Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Small in Stature, Not in Mind

There are have been many fantastic depictions of the power of the little person, ranging from the infamous Yoda, to Gollum, to Harry Potter's Dobby, to Stitch (c'mon he's cute!). Now we have the Asurans to add to that continuum of small beings with big hearts and bigger brains. (Well, except for Stitch; he wasn't that bright.)
Asuran creation screen in Guild Wars 2
Note the crazy sliders just for eyes!
I finally got a chance to make an Asuran in BWE3. I had always thought mine would be like a female Yoda, wizened and wise and ass-kicking, but it turned out that despite all the sliders, she just looked too damn cute! There was even a slider for "cheek puff". Everyone say, "Awwwwww." I guess could have tried harder to make her ugly, but why bother?
As for the body shape choices, you could select pot-bellied, pot-bellied or more pot-bellied. They all look like two-year-olds with their little tummies stretched out after a nice meal.

I played on my Asuran engineer for a little bit, but didn't much like the class, so I ended up switching over to other races and classes so as not to waste time. However, I did get to quest for quite a while with Dogmatichades' toon, an Asuran Ele named Vort. Fiesty little bugger, and quick to boot. We chased his little butt all over Metrica Province and then some!
Asuran townclothes

All the lore talks about how bright the Asurans are, how intelligent and witty and mechanically minded. I think ANet did a great job of incorporating that into the Asuran personal storylines, quests and attitude, while at the same time putting in a huge dollop of humour and cuteness that makes it much harder to hate them for being waaaaaay smarter than you.
For example, when they run and fight, their little floppy ears stand up on end. Adorable! Of course, if you mention that, they'll order their golem to kick you in the shins, but still I couldn't help but smile at Vort's undeniable cuteness as he raced towards the next battle, ears flapping. And when they strafe, they stop as if their momentum is almost too much to handle, tilting them over to one side as they screech to a halt on their stumpy little legs.

I was also amused with a lot of the first quests in the starting area. I had the most fun there of all the zones. The dialogue was clever and silly, and I discovered later that the quest choices were different according to which race you were playing. It makes sense that a newborn Sylvari wouldn't be able to understand the complexity of an Asuran invention. ("Fiddle with the triangular thingy")
I won't give any spoilers, but the next time you're in Lollipop Land and you need a good giggle, I suggest you try out the heart quest Doola's Golemancing Research and talk to a Golem Assistant to help him collect data. "Squeee!"

It looks like my guildies are settling into their preferred races, and we are quite varied in our tastes. Dezi has always known she wanted to be a Norn, Dogmatichades couldn't be anything but an Asura, and I have pretty much accepted the fact that I was born to be a Sylvari. It'll be fun to see what our guild race and class distribution will be. Of course, I'm making one of each!
Vort, Dezi and Spiral in a very hot hot tub!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hoelbrak Theme Music

I was telling my guildies in game this weekend to turn their music on and go to Hoelbrak, the Norn capital city. The music there is amazing! Here it is for your audio enjoyment.

The part that makes me want to raise my arms and bless the sky is at 1:45.

You can buy the soundtrack, composed by Jeremy Soule, from DirectSong. ArenaNet is putting a $5 coupon in the Collector's Edition, if  you're silly enough to have not yet purchased this great game!

Dynamic Events per Colin

Guild Wars 2 Lead Content Designer, Colin Johanson, had this to say on the GW2 forums about Dynamic Events (DEs). It's worth a read if you haven't seen it already.

"It’s absolutely a challenge, trying to get folks to change the mentality they’ve become so used to after years of gaming in MMO’s where nothing really happens after something ends.
Since events will likely create new events, or unlock new merchants, or create access to stuff like treasure chests and gathering nodes; often times the most efficient thing to do is actually hang out out and see what happens after the event is over.
Also, you just might see some fun stuff like moa dance teams. ;)
At the end of the day, it’s entirely up to everyone how they choose to play, but the most rewarding experience from a world immersion and game-play standpoint is absolutely to hang out after an event and see what happens. It’s probably going to take a while for people to adjust to this style, but Guild Wars 2 is absolutely a game that rewards people most who take the time to explore, enjoy themselves and stop and smell the roses. A lot of the great mystery and discovery of the world comes from taking your time and enjoying it, more like a Skyrim RPG type experience than a rush as fast as possible from one quest hub to another experience.
You’ll get as much out of Gw2 as you choose to put into it from a game-play perspective, over time I think we’ll see more and more folks become adjusted to that and be able to sit back, relax, and just enjoy the game!"

Have fun, that's the GW2 motto. It's hard to let go of that "should" mentality, in real life and in gaming. I find myself thinking "What should I do next?" when really I should be thinking "What CAN I do next?"
Could GW2 be possibly teaching gamers a life of Zen? Type As are going to find this frustrating. List-checkers (like me!) are going to find this frustrating.
Let's all take a deep breath, look up from our path, release our inner child and just PLAY.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Misc. Tidbits from BWE3

Little screens and comments from the ongoing BWE3. Having too much fun to blog longer right now. Must get back in Tyria before it disappears for another month.
Dogmatichades took us to see the Arena! So cute. He jumped in there like the mad-fun Asuran he is, while Dezi and I watched. I don't know what this arena is actually for. It didn't do anything or have any clickable NPCs. Guess we'll find out later. 

I love Hoelbrak. Can't stop taking pictures of the place.

Found a guide! She was actually very helpful and put a Personal Waypoint marker on my map so could find my way to the Asuran Gate to L.A.

Dogmatichades was impressed that the Sylvari Grove actually held the Ventari's Tablet AND you could read them. I found the laws to be quite inspiring and wise. I'm falling in love with the Sylvari. 

Dobby journeys to Divinity's Reach!  :)

Um, Did I do all that? RAWR!!

Mousekin teaching cubs what it is to be a fierce Charr Guardian

Found the Norn Cultural Armor vendor in Hoelbrak.
The gear was all over level 35 and cost at least 1 gold.
You can now preview gear by right-clicking.
This is the wolf mask, as if Norn aren't ferocious enough!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Beta Weekend Sylvari Screens

As has been customary for this blog during a beta weekend, I am starting with some quick screenshots, as I don't want to waste too much time outside of Tyria.
The sylvari are a gorgeous race living in a utopian jungle. Love them! I could have spent days in the character creation screen. Well done, artists of Anet!
Caffeina, my sylvari necro
Dyed pink, in a talk-scene

Caffeina's townclothes, dyed orange. So beautiful!
I wanted to take a picture of the male sylvari's townclothes but we decided
that they were gawd-awful. I said to Majyst, "It looks like your rolled in honey and
fell in a leaf pile!"

Leafy Land. Funny how the actual name escapes me right now. The whole night we kept making jokes
about leafy people and leafy dogs and leafy butts, so it just stuck. 

Naked sylvari!
Modra said about the male, "It looks like he took a poop in the woods, wiped his butt and it got stuck!"
And here I was thinking the male butt-leaf was kinda cute. He wrecked it for me.  LOL
And yes, that is a mushroom head. And yes, it is very phallic. ;)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gems in BWE3? No thanks!

Okay so there's this kinda confusing post by ANet about buying gems during the beta weekend that starts tomorrow. I read through it a few times before I figured it out. I will sum up for you, faithful readers!

1. The gem store will be live during the weekend, meaning you can purchase gems with your credit card or Paypal.
2. You can buy stuff with your gems during the beta weekend.
3. That stuff you bought will disappear before launch.
4. The total amount of gems you bought with your credit card or Paypal will be re-credited to your real account when the game is launched.

Make sense? No, I didn't think so!
Okay, so let's say I use Paypal to buy 2,000 gems. I buy a bunch of dye packs and some transmuter stones and a pirate hat. I use them on my toon all beta weekend. I only have 800 gems left on my account at the end of beta weekend. Before launch, all data gets wiped, my toon, my inventory, my stuff, everything. On launch day, I log in and my account now has 2,000 gems again! Yay!

I guess the point of this is for the game devs to test the gem system before launch, and to give us players the chance to "buy and try" a variety of items that we may or may not want to buy once the game launches.
Personally, I'm gonna wait. I don't think I will be spending much real money on the game anyway. I like free stuff and GW2 is set up so that Gem Store items are cosmetic only. You can't be better at the game using cash, just prettier.

One final note: dyes will now be auctionable on the Black Lion Trading Post. Yippee!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My World is Gone!

Just when I thought Anet liked me, they deleted my world! Yes, as of BWE3, Port Sledge server is no more. (sob!) Their blog posts says they are condensing worlds so that they are more populated and therefore more fun. We'll see if more fun = more lag.

Here is the list of North American servers for BWE3 this weekend:

Anvil Rock
Borlis Pass
Crystal Desert
Ehmry Bay
Fort Aspenwood
Gate of Madness
Henge of Denravi
Isle of Janthir
Jade Quarry
Sanctum of Rall
Sea of Sorrows
Sorrow’s Furnace
Stormbluff Isle
Tarnished Coast
Yak’s Bend

I'll let you know where I end up. Who knows? It may not even be the same for release. It'll be nice when this all settles down though.

Monday, July 16, 2012

ArenaNet Is Spying on My Life

Okay so I just read the latest ANet blog post about the new stuff in the final BWE. Started with, yay, create a Sylvari! Woot, create an Asura! Then, wow, new zone, so pretty! Followed by holy freaking awesome Keg game for the Norns!
The fifth new thing they mentioned made me kinda stop and look around for hidden cameras in my home. It's all about vistas. Here's their video.

So you're like, "Big deal. So what? It's freaking beautiful and jaw-dropping and all, but why do you think you're on your own private Truman Show?"
Well, let me tell you! For years now, YEARS, as I've been traveling around the really-real world, I would exclaim with joy and amazement the single word, "VISTA!", when encountering a panoramic viewpoint. Honestly, my ex-bf and I used to do this in the car as we'd be driving along exploring the far corners of The Earth. When we had others in with us, they'd startle at our simultaneous shouts as we crested a hill or rounded a bend.
I think it's kinda of hilarious, serendipitous and good-karma-inducing that GW2 is going to have VISTAS! for me to explore. I'm totally grinning in anticipation right now. It's like they've read my mind and are designing a game solely to delight me. Thanks, Anet. I heart you too!

On a more serious note: 
"Before this final Beta Weekend Event (and before Guild Wars 2 launches on August 28) we’ll delete all existing beta information. Every beta character and all information or items associated with them will be deleted."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Is All of GW2 Endgame?

A guildmate from Rift asked me about endgame content in Guild Wars 2. I was a bit stumped on what to tell him. I hadn't really considered the so-called "endgame", which as far as I can tell is what you do once you hit level cap. In my experience, that part of the game is kinda boring, to be honest! You end up going into the same instanced dungeon over and over, trying for a rare drop of some item that you want, and that you have to roll on against the other four or five people in your party to get. For me, endgame was the grind, and the leveling before that was the fun part.
But for others, endgame and raiding is the icing on the cake. They view the questing process up to level cap as the treadmill where all the rewards have negligible long-term value. I can kinda see their point. I mean, why work so hard to get a piece of rare gear at level 48 when at level 50 it's going to be useless? Why not just power level to the top and then start to REALLY play the game?
Gor me, that's not the way, and perhaps that's why I was stumbling to describe endgame to my Rift guildie. I'm excited about everything before that: leveling, exploring, crafting, more exploring, alts, dungeons, dynamic events, learning new skills, and anything else ANet decides to throw at me. :)

A quick Google of "GW2 endgame" brought up many forum discussions regarding this topic. There are mixed reviews of the proposed structure of GW2's endgame. GW2 devs themselves have been quoted as saying: "the whole game is endgame". I suppose with the dynamic events going on all the time, plus the sidekicking up & down, you could say that all of Tyria is one big instance raid.

Here's a video of a guy offering his answer to the common concern of many gamers considering buying Guild Wars 2: does the game have any PvE endgame content? Have a watch...even if it's just to see the amazing GW2 footage!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Asurans & Sylvari on Last BWE

ArenaNet announced today on their blog that the Asuran and Sylvari races will be playable on the final Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event, July 20th to 22nd. Totally awesome! I can't wait to try out the new races and new starting zones. I had the most fun creating a playing a charr in the first BWE. I kept calling her my angry kitty!
I was surprised to hear Drakin's perspective on the charr race. He felt that he harboured too much anger and resentment from Guild Wars 1 to feel comfortable playing a charr! Wow. That's cool. I didn't play GW1 long enough to hate the charr, and even so, I think that I would still love to play "the enemy". I mean, in SWTOR, I played a Sith with perhaps a "leetle bit" too much diabolical glee. (insert maniacal laughter here)

As for Asurans and Sylvari, the two "new" races are touted as being unique amongst MMOs. ArenaNet insists they are not dwarves and elves, but new kinds of humanoids with their own special perspectives and culture. We'll have to see. Personally, I wouldn't have cared if they stuck with traditional MMO stereotypes. It's all good. Just let me play already!  :)

A great naming reference for all races is on GW2 Guru.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I Has a Bunny

I brought you this rabbit.
I was browsing through my GW2 screenshots this morni...afternoon (heh heh, it's Sunday, I'm allowed to nap the day away) and came across this pic. This is one of the very first quests that you can do near the human starting zone. It's not a heart quest, it's just some farmer guy who calls you over and asks you to round up the rabbits that escaped and are now eating his watermelons. Sure enough, out in the field, scores of the giant fuzzy mofos are scarfing back on delicious melons.
What's neat about this quest is it's a small, simple example of how what you do in Tyria affects the world around you. I gathered up the bad bunnies and put them in the hutch. Immediately after I completed my task, the farmer's daughter gave me a surprisingly experienced open-mouth kiss and...well, no she didn't, that's a lie, but how can you type "farmer's daughter" and not think that that's where the story's going? Anyway...the farmer's daughter ran to the nearby shop stall and set up a display of watermelon slices for sale and started hawking her wares. The watermelons. The watermelons are her wares. Geez, poor girl can't even sell melons without someone snickering from the peanut gallery.
So you see, I collect rabbits, watermelons get harvested, girl sells watermelons, people buy watermelons, and summer picnics everywhere are complete again! Ah, questing with consequences. Love it!