For the first time in a VERY LONG while, I actually feel like I have something achievable to do daily by myself that will build up to a desirable set of rewards in less than a month.
Over the past couple days, I’ve been watching the stats on my quick reference bauble guides with a good amount of curious interest.
Here’s World 1:
This is all very informally speaking, since the sample size is pretty small, but I found a number of things fairly intriguing nonetheless.
Interest in grinding baubles via dig and bomb locations in the SAB took a steep dive after Sep 18, when the Tequatl patch dropped. Which matches anecdotal evidence of walking into the SAB these past few days and seeing practically no one around. Nearly everyone appears to be doing their best to cram into Sparkfly Fen.
World 1 Zone 2 – The Dark Woods – appears to be the favorite for bauble farming (on normal mode, anyway.) More people appear to view just that page alone, rather than visit all three as I would have expected from the way I use it as a lazy man’s memory aid, following the link from W1-1 all the way to W2-1.
Slightly less people check the page for W1-1, which could be because it doesn’t have too many baubles to offer, or simply because there aren’t that many in what is a small zone, so it can be remembered offhand without needing to refer to a guide.
About 2/3 of the people who check the guide follow on to W1-3, which is also fairly decent in bauble yields.
What I did find shocking was the stats for W2-1.
World 2 Zone 1
Yes, less than HALF of the people who bothered to check the guide for the least popular zone of World 1, or less than a quarter of the people who are content to farm the most popular zone, visit World 2 Zone 1.
The drop is THAT noticeable.
Folks, you can easily get 500 baubles from a run through of World 2-1, plus two bauble bubbles from completion. And the rapids has not been hellish since Piranha Bend got tweaked.
If the quantity of baubles and the level of difficulty aren’t turning people away, then… what is?
My best guess is available time and the perceived size and reputation of the World 2 zones.
Some folks may simply not have enough time every night to run through four zones, and find one complete world a nice stopping point, perhaps. Or they simply run just one zone (1-2).
World 2 zones also seem very big on first glance and they might have been once bitten twice shy after having given World 2 a try when the SAB came out two weeks ago.
It almost makes me wish I could be a fly on the wall when Colin Johanson and Josh Foreman ran their datamining stats to see the real numbers frequenting the SAB… just to see if there’s any correlation between mine and theirs.
Funny, huh? I think it goes to show where the bulk of the majority interest lies. Ascended rewards, loot pinata, epic boss fights, the newest content.
The SAB now seems like a has-been – everyone hardcore must have already swept up the cosmetic rewards they wanted, finished their achievements and moved on like locusts.
Which is pretty sad, because some more quality-of-life improvements have snuck into the SAB since the Tequatl Rising patch and haven’t been talked about or highlighted as much.
Only the slowpoke loners like me who chose to give up the first few days of Camping @ Tequila (Only To Fail in Overflows) in favor of peacefully plodding through World 2 Tribulation Mode and finish the last achievements have been able to appreciate them.
Dart traps have gotten SO MUCH FAIRER.
Instead of a barely visible extrusion covered by a checkerboard red and black smooth texture that absolutely does not suggest that anything could shoot out of it, the new upgraded dart traps do contain little tube-like protrusions that suggest projectiles.
The less visible sneaky traps are also highlighted by a green glow that significantly improves visibility, especially the evil little ones that were originally hidden between two tall grey blocks, whose only warning of their presence was when they one-shot you in the back, producing many “WTF”s.
I felt that this made the top area of the grey block puzzle a lot more palatable. (Tribulation Cloud was the main pain in the butt, which is as it should be, in terms of difficulty modes.)
Gong pagoda is still slightly annoying, but not unbearably so. I even managed the full gong run on the first try (even though I was prepared to die like Dulfy suggested and wait for the gong to hit bottom), which may have been a lucky stroke of latency and reflexes, or subconsciously helped by the dart traps being ever so slightly easier to see and thus react more appropriately to.
As for World 2 Tribulation Mode feedback, the major nuisances were the latency-sensitive areas as expected.
World 2-2’s trampoline sequence near the end with the red pillars caused a not insignificant amount of rage as I simply couldn’t get sufficient momentum bouncing on the edge and moving forward. I had to bounce in three jump sequence and move forward/twist the camera fast enough and PRAY I got enough height. Many many deaths.
(Don’t get me started on the poison waterfall and lilypads of World 1-3’s shop. I haven’t revisited it since the last patch, but that one was CRUEL to any latency whatsoever. Easily 120+ deaths before somehow getting in. If GW2 tracks player deaths in map locations, I’m sure that would have turned up like a major hotspot like a raging forest fire on a satellite map. I even deactivated virus scanning and firewalls for that, in the hope of not additionally slowing down -any- packets between me and the server beyond geographic location lag.)
World 2-3’s main trouble spot was the area with ice spikes and blowing gatekeepers where there are two bananas and a tricky path to skate/hop across with No Clouds blocking the way. Not sure if it was latency again or just lack of control over ice, but it was very easy to slide a few millimeters too far and not be able to stop in time, or end up with that oh-so-enjoyable experience of dying in mid-air when you -think- you’ve cleared the lethal obstacle but the server tells you, “NOPE” half a second later.
Eventually, persistence got me through.
I’d talk about the zone being nearly entirely dark as one of those fake difficulty schticks, but players learned how to get around that long ago. I took one look, jumped around for fun for a couple minutes with a torch to enjoy the ambience, then promptly adjusted gamma. Turnabout is fair play, after all.
The only downside of that was that I used the in-game graphics options settings for it, which can only be done in full-screen mode, and that screwed up a three-hour first attempt when I alt-tabbed out to watch how Dulfy jumped the clouds to get to the secret shops where Moto’s Finger is available.
I apparently carelessly left myself in the path of a bouncing goat, which promptly must have knocked me off, then pure chance must have left me out of lives and chucked me into the continue screen. Which then must have run itself down while I was still blissfully watching and rewinding Youtube video in complete ignorance.
I switched back to find myself in the lobby of the Super Adventure Box, rapidly gaining a mood that was distinctly NOT as bright and sunny as the surrounding environment. Went to bed completely stumped by what had happened and only put two and two together later.
The next night, I only took two hours to get back to that point, with no need to refer back to the video, so there’s something to be said for practice.
I’m also pleased to report that this slow learner has finally figured out how to dodge the Storm Wizard’s charge after reading a bunch of forum tips. Turns out my issue was being too concerned with keeping track of where the wizard was and always having the camera swiveled to keep him in view. (I have tank tendencies, situational awareness, y’know?!)
Keeping two trapeziums away and staying near the edge, reflecting his attack and then immediately swiveling to run away along the edge without ever looking back is all it took.
It was trickier trying to figure out what to do with a yellow skin. My guardians are fire-Blood Legion themed (never gonna let that fiery dragon sword go) and blue holographic-themed respectively. I was fairly happy with their look ages ago.
Eventually the warrior alt volunteered. He’s -supposed- to be Iron Legion and has blue-and-grey metal themed armor to match, but he’s been moonlighting in a Flame Legion disguise in his berserker gear. Perhaps too much so given the number of times I keep getting targeted when doing CoF path 2 during the assassin-clearing stage.
Maybe the 8-bit axe will help distinguish him a little more from the NPCs.
I overwrote a Zenith Reaver skin for that, so it’s really a “too many skins, too few characters” kind of deal.
The green greatsword is still sitting in the bank. I don’t have a real clue of what to do with it. Maybe the asura can use it at some point once I figure out what other stats I can use. I already have two greatswords in his invisible bag… (and two staffs, and a hammer, and a scepter and focus…)
WTB: savable skins and wardrobe/gear switching capabilities.
I believe I owe all of you a post about the thing I enjoyed most in this update’s Super Adventure Box.
No lives consumed. No grinding a million baubles. No juggling with a dozen skills and items. No piss-poor annoying knockback. No grousing about how latency makes timed portions harder.
Just the cheerful unadulterated joy of figuring out how to get here and dance.
In case you were not aware, the lobby of the SAB is a lot bigger than it seems on first glance.
A little judicious exploration will reveal a subterranean space.
With an extremely odd feature.
A little logical extension brings you to where you’ll find a number of people like to perch.
And further extension from there brings you into the clouds. With cannons.
It’s funny, they run on the same principle as the flowers and lightning crystals that shoot you from place to place. That is to say, they’re twitchy, sensitive to latency and not altogether that accurate. Which makes reaching certain clouds with the checkpoint flags on them rather a pain.
But somehow, climbing into the barrel of a cannon and being shot into the air as a rolled up ball of heavy armor spiky doom is SO MUCH FUN.
Y’all owe it to yourselves to give it a try too, if you haven’t already.
It makes finding the genie in the game only a pale second coolest thing.
The Konami Code on the rock is an amusing easter egg.
It leads to an interesting mini-story that grounds the SAB back in the GW2 world. I liked finding the new lab open where none existed before.
It’s a tiny reminder that it’s actually possible to permanently change the GW2 landscape if so desired.
In the lab, you get to overhear little conversation snippets that suggest that Moto broke away from this krewe some time ago, before appearing once more with the fully functioning and sophisticated Super Adventure Box, which leaves you to wonder about what happened in the iterim. Did he get any help with this technology, fer instance?
You learn that there was another original Adventure Box, developed in the past, which was a lot less portable than the technology of today. This krewe borrows some of its schematics to use as a recording device for their Somno-Scholar, which is an attempt to induce learning while sleeping.
Again, there are some implications that are not outright said, but fun to speculate on. The technology this krewe is using is still fairly chunky in size, we might compare it to a PC in our world. Moto seems to be running around with the equivalent of a highly sophisticated smartphone, just one portal that leads into an 8-bit virtual reality creation?
Where, too, might the original Adventure Box be located if we extrapolate backwards and compare the size of a mainframe of old to a PC of today?
Well, there IS an abandoned Proxemics Lab that guilds have been running about in today. It’s ostensibly a place where someone was studying intelligence and learning capabilities of Skritt subjects by throwing them in a giant maze.
It’s a stretch and I personally doubt they’re related beyond being very big in size and not at all portable, but who knows.
Also, on following the instructions of the Genie in the Box and in the metagame quest for achievement get, you end up being the scoundrel who does something to their test of the Somno-Scholar device, which leads to a cutscene.
It ends up scrambling this guy’s brains a little, but again, there are some interesting implications to speculate on further.
Like, why would anyone go through the trouble of making this a cutscene unless there was an important story development in here somewhere?
There’s a faint hint of it being potentially possible to touch the Eternal Alchemy like Scarlet was supposed to have done in the short story posted on Anet’s website. Except he didn’t, thanks to your interference. On someone’s directions. Whoever that someone is. The guy is convinced it’s a prank by Moto, his old rival. Moto claims complete ignorance when you ask him.
And whether there are any lasting side effects or unforeseen neural re-programming from his experience is an open question.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
This, my friends, is why it is important to have properly graduated levels of difficulty.
There are all kinds of people from all walks of life and ages playing our game. That is one of the awesome things about it.
Some day, this kid is gonna crack Tribulation, but she would not have gotten there without the intervening modes capturing her attention and helping her have fun while learning.
Infantile should not be as hard as Normal should not be as hard as Tribulation.
Stop demanding for difficulty increases across the board just so you can show off how l33t you are.
Tribulation Mode – World 1 Zone 1
This zone was where I started meditating and musing on the definition of “hard” or “difficult” as I jumped, died, respawned x 100.
You may be surprised, but I rather liked it and was enjoying myself doing so.
With the ICC, of course. It is a must on Tribulation Mode IF you want to play it as intended, rather than just look up a guide and follow someone else’s route for the sake of efficiency and just getting to the end. In which case, some patient continue coin grind would probably get you through.
Part of it is mindset and expectation. I expect and accept that Tribulation Mode is built for life-squandering trial and error to find the safe path, having been forewarned about it.
In the same way that I -don’t- expect and accept that Normal Mode will nom lives like Super Meat Boy. Especially with a previous expectation set by prior zones of a certain difficulty.
The other thing you may not know about me is that I can get into a certain obsessive “mapping” frame of mind.
In my old MUD, I once bemused an immortal who had made a maze he thought was too large to be mapped by giving it a systematic go, knowing what I did of how MUD mazes were constructed.
A room is defined with a number, then exits in all cardinal directions are linked to other numbers. The maze could be made more difficult by having a room flagged to periodically randomize which room was linked with which direction, but the list of linked rooms generally did not change unless he had tweaked the code.
As long as each room could be marked in some way with something unique, it was just a matter of drawing little squares, numbering them, and lines pointing in all directions, ready to put numbers next to them as one went in each direction and checked the room.
A mage character could create free little balls of light. I made 200, stuck them in my bag, and began dropping them. Room 1, one ball. Room 2, two balls. Unsoweiter. Making more balls as necessary.
It was mostly data collection, as the dropped balls would be wiped when the MUD next reset and the maze would be featureless once again. But dammit, I had the time and the insane curiosity had taken hold of me to see JUST how many rooms he had made and linked together.
My count was 198 rooms, if you must know.
I never did get around to actually linking up the maze, though I did discover that some rooms appeared to be fixed and didn’t rotate directions over time.
Actual application? Zero.
But I was just really happy both systematically mapping in meditative fashion and increasing the sum total of my knowledge and understanding (and being considered nuts in the process.)
Tribulation Mode triggered that part of me with a vengeance.
The discovery, mapping and exploration part. It rarely gets its day in the sun.
I simply wasn’t satisfied following a single safe path and hitting the end ASAP. I had to know it all.
My dream? Every single flower, every single trap and barrier all neatly demarcated. Once the danger zones are clearly indicated, by definition, all and any alternate routes would show up as well.
My artistic capability being fairly non-existent, I can’t quite draw a top down view of the zone and label stuff, though I wanted to, quite badly. I contented myself with taking loads of screenshots, constructing a mental map and promising myself I’d come back with video footage to collect more data.
I’ll probably run out of time before ever getting it done. And probably go into a panic in the last week and just consult guides to get the rest over with, but it was the thought that made me glad to keep minesweeping with my body, on purpose.
Ooh, there’s lava here? Where exactly does it start or stop? *flings self into the depths* *rotates camera eagerly*
Of course, the ICC and the checkpoints help. If there was longer iteration time or a punishing penalty per attempt, I’d leave it for someone else to do.
There was one section in zone 1 though that I DID NOT LIKE. As you might guess, this was a timing dependent section, with a sequence of jumping rocks that bounced up and down and caused knockback into bottomless abysses.
I was keenly aware of my latency yet again, as I would make it to the next platform, then get knocked off as the rock behind me came down and impacted, in a manner very similar to how knockback hit me when water spouts evaporated under me. Again and again.
I was desperately scrabbling to find as safe a spot to stop as possible so that the number of required jumps in tandem could be reduced and client and server could catch up. Even the safe spot was 50/50, sometimes I’d hit it and be safe, other times the knockback of the rock WAY behind me as it came down would kick me off regardless.
This is Tribulation Mode though, so you won’t find me on the forums criticizing it as long as one attempt in a hundred or so works. I was hitting slightly more success than that, and the checkpoint was just ahead, so I just barreled through 30 lives or so trying.
After that, it was back to peaceful trial-and-error mapping again.
And so it came to pass that as I was rezzing for the umpteen time, having missed a jump by a hair yet again, that I started to wonder just what other people got out of Tribulation Mode being “hard” and whether they were justified in feeling superior as a result.
Also, was it really hard? And in what way?
Other people are, no doubt, better at jumping than I am. Now, they could have better, faster reflexes. I passed the twenties quite some time ago, and I hear competitive Starcraft players retire by 25+. They could have better ping. (They probably do.) They might have better computers offering them faster framerates. (They definitely do.) Maybe they play a character with more accurate feet placement. Perhaps they just have an instinctual knack for judging where invisible hitboxes will come down.
On the other hand, I feel confident in saying that a lot more people would consult someone else’s guide and content themselves with precise execution, than would willingly throw themselves into the task of mapping for full understanding. My failing at instinctive jumps leads to a lot of analysis – it’s become almost second nature to look from corner to corner of each jump, eyeballing the closest distance and using that line to make the jump, my charr jumps are probably a lot better than someone playing a human who doesn’t jump on a regular basis, and so on. I probably have superhuman levels of patience and persistence at times.
What makes one superior to another? Whose measuring stick are we using? What is this obsession with measurement, anyhow?
The process of discovery in Tribulation Mode is time-consuming. I happen to be able to spare the time. Does that make me superior to someone who cannot spare that time? Does it make Tribulation Mode “hard?”
Tribulation Mode requires precision jumping, sometimes with near-pixel perfect accuracy, and sometimes it has to be done in a time-critical fashion. If someone can pull that off more consistently than another, does it make them superior? Even if the advantage is only via geographic location, rather than actual reflexes?
Tribulation Mode is costly (in terms of lives) when you are trial-and-erroring for the first time or make a mistake. You are required to either prepare for this via grinding baubles in other modes (spending time) or put down the equivalent of US$7.50 in either real money or in-game currency. Is any method to be considered superior to another?
People who can put up with Tribulation Mode are demonstrating high levels of patience and persistence. Does it make them better than someone else who chooses not to, or can’t be bothered to do the same?
Honestly, I don’t think so.
And I really don’t get those people who think that achieving this somehow makes them feel special or more prestigious to wave a shiny green or yellow sword around.
How in the world is your self-worth predicated on restricting what other people can or can’t achieve?
Oh, and when you say you want “harder” or “more difficult” content, kindly specify if you want it time-consuming, reflex-based, latency-reliant, stat-dependent, group-required or some other way of excluding a group of people from said content.
P.S. Here, before the inevitable retort of “Sure, you say all that because you can’t do it. Nyah nyah!”
P.P.S. Now I’ll grant you one thing. If you just say you want an option available, because you enjoy the process of defeating a challenge in some manner, while the alternative of easy mode leaves you bored. I support adjustable, variable difficulty to reach the optimum state of flow.
But hard in what manner? Something that takes multiple repeated tries before success? Something that takes a group or social media to puzzle out together? Dependent on what, luck? The mystic forge does that. Skill? What does that comprise of, exactly? How many hours spent striving for it is reasonable?
And I will still make fun of you if you ask for a more special reward for doing it “the hard way” because you deserve it.