Monday, July 22, 2013

Ding 720! : GW2

What do people do when they hit the level cap in GW2? Wait! Don't tell me, don't tell me - I know this one!

I should do, at least. It's hardly a novelty. I have the full set now, all eight classes. The guardian crossed the finishing line this weekend, just behind the spare ranger, the two of them running neck and neck most of the way. That makes nine Level 80s so far.

It's at this point that I usually start to think about getting them into something more suitable than the random grab-bag of yellows and greens they leveled up in, some of which really should have been upgraded weeks ago. The first time at the cap, way back last autumn, the whole process took a couple of weeks - planning, scrimping, saving, hustling up Ectoplasm, hunting down bones. Arrangements were made, crafters enlisted, decisions worried over at inordinate length as though they really mattered.

Earlier this year it was still taking most of a weekend. Yesterday it took less than half an hour. Although the guardian's a 400-skill Armorsmith and the craft bank overflows with ectos, a quick glance at values and costs put paid to any idea he might have had of making his own Exotics. Not with 2000 Badges of Honor, mostly from the achievement backlog, taking up valuable inventory space, more than enough to pay for six pieces of Berserker's Chainmail from the Armor Master in Yak's Bend Citadel and a Berserker's Greatsword from the Weapon Master standing next to her. A few rings and accessories out of the guild bank, one or two odds and ends from the Trading Post - job done.

It'll go the same way for the new ranger later on today. Level cap to full exotics in minutes. Yes, there's Ascended gear for some slots, with crafted Ascended, which will presumably cover the rest, waiting in the wings. That's enough time-gating to keep someone busy for a good long while, but to what end? Is there anything at all in the game that requires Ascended gear other than as a container for Infusions, and do Infusions have any purpose other than to allow you to do the same content again only with bigger numbers?

No, for any foreseeable purpose, Exotics should be more than enough, Exploring, world events, crafting, Living Story, WvW, that's what my characters do while they level up and that's what they go on doing at the cap. ANet claimed it would work that way and by and large it does. Given the lock on expansions there's really no reason that situation can't persist indefinitely.

With no real gear progression after cap and no gear-locking of content provided by the game itself, it's somewhat amazing to see the wholehearted way players have created a treadmill for themselves. People throw themselves into the grind, willingly or not, just for new skins or items with a different look. The tiniest differences in stats - differences not upgrades - kick up lengthy arguments over which is essential, which useless. Whether there's any material difference in what people can or cannot do with any particular combination that doesn't primarily come down to player skill I beg to doubt, but if it keeps them happy...

Having all eight classes to choose from my preference is the same as it was from the very first beta weekend: Ranger. Widely reckoned to be the weakest, considered broken by those who don't play it and most in need of fixing by many who do, still there seem to be more rangers running around Tyria than any other two classes added together. Currently my go-to class for both open-world PvE and WvW, I understand I won't be getting many dungeon invites but hey, that's probably a bonus!

So, is that it, then? Two rangers, one each of all the rest. Are we done? Hmm... Stand up straight, you lot, asuras at the front. Where's the Charr Engineer? Well that's just not good enough, is it? We're going to need another character slot...


  1. I have 5 toons, I will buy a new toon slot when Anet launch a new race. Please, be tengu!

    1. I bet we don't get a new race this year but given the upcoming election, wouldn't it be great if ANet offered us the chance to vote for which race it would be?

  2. Gratz on nine level 80 :) I hope I can get just the one to level 80!

    All the nine toons on the same account or multiple accounts?

    I don't understand your 4th paragraph about getting exotics in minutes. It wasn't very clear to me. How did you manage that please? I thought you have to do lot of dungeons run to get tokens etc to get exotics.

    To many people part of the fun of RPG is min/max your toon so even 1% stats difference matter. I enjoy this kind of gaming myself but not got the time any more so taking things easy!

    1. Two accounts, which is very convenient, letting you mail stuff to your alts etc.

      There are quite a few ways to get exotics. The main ones would be crafted, which you can do yourself or buy from others on the Trading Post, with Karma from the NPC vendors around the various temples in Orr, from tokens from dungeon runs as you say, or the way I did it this time round, from the NPC vendors at my server's Citadel in World Vs World.

      The WvW route is pretty easy anyway, if you do a lot of fighting in the Borderlands and Eternal Battleground. The currency used is Badges of Honor and those come pretty fast nowadays. The recent change to Achievements has made it incredibly easy, at least for a while, because those rewards are retrospective and one of the many things you get (one of the most useful in my opinion) are stacks of 250 Badges.

      I had about 4500-5000 Achievement points on each account which, when added to the badges I already had, gave me several thousand. The most expensive piece of armor, the chestpiece, only costs 200.

      And yes, scrabbling after the last 1% is what keeps a lot of people playing all these MMOs. Good luck to 'em, I say!

    2. Many thanks for the info. It’s nice to know there are multiple ways of getting “end game” gear. I started GW2 at lunch but lost interest but trying it out again so out of loop on all the new details.

      I guess buying a second account is cheaper than buying 5 more character slots? Or do you multiple box?

      Its amazing you have 4.5k+ achievements. I only have 500+! Did you hunt for achievements or did they came “naturally” while you did you usual stuff in game? If you still remember, how many achievements points did you had after your first level 80 please?

    3. err lunch == launch!

    4. Having two accounts has been a much better deal for me than buying extra slots. I think the price works out almost exactly the same but the added utility of two accounts is invaluable. GW2 is very multi-box unfriendly (no autofollow for a start) and I haven't even tried. The main downside only came to light in the last few weeks - the new bi-weekly content is enough of a pain to do on one account, let alone two. I've already decided to limit it to one account each time.

      As for achievements I got all of them just doing the stuff that I do until the Living Story really kicked in. Now if you want to do the LS you pretty much have to do the achievements. It's annoying. Apparently the average Achievement Point score at the time the new rewards were added was around 6k so I'm actually a bit of an underachiever (and proud of it!).

  3. Yeh the whole "debate" about ascended items and the amount of time terms like "gear treadmill" and "grind" gets brought up is quite frankly nauseating. Now I personally don't like ascended items and how they completely destroy previous progression instead of building on it (i.e. tossing away old gear tier vs progressing title tracks). But seriously, play other MMOs before you complain gear treadmills or grind...

    (end mini-rant)

    On the Ranger, people blow out their weakness in dungeons way out of proportion. Are they "less useful" than other classes in dungeons? Certainly, if you're using pure DPS as the only metric you're judging this on. However, this does not impact their amazing ease with which they solo open world content (due to pet drawing aggro), great 1v1 capability both in WvW and sPvP (incredible mobility, high amount of evades/defensive utilities/sources of damage due to weapon sets available/existence of pet), and their amazing damage at 1500 range (traited, of course. But they still reign supreme even at 1200 range.)

    (end mini-rant as an annoyed ranger player)


    1. I keep hearing how gimped rangers are in WvW but with Point Blank, Barrage, Crippling Shot, Concussion Shot, Entangle and Healing Spring I reckon I'm pulling my weight most of the time. Just got to pick your targets.

      WvW is absolutely jumping on Yaks Bend these days, too. Got a couple of great Commanders doing wonders getting new people involved. Spent far more time there this weekend than I planned.

    2. I hope you were amongst that one Yak's zerg in EB which we portal bombed all the way to hell and back >=)


    3. Heh! I missed that pleasure, but I was in the ones that painted your borderland red and kept it that way for several hours :P

    4. @Ursan RE: Gear Grind.

      Mabinogi handles this well. There isn't any really, you just modify store bought ones to suit your needs - this is because of how the weapon stats tie into your character.

      For example I use a store bought broadsword but modified it to have high damage (say 1-80). This in turn lowered its balance.

      If I give the sword to anyone with low dexterity (which means they can't make up for the low balance) they will consistently do 1-5 damage. For my character, I do 75-80.

      But for lack of gear grind, mabinogi replaces it with a truck load of skills grind. ;p

  4. With the freebie transmutation crystals that you get for completing maps, I've been buying sub-level 80 exotics off trading post and transmuting those with whatever I want the toons wearing. It has been noted (here?) some of the lower level armor sets vendors out in the boonies carry have a nice look to them when dyed appropriately.
    (find any good kilts/skirts out there?)

    The level 76-79 exotics are stats wise better than the level 80 rares. The added benefit is these non-max exotics are dungeon/open world drops that most people want to get rid of quickly. Put in a custom order on trading post (not low ball, but a few copper above the first "big" buy amount listed).

    If you're not completely tweaked to min-max it's nice to do that with level-79 exotic weapons transmuted to the one of the lower level racial weapon sets (like the particle effect bearing charr "steam" weapons).

    1. That's a good plan. There is indeed lots of interesting-looking stuff out there if you can find it. I noticed a while back that one thing ANet hardly ever give away is Transmutation Crystals. No sign of those in the floods of boosters and suchlike that poured out when the Achievement point dam burst. I imagine those are one of the better sellers in the Gem shop.

  5. Hehe congrats! I'm not really focusing on levelling my alts at all. My line up is:

    Human Thief (main)
    Charr Warrior
    Asura Ranger
    Norn Engineer
    Sylvari Mesmer

    The norn and sylvari have the most troubles for me combat wise. Less so now that the norn has her supply drop skill but the Mesmer, damn. Lots of weapon swapping and button pressing just to stay upright sometimes. :/


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