GW2: Tower of Nightmares – First Thoughts

I really wanted it to be more spiky and less...flowery.

Scarlet?

Again?

*sigh*

And Toxic Alliance? Really?

Could no one have come up with a better name for them? The Venomous Court, fer example.

Toxic this, toxic that, anti-toxin everywhere… I need a round of detoxification by the time I’m done with this update.

Well, so now that the hope of getting some pure krait and some Bubbles-related non-Scarlet contaminated stuff is no longer a reality, we are at least on track with the thorns/evil nightmare/Scarlet-related themes and continuing the storyline of 1001 Alternate Alliance Nights.

The biggest vibe I get from this is a Molten Alliance do-over. How Flame and Frost should have started.

  • Foreshadowing.
  • A noticeable change in the landscape.
  • Two relatively likeable characters to follow the story with. (So how many people are shipping Marjory and Kasmeer by now?)
  • Obvious dynamic events across the zones involved, not just repairing signs. Putting the bulk of activity back into the open world where it should belong.
  • Decently achievable achievements.

The new faction, besides the puke-inducing name, looks well-built.

The new krait models look good (I’m always partial to glows) and the coiling animations are sweet.

The nightmare court offshoot follows the twisted clockwork pattern of having a downed state and requiring a finisher, which kills a number of birds with the same stone – PvE folks get to show off pretty gem store finishers if they want, it ups the sophistication level of the PvE fight to something a bit more PvP-like and increases the theoretical difficulty of the faction somewhat (though with the amount of enthusiastic zerging on, it’s hard to tell as yet. We await the dungeons.)

The dreamthistle weapons are pretty sweet as well. I’m glad I’m still sitting on a Black Lion ticket, though I still have the issue of who to put it on and what weapon to upgrade. If not for being broke from regearing my thief, I’d consider upgrading my sylvari necro beyond functional althood. Oh well, always another month of accumulating more gold.

With everything so smooth and comfortable, why is it that I can’t seem to work up the enthusiasm to care very much this week?

I log in, try and get a little bit of the way towards some achievement or other, do a few Toxic Alliance DEs in Kessex, log right back out again while still telling myself that I’m not done with all the doable dailies yet and that I’ll do them… later.

Perhaps it’s having too many goals spreading my attention.

  • I’m not done with the WvW season 1 achievements, and I really hate them hanging over my head like that. I logically know they are supposed to last for 7 weeks and that I can take my time with them, but but…
  • There’s one more Mad King Says achievement that should thankfully be checked off by tonight.
  • I still haven’t decided if I should give up on the Bloody Prince mini or not. Not would mean that I should direct my attention more towards dungeon-running and gold-making, which would also conveniently increase my familiarity with more dungeons – something I do want to do and expand my repetoire beyond the CoF comfort zone.
  • There’s still Tequatl. There’s ALWAYS going to be Tequatl. Goddamn, I want that mini so fucking much. (On the bright side, I did get -one- rare aquabreather once that is for heavy armor users, which is awesome. Except I have two guardians and a warrior and I haven’t decided who to put it on yet. It’s decent gold and rares every day, regardless, for someone who can’t be arsed to use timers and chase world boss spawns.)

Maybe it’s just the other things going on in my life occupying my leisure time attention.

Playing Terraria requires a good bit of goals-planning and wiki-reading, not to mention actual building and adventuring time that would distract from GW2.

I’ve also been working on a semi-secret project that is still a work-in-progress that I hope to be able to share soon. It’s sort of GW2-related, but involves more work with the hands and time away from a computer. As it takes shape, I keep wanting to sit down with it more than grind out the next 5 pristine toxic spores.

Oh well, all in good time. I need more patience with this sort of gradual progress. I keep wanting to have everything done and finished, rather than left open and steadily worked on.

GW2: Wild Story Theory

What if…

… we will soon use the fractals to go back in time to blow up the Thaumanova Reactor ourselves, releasing the Elder Dragons’ magic upon this world…

… because if we didn’t…

the alternate consequence of the Thaumanova Reactor succeeding would have been a world that harnessed its energy and developed magitech / steampunk technology…

… resulting in a particular Mysterious Stranger who would have conquered that world as Grand High Sovereign of a Conclave (an alliance of all races for villainy?)

And might we just look this particular Mysterious Stranger in the face during the (soon-to-come?) Battle for Divinity’s Reach and find out that it is ourselves…

*chants PERSONAL Nemesis*

GW2: Shaping History With Your Vote

So, all the latest excitement both in-game in Lion’s Arch and in the Guild Wars 2 Reddit is the discussion about whether one is in #TeamGnashblade or #TeamKiel for the upcoming update of Cutthroat Politics.

Before we get partisan here, I’d just want to point out that this is an exciting development in player involvement with the Living Story. It harkens back to when one was given the choice to vote for Dwayna or Grenth in Guild Wars 1 in order to get a shiny hat, but a lot deeper.

Players get to both control the story and the direction of the game with their vote.

Players are making lasting history.

Whatever way we choose, we are giving up something in order to get something else. Choices and consequences. Meaningful decisions in gameplay.

Now for the analysis:

The hardcore in the Guild Wars 2 Reddit and the GW1 old guard appear to be all over Evon Gnashblade. The Fall of Abaddon as a fractal is a very tempting lure because it’s a link to both old GW1 lore (one of the major strengths of GW2 is being able to tie back into a long established history) and all bets are likely that it’s going to be gorgeous to have a look at Old Orr and the City of Arah before the Fall. There’s Gods and shit. How epic would that be?

As for Black Lion Keys, well, they’re a side benefit, but no one really gives a toss.

The fear of #TeamGnashblade is that Ellen Kiel may promise the ‘casuals’ and the not-interested-in-lore (the unspoken feeling is that it may in fact be a majority over those who prowl Reddit) decreased waypoint costs for a month.

How freaking tempting is that? Gold is always hard to come by and waypoint costs are a sneaky goldsink that affects everyone playing the game.

Finding out more about the Thaumanova Reactor explosion seems less appealing a fractals choice than the former as familiarity breeds contempt and a lot of people see the fire elemental in the reactor remains every day. Though again, some of the fear is that the new GW2 crowd who doesn’t appreciate the past may vote for it out of familiarity with the name. Others argue that we know a lot less about the reactor explosion, and that it may be an important crux point of recent GW2 lore, what with all the dealing with the fallout and chaotic portals and magic going awry that has been established in various zones in the game.

I just want to point out something that may be overlooked in all this fractals-focused excitement.

Let us not forget that this is part of the active and ongoing Living Story storyline.

We’re familiar with Ellen Kiel. She’s been established as a key ‘good guy’ type of character – a Lionguard who has worked with us since Southsun. She seems to have fairly good relations with Magnus and she now owns a frigging’ Aetherblade airship.

On the other hand, she is just a grunt out of nowhere and may not have the political acumen to last a day on the Captain’s Council. Then again, she managed to balance the pressing demands of the Consortium and still cater to refugee needs and be a good person on Southsun. She appears to be keen to work for fairness and balance, a reasonable deal between Lion’s Arch and the Zephyr Sanctum.

Evon Gnashblade seemingly comes out of nowhere, cast in the light of the greedy profiteering merchant owner of the Black Lion Trading Company and looks a little typecast as the ‘bad guy.’ Then again, most Charr look like bad guys, and you can’t really hold genetics against them, eh?

He’s an established citizen of Lion’s Arch and claims to be looking after the interests of Lion’s Arch first and foremost. He may end up doing a cutthroat deal with the Zephyr Sanctum to put LA (and/or himself and BLTC) first. He has no doubt plenty of backstabbing political experience to survive well on the Captain’s Council. And if he’s in charge of the Black Lion Trading Company and the Consortium are its competitors, that’s probably okay, right?

What are the things being left unsaid?

The most pressing question is why the hell Evon Gnashblade? Why him, just popping out of nowhere? Is he just a new unheralded NPC?

Except…

In the Molten Alliance denouement, the only thing known of the figure behind the alliance of dredge and Flame Legion charr, is that he or she came from a city and was a persuasive talker.  The dredge prisoner curses out a ““Lying, silver-tongued, snake-nosed trickster.”

At the end of the Aetherblade Retreat dungeon, Mai Trin says that someone else was also behind this, and that “Scarlet is going to have my noggin for screwing up.”

LOOK AT THE COLOR OF THE CLOTHING EVON WEARS.

You don't fool me. (Then again, maybe I'm Scarlet and trying to throw you all off the scent!)
You don’t fool me.

Thank you, I rest my case.

I’ll be voting for Ellen Kiel.

And if the worst happens, well, there’s a cool fractal as a consolation prize.