GW2: Oh Happy Day

lumi-collection

T’was a very fruitful weekend for me in Guild Wars 2.

The last carapace chest finally deigned to drop for me during a Vinewrath on Sunday.

I’ve pretty much lost count of how many I’ve done prior to this. You know those lucky bastards that get 3 carapace chests in like, 4 Vinewraths? I’m their polar opposite. Someone’s got to draw the short end of the RNG stick, I guess.

While banging my head on the wall of innumerable Vinewraths, I ended up with about 6000 crests in total across weeks of Silverwastes, minus a thousand or so for one of the Ascended accessories that needed to be bought for the collection, and not including the ton of Mordrem parts I haven’t got around to exchanging for crests taking up room in my bags.

It worked out quite nicely, as I decided to be lazy and buy my last carapace headgear instead of running a third character through the storyline.

Minus another 1000 for the last Ascended accessory that needed to be bought, and I had 4000 left over to pick up all the buyable Mordrem tonics and minis.

Turns out both the Mordrem husk and troll tonics are pretty good for screenshots, as you can scroll directly into first person view with them. The husk camera is set a little higher than the troll’s. I think I prefer the troll overall, but I’m sure there will be times I might find the husk one handy.

The most delightful thing for me about finishing the Luminescent collection is the title. I’m madly in love with it ever since I saw it, and ever since playing its namesake in the Personal Story. Happily wearing it now.

I’m really not sure what to do with the Ascended armor chest that was its final reward. I already own a Zojja’s chestpiece that was a lucky drop from a Wurm kill. If I continue decking that warrior out, each piece only increments by such a minute amount I feel almost sorry selecting a wear location other than the chest.

Or I could pick another Zojja’s breastplate and give it to my guardian main… except that would make all the colors not match and feel a little weird. It’s not like he -needs- Ascended, since he doesn’t WvW or do fractals.

Or maybe one of my many other alts could use it? What stats? Who? *brain shuts down at this point and I just throw it in the bank to think about later*

ambi-collection

And the last four Ambrite weapons that were still pending three weeks ago?

Yep, finally managed to pull enough fossilized insects after some weekly patient attendance at DTOP’s regular Fri/Sat ‘one hour after reset’ runs. (Or Sat/Sun morning for me.)

I almost didn’t think I’d get it done this week.

I lucked into an insect during Saturday’s two hours, and then promptly failed miserably to get one on Sunday, despite opening some two dozen chests over the two hours.

I bought my final sets of keys (about 12 of them all told) and logged out, intending to catch another sandstorm some other time and just run around opening chests, and never got back to it on Sunday.

I also start on about 14% of the Maguuma Wastes PvP reward track. Eventually, I’ll get the last fossilized insect that way, worse case scenario.

Monday morning, I wake pretty early before work, intending to get a blog post about the Luminescent collection done, and see that the clock says :57 minutes. Hmm, there’s three minutes left of a sandstorm! What if…

So I log on (thank you SSD for quick load times) and run around like a mad charr with CTRL held down, hoping to spy at least one chest before the sandstorm’s up.

I see one! It’s on a cliff! I grab the blue crystal and fail the jump several times, cursing under my breath, watching the sandstorm time tick down.

I get up there at last! I open it!

No insect.

Some random recipe that actually overloads me.

Baaaaaah. Much deflated, I look around for another chest. There’s under a minute of time left.

Encumbered, kinda half blind while walking around and scanning through my open bags settling on something to throw away to make room, I toss out some grey junk, and then another piece of grey junk to make one extra slot… just in case.

There’s another chest! Under half a minute left!

I run over and with 15 seconds on the clock, I throw it open and BAM, a golden fossilized insect slides into that slot I just opened up, while 8 bits of sand overload me.

THERE IS AN RNG GOD.

I fling 16 copper more of grey junk out my inventory to let the equally worthless sand slide in, then cradling the last insect, dash over to Divinity’s Reach to pull out the other three I’d been hoarding in the bank.

One quick waypoint to trade all the insects into the appropriate form, another waypoint back, and the celebratory crafting began.

Blog post? Err… Nevermind, I’ll write it in the night.

Besides those little bouts of satisfaction, I also got in a bit of leveling time during double xp weekend.

There was a spot of time the servers were being rather dodgy and the Silverwastes map was pretty much unplayable, so being neatly stymied in my attempt to get the last carapace chest, or do anything (like kill Tequatl or Wurm) that required a stable connection without dc’ing, I decided to power level my charr mesmer instead.

Boy, was that a little insane.

I’d never eaten so many boosters in my life.

Usually I settle for an experience booster and a killstreak booster at most, and food and a wrench consumable.

Since double xp was going on, I threw on a celebration booster from the log-in rewards too, for another 100% xp. I made some candy corn cake that gave 15% xp rather than the usual 10%.

I’m still too cheap to waste 5 experience boosters for a single improved experience booster, so I held off on that, and just nommed my usual stuff. Plus a speed booster, because what the heck, I was starting to accumulate too many of those.

Then I ran off to find yellow untouched mobs and hit one.

That 64xp mob? Coughed out some 500+ xp in bonus experience, and steadily rising from the killstreak booster.

Man, did that experience bar jump.

I calculated that 3 moas would move the bar by one tenth of the total experience bar. So 30 fully xp laden mobs equated to one level.

In one hour I jumped around 7-8 levels, and that was while wasting time chatting to a friend.

Said friend wanted to come along in the next hour, so that was what we did, scoring another 8 levels.

Level 25 to 33 to 41. Craaazy.

What eventually screwed up the streak was a whole spate of maps that we were in crashing and restarting, resetting all that sweet sweet bonus xp back to essentially zero (or the same amount as the mob’s usual xp.) Fields of Ruin? Crashed. Lornar’s Pass? Crashed. Harathi Hinterlands? Crashed.

WELL. That’s pretty much all the maps that are good for that level range. (Yes, we could downlevel, but you don’t get the maximum amount of potential xp that way, you get a lil less. And we were already spoiled from the crazy numbers we were scoring with each mob.)

So we ended up taking a break and it turned out that was all the time I could spare during the weekend for leveling because I got distracted by the Vinewrath once the servers stabilized.

Oh well, plenty of time to level at leisure now that my crazy collection obsession is sated, and I can slowly make a little progress on my Great Screenshot Project. (No mention of mass carnage and destruction for the expansion, so I guess I don’t have to hurry on this. Phew.)

I’m kinda looking forward to seeing what the whole horde of newbies who grabbed GW2 during the $10 weekend sale are making of the game.

The only thing that frightens me is the quality of mapchat in the low level zones. Prior to the newbie influx, they’ve tended to make my brain rot from the inanity and barrens-chat worthy phrases (I figure that many of the people still leveling lowbies during this time are not…hmm, shall we say very devoted GW2 players or veterans – vets are likely to have so many tomes of knowledge they have to use up or are perfectly fine crafting or EoTMing their way to 80 – and thus carry a bit of their usual MMO culture with them back into this game.)

I’m not sure I want to find out if it’s got worse or better or stayed the same.

I -am- having quite a bit of fun with the influx of newbie posts on Reddit though. I’m a little too hermit-y to consider helping random people in-game, but y’know, give me a soapbox and a comment space to write in and I can’t resist giving my twenty cents of advice.

Guess we all do our part to try and live up to that “fun, welcoming, inclusive community” moniker.

State of the… Bleh…

It’s been a miserable few days in the Wolfy household, mostly because everyone’s down with some variant of the flu.

Yours truly hit a high of 38.9 degrees Celcius (or 102F) on Day 1 and while it has gone down since then, one has still been marveling at the capacity of the human body to sustain a fever temperature in spite of liberal doses of paracetamol.

Blech.

The only good news is that one had a bit more gaming time in between naps, even if it was mostly woozy gaming time.

Without much capacity for thought, it’s been a bout of maintenance mode on Guild Wars 2.

I finally managed to collect all the Ambrite weapon recipes, courtesy of a 6 hour DTOP-organized event on the weekend. So it was a matter of digging through my stash to see how many fossilized insects I had, and using up a ton of orichalcum and ancient wood to make all the shiny skins.

ambrite

Oh, I guess I also have nearly an entire collection of Nomad stat weapons too – though I haven’t any clue how I might ever use them. It’s not like I command in WvW and need to be unkillable. I need me my Power or Condition Damage stats. Perhaps I’ll make a troll ninja medic thief one day or something, but that’ll only use up a few weapons at most, heh.

Just four more to go.

That mostly means running around in Dry Top opening chests, but it’ll probably take a few more weeks since I can only usually attend one of DTOP’s regular weekend runs.

I also did a bit of bank cleaning, though it mostly meant taking advantage of the character slot sale to buy a couple more slots, and make a new mule character to carry all the account-bound souvenirs and skins I’m reluctant to trash.

Some day soon, I need to make another one to carry all the Ascended and exotic junk of various stats that I hardly ever use, but who knows, maybe one day they’ll be useful… how can one bear to throw away an Ascended chest anyway…

…but I wussed out for now because that’s a big mess to sort through and I already have sufficient free bank slots again.

My recent PvP craze has also been useful, in that I’m planning for the mule characters to do double duty as PvP characters. Kinda sick and tired of seeing all those delicious class dailies go by and me with no ready character to just hop in and score a daily with.

I’ve also been hurling myself into a ton of matches… which is interesting when you’re running a fever, I might add, but I just feel remarkably free on the ranger. Imo, no one really expects anything from a ranger. Chances are likely they’re all pewpew power rangers anyway, right?

By the time someone realizes I’m condi, they probably already have 20 bleeds on them and have vines around their ankles and are on fire too, so yay.

I do my best to help teamfights go our way and win/survive 1 vs 1s and the rest is up to the team to figure out if they can coordinate and actually win fights elsewhere.

On the list of other classes I need to try/learn in PvP soon-ish are the warrior (god, I hate hambows, I need to be one of them at least -some- of the time), the ele (good eles are pretty annoying) and the engi (ditto turret engis, though since I play two condi characters, I know I can usually attrition them down with condi eventually.)

Oh, and for the first time, I actually pleveled a character in GW2 the other day.

I noticed my Tomes of Knowledge were piling up, and I had the thought that maybe I procrastinated on dungeons because my dungeon running warrior is a) not quite meta, and b) has always a nearly full inventory from also being my TTS Teq/Wurm character.

So enter new warrior, 100% meta compliant.

yolo

It was surprisingly easy.

A Scroll of Experience took him to level 20.

I had 53 Tomes of Knowledge at the time, so I just piled on 50 levels and kept back three.

Then since there were ten levels left to go and I didn’t feel like even doing a bit of open world or EOTM, I quick-crafted cooking.

With just a few levels shy of 80, I rummaged around and found some hoarded writs of experience, which I ate a bunch of, then just did a bit of low-level artificing until he hit 80.

Gearing was mildly more problematic because I didn’t want to use WvW or karma armor on someone I was planning to be all meta-compliant and putting expensive stuff like Strength or Scholar runes on. So it was a matter of running from one dungeon vendor to another, trying to find enough tokens for things. Mostly it all came from CoF, with a few spare Arah boxes from PvPing.

Alas, the truth is that I’m STILL procrastinating on dungeoning, mostly because I still have to run him to the zones that the dungeons are in. *wry chuckle*

Also, I feel terribly naked in PUGs without a way to constantly clear conditions. I’m beginning to suspect there was a very good reason why I adapted my old warrior to use warhorn and quick breathing…

We’ll see. Perhaps I might end up switching to a Phalanx Strength build at some point, and that will give me a good excuse to slot in a warhorn again. PUGs don’t really need that extra mace vulnerability if the whole team is gonna drop dead from bleeds before that, right?

The other game that I more or less had the mental capacity for was Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes.

fe-zoom1

Since I’m still too miserly to pick up Endless Legends until it drops further in price, experimenting with this game was the next best thing and they had a free weekend.

It’s not too bad.

The detail is quite fun, all your building constructions are actually depicted. Up north/top is my Onyx Throne.

The detail is quite fun, all your building constructions are actually depicted. Up north/top is my Onyx Throne, which reduces unrest in all my cities. Yes, worship and despair! Mwahaha!

It’s an interesting mix of Civilization / Masters of Magic meets tactical RPG. And I stress the RPG pretty heavily.

The ruler of your civilization is not just a pretty portrait, but an actual champion hero that you get to move around as the head of an army.

He even gets an origin story. It's a nice touch, makes it more Alpha-Centauri-esque, in a way.

He even gets an origin story. It’s a nice touch, makes it more Alpha-Centauri-esque, in a way. More story in one’s Civ game.

Alpha Centauri players might recall that the game had a bunch of crashed drop pods to which you could move units to ‘explore the tile’ and get bonuses.

Fallen Enchantress takes this further with many different sites that only your champion can visit – sometimes you’ll find loot and equipment for your champions to use, sometimes you’ll have to fight off neutral mobs / monsters before you get the treasure, and sometimes you’ll even get extended quests, RPG-style, where a little story pops up wherein you talk to a NPC, they ask for help and point you to another tile to go defeat ‘teh evil monstah’ and so on.

Oh look, a shiny!

Oh look, a shiny!

And yes, there’s even a shop with which you can buy more stuff to gear up your champions with. Where do you get the gold? Well, your cities are earning it for you. (Kinda hilarious, really. Do you spend the gold on rushing upgrades or training units for your cities, or upgrading your army units… or buying shiny gear for your champions? All valid choices.)

Yes, they also level up and have a skill tree.

Yes, they also level up and have a skill tree.

The nice result of this RPG intrusion into a Civilization game is that you can still actively move around units and be engaged in fruitful combat, without necessarily being at war with any other faction. You’re basically interacting with the world, and I believe there’s actually a quest victory where you have to complete a string of epic quests to win the game.

fe-resolve

Combat also has tactical turn-based aspects, as each encounter brings you down to an isometric map, unless you choose to auto-resolve it (safe enough if your army massively overpowers the other, but you’re usually better off manually controlling things when fighting against even or higher odds, unless you -like- taking a huge amount of casualties.)

fe-combat

Surrounding a unit with your own units appears to give some sort of attack bonus, so there can be quite an intricate dance to choke point or swarm the enemy for a better outcome.

It’s set in a fantasy world, so there’s also plenty of magic infused into the game too.

I’ll have to admit that I haven’t fully tried this aspect out, as I went straight for the warlike warrior/fighter faction *cough* (which turned out to have the weakness of not being able to build -any- ranged units at all, jeez) and decided to prioritize the War and Civilization parts of the tech tree over the Magic portions.

Your champions can cast magic, from strategic spells that affect the map or your cities, and tactical spells in battle, a la any standard RPG where you get things like fireball or shadow bolt or drain life, etc.

You can research up the Magic side of the tech tree, which appears to unlock various magic-related buildings from your cities, and presumably gives you more and better spells and enchanted weapons/armor/gear, along with eventually enabling a Magic victory of some sort, where you harness the elemental forces of magic itself.

Finally, you can also design your own units. They can carry various weapons that give various bonuses and changes their style of attack. Axes, for example, enable a unit to cleave up to 3 units. Swords give a unit a counter attack ability, where they will strike back at any units attacking them. Shields give a shield bash ability that knocks another unit back, and so on.

They can wear various types of armor, leather, chain, etc. and put on cloaks that give elemental resistance and hold various accessories that give variious stat bonuses. You can even put them on mounts, like horses and wargs, if you have the right resources and research.

All this, of course, adds up in production cost, so… balancing it out becomes an optimization puzzle for those interested in it. Else, there is always using the default units or making a couple of super units when your cities can manage to produce ’em.

All in all, it has the addictive “one more turn” nature of a Civ game, mixed with a hefty helping of fantasy and RPG. Not too shabby. Worth picking up if you see it on 75% off.

 

GW2: There May Be No Spoon, But One Sure Will Try Collecting Them All Anyway

Going down the rabbit hole here...

I wonder if the disconnect comes from semantics, or merely wishful thinking.

When your average player hears the word “feature,” they think of content. They want their new dungeon, their new zone, their new shiny reward that usually comes in the form of better stats or better looks. They want what’s labeled on the box as “features” – new class, new race, new skills!

They don’t give much thought on just how much this new stuff might imbalance or invalidate the old  stuff. They don’t care, the designers better have figured it all out beforehand, because players will be players and will optimize towards the most efficient path, and WoW has already shown that the way ahead is to just say ‘fuck the old stuff’ and pile on the new shiny on the next rung of the ladder to keep climbing forward. New players? I guess we better just fast-forward them past all the old bad stuff so they can catch up. Instant level 90, here we come.

Urgh.

Me, I play GW2 precisely because it isn’t WoW.

When I hear the words “feature patch,” and I’m probably in a minority of players to do so, I think of it in the way the Anet devs are using it – to reference things that aren’t content. Systems. Tweaks and improvements and little balance nudges.

Things that probably take a heck of a lot of coding work and behind-the-scenes stuff to make it more invisibly smooth-flowing on the front end.

The irony of it is, if the work is done well, no one will notice when the UI just got that much less clunky or when new players move on from level to level without a hitch and without quitting in disgust. (It’s only when it bugs or creates some kind of stopping or frustration point, that the bulk of the bitching starts.)

And there’s actually some good stuff coming down the line this 9th of September, despite the never-satisfied cries of increasingly bored players looking for new content (not new systems, per se) and new stuff to do, and despite the meat of it being spread so thinly across three weeks in some sort of weird marketing attempt to keep interest/hype going for the length of time it’ll take to deploy the patch.

The Collection Achievements system is one of those things.

You see, there’s this perennial complaint from players that such-and-such piece of content isn’t ‘rewarding’ enough. That there’s no reason or motivation to do this slightly more difficult thing over another, the devs better give us some external reward to get us to do it…or else.

Never mind the deplorable fact that many players won’t do anything without an external carrot.

(I dunno, I sometimes do content just because it’s there. I give up 2-3 hours of my time to PUG a TA Aetherpath when I get the sudden whim to, because I think it’ll be interesting and somewhat entertaining and internally rewarding to gently coax a group of players who don’t really know what they’re in for, but are desperate to get it done for their Dungeon Master achievement, through it.

The last few days, while on my platinum ore harvesting rounds, I’ve been throwing myself at the Champion Risen Spider near Flamefrog Waypoint in Sparkfly Fen, trying to figure out how to solo it – and mostly repeatedly dying. It’s turned into an almost Liadri-like compulsion by now. Eventually 2-3 other players turn up and we kill it, but dammit, I’ll get it one day. My best efforts have only reduced it to half hp so far.

It’s really infuriating because it immobilizes so much, and has an annoying egg spit attack that spawns additional spider mobs if not dodged/blocked/gotten out of the way of. That spawning can get runaway uncontrollable very quickly, so my best guess is that it -must- be -always- dodged/avoided/prevented from spawning. This is much much easier said than done, because you can’t dodge when immobilized, and I still end up confusing its egg spit attack animation with its other attacks, all of which involve twitching and lifting of its abdomen.

Reward? None but eventually satisfaction, I suppose. And a screenshot of me over its dead body… ONE DAY. SOME DAY.)

Thing is, what kinds of rewards can be given?

There’s a limit to vertically progressing rewards, since GW2 is not that kind of game. And if it tried, I’d be the first one to quit in disgust. I don’t want to be “forced” or “motivated” aka “pushed” into doing a particular dungeon simply because it gives +5 more Power stat on its gear than any other dungeons so far… and then the next new dungeon will have +10 Power to chase. *FAUGH* *spits*

Shiny new skins may have a certain temptation, but there’s always going to be a manpower limit on how many the artists can crank out at any one time, without eliciting howls of distress over lack of hair, lack of tails and oh god, that clipping. And what if the player doesn’t like the skin on offer? Then it’s back to the forums and more whining on how this and that skin is ugly as sin and not “rewarding” enough to make him suffer through that new dungeon or piece of content, I guess.

Increasing the amount of gold reward is just going to end up a tail-chasing fly-swatting game of players gravitating to the ‘best’ gold-giving dungeon for the time spent, and all the other dungeons ignored…until the next patch which increases gold rewards of some other dungeon. Not to mention, making inflation worse with every ‘fix.’

So enter a Hall of Monuments variant.

A structured system of multiple lateral options for -personal- progression, all of which will count towards accruing some points total at the end, and presumably offer direction and signposting for grabbing lower-hanging fruit before working one’s way up to harder and longer to obtain stuff.

That’s the potential I’m seeing in this new Collection Achievements system.

Players will have an external ‘reason’ to do X new content over Y old content because it will have its own ‘reward track’ where doing X related stuff will yield X-based rewards. And when content Z pops up, Z will have its own reward track too. It’ll be like trying to go for the Dungeon Master achievement, you’ve got to visit every dungeon if you want it.

(If you don’t care about it, then proceed on your merry way, of course. Like how life in GW2 has always been. All these systems are just for the Achievers who need things spelled out for them, or they quit. There’s just -so- many Achievers, though, so it’s worth creating systems for them.)

On a personal level, the collector and pack rat in me is super-thrilled.

These things have always been in GW2, but never really celebrated or made very clear.

I’ve never finished collecting all the cultural armor available… mostly because I can’t figure out which pieces I have left, and it would be a pain to have to log every single character and check what they’re wearing. (The only good news is I don’t throw away anything… Oh hey, I guess I could also use the wardrobe function now that I think about it. But that would still be a little annoying to sift through.)

I just visited a slew of Heart vendors in Fireheart Rise the other day and picked up the light, medium and heavy armor cosmetic sets that were being sold there. I never got around to it for a long time because I never needed it. Until I decided that my sylvari necro could use one piece of that look (via the Wardrobe) and so may as well since one is going there, pick up all the other sets and complete those too.

If there was some ArenaNet Points and a final shiny reward at the end for doing that, that would certainly be a little more of a motivating push in the butt to go do that kind of thing. It’s really easy low hanging fruit at that. I was sitting on 5 million karma and just never got around to using any of it on karma armor.

It’s quite a kick in the butt for the economy too, as I suspect this is going to add some new value for previously ignored shiny skins that more people will be motivated to collect.

And of course, *sinister chuckle* there’s nothing like creating account-bound stuff (like binding skins for personal use in the wardrobe) to reduce supply or “dedicated” miniatures to take these things out of circulation and sink them, so there’s always going to be demand, rather than a round-robin exchange of swap-the-same-minis so that everybody gets AP.

I can see some people thinking they’d cheated the system being a little upset by that.

To which, I can only indulge in a little Dark Side collector laugh. Seriously, did you think that you could spend hundreds of gold buying minis, get that little AP ‘ding’ and then sell them all away again to recoup most of your gold… would be valued as equivalent to someone who spent those same hundreds of gold to KEEP every last collectible shiny?

mini1

mini2

mini3

True collectors hoard shit and take them out of circulation.

It’s going to be slightly painful when it comes time to take them all out of these collections and account-bind them. That’s a LOT of gold I’m going to be throwing away. (Or spending on myself, rather.)

I’m half-considering just leaving them in the collections tab to sit for a while, but I have a feeling all it’ll take is seeing the new achievements and AP and titles for me to cave.

And it’ll be nice to be able to swap between a whole bunch of them without having to juggle stuff in my inventory. That’s at least 2-4 bag slots freed for all my characters.

To reiterate, coming down the line for the feature patch:

  • WvW – new month-long Fall Tournament with weekly match-up rewards and supposedly more unique worlds matched up with each other (I’ll believe it when I see it, BG and JQ and TC have been seeing each other since the last league), Siege Golem mastery, new Siege Disabler trick.
  • Commander tags – will now be account-bound, cost 300 gold, and have 4 shiny colors to choose from.
  • PvP – some new world tournament thing with shiny rewards for pro-PvPers, standard enemy models for Team Arenas, new PvP armor cosmetic reward (one presumably super-shiny variant for the top-tier, and one less shiny variant for the hoi polloi to earn via PvP reward track)
  • Balance changes – Elementalists weep as FGS and Tornado-Meteor combo get nerfed, mesmer scepter gets torment added, necromancer dagger gets a two-target cleave, warrior adrenaline gets played around with, and a whole bunch of less used and less popular skills and traits from all classes get some kind of adjusted boosts to try and make ’em more attractive (guess we’ll see how the new meta shakes out)
  • Guilds – will now be global, and all those leftover influence and upgrades and other things abandoned on server transfer will now come back home to roost. Guild mission experiences on the megaserver system -may- be further improved, by letting the first guildie joining a map to do a (presumably-active) guild mission reserve spots on the map for other guildies zoning in, so that half the guild isn’t spread out across several maps. May. Caveats for guilds of a very large size, which will probably still get smeared across various map instances and have to taxi in on each other. To be improved further (TM).
  • Megaserver – still getting plenty of tweaks to increase good experiences over bad ones, will attempt to sort EU players by language a little better, language chat filter back to being disabled by default so that EU players aren’t mysteriously plagued by a horde of seemingly deaf individuals in maps that keep requiring communication and coordination, fingers are crossed as to how much toxicity and harassment will result versus community-forming and a reminder to frickin’ use the report function on the worse of the toxic xenophobic lot so that the mapchat can improve.

Also, when megaserver maps drop below a certain number and need to be emptied out and closed, leftovers will be asked to volunteer to move maps back to more crowded ones and get a little bonus buff for doing so. What this will imply for organized groups trying to move to and fill new Teq and Wurm maps with people that actually care to listen to instructions and cooperate remains to seen.

  • Dungeons – will now have no instance owner. As long as someone stays in the instance, it stays open, so gone are the days of getting booted out when the opener leaves. What this might end up enabling remains to be seen: there are a few unscrupulous toxic people frequenting dungeons who might get extra-kick happy and may get some jollies out of kicking PUGs and inviting guildmates (though why they wouldn’t just run with the guildies, I dunno) or selling the path after using PUGs to do their dirty work (which I suspect is far more likely, and will no doubt keep Anet’s GMs occupied for some time.) Three-person kick is apparently in the works, but will not be in time for the feature patch.
  • Performance tweaks – More improvements to back-end stuff that will -hopefully- improve performance and frame rates at crowded events like world bosses and WvW.
  • Crafting – Crafting UI will allow for opening and viewing recipes to subcomponents at the same time as the main recipe. New cosmetic crafting backpack skins as a little mini-reward as you go up in crafting tiers. New recipes for leveling items (aka twink items) that will go up to an exotic-equivalent for low levels.
  • Profession loot – will make it more likely to get drops that are usable for one’s class. Makes it more exciting and logical for low levels to get drops that they can actually use, may sneakily tweak supply and demand of materials based on the population of classes actually being played on a regular basis.
  • Fresh Start – New player experience will be given more clear direction and guidance as to where to go. Experienced players can ignore this and turn it off, and wander Tyria as before. Leveling up will be made more shiny and WHEEEEEE, YOU LEVELED to make it feel more rewarding per level. Various existing GW2 systems will be drip-feed introduced to newbies using this guiding/unlock system, such as downed state at level 5, “hey, WvW exists, come try it out” at lvl 18, “you can PvP too, it’s not just all hearts” at lvl 22, etc. (Experienced folks who don’t need this will still be able to access WvW and PvP at lvl 2 on alts by jumping into a portal or using a hotkey, once unlocked on one character, all future characters will have the button unlocked.) More shiny item rewards for leveling up. Personal story will come in chunks using this system as well, so they can be played through at one go, instead of getting spaced out by really weird level gaps. Stats may come in chunks to also make it feel like one is getting stronger – everything will end up the same by level 80.
  • Collections – Miniatures and finishers will now end up in the account wardrobe. Both minis and finishers will be previewable in the wardrobe, minis will also be previewable via TP and chat links. Wardrobe has had some UI tweaks to make searching through it easier. Minis can be turned into an account unlock, available to all your characters to equip, simultaneously if desired, and will follow you from zone to zone with no more work needed to display them. Doing so essentially “dedicates” the mini, making it no longer sellable/tradeable as the mini item will vanish and exist as an “account skin” instead.

An entire Item Collections systems will be introduced via Achievements to reward the whole compulsion to collect everything under the sun. Shiny weapons or armor skins, food consumed, loot bags opened, spoons, you name it, it goes in it. There will be rewards attached to collecting various um, collections – equipment, functional unlocks, recipes, AP, stuff like that. Naturally, if you collect it, you can’t sell it and profit from it. More sinks, more demand, more money-making or money-sinking opportunities, gems-to-gold and gold-to-gems, more motivation to do one or the other, TP tax and economy churnchurnchurn, here we come!

The last announcement, due tomorrow, is titled Trading 2.0.

If it doesn’t contain Trading Post improvements, like *cough* certain filters that have been missing since the beginning of time, I’ll be very very surprised.

All in all, I think this feature patch definitely offers some very promising foundations for proceeding forward on. It’s good to have some rock solid bases to build that ‘new content’ on, after all.