Melancholy Reverie

Guild Wars received a new update as a prelude to the launch of Guild Wars 2: A series of quests called “Wayfarer’s Reverie” that take you around the three campaigns and the expansion to points of interest. Yes, this is basically the way you’d do “Vistas” in Guild Wars 1.

So, in Eye of the North, you have to visit the dragon under Drakkar Lake, the mountain that is actually Kralkatorrik, the destroyers in the Charr zone… Honestly, I have the feeling that we’ll see those in Guild Wars 2 again, in one form or another.

There were also points in Cantha and Elona, which will not see in Guild Wars 2 (at least, not at launch) but you also had to revisit some places in Tyria, like the old Ascalonian places, which I also think are connected to places we’ll see in Guild Wars 2.

(The zone around Old Ascalon is obviously in the game, in the Charr zones, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that making me go all the way to Lyssa statue in the Mineral Springs was only there to make me remember the Norn skill point where one Norn is enjoying a hot tub in the middle of snow. I’m fairly sure I’m wrong about its location too, though.)

But one thing I couldn’t shake was the feeling of how long things have come when I reached Lornar’s Pass. For those who don’t know it, it’s a zone that connects part of the high level zones with the low level ones (you can pick a route following the main storyline, which will lead you to the easy part or you can go south and face enemies that are 2 to 4 levels higher than you.)

The thing is: I immediately remembered when my first character, an Elemenstalist reached the place. It was a time when we didn’t have PvXwiki, the only type of companion you could have were henchmen and I had absolutely no idea about builds. It was a pain to keep going, with those level 22 and 24 mobs simply destroying any attempt to progress in the zone. Eventually, I paid a runner (someone with the right skills to cross the land in super-speed without taking too much damage) to reach another point — which really didn’t help me with my main questline.

And, this weekend, I was plowing through that zone, with a Paragon which I understand exactly how it works — thanks to a help from PvX, obviously — and with heroes that I customized to the best of their abilities. Things were so easy I was actually running to the packs of level 24 mobs just to get some drops.

(I also bought the topic to the guild. A lot of similar stories arose, with people mentioning their “Lornar’s Passes”.)

Long roads. We crossed them. But we simply forgot about them.

Diablo 3 Competition

Out of nowhere, there were a bunch of posts on /r/guildwars2 about how ArenaNet “dodge a bullet” with Diablo 3 Open Beta weekend happening this weekend and not the next one (when there will be the first Beta Weekend for Guild Wars 2 pre-purchases).

At first, I thought those people are demented, as there is absolutely no relation between Guild Wars 2 and Diablo 3. Just when I started to think where those two relate, I really got who Blizzard is afraid of: Guild Wars 1.

  Guild Wars 1 Diablo 3
Gamplay Instantiated, story driven Instantiated, story driven
Skills Several skills available, but only some available during combat Several skills available, but only some available during combat
Visuals Gothic, ancient/Third person Gothic, ancient/Third person
Cash Shop Yes, controlled by the company Yes, controlled by players

The End of the Long HoM Road

I was pretty happy with my 11 points in the Hall of Monuments but, as I mentioned, there was more I could get in Guild Wars 2. Well, yesterday, I reached the 26 points and the last item I could use with my Guardian.

For that I:

  • Bought a Black Moa Chick. I mentioned I could go after it if I wanted, but decided to buy it when a guildie announced he was selling it. I still can get my money back if I go after it.
  • Didn’t complete the Protector titles, for some reason. I got Eternal Spearmarshal and Savior or Kurzicks instead.
  • I did complete War in Kryta and got an Oppressor weapon. Actually, I ended with enough Medals of Honor to get 2 weapons, but ultimately gave the second weapon to a guildie.
  • Didn’t get any Tormented weapons.
  • Got the Kurzick armor and the Vabbian armor.

That does actually shows how things progressed, which is kinda of a fun story:

  • Eternal Spearmarshal:
    After finding out that Hard Mode isn’t that hard after all, I went vanquishing everything in Elona (as I was trying to get the special foods for Hearts of the North.) When I least expected, I reached rank 10 Sunspear.
  • Kurzick gear:
    I mentioned I was after the Luxon gear, but what I didn’t realize is that my guild is Kurzick, and farming would earn twice as many points instead of going after Luxon.
  • Savior of Kurzicks:
    That was the greatest facepalm of them all. After I got the Vabbian armor by selling the Oppressor weapon, all I needed was another title. Since I was having a lot of fun with my Paragon, I decided to go after things I use with him, like the Ebon Battle Standard of Honor. I had the story book and decided to go all the way with it, which only brought me to rank 4. Since I still had the Dungeon Master Book, I went after the dungeons but it was kinda boring. Then I decided to go after the Lightbringer title, since there was a double Lightbringer point weekend. With a little experimentation, I found out that I could do Mirror of Lyss farm in about 15 minutes, earning about 500 reputation each run, with a total time necessary for my Ritualist to reach rank 8 in just 25 hours — which is not that bad in a weekend. The problem is that I found that in the Sunday afternoon, when there was no way I could cram 25 hours of gameplay.

    So back I went to farm Ebon Vanguard reputation. When I was bored, I went back to Cantha and do the Kurzick quests just for fun. What I didn’t realize is that my farming for the Kurzick gear earn me rank 2 of the Kurzicks and, for display, I needed to reach only rank 4. “Oh, that doesn’t seem so far…”, I thought. That’s when I found that I could donate faction to the guild, earning twice as many points. Another little experimentation and I discovered that Vanquishing Ferndale 4 more times would be enough. And then, yesterday, I reached rank 4 of the Kurzicks, another title and, finally, 26 points.

Now things are a little bit fuzzy. I did complete a lot in the game already, so I don’t know for sure what to do. I mean, I know all the 4 storylines, and that’s seems a bit tiring doing everything again with my Paragon. The remaining bit is the “Winds of Change” storyline, but I still don’t want to pick my Ritualist again and not in the mood to complete the Cantha storyline again (I could finish Elona story again, as Abaddon is a pretty fun mission, but fighting Shiro again feels so meeeehhh).

Meanwhile, there is the second part of the Annihilator quest in the April Fools changes…

In which it took 20 hours to understand Paragons

It’s been a while since I wrote something about my Guild Wars adventures, didn’t it?

Since last time, I reached 23 points in my HoM. Not bad for someone whose target was 11 points, huh? Well, thing is, it seems I’m even closer to 26 points and I only need two more things: One title and a Vabbian armor. Those two and BLAM! 26 points, the last weapon I can wield as Guardian (the torch).

How would I get those two things? My plan consisted, basically, in Vanquishing the Norn area for the Slayer title, while gathering some gold in the process to buy the Vabbian armor. But, to be honest, the game lost a lot of charm after I completed the War in Kryta questline and it’s absurd 30 minute non-stop last mission (seriously, it left a sour taste ’cause it’s too damn long!). I could barely log with my Ritualist to keep going.

And that’s were the Paragon comes in. In one of guild runs in Bogroot Growths, someone mentioned that it’s hard to find good Paragons. And, out of curiosity, I rolled one. Over the weekend, when I had no mood to play with the Ritualist, I decided to play a bit with it. The result: The main quest of Elona completed till the Sunspear Hideout, and the Ebon Vanguard and Norn questlines completed in Eye of the North. I just didn’t keep going ’cause I decided to go full Imbagon and the elite I need to capture is far in the Elona questline and, thus, I decided to go for it (not to mention that the place to buy the Vabbian armor is even further).

And damn, it’s been a long time since I had fun playing Guild Wars.

Now, it doesn’t mean that Ritualists aren’t fun (well, that’s a bit true). Rits can get the job done, but their playstyle is more about positioning — or, more precisely, about how to position your spirits. There is no “oh shit!” button and there is no rotation, just “reapplying” spirits. Paragons, on the other hand, have a very thigh rotation due their mechanics. And those mechanics took me 20 hours of play time to figure out.

There are two forms of “energy” for Paragons: Energy itself and Adrenaline. You use energy skills to get more adrenaline and skills that require adrenaline to burn it. So far, it works pretty samey as a warrior (or so I believe). But Paragons have a special attribute called “Leadership” which make Shouts and Chants return Energy based on the number of allies near you. And it took me 20 hours to finally see that going — at which point, I already completed half of the EotN questline and was middle my first Vanquishing.

That’s when the rotation itself appeared to me: Push buttons to get adrenaline, no matter what; cast party wide buffs if there is enough energy; burn adrenaline with shouts and chants to get energy; use energy to push buttons to get adrenaline. Rinse, repeat. As long as you keep an eye on your skill cooldowns, your adrenaline power, your energy, your out-of-cooldown chants/shouts, you’ll be fine.

Sure, Paragons don’t have an “oh shit” button, but at least it’s not as static as “put down all spirit, see them do all the hard work”.

Shelf Updates, 2011-11-19

Added to the shelf: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. And yes, this was 3 days ago, but just now I remembered that I didn’t post it.

Also, I’m basically putting “League of Legends” and “Grand Theft Auto 3” in the shelf. I got a bit tired of LoL and fighting the bots over and over again in the same map (it can’t be that hard to change their AI to work on the two other maps — and I’m not really fan of PvP in MOBAs, due my own inability to play it in a decent way [and, before you say it, no, there is nothing wrong with the game itself]) and GTA 3… well… not that good to play, basically ’cause the controls feel bad — but, again, I know that Vice City and San Andreas play controls are much nicer, and the game was released ages ago, so all is understandable.

Guild Wars is still in ’cause I still want to do some quest from time to time, get some gold, get some easy titles (if those exist) before finally settling it down.

The Long HoM Road

It’s been a while since I posted something about my HoM progress.

After hitting the 11 points I wanted, I kept playing just for the kicks and some (maybe) more points. The things I got so far:

  • The Imperial Phoenix. For no points.
  • Eternal Hero of Cantha and Eternal Hero of Elona. Again, for no points. But I must say that Shiro is a piece of paper and the easiest end fight I had in the game so far and fighting Abadon was damn fun.
  • Along the path, I also upgraded the armor of Hayda and leveled some random pet (as hunter) to get one extra point in “Fellowship”.
  • Got the “quest book” and returned it to the guy in the Eye of the North, reaching the rank of Shadow Agent with the Ebon Vanguard (rank 5), so I bought the full Monument Armor for another point.
  • Sold most of my materials (the ones I was collecting since forever), got some diamonds and such and bought a Destroyer Focus, getting two more points (one for “Any Weapon Statue” and one for “Destroyer Weapon Statue”.)

This basically let me broke. But hey, 15 points in HoM is not that bad, specially for someone who stays too long in the Ray of Judgement before realizing it.

But I’m a persistent fool, so I looked at my possibilities to increase it a bit more, ’cause:

  • At 16 points, I can get a Scepter. For my Guardian, I plan on using two sets of weapons: Sword and Shield for more balanced play and a Scepter and Focus/Torch for high DPS/low CC. This would be the first part of that second set.
  • At 20 points, I can get a Focus. Again, second set.
  • At 23 points, a two-handed Sword. Not sure if I want, but at least I could use it.
  • At 25 points, a two-handed Hammer. Not that I’m planing on using it, but it’s kinda fun seeing the Guardian videos and their hammer strike, sending enemies flying backwards.
  • At 26 points, the Torch. That’s the last weapon a Guardian can use that can come from the HoM. This would give me early access to all Guardian weapons.

What I still can do:

  • I have Zho’s Journal, which starts the quest to get the Black Moa Chick, a Rare Miniature. That will give me one more point.
  • Get “Protector of Cantha” and “Protector of Elona”, for two more “Honor” statues and 3 more points.
  • Complete the “War in Kryta” and get an Oppressor weapon for 1 more point.
  • Get a Tormented weapon for 1 more point.
  • Get 2 more Oppressor/Tormented weapons for 1 more point.
  • Spend a shitload of and get: “Elite Luxon Armor” (1 point), “Vabian Amor” (1 point), reaching 3 armor statues for 1 more point.

This will put my HoM at 25, 1 point away from the Torch. That last point is the thing that worries me. I could get some Unique minipet, which will cost me a bunch of gold or get the Obsidian Armor, which will cost me a fuckton of gold. I even made a spreadsheet with materials and prices and the Obsidian armor, with no farming of materials (’cause I’m that guy that stands in the Ray of Judgement, remember?) costs around 1500 plat. Also, I’m not so sure I can beat the missions to get the Protector titles.

And that’s why I’m holding myself to not buy Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Skyrim yet.

Ritualist Skills by Icon

I watched a video on How to Farm Ectoplasm in Guild Wars (ectos being the most expensive material in the game) and it got me wondering what spells this guy was using (without using the code he left in the description, which only works inside the game). But I’m kinda bad switching between two browser tabs (one with the video, other with the skill list) and an editor, so I wrote small descriptions for the icons, switching between video and editor, so later all I had to do wa switch between editor and browser. Those are the descriptions I used:

Signet of Spirits” was the only one I knew the name, ’cause it’s an elite skill and I run after it.
Splurt.
Screaming chick.
Scared guy.
LaForge.
Gandhi on fire (I reckon it doesn’t look anything remotely like Gandhi looking at the 64×64 image, but on the small video on YouTube, it looks a bit like it).
Angry Bruce Campbell.
Debuff: Carrying a heavy weight (I knew it was a debuff due the pink down arrow — only visible in the video).

What If The 8th Guild Wars 2 Class Was The Ritualist

Guild Wars 2 still have one more class to be announced and a lot of people are waiting for it to be the Mesmer, an iconic class of the original Guild Wars. But one thing I thought one of those weekends: What if the last class was, actually, the Ritualist?

Who are they?

If you don’t play Guild Wars, you’re probably asking yourself what the heck is a mesmer and what the heck is a ritualist? Well…

  • Mesmer: Mesmers are the masters of illusion. It’s one of the hardest classes to play in Guild Wars, mostly ’cause the class is strongly based on interrupts and energy blocking. For example, a Mesmer curse could cause damage and reduce energy when the enemy attacks (any kind of attack) or another curse that would damage only if the enemy uses an attack that consumes energy or causes enemy to lose energy or blocks all the spells by forcing a “global cooldown”… Things like that. There are some direct damage spells (like causing a strong health loss over time) but a lot of people like the “I’m blocking your spells, har har” type of gameplay.
  • Ritualist: The Ritualist attacks are based on spirits: It can summon spirits to do damage, heal the party, cause enemy health lost over time, enchant weapons with ancient powers, use lightning power, things like that. If you need someone to draw a parallel, they would be mostly compare to a Shaman in World of Warcraft, since spirits don’t move and they are mostly static — you can basically see the spirits as equals to totems.

Why it could be the Ritualist?

What we know so far about the 8th class is that it’s a scholar class, meaning it’s a caster. ArenaNet also said it would be a returning class from Guild Wars. And, certainly the Ritualist fullfils those two requirements.

But not only that. There is, currently, a lot of talk about the Ranger class and how ArenaNet wants a better synergy between the ranger and their pet — for example, there is one skill which causes the enemy to bleed, increasing the pet damage. And they are now working on improving the current Ranger skills to give more of this synergy between Ranger attacks and pet damage.

Deep down, spirits are like pets and, thus, we can imagine that ArenaNet would also like that there was some synergy between Ritualist attacks and their spirits.

Why it couldn’t be the Ritualist?

The biggest problem with the Ritualist is that it’s too close to other classes in other games. A Mesmer-like class is pretty rare and basically defines Guild Wars. It’s the game signature class. Not adding it to the newest version of the game would be denying what the game already is.

Conclusion

Although it would be fun to see a lot of people going ballistic because the last class it is not the Mesmer, not doing it so would be something like the next World of Warcraft expansion happening in a complete different environment, with complete new classes and races and absolute not connection with the current world.

About Mains

I had an old draft saying “How it’s good to play a game without a main”.

For those unaware of it, a “main” is usually the character you play most in a game that have more than one option of it. RPGs (and, obviously, MMORPGs) are known for this, as you can have multiple classes you can chose (and there is nothing stopping you from playing with one class, then another, then going back to the first, and so on).

This draft was sitting in my draft folder since I started playing Rift, which I stopped playing about 2 months ago. In there, I dropped some notes about the fact that I didn’t feel “chained” to a certain character like I did in WoW, when I felt somewhat bad for not playing one day, not completing daily quests and not getting the rewards I was planning — which is a damn weird thought when you think about it, as you don’t “owe” to your character in any shape or form.

But that’s the way I felt with “Thorianar”, my paladin in WoW: Missing a day of game meant some reward would only be reached a day later, which wasn’t fair after those 3-4 years running around doing everything for the best gear/enchant.

But I’m going a bit off-topic. Thing is, my “freedom from mains” came when I was playing 4 characters in Rift, one for each class. Those were not my first characters, though: I had a Cleric sitting in a PvP server which was a real pain to play (seems the Guardians were outnumbered by the Defiants, so things got really though in the shared zones). Anyway, as time goes, patch 1.3 landed, free shard transfers appeared. And then, suddenly, that Cleric came back to mind. And, suddenly, that Cleric was transferred to join the others, which never got a play time again.

At first, there could be drawn a line between “time played” and “money invested”: The character you play the most is, at the same time, the one you “paid” more (in your monthly fee). Thus, you need to do something to justify the money you already invested: Starting over again would meant those monthly payments you made before were completely wasted.

Guild Wars, which I’m playing again, comes to mind, though. You see, I had an elementalist since the very beginning, with other characters. But that character (“Lydia Tombstone”, by the way) suddenly was my main. And the reason I returned to Guild Wars was simply the “Hall of Monuments”, which I mentioned here before. But there is this weird thing about the Hall: It’s shared amongst all your characters, so you can get some points with one character, roll another, get some other points and, in the end, each unique point is added and you get your rewards. But the guide I followed suggested rolling another character, in a different class. And, although I could tell myself that I was doing that just for the points, it hurt me that I couldn’t get them with my main.

And Guild Wars is “buy to play”, so the monthly fee thing doesn’t apply.

So what really makes someone attached to a virtual entity? Not just any virtual entity, but an entity that that person created. Maybe mains fill that spot that some dreams fill, giving the person some feeling they miss in real life.

HoM Progress

About a month ago I made a post about my Hall of Monuments Progress. Since then:

  • I rolled a Ritualist as suggested by the Reddit Guide and went on questing, only to half-way realize I passed the point where I could get the Black Moa Bird. After I got it, I gave up Canta quests and started the Eye of the North questline, to get the tapestries. As soon as I got the first tapestry, I put a statue for the Black Moa, giving me the 2 points I was expecting. This added a cat and a bow to my rewards list.
  • Following Eye of the North quests, I complete all the quests except the last one. In the waiting lounge (the part of the game you share with other players), some guy was asking if someone needed the tokens required to upgraded your heroes gear (the thing M.O.X. don’t need to get a statue). Thinking it would help me complete the quest if my heroes had better gear (pro-tip: It doesn’t; the last quest is a more about positioning than defense) I asked how much he wanted for it, keeping in mind that I needed the money to get the materials to buy the Oppressor weapon after completing the last quest. The guy started trade and simply traded the tokens for free. After upgrading my heroes, I thought about checking the points with those heroes in the HoM. 6 new statues and I got 2 more points for having 5 statues in the Fellowship monument.

And, thus, I finally reached my goal: 11 Points, enabling the sword and shield rewards.

So, what now?

Now, I can play just for fun. I can go back and complete the side quests I left behind and, who knows maybe get some more points to get “A Clawed Scepter” (16 points), “A Brilliant, Colorful Focus” (20 points) or “An Ominous Greatsword” (23 points). But, again, what I wanted to achieve is done already.