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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.