Rediscovering Guild Wars 2

Posted by jakob187 (21640 posts) -

In the past few months, a plethora of game releases kept me from venturing much in the world of Tyria. Actually, let's rewind that for a second...

Before I "stopped playing" Guild Wars 2, the amount of time spent in the game was on par with my beginnings in WoW and other MMOs. I grinded hard to level 80, only to find that many of the stuff to do at level 80 was either bugged or slightly broken. "Disheartened" isn't quite the word I'd use, but more just...not determined enough to dump serious amounts of time into it like I was.

Once the holiday season kicked in and we saw releases coming left and right (as well as serious sales from Steam, Amazon, Green Man Gaming, and GOG), gaming time was being divided among many of the new releases as well as League of Legends.

Then I bought my girlfriend Guild Wars 2 for Christmas...

She's been on a mad rampage in the game, and she's loving it. It's like a kid seeing a world of wonder. As I watched her play it, I kept saying to myself "man, I wanna go have fun again." Once I finally decided to log back in, it was like opening up a whole new game. A new zone had been added (Southsea Cove - tough as shit), many of the bugged collectibles for world exploration were fixed, and the dungeons were fine-tuned in many respects. Finally, Tyria felt complete. However, being at max level, I kept asking myself "what do I do?" Sure, I can do dungeons to get gear, but I have full Draconic and exotic weapons that all have the best attributes I can get in the game. What's the point?

Vanity. The point is vanity, folks. It's not about a "gear grind." It's about getting that new gear when you want, how you want, having a choice of what to get, and making yourself look EXACTLY the way you want to look. Right now, Finlee Kilgore Esq. is looking like a thoroughbred badass...

...and he's doing it in pink and gold, motherfuckers.

However, once my girlfriend was able to get on my world (YAK'S BEND REPRESENT), there was something else I found...or rather re-found: exploration is the key. I've finished many of the zones that she's going through, but because of the level scaling, I can go there and still have immense amounts of fun. Moreover, I'm now an overpowered monstrosity of a Charr. I can go in and murder the shit out of everything and feel like a god. Isn't that the point of getting to max level and having all of this gear? Going back and realizing just how powerful you are?

I realized that my problem was the continuing search for loot progression, that carrot on a stick. World of Warcraft, The Old Republic, even Dungeons & Dragons Online had all gotten me used to getting to that next piece of gear, that next raid, that next expansion. Once you notice, realize, and accept the fact that Guild Wars 2 has minimal loot progression and complete customization progression built inside of a beautiful world that is more alive than most MMOs on the market, you find what Guild Wars 2 excels at.

I feel like my character...is my own. No one else despite how many of them are running around with CoF gear are MY character. Every time I pass by someone in Lion's Arch or a group on their way to a dungeon, I never look over and feel like I'm just grinding for the same gear as them...because this is MY gear. That is MY Dhuumseal transmuted with the stats of Naegling. That is MY Berserker's Draconic Helm of the Berserker. Those are MY Beryl Orichalcum Earrings of the Valkyrie.

I am Finlee Kilgore Esq. (well, just Finlee in game...but I didn't realize I could do surnames and such if I saw fit). I am a unique character within the world of Tyria.

So as my girlfriend and I both explore through the world, working towards our 100% map completion to get our Gift of Exploration...working our way through the path to getting a legendary weapon, I have rediscovered my love for what I still feel is one of the best MMOs in existence.

Now I just have to get her to 80 so we can PvP like crazy!

#1 Posted by jakob187 (21640 posts) -

In the past few months, a plethora of game releases kept me from venturing much in the world of Tyria. Actually, let's rewind that for a second...

Before I "stopped playing" Guild Wars 2, the amount of time spent in the game was on par with my beginnings in WoW and other MMOs. I grinded hard to level 80, only to find that many of the stuff to do at level 80 was either bugged or slightly broken. "Disheartened" isn't quite the word I'd use, but more just...not determined enough to dump serious amounts of time into it like I was.

Once the holiday season kicked in and we saw releases coming left and right (as well as serious sales from Steam, Amazon, Green Man Gaming, and GOG), gaming time was being divided among many of the new releases as well as League of Legends.

Then I bought my girlfriend Guild Wars 2 for Christmas...

She's been on a mad rampage in the game, and she's loving it. It's like a kid seeing a world of wonder. As I watched her play it, I kept saying to myself "man, I wanna go have fun again." Once I finally decided to log back in, it was like opening up a whole new game. A new zone had been added (Southsea Cove - tough as shit), many of the bugged collectibles for world exploration were fixed, and the dungeons were fine-tuned in many respects. Finally, Tyria felt complete. However, being at max level, I kept asking myself "what do I do?" Sure, I can do dungeons to get gear, but I have full Draconic and exotic weapons that all have the best attributes I can get in the game. What's the point?

Vanity. The point is vanity, folks. It's not about a "gear grind." It's about getting that new gear when you want, how you want, having a choice of what to get, and making yourself look EXACTLY the way you want to look. Right now, Finlee Kilgore Esq. is looking like a thoroughbred badass...

...and he's doing it in pink and gold, motherfuckers.

However, once my girlfriend was able to get on my world (YAK'S BEND REPRESENT), there was something else I found...or rather re-found: exploration is the key. I've finished many of the zones that she's going through, but because of the level scaling, I can go there and still have immense amounts of fun. Moreover, I'm now an overpowered monstrosity of a Charr. I can go in and murder the shit out of everything and feel like a god. Isn't that the point of getting to max level and having all of this gear? Going back and realizing just how powerful you are?

I realized that my problem was the continuing search for loot progression, that carrot on a stick. World of Warcraft, The Old Republic, even Dungeons & Dragons Online had all gotten me used to getting to that next piece of gear, that next raid, that next expansion. Once you notice, realize, and accept the fact that Guild Wars 2 has minimal loot progression and complete customization progression built inside of a beautiful world that is more alive than most MMOs on the market, you find what Guild Wars 2 excels at.

I feel like my character...is my own. No one else despite how many of them are running around with CoF gear are MY character. Every time I pass by someone in Lion's Arch or a group on their way to a dungeon, I never look over and feel like I'm just grinding for the same gear as them...because this is MY gear. That is MY Dhuumseal transmuted with the stats of Naegling. That is MY Berserker's Draconic Helm of the Berserker. Those are MY Beryl Orichalcum Earrings of the Valkyrie.

I am Finlee Kilgore Esq. (well, just Finlee in game...but I didn't realize I could do surnames and such if I saw fit). I am a unique character within the world of Tyria.

So as my girlfriend and I both explore through the world, working towards our 100% map completion to get our Gift of Exploration...working our way through the path to getting a legendary weapon, I have rediscovered my love for what I still feel is one of the best MMOs in existence.

Now I just have to get her to 80 so we can PvP like crazy!

#2 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (3127 posts) -

This post is awesome. The grim tidings in various forums around the internet can all but convince a person that the game is so flawed as to be barely functional, but when you finally lay hands on it again 99% of your time will be spent enjoying yourself with the amazing variety of content packed in there (of course, it doesn't hurt when you're able to play it with someone close).

@jakob187 said:

Now I just have to get her to 80 so we can PvP like crazy!

Do you mean WvW? Because I've been looking for people to try sPvP tournaments with, and scaling means y'all can just jump into that.

#3 Posted by Jayzilla (2554 posts) -

Your Charr needs a LEgendary Greatsword. Talk about grind and a half.

#4 Edited by sdharrison (476 posts) -

I have had a passing desire to jump back in. I made an Engineer the first time through and felt like it didn't deliver at 80. It's been a few months off now and I can see how it would be fun to level a new character. Hm...

GW2 is indeed a great MMO for the money. Deserved more GOTY attention imo

#5 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7613 posts) -

I think the upcoming additions to the achievement/reward system will help a lot with the "well, what do I do now?" aspect of the game. I do feel like one of the problems in the game isn't so much that there's nothing to do at max level, but that the game just doesn't do a very good job of pointing you in the right directions or telling you the reasons for continuing to play.

#6 Edited by UssjTrunks (534 posts) -

I haven't played any other MMOs (aside from GW1), nor have I really delved into the PvE in this game, but from the sounds of it, it seems that Anet is releasing regular content updates for this game. People were skeptical that a B2P MMO could sustain itself, but I think GW2 has proven that it can.

For people that have played P2P games like WoW and Rift, how have the content updates been compared to those games?

#7 Posted by UssjTrunks (534 posts) -

@Dark_Lord_Spam said:

This post is awesome. The grim tidings in various forums around the internet can all but convince a person that the game is so flawed as to be barely functional, but when you finally lay hands on it again 99% of your time will be spent enjoying yourself with the amazing variety of content packed in there (of course, it doesn't hurt when you're able to play it with someone close).

@jakob187 said:

Now I just have to get her to 80 so we can PvP like crazy!

Do you mean WvW? Because I've been looking for people to try sPvP tournaments with, and scaling means y'all can just jump into that.

Message me any time you're down for some tPvP!

#8 Posted by StarvingGamer (7913 posts) -

@jakob187 said:

I've finished many of the zones that she's going through, but because of the level scaling, I can go there and still have immense amounts of fun. Moreover, I'm now an overpowered monstrosity of a Charr. I can go in and murder the shit out of everything and feel like a god. Isn't that the point of getting to max level and having all of this gear? Going back and realizing just how powerful you are?

I think that's my main problem with GW2 and why I went from 3-4 hours per day to absolutely zero interest. Because of the level scaling I can't go back to old zones and just zip through the content. I actually have to pay attention, fight stuff, and try. I'm a lvl 80 badass pink dragon witch lady but I still have to burn half my cooldowns if I want to take down a lvl 15 mob quickly.

#9 Posted by jakob187 (21640 posts) -

@StarvingGamer: You do? As geared as I am now (4 piece CoF, 2 piece Draconic, Naegling stats on Dhuumseal sword, exotic accessories/rings/amulet), I walk into Cursed Shore even, hit 2 (Hundred Blades with a greatsword), and lay waste to damn near anything I come up against. It would be all in your traits build possibly, but overall, I've been breezing through these lower levels areas.

Actually, my girlfriend keeps complaining when I quest with her because I'm "OP as fuck and I need to stop hitting shit" so she can pick up stuff for tasks. LOL

#10 Posted by StarvingGamer (7913 posts) -

@jakob187: Well, I'm not nearly as well geared as you so that's probably part of the problem. Also I'm a condition Necro so my damage has a pretty significant ramp.

#11 Posted by jakob187 (21640 posts) -

@StarvingGamer: I play a warrior (my only character thus far), so I can't really say much about other classes. However, my buddy plays a Necro and has said that he is relatively unsatisfied with it due to lack of damage in comparison to other classes. Personally, they've always seemed more in line with PvP than PvE, but as an MMO, there needs to be that fine balance.

It's one of the things that the first Guild Wars really got right while this one seems to forget some of that. In the original game, you could make new characters at max level as long as you already had a max level. However, those new characters would only be available for PvP. It was the solution to "hey, I don't want to make this character for PvE and then find out they are worth shit in PvP". There was also the fact that you had a general spellbook in the game that would contain a massive list of all the spells you've gained across characters overall on the game, including the elite skills you would capture from bosses that you fought in PvE. It was their way of offering replayability in the PvE content (at least, that's how it was in Prophecies, barely played anything past Factions) beyond just having random stat-rolled gear.

There are definitely a few more things that GW2 needs to do in order to be perfect, but it's still one of the best damn MMOs I've ever played, ya know? The world is well-made, the characters feel unique, and the flow of gameplay is rarely stifled like other games. There is just always something to do, even though that thing may not always seem as beneficial as it may in other games because it's not a straight-up "loot progression grind."

Also, you should get back to playing. Are you on Yak's Bend? My guild and I are running things pretty regularly now. Send me a PM and we'll see if we can get you some gear so you can kick shit in the dick.

#12 Posted by mellotronrules (1171 posts) -

yeah, i've had an urge to revisit this as well. same story- played hard at launch, got my main to 80, then took the rest of the year off.

aside from vanity items and bringing up alts, does anyone have advice for someone looking to squeeze some more enjoyment out of the game? i'm howevering at around 70% explored, might try to cap that off.

#13 Posted by StarvingGamer (7913 posts) -

@jakob187: No, I'm on uhhh, Northern Shiverpeaks?

I'm really torn on how I feel about GW2. I appreciate a lot of the intelligent, evolutionary design of the game, but a lot of it feels unfinished or oddly balanced. They try to give you lots of ways to gain levels so you're never grinding, but if you want to level your tradeskills it requires a LOT of grinding for either mats or money to buy mats. They make it really easy to store moderate amounts of trade goods but give you extremely limited bank space that can only be expanded with microtransactions and bags are crazy expensive.

I understand the reasoning behind some of the decisions, or at least can imagine possible reasonings, but from a player perspective it makes things feel a little bit disjointed.

Don't get me wrong, I still had a lot of fun with the game (I made it to 80 after all), but for everything that it did that made me say, "fuck yeah!" it did something else that made me say, "c'mon, really?" I can see the ways this game is going to impact future MMO development for the better and I'm glad it exists, but I don't know how much more time I'm going to want to put in it outside of messing around with alts.

#14 Posted by jakob187 (21640 posts) -

@mellotronrules: World exploration is fun when you have a friend with you. It gets a little dull when you are the only one roaming around. Buddying up generally results in goofy times and goofy shit happening. I actually was sitting on around 70% when I jumped back in to do exploration, and it's been pretty smooth sailing so far getting up there. I'm at about 79% now, but I've also been slacking for the last two days because of Warframe and work.

I have, however, discovered that I just can't do ice areas very well in ANY MMO. I keep falling asleep anytime I'm in an ice area in GW2, and I did the same thing on Hoth in TOR as well as any ice areas in WoW (imagine how tough it was when Lich King came out!).

#15 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (3127 posts) -

@jakob187: I can't condone this slander. The Shiverpeaks contained the most, breathtaking, awe-inspiring, *insert third hyperbolic adjective here* regions in GW1 and it's the same in GW2. If anything, the rolling green hills of Kryta are the least exciting environments in the game (still far from mundane or unvaried, though).

#16 Posted by believer258 (11563 posts) -

Does this game ever go on a decent sale? Like, for less than $50? I want to play it and I'm really considering it but $60 is a whole lot of money.

#17 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (3127 posts) -

@believer258: I've seen it on sale for as low as $35 on sites like Green Man Gaming. Just keep an eye out, it seems to drop fairly frequently.

#18 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (3127 posts) -

@believer258: Speak of the devil, it's $40 right now on Newegg. Just use the promo code provided on that page.

#19 Posted by CJduke (782 posts) -

I think Guild Wars 2 is a fantastic game and has some of the best world exploration in any game ever. The only thing I don't like in the game is the quest system, everything else is fantastic. Yet, I have only reached level 24 and can't really find it in me to keep going. I wonder if it is because I played so much WoW and The Old Republic that MMO's in their current form are just ruined for me. Hopefully not because I really want to get deep into Guild Wars 2 at some point. The best part is no monthly fee and no micro transactions holding back content, so I can return to the game whenever. Hopefully I can find the motivation to keep playing so I can see more of that game.

#20 Posted by squiDc00kiE (347 posts) -

Good blog. I felt the exact same way. I played for a few weeks after launch, left it, and came back a month later with a vengeance when my friends finally bought it. I'm closing in on 200 hours now and I don't foresee quitting anytime soon.

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