Wednesday, June 24, 2020

That's A Big Bag : GW2

Yesterday I was looking back at some old, unfinished plans. Today I went out and finished one. Didn't happen to be one of the ones on my list but, hey, you can't have everything.

My intention was to knock off what I thought had to be the easiest - the ranger pets. I got as far as looking up twhere to find them on the wiki. I had the page open, ready. Then I logged in.

As some general, a Charr no doubt, once said, no plan survives contact with the login screen. The ranger I'd picked was camped out in Wayfarer Foothills, in Krenek's Lodge to be precise. As he zoned back into the world he found there was some excitement going on.

Someone had dumped a load of banquet food on the ground along with a Hero banner, a sure sign of something about to happen. People tend only to do that when they expect a gathering to form. And there were indeed plenty of people all around.

As he set upon the free lunch, someone asked in general chat where they needed to be and got the reply "It happens all over the zone". That gave me a good idea what was about to happen.

This time last year we were all a bit sideswiped by the unexpected return of Dragon Bash, a Tyrian holiday missing in action since 2013. Along with a host of events and entertainments in the Norn capital of Hoelbrak, Dragon Bash brings with it an open-world rumble known as the Dragon Bash Hologram Stampede.

This little zergfest cycles around the four snow-covered zones surrounding Hoelbrak on a fifteen minute rotation. I just happened to have logged in as the carnival arrived in mine.

I love open-world zerg events in any MMORPG but they're especially enjoyable in Guild Wars 2, which was designed from the ground up to accomodate them. Any zerg is a good zerg in my book but the very aptly named Stampede isn't one of my favorites for several reasons.

Mounts are pretty much obligatory if you want to travel with the tag and even then you might struggle to get a fireball off before it's time to jump back on your not-a-horse and head for the next target. The mobs that spawn are highly likely to die in microseconds as soon as the zerg arrives.

As I discovered last year, if you want to get credit, grab some loot and finish the achievements, it's better to move away from the zerg and trigger a few of the spawns yourself. All you have to do is go to one of the many markers on the map and click on the hologram you'll find there. That's not ideal zerg -play. Rather the opposite.

But there wasn't time for any of that kind of smart thinking. I'd barely remembered what the event was before it began. The zerg was already half a snowfield away. I hopped on my roller beetle to catch them up.

The whole event only lasts a few minutes. The Asurans organizing it can't hang around. They have to be in the next zone setting up in a quarter of an hour. It lasted long enough to completely disrupt my ranger's pet plans, though.

He stopped to look at the loot that he'd got and inevitably noticed his bags were almost full and that got me thinking. Specifically, it got me thinking that I'd missed something off yesterday's To Do list, namely craft some bigger bags.

For years the largest bag you could have in GW2 was a twenty-slotter. That changed sometime in 2017, when recipes for 24, 28 and 32 slot bags were introduced. More were added, including a free one you could get by way of an achievement, with the March 2018 Living World episode A Bug in the System but as I said then, "A 32 slot bag comes in somewhere close to 250 gold, which in GW2 is a very great deal of money. I haven't been able to bring myself to make one yet."

Changes in the economy have brought that eye-watering ticket price down to around 200 gold but that's still a bit rich for my blood. A twenty-eight slot bag, on the other hand, can now be had for not much more than fifty gold, which these days seems quite reasonable.

So I made myself a couple. It was very simple - once I stopped reading the wiki and just got on with it. GW2 has one of the most comprehensive, detailed and exhaustive wikis I've seen for any game but sometimes that very exhaustivity can be... exhausting.  

I spent half an hour looking at all the various oversized bags you can make. I drilled down into the detail to discover the provenance all the unfamiliar materials. I read up on the events and zones and achievements that you could do to get the more expensive items for free or at least shave a little off the cost. I even bought a couple of items off the Trading Post to open a collection that seemed like it might be a shortcut...

And then I realized that if i just ignored all the Living Story stuff and stuck to traditional crafting, there's a very basic series of bags you can make that just use regular mats and stuff you can buy for peanuts off the TP.

There's just one expensive component, the Supreme Rune of Holding. Those will run you around ten gold apiece.

You need half a dozen for a twenty-eight slotter but the key thing to hold in mind is that, provided you have a 500 skill Tailor, Leatherworker or Armorsmith and about fifty-five gold in your bank account, you can do the whole thing in thirty seconds in any well-appointed crafting area.

I went to my favorite, Black Citadel, and knocked out a couple of 28-slot Gossamer Saddlebags. They don't do anything clever, like auto-sort particular items, but they have ten slots more apiece than a couple of the bags my Elementalist was using.

Then I rummaged around in my bank vault and dug out that free 32-slot Olmakhan Bandolier I mentioned. The one that came as part of a Living Story achievement I completed a couple of years back. At the time I couldn't decide who should have it so, as I do with most GW2 loot, I just shoved it in the bank and forgot about it.

My Elementalist, the character I play the most, if almost exclusively in World vs World, now has a grand total of two hundred and twenty-two inventory slots, of which a princessly sixty-one are empty as I write. Luxury!

More importantly, I now have the knowledge and experience to bang out a big bag whenever I feel like it. It would be nice to say my inventory woes are over but of course, as we all know, more slots just means more stuff. They'll be full in no time, I'm sure.

Now, about those pets...

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