Monday, October 8, 2012

The Cruellest Month: GW2

The position I claim to have held on Dailies ever since I first heard of them is rapidly becoming untenable. A couple of years ago, if asked what I thought of Dailies I'd have said they were the Devil's work. No, that's unfair - I wouldn't have waited to be asked. Then came Rift . Another year on and assimilation is complete. As I outlined recently my GW2 gameplay now revolves around a certain set of goals that are repeatable once every twenty-four hours.

Could be Emerson...
This leaves me exposed. Not only does it seem that I do after all quite like doing the same thing every day, provided that thing is a thing that I like to do, but also it appears I have "goals", something else I've been going around denying. Just as well my oft-quoted personal motto, adopted when I was in my gauche teens and never bettered, is Ralph Waldo Emerson's "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds".

GW2 doesn't beat about the Suspicious Bush. A Daily is a Daily. It says so right there on the Achievement page. Much has been said about how GW2 dailies work well even for people like me who claim they don't do dailies. No quests to get, nothing to do that you probably wouldn't be doing anyway, the whole thing ticks along in the background like a well-tended boiler. 

Not so the Daily's big brother, the Monthly. This insidious innovation asks much more and it exerts a hideous fascination. Each month there are four things that must be done. These can change, although so far only one has.

Never saw this event before and I live here!
There's a relatively uncontroversial one: "Event Participation". This requires that you be present at a hundred Events during the calendar month, which is simply a subset of the Daily. Strike that one off. All the rest are problematic to a degree.

In the first two months, the truncated August and the full September, there was a requirement not to die. Most MMO players probably try not to get their characters killed as a general principle but as anyone who's ever attempted to get an "Undying" title or achievement in any game knows, actively avoiding character death radically affects gameplay. GW2 is particularly odd in that this marker is incredibly easy to hit at 80th (takes about 10 minutes or less) but pretty tough at low level. 

Always time for a Vista, even in the midst of a War
Fortunately for the inept and the reckless GW2 offers a myriad of ways to gain xp that don't involve fighting anything or even leaving town. Since this isn't EQ2 in 2005, you don't take your life in your hands every time you use the forge so crafting smooths this one along nicely. Vistas are a slight risk - you might fall off and falling damage in Tyria is ferocious. Still, it's a lot safer than actually fighting anything. 

Exploring also brings in the big xp - discovering a Waypoint out in the wilds gives as much xp as killing more than twenty monsters nearby. Therein lies the problem, though - there are monsters nearby and monsters tend to want to kill you. No-one ever claimed exploring was safe. Best stick to towns, although I think we usually call that "Sightseeing".

No need to bother about it this month anyway, for this month we are allowed to die. The Undying benchmark has vanished, replaced by a row of ???. From hints dropped these are widely assumed to refer to an upcoming Halloween-related event. We shall see.

Oh but they look so pretty...
That leaves two. Monthly Salvage Kit Uses is frankly nuts. Who thought to include that? Was it ArenaNet's in-house economist, the unconvincingly-named John Smith? Is it there just to funnel items out of the economy and replace them with marketable crafting mats? Whatever the reason, this is actually the one I find hardest. With silver still relatively hard to come by all magic weapons go to vendor and even salvaging every non-magic item across four characters only just hits this target in a month. Last time I ended up buying stuff on the TP just to destroy it.

Finally we get to the real joker in this four-card pack. Monthly WvW Player Kills. World vs World was what I was planning to write about this morning. Yesterday being a Sunday and a day of peace, naturally I spent almost all of it trying to kill people. Specifically, trying to get my fifty player kills. It wasn't how I'd imagined, let alone planned on spending the day. Not that it wasn't enjoyable. In parts.

Yak at the Back. As usual.
I may get around to my thoughts, such as they are, on WvW itself another time but just for now, mull over this specific aspect. Is it any wonder there are so many running skirmishes and so many players not following the strategy propounded by Commanders in Map chat? Is it any wonder that so many people sound like they have no idea what they are doing or seem to have an entirely different agenda? They don't! They do! They're out in the Frontier trying to get this box ticked so they can go back to Lion's Arch as fast as possible. 

Probably. Really, who knows? I'm sure it seemed a good idea at the time, pulling the Achiever lever to nudge PvE players into something they might never try otherwise. Try it, you might find you like it. Whether it has that effect or the opposite, well, do we have any way of knowing? All I can say for certain is that 50 player kills in a month is a pretty low bar that should only take a few minutes a day but even so it manages to be quite annoying while it lasts.

Why did I spend all Sunday at it, then? That's a topic for another time.


  1. Interesting theory about the ??? in the monthly survivor.

    I went into WvW on Friday night in order to start work on this part of the achievement, but I do by following around a commander. I got it finished within 2 hours so from my point of view, following a commander is someone's safest bet to get this done.

    1. The recent ANet post on the various Live teams says "Our Holidays & Events team will be creating a variety of special holidays in Guild Wars 2, building on the long tradition of amazing holidays in Guild Wars. You can likely guess which holiday you will see from this team first, and I recommend that everyone check our website next week for more information about this exciting first event".

      Jumping to conclusions to link the two things, maybe, but it seems like a good bet.

  2. I completely understand your feelings, I really do - especially since I was taking my time leveling last month and stubbornly insisted on getting the Experienced Survivor achievement the hard way at level 60. I actually did just stay in a zone and played events solo LIKE A BOSS* for 2 hours without dying.

    (...It was quite thrilling, actually. That'll be a fond memory.)

    Still, I think you may have overstated the difficulty of the monthly achievement quite a bit. :) The one with salvage kit uses is VERY easy by doing exactly what you said - just buy kits, buy salvageable materials from the Trading Post, and go to town! If you do it smartly and have the patience to place Buy Orders to get cheaper items, you'll probably _make money_ out of this.

    As for the WvW kills... yeah. That's far from being HARD, it certainly isn't, but I dislike it for the same reason I dislike the dreadful Children's Week achievements in WoW: "forcing" people who have no intention of PVPing to join these activities anyway just to complete their PvE objectives. That's a detriment for the PvE and PvP players alike, and I hope ANet changes it next month.

    * I actually pussied out and got the last 20k XP from crafting... But let's leave that part out and make me pretend I'm truly badass, eh?

    1. Well, it can't be very difficult or I wouldn't be doing it! It's a good idea in principle too, but it could use some tweaking I think.

  3. *grin* I completely got the 100k exp from crafting and am not ashamed. The Wubs kills are hard on some folks. Myself included. The ingame primer is not very helpful, and I spent my first couple of days just trying to figure out: What color am I? Where are the real people? How can I get there? What do I do?
    Then it was just a cave in to the zerg.
    Did you zerg it up in Wubs?

    1. Part of the reason I was in WvW most of the day was that I wasn't in the Zerg. Mostly because I could never catch up with it. I caught up with the other team's Zergs a few times though, or I should say they caught up with me...

      In the end I was down to just 4 kills needed and I swapped to Eternal Battlegrounds and just jumped into the Eternal Scrum around the central keep. Finished in five minutes.

  4. I'm trying to imagine a scenario where selling to an NPC. vendor makes sense.
    Is there some weird point at which:
    Items sell on the market for vendor prices (making the market sale "vendor price, less one copper" AND
    the materials gained from breaking the item are worth less than the item sold intact on the market?

    I break everything, and sell the materials on the Market, and use the proceeds to keep up with the best gear available, and most of my characters have a couple *gold* by the time they hit the low 20s?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Funnily enough, I'm just going to log in now and do some Trading Post research. Back when Azuriel wrote his piece otherwise known as "Sell All The Things" it was good advice but the market may have moved on.

      Generally, though, as far as I can see most "magic" items are selling for more to a vendor than the cost of the parts you would get by deconstructing them sell for on the TP. If you break a level 76 weapon, for example, you might get two or three pieces of Mithril Ore, currently selling for 30c per. The weapon itself would sell to a vendor for close to two silver.


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