Forever Unlocks

December 15, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Posted in Gem Store, Guild Wars, mmorpg | 2 Comments
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So as a follow up to what I was saying in my last post about boosters, I think I was getting at in the end is that nobody wants to spend money on something that only lasts an hour. Or 24 hours, or even 2 weeks. People want account unlocks that they can use on every character… forever.

Which is part of why I really like the new mail carrier skin (looking forward to more in the future) we can buy, you can put it on every character. That’s part of the reason I bought a Finisher even though I rarely get to use it, it will always be there and enabled on every character. The one thing I’ve bought the most of in Guild Wars 2 is probably bank slots, and character slots. Account upgrades are what most people are looking for.

I don’t know if armour sets and mini sales have gone up since they were made account wide but they’re certainly a more attractive option for me. I imagine if they had a positive effect on sales we’ll be getting more account wide stuff. *holds breath*

I admit to having bought a Copper-fed Salvage-o-matic, a Royal Terrace Pass, and the odd item here and there, but I can count on my fingers what I’ve bought that wasn’t account wide. I wonder what ungodly amount of money I might have spent if everything were an account wide unlock.

Would I have bought dye kits? Dye kits as they are now are stupid. They are an RNG rip-off and anybody who spends money on them should be ashamed of themselves. If Arenanet wants to sell us dye options then why not sell us the exclusive colours directly? Why should I pay real money for something I can get for a couple silver on the auction house? Ridiculous. There is some poor sap dye collector out there spending hundreds of dollars and gold just trying to pick up an awful, yet exclusive, puke green.

And then there are the weapon sets as well. Black Lion Keys are, simply put, a casino. I find them immoral and shameful. I’m sure they’re the most profitable thing Arenanet has in the Gem Store and thus something they can’t justify removing, but I urge them to do so. Players should be able to just buy a Black Lion Claim ticket directly. Anything less is just down to one pure motive, greed.

I guess you could argue the RNG aspect is fun? A lot of people have fun gambling, but the one thing just about every lottery, every craps table, every card game, and every raffle have in common is that you lose more often than you win. Way more. Losing isn’t fun. And gambling shouldn’t be in Guild Wars 2.

Don’t get me wrong, I highly appreciate that skins are account bound now, that dyes are account bound, but why isn’t pretty much everything? You know what would spike the sales of the Royal Terrace Pass and the Copper-Fed? Making it so each character can pick up a copy from an NPC. Or how about a riding broom, or a harp, or a home portal stone.

Frankly what is the point in having most of the stuff on the gem store only on ONE character?

PS: Upgrade Extractor is still the worst thing on the gem store outside the RNG boxes.

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Hall of Monument Guides

July 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Posted in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 7 Comments
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The Arenanet Blog just posted a guide from John Stumme, the live team lead on the original Guild Wars. It’s a little late. The Hall of Monuments Calculator was released in October 2010 and I posted my own guide a few days later.

Here’s are some screenshots of the revealed rewards from the video.

Heritage armour, the heavy version.

The Ice Breaker, a version of a rare Guild Wars green weapon.

An undead Orrian baby chick.

To explain the HoM, go ahead and watch this video or read the paragraph below.

Briefly, the Hall of Monuments in Guild Wars was built to reward players of the original game with in game items in the sequel. You complete titles, collect minis, craft weapons and armour sets, and outfit your heroes with elite armour. Then you add these things to the monument for points, and keep track of your progress on the calculator. The calculator tells us what we’ve acquired for Guild Wars 2.

Unfortunately though, a month before Guild Wars 2 launches is not the best time to be starting out in Guild Wars solely for the purpose of getting Guild Wars 2 swag. It is a time intensive process and requires a lot of cash to buy things from players, crafting materials, and general items you need for progression.

Stumme writes his for brand new players but even then I can’t recommend getting into Guild Wars out of the blue. Even the most hardcore players would only be able to acquire a few points before launch.

That isn’t to say you’d have to stop once Guild Wars 2 launches, you can continue accruing points until Guild Wars retires, but I can’t imagine many will feel too motivated to continue after this month.

Getting to the guide itself, I find most of the advice pretty straight-forward and our guides agree on most points. However, one thing Stumme suggests, that I just plain think is a bad idea, are the cartographer titles. I actually put them on my list of things to avoid, and Stumme doesn’t even mention the easiest way to go about doing them, with the texmod add-on.

That isn’t to say my guide is perfect. Looking back I’d change a few things. I wouldn’t recommend the Zaishen PvP title that grants 3 points. It’s time intensive or expensive depending on how you go about getting it. I’d also focus more on hero armours, buying more weapons, and I’d reconsider the Vanquisher titles so that you have more cash on hand to buy things.

So to conclude, here’s a list of useful guides.

The Easy 30 – My own guide linked at the top. It’s nearly 2 years old now so it’s a little dated. Designed only to get you to 30 points in the HoM. When I wrote my guide it was directed at players who had finished campaigns and had money at hand, veterans of the game.

John Stumme’s Guide to the Hall of Monuments – Very up to date and with the perspective of Arenanet’s own Guild Wars Live Team lead. Directed at brand new players. Solid advice but doesn’t go into depth.

Guild Wars Wiki Guide to Earning Hall of Monuments Rewards – Very well referenced and linked. Lots of alternative methods. Brief with little commentary.

How to: Easily collect 30 points in Hall of Monuments – Nicely organized and presented. A short but useful FAQ. One of the better guides, could go deeper.

The Road to 50 – Massively has a series of articles penned by Rubi Bayer that thoroughly details various methods for filling your HoM. Like my guide it was released within days of the calculator so it’s possible it might be a little outdated. It’s also quite long and the majority of it is directed at getting all 50 points. There is one article that addresses that problem however.

Comprehensive Hall of Monuments Guide – I’m not overly familiar with this guide but I can attest to the quality of the forums. Guild Wars 2 Guru is the fan forum you want to go to (at least before official forums open up) for Guild Wars 2. There are a lot of good player tips, tips from devs, explanations on how things work, etc. Also goes into depth past 30 points.

Ten Ton Hammer’s A Complete Guide to the Hall of Monuments – What I like about this guide is that it starts with the very basics, just unlocking the monuments where you’ll be adding things. Great for beginners.

Winds Of Part 2

October 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Posted in Guild Wars, mmorpg | 2 Comments
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The official Winds of Change webpage.

After a summer of waiting, Winds of Change Part Two finally came out on Thursday. I immediately set about to see if the same problems that plagued part one continued.

I’m happy to say that Part Two is a much better experience. The grind of “go here, kill stuff” is an ever-present Guild Wars staple but it is softened somewhat in the 12 quests released on the 29th.

The first quest (or quest 18 here) means for you to run away from your problems instead of fighting it out, the second quest has you rush to the aid of NPCs, while the third quest has an interesting game mechanic that frustrated some, but provided a nice surprise for all.

Instantly I was having more fun here than in the first 17 quests. Cleanse this, cleanse that, benign dialogue that leads up to a sudden twist. I could be less impressed by Part One, but not by much.

Even the story in Part Two ramps up. There is more going on, there is more danger. It’s a little bit akin to our history with the White Mantle but certainly has its own momentum and justification. To be honest a lot of the story in Part Two owes its interesting turns to what was set up in Part One, despite its overlong telling. Credit where it’s due.

Quests 4 through 6 set up a subplot mystery involving the gangs of Kaineng. Just what are they up to? We don’t find out in Part Two. The fights they involve are pretty straightforward. It was nice to see enemy mobs purposefully set against one another however.

That’s followed by The Rescue Attempt, which is very reminiscent of the Tahnakai Temple mission, seeing as it takes place in the same spot in the same way, but does add a small mechanic that makes the quest more interesting if you don’t notice it.

In the end though the middle quests, while at times having interesting story, are mostly filler. The final quests involving the tengu are much more interesting. We’re finally starting to get an idea of what will happen to them before Guild Wars 2 where apparently they’ve either been kicked out of Cantha or massacred.

You get a nice readable quest item that adds a bit of credibility to the quest with Warning the Angchu, a bit of a challenge since it’s a 4 person group, and then we move into a bit of a subplot which has a somewhat surprising ending. I think I enjoyed the story here more than anywhere else in Winds of Change.

The rewards for the tengu quests are better too. Most previous quests have little but imperial commendations, ministerial commendations, or requisition forms. There isn’t even anything to turn forms in for yet, and the only new rewards are Factions weapons that had yet to have inscription slots available. Faction skins in a more usable form are great, but I’m hoping rewards end up matching War In Kryta or even improving upon them. Getting a Royal Gift with useless xp scrolls was disappointing.

I’ve recently noticed a disparity between the availability of affordable sweet points and affordable booze or party points Live Team.

I guess Part One was really just getting things out of the way. It still feels boring and grindy, but now that I’m in Part Two I feel like I’m well on my way, the foundations have been laid and I can look forward to just exactly how this mess is going to end up before Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars Lately

September 30, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Posted in Guild Wars, mmorpg | 17 Comments
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Lately in Guild Wars I’ve been relegated to doing some pretty boring stuff. It all started back when the Hall of Monuments Calculator was released about 11 months ago.

So this will be kind of a long post.

The first time I looked myself up, I already had around 36 points. Very quickly I got that to around 40 and since I was helping people get their points, I figured I might as well go to 45. Upon reaching 45, I found I was accidentally still gaining points through things like War in Kryta and the opressor weapons, and finally I came to a point where all I really needed were a few minis to get to 50.

At 50 points I thought I was done. I was wrong.

I had 26 titles at this point, only 4 titles away from the God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals title which also carries over to Guild Wars 2.

Unfortunately the easiest titles appeared to be sweets, party points, booze and survivor. So I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue.

I started looking around at prices, availability, and the easiest way to get survivor.

Life of the Party is by far the easiest consumable title to get. Availability for purchase far outstretches booze or sweets. There’s always someone selling tonics or other items in Kamadan, not to mention there are more festivals giving out more party points than the other titles.

Booze is also available in Kama but I could never find affordable sweet points. This caused me to start looking at other options.

Along with doing the weekly Nicholas scavenger hunt, I quickly realized that the most productive way to work on your consumable title is to start a character in pre searing. This paid many dividends. Pre searing has a collector. He takes 25 collectible items in return for 5 gifts of the huntsmen daily. A single GOTH can return as much as 20 sweet points or 30 booze points. Worst case scenario is 10 party, booze, or sweet points for a single gift. I bought GOTH, traded dyes for GOTH, gave collectible items away in hopes of receiving GOTH as a thank you, I was a whore for GOTH.

I now have a level 18 character in Pre sear.

Booze title done, Party title done. Which leads me to believe there is some kind of crazy imbalance with sweet points compared to the other two.

I’m still working on the sweets title, but I also managed to finish off my survivor, which I was beginning to give up hope on.

I guess I’m just not good at staying alive full time. When you’re in a party with a bunch of chickens all working on their survivor title and they’d rather heal themselves than you, that means you have to first make a note of who you’ll need vengeance against later, and second look out for yourself.

I made around 500k from doing campaign books. It takes a while to finish these off unless you really apply yourself. The survivor title is something like 1.3 million xp so I had a long way to go until someone convinced me to try out the Vaettir farming in hard mode out in Jaga Moraine.

I’d only ever heard of people doing it with Shadowform or gimmicky builds and honestly didn’t see myself pulling it off. Not without dying once in a while. Then someone in vent described it as “easy”. Challenge Accepted.

I threw together an obsidian flesh build, not the one I found on youtube since it seemed to be too focused on speed with little room for error. I figured I’d have more patience if I wasn’t dying all the time, so I put in some safety measures.

Anyway, inside of a day I had the survivor title. So now I’m just farming out GOTH and GOTT from nick, doing War in Kryta quests since war supplies give sweet points (no matter what the wiki says) and waiting on Halloween. There is a repeatable quest I believe I’m about to bang my head against until I get the title.

The only other thing I’ve been up to is Hamstorm! Every time Alliance Battles comes up as the Zaishen Combat, expect to see a party of 4 people with pets shouting HAMSTORM! No it is not firestorm and hamstring.

Aside from Winds of Change content which I’ve blogged about before and will be blogging about part 2 soon, that’s about it. Pretty effing boring. To sum up, it was a bunch of farming. My own fault really, for not moving on to another game by now.

Questing In Winds

July 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Posted in Guild Wars, mmorpg | 4 Comments
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I left off my Winds of Change adventure last time after the 3rd quest. Those first 3 ease you into the WoC campaign but aren’t particularly entertaining. The 3rd quest provided a more interesting challenge but I didn’t find enough variety overall.

And that was only in the first 3 quests.

The next 3 are much the same. Go here, kill this and a slightly fun and challenging quest to round it out.

The 6th quest in question, Cleansing Pongmei Valley, only has the one group to defeat, but it has an interesting boss. A monstrously sized afflicted warrior that uses a fairly good wammo build that includes Mending Touch and Shield of Absorption. He takes a while to put down and is a bit of a surprise to fight the first time, but I wouldn’t necessarily say he was a problem.

Reminds me of Juggernaut

After that quest there is a bit of a change up.

Minister Cho’s Estate might actually be a bit difficult. My first time through was just me and some Heroes. A minion master, monk, SS, and my elementalist main. This didn’t really make for a good combination.

The problem was the group size. The majority of difficult content in Guild Wars is set for 8 people. When you suddenly become a group of 4, like in the Hard Mode Titan quest Last Day Dawns, you’re suddenly on unfamiliar ground. Virtually every high level team build I’ve ever played is designed for 8 people.

Rescue at Minister Cho’s Estate is much the same.

The difficulty is compounded by the numerous bad aggro situations, and the quest having zero directional guidance. It’s pretty rare for a Guild Wars quest to not tell you exactly where to go.

Overall this results in both good and bad points.

On the good side the small group size forces people to think about what they’re group makeup should be. They aren’t coddled with exact directions and have to use their brains. It’s a challenge.

On the bad side the small group size means that even though Winds of Change is one of the few times large groups can form, they’ll have to split up for this quest. Blindly wandering around just leads to really bad aggro situations. There will be people whining about what a challenge it is.

My second time through the quest, I had a much easier time of it. A real person healing, with real people doing their jobs correctly, really helped. Part of the challenge may have simply been the unfamiliarity with the content, which can only be a good thing at this point in Guild Wars’ life.

Next time I’ll talk about Haiju Lagoon, one of the best quests in the series so far, and Cleaning Zen Daijun, one of the worst.

Winds Of Chang

July 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Posted in Guild Wars, mmorpg | Comments Off on Winds Of Chang
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Community fans rejoice

Winds of Change didn’t really start off with much of a bang. The update was added and with no further adieu people started questing.

By the time I got online people were plowing through the quests and a large crowd had gathered around the quest giver in Kaineng Center, skill point flourishes going off every few seconds.

I grabbed Cleansing Bukdek Byway and my most faithful heroes and headed out, hoping to get an idea of what the quests would be like before my usual play group got online. Cleansing Bukdek is a very straightforward quest, there are 3 groups of afflicted and without any special build on my part they all went down pretty fast.

I will say it does make for a good tutorial on the new afflicted enemies. When War in Kryta came along, so did more interesting and complex builds for mobs. Instead of basic and limited skill bars, Peacekeepers and now Afflicted have skill bars that keep you on your toes and actually watching to see what skills they are using.

Just as an example, for years now the necromancer minion master has been just about the most powerful build in the game. Afflicted necromancers in Winds of Change can either be minion masters themselves, or use Verata’s Aura to steal minions from human players. A fiendishly clever counter to the Over Powered builds players have been using for a long time.

The result of these more complex builds is longer more intricate fights. Certainly you need to call targets, figure out who to attack first, and if you’ve got the resources haul out the old summoning stone or consumable item.

The first 2 quests were kind of a breeze, starter quests I suppose. The third quest is a bit different, Shenzun Tunnels. Thankfully you can start out pretty close by, I think I even saw a new Am Fah boss at one point, though I can’t remember his name. In any case I got to the location pinpointed on my map and quickly thought to move out of the center, because there seemed to be multiple entrances. Sure enough waves of groups kept entering from various directions, and even the location I had chosen had groups coming in from behind and I nearly wiped.

It was the first challenging quest and it was the most fun by far.

It was over all too soon and frankly, there wasn’t much to it beyond the waves of enemies.

The story was far too straightforward. No interesting quest dialogue, no interesting background, or characters. Just go out there and clean Cantha up. Get rid of the afflicted, that’s your motivation and goal.

The quests were too straightforward, though I’ll give them points for easing people into it. Go here, kill stuff, typical Guild Wars quest. No surprises.

The locations are a bit… thorough. Apparently it’s a countryside tour of the entire campaign. Each and every zone will get its due before this is over. At least some of the lesser used areas are seeing some light, and in most cases there isn’t overly extensive travel.

This ain’t over yet of course. There are a half dozen quests that I enjoyed out of the 17 and I’d like to go over some of them. Not to mention this is only phase one of three phases in Winds of Change with a total of 42 quests, and I expect the rewards, challenge, and especially the story to improve.

Oh and don’t let the afflicted minion masters scare you, I still had more luck bringing a MM than leaving it out of my party.

Change Is An Understatement

July 8, 2011 at 7:10 am | Posted in Guild Wars, mmorpg | 3 Comments
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The Ministry of Purity dudes look like this!

The new content patch for Guild Wars has arrived and so far it’s a lot different than War in Kryta. Well, about as different as any Guild Wars content is ever going to get.

I suppose I should explain.

The vast, vast, vast majority of content in Guild Wars is essnetially “go kill stuff”. In my head I refer to it as “Kill Crush Destroy” but nobody ever seems to get the reference.

There isn’t any variety to the quests really, there are few classical Kill Ten Rats quests and some FedEx quests, but really you are just sent out into an instance to go somewhere and kill things. I suppose the varying situations and mobs that oppose you are the real content, analyzing and adjusting builds instead of collecting so and so amount of drops.

I complained that War In Kryta had too little action at one point. That it had too many dialogues with too little work. I stand by that, and at the start of WiK it was quite true. A lot of talk, no action.

Winds of Change is quite different. In fact, change is an understatement. They put it in full reverse, and instead of too much story, there is too little. Instead of too little action, I’ve just done 15 quests with nothing but action.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not passing judgment yet. I need this thing to stick in my craw for a while. It is a bit of a grind though. Where is the middle ground exactly? Apparently it’s hard to find.

There is a lot to do however, and with so little content having come out since 2007, it is a blessing. I welcome the change.

There are of course costumes, an initial set of weapons that can be acquired, and I’m sure more to come.

And I'm not sure I like this wallpaper but here it is!

GuildMag In HTML

May 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Posted in Guild Wars, mmorpg | 2 Comments
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With their 7th issue GuildMag has changed format from a .pdf you had to download to html pages you can easily navigate. I for one approve of the change, as I always found it a hassle to download the mag, and then didn’t really like flipping through it in the .pdf format.

Apparently there is an exclusive interview with Eric Flannum which I’ll get around to later, and of course some of the other content GuildMag fans have become accustomed to. A contest, some fan fiction, a lore article, an interview with some loser and an interview with Action Jack.

Check out the GuildMag website here, or go straight to the issue which I can now easily link to.

Guild Wars Machinima

May 9, 2011 at 3:38 am | Posted in Guild Wars, mmorpg, video | 2 Comments
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I was just looking through the Guild Wars 2 Ambassador Contest entries and stumbled across Khranashil’s Guild Wars Machinima. I was pretty surprised at the quality and thought it deserved a post.

Of course it’s Machinima about Guild Wars, so fans of neither need not apply.

This is a preview, and there is an episode in his youtube channel, but I’ll guess we’ll have to wait for more.

No More Minis

May 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Posted in Guild Wars, mmorpg | 20 Comments
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We'll never see that miniature Gaki we wanted so badly

With the last Guild Wars update came the 6th year anniversary gifts. For the past 5 years, players have received Miniature pets, mini-versions of the games monsters and NPCs that wander around you. Just as in any other game with mini-pets.

This year we got Everlasting Tonics as gifts. A tonic in Guild Wars changes your appearance for an hour. An Everlasting Tonic means you get unlimited use of that tonic.

I’ve got pretty mixed feelings on the subject. Mostly I’m disappointed.

It’s funny because just before the update I had been talking with friends about how I thought this year might be the last year for miniatures. They couldn’t possibly keep up the pace of releasing new minis? Right? Wrong I was told. Foolish mortal.

I admit it is a nice change away from the same old tired thing, but I’m not really impressed with the replacement. Tonics have never been anything for me but something that took up storage space, at least until they finally showed us how the Hall of Monuments would grant us perks in Guild Wars 2.

I guess the replacement isn’t really what disappoints me though, it’s more about the struggle to add minis to the Hall of Monuments, and the market for buying miniatures becoming just that much harder.

Yet another HoM reward that becomes available only through sheer purchase power.

I’m lucky, I’ve got lots of aged characters, been to festivals, begged, borrowed and traded for minis. I hate to think about what other people must have to do.

I’ve always thought of Guild Wars as pretty much the supreme casual game. No pressure to play whatsoever. Unfortunately for those of us actually still interested in playing Guild Wars, whether below the 30 point mark (at which point all physical rewards that will be passed to Guild Wars 2 cease) or above it, the game becomes an incessant grind. Grind for cash, grind for z coins, grind for experience, grind for titles.

And now we grind for minis too.

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