Archive for June, 2011

I Have No Excuse For This

Gaki is Happy

For all your healing needs!

For all your healing needs!

This one’s for Ryan.

Start Them Young

And they’ll be hooked on dragon killing for a lifetime!

If it wasn’t obvious, I drew a tiger-striped charr Engineer-in-training.  Isn’t she adorable?  And yes, it’s a ‘she’, as always with charr, you can tell by the puffy tail.

This is how I spent GW2 fanday, I hope everybody else had fun this weekend too!

Dig A Little Deeper, Come A Little Closer

Said the dragon to the knight from the depths of its lair.

Let’s talk dungeons.

You all know I’m a former World of Warcraft player, an active raider even (why do I feel like I’m saying I’m a recovering alcoholic?). I played WoW because it was fun and I got to hang with my friends. A couple years ago, however, I played WoW because it was INSANELY fun and I got to conquer gods with my friends. (If you’re wondering though, this was my proudest moment, I was raid leader for that and we were still 25-strong.)

Anyway! Guild Wars is great, and Guild Wars 2 looks even more great. Even in the midst of my excited anticipation, however, there was still a part of me that mourned the passing of Tigerfeet the Raider. There’s something about talking with other people, adrenaline running high as everyone concentrates on performing to the best of their ability, failing, failing, and finally the rush of SUCCESS when the Big Bad of the moment finally falls. It’s the euphoria of accomplishment shared with friends.

Guild Wars Classic has this to a point, but the majority of the boss fights do not leave me feeling like I have accomplished something epic, though Dhuum at the end of the Underworld certainly comes close. The activity I’m missing can best be described as a carefully orchestrated dance to stay alive. WoW’s heavily scripted battles are often maligned as predictable and compared to a guided theme park experience.  I at least found them exceedingly fun.

My explorer was satisfied by wondering “What’s he going to do next”. My competitive side was satisfied when we finally worked through the difficulties and conquered the boss. Since these encounters were scripted, once we gained a little experience (practical experience, I’m not talking about arbitrary numbers attached to your character) we would take that knowledge back with us and try again, eventually becoming proficient enough individually and as a group to overcome the challenge.

While reading Jeff Grubb’s article I started smiling. (Two dungeon modes? Yes Please!) As I kept reading my smile broadened, (dynamic changes within the dungeon? Absolutely!) and when I reached the end and read about the massive scripted bossfights my smile broke into an enthusiastic grin. (HELL YES!) This is the challenge, the experience I’m looking for. This is the manner in which I want to catch Tyria in a headlock and wrestle her to the ground.

The dungeons also remind me of a point I’ve made about Guild Wars 2 in the past. For every amazing and revolutionary step forward ArenaNet takes (dynamic dungeon content), they offer in the other hand a treat of the ‘familiar’ for players of older MMOs (scripted boss battles).

It’s so easy to get angry and feel betrayed when a tried mechanic is implemented in a game that’s touted as being original and revolutionary, but please, think about it.  A game can be new and fresh without all of its parts needing to be so.  I can build a beautiful new wooden floor out of salvaged barn lumber, for example.

If ArenaNet were to turn away every idea and mechanic that had been used in games previously I truly believe that Guild Wars 2 would be less for it. I respect a company that can get excited about the new and unique things its doing while still being happy to offer more familiar mainstays when they work. And that’s exactly what ArenaNet is doing with the dungeons. As we say here in the Midwest, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Of course, a bit of spit shine polish doesn’t hurt.

Pollen On The Breeze

This is going to be a bit out of character for me, so please be patient.  I’m talking about personal issues, both mine and those of people I have learned to call Friend.  Normally when I talk about such subjects I cloak them in so much allegory and misdirection that only someone who knows me very well would know what I was really talking about.

Many of you probably know that I have been involved in the Relics of Orr Podcast, a podcast about Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and the community as a whole.  I’m also willing to bet that a majority of you found your way to my own small corner of the internet through the Relics of Orr.  Lord knows I haven’t been pimping myself on the Guild Wars 2 Guru as much as I used to.

Today I got some very sad news.  Ryan, our fearless leader, not to mention the fiercely beating power crystal at the heart of the Golem that is Relics, has had enough.  His reasons are his own and I don’t feel like it’s my place to air his laundry.  If you’d like a more complete reasoning I urge you to ask him about it.  I have a lot of respect and love for the man (as I do for every one of my friends and cohorts) and I sincerely wish him success in whatever future projects he turns his hands and voice to.

He has said that he wants the podcast to reach a nice even episode 45.  The forums are staying put, all the podcasts will still remain available and the guild will continue to function as normal.  So rest assured, the community that has built up around Relics isn’t going to be scattered like pollen on the breeze.

That’s what’s happening with the podcast, but what’s going to happen with me?  I’m not sure yet.  I feel like my blog may have suffered because of the podcast.  Perhaps because I got all my yapping done on-air I felt less inclined to yap about stuff in text.  I do know that I very much enjoyed my times on the Relics podcast.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and fallen in love all over again with the Guild Wars community.  This level of involvement has been an entirely new experience for me.  I’ve been scared about negative reactions from people, but I’ve also learned courage and a good deal of patience.  This whole ‘being involved’ thing has gotten into my blood and is something I don’t think I can shake.

I was a blogger before Relics, and I shall remain a blogger even after, come what may.  So, for now, I’m once again just one woman spouting her nonsense to one small corner of the internet.  Tomorrow? Who knows.

Nothing like a LoLCharr to brighten your day, right? RIGHT!?!

Exploration And The Allure Thereof

or: That in which Tigerfeet goes all moony-eyed over heavily speculated game design concepts.

I was reading an article recently when a sentence jumped out at me:

 How the hell are we supposed to know where to go unless someone with the necessary qualifications (ie. an exclamation mark) shoves us in the right direction? ‘Explore,’ whispers the new-wave MMO developer exotically.

I immediately had flashbacks to the ‘olden days’ in vanilla WoW when I was leveling my first-ish character, Coal the Druid.  I was moving along at a pretty decent clip until I got into my twenties.  This, for all you non-WoW-druid players is when the baby druid is blessed with cat form.

Cat form comes with a new, exciting, and (for someone like me) dangerous ability: Stealth.  I could now sneak through the bushes, slip past guards, and generally get into places in which I had no business being.  Inevitably this resulted in hours spent sneaking around mobs half again my level to see how far into enemy territory I could get or to see what exactly was on the top of that mountain and weather or not I could reach it.

Remember where I said hours?  My gaming time for an evening would usually end with me dying in a hail of fury at the hands of an enemy whose level I could not see (on account of my in-game eyes being too inexperienced to accurately judge skill), resurrecting, limping back to an inn, and logging off for the night with no added experience, gold, or items to my name.

This urge for exploration, this noodling around and getting into places that I shouldn’t is something I can’t ignore.  It’s like I’m under a geis to get no progressive gameplay done until every nook and cranny has been investigated.

Thus I come to the promise of Guild Wars 2.  The only bread crumb trail we have is our personal storyline.  While I’m confident that it will offer players as much hand-holding as anyone could wish, I also know that it won’t take me long to become distracted and wander off.  One moment I’m helping round up some victims for a charr cattlepult, and the next Krallkatorik is wondering what this flea is doing wandering about lost in his Crystal Desert.

It’s inevitable. I will get into an area that I shouldn’t.  In Guild Wars 2, as opposed to a more traditional game like World of Warcraft, all will not be lost.

Now, this is where some speculation comes into play so bear with me.

Thanks to the sidekicking system, when I do wander into that ‘higher-than-thou’ area, I won’t be instantly consigned to a fate that ends with me a red spatter on the ground.  I will be at a definite disadvantage as I lack the traits and the gear that I would have were I level-appropriate for the area, but in terms of my base stats I would still have a fighting chance.  Additionally, I would still be getting experience, and an evening’s adventure would net me more tangible rewards than only a feeling of comfort that every rock has been peeked under would afford.

Thinking about possibilities like this kindles anew my excitement for Guild Wars 2.  I, like I’m sure many of the other people eagerly awaiting this game, have suffered from burnout and general malaise.  When such a feeling hits I don’t try to fight it, I just turn away and do something else (lately I’ve been playing League of Legends).  It is, however, a real treat when something crops up that reminds me why I’m looking forward to this game with such starry-eyed anticipation.

What about you? Have you suffered from when-is-it-coming-out-itis?  What has snapped you out of it, even temporarily?

This Is How They Show They Care

Felt like doing some speedpainting tonight, so I turned to twitter for inspiration.  The ever-traitor-loving Kvand suggested an epic battle between Logan and Rytlock.  How could I say no?  This one took about 45 minutes.

Who's winning? I'll let you decide.