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...
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!