GW2: No Endgame, Who Are They Kidding?

Obviously, this is subjective. If the game doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t. Move on and go play with your pandas or your spaceships or your tanks or what have you.

That said, I’ve been spending the whole week involved with essentially endgame activities in Guild Wars 2. And I’m still not bored.

Hell, I’ve been saving a ton on waypoint fees because I’ve barely moved my level 80 character from one PvE zone to another like he was doing when he was gathering and crafting and working on zone completions and doing dungeons and popping in on the Claw of Jormag.

So what have I been doing instead?

1) WvWvW

Plenty of it. The best fights were nearer the start of the week, when everyone was jockeying for points and position. No one had given up yet so there were still plenty of opposing zergs forcing ‘must-react-to’ situations, and guilds on your side trying out various strategies, lots of siege being used and siege blown up, etc.

2) WvW Completion and Jumping Puzzles

As the week progressed, and our server started to dominate, the furious fights started to die off a little. Now they’ve slowed to the point where it’s become clear most are saving and preparing for the next titanic clash of servers on the weekend. In fact, they’ve slowed to the point where Isle of Janthir has become able to cover the entire map zones with pretty much a sea of green.

Thank goodness for a reset. I’m a big fan of resets. The victor of this round is obvious. Now let’s bring in a new round and wipe clean the slate.

BEFORE that though, it is a perfect time to indulge in the victor’s rewards. I’ve been running around all the zones, fairly unmolested, collecting POIs, Vistas and Skill Points and trying to get all the zones complete. 2/4 done, 2 more to go. Sooner or later when my next alt is ready, they’ll want to do it too, but I can wait for the next opportunity to open up.

I have some beautiful green-tinged vista shots. Alas, I can’t identify a single guild emblem as I’ve been mostly WvWing in the Borderlands, and it looks like the Eternal Battlegrounds crew is made up of different folks.

I like how the top of it glows green…

This vista was evil. Jumping from wooden beam to beam around a tight spiral is one of the worse things for a Charr to attempt… Feet…too… big… and widely spaced…

Also, jumping puzzles. The Borderlands jumping puzzle is still relatively doable even if opposing teams are running around the map, but it’s so much less stressful when they aren’t, and when you know your server is likely to have a majority in there. Our guild has been running in there the last few days, showing those new to the puzzle around, and it’s so much easier for them to manage/learn without needing to fight off people trying to knock you down or worse, facing entrenched siege positions.

Fear of that last has been why I haven’t once stepped into the Eternal Battlegrounds jumping puzzle since beta, having calculated that it would be likely suicidal to venture in solo while three way battles were raging aboveground.

However, just yesterday, I noticed that Eternal Battlegrounds had been turned completely green, which struck me as a perfect time to zone complete the place. Also, when your server owns all three keeps, well duh. No one else can get in!

YES!

So I jumped in there, along with pretty much half the servers’ folks in the zone, all thinking the same way, no doubt.

Booyah, obsidian sanctum, done.

Fortunately, I remembered much of the solution that I slowly explored/learned in beta, but for new folks, this would have been the best undisturbed time to explore and learn it. All I can say is, the dark room is still evil, still sucks, and that I can’t imagine myself successfully managing it while under fire from two or more enemies or a siege weapon. One guy might be ok, I’d prolly have a 75% chance of killing him or chasing him off. But all these folks come in packs of two or more anyway, so… moot point.

Far more enjoyable and doable to manage without interference. And judging by the number of people falling off jumps I was managing by the skin of my teeth (not to mention, much gnashing of teeth and twisting of the camera – Charr jumps can get pretty tricky, though I’m used to it by now), I’m not the only one.

There was also a helpful mesmer or two offering portals for those too frustrated to continue. Good social time for the server. And siege stocking up for the next fight.

3) More WvW

It’s not like they gave up completely. Fort Aspenwood in particular seems to have a pretty stubborn cohort. And it’s easy for them to do sneak attacks and rush a tower here and there when most of the dominating server has very little interest in defending the less important outposts and are playing around with jumping puzzles rather than concentrating fully on the ebb and flow of the map. Besides, a little tower and camp trading here and there is profitable in terms of karma/silver earned.

We’ll look up 30 minutes later after the jump puzzle, go oh, such and such is taken, let’s zerg it all back for a while, in a lazy disorganized fashion (the casual zerg is hanging out now, y’know, the pros are resting and prepping for next week). Meanwhile, on the opposing side, only the hardcore stalwarts would still be going into WvW and are trying out all kinds of siege attack/defence tactics against not-very-clever zerg targets. It’s a funny sort of balance.

I’ve also discovered that upgraded keeps are a very comfortable place to hang out and take 5-10 minutes to sort inventory. It’s less crowded than Lion’s Arch (which my computer tends to regard loading with dread), a merchant or armor repairer is available to sell junk and blues/greens to, a bank is there, a guild bank is there, there’s even a Mystic Forge and attendant in the garrison if you need one, and there’s crafting stations/bank in one’s home borderlands spawn and so on. And you’re around to keep an eye on the orb, on the keep, help in defence or just enter the siege weapons once in a while to prevent them despawning (which apparently, some do after a while if not entered. I dunno how far true that is, but it doesn’t hurt for me to just visit them now and then.

And lemme tell you, practising your mortar aiming judgement by trying to one-shot deer and rabbits on the first shot is fairly entertaining. Hey, it’ll help when I need to quickly destroy an enemy siege encampment under extreme pressure! I’m so easily happy…)

4) Structured PvP

I’ve joined pretty much a casual zerg guild on my server. Unreal Aussies is one of those inclusive monster guilds with a leadership core that are nice and welcoming to all and sundry. Currently it works for me. It’s big enough to have activity at most hours, some people doing dungeons now and then, and 20-40 odd people interested in WvW – which is a good sized zerg into the field. Organization of them is still like herding cats, alas, and I gotta give mad props and respect to the leaders for not losing patience (I would, but that’s why I don’t even try to lead.) We can successfully be pointed in one direction and led away from a place with orders, but siege and supply management, welp… All in good time, I figure. Folks will eventually get the hang of it, even if they have to learn by getting rained on with arrow carts…

The other fun thing that the guild does is jump into structured PvP for fun from time to time. I finally got the chance to join them the other day and I haveta say, it’s lot more fun killing friends. *ahem* A twisted way to be social, mebbe, but more fun than just jumping into a PUG and facing strangers all the time. And it’s a good way for guild members to see and recognize and become familiar to each other, since in most modern MMOs these days, apart from raids, everyone is off doing their own thing solo or in small groups.

And hey, win or lose, you’re still working on that glory bar.

5) Alts

Kinda. Sorta. I’m starting to look forward to the next time our server gets utterly thrashed in WvW, because it’s looking like I’m not going to get a chance until then to do PvE properly.

I got on the Asura ranger for about 15 minutes or so. The camera height is exceedingly jarring when I’m used to being a Charr. All my jump timing and estimation of fall survival is off. And his running, bouncing head animation makes me more than a little motion sick. I haven’t got a bow to drop for him yet, and I’m too lazy to go shuffling stuff in the bank for him either. Dual axes feels a bit odd. No doubt it’s workable, but it’s a playstyle I’m not really interested in learning/mastering at the time. So I gave up for the time being, the combined strangeness is too much and I have no goal to learn to play or build up a ranger yet.

I’ve been playing the human elementalist for about 30mins at a time. I’m quite commited to learning proper attunement swapping and pwning with one. But Queensdale is so godawfully huge that I don’t even know where to begin, sometimes. Y’see, when I PvE, I like to immerse into the zone and really explore every nook and cranny. I don’t just rush from heart to heart, DE to DE, grabbing level after level.

This is not the way to hold a glass of wine… Not unless you want to throw it on someone, anyhow. The liquid in there is strangely gravity-defying. Maybe it’s a jello shot.

Nor this. Especially when you’re about to offer it to someone else. Maybe it’s some kind of flirtation technique.

I made it to level 10 playing about with all the weapon skill unlocking, got to the town with the crafting stations, played with cooking and realized what a colossal undertaking that was going to be, tailored up some level 10 armor for myself and got stuck on the level 15 ones, finished the 1-10 personal story and still haven’t even made one iota of progress on Queensdale exploration because I can’t get in the right frame of mind, I keep sneaking peeks at the WvW scoreboard. I keep wanting to be social and run about with people and linked into the guild and representing. I can’t find an uninterrupted two hours of shutting away the rest of the world and pretending to be a human in the GW2 world to talk and interact with NPCs.

I don’t think that’s going to happen until I find no reason to be in the WvW zones for a while.

Until the reset, there’s still jumping puzzles and casual fun to be had in there. Once the reset happens, it will be queuing like crazy, me running around on the 80 waiting for the queue to pop, some desultory mob killing and crafting and zone completion while waiting,  and everyone on tenterhooks for a while. The next fight will be tougher, but the chance of winning is still fairly good.

So in essence, for the next week or so, there’s very little hope for me PvEing on an alt.

There’s always the week after that, or the month after that, I suppose.

(My Norn thief is crying for neglect in the background. The Sylvari necromancer is just sulking in silence.

A day ago, I had this sudden image of a fearsome Norn female Amazon-type warrior in heavy armor that would probably look fantastic, while my beta weekend Charr warrior in potentia is scowling at me, threatening wordlessly if I dare to give a character slot to that race first, so I may have to have two warriors or two guardians down the road at some point…)

So much for no endgame.

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