Crafted ascension

So as it turns out, life has kept me a bit busy. I didn’t really spend any time with Super Adventure Box, and I’ve yet to defeat Tequatl. But there is one thing I’ve been working on from the recent patches, and that is ascended crafting.

I haven’t yet crafted any ascended weapons, though several of my guild members have. I simply do not have loads of money or materials to throw at it. I mean, I suppose I could blitz my way through, but I have all of my t6 mats collected prior to the patch with ascended crafting hidden safely away on a low-level alt. I’ve got a legendary in the works, after all, and while I’ve placed that project on hiatus, I’ve no intention to lose any of my progress.

Instead, today I finally broke 450 in Artificer and was able to start crafting the ascended components that will eventually turn into a staff for my guardian. It’s been a bit slow – over two weeks to get from 400 to 450, but I’ve been in no particular rush to get my crafting leveled up. Instead, I’ve been doing it at a steady rate – doing gathering for my dailies in Frostgorge Sound and Malchor’s Leap to collect ancient wood and orichalcum ore and then spending my laurels on the heavy crafting material bags for t6 materials. I refined my way to 425, using the wood and ori gathered each day. Once I hit 425, I started crafting exotic weapons, continuing my daily gathering runs and spending of laurels on t6 materials.

Pushing my way to 425 turned out to take up most of the time, as getting from 425 to 450 took under a week, whereas getting from 400 to 425 took around a week and a half. I could have sped up that process greatly, of course; I was only doing gathering runs on one character, while if I had the time and attention span to do so I could have run all of my level 80s (all eight of them) through Malchor’s and likely had that done in a couple of days.

I'm kind of curious exactly who Hronk is...

I’m kind of curious exactly who Hronk is…

I could have also probably gotten to 450 much faster without spending any money. I’m an impatient person sometimes, and I wound up dropping about 20g on ancient wood. Ancient wood is a personal annoyance; I had to collect two stacks of planks for Kudzu, which meant six stacks of ancient wood logs. Then, at least, it was cheap. Now, though, it’s in high demand (it takes more raw to refine, and artificer takes way more wood than metal), and ori nodes tend to outnumber ancient wood nodes on the high level maps. Ancient wood is expensive.

Ascended crafting has had another effect, which is to make the mid-tier materials suddenly gain value. You can’t get away with just farming the high level areas if you want to make an ascended weapon; you will need to farm every part of Tyria. I like this, personally. It’s fun to find areas that are good for certain materials, and since you need everything from tier 2 to tier 5, you can literally farm anywhere in the world that you wish. Personally, I like northeast Blazeridge Steppes for seasoned wood (that is where I farmed it for Kudzu), and I’ve been told that Snowden Drifts is a great place for soft wood. Mount Maelstrom is an all-around good place to farm, as you can get hard wood, elder wood, platinum ore, and mithril ore there; I’ve also found that it’s a good map to farm for vanilla beans.

Once you hit 450 in your crafting profession, you are now met by time-gating – the elder spirit residue and mithrillium are limited to one a day. To many people, this is an annoyance. As ascended weapons are account-bound and cannot be sold, I fail to see the logic behind it, myself. However, I find myself not minding it too terribly much – if you’re taking your time at it like I am, this leaves you time to farm up the required t2-t5 wood and metal.

Ascended crafting is something still new, and can seem like it might be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Take your time, and you’ll have a shiny weapon in no time. Not as fast as those who decided they were going to make sure they had one as quickly as possible, but even if you’re limited on play time, or simply don’t have the attention span to farm a lot, it still doesn’t have to be out of your reach!

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Back to school!

It’s time for another Guild Wars 2 patch, and this latest one brings with it the return of this year’s April Fool’s joke, the Super Adventure Box! Under the Pale Tree was able to preview the new content and, well…SAB is back and just as entertainingly nostalgic as before. Or, really, I’d say even more so…

I love the wallpaper they released for it, btw. It's so cheerfully insane. Much like SAB itself is...

I love the wallpaper they released for it, btw. It’s so cheerfully insane. Much like SAB itself is…

Starting out, things will seem familiar, but there are some changes. The first thing you’ll notice is that the hub functions differently than it did before. When SAB was originally released, you had to form up your party in Rata Sum before entering the hub itself; now the hub is a larger, more public map, where parties can be formed. From there, you can decide to visit World 1 (the one that was available to us back in April – and yes, you may want to check it out again, but more on that later), or World 2, which we got a taste of before but now we can fully explore and participate in.

Also the 8-bit style music will be there to get stuck in your head forever. Again.

Once you have your party formed up (everything is solo-able, as before, if so you wish!), and you pick your world, you have another choice – difficulty! The happy cloud for Infantile mode is back, as well as a “normal” mode. We have a new one this time around, though – Tribulation mode. That’s the angry storm cloud. I’ll go into that a bit more later on, but suffice to say – Tribulation mode will not be easy. It’s designed to be ridiculously difficult.

I am fully expecting my guild’s ventrilo server to be full of profanities as people tackle Tribulation mode.

So, let’s talk about World 2. We’ve played the first level, as a sort of preview, at the end before, after defeating the boss. Well, World 2 is a nostalgia blast for two reasons. First, the obvious fact that it’s an homage to the video games of many of our childhoods. Second…have you played Guild Wars 1? Well. World 2 will be very familiar to you. It’s very much a Canthan-inspired world. And that includes the Assassins. They’re less of the GW1-style assassins that the thief profession is based on, and more like…standard ninja assassins. They will jump out and attack you, and when you defeat them…poof, you find a wood log on the ground. Because ninjas never really die, right?

It's full of rainbows!

It’s full of rainbows!

World 2 introduces some new mechanics and gameplay elements, along with the new setting. There are flowers that will act similar to the launch platforms that we’ve seen in the Dragon Ball arena and Aetherblade hideout, helping you get a bit more distance. New traps include clouds that will collapse and poison dart traps – those you really want to watch out for, as they hurt! Also, watch the trees. They can contain stealth owls, and these owls will rob you blind given a chance.

World 2 also has much more in terms of actual puzzles to it than World 1 did, which is something I’m looking forward to getting to play with. One that we saw was a giant octopus on a scale; to balance the scale you had to feed the octopus pirahnas from a nearby pool. There are also ones that involve clever use of terrain and objects to avoid those pesky poison darts. And never fret – the puzzles will scale to your party size. If you’re alone, you’ll be just as fine as if you’re with a full party of five members. Hidden shops are also back, with a new item – a whistle. It has a few different tunes that can be played, each that have a different effect – try it and find out how it works!

So. All that said. Onto Tribulation mode! Tribulation is meant to be hard. It’s not for everyone. I suspect it may not even be for me. It’s made for the insanely hardcore people who want to find the most difficult challenge they can and defeat it. It’s Nintendo Hard. It’s I Wanna be the Guy hard.

This IWTBTG screen is surprisingly accurate for what Tribulation mode is like.

This IWBTG screen is surprisingly accurate for what Tribulation mode is like.

One of the catchphrases for the X-Files was “Trust no one”. Tribulation mode’s motto is similar – trust nothing. Everything in it is out to get you, and nothing pulls punches. Prepare to get killed a lot. There are spikes everywhere. Angry clouds that get in your way. Invisible pits of doom. Murderous checkpoints. Homicidal directional hands. Thwomp-style boulders.

You’ll even want to be wary of those happy, innocent-looking flowers. They can be quite a blast if you’re not careful.

In Tribulation mode, you’ll want to think of your lives as your health bar. You’ll need to be careful. You’ll need to have patience. And you’ll need a good memory to find your path through. One wrong step will result in a painful (yet hilarious) death. You cannot carry party members through this, either. There are more checkpoints added, but everyone must reach the checkpoint to activate it – and if you die, you are not sent to the next checkpoint, but the previous one. If you want to get through this, you have to put in the work yourself.

And this, by the way, is why you’ll want to revisit World 1. Tribulation mode, you see, has a reward of it’s own – variants on the original Super Weapon skins, in different colors. You can only get them by completing Tribulation mode. It’s a true way to say “yeah, I’m awesome” when you’ve got a green Super Greatsword and everyone else has blue. It’s a way to stand out.

Super Axe = YES!

Super Axe = YES!

Speaking of the Super weapons, we’ll be seeing nine new weapon skins. Personally I’m going to be wanting to get my hands on the axe. My warrior uses axe/shield as her primary weapon set, and already has the Super Shield. The Mystic Axe is a decent match…but Super Axe must be mine!

There are a number of other things coming with this new patch hitting today – the death of Magic Find as a stat, Ascended crafting, and legendary updates. Those, however, have already been covered in an ArenaNet blog post, and I’ll post my own thoughts on them after the patch comes. Super Adventure Box is definitely the biggest focus, and many people have been asking to get to return to that bit of madness since it left at the end of April. Now, we have our chance!

Now, I need to go save baubles for that axe…