I’ve been playing Guild Wars 2 daily since the headstart, and am starting to get my sea legs.
I’ve been making slow but expensive progress through my crafting professions. Cloth is still slow to come by but I am keeping my tailoring a bit ahead of my character leveling on the whole. Ditto for the artifice. The cooking is not so much at level, and outrageously expensive, but the diverse creations that come out of the discovery mechanism for it are so much fun to shoot for, especially now that we have the Good with Beer GW2 cooking helper tool.
I’ve also been making nice progress with my alt ranger — she’s already 22! It’s fun to explore in search of new pets to add to her team, and I am amazed at how much she and her pet can take on together successfully.
And now that the auction house is up more reliably I have made a few sales. But It is curious to see how many people put items up for the same amount at which you can sell them to a vendor. Oh well, more salvage for the crafting collections…
And finally, our original guild has apparently been restored so all our 200+ members can see it and represent it, after it being in limbo and inaccessible for most of the time since the headstart weekend.
All that said, I’m taking a mini break from the game for a few weeks to give it time to continue to settle. You see, in addition to the issues I wrote about last time, my SO and I hit a nice big new bug: his class quest, which he and I had been doing together since we’re both Asura in the 30s, bugged out. As in it told him his next step is a level 48 quest. As in, he is no longer able to get credit for completing the quests with me.
As you may expect, he creaeted a support account and put in a support ticket (I don’t at all get why you need to make a new account for support btw). It was answered in a timely manner, but with a generic copy/paste reply about quests not completing that seemed to indicate the correspondent either did not read or did not udnerstand his ticket. Now, if the respondent didn’t understand, they should have asked for clarifying details/more information. But they didn’t — they closed out the ticket. And they haven’t replied on twitter to me about that (or anything I’ve asked themabout on twitter) either.
Yes, my SO could just scrap this character and start over as a workaround for the bug. But what if it hits again? And why should he have to scrap 30+ levels of playing and all that crafting, for a workaround that could possibly lead to this exact same outcome? ugh. NO THANK YOU! So perhaps by giving the game a timeout, the issue will eventuall be resolved by ArenaNet. If not, it’s not like we didn’t get some value from the game purchase– just not as much as we’d expected to. And that’s OK. Because I am a little tired of the grind of killing the same mobs over and over and over again. SO this break should do me good.
As comes to a surprise to no one, I’ve spent the better part of the last 3 days playing in the Guild Wars 2 Headstart. Above you can see my Asura Elementalist, who is only level 15. This is due not to my lacking game time or playing too many other alts. Rather, it’s a direct result of some of the hiccups the game has had since Friday night’s soft launch to prepurchasers such as myself.
I was online and ready to go at 9 PT on Friday when ArenaNet brought up the servers, which impressed the heck out of me. Earlier in the week we’d heard servers might be up as early as then but I don’t think anyone was expecting them to be ready to go at exactly that hour. Over Vent, I was hearing issues from a number of players regarding login troubles and guild invites not being received (or being received but they could not see themselves in the guild roster. I was happy to not have any of those issues, and to snag most of the names I wanted on my home server.
My intention had been to play until midnight with Wrenz, but the grouping/phase/overflow issues we started having almost immediately, including one that kept Wrenz from being able to move his Asura out of the initial instanced quest, and coupled with game crashing lag in the overflow KO’d that plan. Instead I set up my alts, put a few small items up in the trading post and logged out after about an hour, planning to get in some serious crafting and exploring time over the weekend. At this point, I was just super happy that we got our characters rolled on our server before it filled up, which happened by about 9:40.
When I logged back in on Saturday morning, I was disappointed to find that we’d ended up with a playing experience that had reverted to the issues we’d had in the first BETA weekend, rather than the smooth playing that had set the tone for the last two BETA weekend events. Specific issues that kept cropping up include:
Mail not reaching its recipient. Happening both if the player was online and mail was sent from the contacts window or from typing in the person’s name in the mail window.
Trading post not available. This led to full bank and bags and my scavenging a vast number of items I would have otherwise sold on the trading post, such as blue quality gear and weapons. It also put me at a bit of an impasse with my professions, since at one point everything needed vials of blood, which I would have purchased on the trading post. Luckily for me, last night twitter came to the rescue in the form of one of my tweeps sending me a stack of blood (thanks Scott!)
Join in not working. This is supposed to allow you to get into the same phase/server as your party member. But I kept having it not work, or worse yet– not show up as an option. This meant Wrenz and I, although in the same guild and on the same server and playing in the same Asura lands often could not actually play togther (or see each other in the game world tho our little dots were right next to each other on the mini map.
Game not sure what character I was playing. By this I mean to other players, and to my guild roster, last night, it thought I was on my level 8 Norn ranger, in Hobrek. Over the weekend it kept thinking I was on a level 2. Not only did this prevent folks from thinking I was available to play with in the area I was in, it was on these occasions that I was not able to be grouped up with. Similarly, the game kept thinking Wrenz was on his level 2 human, instead of his Asura, which is quite likely one of the causes of our grouping bugs.
Buggy overflow server. By midday Saturday it started to feel like there was more than overflow for the Asura starting lands on our server, since I could be in overflow playing with Wrenz, walk a few yards away then POOF! No longer be able to see him in game and vice versa without either of us having gotten a message that we’d been moved, and no ability to Join in to get back in the same phase.
Gathering tools gone missing. Perhaps one of the oddest bugs was last night logging in to find my elementalist was unable to gather wood due to not having any tools equipped. Having just bought her a stack of lumber axes the night before, and still having plenty mining picks, I was unsure as to what had happened with the 88+ she logged out with. I went and bought more and moved on, but it was a bit of a pain since it cost time to go to a vendor, as well as cash to travel there, the latter being in much shorter than usual supply due to the lack of the trading post.
After we got past the debilitating lag of the first night, the game was beautiful and playable…in a solo fashion. But not so much from a crafting perspective. And certainly not from the perspective of wanting to experience the first blush of this new MMO with my SO. I am bummed for the folks who got swept up in GW2 fever that prepurchased and had not had the chance to play one of the flawless BETA weekends. I’ve seen a number of them having already thrown up their hands and gone back to SWTOR/WoW/TSW.
Inevitably, one of you is starting to formulate your reply, along the lines of “haven’t you ever been in a launch noob. you have too high of expectations.” Well let me save you the trouble of typing that (it won’t be unscreened if you do): I had the pleasure of playing in SWTOR’s headstart this past Winter and it had absolutely none of these issues. Other than Windows barfing on my Mac keyboard a bit, it was every bit as smooth as I could have hoped.
This weekend’s GW2 headstart, on the other hand, was pretty frustrating, and was more akin to some of the game breaking WoW patches and expansions (hello Burning Crusade and HFP lag of doom and rolling restarts!) of many years past. I am hoping that GW2 gets over these small hurdles quickly. The Guild Wars fans who have been waiting years for this game will put up with these issues as minor annoyances, but those who are new to the franchise might not.
Overall, I still have high hopes for this game. My Asura elementalist is adorable and I am enjoying my Norn ranger. Once I am able to fully take advantage of the trading post and get my economy mini game going, I know I’ll be back on track to being the raving fan I expected to be. See you in game…
PS as always comments are screened. Rest assured constructive comments will be unscreened as soon as possible.
…a.k.a. Tips and Tricks for Players New to Guild Wars, With Other MMO Baggage
I resemble that above aside. Having played World of Warcraft for years, then becoming completely immersed in SWTOR, I have a lot of game mechanics and world logic baggage that I carried with me into Tyria — but you don’t have to! I’ve compiled the below as a guide to all the things you’ll need to know and keep in mind as you start your adventures. And I hope to see some additions or questions from you in the comments…
Be mindful in answering your alignment questions. The way in which you answer the questions that come up after you’ve chosen your profession and customized your character will determine key parts of your story. If you end up playing more than one character of the same race, be sure to mix up your answers to provide some variation in your story.
Spend some time playing with dye color combinations for your starter gear set. These combinations will automatically be applied to new pieces of gear you equip as you go along (though you can go in and change the colors later.)
Your First Steps Into the World
Build up your weapon skills, one at a time, before venturing out too far into the world. Unlike other games, your weapon skills will vary by weapon type, and are learned via using the weapon in combat. You’ll want to use your first weapon until you learn all the skills associated with it, then swap to your next available weapon once you have it. Note that each time you swap in a previously unused weapon type, you will start with only 1 weapon skill unlocked and have to grind out the remaining skills. The good news is you can do this on lower level mobs. The very best place is in the instanced starter zone. Very low health mobs that die in 3 hits, and actually give quite a bit of XP. You can even have a friend mail that toon all the starter weapons if you want to unlock them all.
You can buy inexpensive starter weapons from vendors or in the auction house. To preview the skills that accompany each weapon type, to help you decide which weapon you may want to try out next, go to your Hero tab (h) and choose the skills and traits tab, then weapon skills.
Get accustomed to dodging attacks in addition to standing your ground to fight mobs. Unlike many other MMOs where you primarily stand your ground and fight, it’s very helpful to actively try to move yourself out of the way of attacks, lest you be smashed into the ground like a bug. You can double-tap a movement key (WASD) to dodge out of the way, or you can keybind your dodge. And also be sure to use line-of-sight and kiting to your advantage to avoid for taking on more damage than you can survive.
Check your email often. You can pick up mail wherever you are in the world by clicking on your mail icon in your top navbar. After completing quests, you may receive a mail with some cash from an NPC you assisted. Be sure to click the “take all” button in your mail window to recover the items or gold attached to your mail messages.
Spend your karma points on item upgrades versus stockpiling karma. You’ll find karma vendors while you are out questing– be sure to take a look at what they have for sale, and spend your karma points with them to keep upgrading your gear as you go along.
Transportation and Navigation
Unlock every waypoint you see on your map (marked with a blue square). Waypoints are your primary mode of transportation around the map.
If you die, you’ll need to rez at your nearest waypoint. Most unfortunately, this will cost you some of your gold. If you are very lucky, and you die in the midst of an event, you may be rezzed by a friendly player, but don’t count on it!
Maps have multiple levels. If you can’t seem to find the point you are looking for, check out other map layers to find your way to the point of interest. This especially holds true in the often multi-leveled cities.
Look for hearts on your map to figure out where to quest next. Hearts indicate there is a quest you can undertake in a specific area. To uncover hearts in a new unexplored area, talk to a scout (marked with binoculars on your map.) Upon completing a quest, you will receive some amount of gold and XP.
Look for orange skulls or other icons with an orange circle around them. These indicate areas with dynamic events that are currently in progress. You will get karma for completing these activities, with your reward (gold, XP, karma) depending upon your amount of effort on the task/boss kill relative to the other players taking part in it. Sometimes an additional dynamic event will spawn after the completion of another dynamic event so it can pay to stick around for a minute afterwards to see if there is a part two in which you can participate.
Look for overlapping red triangles for points with a pretty view of the area. These triangles indicate a vista point. Upon reaching the point, often through some jumping or tree climbing, you will be rewarded with a cinematic and a nice place in which to take a screenshot.
Instant waypoint travel via party chat. When out in the world with a group, you can shift-click on a waypoint to link it in chat. You party members can double-click that link to travel directly to the waypoint. Very handy for corralling a large group. (ty Manglehaft!)
Crafting, Gathering and Auctioneering
No one can steal “your” gathering node. All players in the area with the appropriate gathering item (mining axe, logging axe, harvesting sickle) can tap a node. No more trading off with your party mates or seething in nerd rage over other players tapping a node while you’re fighting the beasts that are guarding it!
The gathering tools are consumables that must be equipped, not permanent. Make sure to buy more from your friendly junk vendors whenever you are running low. And keep an eye on what you are harvesting– as you move into higher level areas, you will need a better quality tool to gather successfully.
Gathering gives a significant XP boost. Our friend @zerena_hoofs accidently tested this in the last bwe; she didn’t buy tools, and by level 11 was two levels behind everyone else, the only variable being her not gathering. (thanks to Manglehaft for this reminder.)
Always keep salvage kits in your bags. Available for purchase from various city merchants, these kits are used to break down armor and weapons into crafting materials. This is a great way to cear out your bag slots of old or unsaleable gear you pick up, and generating crafting materials for your use or for sale in the Black Lion Trading Company auction house.
Right click on crafting materials to deposit them in your bank. Unrefined crafting materials can be deposited to your bank from anywhere you are in the world by right clicking and choosing “Deposit collectible.” There is an option on the top right of the bag menu that allows you to “deposit all collectables” in two clicks (thanks Manglehaft and Psynister for the deposit all tip!)
You can sell and purchase items from the auctionhouse from anywhere in the world. However, to pick up the proceeds of an auction house sale, or an item you have purchased, you need to go to an auctioneer and pick it up from the pickup window.
You must be standing next to a crafting station to craft items. The crafting station window will also provide access to your bank so you can easily pull out items you need. If you run out of crafting materials for an item you are trying to make, you can right click on that item to search for it in the auction house. You will however have to go pick it up at the aucitoneer.
Keep your bags partially empty while crafting. Your crafted items have to go somewhere! You can either salvage them to recover some of the materials after you’ve made the item for a skill-up, or you can right click and sell them in the auciton house.
Pick your price for buying and selling. When looking to purchase an item, you can either buy a listed item or put in a bid for X amount of those items at your desired price. Similarly, if you have an item you’d like to sell, you can either meet or beat the list price for others of those items on the auction house, or if there are outstanding orders for those items at a specific price, you can choose to sell immediately to that buyer.
When pricing an item for sale, keep in mind that the auction house takes a 15% cut.
You can not mail items to yourself. To send an alt an item, you will either need to deposit it in the bank (your bank is account-wide not character specific) or mail it to a friend with whom you are questing.
You can not trade items with others. Instead you have to mail it to them. It’s usually pretty fast, but still not the instant gratification of opening a trade window.
You’re visible to folks who have you friends listed, regardless of which character you’re on. This is nice for not having to keep track of altoholic friends. However, note that when you message someone in game, they’ll just see the name of whatever character you’re on, not your area.net name, and may in fact have no idea who you are. Luckily, if you want some alone gaming time, you can make yourself show as invisible, as though you are not online, on the login screen.
Shift+click to link an item in chat.
No one can steal your quest mob/loot. As long as you do some damage to a mob, you will attain credit for the kill, and have your own loot assigned. Note that if you are in a party, your party may still have to roll against each other for loot.
Turn on auto loot. Go to general options + interactions and check the auto loot button.
Now that we've entered the final countdown to Guild Wars 2's release, it's time to start thinking through your plans for launch (and headstart.) And I've found a few great resources to help you get started…
Planning Your Cash Shop Spend
Psynister's Gem Store Conversions Spreadsheet. Hot off the twitter presses this morning, @psynister has created a Google docs spreadsheet showing the gem store stock and prices in gems (and translated into cash) for the various perks and cosmetic options we can purchase when the game goes live.
GW2DB Skills list. Now, if you want to start getting into the nitty gritty of the skills available to your profession with each weapon, you'll want to spend some time poking around Zam's database. Here's the elementalist skills list as an example.
I’ve spent this past weekend doing some additional exploration of the beautiful world of Guild Wars 2. This was my third and final BETA weekend participation. Now I just have to sit and wait impatiently for the game to launch next month. Very impatiently. I’m still enjoying SWTOR, but I’ve become charmed by GW2 and want to spend some time exploring all its new places.
I was excited that they gave us the ability to play Asura this time, as I had been looking forward to play the adorable wee creatures. I am, after all, a huge fan of the gnomes in World of Warcraft. The other big addition to this BETA weekend was the addition of the scenic vistas, most of which are accessible via platform jumping or scaling up vine-wrapped architectural supports.
I am not terribly good at figuring out the datacrons in odd places in SWTOR, but so far, I have been able to get to all the scenic vistas I’ve spotted on my map in GW2. Granted, I’ve not gotten past level 13 due to all my race and class jumping around so perhaps they ratchet the difficulties up a few notches as you get to higher levels. In addition to a small amount of XP, accessing a vista rewards you with a cutscene that is a sweeping view of the area your character can see from their vantage point.
My first weekend of playing I spent the bulk of my time on the Charr Mesmer you see above. Although fundamentally I don’t think Mesmer is the right class for me (as weapon swapping and dodging out of the way of damage is not something that comes naturally to me), I am a big fan of the beautiful Charr and will definitely be playing at least one of them through to the end of their story.
I recall being a little frustrated while playing the first two weekends with the difficulty in keeping my professions leveled up in synch with my character’s level. This was due in part to not having had much luck selling items in the auction house. This weekend on the other hand, I was able to offload many items in the auction house, and thus could afford to purchase the supplies I needed to level up artifice and tailoring on one character to 25 skill. While this didn’t quite mean that I was keeping up with my ability to make gear at my own level, I did still craft a piece or two for myself to wear, so overall I’m good with its progress. Additionally, it seems as though the quest rewards have possibly gone up a little bit. I am just not finding myself as cash strapped as I did in the earlier BETA weekends. And that is a very good thing!
I briefly played around with a Sylvari Ranger and was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed a ranger class for a change. I can’t say that I’ve had the best luck in the past with them, but in the name of trying out all my ranged options, I had rolled one this weekend. I like that GW2 makes it easier to manage your pet’s health — when they need healing they limp up to you so you can take care of them — no searching through a monster-infested bog to see where Mr. Whiskers expired!
I’m not sure I can say that the Sylvari grew on me (no pun intended.) It was nivec that Wrenz and I chose different options on character creation, so we were able to see two of the forms the character story can go depending upon some of the alignments chosen. But overall the plant people are just not sucking me in to their story. Perhaps they just take a little bit longer to charm you than the Asura and Charr.
Rather than starting a new blog to capture my Guild Wars 2 adventures, I think I’ll just work them in here. And once the World of Warcraft Mists od Pandaria expansion launches and I pop into that for a while, you’ll see that here as well. Hope to see you in game!
P.S. leave me your GW2 player name so I can add you to my friends list!