Monday, August 26, 2013

Let's Make Hay : GW2

This was the weekend I expected to be hip-deep in the FFXIV head start. So what did I do? Played GW2 non-stop, naturally.

Was it because my Early Access code didn't come. Nope. That turned out to be a fuss over nothing. If I'd just trusted the original instructions I could have saved myself a whole lot of pointless anxiety. That confirmation email that assured me "You don’t need to do anything now. We’ll email you again near the time that the Early Access starts with the next steps"? 100% accurate. That's exactly what happened with two days to spare.

Was it the notorious server downtime that Stargrace wrote about, then? Not really. The first of those did put a stop to my opening session after about three hours but since then I've only tried to log in once and if I hadn't read about them I wouldn't even have known there'd been problems.

The Asuran Necro Reaction
No, it's nothing Square did wrong, nor was it lack of interest on my part. I've certainly been thinking about logging into FFXIV often enough. It's just that every time I go to do it I seem to hit the GW2 icon instead.

The reasons are twofold. Firstly , Clockwork Chaos is without doubt the best episode of the Living Story so far (I know, faint praise and all that but it is good, or perhaps more accurately, it's to my taste). Secondly, WvW remains perpetually appealing and Yak's Bend has yet another very good match-up this week.

The invasions are both entertaining and worthwhile, an unusual combination in any MMO. I'd do them fairly often even if there wasn't much of a reward attached, the way I did countless invasions in the early days of Rift just because they were fun to do. Factor in the loot that rains from the sky so that you walk away several gold richer every single time, win or lose, and consider that the whole thing runs on the hour, every hour and the problem becomes not whether to join in but how to stop. The community may be going to hell in a Deluxe Gear Box but at least we're all getting rich.

The Human Mesmer Reaction
Mrs Bhagpuss and I did, however, manage to jump off the money train long enough for two runs through Scarlet's Playhouse. I liked that too. As Ravious observed ANet finally seem to have gotten scaling down, both on the open-world events and in this "Dungeon". The Playhouse scaled very nicely for a duo.

We died a couple of times on our first two-necro run mostly due to having no clue what we were supposed to be doing. We spent too long killing things we probably didn't need to kill. Lord Faren must have been getting pretty worried, although not as worried as we were when he jumped out of the pot in nothing but his Speedos.

Scarlet was a doddle to down when she was waving her giant club around but kiting her into the canonfire was tricky. She seemed to prefer standing back and banging away with her rifle to playing Chase Me. The best strategy we came up with, on the second go through, was to hang around the Minstrels. (There's a joke about drummers just begging to wedge itself in there). Whoever was firing those cannons (and who was that anyway?) must have been a music critic.

Hello? Necro on fire here!
In the first run the part we had the most trouble with was probably finding the way to the centre for the Big Finale. I don't think it was such a great idea to have the exit dead in the center of the path. No-one actually left the map by accident but Mrs Bhagpuss DC'd at the exact time we were passing it and I thought for one minute that's what she'd done. I'm not sure if that would have locked her out of the rest of the instance but I'm glad we didn't have to find out.

Second time through Mrs Bhagpuss was playing her Ranger and I was, as they say, "on my Mesmer", which was the problem. We had several completely unnecessary deaths because I was so "on my Mesmer" I insisted we go all fancy dan at the centaur patrols - portals, veil, mass invisiblity, the whole Mesmer nine yards .

I got stunlocked, opened a portal in the wrong place, got another portal bugged. We both died several times as I messed about with clever plans before we looked at each other and said, "Let's just run it. Y'know, like the necros did first time. When no-one died". So, that worked. Sometimes it just doesn't pay to try and play smart.

Slave to the Rhythm
The bit with the barrels seemed random when we did it with the Necros but next time the pattern began to emerge. Didn't make much difference either way, to be honest - we ran, Scarlet jumped, barrels exploded. She had enough, made some speeches and threatened us with her List like a demented vegetable Santa Claus and that was that. Jolly good fun was had by all, not least by both Scarlet and the actress playing her.

The whole episode is going rather well. To my own immense surprise I've already completed the seventeen achievements needed for the Infinite Watchwork Tonic, which is a lot better reward than yet another Mini I'll never use, even if the model does look ludicrous and needs a good oiling. (It creaks when you walk). There's a good chance I'll complete it on both accounts.

I've had two of the ugly clockwork shoulders drop as well as, and far more welcome, an Abyss Dye. So far I must have made at least fifty gold just on coin drops and vendor sales and I could probably double that if I sold the mats I've banked on the TP.

What with all that going on and having to keep Stormbluff Isle and Northern Shiverpeaks in their place it doesn't look as if I'll be seeing all that much of Eorzea for a while yet.


  1. During the cannonball battle with Scarlet, she wants to stand in front of you and will circle round to do so, which is where getting her to stand conveniently in the red circle is a problem if you are running from her rather than back peddling. So find red circle of death, then turn and face Scarlet, and hopefully dodge out of the way when she gets locked into her scatter gun animation. Applying stacks of cripples while she is stunned helps slow her enough to handle setting up the next cannonball impact.

    Stealth (except when downed) with her boss battle phases appears to break aggro. She's crazy and has a short span of attention.

    Solo you can abandon the instance while downed to avoid armor damage (for now).

    1. Ah thanks - that makes sense. I think it would have been more apparent solo than in a duo. Not sure if I'll be doing it again but if I do I'll try it that way.

  2. Definitely in agreement that this is a good arc of the story. Even for non-farming me it's very profitable. :)

  3. As an off topic side note... how *does* one make hay? I've no farmhand experience. Is it just drying grass?

    1. I'm not a farmer either but I grew up sort of in the country so I saw it happening often enough. As far as I can tell that's exactly what it is, which is why farmers all pray for hot, sunny weather at the end of August.

  4. I just re-started playing GW2 again, and holy hell am I confused. The last time I played, all dailys took were the same things over and over, now it seems more random. You get laurels for completing them. And now story stuff is everywhere! I at least plan on getting to level 10 before I start any of it, If I can participate at all at such a low level.

    1. There have been a lot of changes, probably most for the better, by and large. It took them a long while to really get rolling but they seem to have hit stride at last.

      The Living Story is the current mechanic for delivering most of the new content and usually it either scales to level or you get up-kicked to 80. It's pretty inclusive.

  5. Nice Grace Jones riff there...

    -- 7rlsy

    1. Would have been even better if I'd spelled "rhythm" right. Correcting that now...


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