Monday, February 16, 2015

You Want Me To Do WHAT? : GW2

Not so very long ago, either here or in someone's comment thread, I mentioned two things I had no plans on doing in GW2. Things, indeed, that I specifically planned on not doing. The first was sPvP. The second was dailies on the third account that I bought in the recent 75% off sale.

So, naturally, I'm now doing both. The second kind of led into the first, although Jeromai had a little bit to do with it, planting a seed back in this post.

The experience of leveling up a first character on a fresh account these days deserves a post or several of its own, which I may or may not get to at some point. For the moment let's focus on just one of the many, many oddnesses: the Dailies Anet clearly doesn't expect anyone to do.

If a complete newbie, on a complete newbie account, wants to complete his or her dailies and receive the "Daily Completionist" achievement and the ten achievement points that accompany it, he or she gets no choice whatsoever. Completion requires three dailies and three is all you get: do them all or go home.

Excuse me but I'm new this Ascalon?

Each day brings a "choice" of precisely one PvE, one WvW and one PvP daily. As soon as you exit the Tutorial you have immediate access to the achievement window in which they are itemized under "Daily". You also get the daily Log-In reward jiggling away in the bottom corner to draw your attention to the mechanic.

You might well imagine these dailies are something you could get started on right away. You'd be wrong. You can do the PvE one, provided you know where to go and have opened the maps, highly unlikely at level two or three, but as for the other two? Forget it.

A new account is hard-blocked from entering either WvW or PvP by using any of the UI buttons that you might spot via a mouse-over tooltip. Those don't become avaialable until level 18 for WvW and level 22 for PvP. These are also the levels at which your Level Rewards will inform you that you are ready for these activities.

What, then, is the point of dangling that daily carrot in front of the player right at the beginning and then making it as plain as can be that you shouldn't try to reach for it? Fast though leveling is in GW2, few ingenues are going to hit 18 on their first character on the first day. Or the first week, quite possibly. Neither is anyone genuinely new to the game going to know, or discover other than by sheer, blind chance, that you can access both  game modes by going to Lion's Arch, finding the relevant Asura gates there and right-clicking them.

The logic behind making the new player's first few sessions easier to enjoy by offering clearly visible tasks while simultaneously locking them behind obscure access methods escapes me, as does much of ANet's logic. Imagine I was one of those players developers frequently cite, and for whose benefit many of the NPE changes were supposedly implemented, the kind of player who gives up at the first hurdle and never logs in again. Well, let's just say that's one heck of a hurdle you just put in my way.

It doesn't end there either. When you do find and use the Asura Gate to the Heart of the Mists you have to complete a mandatory, if perfunctory, tutorial that seems to have little or no relevance to what actually happens when you get into a PvP map. Then there's the barricade of the sPvP interface itself. To call it confusing and unintuitive would be an understatement.

All must win prizes.
I had to go to the wiki several times before I was able to use that interface effectively and I still don't claim to find it straightforward. I can only imagine that the entry into WvW is just as confusing for anyone who hasn't spent countless hours there. Add to this the unfortunate but salient fact that many WvW players are considerably less than welcoming of "uplevels" and that everyone in every competitive game mode is likely to be intolerant of players, new or old, who are only there to "do their dailies" and you really do have to begin to wonder about the clarity of thought of the people who came up with the whole concept.

As a coherent, considered approach to introducing brand-new players to all the game modes - it sucks. Why not just stick to PvE dailies until there's at least one character on the account that reaches the recommended level for the other game modes? Just finding out where to go for those now they're location-specific would be challenge enough, I'd have thought.

Of course it was only my account and my character that was new to GW2, not me, which
makes for a very lopsided assessment. Things that a real new starter would possibly find frustratingly difficult and confusing I, as an experienced player, found positively bracing. It's a very different experience, for example, trying to solo a yak or a sentry-point as an ungeared uplevel than it is as a Level 80 Bronze Major in full Exotics/Ascended. I had to play a lot smarter and use a lot of cunning. It was a lot of fun.

The PvP (about which I was going to write here but which now may to have to get a post of its own) was entirely new and was pretty confusing but I very much enjoyed it. Whether the rest of my team welcomed having a Level 2 Engineer with almost no gear at all, using pistols with no stats , with only two out of five weapon skills and no utility skills other than a heal and, obviously, no traits is hard to say. No-one complained at me or to me, though, and I was able to hold my own and be fairly useful. I killed people, took points, defended them, all the good stuff.

I didn't die much more than anyone else, either ,as far as I could tell. I'm guessing the group-maker matches people of equivalent rank together so none of us had much idea what we were doing. We must all have been Rabbits together. I even had enough fun that I ran a few matches on my level 80s.

I was enjoying the whole thing so much in fact, the low-level, no choice daily experience, that it was disappointing when I hit level 11 and suddenly my daily horizons expanded to a choice of three from nine. Not for the first time I wished GW2 had some potion or toggle that allowed you to lock your level.

All that and I didn't even get around to mentioning Dragonball.


  1. I must comment that you and GW2 are almost like a real-life romantic relationship: Never ending push and pull, bouts of passion under that feigned disinterest, cause of much annoyance and yet can never get enough of it.


    1. I tend to operate in that mode for most things that I really like. I have to be pretty involved with something to start examining it in such detail. Sticking to MMOs, the ones that I just dabble in all seem pretty good to me because I never look at them closely enough to see past the surface and the surface of most MMOs is pretty pleasant for a short while.

      GW2 is an interesting case though. If Mrs Bhagpuss wasn't so keen to keep playing it I'm not sure I'd be giving it all that much time these days. On the other hand, neither am I sure I have an alternative on tap that I would go back to playing "full time". Can't say there's much on the horizon this year that's likely to change my current pattern but you never know.

    2. Are you sure the Mrs. isn't jealous of all the attention you lavish onto the game? =P


  2. Hmmm strange. I made an engineer for the pvp dailies.. level 2, and whilst in pve land has nothing unlocked, in spvp land, all weapons skills and utilities are available. (Also, you get your stats from the pvp amulet and not your specific gear.) I didn't look at the traits though. I do believe I have to unlock those. So, something seems odd. I dunno why'd you'd not have a full weapon/utility skill bar.

    1. Oh and Dragon Ball is god-awful torture that I am skipping yet again (skipped it last time it was out.) So poorly balanced which is a shame as it has potential.

    2. I was very puzzled too. I thought all characters were automatically set to the same standard in sPvP. I did wonder if it might be a bug. Until I hit either level 10 or 12 (not sure which because I didn't do any PvP between dinging 10 and reaching 12) I only had the same slots unlocked as I had in PvE.

      I actually preferred it. It made play incredibly simple - all I could do was fire my pistols and heal which meant I was much more focused on tactics and positioning and teamplay. Now I have everything available I spam turrets and roll about a lot - it's a lot less subtle!

  3. Its been quite a while since I've loged in gw2 but back when i did everything in spvp was free and unlocked. everything essential I mean, you still needed to unlock certain skins.

    all your stats in spvp comes from sigils (that was the name right?) and amulets. Your armor and weapons are statless and you need to get an amulet and sigils/enchantments appropriate for your spec and you are set.

    Oh and respec is free and unlimited too. or at least it was.

    1. I really need to go read it up and experiment if I'm going to do much more. I might do that this weekend.

  4. Well, heck, you reminded me I've been vaguely mulling over (how's that for vague?) whether the try spvp again. I'd only been in there two or three times, most recently at least a year ago...

    I just logged out of a few matches (that, it seems, "we" all won). It was fun. I hardly know what I did or we did. It was just a lot of high speed, adrenal leaping and killing -- not terribly unlike wvw when things really pick up. As I suspected, my time in the borderlands made this visit considerably more successful.

    You're right, tho', about the system being opaque. The sort of wheel of fortune spin doesn't help.

    *shrug* It was a good and quick rush (and so many chests of stuffstuffstuffystuff!) Now I'm ready to call it a day in much less time than a run around the usual maps. Prob'ly do it again now and then. See how you are? geez... ;)

    -- 7rlsy
    BG (& AB)


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