Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Here's to short maintenance windows!

Last night, Guild Wars 2 dropped a new patch for the continuation of the Living Story, called Queens Jubilee.  It's a celebration of the reign of the human Queen Jennah.

Small point of apparent contention.  Typically, a jubilee might refer to 25 or 50 years of something, but it can refer to any season or occasion of rejoicing or festivity.  The milestones of 25 or 50 years will usually get called a silver and golden jubilee respectively.

The GW2 forums announce that there would be a 6 hour maintenance window from 12 AM PST, which was 7 PM AEST for those on the east Australian coast.  After watching a movie, and settling down to try out the new Necromancer class in Torchlight II, I thought I would at least see if the patch that would bring us wallets for currency would be available. Indeed it was.

While the patch was applying, I noticed some more detail in the announcement about other systems that would be unavailable during the maintenance window.  Like logging in to the GW2 forums.  Well, I had done that.  Excitement ensues, and before you know it, I'm logged into GW2 by 9:15 PM!

Some guildies logged in much later, thinking that a 6 hour maintenance window actually means 6 hours.  It's a reasonable assumption, given indoctrination by Blizzard with World of Warcraft maintenance windows, where not only would they take close to all of the maintenance window, but new content would also result in more downtime.

So, for the next few days, it looks like I will be spending some significant time in the Queens Pavilion, either doing the group events, or the 1 vs 1 NPC challenges.  It has highlighted that I need some proper DPS gear for my newly minted level 80 ranger, Synge Pilen (Singing Arrow).  Currently, Synge is outfitted in WvW gear, power/vitality/toughness, which doesn't quite cut it when you need to down a foe in 2 minutes.  There's a good chance that I'm also not using my pet effectively either.

Synge is decked in her PVT outfit due to the generous achievement chests that are given to users every 500 achievement points, limit to one chest per day.  Since I had over 4000 points at the time the achievement chests were released, I was the recipient of enough badges of honor to get a full PVT set.  Ironically, that was released just after I had raised the 500 badges required for the Gift of Battle.  I'm not sure if I'll go for a berserkers or knights set next.  Maybe half and half.  And I'll probably respect to something that deals direct damage, rather than condition damage.

I've had idle thoughts about leveling my Necromancer, having recently picked up an exotic staff with condition damage called Bramblethorn.  Though I think I'll wait until I have a better DPS set for Synge, and the expected changed to magic find become apparent.  That ought to keep me at bay for a month or two.

Friday, April 12, 2013

That F2P MMO

Almost every night, when I'm not too tired, and the rest of the household have gone to sleep, I sit down the play a couple of hours of that free to play, massively multi-player online game. Guild Wars 2, that is.

So far, I've nearly clocked 400 hours, and I'm still finding it fun.  My motivations have changed since I first started playing, and I've experienced a bit more of what the game has to offer since my last post. Even the game has changed a little since the last most, near the start of the year.

Last month, much to my pleasure, the monthly quest was finally accessible to me.  No requirement to run a dungeon.  That's right in my ball park.

This month, there are enough tasks on the monthly quest to complete without having to run a dungeon as well.  And I'm almost there.  I just have to complete one more event, and kill 15 more players in WvW.

Is it irony, or something else?  I've actually run dungeons this month.  Sometime ago, I had the pleasure of joining the United Australian Warriors [AUS] guild on Stormbluff Isle.  It's a decidedly casual guild, and a little small with some alliances with other guilds on the server.  We were starting to have a closer relationship with Blood Creed [BC] until they decided to merge into Meiji Renegades [MxR] to provide a US/Oceanic guild with an almost 24 hour coverage on the server.  Anyway, the current guild leader knows his stuff, is friendly and we all get along.  And, I also get invited to run a dungeon here and there!

So, way back when, I ran AC in a PUG. Since then, I've run the Citadel of Flame (CoF) several times, Caudecus's Manor (CM) once and the Crucible of Eternity (CoE) once.  I've enjoyed CoF the most, since now I know what is actually going on with the events, and I've run it enough to buy myself an exotic rifle that would normally would have crafted anyway.

These days, I'm playing Addison Axe the most.  I tried having a go at Mesmer, but hit a flat spot in the leveling curve.  Plus, it's more fun when you have someone to level with.  And even though you get scaled up to level 80 in WvW, level 30 is still far too early to be run around those zones solo.  If I have the patience, and the daily quest requires it, I'll fire up one of my younger characters to put a level or so on.  Usually it will be because the daily quest requires progression in the story line, or a level, or a skill point, or even just 50 kills in a zone that I have a level appropriate character looking to earn a bit more XP in.

And even though I'm playing Addison Axe the most, she's not geared in full exotics, yet.  I used to have an arms/str/discipline build, centered around greatsword and rifle.  It was great for soloing, and seems to work okay in PvP, although the skill set is different.  However, it was a little selfish for group play.  So I've since swapped to the Sonic Boon build, and am working on getting myself a full set of Knights exotic armor.  But it's expensive, and farming takes time.  Time I don't have while I'm trying to complete the monthly quest.

So, when I've done the daily, I jump in for some WvW.  The first port of call with WvW is to find out where your guildies are playing (if they're in there), or join the official Stormbluff Isle Teamspeak server, and join up with them.  As one of the commanders mentioned in chat, you are immediately more useful if you know what is actually going on.  And we all like to be useful engines.

WvW has a few simple guidelines for me, at the moment.  First, always have supply, and pick that supply up from a camp site.  Supply in castles has to be transported there from a campsite, and should be held in reserve for defense.

Secondly, stay on the commander and do what he says.  I'd like to say that the commanders know what they're doing, but since I don't, and usually don't last two seconds by myself, I'll say that they know better than me.  Some commanders will use the terrain to hide, and prevent the enemy from knowing how many people we have running around the country side.  Last night, someone mentioned that commanders get free siege patterns, so there's not much point buying those, when the command is likely to drop and instruct on targets when required.

There's doesn't seem to be a third, because they're simple guidelines.  Unfortunately, I don't get many kills in a single session, because I'm running around, following commanders, operating siege, reviving if convenient, or trying to stay live.  So getting 50 kills for the monthly quest is a bit of an achievement.  Still, with only 15 to go, and a little more than half a month to go, totally achievable.

And then there's PvP.  Addison Axe was originally created to be a PvP toon.  When I switched to the Sonic Boon build, I gave it a try in PvP, and it was horrible.  The healing returned from shouts is crap, and there's no CC.  So back to my previous PvP build.

The PvP daily is something worth doing, if there is Ascended gear, purchasable by laurels, that you are interested in.  You usually only need to take part in 4 matches to complete the daily.

Anyway, that's my Guild Wars 2 update for a while, until something massive changes, or I start doing something stupid, like commence collecting materials for a Legendary weapon.
Update: 23 April 2013.  It turns out that laurels are not guaranteed from the PvP daily.  A laurel is only given for the first daily you complete, whether is be PvE or PvP.  Still, the PvP daily can usually be completed in pretty short order, if you don't accidentally walk in on a PvP build demo.

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's almost over now

You can't be me, I'm a rockstar. No, hang on. I'm a nerd, not a N*E*R*D.

But I have made it almost to the end of the My Story question line for Addison Axe.  The only thing yet to do is run the Arah dungeon in story mode, and give Zhaitan the big number two. I'm not sure if I'll ever get around to that, but it's good to know that it's there if I can get two consecutive hours, after a successful run at downing the Risen Knight group event.  Just because the teleport at the Arah dungeon entrance is not contested, doesn't mean you should visit there, unless you are absolutely sure the area has been taken by the Pact.

This weekend, I wondered about the dragon events. You know, those three dragon events that happen every three hours, open to anyone who can there and who is of the appropriate level (tiered at levels 50, 60 and 80).  And my wondering was why people do them.  Sure, they're internet dragons.  And if you haven't got good loot yet, they're okay for that.  If you contribute to the fight, you might even get a rare.  Plenty of people complain that they don't get enough rares.  Perhaps it's to hopefully score a Glob of Ectoplasm from the salvaging of the rare item, if you use the right salvaging kit.  I just wish there was enough coin reward from the event to cover the cost of teleporting to the location for the event.

Given that I still haven't done any more dungeons, other than that one AC one, I got a little excited when I discovered exotic gear being available for karma.  While running around on Orr, I came across the statue of Dwayna, and helped two others complete the chain of events there.  This included bringing down a priestess of Dwayna and the statue itself, both champion level nasties.  At the end, the quest giver for the chain became a karma merchant, and had exotic gear that seemed to suit healing Guardians for 42,000 karma a pop.  I got rather giddy, and ended up purchasing a pair of the boots for my warrior.  Sure, healing gear might have been a bit of a waste, but I didn't know when I'd get a better opportunity for a boot upgrade.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough karma for a second item.  Or was that just luck.

Later on, I saw calls going up for Melandru.  By the time I got to the location, Melandru was down, but the karma merchant was there, and was selling heavy exotics, featuring power, toughness and vitality. By this time, I had another 42,000 karma available to spend, so I picked up the chest piece.

What I really need to do now if figure out how I want to gear my level 80 toons, and investigate all exotic armor available for karma, work out how to maximize karma earnings, without doing dungeons, and start collecting.  Of course, I'm going to do the optimistic thing, and gear as though I was going to do dungeons.  For this, I need to decide if I'm going to gear for Toughness or Vitality.  Having both is probably overkill, and only leaves you with other other primary stat, which is Power (from Melandru).  And just having power is fine, if your damage is flat, or you are spec'd to have abilities that mostly scale and trigger from power.  From what I've seen, and how I play (Greatsword and Rifle), abilities seem to trigger from doing critical attacks. Power would give an initial baseline for those attacks, and critical damage would enhance those critical attacks.

Of course, that doesn't mean I have to stack my gear and abilities to do all the same stats.  I could go half and half.  Have my abilities selected based on the special abilities available for my selected weapons, and then fill in the missing stats with gear.  More research definitely needs to be done.  At this point, however, I think I would select Toughness for my warrior, and Vitality for my Guardian.  Then I would select Power for my warrior, and Healing for my Guardian.  And then I would select Precision for my warrior.  I'm not sure what I would select for my Guardian. Perhaps Condition Damage, but then again, I'm not sure if there is a whole lot of choice, once you select Vitality and Healing.  Like I said, more research needs to be done.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Addison to the fore

It's been a little quiet around here, and that's because I've been playing nothing but Guild Wars 2.

Two nights ago, I finally got my second character, Addison Axe, to level 80.  Addison Axe is a warrior who enjoys weapon crafting, jewels and long walks from Frostgorge Sound to the Blazeridge Steppes.

I posted a question on the guild forum, asking what does one normally to at level 80. My WoW past has given me blinkers on what to do in the end game (grind that rep, grind that gear, grind that honor, grind that quest gold, master your abilities. New expansion, wait, what? Do it all again).

The short reply was anything you want.  Which is great, but did I level to 80 just so I could do stuff that was doable along?  I think not.

So here is my expanded list of stuff to do.

Dragon Events. Check. After getting to the Jormag event 30 seconds before the end (and then getting knocked off one of the side cliffs), I did a run to the Shatterer teleport. Some very nasty country along that route. It reminded me of the low level Charr landscapes in GW1 (I didn't play GW1 very much). Very striking, and a little scary. So now I have the teleports for the dragons. If I was to level more characters, it would be to park them at a dragon event location, so I don't have to bear the brunt of the teleport cost.

Farming stuff. That's one of the nice things about GW2. I've not had to go farming yet. Sure, in the course of exploring and questing, I've gathered many materials, but I've not had to run rings around a map, killing and collecting for the sole purpose of crafting. Maybe I've not enough crafting professions that require jute.

The Legendary. I had a look up the requirements for that the other night. Holy crap, that is some serious dedication. And why shouldn't it be. To craft a legendary, I guess you must be legendary! For the moment, I'm definitely not worthy.

Dungeons. Yes, that is something I should look into at some point. As well as the specs required to actually contribute to a dungeon run. So far, I've only run one dungeon (AoC?), and I sucked. Is FotM a good place to start? I've seen calls for FotM at fairly low levels, so I'm guessing it must be fairly accessible (i.e. good for newbs, rather than easy to get to).

WvW. I've tried a bit of that, but I must not be spec'd for it very well. I think I have one kill to my name. lol. Are there actual rewards for WvW, other than contributing to realm benefits?

sPvP. That, I've had a bit more success with. So far, Rank 7. From what I can tell, you can get access to all sPvP specific weapons, armor, sigils and runes. Does this change after Rank 10? Are there improvements in gear, or is it just for the bragging rights of being a particular rank, mastering your sPvP leetness and getting better looking gear?

Exploring! This may be the low hanging fruit for the short sighted (like me). Col currently has 51% for exploration, but I think I'm going to take that further with Addison Axe.

Crafting. This is probably something better not left until the end. Addison got through her last 3 levels on the strength of leveling jewelcrafting.

Specs, traits and weapon skills. This one might end up going hand in hand with farming stuff, especially when it comes to purchasing the skill books so you can get access to the next tier of traits. Addison has just over 3g now, and I'm loathe to blow that on the skill book until I've got another 1g in the bank.

Somewhere in there, I'm looking for pointers to get me a better weapon, but deep down, I know there isn't the same gear grind in GW2 as there was (ahem, is) in WoW.  And I count my blessings for that.  Then there's the Legendary, which is one hell of a gear grind.  Perhaps I should max my weaponcrafting, and see what I can come up with in the way of a greatsword.