GW2 – Not For Me

This is a strange post for me to write.  I focus on my first impression with the last BWE for GW2. And, sadly, only the first several hours of the event.  I enjoy the community behind the game and the developers are definitely top notch, but something is lacking.  Something about the game that had me checking, reading, and hyping daily… just doesn’t deliver.  I’ll do my best to recapitulate  what I experienced on Day 1 of the third BWE and why I uninstalled on the same day.

I was lucky enough to snag a beta key last week from curse and excitedly downloaded the client to prepare any patches and so-forth.  I waited in anticipation for the 20th of July to roll around the corner.  I had purposely denied myself GW2 information since late May, in the hope that my expectations would return to a normal level.  I have had my own lofty expectations ruin first impressions for games, especially MMOs, in the past.  Let’s skip ahead to today.  I start up the game around noon/noon-thirty (PST) and love the color scheme, painterly aesthetics, and music.  I’m starting to get drawn in.  I select my first race, Norn of course, and start dabbling in the character creator.  First thing that disappointed me was the overall flatness of the character models.  Everything just felt very… blocky.

I decide to try a different race.  Switch to Human and am sadly delivered a similar impression.  I’ll pass on that as well.  Leap for joy to Sylvari.  I had some great fun creating my character from this point.  I ended up with a tree bark, branches with leaves, semi-ME3 Garrus look.  I was happy.  Continuing down the creation tree, I was an engineer by the way, the personal choices were interesting and birthed questions in me about their outcome (this is good).  Then the cinematic introduction in the unique GW2 style.  I’m completely drawn in.  The voice felt right, the story was interesting, the colors were a feast for my eyes.  Then the starting/tutorial zone…

The intense color of everything in the Sylvari dream-world was almost dizzying.  I worked my way through the short, very short, story to a very large shadow dragon, tree, thing.  I was thinking it was time to fight some awesome dragon thing that was tainting the Sylvari’s dreams.  I get ready for the fight, but then it’s over.  I maybe shot the thing 3 or 4 times.  That was it.  I was rather disappointed, but I let it slide and continued on.  The color palette in the real world was more vibrant than I’d like.  I decided to work my way over to the human lands for a change of environment.

Skip to a few hours later.  I had done a number of activities for various NPC’s outside of Divinity’s Reach.  However, the whole experience was rather mundane.  I felt like I was charging into never ending Public Quests (WAR).  I wanted to experience a little more of the Engineer so I decided to hop into the Mists and level 80.  I test out the various weapons and utilities in the area and come away feeling very unimpressed.  I don’t know what it is that I didn’t like about the whole experience, I wish I did.  I thought it might just be the profession.  Perhaps it didn’t fit my tastes.  I make an Asura elementalist and give that a go.  I skip the Dynamic Events this time and fly back to the Mists.  I dabble with all the skills and weapons and utilities, but again I felt like something was missing.  It was all interesting to finally see first hand and use on whatever ways I could think up, but… still.

I wasn’t having fun.  I was playing the classes that interested me most, joined a few Structured matches, and even ran around WvW.  Yet, I had more fun playing Dungeon Fighter Online, TERA, FFXIV, and even Warhammer Online than I did with my short experience in GW2.  I shocked myself when I came to the thought.

It must just be me.  I can say with certainty that I will not be buying GW2.   Sorry Arenanet.  You put some strong effort into your game, but it’s just not for me.

Please, don’t take this as a review of the game in any sense.  If you enjoy the game keep playing.  This was simply the impression left on me by my experience.

– TTred

MMOs: Design With the Controller in Mind

What has happened to your dearest, red, Thrangis?  He’s been very busy with the vast difficult challenges summer vacation presents someone working in the educational field.  Over exposure to nada coupled with heat.  I’ve been taking it very easy and casually bouncing between games.  I picked up a Raptr shortly after starting TERA about a month ago.  Oh yeah, TERA.  I haven’t played that for a few weeks or so.  It’s rather… depressing.  Perhaps it’s how my mind has adjusted for age or possible other factors that have completely eluded me.  I enjoy the game for basic reasons:  The character designs and the combat (big surprise there).

Here’s the biggest issue I have with the game:  There’s no incentive to play the game.

Sure, playing the game all on its own is rewarding, for a time.  However, once you knock a few alts over the 60 mark and you’re sitting around for Nexus, or whatever other content to grind gear or mats for enigmatics, the experience as a whole loses its initial luster.  I don’t think I’ll be renewing my subscription to the game, come time.  Not with the way things are moving.  It entertained me for a time.  But, I yearn for depth.  Sorry TERA.

I’ve recently found myself playing an assortment of games that allow me to use a gamepad instead of the keyboard.  TERA offered a similar setup, but it was very clunky and horrible for navigating the UI.  My biggest switch has been to FFXIV.  I played a limited time about a year ago, testing the waters of a game that I was painted in the worst light.  I agreed with the assessment after my own experience.  However, I return to find everything rather palpable.  So many features of the game I must have overlooked, because the subtle nuances of the game now speak volumes to me as a play.  A beautiful detail to character expression and story.  Best of all, the game is perfectly tuned to be played with a gamepad.  Surprisingly so.  I prefer it to the keyboard for the game and it definitely illuminates a fondness to the previous Final Fantasy games.  If you’re keeping an eye on FFXIV 2.0, I’d wait the full period for those who vividly remember their first experience.  I’m attempting to see what story I can before it all changes and I hope to achieve the Legacy Campaign.  I’ll be cutting it really close.

In other news…

I’m sure you already know and I’m already breaking my earlier resolve.  GW2 will be releasing in two months time.  August 28, 2012.  Much earlier than many speculations, but I can bet no one minds.  I said I wouldn’t discuss GW2 until two months after the game released, but it appears that I can’t resist.

– TTred

If you’ve been looking for one of these, here ya go. :D

My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull

This is Falario Fa, my main character on Tera (Dragonfall server, PVE), an Elin Slayer who’s just reached sixty! I played most of the game solo and had a hard time leveling at certain points, as well as finding tips on how to do so. Here I will attempt to make the most in-depth guide to solo leveling in Tera available. I will tell you where I went, how I got stuck, how to get around dungeons, and at what points doing so will mean grinding.

Soloing all the way through Tera means maintaining a balance. If you skip a dungeon, there will be a lot of experience that you’ll need to fill in, not just from the dungeon itself, but from the story quests that you’ll miss out on by skipping them. Story quests provide by far the most experience out of any quests in Tera, but they also…

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Currently I’m experiencing TERA at a very casual pace.  I have an assortment of alts that I bounce between, most between 30 and 35, with my main character just now hitting 40 (lancer).  I’ve attempted to keep track of the main questline, however it randomly becomes convoluted or boils down to killing x mobs to get to Elleon (the main good guy, as far as I know).  Am I enjoying myself?  Yes; the combat is engaging and I have always been fascinated by the type of creatures Asian games have a knack for creating.  Is the game lacking? Yes; I don’t feel myself being drawn into the story at all.  I hop on to enjoy the combat and see unique areas and monsters.  Other than that I am losing interest in what is taking place.  I still plan on reading it in the hope that I may puzzle out its musings.

A small part of me wanted to experience open pvp for TERA, the combat system is perfect for it, but I can hardly bring myself to suffer the ignorant crowds that inhabit those realms.  I consistently see players parting those worlds and searching for other, more mature servers, usually mine.  I’m hanging on for the Battleground/Arena system, supposedly coming later this summer.

– TTred

TERA guides

I was planning on making some crafting guides, but wow.  I stumbled across these masterful collaborations at Atra Astrum, an EU guild, and have to applaud their hard work.  I’m sure that Korean access played a delicate hand in their endeavors.

I will be doing some maps later to help guide the would-be gatherer to troves of gathering goodness.  Until then, check out the Atra Astrum guides.  You won’t be disappointed.

– TTred