Monday, January 3, 2022

Ring Out The Old

Now the holidays are over, it's time to get back to normality - or at least what passes for it these days. Although, are the holidays over quite yet? 

Guild Wars 2's Wintersday finishes this afternoon, or maybe this evening, my time. (Edit: I literally don't know what day of the week it is! I thought it was Tuesday. Make that "tomorrow afternoon".) I didn't do all that much this year. I didn't even attempt the annual meta-achievement. I gave it a quick once-over at the start, wasn't feeling it and forgot all about it for a couple of weeks. 

Eventually, I came back around and did a few odds and ends but I never even got so far as stepping into the instances for Toypocalypse or the rest. I went round the racecourse a few times and paid my three gold to get the Dolyak started but mostly I just stuck to doing the Bell Choir event.  

I enjoy the mini-game itself and I've always found it an extremely reliable way to get presents. You don't even need to be any good at it although I'm not bad. When there's a full roster of a dozen people playing I generally come in the top half, quite often fourth or fifth. 

Once or twice I've even topped the table but only when there hasn't been one of those infallible robots playing, the ones who score maximum points every single round and never make even one, tiny little error. I assume those are either outright bots or players running some kind of illegal third-party app. I hope so, anyway. I'd hate to think anyone could be that robotic and not be cheating. 

As an active World vs World player, I have a much easier and more reliable source of Wintersday presents anyway. All year long I pile up hundreds and hundreds of those little green flasks, the "Potions of WvW Rewards." It takes about eighty of those to complete a WvW reward track and I have fifteen hundred in the bank - and that's after I used several hundred on this year's Wintersday.

I haven't counted exactly how many Wintersday Presents you get for a full track but it's at least a stack of two hundred and fifty. What with that and the hundred or so I got each time I did three or four rounds of bell-ringing, I've been able to open to as many as I wanted. I know that's literally true because I still have a thousand in the bank and I don't want to open those. 

Like most supposedly fun things in GW2, too much can be a soul-destroying experience. The entire premise of the game's reward system is founded on opening industrial quantities of containers in the hope of finding insanely rare objects. Along the way you rack up thousands and thousands of lesser items, some virtually worthless, most worth selling in bulk, a handful actually interesting, valuable or useable.

The sheer volume leeches all the fun out of the unboxing process, which quickly becomes just another housekeeping chore. It's an odd way to run a game and an economy although after a decade I think we'd all have to accept that it works. Some people even seem to like it.

I didn't get anything much worth having in my Wintersday presents this year. I made a few gold selling the overspill and I have one or two things stashed that would sell for decent money if I was willing to part with them. It was fun but not that much fun.

Over in EverQuest II the approach couldn't be more different. At Frostfell you get proper presents every day. Santa Glug hands them out and they're always worth having. They do repeat after you've been doing it for a while but even then, since a lot of them are housing items, you can still make good use of them.

There are always some new ones although since I only do the event sporadically I'm never really sure whether something I haven't seen before is genuinely new, making a comeback or just one I don't happen to have been given yet. Some years I've been quite diligent about parking characters in Frostfell Village and getting as many presents as I can but this year I haven't put in much of an effort in that direction, preferring to concentrate on questing instead.

I did log in my character on the TLE server, Kaladim, where most of the holiday content is now active. Naturally, I immediately received a petamorph wand that was new to me and which I would certainly have used on my Necromancer. Not much use to a dirge!

Frostfell also ends today, so unless I'm freakishly lucky I won't be repeating that win on my main server, Skyfire. On the other hand, the wands are tradeable and usually very cheap so I could just buy one. Somehow, though, that takes all the fun out of it.

As I anticipated, I haven't gone back to Bless Unleashed for the Feywinter event but it still has a few days to run so it's not too late. It finishes on January 12th. I could dig into it once the two I've been doing are packed up and put away.

I won't, though. Much more likely is a renewed focus on New World's Winter Convergence, which I've let slide in the knowledge that it goes on a lot longer than the rest. The snow in Aeternum won't melt until January 14th, which gives me another ten days to make some money, build my reputation and buy the house items I still want. 

One thing I won't be doing is finishing the questline. I've done most of it. All I have left to do is kill the final yeti in the first set of three. I was anticipating a bit more after that, given the yetis in question are only level 25, but I read through the incredibly extensive guide at this morning and it seems the quest jumps straight from those easy kills to an impossible-to-solo at my level bunch of Level 61-65 Elites.

I'm not displeased about that. It means I will finish all the available, non-repeatable content in my level range, which is more than I expected. For the first iteration of what will presumably become a long-running, annual event, I thought Amazon made a pretty fair fist of it.

And that, I think, will be my final Christmas/New Year post for the season, although since this wasn't even the post I was planning on writing today, I guess I shouldn't be making any promises.

I'll finish up with one final New Year's gift, the third single from Let's Eat Grandma's forthcoming third album. It's most appropriately called Happy New Year. And here it is.

With a bit of luck this year might be better than the last two. At least we can hope!

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