[GW2] Lost and Found

I didn’t have a lot of expectations heading into Guild Wars 2. I’d seen it popping up in my feedreader fairly regularly, and it had been recommended to me a couple times during the beta testing stage as something that might interest me, but I haven’t actively been seeking a new game per se. However, late last week I made one of my infamous impulse buys and plunked down some cash. No monthly fee, just buy the box? Sold.

Although there will be quite a few screenshots tucked around in this post, you won’t see one of my first character. I was going to break the mold, I was going to be a rebel, I was not going to roll a healing plate wearer or a ranger. No way, no how. I went for a Sylvari Mesmer, a class that promised spellcasting and sneakery.

What was I thinking?

By the time I had reached level 5, I had discovered that I didn’t need to spam my auto-attack to get the 3 hits… it handled itself quite nicely being an auto attack. But the clone system (see soul shards) that I could never manage to get past 2 were doing horrible things for my blood pressure, and I threw up my hands, called it a day, and completely went with my personal trend: plate-wearing healer incoming.

For the rest of the weekend I went gallivanting around the countryside as a Charr Guardian. Now, I thought they were a cat-like people until my husband felt the need to exclaim “rabbits!” over my shoulder, and now I can’t get back to my initial catty reaction. They do have this funny little nose twitch that just screams “looking for carrots.”

 

I discovered that each weapon came with it’s own baked in skills, and that additional skills were limited by a combination of skills tests and leveling. I discovered that the crafting system, while easy to get started with is going to be difficult to master. I loved that anything that I could mine, pluck, or chop I could harvest without restriction. And I discovered my passion and I daresay my addiction: exploration.

Exploration points aren’t all just run to the right part of the map and done (although those are there too). To completely discover an area, you meet skill checks, help out residents, and find your way into various nooks and crannies.

Platform experience of some kind definitely comes in handy as you attempt to reach these delicious mini-maps which play a nice cinematic of your local area.

The questing experience, frankly, didn’t feel like questing for much of my time spent over the weekend. Sure, you do tasks, sometimes very silly or fun tasks that don’t really have anything to do with world domination or staving off the same.

 

But there’s no “run to quest-giver, do task, run back to quest-giver, get another task” repetition involved. You get into the area where a task is located, it pops up in your quest log, and when you finish you get mailed some cash and a thank you. You don’t even have to get to a mailbox–you can access your mail anywhere. Same with world events. They just happen in a very Rift-esque manner but without the constant joining and dropping of parties. You just show up, do your job, and move along.

All in all, having finished my 2nd complete map yesterday, I’m thoroughly hooked, and waiting to see what the next zone will bring.

 

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How Mods Have Made WoW a Friendlier Place

Ever wanted to check and see if you had a recipe? What’d you do? Why, you opened up your professions panel and started a search, that’s what! However, that’s not always been the case. My first ever professions mod was the lovely Skillet. While it’s still up and running, providing an excellent way to provide a shopping list for the industrious crafter, many of the features which I loved the most–being able to craft in batches and searching my recipe list–are now a common part of the standard WoW interface.

Mod developers provide a valuable service, even to those of you who choose to turn up your nose at the “cheatery” that is the addon community. Mod developers provide innovative solutions to often nagging, persistent problems within the game. I seriously doubt we’ll see someone’s custom art show up in the latest expansion of WoW, but we have been showered with more responsive nameplates, improved raid frames, customizable combat text, an in-game dungeon journal, nifty map notes… the list goes on and on.

Mod developers pioneered many of these solutions fighting code and whiny players who think people who give up their private time to find a solution have nothing better to do than listen to people complain about their free product. Although my mod list has gone up and down as I’ve found some needs met and other needs to take precedent (the pretties folks!) I appreciate the time of anyone who takes a stab at finding a solution to something that they think could be done better. 

So even if you’re a mod minimalist, even if you don’t even use a mod, but especially if you help the mod development process by being a user and supporting your favorite addon developer, say thank you to a mod developer. They make our gameworld a better place–even if you don’t see it until WoW implements it in-game.

 

Not to mention providing me an excuse to go wandering down UI memory lane.

 

Throttling Down

I was a little taken aback, a little swept away by my precipitous return to WoW. Was it the lovely personalities, the game itself, the need to achieve with speed. Nope, nope, and nope. It was the strong desire to fiddle, to flex my dictatorial spirit and whip my troops back into shape. My mods that is. Major patches mean major breaks in UI functionality, and while this one was kinder than most, the loss of my favorite DK add-on (RIP Magic Runes) left me rebuilding from the ground-up.

How I love my projects. (No, there’s no preview yet. It’s not pretty! However, my WeakAuras still work if you’re looking for some portable strings for restoration druids).

Although I expected to jump in, clean up, and be all nice and tidy for MoP, the very act of synchronizing my achievements, pets, and mounts led me to want something…more. I started doing some dailies. I ran a dungeon or two. And lo and behold, over the weekend, guild chat reached a grand tally of 5 people. It may not sound like much, but for our 10-man raiding guild with a 12-13 roster, it was like having the crew back together again.

This coincides rather nicely with a number of interesting developments that have been occurring on the guild forums. A couple of threads have opened up, and people are actually beginning to respond. Although we’re still iffy on a few folks, it looks like the proposed 4-5 hour raiding week will fly, and Production Company will be killing internet dragons in October.

And that brings me to the topic on my mind today, the one that I imagine will be floating around with me all week as I try to decide what I would do if I had any flex, flex that I don’t ever, ever, ever want. Although our guild will still be raiding, we’re not going to be first on the starting line in progression kills. There’s a firm realization that clearing all heroic content before the next tier is over the horizon for MoP. I’m ok with that, and any number of folks are too, or they’d have jumped ship by now.

What it does portend is still up in the air. What kind of applicants would be interested in a single raiding day and be as raid-ready as we’d like? Probably not many. Folks that would like to be in a guild like ours: I hope quite a few! But I also expect that folks who can only raid once a week are going to expect a bit more from their guild environment that our usually stony silence and total disregard for non-raiding days. If we only raid once a week, we might actually make some time to log in to run a dungeon, or even better, a challenge mode on another night.

So in addition to needing alts filling out our roster for a more flexible and mobile raiding team, we want to encourage alts, friends, and family members to feel cozy in our guild–to provide a good environment that encourages warm, fuzzy, and most of all dependable feelings of love and loyalty to the great Production Company Sun Banner.

And that’s where people like me come in. Someone who had their husband leave the guild after a year or so to join his alt bank. Who pulled out her own alts to help level said guild. Who had a friend roll some new alts in the alternate guild.

And alsothose folks who run with us and another raiding guild, even when we raided 9 hours a week. Who knows where they stash their alts, and whether they’ll continue to love us when they’re progressing at a faster clip with the “other guys.”

And let’s not forget the person who has the single raiding member and that’s it. Do they have alts? Everyone has to have alts, right? Where ARE THEY????

Other than our bubbly personalities

Ok, I just can’t say that without laughing. We’re a bunch of great folks, but SNL doesn’t happen in our guild chat. We’re just nice people with jobs and kids and a love for raiding.

So how does a guild that’s throttling back, committing less time to an activity in game, but wanting to encourage guild participation in that game keep folks on board and in love with the guild that makes it happen? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Why I Can’t Raid Casual

Every time I consider raiding with a casual group, all I can think of is George Carlin’s driving dialogue.

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

can be a patient person. Really. If you want to learn, I’ll be happy to spend a countless amount of time and energy into helping things click. I thought this made me a perfect fit for a casual guild. I mean, I love the choices that come with the casual life, and the often more free and chatty guild environment.

I was wrong.

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Motivation

Cataclysm ended for me in April. It wasn’t a conscience decision, it just happened. The Glory of the Dragon Soul achievement for our raid members, a semi-traumatic guild meeting, and a rather abysmal drop in attendance and availability spelled the end of my raiding time, and consequently, my game-time as well.

I’ve been keeping up with my community reading, making a rather annoying (to my faithful WoW readers) LoTRO post, and popping into WoW to do a random transmute or help fill out the pesky Firelands raid for that wonderful, legendary stick.

I knew I wanted to play in the MoP expansion. I even spent a little bit of time in the beta, but I didn’t have a burning desire to follow the continuous ups and downs that come with testing a new class and new abilities. I also realized I was setting myself up for disappointment. I didn’t want to experience the new zones and dungeons now. I wanted to enjoy them later, finished, ready for my enjoyment and bumbling attempts at learning the ropes.

Now we have an expansion date. A check-in thread started on a forums a couple of weeks ago. A couple of members have confirmed their acceptance into other guilds. We’re missing responses from others. A few hangers-on, myself included, are waiting for the expansion to begin to decide what’s going to happen and where we’re going to go.

However, it makes it hard to be really excited about the upcoming expansion. As a solo player, I know I’ll be interested in leveling up a monk and checking out the changes to my existing characters. But without the carrot of a really great raiding experience, I am concerned about how long WoW will have the ability to hold any allure for me. While I’m happy to praise LFR for those who can’t raid regularly, I know I’d pop in, complete an instance and then never see the place again. Gearing just to gear doesn’t excite me.

To be really honest, part of the motivation, the excitement of a new expansion for me is making a plan and enjoying the anticipation of starting the project, being able to check all those milestones off my list. But with my current situation, there is no pressure, no goals that need to be met.

Does your guild/raiding situation affect how you feel about the expansion?

Of Caverns, Caves, and Dungeons

My love/hate relationship with caverns goes all the way back to Mario. Yes the Mario, back before the Supers and race cars, and RPG versions. I remember the absolute glee when I discovered that I could squish my squat, pixellated avatar down a green tube, and I would shoot out in a “secret” area full of extra coins, power-ups, and turtle-birds. I always imagined Mario, sans inner tube, slaloming his way down the pipes like, well myself, at my favorite water park. After a lovely side-track from the “real” adventure, I would shove myself back up a pipe, much like Santa up the chimney, and voila it would be sunshine and flag poles again.

I stumbled across this early memory as I’ve been examining what I really think about caverns, caves, and dungeons. As much I thought I loved inside design, my travels in Moria, the ancient stronghold of the mighty dwarves, has me reconsidering if I’m really being honest with myself about my feelings on interior design!

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The Problem With Always On

There’s a commercial that has been running for who knows how long that makes me roll my eyes and giggle every time I watch it. The commercial is for a retractable porch cover, and there’s really nothing remarkable about the spokespeople or the product. The main selling point for the product seems to be that it gets hot outside and you need this wonderful product to keep your porch cool and comfy so you can enjoy your outdoor space. What makes me laugh is this line (which is not a direct quote, just how I remember it):

It gets so hot outside that I cannot use my deck, and must retreat indoors!

And all I can think is:

Oh, the humanity! I have to retreat to my well-constructed and air-conditioned building in order to escape the weather!

This is what is commonly referred to as a First World Problem, and I am joining the meme with my own story of woe, because last week I had no internet. 

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