Guild Wars 2 Flash Sale, ESO Switch, and Wildstar

So, before the Saturday announcement Guild Wars 2 is selling for $10. I’ve been trying to avoid the hype train until things become real (ArenaNet officialized). But, hot dang, $10 for Guild Wars 2 is… that’s Steam Sale worthy. That’s Steam worthy in the sense that I would buy the game to let it sit there.

Then ESO is going to buy-to-play. It even has the synics (sic :P) slightly on board. I think that’s cool and expected. The game seemed to fall off the map too quickly. The switch went pretty well for LOTRO and TSW, and I expect about the same for this.

Which leads me to Wildstar… the game I wanted to be buy-to-play. Supposedly their latest update is going to do a lot of good to the game. At least that’s what I’ve heard through the grapevine. Still, I am surprised that ESO is making the business model switch first, and it gets me looking at pappa NCSoft, killer of City of Heroes.

I am a big fan of MMO’s I own. I am much more likely to buy it in Steam fashion and play it some. I did it with TSW, which I adore but just don’t have time for, and I still have my lifetime “sub” with LOTRO because I wanted ownership. I will probably pick up ESO for that reason. I might even get Mrs. Ravious interested, who knows. I’ll probably pick up another GW2 account as well, just ‘cus.

–Ravious

[GW2] Season 2 Living World Review

The short of it is: it is a vast improvement over Season 1. There is more permanence, more cohesive, apparent plot, and a strong heading. ArenaNet seems to have gone from “too many cooks in the kitchen” to “yes, chef” in one Living World season. Also spoilers.

Permanence!

The most objective improvement is that almost everything is now a permanent fixture. Every launch period (2+ weeks) a player can log in to snag the personal story chapter for free. Thereafter it costs 200 gems ($2.50), or 20 something gold. After that, whatever instances and achievements that come with the chapter are at the player’s whim. There are no timed achievements. Either the achievements are tied to the story instances or to the zones themselves.

ArenaNet also chose to devote most of their attention to permanent zones rather than instanced, temporary pop-up areas, such as the Tower of Nightmares, or temporary activities to zones, such as the Marionette. The debris left behind by the temporary activities and areas makes areas of the zone feel unfinished. Continue reading [GW2] Season 2 Living World Review

[GW2] The Vinewrath

There is a lot to talk about with the latest Guild Wars 2 update, which closes out Season 2 of the Living World story. I am going to go from least spoiler’y to most spoiler’y in my posts about the update. First, I am going to talk about the Silverwastes and its boss.

The latest two zones are what I would consider highpoints of MMO zone design because each zone has its own rhythm and life. My least favorite MMO zones are ones where there’s a bit of everything, and none of it really ties together. My favorites are ones where when I enter the zone I know what the cadence will be. Dry Top is an event farming zone with handy dandy hourly timer and reset. Silverwastes is more chaotic, and also more rewarding. Continue reading [GW2] The Vinewrath

[GW2] Double the Legendary, Double the Fun

Mrs. Ravious is now the proud owner of two legendaries. It definitely helped that the RNGhost in the Machine decided to give, ironically, Mrs. Ravious the Leaf of Kudzu precursor for the holidays. Her Christmas gift last year was the Leaf of Kudzu. This year it was put up on the auction block with the proceeds turning in to Dawn, the precursor for the legendary greatsword Sunrise.

Then for the holidays she farmed well… everything, and I led her through Ascalon Catacombs a dozen or so times. I now stand next to my wife like a filthy casual.

I kid. She hates that I don’t have a legendary, but I don’t know which legendary ArenaNet made to look good with necromancers. Wait, yes I do. None. They made none legendaries for the stepchild class of PvE. I guess if I want to be some anti-necromancer, bubble-gum angel holding-a-rainbow… necro like Noscoc I could do that. Continue reading [GW2] Double the Legendary, Double the Fun

[GW2] Where I PvP, Again

Before this I had played enough PvP in Guild Wars 2 to make it to a ways in to the Deer rank. This is very little, honestly, compared to the amount of WvW and PvE I have done. I was still okay with my necromancer, mostly in condition form, and I enjoyed watching PvP tournaments and streams on Twitch.

Then they changed things. No longer could I really hide in a server with 8-10 players on a team. Now they were getting pretty strict about PvP being a 5v5 ordeal. Being a 20%+ reason why your team lost is a lot more scary than being able to hide in a crowd.

What got me out of my shell was (1) the understanding that there are a lot of players hitting that PvP button a lot worse than I was, and (2) the Wintersday reward track being really good. So, I went in to PvP once again with a goal because, afterall, I had a carrot I had to chase. Continue reading [GW2] Where I PvP, Again

[GW2] Maguuma Wastes Review

Season 2 of Guild Wars 2 finally feels expansion-y enough to talk about in a way where I can review it beyond “this update is cool or bad”. It’s strong enough to see a trajectory in design by ArenaNet. The storytelling is different. The goals are different. And biggest and most noticeable of all, we have new zones. We have zones which feel as important as the core zones, excluding Southsun Cove. That is what I want to review. Continue reading [GW2] Maguuma Wastes Review

[GW2] Seeds of Nightmare

Back from disease and travel, Mrs. Ravious and I played through the Seeds of Truth update, which is the seventh episode for Season 2 of the Living World. In the usual Season 2 fashion (especially this second half) there is a story instance and then two action sequences. There will be spoilerosity as I want this post to focus on the story of the update. I’ll get to the other updates in the maps and what not later.

So to catch up, the story is now revolving how one of Glint’s dragon eggs can change the world. Except that Caithe, one of your buddies from the core game’s story, just up and stole it once you got it off the Zephyrite leader’s still warm corpse. That was the cliffhanger last episode, and now the Living World starts to tell us why. Or, at least the seeds of why. Continue reading [GW2] Seeds of Nightmare

[TT] Board Game Apps

I was pretty intrigued by Zubon’s discussion of Kingdom Builder. Zubon had already made me a fan of Zaccarino’s Dominion game, and I wanted to check Kingdom Builder out as well. Well, there’s an app for that.

I was on a trip down to the Gulf for a wedding, and I decided that $5 wasn’t too much for a couple hours of board game playing. The Kingdom Builder app is pretty good, with the exception of not being able to take back token placement. More importantly, I have already learned plenty of strategy from the AI, at least enough that I could wander in to a convention game and not make a fool of myself.  The $40+ dead tree version is on my Christmas wish list now.

Ticket to Ride dead tree version is also on my wish list, but straight up having never played it on app or the analogue world. I know it is an excellent game, and one touted by many as being a great Board Game entry for younger kin. I plan on getting the app this month so that if Santa Claus puts the board game box under the tree for me I will be in a place to teach others how to play.

My five year old also has been wanting to learn to play chess, and I’ve found that using Chance Chess (free online) to narrow down the moves has been an incredible teaching tool. We also taught her (and my 8yo) Monopoly last night. It was still shrink-wrapped… as a wedding gift of ours 10 years ago. That’s lasting worth, and who would’ve thought ten years ago that I’d have the beginnings of a board game family.

–Ravious

Family Sickness Fun Time

Well, it sucks I’ve been out of touch. We’re on round two of sickness in our family. Now everybody is on antibiotics. Hopefully that’ll do it. I still game. Have to be bedridden not to, practically.

Shadow of Mordor

I sold my friend on the game this weekend with the help of another one. He was interested to begin with, but it became apparent how great the game was when neither me nor my another friend seemed to agree on the best way to play. He liked doing the whole ninja thing, which I found cowardly, and I liked using the zipline shadow strike where you basically use an orc’s head to hookshot wherever you need to go. My friend said it was a waste of two arrows.

I am nearing the end of the game. My bars of progress are getting fuller, but it has never felt grindy like Assassin’s Creed often does. Less is more Ubisoft. I don’t need 20 gorram sparklies per map unless they mean something.  Continue reading Family Sickness Fun Time