Friday, January 18, 2013

March of the Golem Army : GW2

Yak's Bend has been getting hell from Dragonbrand for a while now. They have a very heavy "Night Crew" that comes out with the stars and stomps all over us. Playing GMT hours against them on what's reckoned to be primarily a U.S. West Coast server means that if Mrs Bhagpuss and I are on during the day we spend the morning in doomed last stands over Keeps that we inevitably lose and then the afternoon on a tit-for-tat round of retakes. It makes for great xp and karma but it can get a tad demoralizing.

Left at the camp. No, the other left!
I wasn't planning on doing much World vs World last night. The match is winding down and things were quiet. Yaks had enough of a lead on Ehmry Bay to be reasonably sure that we'd stay in Tier 4 while they slip down a tier, making room for our old friends Maguuma, who are barnstorming Tier 5 after dropping a week ago. We also have the welcome prospect of Dragonbrand leaving us as they rise to T3, to be replaced by Isle of Janthir, who we have played before but about whom I remember nothing. All change on Friday then, and very welcome too.

Did I log into MechWarrior by mistake?
My plan was to take my Elementalist up-country from Black Citadel all the way through Ascalon to Frostgorge, opening as many waypoints as possible as I went. She'd just dinged 72 and it won't be long before she can take a poke at Jormag's left toe. Not  to mention take her turn with a pick at the Orichalcum mines. I'd just reached the end of Blazeridge Mountains when Mrs Bhagpuss told me "Come here - you've got to see this".

"Here" turned out to be the Dragonbrand's Frontier." This" was a Golem Army. Tired of being kicked around in our own backyard Our Glorious Leaders had assembled a huge strike force of mobile siege engines with the intention of marching them across the Dragonbrand map until we'd painted the whole thing red.

Red's our color this week. It means we're third. Even though we came second last week. We're coming second this week again but we'll be third again next week, too. We didn't come second enough. Funny game, WvW.

What did you say the weight limit on this bridge was again?
There was a shortage of golem pilots so Mrs Bhagpuss and I both hopped inside one. (Not the same one - there are no two-seater golems. Not yet). One crew marched off to assault The Garrison. Our team went to Hills. I admit I thought we'd be lucky even to get there but everything went amazingly smoothly, if you don't count half the golems going the wrong way round a supply camp and me putting someone on my own team on ignore for yelling at me four times for spinning once (my finger slipped, alright?)

Bay, Garrison, Hills. Collect the set.
We took Hills, the others took Garrison. We waypointed back and then our lot took Bay after a comedy interlude where we all jumped out of our golems and ran to a tower then ran back and jumped in again when it turned out we'd gotten our signals muddled. I learned that a Golem can swim, that if you dodge in a golem it makes him run faster (although not for nearly long enough) and that if no-one in  the guarding party kills a skale it can nip quite a few chunks out of a Golem's backside. You'd think it would break its teeth but no...

Throw me a line, I'm sinking fast!
Dragonbrand seemed slow to wake up. I think they were busy in the Eternal Battleground. Eventually they began to appear in numbers, seething like an anthill someone recklessly poked with a stick. A good old ding-dong ensued, with Hills, Bay and Garrison changing hands several more times. I had one more run at Garrison in a Golem and helped take it a second time, then I had to go to bed. Summer dinged 74 in what must be two of the most amusing levels I've done to date.

The much-demanded end to free server transfers is finally happening on January 28 and no doubt there'll be a lot of jockeying for position and server-hopping between now and then. We're staying put. Yaks we are and Yaks we stay. A month or so after that we get to find out what the much-ballyhooed major changes to WvW are. My bet's on a greater emphasis on PvE, a shift to shorter-term objectives and a general move away from anything that might be considered "serious" RvR in favor of something more appealing to the hit&run crowd that tussle and scrap along the roads to Stonemist Castle night after night.

Yak's Bend Golem Synchronized Swimming Team
Could be good. Could be terrible. The sooner we get some hard facts, the happier I'll be, either way. Until then, let's hope for more fun evenings like this one.


  1. Out of curiosity, why are you on a US server? I'm reasonably sure you're some flavour of Brit, so why the other side of the pond?

    I ask only because, in a moment of weakness a few weeks ago I considered buying GW2 and was thinking about server choices - and as this is the only GW2-related blog I'm reading I figured Yak's Bend would be a good choice... at which point I discovered it was a US server. (The moment of weakness passed and I acclimatised to running endless dailies in Rift :) ).

    1. Mrs Bhagpuss and I always play on U.S. servers in every MMO that allows us the option, although we are based in the UK and are, indeed, British. When we first started playing Everquest back in 1999 there was no choice, of course - all the servers were in the U.S. Later we did play on Ant. Bayle for a couple of years and for some MMOs that were region-locked we had no choice other than to play on Euopean servers but in general we didn't like it. The atmosphere feels different, spikier and less friendly. Maybe that's in our imaginations but U.S. servers just tend to have a fuzzier, warmer community. There are exceptions, of course!

      Aside from emotional response, the practical benefits are:

      1. I like Americans and American culture and playing on a U.S. server feels comfortable. (Ok, that's another emotional one...)

      2. Neither of us likes really busy servers but who wants to play on a dead server? Playing off-peak hours on a busy server is perfect.

      3. I have never, ever experienced any "ping" issues. I can't perceive any difference.

      4. Assuming it's a U.S. based MMO, you will always get better customer service and better service as a customer on a US server than an outsourced or remotely-located one. The worst experiences I have had have been with US based MMOs licensed out to European operators.

      The only downside is that live events occasionally happen at inconvenient times but that has rarely been a significant problem.


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