Category Archives: Guild Wars

[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.


Static Gameplay

I have continued to poke at Anti-Idle, and I have run into the same problem that others have cited about Guild Wars 2: there is a large dead zone between “have all your toys” and the cap. In Anti-Idle, that is actually thousands of levels, but it’s an idle game, so those can mostly happen while you’re AFK.

Once you reach the point where all the fights feel the same, you have completed the meaningful content. You beat the game. You’re done and can quit now. Also, when “RPG elements” has come to mean “character advancement,” it stops feeling like your character is advancing when you are just adding new numbers to old abilities. Again, game over, you won.

The sense I get from GW2 is that we are seeing the history of its development. (Entirely made up story follows.) Long before they abandoned the idea of horizontal progression, the original idea was like GW1: low cap, almost everything at the cap. Let’s give the characters all their skills by level 20. Hmm, people really like progression. Okay, we’ll match the industry leader and have 80 levels. Let’s push the elite skills back so we don’t have a 60-level dead zone. You saw a bit of that “needs more progression” when slot skills went from “all available immediately” to “buy 5 in this tier to unlock the next.” There must have been months of meetings trying to decide how to give players more toys over time without breaking the model of having one skill bar. There are some bonuses to unlock via talents, and your gear starts giving you more (not just bigger) stats, and … well, that plateau is kind of essential in the original notion of horizontal progression. Let’s hope they solve it before the coming level cap increase(s) and new tier(s) of gear.

GW1 had hundreds of elite skills you could capture, along with secondary classes, so you could pick your one bar of skills from literally thousands of skills. Part of horizontal progression is having the option to progress, more options not just ones with bigger numbers.

: Zubon

Work in Progress

More than other games, MMO experiences have a time stamp because the game itself changes and our experiences with the “same” piece of content might be radically different.

This is especially true in the early days. Yesterday’s dungeon discussion had some sharply divided experiences, and those could be caused by class, gear, strategy, or the dungeon’s having been updated a half-dozen times in a month. I finally tried WoW so I could see how the zones looked before the Cataclysm revamp only to find that the veterans’ experiences were radically different due to other changes that had accumulated over the years. My trip through Guild Wars: Prophecies included heroes, lots of elite skills, and PvE skills, which changed everything even if none of the Prophecies content had changed.

As a LotRO player, I recall approaches to Moria boss fights that went from “standard practice” to “exploits we patched away.” Sometimes you need the good bugs to get past the bad bugs. Some grognards talk about how hard X was during their day, and some of them did Y while it was easier, broken, bugged, etc.

The population shift is also a big change over time. The original wave of Warhammer Online players experienced public events 1.0 as intended, but as early as a month later many zones were ghost towns and you never saw the last event phases. In September 2012, players bemoaned that the Guild Wars 2 economy was broken because scraps of jute were very expensive. Come September 2014, players may bemoan that the Guild Wars 2 economy is broken because craps of jute were almost worthless. It seems to be a rare event for a game to maintain a steady population spread rather than having huge clumps at the top and bottom levels.

“Trammel” and “NGE” are extreme cases you need not mention. Everyone knows to distinguish between before and after those chasms.

: Zubon

[GW2] Reigning Expectations

Do not seek perfection in a changing world.” –Buddha

Guild Wars 2 is coming. I think it will be a great game. I also know that it is not just a game; it is a service. Like a good MMO service the actual game part will be a living, growing document. Events found unworkable or unfun might get cut or replaced. Mechanics might get tweaked or wholly reworked. Zones might get added or changed. The only sure thing is impermanence.

Hunter’s Insight already wrote about the so-called imperfections found in Guild Wars 2. A big one is the lack of free guesting between worlds. It will come “in time”, but it is a disappointment that the uninhibited feeling found in the original Guild Wars will be tampered a bit by servers. He also mentions mini-games and a bit more, and I want to add a “spectator mode” to the list. Again, it’s hard to regress. Continue reading

[GW] 32 Flavors

I came to the farewell event from the opposite position of Ravious. I am not a veteran player. I started in December and played hard under the then-common expectation of an early spring release date for GW2. I have not played much since April after trying almost everything, burning out a bit, losing the monkey, and trying GW2, at which point there was little Exploring left and any Achieving felt a bit like cleaning something before throwing it away. I have memories, but they are not old enough to be nostalgia. I have no birthday presents.

I said “almost everything,” and the Reverie showed me some things I had missed or scarcely noticed. Large areas are (or became) optional; you can complete the game and get 30/50 without visiting every zone and certainly without seeing all the sights. Of the 32 locations to visit, I had not been to 8, including one of the most important, Ventari’s sanctuary. I did not realize that was even in the game, rather than an idea developed between games. The tour does one thing dramatically right: it starts with the Searing crystal and ends at Ventari’s sanctuary. The former starts the storyline, the latter is the birthplace of GW2′s new race. When you meet Ventari, he still has another century of life ahead of him, and the first Sylvari will not be born for a century after that. This is a transition point between games that could only be strengthened by then ending on a reference to slumbering elder dragons.

As gameplay, it’s a guided sightseeing tour with nothing new. It is rather pleasant, if you are in the right mood. The only weakness is a fondness for picking the most inconvenient point in an area as a point of interest. Apparently the best landmarks in the game were, whenever possible, placed at least two zones from the nearest outpost and at the far end of that zone. In this, you can see how game design varied between the four parts of the game. Prophecies is the worst for putting the sites at the end of a long run filled with troublesome foes. Factions is the quickest, some just a short walk from the zone door. Nightfall falls in between and feels less thematic, with the lands beyond the portal a neglected afterthought. Eye of the North is a mix of instant gratification and dangerous journeys, with two points needing no combat, two that synergize, and one under a dungeon boss.

In terms of rewards, completing all four awards a Tormented weapon, which is a much quicker HoM point than completing an Armbrace of Truth. I did not have that one, and I ran Domain of Anguish several times. You also get eight plat. While I was there, I cleaned up several quests and vanquished several zones. That required dungeon, by the way, has 19 hidden treasures that can yield rare materials, so bring the Light of Deldrimor and work on your other HoM points.

: Zubon

[GW] A Farewell Tour

Here I am waiting with supplies and IV for the launch of Guild Wars 2, and the Guild Wars Live Team comes out of nowhere with an amazing new festival for the original Guild Wars. The Wayfarer’s Reverie only lasts until August 30th, by which time Guild Wars 2 will have been launched. There are four quests associated with the event that send players back through key locations throughout the campaigns and expansion.

This was an excellent time for this event the weekend before Guild Wars 2 launch because the event is so geared towards a comforting goodbye. The quests are darn simple. Just follow the green glob commanding players to head to out of the way, but notable locations. Players that have been around for a few years will return to places they might not have touched for a long time.

I’ve been doing my own reflections along the way. I remember when I wanted to explore the Flame Temple Corridor long before the advent of heroes. The mass of level 8 charr were overbearing. I just wanted to retrieve some dead girl’s ashes. There are plenty of other memories both of frustration and joy. I am finding that I am enjoying remembering all of them for a big grand goodbye. Continue reading

[GW2] Echoes of the Past, Part 3

Fanfic Warning: This is last of three vignettes I wrote about my main character in the original Guild Wars. Here is part one and part two.

“I, Alana, sworn to Dwayna, do hereby attest that this is a good and true account of Ephan Oroborz, brother to the people of Kryta. Father. Husband. And, loved by our village. His body now returned to the land. His soul to the Mists.”

Ephan stood at the edge of his small farm looking out at the marsh. The boundaries of his farm were really not an issue since everybody else in the nearby village thought the man was a fool for staking a claim in the Black Curtain. The Black Curtain was a place where the fog was said to be able to coalesce in to horrible creatures and maddened souls crackled with wispy, blue energy that would electrocute any person brave or dumb enough to enter the swamp. Ephan wondered why the villagers always dismissed the majestic Temple of Ages when talking about the Black Curtain. Some of the power of the five gods still remained at the holy place. Young brother Theophilus seemed to traverse the wetlands easily enough when the small encampment at the Temple needed more supplies. Continue reading

[GW2] Echoes of the Past, Part 2

Fanfic Warning: This is one of three vignettes I wrote about my main character in the original Guild Wars. Part one can be found here. Part three will drop later this week.

Ravious Pretagata sat on the steps leading to the scrying pool centered in the great Hall of Monuments. It was the only warm place left in the massive Eye of the North. He was alone except for the rainbow phoenix that had chosen to reside in the Hall. Ravious had forgot when the great bird had entered, but he had chosen to leave it alone in any case. The lively plumage of the bird subtly contrasted the Hall’s testament to the dead. Continue reading

[GW2] Echoes of the Past, Part 1

Fanfic Warning: This is one of three vignettes I wrote about my main character in the original Guild Wars. Part two and part three will drop later this week.

The family stood on the edge of the misty Krytan swamp. The eldest son pushed the small wooden boat further in to the murky waters. The boat would carry the body of his father deep into the swamp. The widow held her young daughter at her side a few steps away. They watched as the man they called husband and father was slowly carried away to the darkness. The white of the shroud that wrapped the dead man’s body was the last thing they could see as their torch light strained to remain in contact with the boat. The frogs and crickets seemed to give the man a moment of silence as the swamp’s black swallowed the boat.

Once the funeral ceremony was complete, the son turned towards his mother now as the man of the family. A silent glance upward marked the torch-bearing Priestess of Dwayna awaiting at the top of the hill. The Priest of Grenth had not waited to see the end of the funeral rite. His duties of caring for the dead man had finished when the shroud covered the last of pale flesh and the body was placed on the boat. The Priestess of Dwayna’s duties were far from over as she would have to make sure the family could survive with the gaping hole of a lost father. A lost husband. Continue reading