Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Sitting It Out: GW2

Another hefty update landed squarely on top of GW2 yesterday but I wasn't there to see it. You'll have to try Jeromai or Ravious for the hands-on. J3w3l has plenty to say about it too although I'm not sure she's played any more than I have, or rather haven't. Still, even though I haven't logged in since the patch I think I can manage a few words of uninformed opinion sight unseen.

Oh, I'll probably pop in at the weekend just to see how the market has reacted to the new tier of crafting and the changes that turn Fine and Mastercrafted drops into some species of desirable resource for salvage rather than the vendor-fodder they have been for as long as anyone can remember, but I don't have any intention of playing. There is indeed a non-trivial chance that I am done with GW2 for the time being, although WvW remains an attractive option for weekend nights with a bottle of wine and I'm curious to see what they've done to Tequatl, who's due to show off his new tricks two Tuesdays down the line, so I'll probably be in and out for the foreseeable future.

There was certainly never much chance that I'd set foot in the Super Adventure Box again, no matter what, so the current furore of frustration would always have left me undisturbed. Josh Foreman could have put in a Fetus Level version where an NPC carried you around the course in a wheelbarrow and I wouldn't have bothered.

She's Gone Home!
I don't like 8-bit graphics. I was there the first time round, I didn't like them then and they haven't got any better with time. The whole thing has literally no nostaIgia value for me whatsoever and what's more I don't like jumping puzzles that exist for no other reason than to be jumping puzzles. Having to jump to traverse obstacles in order to partake in meaningful, satisfying activities in the open game is fine; hopping about to get to to chests or finish achievements seems about as meaningful or satisfying to me as filling out word searches, only a lot less relaxing.

That's the new content dismissed out of hand. Now for the new systems, namely the Ascended "it's not a gear-grind because you don't need the gear" gear grind,  the extra tier of crafting and the new way to get magic find. Let's take those one at a time.

Ascended Gear: if we need this stuff then, de facto, it's a gear grind and I'm not going to do it. If we don't need this stuff, as apologists for its inclusion assert, then why would I bother? If I'm as capable in my exotics then I'll stay in my exotics, thanks. If I need Ascended to compete then bye bye to competing. Either way, I'm out.

New Crafting Tier: I'll get to that if and when I finish all the previous ones. Maybe. Look, I've played an insane amount of hours for over a year now and I've maxed Leatherworker (last September), Cookery (last October) and Armorsmithing (about two months ago). All the rest I've started and then forgotten about. If I'm not interested enough to finish the crafting you've already given me I'm hardly going to hurl myself gratefully on the chance to do even more only with the added bonus of massively increased gathering grind and time-gating on what I can make, am I?

No, she stepped on you by accident
Magic Find: and this exists why? I've managed fine this last year without it. I never bought any special gear, I rarely ate any fruit pies, all the MF Boosters I've ever got are still in the bank (along with all of every other kind of booster, apart from two Crafting Boosters I used to finish Armorsmithing, a hint there towards how much I was enjoying that at the time...) and even in recent times when we've had the NPCs giving out vast MF buffs as often as not I've forgotten even to go and get those. I already get more loot than I know what to do with. I already have bags and bags full of Yellow weapons waiting to be broken down. The guild bank is dripping with unused Exotics. What in the name of the Elder Dragons do I need Magic Find for?

So, to sum up, this patch has nothing to interest me and plenty with the potential to annoy. Moreover, the things I really want to see added - housing, new races, new explorable maps, new, permanent dynamic events that are integrated in the environment in an immersive fashion - all these seem further away than ever. Like in that expansion we aren't going to get.

I reserve the right to eat my words when I log in and find I love the crafting or thoroughly enjoy working towards a full set of Ascended. I'm describing my reactions to what I think this patch will be like, not what it may in fact be. That still matters, though, because I have other eggs to fry right now and if what I hear about other MMOs, either through their direct publicity material or through word-of-mouth isn't actively attractive then I'll take my chances on missing out.

And anyway, bar the SAB, this stuff's not going anywhere. I'll get to it when I'm good and ready.

15 comments:

  1. Good good good more FF14 screenshots go go go.

    -Ursan

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    1. One thing I'm never short of is screenshots!

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  2. Here's my Ascended crafting experience:

    "Well, I'm not going to get an Ascended weapon any time soon, but let's at least see if I can get Huntsman to 450 to start the time gates. Refining the ori/leather/wood I've got lying around gets me to 425, that's not too bad. But now what?

    Well, my level 80 characters already have exotics of the weapons they actually use. Except harpoon guns, I guess, since they have to have one equipped even though I prefer spear for both. So let's make two of those. And, um, I've got a level 25 engineer, that's two pistols and a rifle. Oh, and the 45 Mesmer, that's another pistol.

    And... that's level 444, still 45 minutes on the crafting booster, and I'm out of wood. Looks like the price of wood on the TP has tripled today. Guess I'll give this character a break while I gather some more over the next few days."

    Once upon a time people said you wouldn't have to craft a bunch of junk you'd never use to level crafting. That was never true in the lower levels, and it looks like it's still a stretch.

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    1. Craft exotics to salvage. If you ever get the itch to craft ascended, then materials salvaged from exotics are necessary.

      -Ursan

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    2. Salvaging exotics make me feel ill. I only ever did it once and it was so depressing I never even considered doing it again. Having it as an actual mechanic is incredibly off-putting. Those things should be loved and cherished and desired, not melted down for spare parts.

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    3. I really disagree with this sentiment. In any game with gear tiers, old tiers of equipment should be given relevance in obtaining the next tier, or else all our efforts spent collecting the old gear is completely wasted. I want to melt them down and incorporate them into my new gear instead of simply tossing them aside, simply to never use them again.

      -Ursan

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    4. They are beautiful objects that have emotional value to me. To melt them down for parts would be like burning my books in the fireplace to heat the house. If I didn't feel like that about the things I own in the imaginary world I live in, what would be the point of pretending to live there?

      I very strongly dislike the entire mechanism of seeding useable items as drops with the intention that they not be used. I have never liked the entire weapon/armor drop system in GW2 but until now I've been able to ignore it to some degree, if uncomfortably. This ramps it up beyond my personal breaking point for suspension of disbelief.

      I believe that useable item drops from mobs should be sufficiently rare for every one to be exciting and memorable. They should not be used as the equivalent of crafting mats or instead of coin or vendor fodder. Let the mobs drop "damaged" items if they are supposed to be scrapped or salvaged.

      So very, very many more elegant, attractive, immersive ways to achieve the same ends and so few devs ever take the time and trouble to think them through.

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    5. I suppose you can see it that way.

      I see it as trees dying to fertilize the next generation, or insect mothers dying to feed their young. Even when something has ceased to become functional, it still provides for the next generation.

      My old gear all lives in spirit in my new gear, you know? I like that.

      -Ursan

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    6. I was thinking about it after I wrote the somewhat emotional outburst above and not surprisingly there are plenty of nuances. FFXIV has an interesting mechanic which does what you're describing in a very overt and specific way, for example. If you wear an item for long enough it becomes bonded to you (not bound as in you can't trade it, just bonded in that you have formed a bond with it).

      Once this process is complete then, and only then, you can break that item down and retrieve materia from it. Materia, a crafting material, is "crystallized memories of a piece of equipment that user possessed a spirit bond with". That seems not just acceptable but desirable and it certainly works for me emotionally in a way that just scrapping random magic weapons before they've even been used doesn't.

      A comment thread is hardly the place to go into this, though. I'd like to do a proper post on it. Actually, I'd like to do a 5,000 word dissertation on it. Maybe I will.

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    7. More reasons to try out FF14. This month can't end fast enough...

      -Ursan

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    8. The more I read Bhagpuss posts about FF14 the more I want to play it! I have a copy of the game now but I need a bloody PC! The old one died and waiting on parts to arrive.

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    9. I'm going to try and do a Positive/Negative Early Impressions post this weekend if I get the time. I wouldn't overhype it as something we haven't all seen before but equally I wouldn't undersell it as anything less than a solid, well-made rather traditional MMO.

      One thing that really can't be reasonably denied is that it's gorgeous to look at - or at least it is once you tweak the UI to turn the forest of names so you can see the scenery!

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  3. "Moreover, the things I really want to see added - housing, new races, new explorable maps, new, permanent dynamic events that are integrated in the environment in an immersive fashion - all these seem further away than ever. Like in that expansion we aren't going to get."

    THIS. Exactly my own sentiments about GW2. =/

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  4. At this stage I think you have the right idea sitting out of the SAB. :P As for the salvaging... I ALWAYS salvaged items I didn't need (regardless of colour) mainly because I hate the auction house and everything it entails (resources go to the guild). That's probably why I'm so poor. The only thing I'd sell are "junk" items. Good to see I'll be rewarded more now for it I say! :P

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  5. At least we can salvage things in GW2, unlike in EQ2 wherein you have to develop transmutation skills/levels. bleh... Sure, there's often somebody in the group in Norrath ready to "munch" but in Tyria it's just another easy option. (Yeah, yeah, we know, you're sitting on a zillion ectos...)

    Anyway, I think that, after Scarlet's waves of invasions (now down to a manageable few a day it seems), there are players, a bit burnt, looking at your FFIVX screenshots and getting tempted by the placidity and quiet of the eyecandy. Yet nobody can get in, it's buggy... and, no, you haven't written up a comprehensive review yet. snap snap... Soon(tm) -- ? ;)

    -- 7rlsy

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