GW2: You Get No XP For Running Away

But you get tons from attempted genocide...

This isn’t a leveling guide per se.

I’m not teaching any shortcuts, efficient paths to circle around or profitable events or other things people do to SPEED their way through levels. That’s power-leveling. Such abnormal rates are best left to veterans to figure out for themselves when they want to level their alts (eg. via crafting and tomes of knowledge and alt-switching in dungeons and twinking out an alt, etc.)

This is an exploration of the set of questions that seem to pop up on Reddit or the official forums every so often from inexperienced or newbie players:

Why am I leveling so slowly?

Help! I’ve completed all the hearts and mapped the entire zone and I’m still not the correct level to go to the next zone! Or visit my personal story!

Versus my own personal leveling experience, both then (at launch) and now, where this problem simply doesn’t exist.

To sate my own curiosity, I thought I’d make an effort to track the source of where my XP was coming from, as I leveled an engineer in the Plains of Ashford from level 12 to 15 for fun.

(Yes, I could skip with an Experience Scroll, but I enjoy the experience of leveling and wandering through a map.)

Two things, first of all.

The NORMAL rate of experience in GW2 is a level an hour, give or take 15-30mins.

GW2 has a flat, not exponential, leveling curve. In theory, it takes just as long to go from level 11-12 as 78-79. (Though you’ll find in practice, it’s easier to rush through the later levels from accumulated power and ample sources of xp.)

If one is used to other games where you can hit level 10 in under an hour or something like that, it’s NOT going to happen in GW2 on your first character unless one adopts the more abnormal methods of leveling, and those won’t teach you anything about how the game or combat works, nor how to play your character and class well.

The next thing I’d advise is the value of prep time.

The following method of leveling presupposes that you will take the time every now and again to keep all your gear current and that you’ve experimented with the class you’re playing long enough to be familiar with various weapons and skills.

That you’ve developed a build and style of play that you’re comfortable with, where you can actually kill a normal mob in 5 seconds or less. (Give or take a few seconds.)

-Take- the time to learn how.

Why do I consider this so important?

Because if you CAN’T, your first impulse will be always to run away from mobs, in order not to get locked into an endless fight which takes forever, or where you might die and end up back at a waypoint.

You get no xp for running away.

You are not going to level up fast by avoiding fights and skipping everything. (Unless you just want to trade real money for gems, convert that into gold and craft your way to 80. All power to you, then.)

Here’s an actual example to demo what I do:

(Obviously, this is not the only way to level. It’s not the fastest method by far, it uses no special boosters and such, but I believe this is an -affordable- way of leveling normally and enjoying the process.)

Preparation: A leisurely 20-30 min, because I’m not hurrying to break any records, just showing how I do it in the course of normal play.

engi-preprep

Logging into my level 12 engineer alt reveals that her equipment has gotten a little outdated at level 6 and under, when she’s hit level 12.

Time to visit the nearby town of Smokestead and the trading post.

I set up a preliminary broad filter of level 8-12 Fine (blue) equipment to check which is the closest level range that has Power stats.

tp-browsing

(To save my mind and too much scrolling, I only look for one type of armor, in this case, boots.)

I sort by price and notice that they’re all in the affordable 1-3 silver range (which is good, I try not to buy overpriced stuff and would rather look for the dropped equipment level ranges which have ample supply).

The closest to my level, with Power stats, is 11. Perfect.

tp-specificsearch

We proceed to narrow down the search to level 11-12, and swap between all armor locations to buy the correct weight class of armor. Medium, in this case, for an engineer.

(TP improvements to actually search by appropriate armor weight class can’t come soon enough.)

We can also look for jewelery by searching for Trinkets. Again, buy whatever’s closest to your level that gives Power, assuming it’s affordable. (If it’s not, it’s also possible to trawl the wiki and look for karma vendors that sell Power jewelery that is closest in level, but eh, that’s too much effort for me, personally. I have a crafter, and tons of stockpiles, so I craft it if I don’t want to buy it.)

Yes, this presupposes that a newbie has enough money to buy decent gear.

The solution is to gather and SELL all the things, especially on the TP.

Buy all harvesting tools from the vendor and go around harvesting nodes as you level. As gear you can’t use falls into your inventory, TP it off. Don’t sell to a buy order already sitting there, set the price and wait.

In my little leveling experiment for this post, I sold off all the copper ore, green wood logs, blue and white drops, etc. at the lowest sell order, just to see what a newbie might receive, and earned 40 silver without real difficulty. This can pay for decent equipment from the TP, and I didn’t even check each piece of gear to see if someone was sneakily posting stuff for a couple silvers cheap to flip and turn a profit that way.

tp-runes

This next part is the closest to twinking as it gets.

The idea is that we want as much Power for our stats as possible. More Power, more dps, less time taken to kill a mob, more xp/time and you won’t be tempted to run around a mob rather than just cut your way through it.

Search for “Minor Rune of” and look for all the runes with +10 Power on the first rune application. We will buy one each of a different type – the cheap ones – and then stick ’em onto every armor slot we have. Once you can wear helm and shoulders, that makes +60 Power. Every little bit helps.

Search for “Minor Sigil of Bloodlust” and if it’s affordable, buy one for your weapon too. As you kill stuff, this builds up even more Power to kill things.

I used to like to put a minor sigil of speed on too, to give swiftness as we kill our way through mobs and make running around faster – but the price has shot up to 8 silver currently for whatever unknown reason. I don’t need to be fast THAT badly. Yes, I am cheap.

(At higher levels, one can move on to Major Runes and Sigils once one can put ’em on one’s gear.)

tp-purchases

We finish our prep with a nice and cheap way to get an XP bonus.

Cheap consumables. That also preferably help us to kill things.

One can look up the GW2 wiki for food that best matches your level range, and I’m a big fan of +Power on kill foods. This is less handy for endgame folks who want an always-on boost, rather than have to always have something dead first and keep killing things within 30 seconds to maintain the buff, but when leveling, this is very easily achieved as you go through lots of small mobs, rather than big reservoirs of hp or players who won’t cooperate and die within the time limit.

And yep, more Power the merrier.

Get a food. Get a wrench. The sharpening stone tends to be less useful for raw Power, but it is cheap as hell, and adds an extra xp bonus that one may as well have on.

adventureho

Buffed to the gills, we set out on our leveling adventure!

So here’s how this works:

  • Check the map, pick a direction, probably towards an uncompleted heart, point of interest (POI) or waypoint (WP).
  • Head that way with minimal reference to the map, killing ANY mob in your way, red or yellow.
  • If you see an event, go towards it and do it.
  • If there’s a gathering node in your minimap, go harvest it.
  • When you eventually arrive at your destination, complete it and pick a new direction.

(Have your adventure along the way. No, adventure does not mean running past everything, not looking at it! You only get XP for skipping in dungeons!)

For instance, in this real example, I walk out of Smokestead to stumble on an active Dynamic Event involving harpies and mortars. This yields 880xp for kills, and 375xp for the event completion.

Finishing it, I head to the nearest vista to grab it, killing everything along the way. 123xp from gathering, 346xp from killing, and 90xp for the actual vista.

I’m using a rifle on this engineer, having experimented previously and decided I can operate it without too much problems. Autoattacking from range 5 times tends to kill most normal mobs. I have an immobilize on skill 2 to stop them coming nearer. I can go into close range and shotgun blast with 3 when I need extra burst damage, and pound on skill 5 to jump and AoE damage wherever my mouse cursor points to. I tend to leave 4 untouched as I don’t need such a strong knockback in regular PvE play – it’s an option to remember that one has, to be used situationally. Further AoE damage comes from F2, the tool belt bonus from having a grenade kit equipped.

When I need even moar AoE, I swap into the grenade kit and spam all the things.

Elixir H seems decent enough as a heal, and provides valuable boons both in itself and in its tool belt skill. Utility goggles is a stun break, gives fury, and its tool belt skill applies vulnerability. (Moar damage, the merrier.)

Couldn’t care less if it’s meta or not at this stage, just mostly concerned that it can kill things and that one is comfortable using it. Plenty of time to experiment as we level up further.

Next, I head into Barradin’s Vault for the POI at the end. Thankfully, the ghosts have been completed, but I shoot my way through all the veteran oozes just the same, rather than run blindly past. 35xp from gathering a mushroom, 311xp for kills, 90xp for the POI.

Onward to the next vista, and then the next WP, stumbling into Badazar’s Champion along the way.

badazar

For fun, I decide to solo it.

See, this is what teaches you the limits of your class and pushes you to improve your play. Never assume that just because it says Group Event, that it can’t be done, especially in lower level zones where mobs tend to be simpler.

If you can’t solo it, there’s something you haven’t yet learned about GW2 combat – be it dodging, how to read animations, kiting at range, how your class works, etc.

It turns out, that Badazar’s Champion can be shot quite safely from range, with only one big attack that he will shoot at you. This is telegraphed by him drawing back his staff and then thrusting it out with a lightning bolt that zaps its way toward you. DODGE when he draws back his staff, and you’ll EVADE his lightning bolt quite handily.

Now, if you don’t have ready access to Vigor to regenerate back endurance, you will run out of endurance on the third attack. This is a perfect time to figure out what other class skills you have that can be used to absorb it. In this particular engineer’s case, I just toughed it out by throwing on a random boom (hopefully it turned out to be regen or protection) and healing it up with the heal skill. A guardian can “block” this, for example, and so on.

41xp for the dead champion (with a champion bag that yielded 1 silver 26 copper), and 396xp for the event completion.

On and on through the Plains of Ashford, from one waypoint or POI to another, doing all the events along the way, and massacring every mob within view.

On the whole, people don’t kill mobs very frequently, and this, I suspect, is where they are losing out on hefty chunks of xp.

Especially if the mob has been sitting untouched for a long time, in an out-of-the-way place, and has loads of bonus xp. Yes, killing them and hoovering up the xp is your reward for exploring off the beaten path.

excel-xp

The final result:

3 levels in 2h 45min, at a leisurely pace which included one merchant/TP break of 10-15+ minutes, sucking up my food time, plus me stopping every now and then to record numbers down on an Excel sheet.

45.1% of my XP came from killing things (both along the way – about 2/3 of it – and in events – about 1/3 of it.)

The event completion reward yielded 22.5% of the total XP gain.

Heart completion reward yielded 11.1% of total XP gain.

The other stuff, gathering, reviving NPCs, visiting vistas and WPs/POIs were much smaller contributions individually, but combined, make up the remaining 21.4%.

And I still haven’t even map completed all of Plains of Ashford yet. Or touched Personal Story. Or crafted. All of which are extra sources of xp.

 

Now I’m sure if someone else measured their XP rates using a different style of play – say,  race from heart to heart, doing the bare minimum, and covering a much wider map area, I daresay their proportion of XP from heart completion will be much higher.

But here’s the thing: folks are -complaining- that they’ve run out of map and places to go, that they’re leveling super slowly and getting their asses beat up by mobs their level or 1-2 higher (which are perfectly doable if you take the time to figure out what weapons skills are the most damaging and how you’re going to mitigate damage), and are getting told to go visit all the other starter zones like some twisted version of the Grand Tyrian Marathon or something.

You don’t HAVE to do it that way if you don’t want to.

ahhghosts

Moral of the story: You can, and should, be killing all the things.

If you’re not sure how, EXPERIMENT and ASK.

And you’ll handle your character a lot more confidently when you get to level 80, and hopefully, have some exciting adventures along the way.

Advertisements

GW2: Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat?

aka The Dilemma of Playing Realistic Female Characters in an MMO

I made my female Norn warrior last night, having decided to use some of that gold for a character slot after all.

Immediately, I was of mixed minds whether I should be keeping her.

This isn’t just the standard complaint of boobs and skin peeping out of convenient holes in armor that would be delicious for an attacker to stick a sword into, though.

Yes, we know GW2 suffers from a “first impressions” presentation problem.

defaultfemwarrior

The default appearance for several kinds of female professions delights in showing off skin and boob plates. This one’s not too bad though, it harkens back to the old Jora look (though she herself seemed designed to be one of those pinup girl faces of GW1) and you should see the female human light armor problems.

I’ve always been cool with that because as a well-educated GW2 fan, I am aware that this game has options beyond the barbie doll sex appeal look that is immediately attractive to the most populous youthful male demographic.

What I didn’t quite realize was how tricky reaching those options would be, while still looking like a character I’d want to play.

The default face and hair settings started making me a little depressed because a majority of them seemed tilted toward “female human” cute and perky.

amianornorhuman

OMG. DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A NORN TO YOU?

The body defaults weren’t any better.

starvingorpudgy

The choice seemed to be between various shades of anorexic or downright plump.

(I’ll at least give Anet kudos for including the last option, though it wasn’t at all appealing to imagine myself running a giant fat lady character through the world and wondering what kinds of whispers I was going to get from other players. While it may be an amusing side goal to get them all 72 hour banned for harassment, I would actually just want to play the game here with a character that doesn’t attract abnormal amounts of attention.)

dorkyhelmet

Let’s not even talk about how dorky the helmets look, shall we? (Where the fuck did my hair go?)

Maybe my take on the lore isn’t as strong as I’d like, but I always envisioned most Norns to be big, trending toward the muscular, possibly Amazonian in stature.

Anyhow, because that is the type of character I am trying to make on a -roleplaying- server that values a lore-appropriate look, LET ME make the mannish, not immediately pretty and possibly somewhat homely, stern lady warrior concept in my head already.

I persisted. GW2 supports options. GW2’s character creation has sliders. There must be a way.

A great deal of slider pulling later, creating some of the awful-looking faces possible in the manner of most unskilled players operating sliders in character creation (ok, at least GW2 has that option for scarily ugly if you want it – click the link only if you’re prepared to see what greets people zoning into the Heart of the Mists on Tarnished Coast, they’re pretty famous), trying to get the closest I could to the character concept in my head, I eventually settled on a vaguely piratical, square-faced, stern-jawed appearance, complete with scars and bandana.

yarrillmakeyouwalktheplank

I still wasn’t sure whether I’d achieved believably realistic, or just plain fucking ugly.

(Something about the distance of the eyes still nags at me slightly, but I’ll be damned if I go through all that slider pulling in character creation again.)

You might ask, why was I so obsessed with how “I” looked.

Good question, I kept asking myself that too.

I think I just knew that walking around as a tall giant character draws eyes, and every last detail on the model is a lot easier to see on a Norn than say… a human or sylvari, let alone an asura. If something looks “off,” it’s just going to be a lot more obvious than say, some lil guy’s three toes sticking out of shoes that don’t fit.

Then I landed in the world and hit the Norn problem. An outsized avatar runs slowly. It also runs like a human female, complete with little dainty dance of the hands, that on a giant character make it look like a waddle.

I was already having second and third thoughts about going through with this.

I ended up taking her into the Heart of the Mists to check both the PvP locker to see if future skins held any hopes of looking good (minus about half of the options for ridiculous skin and boob designs, minus another quarter or third of the options for being plain butt ugly, there were a -few- left that seemed to hold some promise) and test out the combat animations for various weapons (which I have to say, I rather liked. Or found quite passable indeed.)

One of the reasons for why I wanted a Norn Female character is because they’re voiced by Claudia Christian (she of Babylon 5 fame.) I wanted to hear that voice acting through my personal story.

But I was really not sure if I was okay running around with an oddly proportioned giant lady towering over everyone in towns like a bad B movie.

Since the character was already made, I eventually decided that I’d take her at least up to level 10, where the personal story would drop a black lion key I could hoard and see if things got better or if she grew on me, or if I was going to continue feeling awkward and generally “not feeling it” for the character.

loreofgiants

It wasn’t so bad among other Norns in Hoelbrak or Wayfarer Foothills, though I developed a habit of running up to every NPC to measure my height and check if I looked out of the ordinary against other Norn females. (What the hell was happening to me? Why this sudden obsession about my self-image?)

I even met a Jotun giant who was taller than all the Norn who told some interesting stories about the Age of the Giants, of which Norn and Jotun shared a certain common heritage apparently. Thinking about it that way made me feel better, that I was part of a race of giants, rather than an awkward over-sized female human that vaguely resembled Xena and could look fat at certain unflattering camera angles.

None of which was probably going to help me the moment I hit a human proportioned town or have nosy asura looking up my skirt though.

Still dancing with the idea of deletion, I decided to hit the Hall of Monuments to see if a good (armor) skin and dye job could help.

tookyoulongenoughtogethere

It did.

Oh my fucking lord, how it did.

I suppose some of the problem was that the lowbie heavy armor was plain ugly, no matter what character you put it on.

I put on heritage armplates, leggings and boots, which gave me plate armor on all the extremities you’d expect a tall giant lady to have in contact with shorter beings in combat (also functions great to boot a nosy asura with), and left the top in chainmail for better flexibility (the better to reach over and thwap you with a gigantic sword.)

I was also surprised how good the default Ebony dye came out on this particular armor for Norns. It’s almost a true black. (On all my other characters, it’s always been a more dark grey.)

As everyone knows, black is slimming.

Add on Stone and Matte for shiny metal highlights, some Tarnished Steel for variation, and the end result is something I could probably live with.

surprisinglymuchbetter

At least for another 10-20 levels, where I might re-evaluate again once I get to non-Norn proportioned settlements.

Still can’t do anything about the dorky helmets though.

*Hides them all*

CoH: Where Do We Draw the Line on Selling Power?

I’m usually not a person that has issues with microtransactions and cash shops on a fundamental level. I’ll look carefully at the cash shop before I start playing a game, to make sure I’m comfortable with the stuff in it, and how the rationale for making the company a profit is derived, and if I’m okay with that, then I don’t mind playing the game.

But we’re seeing something dangerous happen in the cases of both Lord of the Rings Online and City of Heroes.

The gradual sneaky addition of items to the store to test player limits.

And I think what the devs are finding out is that if you introduce a distasteful substance in small amounts, people acclimatise to the taste and rationalize it off to the point that outsiders start raising an eyebrow at what they’re accepting.

Hell, I’m starting to feel a bit like a guinea pig here. It’s like the devs are saying, “LOL, let’s see how far some of these players will go, how much they are willing to pay for phenomenal cosmic power!”

Where exactly do we draw the line?

When is it the time to say “No, this is unacceptable, I won’t play this game as is” and walk away from the game, despite all the temptations of content and prior commitment to it?

From here on, I’ll be talking about City of Heroes as I have less in-depth experience with LOTRO’s store, and I’ll be talking about my personal reactions and feelings in an attempt to figure out where my personal line is. Your mileage may vary.

Things have reached a sort of crisis point in my head with the latest and sneakiest introduction to the Paragon Store, Power Amplifiers.

They come in three flavors: Offense Amplifier, Defense Amplifier and Survival Amplifier.

They last for 1, 4 or 8 hours depending on how much real world money you paid. I only looked at the cost for the 1 hour one, which is 80 paragon points, or $1 USD. I think you can extrapolate from there for the 4 or 8 hours, minus the odd buck or few cents for a discount.

They offer a decent, middling buff. I wouldn’t say it is outright breaking the game in terms of direct power given. But I wouldn’t say it is a negligible buff either.

The most controversial is possibly the defense amplifier, which also offers mag4 mez protection, the equivalent of mez resistance for squishy classes that can’t get it off a normal power toggle like the melee armored classes.

I’m trying to figure out why the introduction of these items to the store disturbs me so.

It doesn’t help that my line has been fogged up and disrupted by all the stuff like Super Packs, which I sorta kinda disapprove of on a moral basis, but confess to finding them addictively fun as long as taken non-seriously in moderation (which I -think- I am capable of budget limiting for myself, but I don’t really know. Isn’t that the slippery slope all gamblers go down?)

The common forums retort is, “Look, they’re optional. You don’t -have- to buy them. What do you care what other people do with their money? The presence of these items on the store shouldn’t affect the way you play, just don’t buy them, leave it as a choice for other people to give money to Paragon Studios so that they can continue development of this cool game we all enjoy.”

But somehow, the presence of the items on the store does affect the way I play.

I can understand EvilGeko’s point here about them cheapening the feeling of having “earnt” something in-game.

But that’s not exactly my beef with the items, it doesn’t quite resonate with me that way. It frankly disturbs me more that other players are so accepting of the items, that they think and feel that it won’t have any effect on the way they play whatsoever because they’re not in competition with other players.

Maybe it’ll help if I start with a story. My first ever encounter with “microtransactions” as it were. It was a MUD. Medievia MUD to be precise, back in the mists of time. I was bored with my regular MUD and had started a habit of MUD hopping (which is kinda like MMO juggling) to sample different innovative systems and maybe, just maybe, find a new MUD that I was interested in and could invest time in learning and playing.

Medievia MUD struck a lot of notes with me. It was big and in-depth. There were systems I had never encountered before, like trade running from place to place, dragon kills and eggs, even their questing system was all different and interesting. My trial alt was about waist-deep into the game and almost ready to commit, when I had the (mis)fortune? to talk frankly with a veteran on the ideal gear for each body location. He gave a lot of helpful suggestions and I was eagerly taking notes on stuff I had to collect, things I had to kill…

…Then matter-of-factly, he said. “Ok, for the two neck locations, the best are two ‘donation’ necklaces that you can buy by donating $50 to Medievia MUD.”

WHOA, friend. Hold your horses there.

I honestly forget if it was $25 for a necklace each and 50 bucks in total. Or if they were $50 each.

All I knew were two things. $50 to play a MUD was more money than I could ever conceive of spending on a MUD at the time – the huge chunk of investment was just inconceivable.

And I loathed with great emotion that the guy was so matter-of-fact about it. It was the standard. It was the baseline. If you want to be competitive, this here is what you’re going to have to do, what you’re going to have to pay.

The game exists. It was a payment model that was doing fine by them. But it wasn’t a game for me. At the time, I was not willing to pay that sum to merely to achieve baseline performance in order to explore the systems that MUD had. There were other free MUDs out there, and I would not be playing any “pay” MUDs.

So then and there (after thanking the veteran naturally and parting ways,) I logged out of the MUD and never came back.

In contrast, nowadays, I’m paying for two subscriptions to A Tale in the Desert. That’s $28 a month. I can afford it now. I’m paying that sum to achieve, how do I put it, “solo” baseline performance in order to explore the systems this MMO has.

You can get by with one character if you are sociable, join groups, are part of a guild, that sort of thing. I’m willing to pay a higher premium for the convenience of not having to wait on another person for a number of things.

They sell vanity cash items like cat pets with no substantial in-game effect or bonuses. I don’t begrudge if people buy them. It doesn’t change the overall baseline of player power, and it gives money to the devs to keep the niche game alive – which it is seriously struggling with these past few years, to be really honest.

Nor do I mind the items sold by Realm of the Mad God in their store. Most of the stuff sold for real money are vanity items. Clothing colors. And you lose them if you die, so it is temporary. You can buy a permanent pet (as long as you store the item that gives you the pet in the vault) but the pet is just for looks. I have no issue with cosmetic stuff in stores.

They have keys that unlock dungeons, but at the cost they’re selling for, it’ll have to be someone with lots of spare cash and little patience buying them. Again, I have no issue with these, mostly because there is an alternate in-game way to get the keys, just kill things and hope for a random drop. In essence, though the keys unlock the possibility of killing a big bad boss for loot, they are a time convenience item to speed up the same thing you can already achieve in game.

They have items that give a temporary boost to stats. The closest to selling power, as it were. But they are seriously temporary. Like 30 seconds temporary or less. Which would make them only valuable on very rare occasions, like killing a big boss and trying to do enough damage to qualify for loot…

…Okay, I’m finding it hard to just say that I’m perfectly okay with these. Let’s put it this way. At my current baseline, I do not see the importance of buying these buffs for real money yet. As such, it is not affecting my gameplay or playstyle and I’m okay with continuing to play the game… up to the point where I discover they are a -necessary- part of the game. If, let’s say, I get all statted up and join some hardcore guild that does lots of dungeons per day, and they tell me, hey, all the pros buy these buffs so they can guarantee their loot dropping, it’s the normal thing to do. That’s probably the point where I will get really squicked out and log off and never come back.

So, here we are, back to City of Heroes, a little bit clearer on where my personal line is.

I think specifically, I have issues with two things. In-store exclusivity and player power baseline normalizing to store-bought items.

I think what disturbs me about other players being so accepting of store items is that it contributes to the normalizing of the baseline up to the level of store bought items.

(I played the Summer Blockbuster event the other day. It was quite fun and I might do a post about it soon. But I was a bit taken aback when we encountered a bug – the mission didn’t teleport us back as normal – and one of the players said, “Oh, it’s a bug. Just self-destruct, hospital and come back.” Totally matter of fact.

Except, self-destruct is a power that comes with the optional costume packs they were selling back in the day. And no doubt, it’s a cash shop power now. I don’t -HAVE- self-destruct, thank you. I didn’t see the need for the costumes or the power at the time, and I still don’t see the need now. But it raises my eyebrows when I see a player assuming that everyone has the same baseline he has.

Conveniently, I was in a part of the map where I could suicide to mobs. If not, I presume I would have to log out and back in and hope the twitchy buggy LFG turnstile system didn’t kick me out of game.)

Take Invention sets. Strictly speaking, it’s optional. You can play up to level 50 in SOs. But if you look around, especially at people doing Incarnate level content, chances are the baseline is that people are kitted out in IOs and the rare person in SOs is just that, a rarity, who isn’t numerically capable of contributing as much as someone in IOs and with set bonuses can. Even Samuel_Tow from the board forums has given in and started to figure out how to use Inventions, because the baseline of Incarnate content is set at a level that assumes you’re in them.

There’s technically optional, and there’s where the normal player baseline is. I think what I’m really not comfortable with, is the lack of choice or alternate option for achieving this baseline.

If the same amplifiers can be bought in-game with an in-game currency, or crafted out of rare items in-game, then the store option is just a time-saving shortcut for lazy people with money they don’t mind throwing away.

If the same amplifiers can be traded on the auction house, then economy takes over, and it is possible to either pay insane X amount of in-game currency or Y amount of real world currency to get them, I probably wouldn’t feel as worried. There would at least be a theoretical way to attain the amplifiers without money, even if most people are not willing to do so. I’m not 100% sure on this last point, I think I’ll have to qualify it by examining the level of buff the power awards before it meets my acceptability criteria.

As of right now though, I don’t think those Power Amplifiers meet any of my criteria.

Sadly, the game doesn’t think I’m running a subscription, I’ve just paid for a month of VIP each month from April to June, so I can’t fill out a subscription canceled survey form and explain the reasons why I’m stopping.

But the VIP access expires in the first week of July, and I’ll be stopping there for the time being.

I hope to be able to finish Night Ward and the other content I haven’t played before then.

I’m also still curious about the Battalion story and such things. Maybe I’ll renew for a month out of curiosity when content hits, despite the better part of my morals and sense.

But for now, a guy’s got to draw the line somewhere.