Friday, August 17, 2018

Bless Online - Creating A Character

Bless Online hasn't had the best of receptions since it arrived on Steam. The lifetime rating stands at "Mixed", a 45/55 positive/negative split across nearly five thousand reviews. Even that flimsy fig-leaf is slipping. The "Most Recent" rating, tallying verdicts from the last thirty days, puts Bless in the "Mostly Negative" zone, with only 38% of just over 400 respondents willing to recommend the game to others.

NeoWiz must have been hoping for a better reception in the West. Presumably they wanted to improve on their experience back at home in Korea, where Bless tanked. Twice. It went on to fail again in Japan and Russia, which suggests either a dogged determination to bring the game to new audiences or a complete denial of reality. Given a track record like that it's perhaps surprising it ever made it as far as the West but I imagine they were eyeing the kind of success Black Desert has achieved.

I've played most of the big Eastern imports of the past few years. With homegrown games studios preferring to focus their attention elsewhere, literally the only game in town for anyone jonesing for a fix of fresh AAA themepark MMO goodness has been the translated and localized versions of overseas successes - even if some of those successes were actually failures first time around.

And by and large I've enjoyed them, for a while. I had some fun times in Blade and Soul and Black Desert, both of which I played quite intensively for several weeks, but by the time Revelation Online arrived, I felt the law of diminishing returns kicking in.

Nevertheless, I had thought about trying Bless. It looked moderately intriguing. I wasn't interested enough to pay £30 to satisfy my curiosity, particularly since the game was still in Early Access, but I put it on my wishlist. Then I forgot all about it until, as I explained towards the end of yesterday's post, I spotted it on offer at two-thirds off, making it cheap enough to buy with my IntPiPoMo winnings.

On Thursday morning, since I wasn't at work, I found the time to download the game. First I had to make some room. The minimum specs suggested it would need 55GB of free disk space but in the event it squeezed itself into 40GB. The download took about half an hour. I went and had a couple of bagels and a coffee and read a few chapters of Martin Millar's excellent Lonely Werewolf Girl and  it was done when I came back.

Creating a character took longer. Not for bad reasons. Very much the opposite. Bless might have the best character creation system I've seen yet. There are a ton of pre-sets, all of which are good. There are sliders and a weird "pull on the body part" gimmick that I played around with for altogether too long. I was easily able to make just the kind of character I was hoping to play (a very short, pudgy animal-girl with a big bushy tail), which made a nice change.

One of the reasons I pulled the trigger on buying Bless was finding out there are several non-human options. Natturally there are all the usual human-variants and elves. There have to be, since between them those probably account for 90% of all the characters that are ever going to be made and without them no-one would make any money at all. For the rest of us there are wolf people and furry Lalafels with tails.

Ok, they're not called Lalafels, any more than EverQuest's halflings are called Hobbits, but you still know what they are. They're actually called Mascu and there is one very major point of difference between them and FFXIV's mini-race - Mascu can be created using either "human" or "beast"mode.

If you opt for "human" they look like pre-adolescent children, a look that can be kind of problematic in the West even when non-sexualized, as these are. If you go for "beast", as I did, the addition of catlike ears and a tail largely defuses any potential culture bombs. The end result is cartoony and innocuous enough to pass most appropriateness tests.

Before the vital concerns of race and gender comes fact ion. Bless is a two-faction game built around open-world PvP. It may be crucial which faction you choose...if you plan on sticking around. If, like me, you know you'll be done and gone before you even hit the open PvP zones (Level 30) then I don't imagine it makes much difference.

I picked the one that had the more attractive promo shot. That turned out to be the Hieron. I think they are the establishment, whereas the other faction, the Union, appear to be the rebels. I very much doubt it will matter but if it does (and if I care) I can always come round again.

There's a good selection of classes, all extremely familiar. A couple were locked. I didn't check if that's for racial, faction or cash shop reasons. They weren't anything I was particularly keen on anyway.

After some consideration I decided on the Berserker, an axe-wielding maniac with AE DPS and the defensive potential of a thoroughly sodden brown paper bag. That turned out to be a major mistake.

Not because of any particular shortcoming of the class. I never got to find out what the Berserker plays like. In what was apparently an extremely controversial move, the developers recently removed Action combat from the game, with the exception of a single class. Guess which one.

As things stand right now, Bless Online is a tab-target, hot-bar combat game with a free mouse pointer...unless you play a Berserker. No class can use action combat except the 'Zerker, who can't use anything else.

Given my dislike of action controls, the moment I discovered my error I benched my Berserker and re-rolled as a Ranger. Luckily I'd taken advantage of the option to save my character build while I was in character creation so I was able to recreate my look without going through all the options yet again.

Back in the world once more I set about mastering the controls and tweaking the UI to my satisfaction. There didn't seem to be a lot to change. I was happy with most of the defaults.

I then proceeded to play for about half an hour. Or so I thought. It was only when my stomach began to complain that I checked the time and realized I'd been playing for a couple of hours. Long enough for a First Impressions post.

I'll try to get to that tomorrow. If I'm not too busy playing.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Back On The Horse And How We Got There

We're at the half-way point of Blaugust now and I think it's fair to say it's been an unmitigated triumph. It's an especially impressive performance considering there was no Blaugust in 2017. In his inaugural post in July of this year, announcing Blaugust Reborn, Belghast gave some reasons why we'd skipped a year:

"...the tail end of 2016 and all of 2017 were extremely rough to struggle through.  There were events that happened in the real world and events that happened in gaming that caused people to fear for their own safety and sort of batten down the hatches."
This is true. I could (but won't) name bloggers who stopped blogging altogether around that time, giving exactly those explanations for their blogs going dark. The blogosphere was not a happy place just then.

There was also no New Blogger Initiative in 2017. No-one stepped up to organize it and there would most likely have been little enthusiasm if they had. As for Developer Appreciation Week, I don't actually remember if anyone hosted it last year or not. If they did it was very low-key.

Bel, with the indefatigable enthusiasm and energy he constantly demonstrates, had the genius idea to roll all three events into one. Bringing them back as a package deal was risky but it's a risk that's paid off wonderfully.

The list of blogs officially participating in Blaugust stands just shy of ninety, of which a great many are either entirely new or at least new to me. For the first time in ages there are more posts than I have time to read in a day and I've had to curtail my tendency to comment on anything and everything just to get through them.

The Blaugust Discord is lively and active every day. There are quite a few bloggers and blog-readers there who aren't officially participating but who have come to hang out and give their support. Anyone is welcome - it's not too late to join in

Blaugust Reborn has a loose structure, designed by  Belghast, for those who choose to follow it. This week is earmarked for the aforementioned outpouring of thanks and goodwill towards the people who make the games we all enjoy so much - or at least enjoy complaining about.

I was going to post about my ongoing appreciation for the sterling work Daybreak Games has done on the EverQuest MMOs since the dying days of the Smedley administration all but drove the franchise into the ground. I might still get to that later in the week (not that there is much "later" left) but I thought I'd turn things around and offer some much-deserved appreciation for the person who made all this possible in the first place - Belghast.

He may not be a developer but he's an elemental force in this corner of the blogosphere. I knew his name before I ever read his blog because so many bloggers would refer to his ideas and initiatives. Most people would be more than content with curating a single annual event like Blaugust: to curate three at once is going far beyond the call.

I'd like to think that 2017 wasn't missing its summer festival of blogging because of bad vibes. Instead I'd rather think of it as having taken time off to let the grass recover, like Glastonbury. After a year lying fallow it's back, bigger, brighter and more successful than ever and that's entirely thanks to Belghast.

Take a bow, Bel!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Bandwagonesque : WoW

It feels slightly strange being a Battle for Azeroth refusenik right now. I never planned to buy WoW's latest expansion but I had been intending to re-subscribe for the pre-launch run-up. I thought I'd play during July and August. It would have given me something else to write about for Blaugust and I thought it might be amusing, be working my way through Legion when everyone else was in BfA.

In the event, the lead-up just didn't seem interesting enough to justify jumping the train. I still hadn't pulled  the trigger, when both GW2 and EQ2 dropped extremely effective spoilers. The Festival of the Four Winds and Return to Guk caught my fancy and I couldn't see any way I'd be able to find enough time to log into World of Warcraft often enough over the summer to justify even the minimal cost of a couple of months' subscription.

It's particularly unsettling, then, that I'm finding some of the reports and screenshots coming out of the new expansion to be more appealing than anything I've seen from WoW for years. The look and theme of the new continent (?) seems to be the closest WoW's come to the kind of classic MMORPG high fantasy on which the game was built since Wrath of the Lich King.

Classic high fantasy is really where my MMO heart lies. I came to EverQuest twenty years ago looking for it and all the MMOs I've most enjoyed in the ensuing years (EQ2, Vanguard, Rubies of Eventide, GW2, City of Steam) have had something of that hinterland. I'm all for bolting on some magitech, science fantasy and steampunk trappings but what I want most are cobbled streets, tiled roofs, wooden ships and scenery that wouldn't be out of place in a touring production of A Winter's Tale.

Call that a city?
 Boralus, the coastal capital of Kul Tiras, looks nigh-on perfect. Unlike Syp I love huge, sprawling cities. I don't mind getting lost in a maze of streets that wind and twist and leave me baffled. I always thought Stormwind was a pretty decent-sized city so to hear Boralus described as "the first WoW city that feels like it's really sprawling" makes me want to go see it for myself.

I'm also a major fan of the autumnal, in games and in real life. I've waxed poetical often enough about the eternal autumn of Ascalon in GW2. When Syp talks of " autumnal feel for Boralus, which plays well with both the sea and mountains around it. Definitely a city for pumpkin spice lattes, yoga pants, and unnecessary scarves" I fond myself thinking "that's my kind of town". Minus the yoga pants, of course.

So, much to my surprise, I find myself almost wishing I was there, experiencing all this first -hand along with every one else, not just reading about it in blog posts. Especially this one. I want Dolly and Dot to be my best friends too.

None of which gives me any more time to play. If I did buy BfA right now I strongly suspect it would suffer the exact same fate as Legion, which has remained unplayed since I got it for my birthday nearly two years ago.

I wonder if I could stow away?

What's more, I have just bought a new MMORPG. Not for actual cash, you understand. I finally decided to use the Steam credit Chestnut sent me for winning the draw at the end of last  year's IntPiPoMo. I bought Bless.

I had it in my wishlist. More accurately, it was my wishlist. (My Steam wishlist is now Unavowed, thanks to Jeromai and xyzzysqrl). Bless dropped to 67% off so I got it. Mostly because of this post from The MMOist. Any MMO that lets you make non-human characters has to be investigated. Plus I'm itching to level a new character in a fresh environment, something I don't seem to have done for months.

Before I can, I have to make space for a 55GB download. That's going to take some re-organization. Maybe even a new HDD.

All things considered it would be a crazy move to buy Battle for Azeroth right now. I think I'm going to put it on my birthday list. Maybe I'll even get around to playing it before the next WoW expansion comes out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Get Smart : GW2

Festival of the Four Winds ends today. I had to be at work by eight in the morning so I thought last night's session was the last I'd see of The Crown Pavilion and Labrynthine Cliffs until next year.
I spent most of the evening on the newest of my three accounts, the only one that wasn't around last time we saw this content, grabbing bundles in the Treasure Hunt and doing any event I could find to earn Festival Tokens.

I just managed to scrape up enough treasure to by a kite and with my tokens I got a hot air balloon on a string and that yellow flower that goes on your back. The sense of satisfaction when I was finally able to buy them, just before the clock passed the absolute latest I could stay up and still be half-awake in work the next day, was disturbing. I haven't been that keen to get something in an MMORPG for a long while.

Then I get home tonight, have my tea, read Feedly, log in and find the Festival's still there! I'm  listening to the sounds of preparations for Boss Blitz in the background as I type.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I had something to say about Boss Blitz. I really enjoy it as an exciting, involving event  but I also find it fascinating as a social and psychological experiment. Or perhaps it's a demonstration.

Boss Blitz isn't hard to understand or to do. The optimal way to run the event is for everyone to split into six teams of eight to ten people. Ideally, certain classes or builds concentrate on particular bosses that suit their abilities. There are some mechanics that need to be explained, such as Boom Boom Baines' healing turret, but most of the bosses are tank&spank with a lot of dodging.

Once set up, preferably under six Commanders using different colored tags for clarity, each team goes to its designated Boss. All teams then attempt to bring their Boss to 10% health at the same time. Some inevitably get there first, meaning they have to "hold" the Boss at that point without doing further damage.

Someone needs to call out the health of each boss at frequent intervals in a public channel. I often took it upon myself to do that bit. I like yelling. I got suppressed a few times for spamming map chat, something which is all too easy to do in GW2, where you can be banned from sending items to your own characters after two deliveries in quick succession. I should have used /squad which doesn't use the same anti-spam mechanics.

Once the slowest team gets their boss to 10%, their Commander gets to give the "Burn" command, whereupon everyone goes flat out to kill the boss in front of them as fast as possible. The reason for the co-ordinated kill is that each boss passes its signature ability (bombs, adds, banishment) on to all the other bosses when it dies, meaning each kill makes every other boss more difficult.

If everything goes to plan a good, organized map can complete this in about five minutes. The timer for the Gold award is eight minutes. This year I didn't get one Gold in three weeks. Four and five years ago I got plenty. I'm not sure what to read into that. Have GW2 players got worse? Is the event harder? Was I just unlucky with the maps I picked?

I did get lots of high Silvers (time limit sixteen minutes, we did it often in nine or ten) and any number of Bronzes (no time limit). I used the LFG tool to swap maps often until I got one that was at least trying to get Gold or Silver. There were fewer of those than you might expect.

Most of the maps were barely organized at all. Instead of doing it as described above (a description that I saw repeated in map chat many times by patient or frustrated players) people did what they do everywhere in GW2 - ran around in a huge zerg trying to overwhelm all opposition by weight of numbers. Some of the squads advertizing in LFG even said "zerg" or "bronze" in the description, indicating an active disinclination to make more than the minimal effort.

Of course, zerging means that not only does each boss get harder as it acquires the abilities of the ones who died before it, but GW2's scaling mechanic means every boss also gains a gigantic health pool to reflect the army of players opposing it. An event that is self-evidently intended to take between eight to sixteen minutes often stretches out to half an hour or more.

The fascinating part is that by the second week of the Festival everyone knew this and yet the majority of players carried on doing it anyway. Angry and embittered experts railed against the idiocy but it seems clear to me that most players preferred to zerg. They knew it would take longer and they just didn't care.

After all, it's not like they had anywhere else to be. This is the event of the moment so they were doing it. The rewards for finishing faster weren't significantly better so there wasn't much incentive to organize. And in any case, zerging is a social activity, not a competetive one.

Watching this drama enacted over and over again was instructive and entertaining. Some people were so angry they must have had steam coming out of their ears in real life. The accusation was almost always that those who wouldn't organize were too stupid to know what was expected of them but the replies very clearly indicated the opposite. Everyone knew what they "should" be doing - they just didn't want to do it.

I very much did want to do it properly. I love organized content. I like events where everyone has to get into teams and go to different places and do different things to achieve a collective success. I love Dragon's Stand and Auric Basin and my favorite event of all time in GW2 was Scarlet's Marionette.

And yet I still enjoy a good, mindless zerg, even when I'm well aware it's inefficient and even counter-productive. Running around in gang of fifty, taking on massive hit-point sponges and wearing them down by sheer bloody-mindedness has its own appeal.

I guess you can have smart, clever fun or dumb, stupid fun. Either way you're still having fun.

Give me the choice and I'll go for the smart option, though. Well, eight times out of ten.

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Little Late or Always Read The Instructions : GW2

When the Festival of the Four Winds began three weeks ago I took a look at the Meta and decided it was impossible. Usually these things allow a certain amount of leeway. They let you to skip a couple of the achievements you might find particularly difficult. This time it appeared you had to do all of them.

What's more, there were twenty-five, which is a lot. And the reward was some piece of armor that you couldn't Preview in game. A pair of gloves. It sounded like an awful lot of work for a pair of gloves. Who looks at their hands in an MMO anyway? Gloves aren't like a cloak or a hat that you can show off or admire. They're just gloves.

I dismissed any thought of finishing the meta. I just got on with doing the events and achievements that interested me or those I enjoyed. Which turned out to be most of them.

For one thing, I loved finding all the crystals. I was gliding around Labrynthine Cliffs on thermals for the sheer thrill of it anyway, so why not swoop down and pick up the shinies?

So much has changed since the Festival was here four and five years ago. One of the most under-reported additions to the game has to be the UI tweak that lets you to have the names of all interactable objects visible on screen, at a distance, all the time. Combined with the ability to fly - either  with a glider or a Griffin - what was once annoying and difficult has become simple and instinctive.

So instinctive, in fact, that I didn't need to use Dulfy's excellent guide until the very end, when I had to resort to research to find a couple of particularly well-hidden crystals. Mostly I just ran or flapped around and grabbed them as I saw them. Working out how to get to some of the ones I could see from a distance was particualarly enjoyable and satisfying.

Boss Blitz, the event in Queen Jenna's Crown Pavilion that involves the perpetual slaughter of six Bosses, held my attention for the entire three weeks. It's an almost perfect demonstration of social interaction in MMOs. In fact, when I came to write about it here I found I had so much to say it was in danger of unbalancing this post, so I'm going to write it up separately.

After a week or so I noticed that I'd done about two-thirds of the achievements for the meta. I also
realized about then that the tally of achievements that counted included some I hadn't thought were part of it, while some I thought were included didn't seem to count after all.

Had I thought to left-click the meta itself, all would have been revealed. There's an itemized list of what's required. Despite having played this game for six years that simply never occurred to me. It was only when someone mentioned it in map chat yesterday that I gave it a try.

Instead, I kept plugging away over the course of the Festival, letting the meta fill in as it would. For a long while I thought some of the achievements from the Queen's Gauntlet counted. They don't.

I surprised myself by getting all the way to Liadri, the last of the original Gauntlet bosses, in a single session. The Queen's Gauntlet, a series of timed, solo fights against increasingly tough or tricksy opponents, isn't really my kind of thing but it was fun to do once.

What does count for the meta are the races, or at least most of them. Fortunately the all-but-impossible Griffin race doesn't figure on the card although the ill-conceived Skimmer race does. The skimmer race isn't much fun. Skimmers all move at the same speed, slower than any other mount, so it's not much of a race. It's also never won by anyone on a Skimmer. 

Every race is won by people who jump off their skimmers in the final land section and mount up on raptors instead. Every race ends with a lot of angry skimmer riders calling raptor riders cheats. Luckily  you don't need to win for the meta, just finish within two and a half minutes. You could probably walk the course in that time. If you could walk on water.

The other two races are tougher all round. The mounted one at the end of Boss Blitz and the Dolyak race in Cliffs are both incredibly annoying and enormously entertaining at the same time. The former takes you through a lot of awkward terrain and a pile of hostile mobs; the latter turns you into a pig-sized dolyak and makes you use the original zephyrite crystals to control your movement.

For the meta you have to complete each race in about half the maximum time allowed: two minutes for the mount race, two and a half minutes for the Dolyaks. That's tight. It took me a number of practice runs to work out a strategy and a number more to implement that strategy effectively.

Since the mount race starts only when a Boss Blitz has been successfully completed and the Dolyak race is every two hours, it took me several sessions to get them both done. The Dolyak race was about the last thing I needed.

With that finally done I hit 25/25 and received my reward. It was better than I expected. The gloves have a very nice aura effect that is quite noticeable. An aura's not a hat or a cloak but it's not nothing.

I thought it would be of interest to Mrs Bhagpuss. On my original advice she hadn't been bothering with the meta either. She wouldn't have been able to complete it in any case because she absolutely cannot ride mounts. She literally gets motion-sick just thinking about doing it.

She had, however, already hit 19/25 on the meta meter, with just a few crystals, the races and one or two odds and ends to do. I finished those up for her yesterday afternoon, meaning we have now each  completed the meta on one account.

Ironically, when I read through the Dulfy guide after I'd finished, I found out you can "craft" the gloves anyway. By "craft" I mean there's a Mystic Forge combine for them. Since the meta gives you a stingy single armor weight of just one of the three designs, if you like them, you're likely to end up "crafting" several more anyway.

Even so, had I been paying better attention three weeks ago, and had I understood sooner what was required, I might have finished the whole thing on more than one account. Nearly all of it was fun to do.

Also, in retrospect, it would have made more sense to have done at least some of the events - and the dailies - on the other two accounts, especially the one that wasn't around the last time we had the chance to do all this. It's not a big deal because the items on sale aren't all that special but I do have a lot of them already on the account I was using to run the events this time.

There were a few things I wanted. I didn't have the new Watchwork Mk II outfit. I have the original and I used to use it a lot. Now I have the new one. I'm not sure I can see the difference to be honest. And for some reason I never had a kite until now. Not sure how that happened. I bought two.

Anyway, it's too late now. The Festival ends tomorrow. You live and learn. At least I had a ton of fun. And I hope and trust  the Festival of the Four Winds is now established as an annual event. I'll be better prepared next year.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

No Means No. Except When It Doesn't.

As someone once said (I think it might have been me) comments are the lifeblood of blogging. If you don't want feedback then there's not really too much point making your blog public in the first place.

If you just want to keep a personal diary that no-one but you will ever see you can set your blog to be Private. Blogger and WordPress both allow that. Obviously, if you self-host you can do what you want.

I'm sure it works because everything on the internet is totally private if you want it to be, right? And all the buttons you press do exactly what they say they do.

Except they don't. I was reading the comments to Wilhelm's excellent post on the various options available for reading blogs when I came across Pasduil's complaint about Blogger:

"I’m afraid at the moment the work I have to do to enter a simple comment is so much that I generally don’t bother except for a few."

This surprised me somewhat because I rarely have any trouble commenting on Blogger blogs. On the contrary, those are the ones where my comments tend to go through first time as soon as I hit "Publish". With WordPress blogs I have to sign into my WordPress account and then it's fine.

The only blogs I really have difficulty with are ones that use Disqus and a few outliers that use unusual hosting platforms. In general, though, I don't find commenting too arduous.

Of course, the one blog where I never have to jump through any hoops at all is my own. When I reply to comments Blogger knows it's my blog and gives me a free pass. So I thought I'd try commenting as someone Blogger doesn't recognize and see how that went.

Oh, boy! I'm amazed I get any comments at all!

I tried with Firefox, Chrome and Microsoft Edge, those being the three web browsers I have installed.
Firefox was the best by a long way. To comment anonymously all I had to do was click "I'm not a robot" once and the comment went through.

Second best was Microsoft Edge. Microsoft didn't believe me when I told them I wasn't a robot. I had to select a couple of images from the notorious Captcha system to prove my humanity. I passed that test first time and through the comment went.

Dead last by a country mile and then some came Chrome. Commenting via Chrome was so irritating that I would have given up long before any of the comments went through.

The problem was that Chrome didn't seem to accept any of my Captcha responses. It cycled through "new image" after "new image" until eventually it ran out and failed me. Then it picked another set of images and did it again.

I tried as Anonymous, using a name and a URL, and I signed into another Google account. Those are the options you get. All of them were terrible. I did eventually get a comment to post using each of them but I wouldn't expect anyone in their right mind to bother.

You'd think the takeaway from this would be "Don't use Chrome", which would be ironic enough, given that Chrome is Google's browser and Google own and operate Blogger, but it's worse than that.

There's a setting in Blogger that allows the blog owner to choose whether their blog uses the Captcha system or not. It's called "Show Word Verification" and you can toggle it "Yes" or "No" in Settings. Guess what mine says?

It's always said that. I have never intentionally had word verification on. But it's on.

I fiddled with it, switched it off and on again a few times. Nothing. I googled the issue (ho ho) and didn't find much. It doesn't seem to be a widespread issue or perhaps no-one's noticed. After all, you won't see it if you own the blog and anyone who's having issues with it is by definition going to have trouble commenting to let you know.

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot I can do about it other than to apologize to anyone who's having trouble commenting here. I've done everything I can to remove all the obstacles but if the buttons don't work hitting them harder isn't going to fix it.

Based on my tests I would definitely recommend not using Chrome if you're experiencing Captcha issues. I'd be interested to know who has problems and who can comment with one click, although it's all a bit academic since there doesn't seem to be much more I can do to make it easier for anyone struggling to make themeselves heard.

My Blaugust advice to bloggers is go try commenting on your own blog when you're not signed in. See how easy or otherwise it is. There may be things you can do to smooth the way. Your buttons might actually work.

You never know - there might be a reason you're not getting comments and it might not have anything to do with what you're posting.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

I Wish It Could Be Blaugust Every Day... Oh, Wait...

Well, we all knew it would come to this eventually. I'm astonished it took this long. Ten consecutive posts of arguable substance. I impress myself.

But now it's Saturday night and I'm tired so here it comes... the screenshot post.

These shots are all from GW2's unexpected and incredibly welcome holiday event, The Festival of the Four Winds. This is my necromancer, who does most of the holiday work. She's green all over courtesy of an extremely sought-after and expensive little doo-dad she got last Halloween.

Here she is, chatting to some nutcase who climbed the highest rock in Labyrinthine Cliffs for reasons he explains but which I've already forgotten. I remember it was something elegaic and mournful. Life is short, then you fall off a rock. Something like that?

I have taken a few other characters there. This is one of my rare humans. Mostly she lives in Lion's Arch and does the "Activity" dailies when they come around. Humans get all the best poses and their armor fits better than anyone else's. I ought to play more humans. Maybe.

There's a party beach in Labyrinthine Cliffs. It has a changing hut. If you go in the hut you can come out wearing a swimming costume. Sometimes there's music and all the sunbathers get up and dance. This is what we call "entertainment" in the 21st century.

I really love this map. I don't want it to go away. I don't want to have to wait a whole year to do this again. Holiday events are great but they should be all the time. That's your cue, Roy.
Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide