[GW2] Just A Small Patch

It’s kind of a joke, with the 5000+ word patch notes, that Guild Wars 2 just received it’s small January update. It will pale in comparison to February and March. Is it a fraction of a campaign-size update season? I don’t know, but in my few hours last night the game felt a lot shinier.

I spent most of my time in Orr last night. Destroying the Orrian Balthazar went great, for once, and it was nice filling out my Obsidian Shards I need for Gift of Mastery. The Grenth priest event on the other hand was brutal. Polish was apparent across Orr. I heard a lot of players saying that given the changes they were planning on returning there instead of constantly running dungeons. I know the dungeons got a lot of updates as well, which hopefully will feel similar.

The final piece in Orr are the Lost Orrian Jewel Boxes, which are currently seems the best way to convert karma into money. Some people are reporting that it is twice as good as throwing masterwork items into the Mystic Forge. What’s really fun about it, similar in nature to Black Lion Chests, is that players get a karma return almost every box. In some cases, with boosts, the net karma return on an opened box can be greater than the box’s cost. This is working as intended.

The big game changer is, of course, the daily achievements rotation and laurels. Now there is a handy UI on the side showing how far players are in their quest to complete the daily. Each full daily rewards a single laurel, which goes in to an account-wide “bank”. Laurels are used to buy some impulse-like items or they can be saved up to get Ascended gear.

Syp remarks that a big part of this is getting players to experience things that they wouldn’t normally do. It’s funny to see in Orr, the end game, people asking how to basically dodge to “evade” an attack. I am guessing part of the daily achievement last night was a learning experience for many. This is probably the best part about the daily achievements. It gets players to waver just enough off their normal (sometimes boring) course to keep things pretty fresh.

The worst part is that grind feeling involved with looking at the only other available way to get Ascended gear besides the Fractals dungeon. It will take 100 days of daily completion to get two rings and an amulet. Ascended back items are still Fractals dungeon only because ArenaNet wants to add them to a different reward system later instead of laurels. Ascended amulets are obtained by laurels only.

Yes, Ascended gear is that long goal gear, which is required for only high-end Fractals, but it still is a goal. For many, it is a goal that cannot now be accelerated either. Only through carefully completing a daily achievement for thirty days can players receive ascended amulets. For many more players not really interested in Fractals, ascended rings will follow the same route.

I know ArenaNet is playing the long game with laurels, given the cost of the miniatures. Yet, it feels like a small blemish when for quite a few weeks I feel most players will be saving for 30 laurels, and then beyond. In other words, it is going to be “work” before “fun”. That’s not wholly accurate because figuring out new ways to game the daily achievements is going to be fun. In an ironic MMO way, the actions are less grindy / more fun than that initial reward.

The Living Story – Flame and Frost: Prelude, starts about now. An NCSoft email said this was “the Prelude to an Epic Three-Part Series”. I’ll be interested to see what the new content entails. Thankfully there is plenty of other things to do with this patch even if the Prelude content is where the small part of this January patch comes from. See you where sky falls and the ground shakes.

–Ravious

11 thoughts on “[GW2] Just A Small Patch”

  1. Spent a lot of time in Orr last night too. At one point I was in the Cursed Shore, underwater and there was about a dozen people swimming around, never seen so many people clustered together underwater before. Tried Grenth a few times too, which was brutal, I’m wondering if slotting fall damage traits might mitigate some of that fall damage. As a mesmer the combo daily was not fun, only managed to get it half done before the daily reset, hopefully they iron out the kinks and get it back in soon, because it is another of those gentle nudges to new players to figure this stuff out.

    Haven’t even acquired one piece of ascended gear yet and it’s already causing me fatigue, putting together sets of exotic gear for a number of alts already keeps funds low. Even at this stage I’m in mind to ignore the items completely and settle for the versatility of exotic gear, and use laurels for more throwaway items that I’m not continually chasing after.

  2. It’s funny to see in Orr, the end game, people asking how to basically dodge to “evade” an attack.

    Part of that is the mechanic itself consists of two parts : dodging both moves a character, and also provides invulnerability. For ranged-heavy builds, or for certain Mesmer and Elementalist builds, you normally benefit far more from the mobility than from the invulnerability. You’d roll to avoid attacks, but almost always at the beginning of an enemy’s animation to maximize the distance benefit the roll provides.

    ((Playing The Secret World only aggravates this, as repositioning is the only benefit to dodge-rolling in that game.))

    The Laurels costs are a little disconcerting, though, especially for people who don’t WvWvW or can’t afford the time for a Fractals run (and thus can’t get the monthly Laurels).

  3. I got my daily dodge achievement by going to Caledon Forest and pissing off some moa (I also found hylek with blowguns very handy) and just prompting them to use attacks on me that I knew I could dodge. At one point one of those hylek rapid-shot at me and I got the ‘evaded!’ note about five times, achievement went way up!

    I think encouraging people to try out new things is a great use of dailies. I hope they shift the monthlies around too and/or give us the option to complete some out of the set, since I don’t really WvW and I don’t run Fractals at all, so monthlies are consistently out of reach for me.

    1. I think that ties back into an earlier post by Ravious about how the daily achievements felt like a grind. You just described going to an area and fighting a specific mob JUST to do the evade achievement in the most efficient way. This is not what Arena.net is trying to do with their achievements and general “just play” philosophy. But they have to fight the player’s tendency to optimize all the fun out of their gameplay in the name of little dings.

      I have to wonder if it’s possible to recondition a playerbase that has spent so long doing such things. It seems to me a lot of the complaints about GW2 come from trying to play it like any other MMO instead of stopping to explore and smell the roses and just enjoy your time in the game.

      1. I was aware as I was writing that it would come off that way, and let’s be honest, that’s what I was doing. But it was mostly prompted by “oh, new dailies, new rewards, but I can only be on for a short time tonight!” Normally, I’m a very casual just-for-fun player, I swear :P

        But yes, the playerbase as a whole will tend toward the most efficient assembly line route to achievement (even if that means grinding to get a reward quickly and then complaining that the reward isn’t worth it – then why did you go for it?). The unfortunate things is that certain parts of the game are tuned to accommodate those people, which leaves the casual players somewhat locked out occasionally, just because ArenaNet have to strike some kind of balance.

        1. Last night was kill 5 veterans. I was in Wayfarer Foothills so I killed a bunch of those big treehearts. In Orr I might have gone after gateguards, who knows. There will be efficient routes, but it doesn’t have to be The Efficient Route. Hopefully where you want to play and the other achievements will kind of keep changing parameters just enough.

  4. All dailies are by definition directive and I’d rather they weren’t in MMOs at all. You can’t uneat the apple, though, to quote Jake Shillingford, so if we have to have them I think having a variety that changes each day is an improvement.

    The Monthly is far too static still. I did the first one after they added Fractals but it was miserable and I’m don’t want to do it again. If I never go in another Fractal it will be too soon. I’m sure others feel the same about the re-appearance of 50 WvW kills, which I can usually knock off on the first day of the month through normal play.

    The sooner ANet get both daily AND monthly tasks onto a “your choice of 5 from 10″ basis, the better.

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