looking for a reward chest, or complaining bitterly about lag and you could tell only a small subset of curious explorers were chatting up the NPCs and getting led to the wreckage along the Lion’s Arch beach to continue the plot.

Some clue hunting later, a little Googling of certain named areas as my map isn’t world complete yet, I was having quite a bit of fun racing around my as yet fully unexplored Caledon Forest trying to look for the relevant parties.

Alas, all that delay in finding the next guy led to this scene by the time I got there.

Not only is the amount of people offputting and unimmersive, I got there barely in time to catch the end of his little event with very little knowledge of what happened before that. It was quite impossible to chat and try start the event again for the story as everyone and his mother were also trying to do the same thing, and all it takes is one guy who doesn’t care to read the quest text to beat you to it.

I eventually gave up after a few more beat-em-up scenarios and went on to the next clue in the chain, thinking to maybe come back later when it was less crowded for the story. I suppose I should consider myself lucky, as I hear this NPC may have also broke some time later.

It was at Garenhoff where our luck ran out. Canach was broken, and broken good.

Some aimless running about later, I decided to check out the other bit of the story that involved Zommoros. I was quite pleased where I saw that the mails included the “show me” option, so that there was at least some in-game direction as to the location to head in, as compared to either knowing it straight off or having to resort to Google.

I was LESS than pleased where I got to Pastkeeper Saballa to find her foot stuck on one corner of an underwater cage, the escort event stalled and bugged out beyond all reckoning. Nor was the lagos responding by the time I swum up to him and his chest didn’t trigger at all.

Pissed off by the bugs, and no doubt, the hour I was attempting it at (hello, 5.30am), I didn’t bother to check on the hylek alchemist and logged off to snatch some sleep.

In all honesty, I think I would have stressed out less had I known there was more time to attempt this chain in. Knowing that phase 2 began less than 24 hours later, there was a very short window in which to experience the continuation of the story.

Seriously, ArenaNet, just how unreasonably hardcore do you expect your players to be?

And then to find it bugged, was even more infuriating.

I was quite confident that Anet would eventually get the bugs fixed. And if it were a week long scavenger hunt thing, no worries, plenty of time. But this was hurryhurryhurry all the way and keep watching Twitter to see if and when fixes were made. Not very fun.

Which was a shame, because I do rather like these scavenger hunts. Mad Memoires was very nice.

Eventually, 12 hours later, I logged back on at 5pm local time to get all three NPCs done, they were functional by that time. It took a while longer for Canach, but somehow, I lucked into him being responsive at about 7pm.

That’s wee morning hours for the North Americans, so I dunno how many managed to get them done in that short interval before phase 2.

No doubt, the story must have been quite intriguing, but to be honest, I barely remember it now. I’ll have to read the screenshots I took. All I remember is the bugs and the sense of needing to crank it out and complete each DE before the impending time limit, preferably before it breaks AGAIN.

Later I would breathe a sigh of relief that I got it done, before the miscommunication of when and whether you could continue with the chain while the event was in phase 2 or later. I honestly don’t know if the chain still worked later on. Lots of complaints on Reddit said it didn’t. I dunno. I stopped caring about it.