Sunday, 30 September 2012

Mildly Distracted by Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 Logo

So, after much humming and hawing I've finally capitulated and picked up a copy of Guild Wars 2 (insofar as a digitally distributed game can be picked up at least).  I make a rule when there's a possibility of something that I may want to buy: Wait a couple of weeks, and if I still want it, then go get it.  Usually I forget about the thing after a couple of days, and I realize it was going to be more or less an impulse buy.  With that, I waited over a month before pulling the trigger with this game, and so far I'm glad to finally be playing it.

Getting down to the business of making a character to play as, I rolled a mesmer, then realized I didn't like him by the time he was level two.  With that I moseyed on down to the character select screen, and tried again.  This time opting for a ranger, who also is a Norn (a big viking-like human), and who happens to like her alcohol (seriously, that's an option when creating a Norn).  She even has a faithful bear companion that helps her in combat.  I named him Mister Barnaby.  A better name for a bear will never exist.

Female norn ranger
Female Norn ranger.  They're good with both ranged
and melee weapons
Setting out into the world, I find out that there's a big hunt about to start, which involved punching a giant worm in the head until it's dead.  So, we do that, there's much celebrating, and it's off to the actual game world for some wandering around, fighting monsters, helping folk, farming stuff, and maybe some arts and crafts for color.

It was while bonking random baddies over the head that I started to notice that this game is a little different. There's still the array of abilities with cooldowns on them, but there are some nice tweaks like being able to dodge and counterattack, as well as swapping between two sets of weapons.  Snazzy.  Then I noticed that I even have entirely different weapons for when fighting underwater to which I thought, "Whuuuuu~?"  followed by, "Hurray!" while proceeding to shoot at any water-dwelling denizen unfortunate enough to come into range of my harpoon gun.

A short time later, while perusing my map I noticed all of these darkened icons, and felt compelled to light them up because what icon in its right mind doesn't like being lit up?  A sad, lonely one.  So with that, I went on my way around the map helping NPCs with their problems, discovering places that apparently should be interesting to me, checking out vistas (which are kinda neat because it takes some platforming to get to these places), discovering teleportation doohickies, and doing skill point challenges (complete a challenge, get a skill point that can be used to unlock fancy new abilities).  By the end of all this, I'd lit up all of the icons in my area, and the game was all, "Thanks man!  Here's a thing!" and I was all, "Sweet!"  When I clicked on the little treasure chest to see what glorious Thing the game felt appropriate to bestow upon me, I was greeted with an item that would increase the experience my character earns by 50% for an hour.  Not bad, but I'll save that until level 70 or so when that should come in a lot more handy.

Norn on a hunt
Some Norn off to smash and / or
shoot stuff
While running around the map, my trusty ranger had managed to collect a small fortune in random junk, and my bags were beginning to look pretty darn cluttered, so I got to clicking on important looking menu icons in hopes of finding a way to remedy this.  Before long I found something that would allow me to send all of the crafting materials to my bank with the click of a button.  No running to the bank to deposit it, the stuff just magically flows through the ether until it arrives in the bank.  Mind.  Blown.  Even more amazing is that the bank has a specific area to dump crafting materials, and it appears to be bottomless.  Bottomless!

Thoroughly taken aback by this, I decided maybe I'd start fiddling around with the crafting because I'd heard on good authority that there was copious amounts of experience points to be earned from that activity (and there is!).  So what to choose.  Leather working seemed a no brainer for a ranger so she can have the finest in leathery fashion while fighting the forces of evil.  The other was cooking because I want to make cakes.

While fiddling around making stuff, my mind was blown once more because I discovered that I can just shove all my crafting goodies in the bank and leave them there.  When doing crafting at a station, the items are automatically pulled from the bank for making stuff.  This is just fantastic for reducing clutter.

A map from Guild Wars 2
Each area has a ton of places to visit.  Visit them all, get a prize.

After safely stowing away a hardy collection of hamburgers and boot soles (shut up, I'm still a lowbie at this crafting stuff!), it was back to questing, now in a nice, snow-swept mountain range.  There were more lonesome icons everywhere that I did my best to show a little love.  Wholesome love.  Not the naughty kind.    This was all mixed in with some story-related quests because apparently my character is special, and has to go on fancy missions chalk full of conversations in completely different screens (that's when you know you're special).  And that's how things have progressed to this point, showering tiny icons with affection, while doing fancy, important looking quests.  A bit of a tossed salad, and about the only salad my ranger is going to be having for the next while since she doesn't know how to make one yet (she can make salad dressing, though!).

As I'm sure you can glean from this, I kind of like Guild Wars 2.  Granted it's only been a few days, and I'm barely over level 20, but good times have been had.  Whether I'll still feel this way about the game in a month from now is anybody's guess.  We'll see.  For now I'll just continue to enjoy the game.  Anyway, that's all for now.  Stay tuned until next time, where I talk about the joys of de-leveling in a good way.

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