GW2: Apropos of Nothing

Finally made it to Cantha.

I took a deliberate two week pause from launch date. Busy playing… Dark Souls on Switch.

Elden Ring being too newfangled for the computing equipment I have. Ah well, it will still be there five years later. And blissfully, by that time, maybe it won’t contain other people out to impose their view of the game experience on mine, cos they’ll be off to the next newest shiny.

Dark Souls on Switch was great – because I have no Nintendo Switch Online subscription, it helpfully blocked me from all the network gameplay stuff. Whereas I had no clue the PC version of Dark Souls was even doing this shady network stuff until I got rudely invaded by a hammer wielding fire breathing red player having oh so much fun beating on a first timer in Undead Parish.

Took so much Googling trying to see if there was an elegant way to disable the “Hi, come crash my game uninvited” option, beyond just unplugging from the internet. (No, there was not, apparently.) The Switch, on the other hand, defaults in the peaceful uninterruptions direction.

I ran into the Guild Wars problem with it though. I was super focused on my path through the game, even ramming my head obsessively against Orstein and Smough considerable times because I really wanted Orstein’s spear (which I later never used because it didn’t feel as cool as I thought after all, what else is new?).

Then the game opened up and I could suddenly go in four directions at once. Four Kings? Tried, and determined I lacked the damage for it. Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith? Wow, feels so far. Catacombs? So dark and scary. Archives? It’s accessible now, right? Pulled in multiple directions, nothing feeling super compelling, focus drifting… away…

(We are now currently somewhere in Lost Izalith, where I ought to be farming for demon titanite to upgrade a greatsword to up my dps. We did make it to almost to the boss of the zone, before getting fried by a giant firestorm by a crazy priestess lady and an NPC invader at the same time. But apparently if I kill the boss, then I can’t access the zone again or something? But I need me my demon titanite first.

I did get a sunlight maggot for light in the Catacombs, so that’s another place to go. But Archives, I haven’t even seen it. And Four Kings is still there and not dead. Confused = bored = I don’t wanna play this no more.

Until next time.)

I really want to know how many lost City of Heroes devs wound up in ArenaNet. Why does all of Kaineng city feel like a jade and Chinese temple-roofed Paragon City? When you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So I recreated my robots mastermind with an asura and a single jade mech. Ah well, gotta start somewhere.

Am I glad I took the two weeks away from joining in full tilt on a new GW2 expansion. Literally, so much tilt and drama in the Reddits and forums that I am so glad I missed.

Y’know, it’s almost ten years. The MMO player population is not getting any younger. There are cycles in our lives that everybody goes through. And I feel like that’s all I want to be saying now on the hardcore vs casual, challenge vs relaxing, difficulty whatsneggits, us vs them, perceived vs actual, divide vs “divide” debate. Other people can do the talking and the position taking and the good or bad arguments.

Me, I’m tired. And I honestly don’t really care about one game that much any longer.

While I’m entertained, I will play what I can, with the hope that sufficient content is accessible and inclusive to what I feel like playing. If I’m gatekept or blocked out of certain content, hopefully the content and rewards aren’t interesting to me (e.g. 1200 gem mythic weapons? It doesn’t look that cool to me, but -someone- else really likes them. Good, cos I’m not buying ’em.)

If not, if I get frustrated enough and am not getting what I want out of this game, then I’ll move on and play something else. No skin off my back these days. Learning longsword in Monster Hunter is probably more fun than a 30 key concerto anyway.

That said, I really like Dragon’s End.

I feel like there was a middle ground between the uber casuals and the uber hardcore that got forgotten when all these same-as-other-MMOs closed instances waltzed in.

It was the middle ground of first time Tequatl nearly ten years ago, of Lion’s Arch invasions, of Dry Top, of Triple Trouble, of Silverwastes, of Chak Gerent, yadda yadda, where the whole damn map learns to cooperate, or else. Yes, there was plenty of “or else” back in the day with Tequatl too. So much salt.

But in that middle ground comes the semi-inclusive guilds that organize, teach, socialize, have a little fun in the moment. We lost a lot of those leads into their private closed raid squads when raids came online. I don’t know if we’re ever getting them back per se. No one steps in the same river twice and all that.

But it would be nice to have the content there, to try and see if some of the old magic can return.

For the middle ground people.

I joined a raid static for years. Eventually, you get tired of -always- making sure that X day per week is uninterrupted play time, god forbid bad internet or real life coming by. Some weeks, you can’t or don’t want to play. That’s not an acceptable thing to do when locked in with a group of people you’ve committed to doing stuff with.

But if, let’s say, there was a guild where one could pop in when one has time to play, and join in on a group with X scheduled time whenever you feel like it – because there are others who can fill in if you’re not there, and you’re not going to lose “your spot” because they won’t be there all the time either – and to fight content that was a little chunkier in hp than typical open world stuff, so that you could test drive various character builds in a middle ground stress situation…

… maybe. Just maybe.

I dunno. Maybe there will be no such guilds these days. Maybe the leaders are off doing more interesting things, like closed instance raids and strikes and fractals and oh, Monster Hunter and Elden Ring and Lost Ark and whatever new shiny there is. Maybe everyone’s too jaded (haha, Canthan pun, I’ll see myself out) and prefers to close themselves off in their personal gaming spaces with only people of the same playstyle next to them.

I really dunno. If it’s the latter case, then I’ll just gracefully shrug and accept it and stay in my own personal gaming spaces, aka mostly or fully solo games. I’ve stopped expecting one MMO to be everything for everyone.

But I do like that End of Dragons is giving it one last try.

“He’s following me… isn’t he?”

As for locking stuff behind only one type of content, I feel like we have been SO around this bush already with legendary armor and raids. Long story short, it is a bad idea. They fucked up and eventually they put in WvW and PvP legendary armor. There is now another way to get a turtle egg beyond wild success. Only took them less than a month to figure it out this time.

Now the strike mission requirement is left, and we’ll see how long that takes them to recant. I suppose it might be more of a pain to fix because it’s attached to an achievement collection.

Me, I’m not holding my breath. I tried to finish the Salt on the Wound achievement a few days ago – that’s the ancient Living Story 4 chapter where you try to break 10 of Kralkatorrik’s weak points – only to discover that the whole thing has been bugged since 2020. All of Aurene’s attacks miss or are obstructed.

Ahahaha. Aren’t we super used to this by now?

So I did it about 15 times, trying out various workarounds as suggested by random people also hammering in their foreheads on the broken achievement since 2019. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Eventually, I hit upon resizing my screen resolution (which was previously at a weird windowed resolution that allowed me to browse and watch Youtube on the side) back to a bog standard 1920×1080, and the weird workaround of just spamming attacks and praying they hit enough points finally worked. Or I lucked out. Or something.

Bugs. Spit. Glue. That’s pretty much all GW2 is made up of, these days. And pretty art.

Is it just me, or do the loadscreens look a lot less rushed this time? And a lot nicer than the actual game. (Or maybe it’s because I need to have my graphics set to absolute minimum to deal with all that hardcore visual chaos known as “don’t stand in the orange, and nearly the entire floor is orange.”)

Me, I just bit the bullet and attempted the Kaineng Overlook strike. Twice. Looking like an idiot because I couldn’t figure out how the hell to get up to the strike mission point, without painfully skyscaling my way up. (I’m sure there’s a zip line somewhere, just no clue where. Not like I had the mastery for it at the time either.) Until someone – probably rolling their eyes – generously told me that “hey, we’re entering in from Arborstone.”

Ah jeez. How was I supposed to know that Arborstone is the new Canthan Eye of the North? And me with no masteries revitalizing it at the time. *sighs*

First try was hilarious. All PUGs. Barely anyone but one knew what they were doing. And the one just mentioned basic stuff like which targets to prioritize first. Eventually failed from lack of dps and coordination, but it did its job teaching me what to look out for.

Second try, the one with the guy shepherding the noob who couldn’t figure out Arborstone was strike mission central eventually succeeded. Pretty sure the guy was doing something fancy with the sniper solo (like breaking it?) while focusing the rest of the squad on the main targets, which were the same as the first try.

That’s the problem with PUG teaching, I think. They convey the obvious stuff, but miss the nonobvious things. Fortunately, there’s no enrage timer on the strike, so as long as people don’t fall over, it can be -painfully- whittled down. It ended up being a 6 person alive thing, with about 4 deeps (me being dead fourth at 10k, and the highest at 17k), but eh, it died. Strike complete. Collection unlocked.

And I’m absolutely NOT going back into any more strikes unless it’s by myself to attempt solo for fun and practice (45 minutes though, probably better use of my time elsewhere) or I eventually get re-acquainted with a more raid-ish ready new build… which, um, may take equally forever. So, possibly never.

I do have one long term hope in the apparently supremely simple, very minimal keypress Mechanist, where the golem (ahem, jade mech) does most of the driving, so THAT may be a stepping stone to accessible instanced content. As long as Anet doesn’t suddenly decide it’s too simple and nerfs it, because scaffolding is not allowed to exist. In which case, screw learning 30 keypress concertos. And then RE-learning a different set of keypresses when the next patch arrives.

I suppose we all vote with our feet on the type of content we like, and we’ll see how Anet takes it in the end.

If the number of fish fillets on the TP is anything to go by, I think we have a clear winner there.