GW2: Prioritizing Things To Do, Post-Heart of Thorns

wyvernvsfrogs

We’re about two weeks into the Heart of Thorns expansion. I guess now’s a time as good as any to finally come up for air.

The 64-bit client has worked wonders for me as a stopgap measure to stave off memory leak crashes (at last, upgrading to Windows 7 and a new computer with 16GB of RAM has been rewarded.)

On average, it chomps about 3-3.5 GB of RAM just doing normal things and goes up to about 4-4.5GB consumed during insanely packed meta events where a hundred players are in the vicinity, all sporting their own combination of wardrobe and dyes and particle effects.

Bright side, it doesn’t crash (at least, not yet, *touches wood*)

(I stress tested it the other day by walking into the Svanir Shaman Frozen Maw daily with full default graphics and name tags on. I figure, if it doesn’t freeze up and die then, it’s probably okay.)

Thus I get to see more of Heart of Thorns on a graphical setting beyond potato.

halfabreacher

Granted, it’s rather hard to frame a screenshot sans UI when you’re worried about getting randomly gibbed by a Mordrem sniper, a punisher, or *urgh* a stalker.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve become rather relaxed about goals in the expansion.

A seasonal cadence of two weeks/four weeks lent a level of stress that encouraged me to grind out all the rewards I wanted “before it went away.” There was a “limited-time” pressure that was sometimes obvious and sometimes subconscious, which made me more prone to frustration and impatience.

Faced with a deluge of possible rewards to buy and skins to collect, one would think that I’d be freaking out right about now, but knowing its permanence (assuming the HoT zones stay unchanged reward-wise as long as Dry Top and Silverwastes has existed is likely a safe bet), I’ve been looking on most of it as a long term goal. The slow chase will likely last me another year, if not two, and I’m okay with that.

If anything, I’ve been confronted by that age-old lateral progression bugaboo that we veterans keep advising newbies about: “Help! I’ve reached X threshold, and there are so many things to do! What should I be doing first?!”

My usual naggy refrain to these folks is that beyond a certain point (ie. get exotic armor as a baseline, strive towards Ascended trinkets and more,) we can’t really tell you what to do next because it all depends on what you value and want to prioritize.

Like story? Like dungeons? Like shiny skins? Like gold? They all head down different roads.

Similarly, I look at Heart of Thorns and I’m like, “Masteries? AP achievments? Raids (be it prep for the closed ones, or open world ones?) Gold + Relaxation? (So many nodes to hit, so much money players are willing to spend *twitches compulsively*) Shinies? (Like chase a HoT skin collection, a core Tyria legendary, a core Tyria precursor, or prep for a Maguuma legendary?) So many collections? Aaahhh collect all the things? *falls over dizzy like Skritt in Tarir*”

So I decided to put my money where my mouth is and prioritize my own shit:

  • New Stuff
  • Raids (while new)
  • Harvest Nodes
  • AP
  • Certain shiny objects
  • Gold
  • Masteries
  • Collect all the things
  • Raids (when they’ve gotten old)

This totally non-scientific list was mostly ordered by just choosing two things at random, eg. “Chase AP or Harvest Nodes to Relax” or “Chase AP or Gold?” and deciding which one I valued more, or which I’d pick if I could only do one thing that day.

It’s a little fuzzy around the edges, because technically, harvesting nodes is my main gold stream, but given the amount of gold I’m liable to invest into chasing AP or if the gold had to come from other sources like chasing events or doing dungeons, then certainly I’d choose to focus on easier AP goals first.

Yet if you were to ask me if I’d prefer harvesting nodes to chasing AP, I’d only have to look at my still undone Golden Badges in the Silverwastes to tell you that I’ve been hitting all the nodes first over something like that. Eventually I’ll buckle down and shove that priority up a tad, but as a general guideline, the above list works for me.

New stuff goes without saying for me. I was camped out in Tangled Depths over two weekends and quite a number of weeknights trying to bring down the Chak Gerents (all four of them.)

potatogerent

It may be potato graphics, but this reward chest has never looked shinier.

tdhole

The end result of succeeding the meta was mostly a great big hole blasted through to Dragon’s Stand, a couple of crystallized cache chests and a strongbox made accessible. Plus a piece of Mistward something that’s presumably used for making Mistward armor, when I get around to it. (Probably around the time I finally get around to making a Revenant.)

Once that succeeded once, it was like a great big load fell off my mind and I could start voluntarily choosing to ignore some raid sessions, knowing that more would be organized every day / every week. There would be time to accumulate the zone currency gradually. Now I could prioritize other things with my GW2 play time to catch up on other stuff.

Some of that involves getting more or less prepped for the impending *ugh* closed 10-man raids to hit GW2.

I’m still looking on that activity with a fair amount of dread – mostly because it’s hellish to try and match timezones and turn up at a regular schedule, plus there’s always that rejection feeling from an activity with such small number limits.

(Look at how guild missions have been complained about, when they inadvertently only reward 15 players, leaving the other… oh… 35 people who showed up feeling jipped? Or left repeating the same goddamn guild puzzle over and over until maybe most people get their reward, except a few that seem permanently glitched? Speaking of which, they really need to get around to fixing that. So bloody annoying. I was certainly never one who asked for them to make guild missions closed instances.)

Everyone’s also kinda dreading their reward scheme for raids – many because it seems like Anet’s reward adjustments feel like throwing darts at a dartboard while blindfolded, rather than following any sort of real plan.

Me, I’m bloody terrified that it’s going to be a one-way no-alternate-path “forcing” of players into their shiny new activity that they are so damn proud of and want to collect salty player tears on (What’s going on with that adversarial relationship anyway?)

Take the sudden account-binding of Nuhoch Hunting Stashes and fractal thingumies (I haven’t done fractals seriously post-expansion, I have no idea what’s been going on there.)

I had -thought- it was a clever way to provide players an alternate route to gaining currencies for activities they’d rather not prefer to engage in, while giving players who LIKE those activities an income stream from the players who hate it but want some of the rewards from that activity anyway. Meanwhile, the trade sinks gold via the TP. Win win, no?

No. Apparently, if you want Heart of Thorns zone currencies, you better just grit your teeth and grind events. Vice versa for fractals, though with all the bitterness coming from that front, it doesn’t exactly encourage me to do that activity until everything is given another look.

I don’t know.

My assumption is they’ll keep freaking iterating until they get it right, and we only need to wait until then, but damn, this iteration is SLOW.

In the meantime, I may as well do stuff that’s right in front of me, not get baited by a million and one design traps, and freak out only when there’s solid info to get grumpy about. (Like how I can’t actually prioritize a precursor rifle hunt because some poor bastard who wanted to do it first found out that bits of it were buggy and don’t work.)

One example of those things right in front of me is the revelation that I’m really most comfortable on my charr guardian as a main – I haven’t been playing any other character through Heart of Thorns for any long period of time – so I may as well take some small steps in getting him raid-ready. Like an Ascended greatsword and possibly a mace too – he already has an Ascended sword/focus and scepter/torch, but it’s been super-obvious that Heart of Thorns really really likes you to go AoE in certain scenarios… bottom line, guardian greatswords can do that and my nerfed (but pretty) Fiery Dragon Sword just can’t cut it.

I’ve a warrior and necromancer alt that also needs to be run through Heart of Thorns, and pushed towards raid-readiness, so that’s something to be doing too.

Considering that my warrior still hasn't finished the personal story, that's quite a bit of story chapters to go.

Considering that my warrior still hasn’t finished the personal story, that’s quite a bit of story chapters to go. It’s kinda nice to replay it all again, now that they’ve finally fixed the flow and put back the “greatest fear” arc, after leaving it broken for…how long?

Masteries, thankfully, I’ve knocked out most of the crucial ones, which leaves the nice-to-haves as a slow goal to work toward while doing other things.

Between that, attending open world raids, and maybe replaying the story for achievements, chasing mastery points and hero points for elite specs and harvesting all the things while the guild hall material demand is sending the economy into wild swings, I shouldn’t run out of still-viable things to do while waiting for fixes and iterations to the more egregious issues that have arisen, seemingly all over the game.

Looks like everyone, devs and players alike, will be quite busy until next year.

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Darkwing Tigercharr!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Darkwing Tigercharr! (God, I love the charr gliding animation. It’s like they’re pouncing on some mice below. Also, winged cats are awesome. Not very immersion-y, but eh, that boat sailed a long time ago. Still awesome.)

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8 thoughts on “GW2: Prioritizing Things To Do, Post-Heart of Thorns

  1. faitharmstrong says:

    I don’t know where to start.
    I am also feeling a bit like a fainting skritt when it comes to knowing where to start with the new expansion. Add to that the fact that I am leading a fair sized guild and so I need to be motivating and working hard on the guild upgrades too. Unfortunately I only have limited times during the week where I can play and so most of my time is going into the guild. I envy you and your ability to focus on other things in game.
    The other thing that I wanted to say is that I really enjoy your style of writing. You are very engaging, your grammar is impeccable and your vocabulary is delicious! 😉 Keep up your amazing work.

  2. bhagpuss says:

    To no-one’s surprise more than my own my main focus so far has been getting the Elite Specs for all my characters. So far I’ve done Druid, Reaper, Tempest and Scrapper. Next up Dragonhunter. Given that most of them started a long way adrift of the required 400 points it takes a while but I find I really enjoy doing Hero Challenges.

    Second to that I’ve been getting my Masteries. Got Advanced Gliding last night. Next I need the second grade of Exalted, whatever that’s called, because I did the scavenger hunt for Herta on Sunday and the last thing I need to get my Bloodstone Dust eater is locked behind an Exalted that won’t let me in.

    The one thing I really want to do that I’ve neglected is cashing in on the money-making opportunities. The income stream has been fine but I haven’t really taken full advantage.

    • Jeromai says:

      Dragonhunter traps have been a godsend for harvesting nodes. I run up to a node trailing a whole bunch of aggressive fauna, place a trap, start chopping or mining, and watch as Procession of Blades minces them all up for me.

      This…may not have been the exact intent behind the elite spec, but I’ll take it.

  3. bhagpuss says:

    Er…250 points! Thankfully I didn’t try it when it really was 400. I don’t think that would have been much fun. Also, despite spending a lot of time in Tangled Depths, I’ve yet to even see a Gerent far less kill one. Not that it makes any odds to me.

  4. knivesmith says:

    About the currencies issue, I can understand it. There are already a number of things you can get from those areas of the game to sell, but if you want to get that area’s specific reward, you should play it. It’s similar to how you have to PvP for PvP specific rewards, and to some degree matches a number of other things in the game.

    Another way of looking at it, zones Maguuma Depths are much like open world dungeons with a dungeon currencies. Masteries are how you personally get more for your buck from those zones, much like Fractal Masteries for Fractals.

    Well, I see their reasoning at least. Keep the prestige from enjoying and/or mastering a particular area of the game.

    • knivesmith says:

      As a tangent, wouldn’t dungeons be cool as more open ended zones similar to Tower of Nightmares?

    • Aspeon says:

      The Fractal chests that were made account-bound were the once-per-account achievement reward chests, which included things like a Fractal weapon skin of your choice. I’d argue that that falls under the category of rewards that should be exclusive to people who actually participated in a particular type of content. (Especially since they added some tradeable Fractal rewards with the expansion, like the cat golem minis.)

  5. fireflyry says:

    While I had so many plans and such eager anticipation to sink my teeth into the expac content I’ve been doing nothing but mapping core, and spending all my current gold reserves no less, on my Revenant since it was released.

    I have yet to even touch the new content outside the first few story chapters, although the new class can obviously be considered a large part of this new content.

    In saying I only had two toons with map completion (I tend to duo main games like this, would love to be an alt-o-holic but simply don’t have the timesink), a Thief (my main) and a Guardian and personally I found both elite specs to be a complete let down.

    Daredevil just seems to be a re-vamped substitute for the horribly broken acrobatics with an extra dash and he will NEVER be convinced to play anything other than D/D, SB so staff is fairly redundant for me.The Thief class really got the short end of the stick here and it’s no wonder the Thief community are still protesting en masse.

    While I found Dragonhunter vastly superior in terms of design, mechanics, and actual fun I did’nt roll a Guardian to be a pew pew trap ranger. Thematically it just seems so out of sorts, like giving Warriors an elite spec based on casting fireballs and icewalls or some such. As someone who forms a bit of a personal story and relationship with their character over the course of hundreds of hours of play my 10 foot tall Norn adonis “SMASHES STUFF!!”.He’s nowhere near nimble or dexterous to master a bow as oppsed to fire it backwards and end his adventures with an arrow to the knee.

    As such I pretty much switched back to my old builds straight away and ignored the new elite specs all together.

    In saying I fell in love with the Revenant class straight away, pretty much Thief Version 2.0 in regards to gameplay, and it is really is the highlight of this release for me.

    Unfortunately this has also resulted in a serious switch of priorities as I now have a third main to contend with and map completion is pretty much the first thing on the list for any main I roll.

    So much to do, so little time away from the grindstone.

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