Author Archives: Ravious

[GW2] The ArenaNet Service

I was going to write about necromancers today. ArenaNet decided otherwise. Their public face has swung a gigantic hammer today. Not only do players hear about the next new thing: The Bazaar of the Four Winds, but ArenaNet put up a wave of discussion on the service they want to provide. I highly recommend listening to the Game On podcast at and reading and watching Colin “The Serious Don’t Smile” Johanson’s official post.

Stepping back to view our favorite genre, MMOs are a service. At the base level the developer hosts a playground. In the current MMO market, the service must also include updates to be a viable studio. Updates are the lifeblood of MMOs. What other genre has fans chomping at the bit to read patch notes? Patch notes can bring swarms of players back to the game. They are like treasures such that people are willing to break contracts to leak them out. For quite some time, MMOs have been living worlds and their living documents have been the patch notes. Continue reading

[GW2] Sea of Sorrows Review

Sea of Sorrows is the last book in the planned series of three Guild Wars universe novels. I’ve reviewed the first two, Ghosts of Ascalon and Edge of Destiny, already. This book stands apart for two reasons: it is the only novel that has been released since the Guild Wars 2 launch, and it is the only novel wholly written by an ArenaNet employee (Jeff Grubb of ArenaNet co-authored Ghosts of Ascalon with Matt Forbeck). The time it appeared to have to mature made this book the best of the series. Any Guild Wars 2 fan looking for a little bit more out of the Guild Wars universe will enjoy Sea of Sorrows. Continue reading

[GW2] Late to the Aetherblade Assault

I just got back from vacation. Zubon held down the fort in fine manner. The Guild Wars 2 players assaulted another while I was gone. Apparently sky pirates, a guild/faction known as the Aetherblades, were docked right next to Lion’s Arch (and under the Tengu wall!) thanks to the evil asuran Inquest corportation’s help. The good people are on the assault taking out Aetherblade caches across Tyria and attacking their Aetherblade Retreat dungeon head on.

In a way this story is interesting. The Aetherblade are themed around lightning, and indeed they have appeared out of nowhere. More of the story of Mai Trin, and how she tied in to the Dragon Bash assassination will be revealed next week. For now we are left with Inspector Kiel pondering her first engagement with the Inquest and their pirate lackeys. I feel like the Aetherblade kind of got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and the response by Lion’s Arch was impressive. Continue reading

[GW2] Progressing Wuv

Mrs. Ravious has been smitten with the idea of getting the legendary weapon, Kudzu. She’s only been playing her first MMO ever for a few months, and already she’s a huge fan of Dulfy, has notes all over her desk on resource nodes and “best places to…”, and she has a hand drawn spreadsheet for her legendary. I married the right woman. Still, it’s going to be a hard, long road for us casual hardcore players.

The best chunk of getting a legendary is the Gift of Mastery. This is where players just play the game as intended. Gain levels, explore the word, play events, and kill lesser players in World vs. World (WvW). The other three chunks are basically just grinding, money, and luck. So Mrs. Ravious and I have decided to largely focus on WvW for summer. Continue reading

[GW2] Dragon Ball Hints and Tips

I found it very interesting as I was mind-drafting this post to find that Jeromai had already covered just about everything I had to say about Dragon Ball. It’s a good read, and I want to reiterate some of the points to both players and ArenaNet.

Hints to Players

Your First Team Will Suck – Jeromai goes in to considerable detail on why, but consider it a warmup and also a reason not to quit matches to find a different pool of players. Your first team will suck there too.

Jump Pads Don’t Dodge – as awesome a mobility feature as the jump pads are, they will not stop a dragonball from hitting you. I love chasing players down the chutes and kill them as they jump upwards.

Corners and Pillars Do – taking tight turns down the chutes and using the pillars on the top level are some of the best ways to make sure that an opponent’s dragonball is obstructed.

Know Your Health Escapes – in a firefight knowing when to dodge, fall, jump in to a health pickup will make you win.

Don’t Be Chased – my favorite kills are when players try and run away from me down the chutes. I am just getting free shots at your backside. If you have to run away, at least use your other skills. You can throw #2 behind you, for example.

Duos Are Best, Threes a Crowd – I find that sticking with one other player is best. You can take down solo opponents with ease, and not hangup on one another.

Hints to ArenaNet

Rewards Commensurate with Skill – good PvP is hard on the player. Make it justly rewarding. Right now the rewards for mindlessly chasing down holograms are a magnitude greater than a Dragon Ball match. Giving rewards to top players on both sides will keep the losing side playing.

Random Arenas Need Randomness – I don’t understand why there is a switch team function to being with. The only reason to switch to a team is if that team is winning, and those people are not the ones that are going to leave the match. There should also be a wider pool of players to shake up matches a bit more too, but that might be a server limitation.

Personal Achievements Triumphant – 20 wins is edging on too many for an achievement, and it is weighed down by the reliance on a decent team. Having that replaced with personal kills, for example, would have decreased the reliance on an oft-horrible team and given more reasons to stick around.


[GW2] Smashing, Bashing

The newest Guild Wars 2 festival is upon us. The Dragon Bash Festival is a couple week event centered mostly around Lion’s Arch and surrounding areas. It is beautiful, fun, and tiring all at once. There are some fantastic moments and rough edges as is likely to be expected in an MMO where new content is flying down from on high every two weeks.

The highest point of the festival is the art. Jeromai has a nice post with a lot of screenshots showing off the beauty of Lion’s Arch in dragon festival form. Bhagpuss also decided to post on the festival in screenshot form, albeit in a more comical sense. It is amazing, and I’ve stood around for many minutes just watching the holographic dragon. It’s so much to take in I keep finding neat little things all over the place even if it is just a placement of a dragon target or a new sign. If you haven’t signed in to Guild Wars 2 in awhile, I would say that updating and logging in just to walk around Lion’s Arch is worth it. Continue reading

[GW2] Farming the Community

Where ArenaNet has hit the highest marks for their live-game updates, in my opinion, is where it affects community interaction. For content on its own, even good content such as the Cragstead instance, it’s neat, and then I move on. It is where the Living Story has changed the momentum of daily playing where I feel ArenaNet’s dev energy has had greatest positive effect.

With The Secret of Southsun update Southsun Cove was turned in to the place to farm. It was a comfortable farm too. One could join a snake of players through the northern Southsun Shoals as they train along running over young karka. There was also the skelk wading pool, which just became too bloody efficient. My favorite was farming the instigator events. Continue reading

Thoughts Throughout a Rainy Week

These are a simple man’s thoughts that didn’t make it to full posts:

Warframe is a really nice third-person shooter with some ninja-magic effects. The Canadian team seems to have a very good grasp of everything from updates to the cash shop to their technology. Things can get a little grindy, but it pretty much equates to playing anyway. I dislike grinding/buying classes, but for players unwilling to pay the cash shop for classes, the grind seems very reasonable.

I’ve slowed down a lot with Minecraft Feed-the-Beast. I feel like the tech game is mostly over, and now I’m thinking of shedding everything and heading in to the Twilight Forest. The highly anticipated Aether 2 mod seems like it might get released this weekend too. It is an amazing dimension mod in its own right, but the mod team added dungeon instances to the mod. Continue reading

[GW2] Last Stand and Delivery

The Living Story sun is setting on Southsun. Canach has been apprehended. Next week contracts will be saved and karka queens will be killed. Then off to the revelry of Dragon Bash to forget all the issues remaining settlers will have to face. This portion of the Living Story was actually pretty good. There are a lot of things going on with the story throughout the island. It’s telling was hit or miss.

The story speaks of Canach, returned from the Molten Alliance “war” where he fought with the Pact against the enemy. He has a standing vendetta against the Consortium, and he feels the best thing to do is free the bonded refugees on Southsun Cove from their contracts of servitude. The best way to do this, of course, is to rile up the local, dangerous wildlife to attack everybody, settler refugees included. Tempers rise and settlers and the Consortium’s goons start to skirmish themselves. Continue reading

[TSW] Narrative Silence

The year of story MMOs: 2012. The three big MMOs that year all had story as a big bulletpoint. Star Wars The Old Republic had a fully voiced monstrosity.  Guild Wars 2 parsed theirs out with the Personal Story. And The Secret World, kind of mentioned it as part of missions and things. Surprisingly, I think The Secret World won as far as narrative delivery of story and lore.

I enjoy the way all three games deliver story content. There are flaws in all three. I don’t like how heavy The Old Republic can feel. I don’t like how disjointed all the arcs and “personal” narration fees in Guild Wars 2. And, I don’t like how the cut scene for a mission in The Secret World can have the barest relation to the forthcoming content at hand. Continue reading