Going mad (king) in Guild Wars 2

Right now, Guild Wars 2 is the “odd MMO out” of my roster of five games that I play in that it’s the only one that I’m logging into just to be with people and not to engage in any sort of progression — character, story, or otherwise. I have enough else that’s holding my interest that I probably wouldn’t be playing right now if it wasn’t for the fact that the guild I’m in is full of cheery and downright hilarious people. So I certainly don’t mind spending an hour or two with them once a week.

Our last outing was fully Halloween themed, and we broke out the appropriate minipets while talking on Discord about how downright creepy it is that the Guild Wars franchise has always featured small versions of people as “pets.” I mean, are they sentient? Are they clones? Do they scream in horror when you shove them back into a backpack? Does Queen Jenna protest that she’s actually a royal while you drag her along on a leash?

As we waited for the group to assemble, I amused myself by standing behind my pet ghost and giving it pink pigtails. I think it improves the look, don’t you?

We ran all of the expected content, starting with the Mad King fight. Lots of falling to our death and laughing about how horrible we are at jumping. Forget gliders, I wouldn’t mind a parachute in this game.

As you can tell, I’ve abandoned my newbie Mesmer and returned to my original character, my Engineer. I don’t care if it’s not optimal or if it’s out of fashion, I simply love the flamethrower as a weapon (and elixirs to empower it and give me speed boosts). We talked in chat a lot about our favorite classes and weapon styles, and I didn’t hear much that made me want to rush out and get the expansions for the Engineer’s elite specs.

Probably the most fun we had was running the Labyrinth, which is definitely something I remember from the first year that Guild Wars 2 launched. Wasn’t the Halloween event the game’s first event? In any case, it’s pretty much the same as it was back then: Follow the commander in a giant zerg, beat up bosses, and loots lots of loot hoping against hope that you’ll actually get something cool or useful.

Man, I am down on this game’s loot table. I’m sorry, but it really is quite pathetic. It’s like Vendor Trash: The MMO at times.

We did get a lot of giggles out of how unfair and mean the bosses were, especially when they resulted in our downings or death. It made me think about how even simple experiences, when shared, can be bonding. The Labyrinth isn’t anything complicated or difficult, but it is mindless fun that is done in the presence of a whole bunch of people, and that is a much different feeling than questing along.

One thought on “Going mad (king) in Guild Wars 2

  1. I’m never quite sure whther you’re being ironic for comedic effect about GW2’s loot system or if you genuinely don’t understand how it works. It’s not my favorite, either, but it is entirely internally consistent and very effective when you know how it operates. The reason people are running around the Mad Lab in squads and that there are dozens of full maps 24/7 isn’t because those people are goofing around and having fun. That may be a pleasant side effect but if that’s all there was the place would have one active map at most. The reason they are there is to get that loot. It is one of the biggest money-making opportunities of the year. You can make a virtual virtual fortune if you’re prepared to put in the hours – and people do put in hundreds of hours.

    And why is it such a great way to make money? Firstly, because there’s a very small chance to get some very high-status, desirable items as drops from the Trick or Treat bags; secondly because there are vendors selling very high status items for very high amounts of currency that can be acquired from those bags; thirdly because a number of very, very high status items require drops from those bags.

    GW2 loot is very rarely what it appears to be. It is almost always a resource or a gateway to something else. It has more in common with gathering in other MMOs than with a standard “Loot Table”. I don’t particularly like the way it works but it very definitely does work. GW2 is first and foremost a farming simulator, after all.

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