TSW: To Roam, and Perchance to Linger

I begin to understand why Guild Wars 2 thought it necessary to create Renown Hearts in their zones and show 100% zone completion on the map. Although I find it detracts somewhat from the pure exploration and freedom to wander (as I’ve been occasionally guilty of falling back into Achiever mode and just running about to mechanically check off Points of Interest, Skill Points and Hearts), apparently, without them, folks had no clue when it was appropriate to leave for the next zone and consider the first zone ‘done.’

Theoretically, I’ve made it to the Savage Coast in The Secret World. But I can’t shake the obsessive feeling that I’m not done in Kingsmouth Town and keep wanting to head back.

Part of it is that I’m really not done with the quests. Men in Black Vans is paused on the last tier as it’s been buggy for a while – I hear it’s fixed and I should really get back to it.

Nor have I gotten around to doing the group quests Dead in the Water or the Polaris dungeon, mostly because I feel obliged to have semi-functional group role deck builds first. Haven’t gotten around to working that out, because my dps slightly-tanky mass AoE affliction>penetration AR/Blade solo build feels crazy fun like a City of Heroes scrapper.

You know what they say about “The bigger you are…”

I end most fights with half my health bar gone, but mass AoE death and a strong single target or two is so worth it to trade off survivability. I can foresee the same build immediately drawing aggro in a group dungeon and falling over dead, though.

The death animation for these guys is so cool, I could kill them all day. (Not every fight leaves me this bad off, but the dramatic blood halo made a cool screenshot.)

Then there’s the fact that I keep finding out there’s so much more depth to the one tiny zone. Syp tells us there’s crazy stuff to see when you’re dead and running about the spirit world. I haven’t seen that.

Secrets, endless secrets. How deep does the rabbit hole go?

And it totally wasn’t obvious that you could keep asking an NPC about the same topic repeatedly and they would say different stuff. I completely missed that for the first zone (and the intro faction zones.) I gotta go back and chat them up some more, dammit.

And there’s the whole human nature ‘comfort zone’ and ‘inertia’ thing. I’m familiar with the small town and the layout of all the stuff around it. There’s endless zombies to slay and I’ve finally gotten equipment and skills enough to handle them properly and with ease. I’m still getting xp, AP and SP.

Why do I want to leave for another bigger zone full of scary unknowns and mobs that are somewhat harder, which make me keep thinking that maybe I need to design a new build or three, need to craft more gear (but I don’t have sufficient raw materials, so I gotta grind somewhere) and generally overwhelm the to-do list (let’s not even talk about all the quest icons and NPCs I’ve been walking past in the Savage Coast, feeling OCD scream at me?)

The obvious answer is for the pretty screenshots. (Most of these I’ve been showing off are from the second zone.)

I have no clue how some people are in the third zone already and further. Either they did all their exploration already in prior betas, or they are skipping madly past lots and lots of things or they’ve figured out how to bend space and time to have 42 hours a day to play.