Thursday, May 5, 2016

Let's Get This Party Started! : GW2

Slipped into the lengthy patch notes for Tuesday's update to GW2 was this single, enigmatic line:

Magic energy has been surging around the ley lines.

Since Mordremoth died (repeat performance daily) there has been a complete dearth of reaction in game and not all that much outside, either. You'd imagine the violent death of an Elder Dragon at the hands of the remnants of an invading army might cause some repercussions, whether geopolitical, geological or both but no. Silence is all.

Well, almost all. There was one thread on the forums a while back, which I am now unable to find, that was similar to this one on reddit discussing some odd sounds heard around the lighthouse in Lion's Arch.

In the thread on the official forum a player was having sound card issues and as a result was running some tests around LA to try and isolate the problem. He posted in some detail on the odd noises around the lighthouse and, inevitably, it led to speculation on a putative lore-based explanation rather than a straightforward technical problem.

Is this where the party is?

That would all have been so much hooey, only an ANet dev popped on to the thread to compliment the player on his excellent hearing and to drop a not very subtle hint that, yes, there might be something more to all this than met the ear. If only I could find that thread...

Well, now there need be no more speculation. Not, at least, over whether anything is happening. Something is very definitely happening, although you have to be alert to notice. The line jumped out at me but I'm a habitual reader of patch notes. I realize most people don't even skim them. (I usually try to read the full notes before logging in whenever any MMO patches - I'm the kind of person who actually reads the instruction manual before installing a new appliance - I even used to read the entire game manual before creating a character in a new game - back when we used to have game manuals).

Bowing to the ANet Dev I just killed!
The first few hours were spent gosh-wowing at the returned Alpine Borderlands and trying to help stem the PPT hemorrhage following the completely out-of-the-blue mid-week match reset but when it began to become obvious that was a lost cause I remembered the mysterious teaser. My first thought was to go find a Ley Line.

Hmm. Where would you find one of those outside of Dragon's Stand? For some reason my thoughts went immediately to the chak tunnels in Tangled Depths. I hopped onto my druid and waypointed over there but a couple of minutes of aimless gliding brought a flashback of the last time I wasted an hour cruising the Ley Lines in TD, trying to complete an achievement that mentions them but doesn't actually use them.

Burn me once, make me burn-shy. I bet Dulfy already has a guide up for this. Of course she does. The content must have been in game for, oh, at least a couple of hours.

Don't read the guide if you don't want the event fully spoiled. Read on if you want it vaguely tainted.

ANet have eased the whole thing into the game in a pleasantly organic manner that means the average PvE player will come across it eventually without really trying. In brief, there's a class of mobs, spread across several maps and levels, who can drop what in any other MMO we'd all immediately recognize as a "quest starter".

GW2, as we all know (insert eye-roll emoji) doesn't have quests. So, anyway, to begin my questing I went to Wayfarer Hills and started killing Sons of Svanjir. Killed a couple of dozen. Nothing. Moved to Snowden Drifts, killed some more. Still nothing.

So you had it all along!

After about fifteen minutes of this an Unidentified Lodestone dropped. Inspecting it told me who might be able to identify it: Magister Ela Makkay in Lion's Arch. I went to show it to her and she did such an excellent job of lifting the veil that a map popped up and showed me the exact locations I needed to visit.

There were three maps to choose from. Since I'd started in Snowden Drifts I chose to carry on there. I waypointed back and jogged to the spot marked on the map, where I found...a party! There were maybe fifteen players waiting there in the cold and to keep themselves warm they'd laid out Guild Banquets, Kegs, Firework Launchers and Karma Banners.

I was just about to break out my Super Boom Box and get the party really started when all hell broke loose. There was a frenzy of action as we banded together to prevent Elite and Champion dragon minions from trying to gatecrash and then a huge glowing ball of energy called a Champion Coalescence spawned. We burst that bubble and it was all over.

Don't you just hate gatecrashers?

A flurry of hitherto invisible achievements popped up, along with various rewards and Steel Chests. Looking at the now-visible Achievements in my journal I saw that they reward an auto-consumed item which gives a "Tome of Tyrian Mastery that grants a large amount of Tyrian mastery XP".

It would have been handy to know that in advance because my xp bar has been full for weeks and since I have no particular interest in any of the Tyrian Masteries I haven't already unlocked I haven't bothered to switch a new one on. I don't know where that "large amount of Tyrian Mastery XP" went but I didn't get any of it.

Lesson learned. I am now tracking the first of the Legendary Crafting masteries because, while I have no interest in finishing one, I might one day do the collections for the interim versions. Better than letting all that xp dribble into the snow, anyway.

As is par for the course with ANet the event is bugged. The mobs don't always spawn as they should so some maps can become locked out of contention. You can work around that right now by using the LFG panel to move to a working map but there's already a fix in the pipeline that should be deployed in a hot-fix today.

It's a nice, easy, fun event of exactly the kind I like. It's also the sort of thing I strongly associate with the best period of the Living Story, when easy to access, community-building, open-world events created a sense of anticipation while giving us all something amusing and entertaining to do. Yes, we whined and whinged and complained about it then but now we know better.

It's another good sign. As Light Falls Gracefully so eloquently puts it, under the new regime it seems we can have nice things after all.


  1. "It's a nice, easy, fun event of exactly the kind I like. It's also the sort of thing I strongly associate with the best period of the Living Story, when easy to access, community-building, open-world events created a sense of anticipation while giving us all something amusing and entertaining to do. Yes, we whined and whinged and complained about it then but now we know better."

    Amen. This paragraph needs to be cut and pasted everywhere.

    1. It's interesting for me to look back on the posts I wrote during Living Story 1. They are generally a lot more positive than I remember. At the conclusion of the season I gave it an overall score of B- which isn't bad. With hindsight I would raise that to a straight B overall, with the best parts, like the map invasions and Marionnette going all the way to A or even A+.

      I think we can definitely say that things are on the up at the moment. And not before time!

  2. Heh, I didn't even know Ela Makkay told you exactly where to go – someone in /g mentioned the zones the events were in so I picked a random waypoint in each and then figured the cluster of commander tags is where the action would be.

    I do like this kind of 'mystery' storytelling, the way things are dropped into the game without fanfare, and it's up to the players to discover them.

    1. I like it too. You know that everything will be on the wiki/forums/dulfy the same day it appears in game but we have the choice of whether to read up the details or just wait to bump into the events by chance. Better by far than a great "Event Window" glaring at you from the top right corner of the screen every time you log in.


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