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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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.

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.

 

Getting to Know the Elementalist

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My mini pet is almost as big as me!

I spent some more time with my Elementalist over the weekend leveling and trying to do more of the story quest. I’m getting the hang of switching between the attunements and understanding what all of my weapon skills do. I’m so glad this class doesn’t have a weapon swap, 40 skills would be a lot to remember. I’ve decided to go with the staff for now. I like the mix of damage and utility it brings and I really like calling down meteors on my foes.

One of the best things about Guild Wars 2 is that everything seems to progress you further. Everything from exploring to gathering gives you some sort of experience and it’s all doled out so generously. I don’t know if this is true after level 80 but so far I’ve really been enjoying the leveling process.

Finding the points of interests and vistas are one of my favorite activities. The vistas especially when the way up isn’t clear. Completing the maps in general are a lot of fun. It’s really relaxing running from one renown heart to a way point and then a vista.  I’ve only fully explored 2 zones so far, Metrica Province and Brisban Wildlands, and I’m already level 31. I love how the game scales your level down to match the area so that your never steam rolling through areas.

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Skritsburg is my favorite area in Brisban Wildlands

I like that the story moves forward every ten levels. By the time I was done with the level 20 story sequence I was ready to get back out there and explore the world and by the time I was level 29 I was itching to get back to the story. It really is very good pacing so far. I guess we’ll see how I feel about it as I get to higher levels.

I’ve been running into a lot more people than I thought I would have in the lower level zones. I’ve done some world bosses which are cool to see so many people show up but even the random events seem to attract a few players. It has not been a lonely experience at all which MMOs shouldn’t be.

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The only thing I’m finding a bit frustrating is the inventory. It fills up so fast even with all the bags I have equip. I like that you can deposit all materials to the bank right from the inventory but a lot of the lower level crafting materials are already at the max stacks from the last time I played so I end up selling them on the market place. I’m not sure how I feel about not being able to sell or salvage soul bound items it seems like such a waste to throw them away.

Now I’m in the middle of the level 30 story sequence. It’s starting to get even more interesting with fake deaths and people talking about elder dragons. I can’t wait to see where this goes.

Oh Tyria, I’m Home!

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Returning to Guild Wars 2 this weekend has been a little more complicated than I thought it would be. I’ve created and deleted so many characters this week trying to decide on a class to play. I’ve gone through a ranger, a necromancer, a thief, and a warrior, and elementalist. In the end decided to stick with the Asura elementalist. There’s just so many buttons to push.

Previously I had leveled a Guardian to 80 and an engineer to 59 so I didn’t want to reroll as those classes. Every class i tried there was always something around level 10 or 11 that i didn’t like. I didn’t like the weapon skills for most of the ranger and thief weapons and I didn’t like the utility skills for the necromancer. Both classes were promising in the beginning but by level 10 just didn’t look like they would play the way I wanted them too. I’m sure I’ll give them a second chance when I inevitably create more characters but for now none they just didn’t suit my tastes.

The warrior I would have stuck with but being a human seemed kind of boring and the Asura were calling to me. I was so excited when Guild Wars 2 was announced to play as an Asura and even though I already had an Asura Engineer, I made another one!

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One of the benefits of creating and deleting so many characters has been the chance to visit all of the starting areas. Out of all of them, Rata Sum is still my favorite city with Hoelbrek coming in at a close second. I’ve been enjoying finding all of the Points of Interest and Vistas just as much as completing the hearts. I haven’t had this much fun exploring in a long time and this game is just a gold mine for screenshots.

They must have updated the new player experience since I’ve last played. Weapon skills unlock based on level and not how much you use the weapon and I also remember their being access to the utility skills before level 10 but I could be wrong. Overall I like the change. Instead of giving you a bunch of skills at the start it eases you into them one by one. Even the elementalist who has a ton of weapon skills has been pretty easy to learn.

It’s weird because I’ve played this game before and I’ve leveled up to 80 before but the game feels brand new this time around. I think part of that is the better computer and the other part is I’m not trying to race to 80 to play with my friends. We never did end up playing together…

This time around I’m taking it slow, enjoying the world, and enjoying the personal stories I’ve done so far. The Norn one was just starting to get good when I got rid of the necro but I have a feeling I’ll be seeing the elementalist all the way through.

 

Gaming Choice Paralysis

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Last week I built my first gaming PC. With that came a crash course in computer hardware installation and a great sense of accomplishment but also some unforeseen consequences. It ran for about 3 days until the power supply gave out causing a whole week worth of troubleshooting, researching, and more troubleshooting. But after all was said and done I was able to bring it back to life over the weekend!

For the past 8 years or so I’ve been attempting to play games on a business laptop. It wasn’t exactly an enjoyable experience. There were only a few kinds of games I could pay, Namely this came down to do I want to play a 2d side scroller, a pixelated indie game, or, if I was lucky, a game that came out 15 years ago. Other than that my choice in games has been whatever the PS3 and PS4 libraries held. While they aren’t small by any means there was always something I wanted to play but it wasn’t on the system.

Now I have all the options and I must admit it’s a little dizzying how many choices there are. I’ve already installed games I’ve been following for years but could never run well enough to play. Games like Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Black Desert Online, Wildstar, even World of Warcraft. They all run without skipping a beat, it’s fantastic.

Then there’s single player games I’ve been waiting on like Grim Dawn and Elite Dangerous. Though Elite Dangerous is set to release for PS4 at the end of the month…go figure.

Unfortunately I don’t have any really intensive game to really make my PC work hard but even my old games take on a new life at maximum settings and on a bigger monitor.

With all of these options how do I choose what to play? I find myself hopping from game to game saying “oooo look how pretty this one it” and then moving on to test another. It’s hard to pick just one to play for an hour but I can’t complain too much it’s a pretty good problem to have.