Blaugust Day 26: A Birthday to Dye For (GW2)

A couple days before the “challenging group content” (unofficially now shortened by Reddit to “CGC”) announcement that I’m anticipating with equal parts excitement and dread, our first-born head start characters in Guild Wars 2 officially turn three years of age.

And receive something special.
And receive a little something from the GW2 Team.

ArenaNet have definitely trumped themselves on this one.

The first birthday gift yielded our first encounters with an experience scroll to level 20, a celebratory birthday booster that gave a character all sorts of bonuses for 24 online hours, and a nifty little Queen Jennah mini.

The birthday booster was always welcome.

The experience scroll was relatively convenient and useful to those who didn’t like the slow leveing start. Though speaking as someone who actually enjoys the leveling process, I mostly sat on the scrolls and banked them… until I realized I was accumulating so many that it was in my best interests to just use up some of them for my bank mules anyway.

The mini Queen Jennah was nice the first time, but shortly overstayed her welcome as more and more characters turned one year of age and one accumulated an uncountable number of mini human female mesmer clones. Especially when account-bound minis became a thing.

Why, yes, I am still taking advantage of the materials storage slots to hold extra minis.
Why, yes, I am still taking advantage of the old materials storage slots to hold extra minis, by not ever bothering to remove them. NINE JENNAHS, not inclusive of the one I used to account-bind the mini, plus any extra alt’s Jennahs that will no longer fit neatly into this and get tossed away.

The second birthday gift gave us mostly more of the same – celebratory birthday booster, experience scroll to 20 (that didn’t stack, prompting an “Uh oh, I think I should start using those” reaction), a skill point scroll awarding 5 SP (now retconned into a bag of 5 spirit shards), plus the Birthday Blaster (aka the cake gun.)

cakegun

That was a fairly entertaining toy that each character could use, providing short term buffs to self and others, and was something distinctive to show off that your account was at least two years old. (Also a great way to see the Scarlet’s Kiss skin, because very few people are ever going to lay their hands/eyes on the actual thing.)

This time around, we get -2- birthday boosters, an experience scroll that goes up to level 30, five teleport-to-friend items, a permanent birthday finisher and a celebratory dye pack.

birthdaystuff

Definitely outdoing themselves here, making each item better than the previous gifts.

(The teleport-to-friend is somewhat questionable, but possibly may see some use once Heart of Thorns hits and one needs a port to some Mastery-locked area, and/or be handy for really infuriating jumping puzzles. I would bank that, personally.)

The boosters are always welcome.

I’m really tempted to use the experience scroll on the asura elementalist who is still level 5, and start leveling from there.

I LOVE the birthday finisher. It’s supremely gorgeous, elegant and showy, and even includes the signature red dragon motif of ArenaNet. Someone (or someones) did a lovely job on its animation.

The majority of players though are absolutely head over heels with the celebratory dye pack, which offers a free (but account-bound) choice of around 60 rare and mind-blowingly expensive dye colors.

I have to say, ArenaNet really hit a bulls-eye with this one with regards to the majority of their target audience. Choice, not RNG. Cosmetic customisation, allowing for vanity and prestige factor and to show off something previously thought unaffordable or too spendthrift to save up for.

You might note I’m speaking in a general sense, and yeah, I guess I personally fall into the minority that is slightly… bemused over the reaction.

Not that I don’t welcome the concept. It’s great. I get a free expensive dye. I get an extra color. Dye prices plunge, making traders groan, while buyers benefit from the lowered prices.

It’s just that for whatever reason (and it’s something I’m very thankful about, because it saves me a fortune) I just don’t feel personally compelled to go ga-ga about completing a dye collection or -needing- to have a color that is just fractionally slightly different from another cheaper color.

A while ago, I bought up all the cheap common dyes and got about halfway through the uncommon ones, before wondering if I really needed any more, given the already spectacular array of colors I had to choose from.

Part of the fun, I felt, was finding a color scheme that worked and looked fantastic with the so-called “cheap” colors I had available, instead of desperately hoping for a color just a shade lighter or darker and sifting through a hundred dyes on the TP to realize that they hadn’t quite gotten around to including it as a dye color option yet.

Still, given the number of people who buy the seasonal dye packs, open and trade its contents, there’s a market out there ready to go as crazy over colors as I personally do over minis.

So, hurrah, glad that there’s a bonus alternative way for folks to get their hands on colors they really really like.

I’ll definitely be picking up mine as well… just not really looking forward to figuring out which one to pick, given the lavish spread of options and no actual character or gear that presently needs a recoloring to drive my decision.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Birthday, Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 26.

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GW2: Asura Guardian Style

For lack of anything better to write about before the oncoming patch which we are anticipating with equal parts glee and trepidation – will my favorite spirit weapons ever attain more usefulness than being relegated to a PvE anything goes farming build? How badly are glamour mesmers hit by the confusion change and will those damnable mistform elementalists actually fall over and die for once? What other surprise are in store for us, etc…

… I thought I’d show off some of my lil asura’s heavy armor fashions.

Bear in mind, I like to dress up on a budget, and certainly cannot afford all Tier 3 cultural armor right now:

Me in my early days, contemplating an infallible murder scenario for the other guy's armor. Decided he'd turn around and kill me instead.
Me in my early days, in the standard crafted exotic armor, contemplating an infallible murder scenario for the other guy’s armor. Reached the conclusion he’d turn around and kill me instead and snuck away. (Picture courtesy of rich PiNK guy.)

Well, if you’re rich, abyss and celestial goes with anything and anything bright colored looks nice on the glowy parts of T3 asura armor.

For the rest of us, there’s still ways to look fancy and unique. I’ve seen a gladiator-sparta style gold/red asura running around, and a Marvin the Martian-colored one too. Alas, I forgot screenshots so you can imagine them instead.

This is actually my third set of armor. I was experimenting with different stat combinations and by the time I got around to the standard PTV gear, it was easier to just pick up the Orr Karma temple armor and be done with it.

winterkarma1
I like to think that it matches my chicken.

I had gotten tired of transmuting by this point (I only have a limited number of those crystals from map exploration, y’know) and decided to stick with the look, but try something different with the dyes. I also wanted something light colored to easily differentiate for myself which armor I was wearing when, as my other two sets are darker colored.

winterkarma2

winterkarmapalette

The brightest and most expensive dye in here is Winter Ice, which sets one back half a gold or thereabouts. I just happened to have it, so I used it for the skulls and the highlights.

Sea Ice is the main color, a very white-ish green that gives a tinge of sickly Orr, which feels rather appropriate for stuff that comes from Orr.

The last color is Blue Shade, which again I happened to have, and fits the ‘cool’ palette versus a more warm color. But I bet any dark chainmail-y color would be fine as a contrast too.

The one thing that’ll really set you back in terms of Asuran armor is if you’re a stickler for clipping. I gave up with helms because I like my asura’s ears and face showing. And ears sticking out of helmets with no visible holes is a big no for me. You could pick up a cultural helm, I guess, but they all look kinda daft to me except maybe T3, and that’s a 20 gold bomb right there. So much easier to hide helm and show off the snotty face I worked so hard on.

There’s one thing that pisses me off about the above armor set. My toes. They stick out. These shoes are not meant for asura feet. If they didn’t have spikes on and complement the rest of the set, I’d throw them out. But as of now, I just close an eye because I bought better stuff for the other two sets and I’m broke.

Here’s set number 2. The realistic dark-themed blue and grey gold-ish but dark and shadowy style.

invader1

invader2
It matches the day time Ascalonian Catacombs hammer surprisingly well.

It started out as an entire WvW invader armor set, because I’m, you know, broke, and spend all my days in WvW (which explains the lack of monies part) and looked very decent if basic when colored appropriately. I was especially fond of the shoulder and armguards.

But I had cultural T2 chest and leggings left over from my first vanity dress up set, and those toes sticking out of my boots pissed me off, so I bought the booties as well.

The coat sets you back 2 gold, but I think it’s worth it as it gives a bulkier power-armored look to the asura. The leggings may or may not be necessary, 1.5 gold. The 80 silver boots that actually fit my toes are pretty worth it too, imo, but you could probably do without if you don’t look at your asura’s feet much.

For sure, no one else will, they don’t even see most of an asura anyway, it’s you that will be looking at yourself most often. 🙂

invaderpalette
Colors: Tarnished Steel, Blue Shade and Burnished Steel. Super cheap dyes, but if you ask me, super sexy color complement too.

Now vanity set 3, or to be truthful, the first set I put together because I wanted to splurge a bit and look cool, while still on a “modest” budget.

darkangels1

The main goal here is the glow. And if you look really carefully, the main bang of the T3 cultural armor glow is from the shoulders and boots. Sure, every piece glows and adds to the effect, but I’m not -that- fucking rich. The protruding glowy bits are from the shoulder and boots. The boots, thankfully, are “only” 12 gold, but the very sexy shoulders will set you back 20 gold. (Ouch.)

It broke half my bank at the time, but it was worth it.

I cheat here and add the heavenly bracers from the GW1 Hall of Monuments rewards, because it also glows quite prettily. The downside is that it does clip. (But you know, no one looks that close at asura anyway.)

darkangels2

The chest and leggings are left as the standard crafted draconic armor. This, I must warn, does cause the sheathed weapon to clip the shoulders a little at the back. But well, if your weapon is out all the time, who’s gonna notice?

I had actually considered swapping in the T2 chest and leggings at one point, which I think would also look very good in compact bulky power armored fashion, and might avoid the clipping issue (not tested though, the T3 chest probably takes into account T3 shoulders, but egads, it’s 30 gold.)

Eventually, I decided I liked the slimness of the chest as contrasted with the bulky attachments, and the winged skirt/kilt/robe of the leggings grew on me. You see, I am a big Warhammer 40k fan, and the T3 asura armor looks a heckuva lot like very sexy space marines power armor for tiny people.

And while you probably could use any decent color complement on such sexy armor and have it look good, I decided to recreate a Dark Angels theme and color scheme, just to see if I could. Mainly dark green, cream/bone, robes, winged/angel stuff, red accents.

You can, and it even sorta kinda matches the red golem mini from the HoM.
You can, and it even sorta kinda matches the red golem mini from the HoM.

The main color is Emerald, which will set you back 28-30 silver or so, but it’s the best dark green I can find right now. The secondary cream color is Frosting.

Because of the mixed armor, the palette is a little more complicated.
Because of the mixed armor, the palette is a little more complicated.

The silver chainmail part is Frost, and I used a lighter Evergreen as the last chest color merely because I’d bought a bunch of cheap green dyes to find the best. You could make it Emerald with very little difference, but the Evergreen just makes it a little brighter.

The fun bit is the glow can be any damn color you want. I went for blue after a while, because guardian, y’know, and my other guardian is all red and fiery anyway, so it’s Sky dye because if you’ve spent this much on vanity anyway…

(The red was Salmon on the heavenly bracers to make it flamey and either Melon or Cantaloupe on shoulder/boots to match the red orange-tinted bracers. I haven’t been arsed to explore the red spectrum long enough to find an exact match for the golem, but it’s probably possible.)

And when I’m bored, I get to change colors like a Christmas tree.

orange
Random orange, probably Citrus.
Because I now have too many greens. This is Sprout, but Wasabi's a good light green too.
Because I now have too many green dyes. This is Sprout, but Wasabi’s a good light green too.
When in doubt, glow white. Winter Ice pulling double duty here.
When in doubt, glow white. (Or white blue.) Winter Ice pulling double duty here.

GW2: New Shiny Armor

Shock, horror, a post that -isn’t- about WvW!

The last patch on Tuesday finally unbugged the Temple of Melandru and I could pick up two more pieces of the exotic armor I wanted.

That left one more rare to replace with an exotic, and I sat down, bought the ectos and crafted it.

Now to worry about the jewelry and the weapons, the former of which are all green karma rewards and the latter yellow rares. The weapons will probably keep, the jewelry is a mite embarassing. I seriously have no idea how to make enough gold to buy them off the trading post, I’m a terrible money earner and spender. I’ll probably buckle down to craft up to jewelry 400 on an alt at some point, it earns xp after all, and the alts can make use of them too.

But that’s a goal that can be achieved in its own time.

I sat around for a bit, playing with my available dye colors and reminding myself of the simple joys outside of WvW.

Halp, a ghost!

So in one of those incredible moments, a celestial (white) dye was one of the first dyes to pop for me when opening an unidentified dye. I stared at it for a while, knowing how much white sells for in GW1… then on impulse, double-clicked it to own it.

I don’t know if I regret it or not. White is actually not a color I need on this Charr, it’s too bright on shiny heavy armor most of the time. But the sheer specialness of having the color is nice. I just refuse to look at how much it’s selling for on the trading post now.

It makes for an interesting way to start deciding how to coloring in one’s armor though. Looks funny too.

I settled for a red and gold-ish color scheme.

In part because it was the darkest color I had to hand, and light to medium grey metallic is so boring… and as a thematic nod to the Blood Legion he belongs to.

May be overdoing it a touch, perhaps. 🙂

I rather like it, it reminds me of a Warhammer 40k Space Marine (probably Chaos and Khorne to boot) with the skulls and the spikes and the tabard-like thing that hangs down from the belt. (I have no idea what it’s supposed to be called. Dress vocabulary = zero.)

And still has that encased Charr in heavy armor look.

And it’s NOT blue and white and grey, which seem to be the typical guardian “knightly” colors. Fits a human maybe, but not a Charr.

For the record, the helm and boots are crafted Draconic armor. The rest is karma armor pieces from the Orr temples, Melandru specifically, but Balthazar’s also seemed to look the same when I last checked.

The main color is Wrath dye. It looks almost entirely similar to Brick dye, if you ask me, except that Wrath dye seems to produce a darker black in the shadow areas.

Accent color is Antique Silver, which is more muted and realistic looking than the gold that came in the starter set.

The chainmail in shadow is Midnight Rust, the darkest color I had. Turned out for the best as I like the brown tinge it has, as opposed to something more grey or black.

In a way, it is almost fun to limit oneself to the color palette one has from the dyes you get, rather than trying to buy the exact color on the auction house.

(I sold unidentified dyes for a while when they were 5-6s, but now that they’ve dropped to 4s, I’ve been tempted to just open them for the fun of it, like cracking open a collectible card game pack. You know full well that the value of what’s inside will probably degrade the moment you crack the seal, but it’s paying for the thrill of the lottery and the discovery. I have plenty of alts that can use ’em still anyway.)

I also made an interesting observation. Under best appearance settings with the shaders and all turned up, the dye color looks a fair bit different than the lowest appearance settings (no shadows, low everything) that I have on for surviving in WvW (or Lion’s Arch) without crashing out of memory after an hour.

Seems like folks with much better graphics cards and less outdated systems than mine are running around a world that looks more realistic, whereas knocking everything down low still looks decently good, but looks more stylized and dare I say it, WoW-like cartoony. Or at least, brighter colors.

I need to do more PvE soon. I’ve nearly forgotten how good Guild Wars 2 can look.