guild wars 2

How ArcheAge made me play Guild Wars 2 again

My mind works in strange ways. Yesterday, while waiting for the washing machine to finish and browsing my favorite gaming sites, I was reminded of the fact that Trion is bringing ArcheAge to the west. This makes my tingle with joy, especially knowing that the company is offering different “Founder packs” to get into the alpha. I’m all about getting into a game earlier than the unwashed masses, so I went and checked them out. Alpha access…the thought of that made me wild. Would I already be knees-deep in ArcheAge this weekend? Would I already see what all the fuss is about, sailing my own ship and tending my own farm?

I would…had I spent €140.

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The endgame that (possibly) is no endgame

Above is the tweet I received from ANet after tweeting about the fact that I’ve achieved level 80 on my brave Charr Elementalist Akinja. Though it might sound silly, hitting the level cap in a MMO that isn’t World of Warcraft is something entirely new for me. As the experience bar approached the end, I was feeling anticipation building up in me. Then, everything went so fast: I walked right into a chain of events, and while fighting together with four other people somewhere in the Bloodtide Coast, the golden bar reached the other end of the screen and I saw the words “Level Up!” appear above my character. I had finally made it. The leveling process was over, and I could start…

Hang on there…why am I already collecting experience for the next level? Is there a next level? The GW2 Wiki clearly states that the maximum level is 80. Why do I still gather experience?

Well, turns out that you’re never truly done leveling in this game. The moment you hit 80, nothing tells you to dive into some raid or high-level dungeon. If you want to, you can just continue what you’ve been doing for the past eighty levels: explore the world, help people and just be heroic. No ones forcing you to do anything new now. Relax, and choose what you want to do!

It’s hard to explain how this realization has blown my mind. I knew that Guild Wars 2 approaches the endgame differently, but knowing that I don’t have to participate in some gearing treadmill, running through the same dungeon every week while praying to the RNG gods, was a big relief, almost akin to an epiphany. Truly, I’ve been playing the endgame since I started playing the game, seeing how the two are not different from each other. But…does that mean that there is no endgame?

When ANet promised to deliver a different type of MMO, I thought it was just marketing bollocks. Seeing how I’m enjoying this non-existent endgame right now, I think they might have been telling the truth.

Damn you, ANet, for making me enjoy an endgame that might not even exist!

Guild Wars 2 – love on second sight?

ArenaNet celebrated the first birthday of Guild Wars 2 past weekend. Around this time last year, I also started my first character in the game, leveled him like a madman to level 63, and then vanished from Tyria. Now, a year later, my new character is level 64, and I’m not leaving yet. Might Guild Wars 2 be my new MMO home?

I won’t dare saying that just yet, but I’m amazed how the game keeps me captivated. The Living World updates are interesting, the gameplay doesn’t feel grindy or all that repetitive, and I find myself enjoying PvP in this game! Could this be a case of love on second sight?

I don’t know.  I just hope my Tyrian bliss lasts longer and that I can really get settled in this fantastic world. Maybe I should start looking for a guild…

 

Enjoying Tyria – a few tips for the Guild Wars 2 Trial Weekend

gw 2 guild wars 2

“Guild Wars 2 – Celebration” by PapayouFR

It’s always good to have plans for the weekend, especially if it includes playing a great game like Guild Wars 2 totally for free. I mean, that’s what everyone will do coming weekend, right? Right?

Anyway, in case you have your priorities straight and will venture into Tyria without paying a single dime, let me help you out with a few pointers. See it as a “from one newb to another newb” kind of help!

  • Go and venture forth. GW2 does not have a questlog or other tool that tracks your tasks. The closest thing to a checklist in this game are the daily, monthly and various other achievements. Next to those, you’ll find adventure and action no matter into which direction you travel. No matter if you decide to complete renown hearts, conquer Skill Challenges or wait for that one special Event to be triggered, you will have something to experience no matter where you go and where you are. GW2 is meant to be played like an expedition: point at a place on your map, but have the journey to that spot be the actual adventure.
  • Help others. In GW2, there’s no such thing as mob tagging or “stealing” resource nodes. If you see someone’s fighting a big pull of mobs, go out and help them a hand. Both of you will receive XP, and you might even make a friend in the process. Also, just go out and mine that vein or pluck that herb. You won’t steal it from anyone, since all resource nodes can be farmed by multiple people.
  • Everything grants XP. Killing monsters? Of course, that earns you XP. Exploring the map? That’s also a source of XP. Resurrecting NPC’s and other players? Yes, that will also net you XP! Turning your gathered resources into crafted items? Indeed, you’ll also get a chunk of XP from that. No matter which way you prefer to play, GW2 will somehow reward you with XP for it. Let me tell you, it feels kinda awesome when resurrecting a bunch of fellow players during an epic Champion encounter is what makes you ding. It’s rewarding, and in the spirit of the cooperative gameplay GW2 is going for.
  • Help your lowbie friends. Since GW2 uses level scaling, you’ll never outlevel a zone. You can just join up with your friends who are late to the party and help them out. You’ll get XP and loot appropriate for your actual level, all while doing what you want to do in an MMORPG: playing together with friends.
  • And finally…have fun. No seriously. Just have fun, okay?

If you decide to drop by on the European Piken Square server coming weekend, keep an eye out for the Charr Elementalist Akinja. He’d be more than willing to show you the ropes.

In any case, enjoy your time in Tyria!

Discovering Tyria

the sun behind akinjaIt’s been a while since a GW2 related post, right? No wait, you got some fancy pictures just two days ago. This game really has me in its grips it seems. And why shouldn’t it? So far, my journey through the lands of Tyria has been really enjoyable.

One of the things GW2 just gets right is invoking a feeling of discovery. The zones feel grand and are full of hidden nooks and crannies. Also, by ditching the classic quest log and replacing it with these “renown hearts” on your map, you’re actually encouraged to roam around the map filling up those golden hearts. And you know what happens during those trips? Discoveries! No matter if you discover a hidden jumping puzzle or a dynamic event, you’re not simply walking from quest hub to quest hub. No, you’re actually experiencing a heroic journey full of unexpected twists.

Talking about those dynamic events…I just can’t get enough of them. True, many of them are rather simple and feel like your traditional quests, but some of them are just presented so damn well. Today, I came to a place where there should be a bridge. Thinking I had found the fastest way to the next renown heart, I had to discover that the bridge had been destroyed, and a group of traders couldn’t cross a gaping gulch to deliver their goods. Fortunately, some of the traders decided they would venture into the forest to gather wood, and I decided to follow them. As we arrived in the forest, it turned out dredge (communist mole creatures using sonic weapons and drills) were chopping down all the trees, and so I had to help the merchants to drive off the blind baddies while making sure we would also gather enough wood. Of course, we succeeded, and after a short construction sequence, the traders and I could cross the new bridge, parting ways once we made it to the next crossroad.

Did I expect this to happen? Definitely not! I just wanted to go to the next marked spot on my map, but the random and “breathing” nature of GW2 put this little story in my way, rewarding me with some extra gold and a chunk of XP. This is what makes every session of GW2 so damn enjoyable: knowing that, no matter if you want to or not, you’ll be surprised by a cool discovery.

Sure, the game has its downsides, but so far, I just love to play it for about two hours a day, exploring Tyria with babysteps. How long it will last? I’m not sure, but as long as I can discover something, I think GW2 will not get rid of me…

When should or shouldn’t you play Guild Wars 2?

guild wars 2 charr starter

Just give him a few more levels and he’ll be a lean, mean, killing machine

After lamenting about not finding a new MMO home earlier this week, I decided to give Guild Wars 2 another try. What followed was a quick and awesome ride on my new Charr Elementalist, before I killed my gaming rig during a harmless RAM replacement procedure. Guees it was just my mainboard’s time to go to hardware Valhalla, but fortunately I had some savings in my piggybank to get me a nice little upgrade out of it. So yeah, now I can enjoy Tyria in its (almost) full visual glory!

After a few more hours in-game, I started to analyze my gaming experience. That’s nothing special, it’s what we gaming bloggers do. Naturally, I’ve come up with a few things I like about GW2, and a few I don’t. However, instead of just telling you what’s good and what’s bad, I’d rather tell you what kind of gamer you should be if you want to give GW2 a try, and when you should save your cash and spend it on something else. Like, for example, chocolate. I heard that many people enjoy that!

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