Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Sunday Morning Stroll Through Orr: GW2

Since Monday's update I've been meaning to take a trip down to Orr. I hear it got a makeover. Adjusted population density, improved loot, reduced crowd-control abilities and new animations for the Risen, the works. Probably trimmed Zhaitan's claws while they were about it, keep the old boy looking fresh.

Sometimes changes like this don't quite come across but I'd heard good things. Jeromai at Why I Game was waxing positively lyrical. The first time I ever went to Orr (and how long ago that seems) was on a Sunday morning, so with some symmetry I woke up the same character who made that journey, my ranger, and sent him off to do what rangers do best; explore! (Quiet in the back there!).

I took the waypoint express to Signal Peak at the easternmost tip of Orr's most northerly promontory and from there I meandered all the way down to Shipwreck Rock, which is the furthest south you can go. Took me about four hours.

The three maps known collectively as "Orr" are Straits of Devestation, Malchor's Leap and Cursed Shore. Straits begins as lush swampland and ends in bare, brown rock. Malchor's Leap is a weird, ghostlike, ruinous landscape. Cursed Shore looks like it sounds. The northern end of Straits is relatively normal but the further south you go, the fewer living things you meet. By the time you get to Cursed Shore about the only things left alive are players and The Pact.

All the colors of the rainbow, in oils
It's been so long since I last went to Orr, for reasons I outlined all the way back in October, it was hard to tell if anything had changed. Truth told, I barely remember the place other than to recall that while I didn't outright hate it I did find it wearing. Back then I summed it up as "laborious, unattractive and somewhat dull".

Well, it made a better impression this time. The northern half of Straits of Devestation almost seemed like a pleasant place for a picnic. Whole areas had no aggressive mobs at all, just harmless, flittering insects and grazing herbivores.

A bridge too far?
That all changed once I crossed Compass Bridge to the Shark's Teeth Archipelago. From there on the Risen undead start to swarm, although nowhere near as thickly as they used to do. I remember having some considerable difficulty on this stretch of the journey last time, as evidenced by the skill points left undone. This time I wasn't just able to fill those out, I even completed a longish escort event flagged for "Group" almost entirely solo. Ok, a couple of people joined in for a while as they passed through but pffft! Pretty much did it all on my own.

Orr just makes me feel blue...
Straits gets a thumbs up and I'll certainly be going there again to have a good poke around but then it was always the most accessible of the three. Malchor's Leap, however, seemed just as bad as I remembered it. Lot of undead chickens, everything painted purple or midnight blue and crowds of Risen blocking every possible path. If there's anywhere in Tyria I dislike more I can't bring it to mind right at the moment and if it's gotten any better with this polish pass then I couldn't spot it. I didn't hang around long. After a couple of failed events and less than half an hour I put my murrellow on passive and ran for the border.

Wow, you just shot up since last I saw you!
So it was that I came at last to Cursed Shore and my, how it's changed. Fewer undead, better map markers. That about sums it up. The roads are clear enough to travel and the undead grew a lot bigger, which means they not only look more interesting, they're a darn sight easier to see.

Malchor's aside, then, all in all I felt it was a much improved experience. Whether its sufficiently improved to merit regular visits, that's another question entirely. I enjoyed my day out and with more time to stop and look around in relative peace it's easier to see that the same exquisite care and attention to detail has been taken in Cursed Shore as on any other of GW2's gorgeous environments. It's still almost all undead all the time, though, which still wears out its welcome after an hour or two. And its still mostly purple, except where it's brown.

While I was down there I took a punt on one of the new Orrian Jewellery Boxes. Had I looked at Dulfy's guide beforehand I probably would have saved my Karma, but hey, what else do I have to spend it on? I spent 4550 karma on my Jewellery Box and inside I found three drops of liquid karma worth a total of 1200 points and three pieces of nameless junk that sold for fifty copper each. Shan't be doing that again.

Still, what kind of a Sunday stroll would it be without a few coins thrown away on ice cream and buns, eh?


  1. Hi Bhagpuss, enjoyed this post & your blog. I would like to comment on layout. It is difficult to read the text beside the screenshots you inject into your posts & is an unnecessary distraction from the content itself. Even if the pictures were full width of the post, that would be a lot easier to read than what is now. I understand this is your site & you have it as you see fit, just some feedback from a regular visitor. Mark.

    1. Hi and thanks for the feedback. What do you read it on? It's laid out with a desktop monitor in mind but I also read it back on a 7" tablet and occasionally on an iPod touch and it looks reasonable (and readable) to me on all of them.

      I know the layout doesn't work very well in various readers but nor do most blogs I read. Unless I'm in a hurry I always go to the actual websites to see things laid out properly.

      As a reader, I prefer a magazine-style page layout, with text wrapped around illustrations. Blogger isn't very flexible in this respect, unfortunately, and as a result I do spend more time on that than I do writing most posts. I can often knock the text out in 20-30 minutes but the pictures and layout take a couple of hours. It's the most fun part, though. Don't think I'd be interested in doing a straight wall-of-words blog.

  2. Hi & thanks for the reply, just straight chrome on a 24' widescreen. I agree, your screenshots are an integral part in how you write & portray your story, just the manner in which text is wrapped around can be distracting.
    Nevertheless, it wont stop me from visiting & reading.
    Cheers. Mark.

  3. Just one word about the Lost Orrian Jewelry Box, don't expect anything when you buy only one :)

    When you decide to go the Jewelry Box path, be prepared to spend at least 100k Karma and get a Karma boost to gain a maximum back from those vials (about 40% back).

    First, and I know that might sound odd, but you'll get back at least 1g from the junk items.

    Second, you'll get at least one lodestone of any kind (I usually get 2/3).

    If you're ready to spend 100k karma, that's totally worth it.

    Cheers and thanks for your good article


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