GW2: All Aboard the Dragon (Bash) Wagon

I didn’t bother writing much about the rest of the Canach event. It was uneventful and there wasn’t much to comment about. And now the Dragon Bash is upon us.

If there’s two things I’ve had a revelation about, it’s these.

1) I really like ArenaNet’s art, especially for seasonal events.

2) It all ultimately revolves around gold in the end.

hologram

Lion’s Arch is in fine form. The fountain has been replaced with a holographic projector featuring a Shattered Dragon hologram flying around terrorizing the nearby ship towers. (That poor lion fountain, I wonder where they keep it in between festivals and how many dolyaks or golems it takes to haul it away each time?)

dragonforge

The Mystic Forge is, to quote the words of a guildie, “looking badass even as it eats my items.”

streetart1

I’m extremely impressed with the small immersive touches, especially the dragon themed street art. It looks chalked in, like a denizen of Lion’s Arch actually sat down to draw it. There’s a bridge in the center of LA that has an entire dragon head to tail graffiti’ed on and looks great in-game, even if the entire thing doesn’t fit in a screenshot.

dragonbridge

The varied pinatas look great (if you could study them properly before they disappear in a fit of everyone racing each other for their achievements, what’s with the lack of node sharing with those, a bug?)

The decorative dragon billboards all look like they’re made of wood and painted. It basically all seems “real” rather than just magically plunked into place. (I suppose “it’s magic” is a good excuse for Wintersday and Halloween.)

As for the gold thing, well, I seem to have reached a stage of resignation cum acceptance regarding it.

It’s in-game currency. I earn 1-3 gold just playing and doing the stuff I like to do each day. Yes, while it has a real-life money equivalency, it cannot be converted back (through any legal means anyway.)

So gold is for spending.

It is just a matter of what I want to prioritize it on. Other people may really value working towards their shiny Legendary, and so throw all their gold there. Some may really be into their costumes, or dyes, or minis, or what-have-you. Still others are content to sink it into the great WvW goldnommer of siege and upgrades, or spend it playing with RNG and gambling.

Conversely, some may be better at earning gold, through activities like playing the TP, doing lots of dungeons or making Legendaries and selling them. As a result, they may have more gold to play and spend with. (And let us not forget the big spenders, who think nothing of throwing $50-100 real life bucks each month into the cash shop and converting it into in-game currency in whatever way best suits their efficient fancy)

It does not matter. It’s like real life, some people are always going to have more than others. And still others will be worse off than you. What’s there to get worked up about?

What matters is that one spends within their means. Fortunately, there is no going into debt in-game. You can only become temporarily broke or bankrupt if you are spendthrift or make a foolish financial decision. At most, you may regret prioritizing buying one thing first over another.

There’s also the great equalizer – the TP and the currency exchange, which are great economic tools for at least sharing -some- of the wealth if you can find a niche in the economy to contribute to.

In my case, that’s solo farming. It’s probably not as profitable as social farming, where a bunch of people find an event and farm the increased mob spawns together, but it’s okay, I accept that it’s good for an MMO to have bonus encouragement for people to get together every now and then.

The Dragon Coffer drop rate has been especially kind to my particular favorite playstyle too, in that they’ve made it a pretty frequent drop from pretty much anything and everything that can be attacked and falls over dead giving xp. It reminds me of GW1 seasonal events, with a much nicer drop rate. I’ve been having fun just putting on some music, and genociding everything in my path, with stumbling across holograms as an additional bonus.

Apparently it’s not most efficient way to get coffers. Some have found chain waypointing to holograms better – supposedly the profit from selling the coffers offsets the cost of waypointing. Some brag about getting 60 or so coffers in one event. I have no clue whether this is exaggeration or just being very good at finding dense spots of mobs. Whatever floats your boat, I figure.

For myself, one of my goals is to level up a warrior. (Two, actually, but one will do first.) I found it rather fun to use up a killstreak booster (all that stuff that drops from free black lion chests and keys that I end up hoarding in the bank and never really using) and chomp a 30min food and a consumable in a minigame of keep the streak going as long as possible. The on-kill, gain a buff for 30 secs food works in perfect tandem with this. Then I rampage around in a whirlwind frenzy of axe chopping from boar to moa to skelk and anything else. It’s more than a little hectic and tense, especially when some other guy swipes the mob you were aiming for and your lowbie can’t do enough damage to get kill credit. Luckily, it seems no one but me kills yellow mobs. And the game-within-a-game steers me towards more deserted, quiet surroundings, which I enjoy.

Less hectic and with more breathing room for stopping to sell to a merchant (you haven’t lived until you are trying to kill a yellow mob next to a karma merchant with your inventory up blocking your entire view trying to sell as quickly as possible and get to the next mob within 60 seconds or so) is the simple experience booster which lasts an hour.

It’s win-win. I use up boosters I never thought I’d get around to using. I’m gaining xp in a less boring way than going from heart to heart (subjective opinion, yes.) I get the bonus of being thrilled every so often seeing a Dragon Coffer drop and selling the proceeds nets some extra silver and gold. Sure, it’s not as instantaneous as power leveling to 80 with crafting, but it’s a lot less expensive – every level I gain now is one less I’d have to craft up later when I get bored and impatient, and I might be able to divert and garner more xp from a dungeon or WvW when more developed later on.

I’ve been netting around 16-18 coffers per half hour on the lowbie warrior and about 1.5 levels per hour. On a whim, I ran around with my level 80 guardian with 160% odd magic find and gained around 22-27 coffers per half hour, though I don’t know if this depends on the area I visited or if magic find has an effect too. (Downside, the warrior gains no levels if I spend time on the 80.) It’s probably not much compared to the really dedicated who will find the best farming locations, but it’s good enough for me – I tend to burn out when obliged to play -too- efficiently.

I watched the ectoplasm rush pass me by too. I was online when the patch news hit, and watched with bemusement as the ectos took off from 19 silver all the way up to 27 silver or so – all the while wondering if I should buy (at first) or sell (remembering my stock market lessons on selling when everyone else wants to buy.)

I suppose the savvy managed to make a tidy profit per ecto, and I wasn’t among them, but on the other hand, I’m not among those that bought ectos for more than the price they’re selling for post-patch (last I looked, still 20 silver or so) either.

Boring status quo for me. I earn gold like a slow and steady turtle. I’ll spend it on stuff I enjoy and want, even if not bought at the cheapest price.

I gave in and picked up the miniature Firestorm I’ve been lusting after. Removed the 55 gold buy order, added a 15 gold top up (which had naturally accrued again after days of normal playing) and you may all laugh at me now for buying a miniature worth 71 gold or the equivalent of $23.67. But it really is pretty.

The gift of free miniatures made my decision to feed in $10 to the cash shop this month easy. I was already considering supporting the straight buy of miniatures, but was hesitant about the mystic forge deal to get another mini. Buying two sets just to throw one into the mystic forge just seems dumb. In this case, I just needed to buy one set and could throw in the other without qualms. I bought a Risen Knight for around 2 gold for this purpose. Waiting would have been cheaper, as they’re now hovering around 50 silver and are likely to plunge further, but really, 1.5 gold is not a big deal in the larger scheme of things, it’s an hour’s worth of in-game earnings perhaps.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there can be a limit to searching for the absolute optimal, and that time is also a tradeoff in the equation somewhere, and that regret is a wasted emotion as long as you’re sure about what you want to begin with.

I also used a buy-order for the holographic flappy wings, which netted me a set at 24 gold. I am positive this will get cheaper as the days pass by. So others may prefer to wait. On the other hand, I knew I did want them for my asura because he has a ‘hologram’ theme going on with the super adventure staff, and it just seems to fit. (Whereas it looked downright weird previewing on the charr.) Now I have a certain peace of mind, and can spend the rest of the weeks farming to sell off coffers to earn profit and will be in time to run around this weekend all dragon-themed.

I’m not going to bother with the jade skins. Yeah, they look rather nice. I like the jade stone effect especially. But I don’t own any Canthan-themed characters that’ll make me kill for a bunch of those, fortunately. And while the jade sword complements the Blood Legion Charr rather nicely, I already own a perfectly passable crystalline blade that also looks good, and a fiery dragon sword, so I neither “need” or want them. Which is great, because the drop rate apparently sucks. I’ll be content to make some steady profit off the sale of hopefuls that are searching for a ticket and the RNG kick of opening a bunch of lockboxes. I may open a few for the fun of it, and if I get lucky on that or a kill drop, wonderful, but I won’t be expecting anything.

Which, imo, is how to treat lotteries and lockboxes in MMOs. Like buying a real lottery ticket. It’s essentially throwing a small sum of money away for a worthless piece of paper and a certain hopeful thrill that maybe this time you’ll get lucky. Don’t hope for anything more than that, throw away money within your means, and that’s that.

Some people will think it stupid and illogical, some people will think it acceptable, some people will get carried away to the point of insanity or bankruptcy. That’s life.

I bought 5 Rich Dragon Coffers with the leftover gems from my $10 input for the minis. I made up the difference with gold converted to gems. Got absolutely nothing out of it but some candies and the food consumables. $5 down the drain? Or a little extra speed boost for the Zhaitaffy achievement. Wasn’t expecting anything, so not surprised or regretful. Just a little extra support for ArenaNet – take it as a show of my appreciation for the art, perhaps. Not getting carried away either, it’s just about self-discipline stopping where you want to stop. In my case, $5, for others, they’re ok at $20, $30, $50 or more.

If you don’t have that self-discipline, then well, best learn the lesson about gambling addiction in a video game, I guess, and I pray the consequences won’t be that catastrophic. (Bright side, I hear Anet limits purchases per month to $300. That’s a lot less than some people can lose in a month in a real world casino.)

Moa racing is a funny application of this with in-game currency. I suspect it’s rapidly goldsinking quite a bit of gold out of the general economy. Assuming it’s set up for 20% even odds per bird, people playing hoping to earn money will probably lose a small trickle of gold on average, with some people getting lucky and profiting and others being unlucky and losing more. Some will play enough to get the achievement and write off the loss as the cost of the achievement. And the temptation of getting the moa mini may appeal to others to stay on longer and feed gold into it. I believe a rough back of the envelope calculation is that the mini will cost an average of 28.4 gold or so, with large fluctuations depending on luck – or $9.50 a mini. (If one converts gems to gold though, the exchange rate is poorer, say 100 gems for 2 gold, and the mini will cost $14.20 if your luck is average.)

I’m still trying to decide myself whether I want to just cash out the tokens I have and take the small loss for the achievements, or continue throwing gold in to get the mini. It’s a cute enough mini that I won’t mind owning it. But it’s not something I want immediately on looking at it. I could leave it, no problem. ‘Cept there’s nothing else more pressing to spend gold on either and there’s the rest of the month to play with the moa races. So I may just do a slow trickle of gold into it and essentially pay up a bunch of gold for a mini. Will it prove to be cheaper or more expensive than buying it off the TP? We won’t know, it’ll be just a matter of luck and RNG.

Like most everything else in this game. Take it or leave it. The choice is up to you.

I haven’t tried Dragon Ball yet. Too busy farming. Yes, I like mob grinding that much that I made a beeline straight for mass genocide when given the least excuse to. (Yes, I’m serious.)

I leave you with two other things that I got a big kick out of. (God, I love Lion’s Arch on Tarnished Coast.)

Was seen racing with the other moas.

Was seen racing with the other moas before placing bets.

The above was probably power-leveled, as the Master Crafter title might suggest.

I’ll have you know that the below has existed for quite a while, certainly during the Molten Facility (proof in the convo pics) and was first made around Wintersday (his pic is there, if not his name.)

Nor was I aware there was an NPC named Shodd, having never played the asura personal story until after making the character. (We certainly sounded like a legal firm together during that though. Shudd & Shodd, your go-to associates for world domination.)

Only bookahs are confused by asura names. There are subtle pronunciation differences between Shud, Shudd and Shodd that only big ears can differentiate.

Only bookahs are confused by asura names. There are subtle pronunciation differences between Shud, Shudd and Shodd that only big ears can discern.

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One thought on “GW2: All Aboard the Dragon (Bash) Wagon

  1. […] highest point of the festival is the art. Jeromai has a nice post with a lot of screenshots showing off the beauty of Lion’s Arch in dragon festival form. Bhagpuss also decided to post on […]

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