A Second Year by the Numbers!

Today it has been two years since Guild Wars 2 has officially launched. Yay! It kind of feels weird that it’s been that long already, doesn’t it?

Last year I did a “year by numbers” post where I went over various details of my account and things I have accomplished since launch. Since it was fun to write, I’m going to make a Year Two by the numbers!

Number of level 80s: Eleven

Yes, that number has grown since last year. It’s funny, because previous to launch my plans had been to make a mesmer, ranger, warrior, elementalist, and thief. Guardian was added after I played one extensively during BWE3. Last year by this time I had an 80 of each profession; in the year since, I’ve added a second warrior, thief, and necromancer. Of the three newcomers to my max level lineup, only one – Alianah – was a character I had at this time last year. The other two were ones I made in the intervening months and leveled right away. Last year I went through all of their playtime and stuff like that; I’m too lazy to math so I’m not doing that this time. 😛

The Adults

The Adults

  • Liusaidh, sylvari mesmer, wielder of the Minstrel
  • Rosheen, sylvari guardian, wielder of Bifrost
  • Brynja Rabbitfoot, norn ranger, wielder of Kudzu
  • Janan Savitri, human thief
  • Ragna Blazefur, charr elementalist
  • Carella, human necromancer, my go-to for PvP
  • Glynha, sylvari warrior
  • Searlaith, sylvari engineer
  • Ylva Mardh, norn warrior, may one day get the Juggernaut
  • Rianna Xi, human thief, based on a roleplaying character of mine
  • Alianah, sylvari necromancer

Number of characters below level 80: Currently six.

Some of these are familiar faces from last year. A couple are new; and Suvi Liina, my norn mesmer I had at this time last year, was deleted recently.

The Babies

The Babies

  • Deirvhile, sylvari thief, level 21, crafting character
  • Haneul Nae, human mesmer, level 30
  • Katta, asura elementalist, level 56
  • Astrid Cheval, human guardian, level 45
  • Siobhanen, sylvari ranger, level 21
  • Yseuldhe, sylvari elementalist, level 42

Number of character slots I have open for keyfarming: Currently one.

I don’t keyfarm often; I get bored with it far too often. I do have one open slot I use for that, though, for the time being anyway. My throwaway keyfarming characters are nearly always named Lady Verene, but their appearances generally change.

The current inhabitant of the slot:

I kill bandits with style.

I kill bandits with style.

I take this game very seriously. Clearly.

Number of hours played: 2,759

This is only a thousand hours more than at this time last year. I have gone through a number of periods this past year where I’ve felt burnt out by the game and hadn’t played much for a long time. I’ve also had things going on in my personal life that have kept me out of game. Still, that averages to about 115 hours per month, 26.5 hours per week, or about 3.75 hours per day.

Number of legendaries crafted: Three

Kudzu I had already finished this time last year – I crafted it in March of 2013. At this point last year I was working on Bifrost, with the intention of giving it to my mesmer. I actually wound up shelving it out of frustration for a long while, since I was having zero luck on the precursor, and around November the Mystic Forge finally spat out the Legend. So I quickly finished that…and gave it to Rosheen.

I had been planning on making the Juggernaut for Ylva after she hit level 80, but between the precursor and silver doubloons, I decided that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. I had bombed through making Mystic Clovers in a day, though, so they were sitting there in my bank, waiting to be used for something. I decided after a while that there was no way I could make another legendary for an alt while my main still didn’t have one, so I decided on a whim to make the Minstrel for Liusaidh.

Achievement points: 12,432

I’m not going to lie – many of my points came from the Living World meta tracks. As those don’t exist anymore, and you don’t have to do the achievements to unlock some special thing…I kind of don’t do them anymore. I was never a big achievement person anyway, so I like that I no longer feel like I must do them.

Number of makeover kits used: Around fifteen?

I like to redo my characters’ looks frequently, and if I had more spare cash that number would be much higher. Liusaidh has had at least five makeovers by now. I’m just saying, if a Permanent Makeover Kit was ever made (and wasn’t an RNG item like the permanent hairstylist kit), I would spend good money on it, because I sure as hell would put it to good use.

Oldest character: Liusaidh

Youngest character: Yseuldhe

Liusaidh wasn’t strictly the first character I made right at headstart (since I made throwaway characters to lock in names right away), but she was the first one to be made properly. Yseudhle, on the other hand, is my newest character, having been made just last week.

liusaidhyseudhle

Number of things that Blink/Illusionary Leap has gotten me trapped in: ARGH TOO MANY TO COUNT.

Playing a mesmer can be dangerous and I have broken every map in the game at this point. Go. Me.

And I think that’s all for this edition of a Year by the Numbers! So here, have a Bobblehead screenshot from April Fool’s Day to wrap things up.

gw446

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Communication

This past week has been a bit mad in terms of GW2; between interviews from gamescom bringing news many were unhappy with as well as a number of DDoS attacks since yesterday evening, tempers are running high.

Today, Mike O’Brien made a post about communication on the forums. Now, I’m not going to copy the whole post here, as it’s fairly long, though everyone should make sure to read it. I also know I’m not the only person to want to just talk about what was said there.

I understand a lot of the frustration that comes up when it feels like communication to us is lacking. I really do, and I’ve complained about it before. However, the things that O’Brien says, I do agree with and respect. I can definitely understand them not wanting to talk about something new until it’s in a near-complete stage, instead of announcing things far in advance of them being in any ready state. When you do that, you run the risk of things falling apart. A feature not working as intended. Other plans moving away from it.

Guys, I want precursor crafting to be a thing as much as anyone else does. And I feel like they made a huge mistake announcing it when clearly it was not in any way close to being ready. It may have been that they thought they were closer to having it ready than was actually the case. It may be that other things that were being worked on alongside it mucked things up.

And it seems to me like they learned their lesson, in announcing something that was guaranteed to be highly anticipated and then not being able to deliver on it like they wanted to. So I can appreciate them taking the stance of “We won’t discuss what may happen”.

A lot of the fuss this week was over an interview where it was said that Super Adventure Box is not currently being planned for. Many took that to mean that SAB was never coming back. Those statements about it not currently being in the plan make a lot more sense in light of today’s post. They don’t want to talk speculatively about things, in case something does work out or things go another way and they have to can it. They want to talk about the things that are for certain shipping.

I want more communication; I want to know more about what’s going on and what’s planned for the future. But this is a stance I can respect. Most everyone has been in a situation where they had to go back on something they said, and it’s never fun; it’s very understandable to see a game company take that stance. So, let’s not act like it’s because they don’t care. I can tell you from experience that they do, very much. And if you do disagree with something, please do so civilly instead of going on the attack, as can be so common.

And do remember that they do change things based on feedback. Just because something isn’t responded to, doesn’t mean it isn’t seen. It absolutely is.

Just a few things for people to think about and keep in mind.

Shadows Have Fallen

Yesterday was the release of Episode 4 of Season Two, The Dragon’s Reach: Part 2! I was out most of the day, but I ran through everything yesterday evening. I will say that if you haven’t played it yet, I would do so before reading on, as this post will be full of spoilers. Fair warning now!

I have to admit, I found Part 1 of the Dragon’s Reach a bit underwhelming. A large part of it was due to the bugs in it upon release – much of the content relied on open world events, and there was an error with them not triggering as they should. There’s also the fact that a large part of it was fetch-and-carry as well as trying to placate various people. I just want to make a point real quick here. Everyone who complained that our characters were the second-in-command of the Pact, as opposed to the leader? If we were the leader, this is what we would have been doing all throughout the personal story. Not going out there and actually leading troops and doing things, but doing the paper shuffling behind the scenes. Keeping people happy. Coordinating everything and making sure it’s all where it needs to be. Coaxing cooperation and funds out of people. It’s okay in small doses, but anything more than that does not make for compelling gameplay.  And at the end of Part 1, I felt like little had been accomplished. It’s not a nice feeling.

anisekasPart 2 starts off with you attending a party with Kasmeer. Rumors are going around that Queen Jennah conspired with Scarlet in the attack on Divinity’s Reach. She cannot leave the city until her name is cleared, and so Kasmeer calls on you for help. I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed this quest quite a lot. Having to get information from party-goers without arousing suspicion, and then pressing someone to see how they will trip up in their story; it reminded me of a mix of Assassin’s Creed and Phoenix Wright. The best part of this, though, is the ambient dialogue. Just spend some time hanging around the different groups and listen to their chatter – it’s highly amusing. I love good ambient chatter, and the fact that this is instanced means I can just idle around and listen to it all.

Once we clear Jennah’s name, we head back to Dry Top to assist Taimi. She’s still dealing with Councillor Phlunt while she works on her device; I’m just going to say that I don’t like Phlunt. I will not make any of the crude comments I’ve seen floating around about him, but he’s not terribly nice. These encounters have some interesting mechanics for bosses (a Mordrem that is magically shielded, and then an Inquest golem that has light crystal powers), which is always welcome! I like bosses with unique mechanics, especially for instances.

There is one thing that I feel is really underscored during this portion, more so than at any other point, and that is the fact that Taimi is a child. It’s strange, because repeatedly she’s told she cannot do something because it’s too dangerous for her or she’s too young, but rarely does Taimi ever act childish. She’s so very intelligent that sometimes it’s easy to forget how young she is. But here we see her acting rash, doing something rather stupid and dangerous due to personal pride, and getting herself in trouble. We see her truly terrified, upset, crying, and clinging to Braham for safety. And during all of this it’s just made so painfully clear that for all of her intelligence and self-confidence, she is still very young, and there are a great many things about life that she hasn’t yet learned. I found that a good thing to emphasize, even if I did want to just hug Taimi at one point.

This all leads into the World Summit, the final instance for this episode, and clearly the main focus of it. This is what we’ve been working towards for two episodes now – the meeting of all of the different world leaders, to try and unite everyone against the threat that is Mordremoth. One thing I did enjoy about this was how clear it is that your player character is so highly respected by everyone.

trahearnedialogAs shown in the dialogue above, Trahearne tells you early on that he’s only here to give you support, but this is all you. Later on, he’s asked about Mordremoth, and he essentially says that he knows almost nothing about the dragon – that you, the player character, are the one to talk to about that. It is you that presents all of the evidence about Mordremoth that has been gathered, to show the threat that it poses. It is you that counters the arguments of the different leaders, and it is you that they all defer to. It is made clear that, although you are not the commander of the Pact, you hold a position of respect and authority that is recognized by the leaders of all of the races. And you know what? I like that. It’s nice to see NPCs acknowledge your actions. We, as players, were the ones that defeated Zhaitan and Scarlet. We’ve been investigating Mordremoth. And those of the highest ranks recognize those facts and while they may argue, they agree with you because you know more about these things.

Of course, nothing can ever go quite smoothly, and the Omphalos Chamber is attacked by Mordrem, including a dragon lieutenant of sorts…one that will look very familiar to those who play as sylvari. It is in fact the Shadow of the Dragon that is fought in the sylvari opening instance, which, if you do this as a sylvari, will be confirmed by the Pale Tree telling you that you saw this in your Dream. The fight itself is actually…fairly difficult. Lots of AOEs everywhere. Lots of conditions. More adds spawning as you progress. Limited amounts of time in which to attack. It is not an easy fight. And it takes a huge toll on the Pale Tree, who shares a vision with you before she collapses…as well as a confession – that she is fading.

gw857The Avatar of the Pale Tree still lives, but she is unconscious and if you return to the Omphalos Chamber after completing this episode, it is still very dark in there and you cannot interact with her. It’s a bit awkward as other NPCs are still there, but I do like that bit of persistency, as if you go there on a character that hasn’t done Episode 4 she is still as she was before. It does leave me wondering just what the Avatar was doing that weakened her so greatly, and how this is going to play out in the future. The Grove is a part of the Pale Tree, and if the Tree is weakening, what does that mean for the city? What does that mean for sylvari who have not yet awakened?

Unfortunately we’ll have to wait some time to find out, as we’re now on a mid-season break, and the next episode is scheduled to come at some point in the fall. However, a new feature pack was announced today that will be coming on September 9th, and there is another very important event coming up soon – Guild Wars 2 turns two in two weeks! So I expect we’ll get some sort of update in two weeks anyway, then the feature pack after that, and then probably a few more weeks until Season Two picks back up.

And hey, maybe in that time, I’ll actually try some of the achievements.