21 Asura Street. That’s where I live, baby. It’s a place full of danger, but it’s always hopping. And you just know that Asura are going to crack every case, because we’ve got the tools and the attitude.
So I made myself a little deal several days ago. I gave myself the present of a week (sorta) off work this week, as well as permission to just go hog-wild in Guild Wars 2 without worrying about other MMOs and game rotations. Just… splurge.
And thus I did. It’s been glorious fun. Games only launch once, you know. Might as well ride the wave and milk the rush for all its worth. That said, I think that after today, I’m going to be getting back to my regular rotation. While Guild Wars 2 is a terrific game, I was afraid that it would be so all-consuming that I wouldn’t want to go back to the others. Fortunately, that’s not the case. I’m still really excited about RIFT’s expansion, and to a lesser extent, LOTRO’s. I’m also in my initial journey through The Secret World, and there’s so much content there I’ve yet to experience.
Happily, Guild Wars 2 offers a very laid-back approach to gaming coupled with the release of pressure from a subscription fee. I’m really not in a rush to the level cap there, because it’s just as much fun where you are as where you’re going — and I want to see it all. So I’ve determined that my first character would see the whole world and do everything — 100% map completion. All the hearts, all the skill challenges, all the points of interest, and all the vistas. It’s not just OCD that’s talking here — I’ve found that these points provide a wonderful framework for exploring the world and encouraging me to do so. This is a game that gets richer the more you poke around, and these points provide good motivation to slow down and really check out each zone.
So far I’ve done the Asura and Sylvari starter areas, Rata Sum, the Grove, Lion’s Arch, and the Black Citadel. My plan is to complete all five starter areas and racial cities before moving on to higher-level content. Because of downranking, it’s remaining a challenge, and I keep getting XP even so. I was level 17 when I left the Asura starting area, and now I’m 24.
Doing map completion is a great way to get to know these zones, particularly the cities. It’s giving me a good footing for future visits to these places, and I know that if I wasn’t doing map completion, I wouldn’t have stopped to smell the roses anywhere. I spent time just watching the fountain in Lion’s Arch, swimming in the tunnels underneath it, dancing on the Charr’s war council table, and investigating the prisoners of the Asura jail cells (there’s a chicken there, for some reason).
I really do feel unshackled from the normal way of progressing in games when I’m in GW2. I really dig the dynamic events and am willing to drop everything to do one if it’s nearby. Last night I was keeping some Charr cubs from being freaked out by ghosts while they puttered around Ascalon ruins, and their dialogue kept cracking me up. I think power gamers might hate GW2, but I can see it appealing to a whole new generation of players as well.