Halfway through the Living World Season 2

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Shortly after completing the Guild Wars 2 Personal Story, I purchased season 2 and 3 of the living world. This was mostly because I wanted to all the story Guild War 2 has to offer which might seem a bit strange since I didn’t much enjoy the last third of the personal story. But my thought process here was that maybe it would get better. Plus I already own both expansions so I might as well do the in-between stuff too.  I was confused when I went to buy the bundles and it said certain acts would be left out until I realized I had unlocked those acts making the seasons pretty inexpensive. I’m actually glad that it’s available for purchase instead of missing out on the two entirely.

First things first, the season 1 recap leaves a lot to be desired. I’m sure that the way the first season of the living world was structured did not lend itself to being replayable and that’s fine but I wish the recap would have been a little better. It gives you the gist of what happened, Scarlet is evil, Scarlet destroys Lion’s Arch, Scarlet dies. Oh and there’s also this cast of characters that will be briefly introduced and that’s it. Luckily the wiki has a lot more information but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

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Because of that, season 2 starts rather abruptly and assumes you know all the characters already. It took a little getting used to but after a few chapters, I think I have most of the characters figured out. So far season 2 seems a lot more like Guild Wars storytelling than the personal story. The first chapter where you are accompanied by all of the characters was like stepping back into Guild Wars with all the henchmen. I’m definitely enjoying season 2 much more than the personal story. I can see how it’s heading to Heart of Thorns and I’m anxious to see how exactly it leads to the expansion. I’m wondering if these characters will carry through or if I have to deal with the Pact again.

There is much more content than I’d thought there’d be with the living world. I assumed each chapter would have an instance or two around the map and I’d be able to wrap it up relatively quickly. I was pleasantly surprised when the first chapter led me into an entirely new map and had 5 parts to it. I’ve been making my way through season 2 for a week now and am still only halfway through.

For the most part, it hasn’t been too challenging. Chapter 3 was tough because it centered around doing open world events designed for groups of players instead of the instances like the proceeding chapters. I didn’t mind it because people could still be found running these events. Except for one where I had to take down a Modrem Wolf in the Iron Marches. There weren’t a whole lot of people around and I couldn’t take it out alone so I ended up waiting for people to show up. It didn’t take that long once I found another couple of players. That’s the only time so far I’ve felt like I needed others to complete story content which I don’t mind at all.

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2,185 Days Later

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2,185 days or 5.98 years. That’s how long it took me to get to the end of the Guild Wars 2 core personal story. I don’t know if that’s dedication or stubbornness. Towards the end, it felt a lot like stubbornness.

My problem with Guild Wars 2 is that I keep creating new characters but a few months ago I finally settled on a thief and I’ve taken him all the way through. I finished up the last story mission, Victory or Death, Saturday afternoon and now I can reflect on the story as a whole.

The first act was good with my character’s backstory, I liked the Durmahnd Priory part but as soon as they all formed the Pact I was no longer interested. It was less of a story and more of let’s go run these specific errands before we take down the big, bad, dragon. I really didn’t care for it but I was determined to see it through and finally get out of core Tyria.

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Some of the later missions were just plain annoying. Like the part where we were flying to Zhaitan’s lair on the airship and had to fight giant’s and dragons. I felt like I was too squishy as a thief to take out a lot of the spawning enemies and even though I had a bunch of allies on the airship, they didn’t want to help unless I was dead. And I was dead a lot during that mission. It also took me a while to understand what the heck I was supposed to so. Which was man the cannons and shoot until things spawned and then clear them out.

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The final mission, Victory or Death was done about as well as it could have been. It felt like an epic battle and I liked taking out Zhaitan with airship cannons rather than my character slapping him with a staff over and over. The cut scenes were pretty cool too. Destiny’s Edge showed back up after disappearing for half the game. I swear if I didn’t run a dungeon and figure out that’s where they all went I would have forgotten about them all together. I’ll have to get around to running all of the dungeons to get their story someday.

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What I did like were the Orr zones. They were desolate and weird but also strangely beautiful. I will definitely be visiting them later and fully explore them. I wanted to get the personal story out of the way so I was in a bit of a rush going from green star to green star. The Source of Orr is one of my favorite missions of the personal story. There is a part when fighting an Eye of Zhaitan where all of the sounds cuts out and is replaced by a nice piano solo. It gave the battle a calm, serene, and almost sad feel.

For as forgettable as the last act of the story was I’m glad I played it. It was fun leveling through the zones and seeing new places. after starting characters over an over again, I’ve seen the same things a hundred times. Buton this playthrough I actually got to see content I’ve never seen before. I’m looking forward to playing the living world season 2 and then moving into the first expansion with my thief. I think I’ll stick with him for a good long while. I’m kind of attached.

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RMT: You can pay for that?

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I just finished reading Play Money by Jullian Dibbell. Half the book talks about the economics of Real Money Trading (RMT) in the early 2000’s and the other half is the author talking about his own foray into RMT with Ultima Online. Apparently  there was a lot of money to be made from selling items, gold, houses, and accounts in 2004. That tag line is a little misleading, I don’t think anyone in this book made millions from RMT.

It got me thinking about where RMT is today. I know it still exists because every time I’m in a large city in Final Fantasy XIV I see a whole lot of shouts from gold sellers plugging their websites. Our group tried out Path of Exile and sure enough the chat log was full of currency sellers.  I’m wondering how profitable it is these days? Are that many people buying gold?

I always thought it was weird that games were selling things like level boosts, trade-able subscription tokens, or in Guild Wars 2 case, converting cash shop currency into in game gold. But if a player really wants gold, or certain item,or to skip leveling and there isn’t a way to do that within the game then they’re going to go outside the game. So why not get in on the action by offering these services to their players directly.

Personally, I’ve never thought about buying gold but I’ve bought a few trade-able cash shop items if I needed some funds for an armor set or weapons. It’s basically the same thing but without the risk of trusting a third party on the internet to deliver the goods after sending them money.

Of course there’s still tons of way to buy large quantities of gold, individual item, accounts, and even raid clears. The strangest thing by far is division boosting in competitive games. I can understand buying items and what not for an MMO where at least your going to keep the item. But what is the point of paying for someone else to play a game for you to get you to a higher division if you’re not good enough to get there on your own? Your just going to lose it anyways and this stuffs not cheap.

Actually I’m surprised about how expensive this stuff is in general. The gold by far is the cheapest, items can range from few dollars to hundreds, and accounts are sold for hundreds of dollars each depending on the game. And the scope of games is huge. It seems like as long as there’s an online component to a game there’s some one selling something for it.

This is a side of games I’ve never though about before and I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it’s just a game and if someone wants to drop $600 dollars on an account more power to them. If or when that accounts get banned well that’s what you get for not playing buy the rules. This of course is assuming the seller is the original owner. It’s also annoying to be spammed by gold sellers or see bots all over the place.

 

 

 

Tower Down: This is still broken?

I spent the weekend trying to finish up the core game personal story in Guild Wars 2 For the most part this was pretty painless as I was way ahead in levels for the quest line. Until I got to the quest Tower Down.

Tower Down has you run around to different Orian towers and have the explosives expert Tonn destroy them. It’s a straight forward mission, follow the party, kill the enemies, blow up the towers, done. Should take about 20 minutes or so I thought.

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See the first time I did this mission, I got to the end and couldn’t complete it. All the cutscenes played through and the quest tracker in the corner said “Talk to Tonn” as the last step. Except I couldn’t talk to Tonn. I tried a couple of times and all I got was the greet prompt. So assuming I was missing something I went to the internet to find an answer.

That’s when I found a forum thread from early last week addressing the issue. The players found a number of ways around this bug none of them included playing the mission as it was intended. Some had luck just running to the towers without killing anything and Tonn would blow them up. Another solution was to kill everything in the area before moving on to the next. I tried both to no avail. Either I’d get to the end and couldn’t talk to Tonn or he’d get stuck at the second tower and wouldn’t move. There’s a section at the third tower where your tasked with killing the undead on the beach including a veteran but if you accidentally pull the Kraits in the water out too early it will also cause the quest to bug and be uncompletable.

 

After running this mission another 4 times with no progress being made I was getting a bit frustrated. Back to the internet. I found another recent thread where the solution was to not even talk to Tonn to start the mission and instead go around and kill everything on the map and then start the mission. It was this last attempt that worked for me. I ran through and killed everything in the cave, then the third tower spawns including the kraits, moved on to the second tower, and finally took out the first and made my way back to the beginning. At this point I talked to Tonn, the mission dialog started and we palled around the map blowing up empty towers.

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In the last thread the player mentioned that there’s a work around on the wiki. The wiki points to a forum post from 2012. Now maybe I’m unlucky and not everyone has this issue with this mission but how has this bug been around for so long? It’s not like this is optional side content, it’s the main story everyone has to go through. It’s a bit frustrating that I had to spend so much time to complete a fairly straight forward mission with a not very straight forward bug work around.

The very next mission, The Battle of Fort Trinity, me and Trahearne got stuck inside a set piece. I ended up having to use /stuck to continue the mission. At least I didn’t have to start over. Up until this point I hadn’t encounter any bugs in the personal story. I’m hoping Tower Down is a fluke and the rest of the main story will be painless. For now, I’ve completed as much as I can at level 78 and now I have to get those last 2 levels to wrap everything up.

WoW Me!

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It’s that time of year again. The tie when the blogosphere gets me hyped for a 14 year old game I’ve never played. Seriously, no matter if your excited or pretty meh, everyone is talking about Battle for Azeroth and it’s infectious.

This happens every time a new World of Warcraft expansion comes out. There’s a lot of buzz, people talk about all the good times they have had with WoW, people talk about all the changes, and I go and putter around in the free trial.

WoW has always seemed intimidating. There’s 14 years of discussion, history, and content behind it. It’s a huge game that people have grown up with, one that I grew up around  friends stories and second hand accounts. I’ve always loved the big, cartoony, colorful art and I love reading about peoples time in Azeroth but I’ve never put enough time in to say I’ve “played” World of Warcraft. I really don’t even know what the story other than Alliance vs Horde. Sometimes it can feel like I’m theres a big gap in my gaming vocabulary.

I know I’m in a weird minority of MMO players. WoW was a a lot of people’s gateway MMO. Mine was Runescape and then an assortment of free to play games.But even so, when an expansion is announced or released I get a little bit exited. That feeling usually fades as time goes on and there’s less to read about it as everything becomes old hat again. But for a few weeks out of the year I have the strongest urge to play.

That’s why I’m glad the free trial exists. It takes a while to level to 20. Just long enough, in fact, because by the time I hit level 15 or so I find myself losing interest. A part of me wants to stick it out some time and see the world I’ve spent so much time hearing about. Kind of like a curious explorer.

What is WoW like in 2018 for new players? I’ve heard a lot about what WoW was like for new players in 2004, and I’m gonna be honest guys, it all sounded a bit tedious.  Of course, over the years it’s the internet says it’s been dumbed-down to the point of being unplayable…or so I’ve heard. There seems like there is plenty to do, and a variety of ways to play, which there better be with 14 years of content to sift through. On the other hand, I have so many  games to play do I really have time to play the largest MMO out there?

Maybe my this time around will be different. I might just make a go at getting past level 20 and continuing on. Blizzard did just announce that purchasing the base game was no longer necessary. I’m participating in Blaugust this year so I’ll need something to write about for sure. In all likely hood I’ll be going through the motions of the trial again and move on to something else but who knows?

 

The 15th time’s the charm

Every time I take a break from writing it takes longer and longer for me to come back. I could have sworn the last time I had posted was sometime in March or April but apparently it was the begging of Febuary…. and now that I’m writing I realize how much I’ve missed writing. It’s actually been so long it took me longer than I care to admit to admit how to insert a picture into a post,  but I digress.

I’ve been playing mostly Guild Wars 2 for the last month or so. I had some friends who were playing and hyped me up to get the expansions and now I’m the proud owner of Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire. Never mind that I’ve never beaten the main story or that the last time I leveled a character to 80 was about 4 years ago.

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I decided to try playing a thief. It’s the only class I haven’t seriously played yet  which is weird because my main character in Guild Wars was an assassin. Actually I have a little head cannon going that somehow my assassin has survived for 200 years and is now in modern Tyria. He’s  old and grey and has a very pointy beard these days but he’s still pretty nimble. I’ve also heard he can  sit in chairs now too,  younger Rave would have been so jealous.

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He looked so spiffy back in the day with that Vabbian armor

I’m surprised how much it has its hooks in me this time around.  I’ve started countless characters over the years and the same pattern emerges. Everything is going great and then there’s one skill or weapon I don’t like or I get an idea for another character and I’m back to square one. As a result I’ve explored the starting zones and the zones next to the starter zones more times than I care to count and that makes leveling brand new characters pretty boring. And yes I am too stubborn to just use my level 80 boost.

It’s a good thing to because I’ve been enjoying leveling and I just hit 50 last night.  In fact I’m almost disappointed I hit the next story chunk so fast, I was really enjoying completing zones that I haven’t been to in a long, long, time. Also that raptor mount really helps a lot so glad I was able to run my Guardian through the first Path of Fire mission.

I’ve been  less focused on completing the zones as quickly as possible and going from heart to heart and waypoint to waypoint. I’ve actually taken time to do events when they appear and follow the multiple stage ones, something I never really did before. It’s been way more fun this way because I’ve gotten to do new things and sometimes it’s led me to some unexpected places like the Forsaken Halls last night.

Right now I’m planning on at least completing the core personal story. I almost feel like if I say I want to beat the expansions too the spell Guild Wars 2 finally has on me will be broken. It’s taken 5 years for this game to click and it’s been a really long time since I’ve had that “wow it’s bed time already” moment with a game.

 

EQ2: A Frog in the City

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This week I left the Frostfang Sea and set sail for Qeynos. I had run out of quests I could reasonably do and the rest were 5 or 6 levels above me plus I was tired of looking at orcs. The leaper mount was quite handy in avoiding a bunch of level 19 mobs and getting me over to the docks to leave. I plan on returning once I’m level 18 just so I can finish the story up in that area.

Arriving in Qeynos was a little disorienting. It’s big and ,though you can’t tell it from the picture, there were a ton of NPCs. Some of them had little quest feathers so I ran over to them and was greeted with level 5-8 quests. These were quests I could do but there wasn’t much incentive.   I made my way to the capital district and found some quests a little closer to my level. Definatley nice to see quests names that weren’t in red.

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After running around the city for a while I exited into the big open plane that is Antonica. This area offers a lot of quests and mobs that are around my level and not much in the way of scenery. There are a few structures and a couple of trees but it’s mostly big green open space. I was a bit surprised how much faster killing mobs goes when they’re the same level as you. This area feels a lot less dangerous than the Frostfang Sea and it also has more varied wildlife (aka no orcs).

Unlike the Frostfang Sea, Antonica doesn’t seem to offer streamlined questing. There are quests all over the place but they very in level, sometimes by a lot. A level 10 quest can be right next to a level 15 quest and a level 18 quest. It’s a bit confusing but once I picked up a bunch it seemed like no matter where I went there was a mob to kill or a thing to collect for a quest.

I’m drowning in quests in Antonica. Not only are there a ton of NPCs with quests but I was culling the deer population and they dropped a bunch of Far Seas Requisitions that have tasked me with killing certain mobs. Again these vary quite a lot in the level requirements. In the end it’s not better or worse just different. Also there seems to be less shiny collectibles around here.

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My favorite quest out here so far was given to me by a poet down on his luck. After getting his poems back from some pesky gnolls he gave me a copy of his book to read. It started a quest where I have to visit each place he wrote a poem about. I’m enjoying this one because none of these places are labeled on the map and you have to figure out what they are based on this guys poem. I like that it forces me to be a little more observant of the world as I’m running around completing quests. I swear I ran by one of these locations 3 times and didn’t realize it was a literally a giant sword until I did this quest. There’s another quest from another book I found in the same vein that’s sending me on a tour of the area.

I think my curiosity is beginning to wear off a bit. I still enjoy playing but I’m finding myself log off sooner and sooner. Part of it is because it’s been a really busy week and part of it is that I’m just not as into it as I was at the start.  It’s hard to say if I’ll be staying with Fallen Gate or even EQ2 after this month. Who knows maybe once I have a little more free time in the coming weeks the game will really grab me again.