Guess it’s a GW2 themed day, but I liked this shot of a kid’s playroom in the game and wanted to share it:
Despite protestations about the live event, I did end up running the Scarlet fight a couple more times this past weekend. Maybe it was seeing a lot of other people plow through this even in frustration at the bugs, maybe it was an email sent by ArenaNet’s PR saying that the problems were fixed (are they? Sorta.), or maybe it was just a desire to see the end of the whole shebang. You know how it is, you’ll show up for a TV finale even if you haven’t been the most loyal viewer this season. You’re just curious how it’ll all end.
I lucked out with a very good group on Saturday morning that got through the entire hologram fight with no problem whatsoever (although I had groups after that that could not do it). Still dang long, but actually winning it seemed worth it. There’s a long ending cutscene that had me wondering what I missed, lore-wise — why’s Scarlet drilling? Why does this lady have hiccups? Is big-eyed Charr girl still bugging those eyes out? Does this game honestly need MORE dragons? Who at ArenaNet has a dragon fetish that cannot be satiated? It prompted me to do a little back reading to fill in the gaps. There’s parts of this game’s lore that causes my eyes to glaze over, but enough that seems interesting as well.
Above and beyond the fight, I realized that all of my activities had — without really trying — filled out 12/15 of the meta achievements. A little effort past that and I got the goodie chest, which was certainly nice.
I think I might be done with Lion’s Arch for now, however. I still much prefer to be running around the country side doing vistas/hearts/POIs/waypoints with other characters (mostly my Ranger), so I’ll probably be doing that for a while to come.
On Friday night I was being silly and had some fun with the Guild Wars 2 character creator. I ended up making a Human Thief who had that big bushy beard I admire (why don’t more female models have beards?) and a mohawk. And, what the heck, I made his hair and beard a frosty pink.
Well, now I had a color theme going on, so I spent a good long time thinking of a name. Probably took me 20 minutes to come up with an appropriate punk. What would go well with the color and that profession?
Then I logged in with that character and purchased every shade of pink, heather, coral, and what have you in dyes.
Thus, the legend of Pink Pocket was born.
ALL HAIL PINK POCKET!
Last night I hung out in Lion’s Arch to do the whole big finale thing, which initially involved a couple of small events and random wandering. When the three knights were activated, the zerg got into motion and went through them methodically, green, blue, red. They were appropriately lengthy tussles, although they certainly didn’t stack up to the next fight on Scarlet’s drill barge.
The prime hologram fight took just shy of forever as our group kept fighting, kept dying, kept rezzing folks, and kept praying for that health bar to go down. It did die and spawned a reprise of the red-green-blue fights, but by then we had hit the limit of our timer (which I didn’t see) and the whole event failed.
OK, I want to be clear about something: I’m not one of those players who whines when we fail. You need to have the chance to fail for success to mean something. And I don’t even need to be compensated for failing. But what really stewed my prunes is that from everything we did right — killing the three legendary knights and the legendary hologram — we were rewarded with nothing. Just… nothing. It was an hour and a half of fighting that was utterly wasted time. I don’t get why downing a legendary pays out less than a champion — at least then you get a goodie box.
So as far as I’m concerned, Scarlet can rule because I’m not going through all of that again. It’s just not worth it; my time is too precious for what we did right to be rewarded with nothing.
(A check on the forums reveals that the knights should be dropping loot but haven’t been due to a bug. That’s a little bit problematic, no?)
It was a very productive gaming weekend over at the Syp homestead. For starters, I buckled down and finally finished up Helm’s Deep on my Captain in LOTRO, enduring the final four epic battles and enjoying the scenery afterward (the circling carrion birds were a nice touch).
Yeah, I’m not a fan of the epic battles at all. Maybe they’re more fun with a party, but I didn’t feel that they were significantly different than skirmishes, and in many ways were worse than skirmishes (you don’t get XP per kill, for starters, and all of the epic battles are “defend this position” instead of offensive actions). I mean, they did tell the story of Helm’s Deep well and I was constantly ogling all of the scenery, but did they have to be so dang long?
Anyway, Helm’s Deep is done and my cappy is in a good spot to tackle the upcoming update. I then spent some more time on my Lore-master’s journey through her epic story. She’s already past Mirkwood and just finished the “Ranger roundup” portion of the next volume. Time to go south to Enedwaith and Dunland!
I’ve got to admit, the epic story is just so much more enjoyable when you don’t have to stop and do a thousand side quests along the way. I like side quests, especially the first time through, but sometimes you just want to continue a story uninterrupted. I feel strongly about that in relation to SWTOR as well. I know that once I get to Rohan I’ll need to do all of the quests, especially because a few of the quest lines have class trait points tied up with them, but for now I’m pretty happy to ride the epic book expressway. I’m still one level above content, so no worries on that front.
The other portion of my gaming this weekend was given, surprisingly enough, to Guild Wars 2. I’m ignoring the activities over in Lion’s Arch in favor of leveling up a fresh new Asura Necromancer and a Human Mesmer. Yes, I’m waffling between the two, trying to figure out which one will interest me the most for the long haul. It’s weird because there’s aspects of both that I like and neither has a clear advantage. But I do want to settle down with one and see if I can get back into the GW2 groove by the time the next season begins.
I promised yins (that’s Pennsylvania slang for “you guys”) that I’d spend some time going back to Guild Wars 2 this past weekend to see how the new living world event was playing out. I did and here I go!
So poor Lion’s Arch, which between Scarlet and Mad King Thorn has become the bullied kid in the class. Eat another dodgeball, LA! The opening cinematic, while very well done, didn’t really stir any emotion in me. I mean, I admired fireballs because I’m a red-blooded male, but it wasn’t as if I was clutching my monitor screaming “NO LA NOOOO CURSE YOU SCARLET WHATSYERNAME! IT WAS JUST ONE DAY FROM RETIREMENT!”
I loaded up my Ranger and joined the throng going into the ravaged city five minutes after every hour. Wow, destruction and chaos in Tyria is so dang organized!
It was… another zerg. I remember when I used to like the zergs in GW2 — there’s a lot of energy to them and loot to spare — but now I’m just weary of them. For starters, there’s eye fatigue on my part, as there are just too many moving bodies on the screen and too many spell effects. It didn’t help that I often couldn’t see which mob my character was targeting. That’s why I prefer my Engineer for these zergs, because I can just spam the flamethrower attack and tag everything in front of me.
I really did like the look of the ravaged city and wondered what Anet was going to do with it afterward. It seems a shame to just throw away a lot of good city building design for an event like this that won’t have the impact a few months later that it has now, but it’s their game and I’m sure they are fine with the change. As for me, one run through LA was more than enough. I guess I’m still not feeling it with GW2, which is a shame.
While I was helping hundreds of citizens (that I generally didn’t see) evacuate in Guild Wars 2, I spent the remainder of my game time this weekend helping to get one Dwarf out of Mirkwood in LOTRO. My plan to just focus on the epic storyline right now is working out splendidly. The storyline felt more cohesive since I wasn’t breaking it up with numerous side quests and I hit level 65 pretty handidly by the time I was done with the zone.
Plus, I got the joy of disappointing Elves all over again. I forgot there’s a choice to give an antidote to an enemy goblin or a friendly Elf, which to me is no choice at all. Even though the Elf in question didn’t perish, I did get to revel in the outrage of her friend up there.
“A heroic effort has been made to use just about every in-game system to share the load – mail, achievements, dynamic events, incidental dialog, personal instances, cut-scenes – you name it, they’ve tried it. In the end the main thing all that hard work has served to do is emphasize how useful a framework the MMO quest is and why game developers created it in the first place.”
Listen, I don’t work in marketing. I think I took one class in college for it, and I realized I had too much of a soul to do that sort of thing (zing!). But if there’s anything I do know, it’s a not-good idea to create a promotion that’s going to give your detractors an easy opening to scoring all sorts of points.
Such as a famous bank that’s embroiled in scandal and bad loans deciding to host a Twitter ask me anything for the whole world to see. It got so bad for JPMorgan Chase that this whole story will probably be on next year’s university financial fails exams.
Or perhaps a pretty popular MMO that wants to attract new players asking folks to record themselves pledging allegiance to that game with a script. Tongue-in-cheek even so, this is a forehead-slapping bad move if you know anything about the internet community. This… this is an outright dare to have people mock your game and company while giving them the tools with which to perform the act. Like, it’s structured and everything with fill-in-the-blank insults.
Seriously, this whole story has my eyes doing a weird thing where one is squinting, the other one is bugging out, and my eyebrows keep twitching. I cannot imagine why this got greenlit.
Listen, a sense of humor in marketing is great. Creativity is great. But you have to take a few minutes and ask yourselves at the end of every meeting, “Just how badly can our enemies take and use this against us? Just how badly could it bite us on the butt?” If that answer is “D’oh!” then perhaps drop the pledge of allegiance and cringingly awful taxi videos and do something cool with Asura instead.
Sometimes when I feel that I’m getting unduly frustrated or cranky with an MMO, I’ll levy a self-imposed “time out” and just walk away from the game for a while. That’s often necessary to keep emotions and bitterness from spiraling out of control, not to mention combating one of the core issues of burnout. So after my rant about Guild Wars 2′s story, I decided it was time for a little break.
That ended up being a good thing. I got a lot more TSW time in, and my crankiness faded. I still stand by what I said, but I know I also have to be open to what the team might have in the future.
I felt okay skipping most of the Tower of Nightmare update after doing the opening instance, but after coming back last Saturday, I decided to do a gaming blitz and see how much I could get done toward the meta-achievement. It turns out “a lot,” although I’m still only at 9 out of 14 or something with the new content patch dropping this week. There’s still so much I do enjoy about GW2, in particular its combat and ease of access, so I don’t want to go stomping off just because I’m in a snit over story.
The meta-achievement for Tower of Nightmare is an obelisk that you can put in your home instance for a free skill point a day. This is the third (or so) reward from living story updates that have done this, and to date has been the only hint of customization with home instances.
The reward got me thinking about housing in GW2, as well as WildStar, WoW, EverQuest Next Landmark, and other titles that have put a recent premium on housing. I think if Guild Wars 2 decided to do proper housing, it would most likely be just great. Just great. But what we have is this weird vestigial tail of a feature that was only lightly discussed before launch and greatly ignored since then.
So let’s put aside criticism and consider what Guild Wars 2 could actually do with a home instance. A couple of the building blocks are already there: the ability to invite friends into your instance, the integration into your capital city, and (as mentioned) very small changes that offer limited functionality.
What I always, always want to see with player housing are two things: (1) a great deal of personal customization and (2) a great deal of functionality. I don’t want it to look like everyone else’s, and I don’t want it to just be eye candy with no other use. We need a feature set that is fun to use, tempting to use, and can give players social options and spaces.
It’s a little tricky when you consider that there’s this entire home instance, because that’s almost too big to modify unless, say, only one structure in the instance would be your “home” to do with as you please. The team could take the WoW route with garrisons, which is certainly captivating a lot of imaginations at the moment.
I’d love to see a lot of loot in the world be elements that we could bring back to the home instance to use: paint for houses, new structure types, furniture, special vendors, mini-games, music (such as LOTRO’s music options for its housing), NPCs and the like. I’d really like it if the game took a cue from EverQuest II and allowed you to let your mini-pets roam around as well. Or how about a garden that I could cultivate and grow cooking mats?
But going beyond this, what if home instances could be made to allow players to create their own kind of interactive content for others? What if I could make a scavenger hunt for people to play, or toggle a freeze tag setting, or scripted a marching parade? What if crafters could get together for competitions or actors use a functional stage and props to put on a show? What if I could even make a gladiator pit, fill it with monsters I capture in the world, and then challenge players to compete for a prize?
I know that it’s so much easier to brainstorm this sort of thing than it would be to put it into practice, so I’m not demanding that it all be done. I’m just pointing out that there’s an opportunity here, a mostly blank canvas that ArenaNet could fill with player tools and see what happens.