GW2: Same Old Chugging

Home sweet home...

Some weeks, you just feel like a dinosaur.

EQN Landmark Alpha is apparently out, and my only reaction is “Uh huh. Cool. Waiting for launch (more bugs ironed out) and waiting for free (as much as F2P games can be, anyhow.)”

Edge of the Mists update lands in Guild Wars 2, and all I can think is, “Whatever. I’m a finishing these temporary chievos first, the permanent ones will keep.”

For the last week, and for the next two foreseeable weeks, I suspect my routine is not going to deviate:

  • Log on to Teamspeak, check what TTS is doing, preferably a jungle wurm and grab my spot in whatever map they’re at.
  • Occasionally decide on a whim if I feel like doing Teq or Marionette.
  • Entertain myself finishing up easy dailies, harvesting non-80 resources to sell and dabbling with flipping on the Trading Post.

Y’see, as unrewarding as failed and partial success attempts are on the Jungle Wurm (bronze chest = 3 greens, silver chest = 5 greens, gold chest = 7 greens, I know this by heart now,) I rather enjoy the fight itself.

There’s the personal difficulty level, which I freely confess to it being a bar higher than my usual. Repeating the fight refines me relentlessly.

As more and more wurm kills are notched on my belt, I can feel myself getting better at reading and predicting the wurm’s attacks – when it does that kind of funny looking coil, expect a spit attack and stay mobile / prepare to dodge, etc.

I fall into the goddamn water less on Cobalt jumps, even as a two-legged charr (which absolutely throws off your timing when you’re used to jumping with four-legged charr), after spending enough time knowing from which corner to corner to jump to when holding a keg.

There’s the gradual polishing up of group strategy, which is beautiful to behold.

TTS has been the one big organized group that hasn’t racked up a triple head kill yet, probably because of the culture of inclusivity which tries to keep negativity and forceful exhortations to change one’s build to pure DPS to a minimum. On the other hand, what this has forced is increased creativity in strategy and understanding of the wurm.

The last day has seen a very nice control strategy involving projectile reflects/absorbs to negate egg and grub spawns if done correctly. Husk condition groups have been super important. Both are roles that I don’t do on my warrior, but look interesting to attempt one day when it finally goes on farm and I decide to bring my guardian or necro.

I’m not that huge a fan of group progression, mostly because the situation becomes god-awful chaotic when the bulk of your group is less experienced at the fight, but I can -definitely- assure you that it is there.

When members know what they are doing, the thing runs a lot more like clockwork. During times which are more conducive to weekenders or say, the Oceanic crew which gets less scheduled practiced time than the NA crew, chances of things screwing up are much higher.

There’s naught to be done with that issue but just patiently wait for everyone to learn the fight though. And work on getting better personally with more practice time.

Certain people will tell you that all this will be magically solved with a raid instance.

I heartily doubt that. I suppose a fixed scheduled raid in the vein of more traditional MMOs sort of ensures more of the same people to fight together, if only because those that can’t make the restrictive timings are forced completely out. You’re still going to have certain people learning slower than others though. What, you want to kick those out too?

See, that’s where I can’t morally deal with most raids. It’s a slippery slope up to a lonely elitist corner at the top of the world, with only a very limited number of people you can stand to play with. Burnout is only a very short distance away at that point.

Anyhow, the last aspect of the jungle wurm that I’m enjoying is something quite strange. It’s following the orders of a good commander.

Here’s the thing, I don’t really like to lead. I fancy myself more of a faithful right-hand man, reliable and responsive to a fault. In wolfy terms, more of a beta wolf than an alpha.

Just as in WvW, I want to be following someone whose judgment I trust is more spot-on than mine, who can help me play better with what he or she is seeing on their computer. (Possibly because my computer is a toaster and there are times when it decides it WON’T render orange circles before a nasty AoE.)

I want someone inspirational and positive, that can react to unexpected situations with a steadying hand, make quick decisions and keep the group focused on their task.

Only on the jungle wurm, can PvE commanders rise to the occasion like how WvW commanders have been doing for a year or more now.

Marionette? Teq? Nope. They’re more like glorified cat-herders and head-counters there. All interchangeable blue doritos that can be mostly ignored once everyone knows the fights and any required groups are already set up.

The wurm though requires coordination and synchronization on around the same level as zerg-busting groups do. 20+ people responding well and doing their jobs to commander calls.

Albeit, most of the jobs are the same by design (grab a harpoon and shoot, grab a keg and plant, etc.) as opposed to WvW, where each class has a more defined function. Since we don’t want to promote being too choosy about profession on an open-world map, it’s something I’m personally fine with.

Player skill becomes a lot more important. If you can evade all the mobs in the way and get your item where it’s supposed to go, you’re golden. If not, it’s something that one should really be working on for the next time, because the more people get better, the faster and smoother the fight goes.

Commander skill also seems to play a part in this fight. Not naming names, but certain commanders seem to get better results out of their group than others, even though it’s the same wurm and one might think mostly the same people.

Whether it’s just knowing how to teach and explain more clearly, or making better on-situation calls of when to do damage and when to stop, and presumably how communicative they are with the other commanders on when their groups may need a hand and how best to sync up a triple kill, there does seem to be a challenging learning curve for commanders as well, which is fascinating to watch from a distance.

That’s pretty much all I care to do in GW2 at the moment.

Besides my tiny trickle of money earning via emulating a harvesting bot manually – solo, peaceful and doable to good music. Logs, ore, lemongrass, nomnomnom.

I still don’t really like dungeons. Probably because I PUG them all and everyone is a stranger I’ll never meet again. (WTB: Understanding dungeoneering friends who play at my weird hours.)

Solo attempts are on the to-do list at some point though. If some people can manage solo kills in 7-12 minutes or less, presumably I’ll eventually manage if I throw 2-3 hours at the problem. Just… not today. Maybe if I put it off long enough, they’ll bring in NPC companion heroes some day.

How about the latest and greatest, the Edge of the Mists?

Well, it’s pretty, I guess.

My honest reaction is that I don’t like it.

It’s why I logged onto the beta a few times, milled around a bit and decided to log off again without ever saying a word or making reference to it ever again. You see, you can only give proper feedback if you care about the issue.

By design, it is gorgeous, a very large map, involves a lot more NPC and environmental weapon/terrain interaction than normal WvW maps, and tries to allow for more small group fighting to have a bigger effect over zerging all over the place.

By design, it completely turns me off.

So if you can’t find anything good to say, best not to say anything, and let those whom it is meant for to enjoy and help to refine it further, right?

It’s pretty. This I like. Except my toaster can’t render the prettiness AND the fights at the same time.

Fer instance, I wandered in there to grab the golem parts needed for the Living Story, settings on pretty to take screenshots, an open walking target to anyone who might want to gank me, and decided to follow along some fellow green dots moving in the same direction… Somewhere along the border of where desert meets overgrowth, my system lagged to death as it tried to render the supreme misty gorgeousness at 1 frame per second AND include presumably the opposing group of 10+ players that were probably wandering within sight range of my 10+ group of friendlies.

The system only recovered when I turned up back at my waypoint, with a new Ledge of the Mists achievement. Checking my combat log revealed nothing, so I’m not even sure whether I encountered an enemy player and got punted off, or if I just lagged so hard that the game thought I was falling to my doom.

Rest assured, when I decide to WvW or EoTM properly, graphics will be set to hopelessly ugly. Sorry, artists.

It’s a large map. I appreciate that the design means that kills are more significant, that reinforcement takes time and probably even makes defending and use of tactics more important. I appreciate the part this should theoretically play in breaking up the zerg.

I just think it’s fucking boring. Jog jog jog hither and thither. Stand around and wait with no enemy in sight. Frankly, all I can think of doing is to bring my thief and stay stealthed for as long a time as I can, and I should be able to escape and evade all the fights that I don’t like anyway by utilizing the generously large map to stay away from anyone and everyone.

Maybe as more interested people study the design, write guides and teach, it’ll get more interesting to me. But I don’t like small scale PvP to begin with, so it’s probably an uphill climb.

All the NPC and environmental interactions are sort of interesting, from a novelty standpoint. Then again, time will tell if they will stay an unused novelty, or become an integral part of a tactical fight on the map. From a layperson’s standpoint, I dunno, don’t really care, will probably just target the nearest red name I see, and wait for someone more interested in that aspect of the game to teach me anything useful to do with them. I suspect most people out to just get kills will probably ignore them too.

I dunno.

Perhaps I harbor a very biased perspective, but I can’t really forsee the map being terribly popular in the larger scheme of things.

Perhaps during the really popular timezones like NA primetime, when folks have to queue to get into the WvW maps proper, Edge of the Mists will have a part to play in entertaining the people that want to PvP on a massive scale.

Maybe if most of the crowd follows the new thing, it’ll be the next most popular map after Eternal Battlegrounds, if only because there are people in it. That’s as blindly optimistic as I can manage, though.

I just honestly think that the people most attracted to the map are small-scale PvPers, who enjoy ganking. This, of course, will steadily erode away the casual and not-so-good population who get tired of respawning and walking back after getting punted off for the 41st time. Without crowds, a map has no longevity either.

Perhaps I am wrong.

In either case, I wish the best to those that are enjoying the map for what it is.

It’s unlikely you’ll see me in there for long. (I’ll either not be in there, or on my thief or something. Shadow refuge and run, for the win.)

3 thoughts on “GW2: Same Old Chugging

  1. I haven’t seen EOTM yet. Well, I saw the entrance but then the server crashed as I was talking to Braham and I haven’t been back. Mrs Bhagpuss spent an hour there today, though. Her verdict was “It’s Darkness Falls”, which wasn’t meant as a compliment.

    She’s already decided against going back, partly because of the linear nature and partly because of the very weird design decision to build the teams by color. As soon as I read this in the patch notes I thought it was crazy. The colors denote the placings of the servers in order of success in their previous WvW match, so teaming by color means the Strongest 3rd vs the Middle 3rd vs the Weakest 3rd. How do they imagine that is going to work?

    Unsurprisingly, for the whole hour Mrs Bhagpuss was there the green team, which we are on, had the Outmanned buff up. Who is going to want to leave a WvW match in which they are being crushed to go to EOTM to be crushed there instead? Random assignment (the way Rift, WoW or EQ2 battlegrounds work) would have been so much better.

    Given that WvW queues are simply not an issue for servers below T2, I foresee EOTM becoming a ghost-town in no time unless they do some pretty heavy tweaking.


  2. Oh, and I meant to say I’m loving Marionette the way you are 3-Headed Wurm. I do it every chance I get. Just going to log in and do it now before I go to Landmark!


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