GW2: Ok…So They Went There…

So the Aug 30 announcement of the Living World: Icebrood Saga contained:

  • Next episodes of Living World/Story announced / Lore drops / Hints at map direction / showing off some environments and level design
  • An assurance that an expansion’s worth of content will be bundled into the staggered release format
  • Some shiny mount/weapon/armor skins
  • Some ridiculously grindy long term Legendary sort of item to construct
  • Jewelcrafting to 500?
  • Some brief allusion to fractal/raid to keep the difficult group content subset dangling
  • Build templates
  • Something to help WvW or PvP (vaguely)
  • New elite specs
  • Variant difficulties to raids (easier to repeatable CMs)
  • New weapon types?
  • Cantha
  • Ships (ie. above water and underwater mounts)
  • Improved Guild Halls and Guild Missions
  • Personal Housing (or improved decorating / player placed features for home instances, etc.)
  • Underwater combat

On the bright side, I guess one can say that one nailed it essentially 100%.

Though if anyone was trying to play GW2 announcement bingo, I’m not sure there’s enough to fill up a complete row. Reddit is going to be a bloodbath for a while.

I am cheered by one thing – we do now have official confirmation (not just speculation) that we’ll be checking out the northernmost Frozen Shiverpeaks and the charr homelands, and that Jormag is next.

Though it is predictable, it looks fairly lore rich, lets us hang out with and learn more about the charr and norn (and kodan) cultures – which are some of the more uniquely GW2 racial offerings – and hints at a tiny bit more worldbuilding than we’ve seen of late.

The art is still good, but the actual gameplay stuff looks sketchy, like they’ve been working pretty darned hard to pull off this much to show after the layoffs. It’s going to take some time to ramp up, I hope they can pull it off.

Build templates confirmed. Which is probably the best news there is. Only took 7 years, but better late than never, right? As mentioned in the previous post, that actually demonstrates that the current team can pull off a long term, ‘new feature’ project/improvement, even if they had to tweak/invent/change a million things to get there.

Vague allusions to PvP and WvW were had. Swiss style tournaments for PvP and concept art of new armor sets for it, allowing me to cross off two rows based on something that took 30 seconds to say. And they are still trying to work out how to automate WvW restructuring, which might be months away, and I guess one can read between the lines of that item fairly obviously.

I -was- pleasantly surprised with the revelation of strike missions, aka probably easier mode pickup raids in the vein of what we’ve seen in Dragon Bash. That is, a stepping stone to getting more people familiar with some version of instanced content, and allowing for repeatable group content that doesn’t require a formal LFG or more intense style of group formation. We’ll see how that one works out?

Things that weren’t on my list:

Masteries linked with the Norn spirits. I’d kinda assumed masteries would come with Living World drops. Sounds like a more lore-based take on masteries, though I’m not sure if there will be any story that comes with that, or just an excuse for some extra lateral skills with long cooldowns after a bunch of running around pressing F on things.

Charr rock bands. Ice elemental construct mini-boss fight in either the Prologue or Episode 1, can’t quite recall the details. Drakkar Lake monster might be a little less frozen in Episode 2.

A sudden realization as to why the marketing of GW2 is so terribly off tune most of the time. Let’s just say you need to watch the stream/video up to a certain point where you CRINGE and then the revelation unfolds.

Several surprisingly decent marketing items, including a 20th anniversary GW1/GW2 art book collaboration with Dark Horse comics (aka desperate cash grab via recycling assets, but their art has always been their major value product and it works a lot better than oh… cringy clothing or drinks only obtainable in one country. As in, I kinda want it. I have a weakness for art books. Even if the game goes to shit, I’ll always have the awesome concept art to remember the world by) and Funko pop collectibles of Aurene, Rytlock and Palawa Joko.

Major bundling of Heart of Thorns (aka now free) to Path of Fire, as in, please buy one box and join us in game now. We really need new blood. Or returning blood that was scared or scarred by Heart of Thorns reviews.

(They were also clever enough to promise HoT owners some special goodies to stave off the “I paid good money for something that’s now free?!” complaints. No doubt some of those complaints are still coming, but at least it’s an extra thank-you-for-your-support bonus, alongside the “you’ve had plenty of time to utilize HoT value” argument.)

And I guess that’s it.

Ohh, this is going to be tricky to figure out how I feel about this one.

I can predict the hardcore fanbase reaction already. Bad. Really really bad.

From a more story-oriented casual like I used to be, once upon a time, it feels like they are trying to steer the slow boat around back to another -hopefully better- attempt at something along the story season veins.

I do kinda want to see where they’re going with the world and the story.

I just fear the speed and quality with which they can tell it.

Time will tell if the fear is founded or unfounded. Two more weeks, Sep 17, before we get a Prologue. In the meantime, Path of Exile’s Blight Legion launches Sep 6. Warframe’s Prime Vault opens Sep 3, releasing Saryn Prime and Valkyr Prime. Harry Potter Wizards Unite will be having some Day of the Dragon related events Sep 7.

I’ll have things to do.

Advertisements

GW2: Wild, Baseless Suppositions for Aug 30 Announcement

Quick post to lock in some random guesses for GW2’s scheduled Aug 30 announcement… in roughly 12 hours from this post… just to see how wildly off-base and out of touch I might be from the current pulse of things.

Like undoubtedly many, learning more about the future of GW2 from what ArenaNet is able to show of its current plans is going to play a big part in whether I think I want to participate in that future.

Realistic Expectations

  • Next episodes of Living World/Story announced / Lore drops / Hints at map direction / showing off some environments and level design
  • An assurance that an expansion’s worth of content will be bundled into the staggered release format
  • Some shiny mount/weapon/armor skins
  • Some ridiculously grindy long term Legendary sort of item to construct
  • Jewelcrafting to 500?
  • Some brief allusion to fractal/raid to keep the difficult group content subset dangling

Possible But Moving Towards Uncalled For Hope

  • Build templates
  • Something to help WvW or PvP
  • New elite specs
  • Variant difficulties to raids (easier to repeatable CMs)
  • New weapon types?

Hopeful Ideals / Wild Dreams

  • Cantha
  • Ships (ie. above water and underwater mounts)
  • Improved Guild Halls and Guild Missions
  • Personal Housing (or improved decorating / player placed features for home instances, etc.)
  • Underwater combat

Not all of the above are going to be things I personally like, but these are just guesses into what might be conceivably achievable and a possible priority for Anet.

Most of the stuff listed under Realistic Expectations is the standard bread and butter for both Anet and their game audience, in my opinion, anyway. Stuff they should be able to do. If they can’t, then there really is an issue with how their company is doing things and we should all be running for the hills.

The biggest puzzle is what max jewelcrafting might do if Legendary sigils can already be made without it. Infusions? Craftable Ascended trinkets (as if there weren’t enough sources for those)?

New fractal is personally not going to thrill me. I shut myself off from PUGing long ago and horror stories of the new Siren’s Reef do not help in that respect. The only way I’ll see that content is if some attention is given to helping soloability of dungeons/fractals, be it through henchman/hero AI or even more power creep. (And note, that feature didn’t even make the Wild Dreams list, it’s that far off the table, even in my guesses.)

New raid would make me sigh. I dunno. Still conflicted about that whole issue. Yes, I acknowledge a decent (and controversially debatable) amount of people like raids. Yes, I begged, borrowed, stole my way into a static that tolerates my shenanigans long enough for mutual goals to be achieved and things to eventually die (which is probably the diametric opposite of elitist behavior.) They also take up a lot of time every week. They have undoubtedly changed the social community feel of GW2, with the introduction of different people with different values, which then changes some social mores.

One has never been a truly ideal fit for raids, and many times, I end up feeling like I’m shoving a hexagonal peg into a round hole just to deal with its introduction to the game. (It’ll get in there eventually, after some of the rough edges are worn off, but with imperfect fit and a lot of swearing involved.)

The big question has always been, is that struggle worth it? If GW2 has a future, and a future I can see myself interested in and taking part of, then okay, the pain is worth it, for the rewards and the maintaining of that social network. If not, then I might do better rethinking my relationship to MMOs altogether, because I’m kinda reaching a plateau point regarding social persistent world games and my interest level in them.

Anyway, moving on from those maudlin thoughts until we know more of what’s actually coming, and back to wild guesses of what dreams may come.

Build templates would be big. If they can actually announce and successfully introduce that (as some changes in UI and tweaks to Legendary functionality seem to hint at), then the current GW2 team demonstrates that they can actually pull off a long term, ‘new feature’ project.

If they can’t, then it’s another layer of glum depression of getting nothing substantial on a systems front.

WvW and/or PvP. Heh. Yeah, I think they exist? Does Anet? Is the group of interested players on those fronts large enough for them to devote resources to? I dunno, I just include it as a mention, just in case.

Elite specs are probably a thing. That should come with expansions. And if the Living World is the next expansion per se, they should endeavor to throw those in sporadically, like one or two per episode or something. Should. There seems to be a lot of repetitions of that word “should.” I wonder if I can name an asura Should.

On an even more hopeful level, if some of those elite specs can move on from using the established weapons, perhaps we’ll actually see new weapon types like greataxes and polearms (land spears?) Does Anet even have animators anymore, post layoffs? If new combat skills can be introduced and chairs/rocks with player poses… maybe?

Saving the best for last, can raids actually be salvaged for a larger percentage of the population?

On a mechanical and technical level, they are basically just another sort of combat/boss fight – as long as you disregard the closed instances, social necessities and difficulty level pitched at time investments of 2-3+ uninterrupted hours from ~10 people meeting the arbitary thresholds of performance required for success.

Except that said performance thresholds in GW2 vary significantly with game knowledge, time investment and willingness to practice (aka skill/learning factors) and cannot be modified like other games through time and grinding for gear with bigger and bigger stat numbers.

Ideally, a progression would be to filter a bunch of players like a pyramid from a large pool of middling competence players into a smaller group of more competence until the ridiculously refined levels at the peak.

Yes, the downside would be this forever push by the more competitive to clamber ever higher and increased social drama, but the alternative is what we are already seeing now, a large bunch of players never hit the thresholds and are excluded, the players over that threshold dropping like flies from boredom at repeating already mastered content and nobody happy and blaming the other group. I am sure I said this divide would happen years ago when Heart of Thorns came out. No shit, Sherlock.

So. The most positive way(s) out of this mess that I can possibly conceive…

1) Raids are salvageable, enough of our population likes them = Variant difficulty raids

Have a raid variant that is equivalent to the pick-up-and-play experiments we saw for Wintersday Frosty and Dragon Bash. People go in, people come out, or just play for 15-30mins. People see mechanics and learn mechanics. Mechanics are not punitively punishing and other players can save shitty players by forcibly rezzing them repeatedly. Good players can carry others. Lower performance numbers required. Low stakes. Low or different rewards.

Continue with standard raid difficulty.

Add repeatable Challenge Modes and increased Challenge Mode variety for the statics that have finished with standard raid difficulty. Different rewards, more prestige based, aka achievements/titles and the occasional shiny skin or sexy stool.

The hopeful results would be casuals try out easy pickup raid and get carried, decide “oh, this is fun or not too bad” and mostly stick to that, with some ambitious or inspired enough to move to the standard that is in effect now, aka some new blood that has at least taken dips in the baby pool and not shoved off a diving board to figure it out as they are falling.

Meanwhile, your old and burnt out blood that is now busy making derisive attacking posts on Reddit and ranting on Twitch/Youtube would be kept busy running a hamster wheel of their own making (except that the hamster wheel is cat-sized, full of hamster-sized holes to jump across aka fall through, and has actual cats draped around it for added difficulty… I mean, that’s what they want, right? It’s great stream material.)

OR

2) Raids are not salvageable, too little people like it or will play it, regardless of what we do. Let’s ignore it and say nothing and eventually they will go away and leave us alone.

Some people would be deeply unhappy and have huge vocal histrionic fits about this for a while. But ehhh, I’m good. Practically every other MMO is a haven for the raider subset already. (Have you heard of our Lord and Saviour WoW Classic? Or the New Book of Final Fantasy XIV? If you’re not a devout MMO traditionalist, I hear there is this other upcoming sect called Monster Hunter World: Iceborne.)

We’ll see. There may be other more boring alternatives that Anet might take, like play it safe and promise a raid Soon(TM) and we’ll see it 9 months from now, assuming anyone’s still left to be interested in running it.

Let’s move on to the “If this happens, I think I’ll buy their Black Lion Package Deal of Miscellaneous Goodies (or whatever it’s really called) to show my support” items:

Cantha.

No shit. We got Elona. Seeing Cantha would be fucking cool. Will we actually get it when a Living World expansion will probably take us to Jormag or Charr homelands or whatever? Probably not. But we can dream. The Warclaw was kinda Chinese Lion looking, right?

Ships. Naval combat. Two or multiple seater mounts. We already have the skimmer. Underwater mount would be neat. (Octopus? Shark?) I just want something new, different, systems/feature-based and cool. Not more reskinned content in the same vein and a new layer coat of story veneered on.

Guild halls and guild missions were a great idea. In 2013. Or was it 2015. You get the picture. It’s been ignored since forever. It was a great way to socialize in a no stress environment and actually have an excuse for a mini-community gathering. Was. No variation to the content will do that after some time. As for guild hall costs, tweak them to accomodate guilds of different sizes and not only the megaguild, eh? Even Warframe and Path of Exile have better guild/housing options than a full on MMO. That’s a shame. The promise of achievable, personal housing to decorate and self-express might pull back a bunch of casuals that fled from raids.

As for underwater combat, I’ll grant that this one might be extremely controversial to do. But as a sort of stretch goal for ArenaNet, to do for underwater combat/content what they did for mounts, to lead and innovate where no other MMO has, to do it differently and make it appealing and have it be big time news like how praises for the raptor mount’s feel were splashed all over various sites…

… yeah, this would resoundingly demonstrate that the ArenaNet of today is still right up there with the big boys.

But um, I’m not exactly holding my breath for it (pun fully intended.)

We’ll see.

Tomorrow or the day after, we’ll look at how many things I nailed (if any) and how many more things I got wrong, and that should probably help us figure out a bit more of our very conflicted feelings about this game and about this company.

GW2: Plenty of Problems, But This Ain’t One of ‘Em

MassivelyOP has successfully trolled me into another blog post. This time, it’s regarding the GW2 Skyscale flying mount, wherein it’s patently obvious that no actual firsthand experience was involved at the time of writing.

Yes, I understand that articles are written way in advance. But could you kindly resist from making statements with no basis in reality, then?

Pet peeve: Verifiably wrong things, stated as facts.

“The only way you can actually spend more than a few seconds in the air is if you jump off of something really tall and glide down.”

“Also, there are no flying mounts in GW2. At best they glide. Literally any mount in any MMORPG that flies (i.e. stays in the air indefinitely by design) is superior.”

You know who you are.

skyscale_hover

I’ve been up here for half an hour, sorting through my inventory bags, and then alt-tabbed out to write this blog post.

I dunno about you, but in my book, that certainly seems longer than a few seconds in the air, pretty indefinitely, by design.

Granted, any horizontal X-axis movement is going to lower me steadily, and incrementing the vertical Y-axis without a friendly wall to cling to involves waiting for a minute for Bond of Vigor to cooldown and recharge half of the green flight bar.

At a certain height exceeding the point you took off from, there is also some sort of ceiling where the flight meter is drained very quickly, so that you lower back to maximum hover height, possibly in an attempt to keep you from ascending forever into the skybox to insta-die.

For horizontal gliding and SPEED, once you get the hang of downward diving for acceleration and then climbing back up with mount ability key 2, the griffon is superior. 

For vertical takeoff and landing, fine-grained control in a small area and indefinite HOVERing (40 mins and counting), that’s where you look towards the skyscale.

Honestly, given its specialities, I’m more or less convinced that its main role is to cover one of WoW’s flying mounts’ features – lording it over the hoi polloi by hovering on a gigantic dragon, mount and rider doing their best to block the trading post from view.

And yeah, you can use it as a hybrid springer with finer-scale control, crossed with a slower gliding griffon, just with added infinite hover potential.

skyscale_raising

There have been some criticisms over the whole process of attaining one.

For someone who had been previously all psyched up to finish legendary medium armor, the collections did not really raise massive alarm bells, which might be more an indication of how mentally unbalanced the Achiever portion of my brain can get.

There were some identical go-here, go-there un-clued collections which were of poorer quality. Resorting to a third-party guide to get through those quickly is probably what 95% of players do, me included.

There were some nicer legendary-style collections, themed, with better clues and directions, including visible waypoint markers! which sent players back to old maps to revisit content. I liked those.

There was massive dismay at timegates, of which I personally did not find too onerous. They are pre-set stopping points. Being content to be a couple days behind meant that I made a nice killing selling timegated components for the first two days – grow lamps for 70 and 60 gold on the TP. After the 15% tax, that’s 110g contributed to my legendary medium collection from players who need it now. Sweet.

Anyway, ArenaNet tweaked some of the timegates after reading the feedback, so that’s even better. They’re actually listening and demonstrating it! And communicating! What is this, I don’t even-…

There was a huge histrionic fainting uproar at the revelation that 250 of each LS4 map currency would be needed in a later collection.

My only criticism is that it would have been really nice to know all the requirements before, and not reliant on the first few players to unlock the next collection, just so that each player could plan ahead and make more efficient use of their time.

I get that there’s some drama and excitement and even prestige for the spades/explorers/first-to-gets by keeping some of these secret, but it was a little irritating to know that the previous days could have been better spent.

I’d been somewhat laggard catching up with the LS4 maps, having not been actively playing for much of the time they were released, so I had only about half the currencies needed. That meant a furious altholic hearts-grind for 2-3 days, pulling out some 11+ characters and cycling them through easy hearts to buy 5 currency each for karma.

It’s not something I do on a regular basis for sure, but I found it mildly interesting for the three days to go into super-efficient achiever grind mode. The benefits of having a secondary Achiever function. Fortunately, I was already in the mood for grinding.

If not, well, there’s always tomorrow.

Oh yes, since it’s been two weeks, I assume that most people who cared have at least logged in to check out the first episode.

If not, too bad, you can take this like a teaser image instead. You’ll see this at the very beginning episode anyway.

kralk_scale

I love this. The scale is awesome.

A few more landscape shots of the new map.

newmap_edge

newmap_contrast

P.S. 50 minutes and counting. I guess it’s time to come down now.

skyscale_wallcling

GW2: New Map

Wow.

Avoiding spoilers, suffice to say that there are some serious stops being pulled out.

Visually it knocks your socks off.

I am so happy I have the monitor I have right now.

newmap_plants

newmap_fire

newmap_ghosts

I have a FANTASTIC spoiler-laden shot of a really big dragon, that is absolutely done justice in 3840×1080, but we’ll save that for a later post, after folks (me included) have had time to go through the latest release.

Here We Go Round the Grindberry Bush

You’d think I’d learn by now.

I don’t know why I even try to expect consistency from myself.

Not a few days after changing my blog layout to favor bigger pictures, in the expectation that I might be playing more simulation style games with lovely scenery like theHunter or new games where screenshots would help to illustrate the experience, I have suddenly decided that NOW is the perfect time to re-focus on the same old games and make a concentrated push for long term goal projects.

This mostly means that I’ve traded off staring nightly at stuff that looks like this:

lake_deer

To this:

legmedss

Well, in the case of Warframe, I know why.

At the end of April, they announced the Prime Vault was unsealing to make Loki Prime earnable once more, as well as Volt Prime.

I have neither of them and I’ve been enjoying the basic Loki’s invisibility for certain missions of late, so this was very motivating for me to declare “farm relics to get the unvaulted primes” as a long term goal until July 3 or done (Preferably done way before that final vault sealing date.)

The less fantastic news is that relic farming is always intentionally grindy.

So I thought I may as well stretch it into a long term project rather than burn out attempting to farm 12 hours without stopping the first few days. (Yeah, right, who has that kind of game time any more? Dang college students/unemployed/retirees.)

I guess these things come in cycles.

Having indulged the inner Explorer for a couple months, now the inner Achiever demanded to be let out to do its thing.

The problem with the inner Achiever (or at least with mine) is its intense desire to have whatever it’s aiming for -now-, stat, with very little clue about just precisely how it’s going to get there and very little tolerance for how long the whole process will take.

I get very very antsy.

In my befuddled brain that is the usual state of affairs, it tends to imagine that whatever it wants will somehow magically be presented to it, if it thinks about it hard enough, repeatedly enough, and keeps chasing after it like an overenthusiastic dog.

Project planning is a skill I seem to have largely missed the boat on.

Traditional project planning, much like traditional outlining, has never worked for me.

In the old days, it was pretty much do it that waterfall way or the highway, and I usually just opted for careening down the expressway flying by the seat of my pants and winging it by dealing with the loudest and most urgent thing and proceeding from there via subconscious guilt and nagging brain prompts.

In this enlightened Internet day and age, there are apparently more options than the two extremes, as consultants and professionals attempt to describe what the more average folks -actually- do to get by in their day to day lives, and then give it shiny new names and a marketing buff and polish to sell the technique back to us.

One such methodology that I randomly stumbled across is the Improvement Kata, something purportedly based on what Toyota’s management culture practices.

Beyond the business speak and filler for packaging into a format that can be sold as training to corporations, it seems to be based on a core common sense (which is never very common) concept of iteration.

  1. Have a direction that you want to head towards, and an idea of the challenge you’ll need to overcome
  2. Have an idea of where you currently are
  3. Define a reachable “next target”
  4. Experiment your way from 2 to 3
  5. Repeat 2-4 until you reach 1, if ever

Besides the useful and common concept of breaking down your goal into smaller realistically achievable parts, I really like what Improvement Kata brought to step 4, where it is explicitly diagrammed as not a straight linear path, but a series of winding experimental steps where the path zigzags

This helps to assuage my perfectionist mind that it is okay to have backward progress or sidetreks in the course of attaining the target.

That like Edison’s light bulb, you may have to try a whole bunch of different things, fail, realise and learn what -doesn’t- work, in order to finally hit upon something that -does-.

That chasing up side avenues is fine.

That whatever gets you motivated to just keep making starts is good, you’ll learn more as you experiment your way forward.

That it’s more important to just check in now and then on where you are, on what you’ve learned since the last check-in and to keep refining those plans based on what you know now until you get where you want to go.

I tried out the practice on the Relic Farming project.

1. Overall Big Picture Target – Own Loki Prime, Volt Prime and maybe Odonata Prime

2. Where Am I Now – originally nothing; now, see below

wf_relicgrind

I am almost there on Loki Prime, just missing the rarest and most annoying to obtain component. I got lucky cracking open relics, so I’m a little further along on Volt Prime than I’d dared to hope. No progress on Odonata, but that’s fine as it is the least priority.

3. Next Target – Loki Prime Systems

4. Experiment

Experiment-wise, I’d already conducted a bunch in the previous week to find out the best sources of relics and what tools I had at my disposal to obtain them, given my quirky limitations of preferring to solo, not wishing to buy stuff outright with platinum and being more limited than a max MR player

Several false starts and some time measurements later, it has boiled down to running through Void, Marduk – Sabotage with a Loki at my very average and not extremely fast pace of ~5min per mission to have a 6% chance of popping the correct Axi L4 relic.

I am collecting a great deal of other relics in the progress.

When bored of the former, the secondary fallback is that I can also do a Void, Mot – Survival up to 20 min for a 13% chance at the Axi L4 relic with a Nidus.

But survival with void enemies doing 4x more damage and needing to stay for an uninterrupted 20 minutes tends to be a little more nailbiting than running around mostly invisible.

So I wind up by preference going for 4 chances of 6%, as opposed to 1 chance of 13% to get what I want.

Is that better? If I remember my math classes more, I could probably figure it out.

(My hunch says: the combined probability of -not- getting the relic I want each time is 94%, multiplied by itself 4 times. So 0.94 x 0.94 x 0.94 x 0.94 = 0.78. So the chance I might have popped the relic after 4 goes is 1 – 0.78 = 22%?)

Dunno. I await someone better at math to correct me. Intuitively, it kinda feels better, so we’ll run with that for now.

You’d think that project is sufficient to keep me occupied for the present, but between ArenaNet’s slightly improved communication and the anticipated release of the final Living Story 4 episode, my attention has been somewhat drawn back to GW2.

charmingmug
Not to insinuate that the game is some sort of many-armed monster, but… maybe.

To be honest, my relationship with GW2 was in a very bad place at the beginning of the year.

Some of the words that easily came to mind were “frustrated” “bored out of my skull” “burnt out” and “pushed beyond tolerance at the change in community sentiment.”

(Call me paranoid, but I rather suspect that similar emotions were running through a number of ArenaNet staff pre-layoffs.)

I just hadn’t reached a “quitting” frame of mind yet.

I was just stuck in a weird limbo of “I still kinda like the game, but I don’t like where it is nor where it seems to be going.”

Eventually, I decided that I’d delay reacting to it and give ArenaNet sufficient time to get their last few story episodes out and reassess what I felt about GW2 in April-May.

I guess I’m finally getting a little smarter with age and figuring out that delaying decisions can sometimes be a way forward.

The ArenaNet layoffs seem to have been a wakeup boot for the company. Not a great thing to happen to anyone, but making lemonade out of lemons is about the best one can do with a bad situation. Communication has stepped up a little (possibly due to certain policy makers voluntarily leaving). It’s a fire under them that forces a re-focus on what they’re trying to achieve with GW2.

From a steadily dropping and close to zero percent confidence level in the future of GW2 pre-layoffs and pre-communication, it at least feels like there’s a 35% chance now that there might be somewhat interesting future things for GW2. (Note: I’m a cynical pessimistic person by nature, so these are pretty decent numbers for my skewed viewpoint.)

Pursuant to figuring out how I will feel about the whole GW2 franchise once Living Story 4 draws to a conclusion, it occurred to me that regardless of me quitting or continuing, I should finish some of the long term goals that I always wanted to complete.

The biggest bugbear on that Unfinished Tasks list was Legendary Medium armor.

It is with some irony that I note that the raids part of it was completed long ago and by no means a bottleneck.

It was more a lack of motivation due to it being ugly as sin (and that’s giving sin a bad name), and the eternal time-gated nuisance of faction provisioner tokens which requires serious organized diligence to remember to feed various NPCs daily with the required objects for weeks on end. 25 days if you’re rich and go for 12 tokens a day, and for cheapskates like me, 42 days going at a 7 token a day pace.

That and the crippling cost of helping to sink a shipload of crafting materials by buying them with gold from other players.

Hence the spreadsheet, keeping track of what I have and still need:

legmedss

The Step 4: Experiment stage of this has been surprisingly more entertaining than first anticipated.

Mostly because my miserly soul refuses to buy outright expensive things off the TP if there’s another way I can obtain them at a decent enough clip.

I’m time gated by provisioner tokens anyway, so it’ll be early June before I can be done.

The question is: what activities can get me more of what I need?

grindberry

The various experiments in answering that have led me to do long ignored HoT metas, chase down the Winterberry farm once more for Unbound Magic to open bundles to see if their contents were worth anything, and learn more intently about the Living Story 4 maps that contain Volatile Magic as a reward, as those can be exchanged for trophy shipments.

It’s gotten my not-quite-raider self out of closed instances with my ego continually frayed by ever-excessively competitive people (not that it’s wrong, but type As exhaust everyone else around them – especially when they decide type B aren’t worthy of respect, or would be better off dragged up the mountain and would appreciate it once they see the view at the top)

TypeATypeBCartoon
Cartoon taken from https://www.simplypsychology.org/personality-a.html

and back out into the open world where things are either slightly more chill, or where I can solo in peace.

I finished most of the crafting and mystic forging. I ran through a HoT meta or two and picked up most of the tokens I’d need.

I bought stuff I’m not likely to be able to farm for myself in good time from the TP.

My timing is terrible, as the legendary greatsword is coming and prices are no doubt rising in response already. I rationalized it by my supposition that prices will rise and stay high for at least the next month once the legendary launches and everyone realizes they need the stuff I also need for legendary armor, so I may as well get what I need now for peace of mind, and any extras I earn I can sell at the presumably more inflated price later.

The last step is T5 and T6 trophies. They’re in sync because there’s two major ways I figure I’ll get them.

One is mystic forge promotion. I buy the T5 and then convert them on my own penny crystalline dust and spirit shard-wise for T6. That economy is generally sensitive enough that it should always be somewhat cheaper to do so than buy the T6 outright, barring a sudden glut of T6 drops from some event or another.

The second is volatile magic converted into trophy shipments. The return seems to be fairly decent. So I’ve been all over the LS4 maps harvesting nodes, killing stuff, doing hearts, buying daily stuff off vendors, collecting glowy magic objects on mounts, doing dailies, doing metas and trying to figure out if anything gives a decent return and is hopefully more personally interesting to me than doing a million Great Hall/Palawadan meta cycles.

It’s still pretty grindy though.

In that I’m repetitively doing a whole lot of things mostly to get the end result. I’m not not enjoying it (if you can parse that.)

As in, it’s not something I would just do for fun (it takes a bit more focus than relaxation), and it’s not something I outright hate either (those I wouldn’t do. I decided to buy the fractal stuff I needed off the TP, all 140g of it, because I still loathe that game mode and the dislike deepens further with every new fractal I’ve never tried and ever-divided PUG scene. What’s gold for if not to trade with, right?)

It’s more a focused reason/excuse to repeat some things I might not repeat otherwise in order to get to a final goal.

In the repetition, I have a reason/excuse to actually be playing the game, and you know, it’s not half bad an activity to be doing.

…Hmm… Maybe I still sorta like this game after all.

It’s a strange kind of convoluted thinking that I haven’t quite got my head around yet, but it’s an improvement from -not liking- for sure.

We’ll see how things go from there.