GW2: Razing Expectations

Puns. I love ’em.

On a more serious note, quick thoughts about the big end of March patch that just hit us.

Flame and Frost Razing Instances: Braham and Rox


Now THIS is more like it. Full on cut-scenes harkening back to Guild Wars 1. Did them solo. Enjoyed the storytelling for the most part.

I was especially tickled to be able to talk to the guard who knocks you back in the Command Core instance and use my “Pact Commander” VIP status to barge into the War Council and be treated like an equivalent-ranked Charr.

Got a very thematic and immersive screenshot out of it, which is fast becoming one of my favorites.

How Blood Legion argues their point in meetings
How Blood Legion argues their point in meetings

I’m not a fan of Rox’s eyes. I’m not a fan of cutesy, period. Big-eyed cutesy Asura unnerve me the same way. But I suppose she can’t help her genetics. I’ll try not to hold it against her.

(I’m not sure what they were after there. Trying to make her sympathetic or likeable? It moves her into Japanese anime female territory, not quite the image of gender-equal Charr I would have liked.)

The albino baby devourer is cute though. I’m a fan of cute. Like Quaggan cute. I’d love to see that devourer develop as time passes, similar to Gwen in GW1. I have this image of a gigantic veteran or champion siege devourer following behind Rox one day. *coughs*

Braham’s okay. Be interesting to see how his story develops. His mace and shield though… dayum, would almost make me go mace/shield guardian if I could have those skins.

Agent Brandubh’s Dead Drop Scavenger Hunt

I really appreciated this one. I felt the difficulty level was just spot on.

Talk to the NPC and he sends you a mail with the item you need and sufficient clues to treasure hunt them in just two zones. (Which, if you were at all following the Living Story, you probably already fully explored, but if not, it’s a good excuse to.)


Felt no pressure to go look up an external site. I could actually rely on the in-game information given to ‘quest’ my way to the locations and get a lore/info teaser from each spot.

(As contrasted with something like the Halloween stuff which spanned a whole bunch of zones with fairly vague hints, so the easiest thing to do was just wait for Dulfy.)

WvW-Related Stuff

Whee, no culling. Oh boy, no culling.

I suppose it’s good to be able to see everyone in WvW.

Figuratively speaking, anyway.

First off, titles. They suck. Seriously. Fuck player vanity. You could afford to have titles dangling in Guild Wars 1 when all people did was hang around in a big lobby room not doing anything more important than trading or LFG.

At this rate in WvW, I’m seeing more text cross my screen than if I played a MUD. Get rid of them. Kill it dead. With fire.

In order not to tax my system, I put all settings on lowest for now to test the best case scenario, though I admit I miss seeing how my comrades used to look. The jury’s still out on my part with regards to zerg vs zerg performance – mostly because I HAVEN’T managed to get into a proper ZvZ extended fight yet to really stress test it out.

I’m a little miffed about it, but you know, new patch syndrome, just gotta roll with the punches for now.

See, first, there are the queues. All four maps had queues during NA prime time, something I’ve never seen happen except on reset night in my time so far on TC. It’s, I guess, a good kind of problem, because the more PvErs and new to WvW players come in, they may possibly get hooked and stay. But it also means I ended up working on the PvE Living Story content for quite a bit longer than I initially intended – and ditto some of the WvW regulars I’m more used to seeing in WvW.

Then there’s the obsession about the new shiny of WvW XP. Points score? Who cares about that? Killing people gives WXP! Die die die!

Both combined lead to extremely undisciplined, disorganized zergs. You can feel it, the green dots mill about and move on their own, and aren’t united or stacked on a commander for the most part. Twenty people will break off and chase down a lone invader, because WXP!

I think a bunch of commanders gave up cat herding and turned off their tags, and I can’t blame them. The atmosphere’s quite a bit different from the WvW I’ve been playing for the past 2-3 weeks. I’m sure it’ll settle down in time, but phew, it’s chaotic for now. I’m also hoping less crowd-friendly timezones will be more like what I’m used to. We’ll see. I’m sure once all the easy levels are gotten, people will trickle back to whatever else they like to do also.

So far, my tentative conclusion is that it’s not too bad. I haven’t had an instance where I collide head-on with a zerg that popped up out of nowhere, end up lagged in a bunch of marks and feedback, have my FPS drop to 1-2 and melt before firing a single skill.

But y’see, I haven’t had the opportunity to stand in a bunch of marks and feedback yet to test this. No commander with a sufficiently sized group-focused supportive zerg means I default to self-preservation like the disorganized green dots around me, and now no culling means I can SEE the enemy zerg running towards me, and you bet I can read that charge and NOT BE THERE as they hit and roll right over the other unsuspecting guys who were clumped up.

(Sigh. Well, it’ll take time for them to learn. If they followed the commander who tried to get them to reposition, they would have avoided that steamroll. But they didn’t. And so the commander(s) eventually gave up trying to save/teach them for that period of time, because I’m sure their blood pressure was spiking. And without a commander to follow, you can bet I am still going to reposition myself and attempt disengaging even if barely anyone else is since they’re already dead.)

All in good time, I guess.

I find 1-5% not terribly significant in the larger scheme of things, so am not in a particular hurry about this. I’ll play when and what I like and the WXP will come.

The added armor stat types for WvW seem okay. Not too expensive, not too special, just another alternate way to get exotic armor with stats you like, which is as things should be.

Skin-wise, some people aren’t impressed with the armor or weapon skills available, in that they’re nothing different from what’s pretty cheaply available in PvE already. I feel it’s ok, it’s a way for WvW focused people to get those looks without using up a transmutation stone (or crystal or whatever they’re called now.)

And I actually like the racial weapon skins – they’re pretty, even if they’re available at low levels. My Asura’s staff uses the glyphic skin, which I bought off the TP before this. I just like the glow and the tasteful lightning effects. My Charr uses a shiverpeak talisman as a focus skin, because it’s got a nice fiery particle effect that trails behind as he runs and goes with the fiery dragon sword.

Hmm, what else?

RIP catapults behind gates, and a small solemn silence for timewarp. But yeah, balance changes, and people adjust. Nothing to freak out over and quite relieving in a sense that the absurdity of chucking boulders at your own gate is now gone and that uber duber speed timewarp ain’t gonna be used against you too.

In Other Personal Computer News

The last survivor of my ex-dual monitor setup chose yesterday to die.

Cue impromptu hauling of said monitor to the service centre for repairs and a shopping trip to buy new monitor in the meantime.

The happy news is that the new monitor, a Samsung S23B350, supports a higher resolution so my new screenshots are now going to be 1920×1080.

The old monitor also got fixed in record time (a day), though I had to pay them for a whole new power board. If you’re counting, that means I now have a functioning dual monitor setup again. Wheee. I’ve missed it, though it did dent my budget some. It’ll make dual-clienting ATITD a whole lot easier for sure. I hated ALT-TABing.

Since I ended up at the computer store, I also picked up 64-bit Windows 7. (Welcome to the 21st century, right?)

It’s probably an entire weekend (or two) project to save everything I could possibly want to preserve and replace WinXP with Win7 (and reinstall critical programs), but here’s hoping this will solve my regular out-of-memory crashes.

Else I’ll just have to wait until I can afford to build a brand new spanking computer again. *crosses fingers*