Category Archives: Guild Wars 2

September in Review

The Site

I got another WordPress.com achievement.  Go me.

A New Record!

I think I hit that largely based on the impending death of Raptr, which is a bit sad when you consider it.  Still, go me.

Also, I got quite a spike in traffic this month from the Warzone event in EVE Online and from being linked in a post over at PC Gamer about the Circle of Two heist/betrayal.  The latter used my LOL Keepstar screen shot and nicely linked me as the source.

LOL bubbles at the Keepstar in 68FT-6

The Warzone event traffic, no doubt representing people trying to figure out how the event worked, seems indicative of CCP perhaps not thinking things through.  Or at least not communicating sufficient information about the event, especially in light of how past events under The Agency banner have been run.  (And how easy they were relative to Warzone.)

Anyway, one of my search terms of the month below is dedicated to CCP.

One Year Ago

It was the tenth anniversary of the blog.

I was looking back at day/night cycles and full zone respawns of yore.

My wife’s Pokemon Go account was hacked, but I recovered it pretty quickly.  That post brings in a lot of search engine traffic looking for ways to hack Pokemon Go accounts.  So many bad people.

Daybreak announced that both EverQuest and EverQuest II would be launching Kunark focused expansions, with Empires of Kunark slated for the former and Kunark Ascending for the latter.

Smed was taking his Hero’s Song project back to the crowdfunding arena again, this time via Indiegogo which, unlike Kickstarter, lets you keep the money even if you don’t meet your goal.

I was going on about problems EVE Online has getting new players to stick with the game… again.  We also had the YC118.8 Update which revamped a the look of mining barges and some frigates, among other thing.  It also launched the Purity of the Throne event that had me chasing white skins for Amarr ships.

There was also the ascension of Caitiz of House Tash-Murkon to the Amarr throne.  All those ships are still lined up in Amarr for some reason.  Did they have to wait a year for the first Jubilee?

And Alpha Clones would soon be a thing, so I was wondering what you could do with one.

In post-Casino War events the Imperium finished conquering Delve and a state of normalcy was starting to come to pass.  I also got my last ship out of Deklein.

And then there was World of Warcraft where the Legion expansion was off and running.  There was even an app for it.  I started off slowly as I figured things out and moved clockwise around the Broken Isles.  That didn’t stop me from checking up on my Draenor garrison though.

And then in one of those bullet point posts that I always hate a year later when it comes time to do the summary I covered Star Trek Online going to consoles, Legends of Norrath card packs, rewards for Omega players in EVE Online, and the then upcoming EVE Vegas.

Finally, No Man’s Sky launched, capping off yet another dismal episode of fan behavior.  After getting death threats for delaying the launch, Hello Games finally shipped the game only to have the fan base explode even more so when it was discovered that features that were straight up said to be in the product… multiplayer being the prime suspect… were not.  Still, it made a lot of money and features have since been added and it got its own Honest Game Trailers video.  There is, no doubt, lessons to be learned here.

Five Years Ago

The World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria launched, adding a panda race to Azeroth, right on Ultima Online’s 15th anniversary.   I think the shark jumping trope jumped the shark that day.

I was falling out of WoW myself, though still not allowed to unsubscribe. Being locked out of the Theremore event due to item level helped kill any enthusiasm I had for staying with the game.

Torchlight II showed up.  I was still waiting for the Mac OS version so I could play with my daughter.

In the land of EverQuest, the Rain of Fear expansion was announced, while EverQuest II went straight to truth in advertising and revealed an expansion called Chains of Eternity.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, Omens of War went live and was finished.

SOE was talking about some form of Wizardry that was online.   PlanetSide 2 was planned for the end of the year… sort of.  And then there was Player Studio and all that implied.

The next chapter in the Darkfall saga was announced.  And they had a new game/expansion or some such.

In EVE Online, the CSM was looking for a way to… well… screw most of the people who actually vote for the CSM.  I stranded my null sec Drake in Jita and I compared Traffic Control to a hostile FC.

In a more serious vein, the real world reached into our game took a fellow player.  Even tragedy cannot displace idiocy though.

My goal to get my fourth class in Rift, a mage, to level cap before Storm Legion had me in Stonefield.

BioWare, not done with their trend of announcing public metrics they eventually failed to meet, committed themselves to a new content schedule for SWTOR.  Later we found out that “adding items to the cash shop” counts as new content.  Meanwhile, I pondered the SWTOR lore choice.

The Lord British saga continued as he opted to jump in bed with Zynga!  He, of course, expressed great fondness for Zynga, while I wondered what his sith name would be, since he was clearly going the Anakin Skywalker route.

I remembered Spaceship Warlock.

Free to play was still under discussion.  An article in Game Developer Magazine included the warning to not assume profitability just because people are going on about revenues.  And yet all I hear about are revenues when it comes to free to play.

The people at Stormpowered Studios started in against marriage.

And the blog turned six and felt very clever about it.

Ten Years Ago

I summed up my first year of blogging.  I also participated in a meme… back when that wasn’t an picture thing… about the power of four.

Auto Assault was gone, another NCsoft title shut down.  I was wondering if Tabula Rasa might follow suit.

I started thinking about what an expansion would look like for Lord of the Rings Online.  I was also browsing in Othrikar.  But I was more curious as to why the game just wasn’t as much fun as, say, World of Warcraft.

On the Wii it was Mario Party 8 and the Virtual Console.

In EVE Online I finally fixed the sound driver issue that was making the game crash. Hah, I used to run EVE with the sound on!

In other New Eden events, I was flying the Mammoth as a hauler to support mining ops in my Retriever.  Jet can mining and training up to Mining Barge V and salvaging.  I was also getting lost with the corp and station interface.  Another wish list there.  At least I found the “warp to 0” options quickly.  I still wasn’t quite sure what people meant by “tank” in the game though.

I was still running missions and had advanced to cruisers on that front.  And I was losing them as well.  I also had to queue to log in because there were 21K people in the game.  Traffic control was coming up as well.  CCP was working on the issue.

Our summer vacation from Azeroth was over with the return of Earl.  We were back to running instances, starting with Zul’Farrak.  Of course, then we realized nobody had the mallet, so we had to go get that.  I still have it in the bank.  I was also out searching for mithril.

SOE announced that their combined Station Launcher would be available for beta soon.  I don’t think it ever left beta before it was finally scrapped.

I was reminiscing about the Thundering Steppes in EverQuest II, a zone I was playing in less than three years before.  Early onset nostalgia I guess.

There was the loaded question about who counts as “press” in a world where blogs exist.  People seem determined to embrace arbitrary rules on that front, something that always leads to suppression of opinions with which they disagree.

And finally there were naked zones and wondering how to make PvP (and PvE) better.

Twenty Years Ago

Ultima Online launched.  Raph Koster has some accumulated memories of the game from over the years and a link to a video… and then he wrote some more about the game as it came about, what influenced it and what it influenced.

A little title called Total Annihilation also launched 20 years ago today.  With a real three dimensional environment and line of site constraints, it was ahead of its time and remains an underrated title to my mind.  Cave Dog, the developer, went bust ages ago and, through the twists and turns of the video game business, Wargaming.net of World of Tanks fame now owns the rights to the title.

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. At the Camp in 68FT-6
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. The Agency Warzone Extraction Event in EVE Online
  4. Running some Warzone Extraction Event Sites
  5. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  6. Alpha Strike in New Eden
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. The Imperium Buys a Keepstar
  9. EQ2 Wire to Shut Down after Nine Years
  10. Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number
  11. Missions and Content on Demand
  12. Quests, Missions, and Return on Investment

Search Terms of the Month

mallet of zul’farrak
[Still in my bank somewhere]

eve learning curve
[It is still a thing]

how to get to scarlet monastery
[Do people still walk there?]

torchlight 2 updates 2017
[That seems unlikely]

do you need to play pvp in mmorpg
[Only in the good ones]

future everquest game
[Maybe some day]

i’m thinking of resubbing to wow 2017
[Me too…]

eve online warzone extraction wtf?
[A question asked by many]

EVE Online

Well, after the CO2 betrayal caper things got sort of quiet.  I tinkered with alts and did some of the Warzone Extraction event sites, but there wasn’t a lot to draw me to New Eden after the camp at 68FT-6 drew down.

Guild Wars 2

There is a new expansion and people I know are playing which makes me sort of thing about maybe trying it some more.  I patched up at least.  My highest level character is 41 and hanging about in Harathi Hinterlands, which has to be the most Azeroth sounding zone in the game.  Otherwise, not a lot to report.

Lord of the Rings Online

I managed to get through another month of avoiding Mordor.  Seriously, I bought the expansion, have the character boost, but have not stepped foot into that dark land.  Then again, I hear it is brutal solo.  I did try to carry on with a character I boosted to level 95 previously.  However, the first place he was sent out of Rohan was the paths of the dead, which was also pretty tough for somebody still getting back into the swing of the game.

Minecraft

One of the members of our server built some giant monuments in the game, something I have been meaning to do a post about.  However my own efforts there have been somewhat desultory.  I log in, I work for a bit on the rail line I have going to the north mansion, then I log off.  Also, Minecraft Overviewer still hasn’t been updated for Windows, and I miss being able to update my map of the world.  The pain of open source and waiting for somebody to step up and do a build for you. (I’d give it a shot if you need a full version of Visual Studio.)

Pokemon Go

No big changes as the game carries on.  I still make sure to catch a Pokemon and hit a PokeStop every day.  There are rumors of third generation Pokemon showing up some day, but nothing concrete yet.

  • Level: 29 (+0, though I am closing in on 30)
  • Pokedex status: 189 (+1) caught, 222 (+3) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Gyrados, since the new legendaries are nigh on impossible
  • Current buddy: Magikarp… only 80km more to get enough candies for a Gyrados

Also, after months of saying she really wanted a Snorlax my wife finally had one hatch.  One evening she was reading a game message aloud, “Snorlax has battled hard…” and I was all, “When did you get a Snorlax?”  It had come from an egg earlier in the week and she hadn’t even noticed.  She just started putting it in gyms as soon as it showed up.

Pokemon Gold & Silver

I picked up a copy of Pokemon Silver from the Nintendo Store and started off on that adventure.  We’ll see how Pokemon from 1999 compares with Pokemon from 1996 and 2016.

Coming Up

Well, as I mentioned earlier in the month, there will be no more Raptr tomorrow.

Potshot had been tinkering with Medieval Engineers and, since it was on sale (and had been on my wishlist for a while), so I picked up a copy as well.  A post about it seems likely should I be able to engineer anything.

After the decapitation of Circle of Two in EVE Online we seem to be in another consolidation stage in the south end of null sec as former members of the alliance settle in with new groups.  Things will likely remain quiet for a bit on that front.

Still, we have the Life Blood expansion to look forward to as well as EVE Vegas, which I will be attending.

We’re likely to get more details about the upcoming EverQuest and EverQuest II expansions.

And, while BlizzCon itself isn’t until the first week of November, speculation as to what Blizzard will be talking about will no doubt be a hot topic in October.

I am sure something else will show up next month, but I can’t think of anything else at the moment.

Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire Launches Today!

Today is the day.  At some point around noon [or now], here on the first day of Autumn in the northern hemisphere, the Path of Fire expansion for Guild Wars 2 goes live.

Guild Wars 2 – Path of Fire

As an outsider to the game… never got much past level 40… the expansion looks to offer up some standard sounding fare for players; New story, new zones, new skills/specs, guild halls, and the seemingly now mandatory character level boost.  I think the new feature I can most related to is the addition of mounts.

Some very Tyria mounts

There is, of course, a whole page dedicated to the expansion over at the GW2 site if you are interested.  More than one actually, as there is a FAQ and such.

Expansions remain a mixed bag for me.

On the plus it brings in revenue for the game.   Expect a big spike on the GW2 chart when NCsoft releases Q3 2017 results.  It also gives players more content, gets players who have lapsed a reason to return, and can invigorate the whole game.

But expansions always bring about change.  Sometimes the change is minor and the spirit of the game remains true.  That caters to the core base but won’t attract anybody new.

But sometimes expansions change the core of the game.  I am reminded of Rift; I played the hell out of the base game, but then the first expansion changed design philosophy of the game and killed it for me.  And, of course, new gear, new mechanics, new skills, and what not also have a habit of changing the old content for the worse as well.

Then there is the ever growing gap between the new stuff, where the center of gravity of the community is playing, and where any new player will start.  I become more convinced as time goes along that level boosts are mixed blessing, a flimsy bandage applied to the gushing wound of linear, level based progression.

But I am also old and cynical and in a down cycle when it comes to fantasy MMORPGs right now.

Enough grumbling.  Today is a fresh new day in Tyria and a lot of people will spend the weekend and beyond exploring the new things that Path of Fire brings.  I wish them well on their journeys.  Among other things ANet rolled out some stats to celebrate the launch.

Also, a launch trailer:

 

Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire Expansion Announced

The announced announcement was announced today when ArenaNet announced the next expansion for Guild Wars 2, Path of Fire.

Guild Wars 2 – Path of Fire

I do like the art style they use for the logos.

There is, naturally enough, a site dedicated to the expansion along with a FAQ with a whole bunch of information ANet would like to share with you.

There are new zones, new stories, new specializations, and mounts.

Bhagpuss at some date in the near future…

They aren’t all bunny mounts, but that there are bunny mounts says something… I’m just not sure what.

The expansion itself is slated to become available on the morning of September 22, 2017.  You can, of course, pre-order immediately, which will net you some “bonus items” which are:

  • Sunspear Weapon Skin of your choice
  • a Miniature Balthazar
  • The title of Elonian Envoy

As is the custom of the time, the expansion itself comes in three flavors.

Path of Fire editions

The price range here, coming in at $30, $55, and $80, seems more in line with reality than the $40, $80, $130 price range that Standing Stone Games put together for the Mordor expansion.

And, like the LOTRO expansion, and the last couple of WoW expansions, Path of Fire comes with a booster to bring a character up to max level so you can go straight to the “good stuff” you’re buying, should you not already be at max level.

According to the FAQ you do not NEED to have the Heart of Thorns expansion in order to enjoy Path of Fire, but if you don’t have it you should to note the following:

  • You must purchase Heart of Thorns to unlock and use the gliding mastery, as well as all other masteries introduced in and exclusive to that expansion. You will be able to complete all of the content in Path of Fire without the use of any Heart of Thorns-exclusive masteries.
  • You must purchase Heart of Thorns to unlock and use the 9 elite specializations introduced with that expansion.
  • Path of Fire includes access to the revenant profession, but not the Herald elite specialization. If you only own Path of Fire, you will be able to create a revenant character and unlock the Renegade elite specialization.
  • You must purchase Heart of Thorns to claim the new guild hall released in Path of Fire, and access the Scribe crafting discipline to fully upgrade your guild hall.

But if you’re pre-ordering Path of Fire they’ll throw in Heart of Thrones for a discount.  Then nobody need ever know what a slacker you are.

You know you want it…

And if you’re not convinced about the expansion, ANet has some scheme to let currently registered users in good standing try it out from Friday, August 11 through Sunday, August 13.  Since the base game is free, you could just create a new account if you were interested enough.

So there it is.  I expect we will see a big spike on the Guild Wars revenue chart when NCsoft announces their Q3 2017 financial results.

June in Review

The Site

Another month of quiet decline in traffic.  I can hardly blame people though, I haven’t been writing about all that much which might generate traffic.  But if all I wanted was traffic I would write about World of Warcraft and Pokemon every day… or I’d be angry at EVE Online.  That is always a draw.

So not much to say there.

I do have one item that is related to the site, which is why I have never bothered to get a custom domain.  Part of that is because I couldn’t get the domain I wanted, tagn.com.  Well, not without paying a lot of money in any case.  Four letter domains are in demand.

But the other is persistence.  At some point I will tire of this and stop blogging.  But that won’t mean I will want all of this to disappear into the void.  I’d like to be able to find it in another ten or twenty years.  But am I going to keep paying for a domain?  Maybe not.

The same goes double for self-hosting.  While I would like the control, I am way past my interest peak in blogging, so the expense and the effort would be a deterrent.

All of which comes to mind because of Darren.  Back in the day he wrote the blog The Common Sense Gamer and did the Shut Up, We’re Talking podcast.

Header from the past…

He hasn’t written regularly in ages, but his RSS is still in my feed.  Suddenly, a couple weeks back, after a long, long time of radio silence, there was a post.  And then two.  And then several.  Was Darren back?

No, Darren is still done with all of this.  However, he self-hosted and was done enough to let his hosting service lapse.  Somebody else scooped up the domain name and started another gaming blog of the same name.

Is not Darren

And so all of my links over to Darren’s blog… mostly about ten dollar horses… are all broken.  Ted Nelson was right, this hard coded web address shit sucks.  I even mentioned this issue a couple of years back.  And so I will endeavor to prevent that by sticking with the address WordPress.com gave me, even though they seem set on making me get a domain of my own.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to find some time to fix those ever-so-important ten dollar horse links.  I can at least still find Darren over at the Internet Archive.

Clearly I need a tool to convert links on the site to a given domain to the Internet Archive version, as this is likely to continue to be an issue.

Edit: Turns out Darren did not self-host, so his blog is still available at tcsgamer.blogspot.com.  My links remain broken however.

One Year Ago

Daybreak’s Landmark finally went live just a few days short of summer.  However, it was the end of the road for PlanetSide and Legends of Norrath.

There was also the launch of the Isle of Refuge free trade server for EverQuest II.

There was a Newbie Blogger Initiative, for which I put up a post.

It was reported that Minecraft had sold more than 100 million copies.

Minecraft put out the Frostburn Update, version 1.10.  I was building the last stretches of what would become the 22km rail loop.

I also reflected on a year of playing Minecraft, then added in some statistics.

Blizzard had the Warcraft Movie open.  I didn’t like it, nor did that many people outside of China.  Meanwhile Blizzard was also explaining that WoW expansions were just going to take time.  While WoW Legion was still weeks away, my daughter and I went back to finish up Warlords of Draenor and get ready for the new expansion.  Meanwhile the whole Nostalius thing was still simmering.

And I was playing EVE Online.  There was the YC118.6 update, which brought us more overview tabs and the Shadow of the Serpent event, among other things.  Recurring opportunities, in which you could earn some skill points by undocking and shooting an NPC, were removed after their short runDX9 was also dead in EVE.  And there was Blog Banter 76, which was about FC’s and how vulnerable they should be.

But mostly I was flying in fleets out of Saranen as we kept up the tempo of operations in what would become the final full month of the Casino War.  There were just too many posts about that to try and sting them together in a single paragraph narrative, so I will just list them out:

Five Years Ago

I was asking people about voice software again.

I went on about the ridiculous nature of material tiers for MMO crafting.

My daughter finally found a game she liked on the PS3.

I was ranking how I liked to get my gaming news.

The first Civilization V expansion came out offering, among other things, a performance boost to those who paid.  Meanwhile, the story about the decade long game of Civ II came to light.

Everything we knew about EverQuest Next was declared obsolete.  It wasn’t all that much really.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, the Gates of Discord expansion was finally unlocked, but not before there was a tie vote.

Turbine announced the Riders of Rohan expansion, the first LOTRO expansion I declined to buy.  For somebody still in Moria, it seemed to offer few benefits for its increased price relative to past expansions.

In Rift I hit level 50, which is a special thing in game, and started tinkering with the then new instant adventure option.  Trion also announced the Storm Legion expansion, a sign of success for most subscription based MMOs.

In EVE Online I hit 80 million skill points and was playing Lemmings in DBRB’s fleet.  We also ganked a Chimera that was scammed into jumping to the VFK beacon.  This upset people.

And, finally there was Electronic Arts which, as part of its ongoing mission to be seen as the most arrogant company in gaming, tried to tell people that Origin was the Nordstrom to Steam’s Target level business model, unintentionally insulting Nordstrom, which actually cares about customer service before the fact, not just after it has screwed the pooch yet again.  EA says they “get it” but I have my doubts.

Ten Years Ago

I got all Buddhist on the subject on the raiders vs. non-raiders rift. I think what I said could be applied to some current controversies.

I ran down my list of complimentary comment spam.

I did a poll asking which software people used for voice coms.  At the time, almost nobody who responded was using game-integrated voice software.  Most people were using Ventrilo.

I took a picture of my gaming setup.  Still the same keyboard, monitor, and mouse ten years later.

We heard that Pirates of the Burning Sea would not only be published by SOE, but would be available via a Station Access subscription.

We were still playing Lord of the Rings Online.  Hitting level 20… not for the last time… I was out at the Forsaken Inn… also not for the last time.  The instance group, minus Earl, finished the first epic book… again, not for the last time.  And server queues, something common at launch, were starting to disappear after just two months.  This was odd, since the last great server queue experience was with WoW, where queues went on for over a year on some servers.

Vanguard, which announced server merges… again, not for the last time… gave rise to a discussion about future proofing games.  I held that just making system requirements huge… something that was an issue with Vanguard… was not the same thing.  I did wonder what would have happened had WoW had higher system requirements back in 2004.

After letting Blizzard’s announcement of StarCraft II sink in, I put up a post about the original StarCraft back when it was our office game of choice.

Darren was all worked up about crafting being the suck, so I started trying to list out all the things that might be wrong with crafting. Then Tobold suggested the whole “figure out recipes by trial and error” idea and I ran screaming from the room.

I said nice things about “Opinions of the Misinformed.”

Also, the iPhone launched, moving smart phones from curiosity to mainstream.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Pokemon Lycanroc event at GameStop
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Is EVE Online a Gankbox?
  4. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  5. In Which I Return to Tyria
  6. Ashes of Creation Kickstarter Campaign Closes Big
  7. The Steam Summer Sale 2017 Arrives
  8. Minecraft 1.12 World of Color Update Goes Live
  9. Keepstar Down in Auga
  10. Minecraft Grand Unification Theory
  11. The EverQuest Agnarr Progression Server to Remain Locked in Time
  12. The June 2017 Update Brings Null Sec Nerfs to New Eden

Search Terms of the Month

ashes of creation next big thing?
[I think there might be a few things before we get there]

rpm jenks speed
[Is that a VR title?]

warcraft marriage achievement unlocked
[Married in the game, or to the game?]

how much better is the hel than other supercarriers for ratting
[Oh man, did you come to the wrong blog!]

how to unlock all songs on rock band 2 wii
[Nothing ever dies]

do parrots in update 1.12 spawn in previously explored jungle biomes?
[I believe you need to explore fresh chunks to find parrots]

EVE Online

The summer of mild discomfort continues as people look for reasons to be angry at CCP, generally revolving around CCP not doing what they say, immediately, without considering the consequences.  The ignorant outsider is always a better judge of things than the people who actually know the code… says the ignorant outsider at least.

None of which has impacted me in the least.  I go on ops, do a little ratting in my Ishtar, and read about the drama.  There were new forums added for the game as well.  I got my achievement for doing the tutorial.  Other achievements are available.  Gamification of gaming forums, oh my.

GuildWars 2

Well, another month and another run at an old MMO peters out.  As with Runes of Magic the month before I just stopped logging in.  Not because I was hating the game, but I just didn’t feel much draw to keep going.  It wasn’t the zones or centaurs or the game mechanics or the personal story so much as it being just another fantasy MMO I was playing solo.

Minecraft

The server carries on and I am sporadically logging on to build things.  The 1.12 World of Color update gave me something to look into, but otherwise I have carried on as before.

Meanwhile, after a brief update about the whole Mineserver thing, that has gone back to radio silence.  Maybe we’ll hear something new by Christmas?

Pokemon

I am still pottering around a bit in Pokemon Sun, though that is clearly winding down for me.  It is probably best to give that a bit of a break given that new titles are coming late this year.  I did join in a couple of the online tournaments as a lark, and did as badly as expected.  Still, I will have to write up the results of one, as it does point to a pattern.

Pokemon Go

The big gym update hit last week.  I am not sure how much of a difference it really makes.  I still can’t beat a Blissy that is CP 2800 or higher, and if you can’t beat them then their CP doesn’t degrade and they are fixed in place.

My basic stats this month:

  • Level: 28 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 174 (+8) caught, 197 (+10) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Gyrados
  • Current buddy: Magikarp… only 207km more to get enough candies for a Gyrados

Steam Summer Sale

The semi-annual sales event is upon us and I have actually purchased a few titles this time around, breaking the cycle of disinterest that I had shown the last couple of sales.

Coming Up

What is even going on in July worth noting?  Remastered StarCraft isn’t until August.

There is the possibility of an EVE Online patch update from CCP.  While vacation time for them has started, they usually only skip August completely.  We shall see.  Further carrier ratting nerfs are expected and the Strategic Cruiser revamp is already on the test server.

The Fantasy Movie League stuff will continue.  I am enjoying that… perhaps a bit too much even.  I now have the Variety film section in my RSS feed.

Then there is still the desire to find fantasy MMORPG happiness, but where to look?  Do I seek out an as-yet unexplored title and risk finding the ever present sameness of the genre?  Or is nostalgia what I need, one of the retro servers that Daybreak is offering up?  Am I attempting to recapture the unrecapturable he asked, just making up words at this point?

Anyway, another month looms.  But there is a holiday on Tuesday, which effectively means a four day weekend for me, so the next real post might have to wait until Wednesday next week.

Pushing into the Harathi Hinterlands

My time with Guild Wars 2 continues as the game of chasing objectives on the map gets me to log in for a bit every day.

That game

My time spent per session slipped some over the last week or so by my reckoning.  I did manage to wrap up the Glendarran Fields zone.

All boxes checked off

There is something of a pattern to finishing off a zone which includes the inevitable vista that I have to Google in order to figure out how to access it.

From Glendarran Fields it was into the Hirathi Hinterlands, featuring more of the same objectives and the now normal herds of centaurs.

A couple of people have suggested other zones to avoid the centaurs, but I do not find them to be objectionable in any way.  At worst, fighting them is no worse than fighting goblins or orc or gnolls or whatever bad guy stand-in you care to choose.  Also, gotta avenge my sister.  Also, they do seem a bit comic when examined closely.  I keep wondering how they pick things up when they drop them.  The upright humanoid torso at the front of their otherwise equine bodies don’t seem to have the reach.

In the Hirathi Hinterlands I made it to level 40.

Level 40 unlocks

However, the last three levels came about due to a daily reward that gave me three boosts good for one level each.  That was timely, as I had taken the wrong path in the zone and was getting in a bit over my head.  It is better to be a couple levels too high and get down-leveled in GW2.

Hitting level 40 also unlocked the next round of my personal story, this time in Lion’s Arch.  That yielded some upgrades and another level.  While there I used the opportunity to buy and collect a couple more upgrades, including a significantly better longbow.  Then I ran around and picked up some of the points of interest in the city as well.

After that it was back out to the hinterlands to lay in wait for more centaurs.

Waiting for the next wave to hit

And so it goes.  The centaur menace must be opposed.

Following the Map Through Queensdale and Kessex Hills

My return to Guild Wars 2 has started off in a somewhat stuttering and haphazard way… which might well describe my wanderings in Runes of Magic last month.  I have not been very invested nor have I sat down and played for long stretches of time.

I’m going to use this logo for every post, you watch

On the flip side of that, GW2 seems pretty well setup to accommodate that lack of commitment and short play sessions.  Basically, the map and completing all of its various points and events not only gives me direction but also ensures I have something to do.  As soon as I log into the game, there is that arrow in the upper right corner pointing me at something.

Hey, go there!

Sometimes the arrow even points me to a scout who fills in areas of the map for me.

Here is a new place to go and something to do

This mechanic lacks the directness of quests, but in a world mostly lacking in what we might consider traditional quests, the map and its events and points of interest fill in the gap, at least for somebody who tends to be as goal oriented as I am.  So at times I just log in and follow that little pointer around the map, doing events and slaying things as I come across them.

Usually it involved centaurs.  Centaurs are into everything out in the human starter zone.

They’re even stealing our booze now!

And then as I wander about the map, going where ever the pointer tells me, I will hit a significant level, in this case 20 and the personal story pops up as a consequence.

Woo hoo, a round number! I get rings… and a story.

Big deal.  People… well, Bhagpuss… have said I can just skip the whole personal story thing.  The problem is that the personal story takes over the pointer of destiny in the upper right hand corner.  The arrow of whim is gone, replaced by a nagging reminder with only one destination.

Yes, yes, I know…

I could just use the map itself to wander around.  The points are marked, and when they are not it is usually because they are in an area of the map I haven’t been through yet… something that is obvious when looking at the map… so just going there will reveal them.  But I wanted my pointer back, so I schlepped around doing the personal story, as I had done after level 10, in order to get that out of the way.

That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a different, and perhaps more traditional, more quest-like set of things to do.  There were some nice prizes at the end, including a mastery point which even the game says I don’t need to worry about until level 80, which is a long way off.

Mastery point now for mastery later

I was happy with that and happier still to be back to my now standard method of operation.  But the personal story had one more trick to play.  Upon leaving the instance it dumped me out in the middle of two events which succeeded in getting me killed almost immediately.

Oh not that spider again…

The Toxic Spider Queen and falling from high places are my two leading causes of death so far in Tyria.  I have generally been pretty successful with the struggle mechanic that lets you come back from mortal injury, but that just doesn’t work when the damn spider is camped right on top of you.

Once I recovered from that I went back about my wanderings, following the pointer this way and that until I found that I had finished things up and now had two complete zones under my belt… for specific definitions of complete I suppose.

Two zones down, many to go

As noted, this works for the task oriented completionist in me.  And the pace of leveling seemed to be just about in tune with this method.  While I tend to look askance at auto-leveling systems, the GW2 version seems to work pretty well at this point.  In my last attempt at the game, I found myself not keeping up with the content so advancing to the next zone meant either being in over my head in the new content or re-doing the old to level up.

This time around I seemed to have been about right where ever I have gone.  Being a level or two up and having the game down-level me is better than being too many levels down to start with.

So two zones down, many more to go.

The uncovered chunk so far

And my friend the pointer was nice enough to direct me to my next destination.

Go here and stuff… also, damn centaurs

Along the way I had a few discoveries of quality of life improvements.  The first was suggested in the comments on last week’s post by Orthom, where he pointed out that I could send crafting materials off to storage from anywhere via an option in my inventory window.

The magic option

I was aware of the crafting storage, but had only deposited stuff there while at a crafting station.  That went a long way towards helping inventory management.

The second was a bit silly.  I spent a bunch of time walking back and forth in the game because I did not know that teleporting between waypoints for a bit of coin was a thing.

I can just go there for some copper?

So that made life a little easier.  I just wish I had discovered that when I was doing the level 10 personal story line, as that involved quite a bit of running back and forth.

And, finally, I discovered dyes in the game, so changed up my cosmetic armor set to be more ranger-ish in color scheme.

Green on green with gold and gray to off-set

And so it goes.  I am off into the third zone and level 30 and the accompanying personal story looms.

In Which I Return to Tyria

I was sitting around this past weekend staring at my computer, willing it to tell me what to play.  I wanted to play something, get lost in some game away from the real world, but the destination just wasn’t coming to me.

As noted, Runes of Magic lost my attention when my bag rental expired, causing an immediate inventory management crisis.  There wasn’t an op going in EVE Online and I wasn’t in the mood to rat or mine or do what amounted to more inventory management.

I fiddled with Steam for a bit and Swarm Simulator, but wasn’t really feeling it.  I was tempted for a bit to re-up for Daybreak All Access and jump on to the Agnarr server in EverQuest just to run around again. However, I know how that ends, with me not playing after a few days unless I find a regular group to run with.  Plus it was after dark and spending money online after dark is almost always a mistake.

I’d done a bit of World of Tanks recently, but that wasn’t grabbing me and I wasn’t up for the long patch process that launching War Thunder would no doubt entail.

I considered Elder Scrolls Online for a bit, they having sent me an email recently about how to solo through the game.  That seemed like something aimed at me, but that meant spending money on a game I wasn’t all that interested in outside of the fact that they sent me that email.

I was thinking about just pottering around in Minecraft, but went back to the list of installed games.

Down the list I passed Guild Wars 2.  I wasn’t even sure I remembered my account name, much less the password, but I launched it to see how long it would take to patch up.  I could keep looking while that worked away.

Still a damn fine logo

If you look at the Categories drop down on the side bar, you’ll see I made an entry for Guild Wars 2, which is about as firm a commitment as I make to a game ’round these parts.  There are even 37 posts listed under that category.  That doesn’t come close to the twelve hundred or so EVE Online posts, and is a mere tithe of even my Lord of the Rings Online posts.  37 puts it more in line with titles I take note of but haven’t really played all that much, such as Dungeons & Dragons Online, Pirates of the Burning Sea, or the late Need for Speed: World.

And even those post are merely about the game… usually me predicting that NCsoft will make ArenaNet put out an expansion due to declining revenues… rather than about playing the game.

I own the base game, which isn’t saying much since that has been available free since the Heart of Thorns expansion.  But I paid for my copy… which I guess says something.  Sucker, maybe?  Because in the almost five years since GW2 launched I have three posts from about four years ago that involve me actually in game and playing.

And yet there it was, still installed after all this time, requiring no cash outlay and with nothing else was calling to me.  So I dug out the login credential and once the patch process was complete… it zipped by pretty fast… I clicked on “play” and off I went.

I had two characters already created, both of the pseudo-human Norn race, one level 16 and one level 2.  Clearly I did not get far.  But time has moved on, I’ve changed, the world has changed, and I assumed the game probably had as well.  Still, I decided not to reinforce failure and rolled up a new character.

I figured that part of the problem with my past run might have been the race/class/zone combo, so I opted to change that up a bit.  Rather than a Norn melee class I went for a human ranger.  Ranger is never the wrong choice, is it?

I was tempted by the idea of ranged attacks and a pet, being swayed by images of the hunter class in WoW.  Having gone that route I entered the game.

Of course, I’ve forgotten most of what I ever knew about GW2, and what I knew was pretty minimal to start with.  For example, I realized after I was in the game that I couldn’t recall if I had picked a server or had even been offered a choice  Character creation seemed to be mostly about appearance and back story.  I’m a middle-class ranger whose sister ran off with her centaur boyfriend or something.  Also I have a pet bear.

The bear and I fighting a bear with another bear in the background

Later, at the character select screen, I noticed that I was tagged as being on the Henge of Denravi server, but could choose whatever world I wanted to play on.

So long as there isn’t a queue to log in, I am not sure that matters.  This is likely to be a solo affair.  But at least I think I knew what to say if somebody asks.

On entering the game I was presented with a row of wiggling icons in the lower right corner over the mini-map.  The first wanted me to please buy the Heart of Thorns expansion.  Given that my previous run into the game stopped at level 16, that seemed like a premature ask.

There was also some sort of “hey, you’re back!” reward for me, a cosmetic outfit which I put on because the starting armor included a quilted jacket that made me look like a zek from the gulag.  I chose the shiny outfit to hide that.

All shiny and ready for whatever

There was also a daily reward… because we won’t play MMOs unless we are rewarded for logging in every single day.  I’m not quite sure what I got from that daily, but I managed to make the prompt go away.

Then it was out into Queensland, the starting area for humans.  Like much of what I have seen of GW2, it was very pretty… and infested with centaurs.  I can see why my sister ended up running with that crowd, they seem to be everywhere.

My initial run at combat seemed to go as expected.  I shot the longbow I was wielding at something… a centaur most likely… then the bear would run out and grab aggro and keep the target at range while I pelted it with arrows until its health bar ran down.  Just what I wanted.  So off I went.

Have you seen my sister? Also, die!

I did see some things that were new… new to me, or forgotten by me so as to seem new… like a grand pop-up every time I made a level.

Level Three! Already?

I guess they want people to know what levels mean to them.  And I got a bag with that level, which was good because I was already sitting on a lot of drops and inventory management was looming already.

They also give you a preview of rewards to come, no doubt to entice you to keep leveling up.

Also a home version of the game and some Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco treat!

There is also the nice little arrow in the upper right that points to places of interest along with the map itself that also makes an effort to get you going in a direction where you might find some adventure.

So here I am in Guild Wars 2.  It might be a flavor of the month, the way Runes of Magic was in May.  We shall see.  I only have to get past level 16 to beat my past effort.