Monday, September 30, 2013

Bragging Rites : GW2

Even as we reach the end of the inexorable two-week cycle and wave goodbye to Tequatl Rising, so we are already girding our loins for the inevitable arrival of the next round of The Living Story, Twilight Assault. There's a post up at GamingSF that so neatly sums up my own feelings I could almost just link to it and leave it at that. Almost.

There's a purely delicious irony in the idea that anyone could take a step back from Tequatl and say to themselves "Y'know what? This isn't happening. Let's go to Orr. We can kick back and have some fun!". Remember Orr? It's way down in the deep south and a lot of players were just discovering it for the first time around about a year ago. For many it turned out to be the place where they decided they'd seen about as much of Tyria as they cared to and suddenly found they had better things to do.

Orr has seen several rubs of the polishing cloth since then, all to its benefit, but it's still not what you might call a holiday resort. It's no Southsun, that's for sure. Okay, bad example, but the point is this; just how stressful must what you were doing have been if Orr feels relaxing in comparison?

I got into a short, good-natured spat in Map chat after my fourth (or was it fifth) failed Tequatl in a row last night. The plan was to stay up until reset, when I thought there was a reasonable chance we might down him. I'd asked during each previous fight whether anyone knew of any plans for a concerted attempt at reset. No-one did although like me several people were hopeful.

Because I play on a US server, reset currently comes at one o'clock in the morning. Tequatl decided to make his final appearance of the day just before then. We had our best run of the evening, taking him to somewhere around 80%. It was the only time we even got the megalasers up, although they didn't hang around long enough to charge.

At this point someone else asked about the next attempt after reset and got the reply that Yak's Bend hadn't managed to kill Tequatl all weekend. I took that to be my cue to leave, figuring I'd be far better off in bed asleep than waiting up for another attempt that would almost certainly fail.

Before I had time to log out a discussion started in Map about whether the Tequatl fight was "hard" or not, during which I felt honor-bound to observe that any event that failed almost every time must, by definition, be "hard" or else the term "hard" risked losing all contextual value. It wasn't a popular observation, or at least not with the self-identifying "Gamers" among the crowd.

The Tequatl Rising event has had quite an impact in a number of ways, the most pernicious being a hardening of the already-noticeable polarization of the playerbase into opposing camps roughly approximating the old "hardcore" vs "casual" dichotomy. Considering GW2's firmly-established place in the gaming canon as the casual MMO par excellence, any argument between its players over who's "harder" might seem about as cute as a fight between a kitten and a bunny rabbit, but as anyone who's spent much time around either of those cuddly creatures knows, when the claws come out someone could lose an eye. And anyway, as usual, the argument is really one of semantics.

The Tequatl fight is not "hard" in the sense that Gamers understand the term. The mechanics are simple to understand and easy to execute. In a larger sense, however, it's very hard indeed, requiring firstly the guaranteed presence of more players than are ever likely, naturally, to be present on the map at the time it takes place and secondly the means to organize them effectively should they, by some immense effort of will, be persuaded to come.

The much-discussed tactics that have been used to greater or lesser extent to gather and direct a sufficient critical mass of players so that this evolved dragon can reliably be put in his place are clearly unsustainable over anything other than the short term by any less than the most determined, organized, dare I say obsessive players. That's fine. Those people are there; they are as entitled to content that suits them as anyone else who's not paying the non-existent sub.

For the rest of us, the non-obsessives, we gave it a shot, it didn't pan out, the carnival moves on. Unfortunately, it moves on to what will in all probability be another divisive two weeks, the third Living Story segment in a row to offer at its center a single-location, self-consciously "difficult" set-piece event complete with those all-important bragging rights.

Ah yes, bragging rights. ANet have a variety of markers for those; Achievements, Titles, Mini-Pets, Armor and Weapons and Backslot Items. The trouble with Achievements is that other players have to make an active choice to look at yours. And Titles aren't so hot either, because other players can switch yours off. Minis are alright but you have to remember to keep summoning them. No, things you wear or wield are better and backpacks are the best of all. Always there, right in the faces of the little people running along behind you, so very hard to ignore.

The official announcement hammers the point home with all the subtlety of a Norn challenging a Charr to a game of Belcher's Bluff. "Show off your prowess with the new Slickpack back item. It glows, it gleams, and it lets the whole world know that you bested the dangers of Twilight Assault!" The small portion of GW2 players who give a damn, maybe. The whole world? I think not.

As for me, I'll pass on Orr as a post-Tequatl chill-out zone and I may well pass on the new dungeon path too (and come to think of it, isn't a single new path and a few bonus chests for WvW a tad light for a Living Story update?). No, I think I might just toddle off to somewhere a little more light-hearted, just for a while. Now if only I could think of somewhere to go...


  1. Photos: I see what you did there.

    Remember how we were all gushing about how well tuned for the goal oriented and loot oriented casual players the Scarlet Invasions were?

    Anet "fixed" those. I've been running those when they pop up because of the horror stories with Teq pretty much scared this casual off, a casual who will readily jump into a PUG organized Balthazar push from Trinity. Over the weekend I finally saw one Scarlet Invasion event make it all the way to getting Scarlet to appear, but still ran out of time.

    At least map chat on those is fairly civil, but a fair number of comments about the bar being set a bit higher.

    1. Well, I wasn't exactly being subtle with the pictures hehe.

      I did two Scarlet invasions almost back-to-back last night. One got to the final phase but ran out of time before Scarlet appeared, the other didn't get half way. I did another this afternoon in the dead hours and it didn't get out of the first phase!

      They were all still more entertaining and *way* more profitable than Teq, though. One guy was complaining that Scarlet had been "nerfed" so he no longer got 60 exotic boxes per run. Maybe so, but the thirty or so boxes I got from the three I did (plus a metric ton of miscellaneous drops) sure beats the big, fat nothing from all my Teq runs added together over the last two weeks.

  2. “Be careful what you want, you may get it”

    So, a lot of people said GW2 had no end content and wanted that GW2 had a WoW like raid.

    Guys, you get what you wanted...

    1. Not that I was one of them, but yep, that's pretty much what's happened. Seems to be pretty popular, too, at least with the people who were complaining this was what we were missing.

    2. Well, I too think it is popular. Everytime I try Tequila I end into overflow, so there are a LOT of people from my server trying it.

      Now I get my Tequila's wings, I just concluded I use my time best farming Orr. I need farm mats for ascended crafting, I have one ascended weapon crafted and want craft more weapons for all my alts (I am trying now craft a greatsword for my ranger, my warrior have an ascended hammer) and I have two toons that I need bring to 500 crafting (huntsman and artificer). So... a lot of Orr farming for me.

      The new TA path I will see, problably I will do it just for any achievement they bring to table. Almost 7.5 k achievement, I will not refuse more achievement points.

      But I sincerelly I hope people learn from this lesson. If we want more harder content, Anet will give us. Maybe be time for ask for more casual content.

    3. The sad thing is that the people who asked for harder content -are- enjoying it, in their little closed groups feeling good about themselves being so much better than the rest.

      Which works right up to the point that everyone else takes off for greener pastures and you're left with an ever-smaller ever-insular playerbase thinking all is right with the world and the devs should only cater to them.

      Then another City of Heroes happens and NCsoft has the last 'lol'.

  3. Definitely a "skip this" moment for me. Not because it's difficult content, but because it's a bad fit for the chaos of public event content. Sure ArenaNet will have some nice stats to post in a infographic about how many times Teq was killed and how many ascended weapons or minis people looted. But as others have said this is for the elite guilds and the min-maxers.

    In the meantime I do have the new in-game goal of grinding my crafting up to 500 which means Orr is my new home too. The extra layer of irony in my post is that I didn't make it to Orr before Fractals landed, so by the time we got there this summer it was mostly deserted. I am very impressed with the design of the zones, but then I haven't been there long enough to get sick of undead just yet...

  4. This dungeon is probably not going to be soloable so it's going to be another skip for me I think. :P

  5. If I am a new casual player reading these comments, I would think GW2 must be the grindest game in existence :)

    1. That would appear to be the Guinness World Record ANet have their eye on.


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