What I’m appreciating about Guild Wars 2 these days is that it’s a perfect game to play when you don’t want to think — you just want to wander and experience. You don’t have to pay much attention to quests while doing stuff in the world, and even when you are in missions, the story is most definitely forgettable. Something something dragons and angry gods and people calling me “Commander” because they can’t be bothered to learn my first name.
Instead of fussing about storylines, most of my play sessions involve logging in and seeing where my interest and attention takes me. Loosely, I’m working on unlocking my mount masteries and clearing through zones (I finished Crystal Oasis and have been hacking away at Desert Highlands). There’s always a mini-goal to work toward, whether it’s the next map point or a heart or an event or a mastery point or what have you. While I’m doing this, I’m getting a feel for how my raptor and bunny handle.
I do kind of wish that Guild Wars 2 would have rolled all of these mount abilities into one mount, rather than a bunch of different ones, because it is annoying as all get out to have to switch between them for specific situations. It’s awkward, unlike the elegant double-tap of the spacebar for gliding (which I kind of consider my third mount). While I’m not that keen on platforming as a whole, getting these movement-related abilities reminds me pleasantly of old days playing Metroid and other similar games that gradually boosted your abilities that in turn opened up the map even further.
A lot of nights, I’m trying to figure out the puzzle of how to get to a various point. Sometimes I can’t, because it requires a certain mastery that I don’t have yet. Grinding these masteries is slow and not at all fun, but I get that they’re there to keep you occupied in these maps for longer than you would’ve done otherwise. Unlike the old world maps, where everything was expected to be done on foot (and mounts are a bonus), these newer maps may have points completely inaccessible until you get a particular mastery. That bugs me, but it’s a small issue and not that distracting from my average adventures.
I am pleased to see how many people still engage in the dynamic event system. I think this shows the strengths of Guild Wars 2’s overall design, that these features are synergetic with each other and encourage participation because they’re still relevant and helpful in some way. Events keep rewarding currency, mastery experience, and items that people want, even when they’ve cleared out the maps, and so groups still migrate to these. They’re so much more enjoyable with others, so I don’t mind taking detours to get into them.
At the very least, I know that an event will pay out in some items that I can hopefully convert to cold, hard cash. I’m currently saving up for my next batch of gems to unlock the few episodes of the living story that I need, so any and all money is welcome. Every week, I’ll take an evening to head over to a trading post, empty my bank of mats, and put stuff up for sale. Seeing the gold flow in is quite satisfying.
In the meantime, it’s back to map exploration. As always, Guild Wars 2 is pure eye candy, and I’m never lacking in opportunities to take amazing screenshots. At least Path of Fire isn’t all desert dunes!