I came back from a long internet-less vacation on Saturday night. Exhausted from driving for 9 hours, I still had the will and energy to play a bit of the final hours of the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event 3. Like Zubon, I knew going in to this beta weekend that for pre-release play, I was satiated until launch. Yet, it was still fun to get in there and play, even if temporarily.
I decided to try an asura guardian in order to get a sense of the asura. I was actually a little unprepared for how my vision of their advancement over 250 years did not align with ArenaNet’s. Instead of the sterilized environment of Science, I was expecting, the asuran region still maintained a lot of organic depth. Sure, it was no palette of nature that the sylvari hold reign over, but it was clear that within the Eternal Alchemy, the asura feel intertwined with their environment.
In fact, the asura in Metrica Province appeared to act as field scientists as much as lab scientists. Skritt and hylek populations were fair game. A nearby lava pool decided the flavor of a pit-fighter golem. And ooze were everywhere. Unlike the charr, the asura seemed to want to adapt or shape the environment rather than strip mine it.
The asura also lack the rigid control found in the charr race. One asura’s experiments might be completely destroying the environment as ooze run amok. Another asura’s experiments might entail heavy use of hylek poison. It’s just expected that there will be anomalies. Asura experiments act more like mutations in nature where in Darwinian fashion one eventually rises like cream to the crop. They might understand the most about the internal workings of the universe, but they are also as dumb as a human three year old wondering if she touches the hot stove she will get burned again.
The Mr. Ooze Story
There is a champion ooze around the level 8 mark in Metrica Province. He sits like lord of the camp for he is above all the mook oozes and veteran oozes. He is also bigger than the nearby tents. All the surrounding asura fear is mighty presence, and rightly so.
The problem is that Mr. Champion Ooze sits in the middle of a path that adventuring heroes feel the urge to travel. It runs right by a renown NPC on the way to another renown NPC further below. There is plenty of space to travel through the glades below around the ooze, but who wants to do that.
It was a tough battle ending with roughly a dozen players beating on the gelatinous being. It also was the best scaling boss I have seen to date. Oh, it’s champion level for sure meaning one or two players are going to have an impossible go at it. A couple more should do the trick. Add a few more and it really lays in to some nasty ground pounds and starts spitting out mini-oozes to harry the attackers from behind.
My action in the event was limited. As a starting guardian, I had acquired only melee weapons to that point, and the ooze was extra vicious in close combat range. I was also underleveled by a level or two making most hits against me veritable one-shots. I still had a role. I was the mini-ooze medic. I could still kill the additional oozes with righteous fury, and all the people actually attacking the champion ooze were still going down at a decent pace. My job was to prop them back on their feet with an “atta’boy” in the hopes that their small intellect would will them towards continuing the fight. This worked especially well on the norn. Only the system seemed to notice that I was not actually attacking the ooze, and I only received silver participation despite being in the full fight.
It’s okay. I’ll be back though when I am not underleveled, and with the idiocy of that asura with his ooze experiments, I’m sure Mr. Champion Ooze will be too.
My favorite part of the weekend was when I was taking on the challenging jumping puzzle starting on the east southeast side of Metric Province. There is a hidden cave amidst a bunch of jaguars with a small jumping puzzle leading up to a warpgate. That is only the beginning.
This jumping puzzle is so intricately designed that it is quite a sub-zone on its own. A helpful golem warps players to the first of four areas (after that entry-level jumping puzzle). The elements of wind, lightning, ice, and crazy asura test player’s platforming ability. Thankfully each portion is saved for a while so once I beat the wind portion, if I failed in the lightning portion (and players will fail) I would restart at the lightning portion.
There were small tricks to the puzzle, mostly dealing in not taking the obvious path at first, but the puzzle was definitely solvable, and for the most part clear. The Guild Wars 2 theme of death being part of the experience showed in full force as I plummeted off the sky realm dozens of times. In this case I would not die-die to the degree where I would have to warp back to some waypoint with damaged armor, but failure would happen.
The best part was that along the way I serendipitously bumped into ArenaNet’s Martin Kerstein (sleeping on the job) and Massively’s Elisabeth. Elisabeth helped me at one point before falling to her doom right in front of me. It was extra fun to run the jumping puzzle with friends. This jumping puzzle (Goemm’s Lab) is a must see for people at launch.
Server In Memorium
My launch server will be Sanctum of Rall. The story behind this server is noteworthy because it is named after a guild member of Gaiscioch that passed away about a year ago. Roger “Oldroar” Rall was one of the first people in Gaiscioch to start to discuss Guild Wars 2 as a next step in the guild’s journey. Unfortunately, Rall would not see his guild enter Tyria at launch. Gaiscioch worked hard to gain ArenaNet’s trust, and the whole time they petitioned harder to see Rall’s name entered in to the Guild Wars 2 books. His name would become a server. A home for many in Guild Wars 2.
This is one thing that I love about ArenaNet. They build community through the game. Lore hunters were immortalized in a library in Vabbi in Guild Wars Nightfall. The story of Amaranth caused a developer to add the NPC in to the game. Players can find at least two NPC aspects of Massively’s Elisabeth in Guild Wars 2.
In a way, the community is shaping parts of the game. There is a depth found in the game beyond vanilla lore. The story of community can be found throughout the entire game. I am proud to join Sanctum of Rall both for Gaiscioch and ArenaNet.
…days to go
There is a month to go. That’s it. Like Lewis B wrote here a bit ago, it’s surreal to think that soon Guild Wars 2 will be permanent. When it becomes real everything will change. It’s scary. My blogging style has always been more about my actual play sessions, which I just haven’t had as much with Guild Wars 2. Finally, I will get that back. What else will I see in the code? What new tales can be told?
I have one huge project planned. I can’t wait to share it with everybody. It’s a fan fiction of sorts coupled with postcards from Tyria… with a huge twist. Zubon, I am sure, will also be sharing plenty of insights in to his play sessions. It’s very exciting.
Feel free to share your favorite BWE3 moments below.