Monday, December 3, 2018

A Six-Footed Friend : GW2

This afternoon I completed the meta-achievement for the new Roller Beetle races in Guild Wars 2. It's not particularly difficult. You have to tick off ten achievements from a list  of seventeen. That would appear to give a wide margin for error, but not all of them count.

The ones that matter are getting either Silver or Gold in a time trial on each of the five tracks and completing fifteen laps of all five as well. Dulfy has a guide but you really don't need one. I didn't look at it until after I'd finished.

The reward is a nifty scarf that blows out behind you in true WW1 fighter pilot style. It's a shoulder-slot item with three dye channels. Although you have to choose just an armor weight - Light, Medium or Heavy - when you get it, whichever one you choose unlocks all three skins.

There is an upmarket "gold" version you can get if you can manage all five tracks in the very tight "gold" time limit. If they nerf a couple of them I might give it a try but as it stands there's no possible chance I'll be able to do Brisban Wildlands and I doubt I'd get Snowden Drifts or Mount Maelstrom either.

In any case, looking at the pictures of the two scarves on Dulfy, I can't see the difference. Well, I can: one is yellow and the other is blue. The caption, however, says the blue one is the Golden version so either Dulfy is colorblind, the artists at ANet are having a little joke or someone dyed the thing before they took the screenshot.

I think that, for an event of this kind, it's remarkably well done. The meta only requiring Silver puts it within the reach of most players while the ability to rent a beetle for just one silver per hour opens the races up to everyone, regardless of whether they have the Path of Fire expansion or not.

The tokens - Racing Medallions, to give them their proper name - the vendor takes come fairly quickly. Completing the meta and doing a few extra races along the way has netted me 289 so far and I haven't been doing the dailies, which would add quite a few more. 

The dailies are only around for the duration of the Sweepstake, which means they're with us for a month. Given that you get medallions for normal racing and that the Bronze, Silver and Gold time trial rewards refresh every day at reset, anyone who really cares should be able to buy anything they fancy on the vendor so long as they're patient.

The event has had one interesting and unexpected side-effect for me. As I say all too often, I don't much like GW2's mounts and although I enjoyed getting the Roller Beetle I had written it off completely as means of transport. It seemed both ridiculous and impractical.

Having spent a lot of time with mine, I do now feel somewhat differently about it. Once you get to grips with the controls it is, counter-intuitively, one of the steadier rides. It's also highly useful for crossing flat areas fast and there are quite a lot of flat areas in Tyria.

The beetle itself is also oddly appealing when you take time to study it closely. It looks rather like a little old man carrying a heavy load. It does have six legs but it stands upright on two of them, waves two about like arms and the other two form some kind of art deco portico out front.

The saddle your character sits on looks like a cross between a carnival ride and one of WildStar's hoverboards. It's entirely unconnected to the mount itself. You hang there in space at the back, looking pretty darned cool.

There are also resting animations that add a sense of ownership and indeed affection to the relationship between rider and mount. The beetle often does an endearing little shuffle from side to side, stamping its feet and "singing". Less frequently, your character reaches forward to pat the beetle firmly on the shell.

All in all this has been rather an impressive addition to the game. I'd take it over just about any episode of the Living Story, post Season One. I'm not at all surprised to see that the achievements for it appear in the Side Stories category. Yet again the supposed back-up team proves to have a much better idea of what constitutes genuine entertainment than the leads.

From here it's all downhill to Wintersday, I guess. As far as I can tell the dates haven't been anounced yet but I'm expecting it to start next Tuesday and run into the New Year. I wonder if we'll get a new race for that as well?

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