Monday, 24 June 2013

Dragon Bash Report Card : GW2



  • Decorations. Just superb. The burgeoning tradition of giving Lion's Arch a cosmetic makeover for high days and holidays is much to be encouraged. Wandering through the city taking in the new sights and sounds, snapping shots and chatting about what had changed was the highlight of the whole event for me. The Forge should stay the way it is now. It looks far more in keeping with the rest of the city than the harsh blue utilitarian bucket we have to put up with for the rest of the year.

We have a winner!

  • Achievements. Good, on the whole, but occasionally demonstrating that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Letting off fireworks is a lot of fun when you start but long before the hundredth time it gets hard to raise another "Oooooh!" As for smashing 150 dragon pinatas to get nothing but one toffee every single time, well I wouldn't let the person who designed that organize a five-year old's birthday party, that's for sure.

Better late than never

  • Achievement Rewards Once I realized we only needed eight Achievements for the meta I slacked off on the grindier ones. It was very nice to be able to pick and choose which ones appealed and still be able to collect the reward. Not that the reward itself was particularly appealing. Another fanciful back item that looks ridiculous on most characters. I'm still using my Toymaker's Bag from Wintersday because at least it looks like a backpack. Now if those wings could actually fly...

Really? You don't say!

  • The Big Boom. Events that gather a big crowd in the Plaza are always welcome. The anticipatory buzz and the communal atmosphere are exhilarating. One of the best parts of playing MMOs. The events themselves when they arrive are often anticlimaxes. This one had a bit of an "Is that it?" response at first because the firework display was almost impossible to see from the Plaza itself, at least the first time it happened. Later on that seemed to have been fixed but still the best view by far was from further away. When you could actually see the fireworks it was a great show. I watched it several times.

It's the Algonquin Round Table all over again.

  • Skins. Possibly one of the better sets of skins so far but that's really not saying all that much. The skin aesthetic in GW2 just doesn't work for me. Baroque, overblown, garish, flashy and above all unsubtle. This lot wasn't as bad as, say, the Molten Alliance set, where there was nothing I'd wear or wield even on a bet but still not appealing enough to make an effort to get. The good part is that unless they start coming up with some more understated, 'realistic' skins I can remain smugly aloof from the "must get lockboxes" frenzy.

Why am I laughing?

  • Drops. The lockboxes themselves were fun this time round. Unlike the Southsun Supply Crates the Dragon Coffers dropped often and were tradeable. Mrs Bhagpuss got a Ticket out of one on the first day. I opened hundreds and found nothing better than a couple of Holographic Risen Knights. Fun opening them all though and the food was at least useful.

He's not big, he's just really close. She really is that small though.

  • Activities. Moa racing was amusing in theory. Moas are inherently comical. There didn't seem to be a good place to view the entire race, though, and the message about not leaving the area made people nervous about trying to find a good vantage point. The only reason to place more than a couple of bets for fun seemed to be the lure of the Helmed Moa Racer mini, which apparently ends up costing 28 gold on average. Minis do nothing for me so that was an easy pass. As for Dragon Ball, I didn't try it.

Sport of the future, sir.

  • Story.  Good, on the whole. The film noir pastiche worked surprisingly well although I'm not entirely sure it was so good we needed a permanent replay to carry around with us for ever more. The Living Story seems to be developing quite a strong cast of characters, what with Rox and Braham, Inspector Kiel, Lady Kasmeer and Lord Faren and now Marjory Delaqua. Whether this is a healthy trend I'm not entirely sure. GW2 seems to be establishing a pattern in which the primary role of player characters is to assist significant NPCs rather than to initiate. We may get called Heroes but we're more Bucky than Captain America. Also, both Kiel and Delaqua are rubbish at their jobs. Every single player knew who the villain was long before they worked it out. I bet Lady Kasmeer knew all along, though. She's deep, that one.

Playing a long game, Marjory? Oh...

  • Overall. Good. Better than The Secret of Southsun, which wasn't too bad either. There's a lot of room for improvement but the Living Story is shaping up to be a better framework for regular content drops than it looked like it would a few months back. The content itself risks becoming formulaic but at the moment there's enough variation to keep things interesting. Of course, unlike all the other Living Story events so far, Dragon Bash could return next year, without the uninvited guests. Unless the Aetherblades win the next round, that is...

3 comments:

  1. Best part is it's not even done yet. My goodness Anet, bless your developer's busy little hearts.

    There were some things that irked me greatly though. You mentioned the relatively grind-y achievements. There were also the holograms which went against the spirit of shared resource nodes. Dragon Ball was an amazing minigame marred by people afking simply to get the participation achievement (the fact that showing up is rewarded as opposed to active participation.)

    But overall? Fun fun fun.

    -Ursan

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  2. Basically I agree with the above. Hopefully this sky pirate thing improves further. Also am I the only one wondering where all the other elder dragons are? They seem content in leaving us alone to complete comparatively trivial events.

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  3. Hmm. Good question on the dragons. We do seem to have lost focus a little, don't we?

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