Author Archives: Ravious

[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

[WS] A Risky Path

An Epic Drop™ of information has just been launched in to space by Carbine Studios. They cover Paths for WildStar with a humorous “in-game” video, a DevSpeak, and a comprehensive web page on the subject.

Paths, simply put, are a sub-class to the character. The class, such as Warrior or Spellslinger, defines internal playstyle. A Warrior uses greatswords and is very melee based. A Spellslinger uses pistols and warps around the battlefield. Paths define external playstyle by offering specific content to a player with a defined Path. In another sense, WildStar is codifying achievements in to splats. Bartlett Explorers can now enter a niche to ensure that they’ll be doing explorer-type things. Continue reading

[GW] Goodnight, Sweet Prince

Guild Wars is going on automated life support. Any thoughts on advancing the story on the Nameless Lich, Evennia’s disappearance, or Beyond Elona are now officially quashed. It would be nice if any of these are answered, but given ArenaNet’s penchant for keeping things unanswered most of it will likely go in their internal wiki version of Warehouse 13 (which is ironically being taken off life support).

My fondest memory is still in the early day when my old international guild beat the Hall of Monuments. This was the first and only time I ever went there and won. It was amazing enough that we beat it given the tough competition and our middling synergy, but I received a Celestial Sigil. The other thing I really remember was the War in Kryta. It might have been a dead cat bounce in community activity, but it was a lot of fun. The community was really alive with that content.

In some ways its hard to believe that Guild Wars is being eternally paused. What is the life of an MMO? It’s hard to say within the hopeful view of World of Warcraft and EVE Online reigning. Lord of the Rings Online seems to feel more and more like the elves of the Third Age looking to the West, but it is still alive and kicking out content. Are we almost through a significant portion of the life of Guild Wars 2? Bits of news like Guild Wars 1 seem to bring out a time for reflection.

I’d love to hear some more stories people remember about their time in Guild Wars.

–Ravious

[GW2] The Crab Grab Hustle

Temporarily, the crazy refugees of Southsun Cove have come up with possibly the most masochistic game in Tyria. Surrounded by hostile wildlife that is attacking each and every settlement (at least the omelet-free ones), the free peoples have decided to design a game around a small Succulent Crab, which seems like one of the favorite foods of the karka. A mad game of solo keepaway ensues with planks, fishing poles, mad karka hatchlings, and giant rolling karka. Life imitates art, and the insanity of this game bleeds through to the Guild Wars 2 player.  Welcome to Crab Toss. Continue reading

[GW2] Secret of Southsun Impressions

There are many ways to view the Secret of Southsun update. The most objective is ArenaNet has added an hour or so of content, and then you are done. This is the worst way to experience Guild Wars 2. In another view, it’s easy to see that Southsun has become the de facto hotspot for some time. Ignoring the checklist-type content, this zone is alive with players now. Finally, Southsun has received a much needed injection of life, love, and polish.

Guild Wars 2 continues to use achievements to replace quests. For Secret of Southsun players are tasked to explore the updated areas, talk to a few key individuals, and find a bunch of samples around the island. I find it to be a poor guide especially given the dozens of achievements in the Secret of Southsun achievement category. The mail sent to all players tells them to get to Southsun to talk to the Inspector, but the real guide to the content is the achievements. I feel that if ArenaNet is going to continue to focus on achievements as the quest-like director for new content serious iteration needs to be done to make it a better means of communication.

Anyway, savvy players seemed to burn through the quest-like content pretty quickly. I would not suggest focusing on the achievements to such a narrowed degree. Might as well enjoy the passion fruit flowers on the way. Continue reading

[GW2] Scope of Flame & Frost

Before the mob’s attention is diverted to Southsun, the vocal players on the Guild Wars 2 forums appear to be unhappy with the ending of Flame & Frost. It distills down to “4 months and we just get a few bonfires”. That’s a lot of distillation, and even in the final hours of Flame & Frost, it is not very accurate. Still I think a big issue is the handling of the scope of Flame & Frost.

Flame & Frost revolved around the Molten Alliances assaults in two zones. In the norn starting zone, Wayfarer Foothills, the Molten Alliance took roughly the northeast corner quadrant, and in the second charr zone, Diessa Plateau they took a large chunk of the west-central side. This is where the action was. This was where the yellow sunbursts were yelling at me to go. It became such a focus to players, yet it really wasn’t a focus to the world. Continue reading

[WS] Dat Double Jump

WildStar has a column going on called “DevSpeak”. The latest clip is about movement. “Movement?” the hardened MMO veteran in you says, “what a silly thing to advertise for your game.” In a way it is silly, but like Mr. DevSpeak says “it plays a major role in every part of the game.” (I will say whoever wrote and voiced this first episode did a fantastic job of keeping it informative and snappy. Definitely looking forward to more.)

Poor movement can harm a game. Take Guild Wars for example. It doesn’t matter how great it was in some parts when gamers couldn’t get past the fact that they couldn’t jump. I admit every time I play Guild Wars it feels like there is a ceiling pressing down. I also do not care for how movement feels in The Secret World, especially when they add don’t-stand-in-the-evil-circle-of-forthcoming-evil effects that I have to dodge out of. In both of these MMOs I can look past it, but some gamers can’t. Continue reading