Guild Wars 2 passed the first major hurdle; I actually kept logging in after the first couple of days, something that I could not have guaranteed in advance. There is plenty of precedent for buying a game and then playing it briefly before giving up. I am for example, pretty sure at this point I have played as much, if not more, GW2 than I did the original Guild Wars.
I continued along with my previously indicated plan to basically hit all the designated points in the starter zone and managed to wrap that up.
I nearly did not get the last two skill challenge thingies… the blue up arrow points… as I ended up with adds that, along with the challenges themselves, brought me down before I completed them.
However, I guess skill challenges are like recreation league soccer, you get a trophy for just being there, as at some point later on I was awarded both of those challenges.
Actually, my guess is that somebody else went up to do them and that my contribution counted or some such. Either way, I am glad I got them as there was a reward for completing all of the events in the zone.
For me, that was actually some serious coin and experience. I am not sure what to do with the items, but the reward was enough that I went to Hoelbrak and finished up that annoying, Super Mario-esque jumping routine in order to get the last vista point on the map there.
All of which left me at level 16 and “done” with the first zone. My personal story is already pointing into the next zone, so I am ready to go there.
This meanders a bit, so more after the cut.
Some of my initial impressions have continued. I kept finding myself finishing up one little area and moving forward towards new places faster than I leveled up, which inevitably got me into trouble. On the other hand, I could see doing open world areas as a group because of this I suppose. With five of us scouring an area, it might go a bit more smoothly and group events could be taken in stride.
I was glad to see that my little corner of the server was not as deserted this past weekend as it was previously… I guess everybody must have been watching the Oscars pre-show or some such… as I managed to follow some large groups into group events on a few occasions.
That actually got me to a couple of points of interest or vistas that I might have otherwise skipped.
I did do a little bit of mining and crafting. I picked up the Jeweler discipline based on a recommendation in the previous comment thread, basically because, as was pointed out, I needed to fill some slots. I think I figured it out for the most part, how to discover recipes and the like. I guess that is no more odd than finding recipes on random mobs in the world, and is a quite a bit better than original EverQuest that had no recipes and which ate your materials if you guessed wrong.
Getting ahead of myself quite a bit meant I figured out the dying mechanics pretty quickly.
Again, something new… and yet something old. There was an “incapacitated but not dead” state in TorilMUD and, if I recall right, early EQ as well, where you could save a person with a timely heal or bandage.
GW2 takes that state and makes it a bit more active. Somebody can still revive you. But you can also… um… throw rocks at the mob killing you, and if you kill it you rally and revive. This might just be a warrior thing. Or you can essentially bandage yourself if somebody can keep the mob off of you. Or there is vengeance, which is something of warrior saying, “screw this, if I am going to die I am going to take a few more with me” which revives you temporarily to fight, but you’re on a timer and you are going to die no matter what.
Of course, if you get out over your head, none of that is much good. You’re probably going to die and have to go back to a waypoint or an instance checkpoint.
However, in a close run battle, you can pull your chestnuts out of the fire if things go right.
I also fiddled around with weapon skills. Again, as suggested, I picked up axes and got those skills. The a greatsword. And then I got a couple of guns as drops, so went down that path as well, which was fun.
Somebody will point out that I didn’t like blasters in SWTOR… or SWG… or guns in The Matrix Online for that matter. I just don’t like standing toe to toe exchanging gunfire in a modern setting. But it works for me in a fantasy setting. I couldn’t tell you why, but that is the way it is. Hunters in WoW, for example, were lots of fun. So was this.
I still need to pick up a couple more weapon types to unlock. And then there are under water weapons. I seem to have a harpoon equipped and I have gotten a couple of spear guns as drops. I just haven’t had the opportunity to play under water.
Over all, I have been able to figure out most of what I have needed so far. I only had to Google one heart event, the one that involved trading items with the Jotun. I didn’t quite get how to get my seed capital in stones, as the description talked about “items” but all the items in view were already owned.
Of the usual MMORPG annoyances, bag space is, of course, on the list. There are lots of drops. Items that are “junk” seem to be reasonably rare, which means that most of what I get has some value outside of just selling it to a vendor, but no immediate value to me. There are, for example, lots of crafting drops. I have taken to vendoring anything that isn’t related to jewelry crafting.
And even then my bags still fill up. It looks like the items I collect for the heart quests remain after completion. So, for example, I have a pile of those Jotun stones from the trading event still. The event is complete for me. I cannot sell them to a vendor. Should I just destroy them?
I am also feeling the social dichotomy of the game. Many of the events are better with… or require… multiple players. The lack of a formal grouping requirement for participation means that people often come together to tackle such events.
On the other hand, almost nobody talks. I say things to people people all the time. I thank them for reviving me yet again, or ask questions, or complement a job well done and hear very little in response. I think it is just a matter of communication being unnecessary to complete such events. Nobody needs to be grouped or needs a heal. You can see who needs to be revived. The bad guys are obvious. Do you need me to draw you a diagram? Oh, wait, there is one on the map.
As has been pointed out, forced grouping has its burdens, but complete freedom from such factors has its own cost as well. I don’t know what the answer is, and I will probably complain about whichever factor is dominant in any given game. But I can feel the absence.
The one social thing I did get was an invite to join a guild. I logged in to find an invite for Defenders of the Perch. However, I didn’t see any names in the guild I recognized, nor was there any accompanying information, so I… well, I couldn’t decline, so I just ignored it. I like to know who I am joining before I join. If that was somebody who recognized me in-game, sorry!
I also missed any social in the WvWvW environment. I stumbled into that, but apparently picked the wrong map and ran around alone in one of the zones. I found a few points of interest and a vista, but there didn’t seem to be much for me to stick around for. And then I couldn’t figure out how to leave, so I just logged out. That did the trick. I will save the PvP experience for another time I guess.
So I am done with the first zone and ready to launch into Snowden Drifts for the next 10 levels. I have poked my nose in already. Time to get to work.