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Played through the 'starter area'
16 February 2015
Posted in Guild Wars
Starter areas... Most MMORPGs have them, and in most MMORPGs you can get through them in an hour or less. It's mostly a small tutorial on how the basics of the game work. So far I've seen only 2 exceptions to the small tutorial starter areas. Age of Conan has the Tortage area that's pretty big and Guild Wars has an even bigger area then that

Yesterday I played through the last part of the starter area of the core game. This starter area is already a world by itself that's still unspoiled. It builds up the tension around Ascalon City and the Charr. The city is still standing and whole, while after you've left the starter area the wall that protects the city to the Charr in the north has fallen and the city destroyed...

Aside from the little spoiler I just wrote about the destiny of Ascalon City (guess you already knew that with a game that's already 10 years old already ), the content in the starter area is pretty good and long. When you play this, you can for instance do the quest for the Hall of Monuments that involves Gwenn (you can't complete it after you have left the starter area). You can also use this time to gather money, gear and stuff so you can buy bags in the Ascalon City ruins (sadly you can't buy them in the starter area, how badly you need them).

This time I took the time to play through all the quests available and I did them all but one. The one quest I missed is one that required me to party to get the ressurrection skill, which is pretty hard to do if you're the only one playing there (yes, this is a sad thing about a decade old game where the starter areas are completely empty ), but I can still buy it for 50 gold and 1 skill point. When I exited the starter area, I was already level 7 and had some where around 700 gold already (a lot more than I had with my 2 previous characters).

Now that I'm in the 'actual world' (quotes on purpose because it's a HUB game instead of an open world MMORPG) of Guild Wars, I continued to develop my character and it's stills. As I said earlier, I play as Ranger/necromancer and I figured to get a buttload of minions to support me. Well, I changed that view in the 'actual world'. New skills I have acquired allow me to debuff the targets so that they damage their surrounding companions if they receive physical damage. For this I changed to bow again and use skills to speed up my rate of fire. This way I do a huge number of physical damage hits and thus kill off groups pretty fast.

Also now being in the 'actual world' I decided to play through all content I could find in the core game. Though I know that at one time I'll be too high a level for the quests I'm on, I figured that doing all the quests I could get my hands on only can benefit me in filling the Hall of Memories in the Eye of the North...

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Returned (again)
12 February 2015
Posted in Guild Wars
I really seem to have a love-hate relation with Guild Wars (1 guys!). I've lost count of how many times I've installed it, played it a couple of days and removed it again. This was mainly because I had no clue about the how and what of my anymore.

This time I've decided to change that and made a new character. Having all expansions for Guild Wars, the region to start in was hard, but I decided to start in the original core of the game. This leaves me a small choice of classes to pick from (only 6 where both expansions add 2 extra classes), which also means a small choice of dual classes.
This time I picked the Ranger class because I always love to have pets/servitors around me. For the choice of the dual class was in doubt between Mesmer and Necromancer. I thought Mesmer would be good for the debuffs, but the Necromancer won because it can give me even more pets/servitors After having made the choice and played a bit, I found out that Ranger/Mesmer wasn't an obvious choice anymore because of nerves that have hit the Mesmer class over time...

But why Guild Wars and not Guild Wars 2? Well, I have them both installed (again), but I figured I could better start with Guild Wars so that I could work on the Hall of Monuments, which will give me nice goodies in Guild Wars 2. And I'd better do that quickly, because I've seen NCSoft's latest financial data (year 2014) and that doesn't look good. I fear that one or more MMORPGs will be removed soonish, and Guild Wars being pretty old already and having it's predecessor as well might be a possible candidate...

But as always, I'm on a quick start, and I can't tell you how long I'll keep playing it. Not to mention, in the starter area where I am I've only seen one other player so far, and I fear that further down the road the game will be quite empty as well. Then again, Guild Wars is not a real MMORPG but more a HUB game, where partying is completely optional (YAY for NPC parties).

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Thinking of picking it up again...
23 February 2013
Posted in Guild Wars
It's been a while since I last played Guild Wars 2, and I still think the game is not as good as ArenaNET said it would be. But with all the patches and updates of content done the last 4 months and time gone by, I hope it might be worth to play now. I hope it's like most MMORPGs out there that suck at launch (Lord of the Rings online comes to mind ) and need a couple of months to iron out the bugs and user complaints.

There is only one problem now. When I started playing Guild Wars 2, I mostly played in the morning (before work) and was too tired to play during the evening. By now I'm used to my work schedule and play more during the evening than I do during the morning. This means that my then server choice (US) is no longer good for me and I might need ot hop to a EU server now.

And that server hop is just the problem... I have a 927 gems now (iirc) and a server hop costs me 1.000 gems. With the old prices that would not be a problem to obtain (300+ for 1 gold), but with the current exchange prices it's a real problem. Frankly I need an other gold to be able to get enough gems to hop server. I also can logon daily and just check the prices and hope they've dropped again and hop in then.

Oc source, with the change of a server, I'll also change guild. The one I was in (Knights of Beowulf) I have already left and the moment I can hop to a EU server, I'll search for a good (and active!) guild there to enjoy the game during EU times...

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Think I'm done with Guild Wars 2
09 October 2012
Posted in Guild Wars
I haven't really played Guild Wars 2 lately. Looking at my xfire profile, I noticed that I've spend only 2 hours in GW2 the last 7 days against 12 hours in TERA and 5 hours playing Dragon Age: Origins. This made me wonder what the possible reasons are that I'm not really playing Guild Wars 2 anymore, while I am very positive about the game as ArenaNet has put it on the market. Not to mention, what has TERA and DA:O that appeals more to me than GW2? Time to take a look...

Questing
Lets start with the most important thing... Questing in GW2 had been totally overhauled. The old questing systems have been removed and instead you have heart quests and dynamic events.
Heart quests are fun to do, but though promoted as no 'kill 10 rats' activity, in most cases it actually is. Only a couple of times you actually can do something else than kill those 10 rats. This compared with most (MMO)RPG's really makes no difference. The only thing that does make a difference is that with heart quests you mostly have a choice of what you'll do to make progress in it, where in regular (MMO)RPG's you're forced to do a single task to complete the quest.
Dynamic events are probably the thing I don't like. Though at first they are fun to do, they are actually party quests. So far no problem, but the problem is that in Guild Wars 2 you don't need to party and thus no one will party. Because of this, a dynamic event is yet an other solo quest you stumble upon

Guilds & parties
Yet an other thing and I've already mentioned it above as well as in a blog post 2 days ago. Because of the nature of the 'social game-play' in GW2, there's no real need to players to party anymore. The only reason players will party is to get into one of the few dungeons out there or as a bunch in Wv3, but there a party is not even really needed.
For the same reason, guilds are not a real issue either. I've been in a couple of guilds already, but most are very silent after a couple of days. I'm missing the regular chit-chat from other MMORPG's, as well as the help-requests from other guild members. The latter is pretty easy to exlain since there's no real reason to party in GW2 (here it comes up again). The first however is a bit odd though. You might expect that in any guild chit-chat will be there, but in GW2 it's not really the case. I personally think that because of the solo-oriented nature of GW2, a lot of players actually start to behave that way, even when they're in a guild...

Bots & gold sellers
An issue in every MMORPG, yet in GW2 it's a real big issue, and it feels like ArenaNet is doing nothing about it. I haven't seen many bots myself in GW2 (only a couple), but I hear reports of players who see a lot of them everywhere. This is a bad thing for every MMORPG. Though ArenaNet tells their players that they are working on the bot problem, so far, I haven't seen (heard) of real proof that the number of bots are less than before.
And with bots come the gold sellers... Those are real annoying in GW2. They started by yelling in the major towns to promote their 'cheap gold'. Next they started to spam in Wv3, and now they are even sending mail to players. Last time I played for a few hours, I had 5 of these messages in my mailbox And as a side effect of the players buying gold, the price of gems has gone sky high already. Where I could buy almost 400 gems for 1 gold in the past, by now the price has gone up to 220 gems for 1 gold.

Repetitive content
I've heard this reason before on the MMORPG.com forums and I said that they were nuts. Well, after a 150 hours of playing GW2 I'm feeling that same way as well. Though GW2 has no grind, the lack of character progression (you can already have most skills you want/need at level 20) really makes GW2 feel like a grind at times. Doing yet again a heart quest of a dynamic event. As always you're doing it solo. Though these game-play elements are well thought through, the lack of social interaction when doing them gives them quicker the feeling of being repetitive than when you have interaction with other players. I can know this after playing Lineage II for more than 5.000 hours (3800+ recorded on xfire). Lineage II is said to be a real grind game with lots of repetitive content (mob grind mostly). But because of the social interaction (parties, accosionally random PvP) it didn't feel like that.

GUILD? WARS?
Last but not least... The title of the game would suggest that you do need guilds, and that these guilds have wars. Guilds having wars would implement open world PvP. Well, nothing of that is there. GW2 is a real PvE 'MMO'RPG with only 2 ways to PvP. The first one is Wv3, which you can enter after a massive queue, the other one are grouped arena matches (sPvP).

In short, if I want to play a single-player RPG, I think I'm better off playing DA:O, and when I want to play with social interaction, TERA is the better one over GW2. Basically, GW2 has no real meaning to me because it's completely an 'in between' of single-player RPG and MMORPG. With Guild Wars (1) I knew what I was up against, and playing is as a single-player RPG it was a lot of fun. With GW2 though, playing it as a single-player RPG makes me feel bored rather quickly, while there is no reason to play it as a real MMORPG, unless you go into a dungeon or Wv3.

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Missing actual partying
07 October 2012
Posted in Guild Wars
It's taken a while for me to find out what I'm missing in Guild Wars 2, but it finally it me after I was playing TERA today: playing in an actual party with someone. Don't get me wrong, the way GW2 handles the player cooperation is very well done, but as a former Lineage II player (and this a pretty old-school MMORPG-player) this system that GW2 implements feels wrong and empty...

Lets just take a look at two different DUO kills of monsters in both GW2 and TERA. In the first movie I kill a Champion troll in GW2, where in the last few hits 2 other players come help along (read leech XP and event).
The second movie is a Basilisk Big Ass Monster (BAM) in TERA that I thought I could solo as healer class. During my attempt an other players tells me he needs these basilisks as well for the same quest and we team up.

I hope you see the difference in game-play in the two movies - I do for sure! It is as I started above, in GW2 each player does his thing (read: DPS as much as possible and heal self when needed), while in TERA (and most other MMORPG's) players really have to cooperate to get the job done. In my role as mystic in the TERA movie, I'm doing a lot of DPS, but as you can see, I'm also dropping healing motes so that both the nuker and I can heal when we take too much damage from the basilisk. And it's exactly *THAT* what I'm missing in Guild Wars 2

Now, I'm not quitting GW2 at all, but I'm glad I know why I'm feeling less appealed to it right now. But it will mean I'll be playing less though, because such a fundamental thing is missing for me...

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Necromantic minions lack AI for sure
02 October 2012
Posted in Guild Wars
I know that the minions of the necromancer are undead and not supposed to be smart. But when I summon them, I do expect some control over them.

In Guild Wars 2, as necromancer you have no control over your minions at all. In other MMORPG's you at least have some basic control about them (attack, assist and fall back). In GW2, all they do is assist you in your attacks. Well, assist..? Lets take a closer look at what happens with my minions on a regular basis...

As said above, the minions are on a default assist in GW2, and when I attack, the minions attack as well. Luckily this happens in most of the cases. But when I attack a target on the maximum range of my staff (1200), only the ranged minion assists me. The other 2 (melee) minions just stand there and play dumb. Then you'd expect the 2 dumb minions to get active when the target comes close... Well, think again! Even with the target practically kissing me, those 2 dumb minions stay where they are, not doing a single thing!

And then we have that at times those 2 dumb melee minions are ona killing spree... Even when I'm not attacking or have nothing targeted at all! They see an aggro monster (though far away, not bothering about me at all) and move toward it to kill it. And with aggro monsters not being alone most of the time, they hop from one monster to the next, killing them one by one. Nice for the XP, but not what I was aiming for at all...

Yeah, clearly the AI used for the necromantic minions lacks brains. As I started with, undead aren't the brightest bunch to control, but this has nothing to do with control. According to each & every lore on undead that are summoned show that the summoner has at least some basic control about the minions. Looks like the Guild Wars 2 developers didn't really dive into the 'standard' lore for undead at all.

Now, I'm not asking for my necromancer to have full control over the minions as a ranger has in GW2, but some better AI on my minions would really be nice!

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Reconnaissance (personal story)
29 September 2012
Posted in Guild Wars
I haven't played Guild Wars 2 for the last week. I think I've played it a bit too much and was in dire need of some variation. That's why I picked that 3-day trial of The Secret World, and am not on that 7-day trial for TERA.

But that 1 week break I took also had to do with Guild Wars 2 itself. I was busy with my personal story and with the Reconnaissance mission I kinda got stuck. I tried it twice last week, but in both cases, the instance was bugged for me, and I was unable to complete the instance. I made it a post on the GW2 forums, but no one replied, so I really was stuck there

That was till today, when I finally had a reply on the topic I made and I was informed where to find the last monsters to kill. So I logged on, gave the instance an other try and... No luck (again). The last part of the instance was still bugged for me

The second time today I was in more luck. Though I died the first time because I had too many monsters up my ass, the second try I went through it without any problem!

...and once again I've been given a choice on what to do next... This is what I love about Guild Wars 2. You really make your own story as you play.

Right now I'm not sure if I made the right decision to get that weapon that professor Gorr made, but I figured to stand by my krewe, and I feel he's one of them Lets get on with the show and kick some dragon ass soon!

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Undead are on the move...
21 September 2012
Posted in Guild Wars
In the last part of the personal story of my Asura necromancer, I found out that the dragons were using undead to create their army. When I reported that, I was taken of the current case and had to search for Yeng Isen, who hasn't been heard of for a while. We started at his house...


Damn, that was one tough undead minion there - wish I could add it to my own forces. But now is not the time to admire this one, it's time to alert the guards of Lion's Arch that we have found a scout of an undead army and that the army itself might already be on it's way...

That was one damn tough part of the personal story. The movie shows my 3rd try, and I am surprised it took me only 3 tries There weer 2 awe inspiring moments  for me in this movie. The first one was when the undead ship emerged from the depths (it did kinda remind me of the Flying Dutchman from the Pirates of the Caribbean series ), and the second was when that dragon made it's entry. For a moment I was afraid I had to actually fight it there...

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Knights of Beowulf guild-forum
20 September 2012
Posted in Guild Wars
After my server hop and finding a guild with former Lineage II players, our guild leader was up for a forum and ventrilo server. That ventrilo server was no problem for him (still have to install vent on my system and connect to the server), but the forum was a bit of a problem. He ended up on some free phpBB forum, but he wasn't real happy with it. Mostly because of the very misleading ads (no Google ads for sure) that were on the forum, luring you to very suspicious sites.

He was looking for alternative forum sites (in a thread on the free forum), but he came on pretty high costs. Well, high... About $8/month, but to pay that for only a forum, he thought was too much (I though the same BTW). At that point I dropped a reply that I'm with a pretty good and stable webhost (bHosted.nl) and that I can drop almost unlimited domains here. The only thing I have to do is register a domain (and pay the annual fee of around 18) and I'd be good to go.

With this news he was real happy, so this morning I registered knightsofbeowulf.com for our guild forum and started to setup the phpBB forums. I also was lucky to find a nice looking GW2 skin for the forum, and by now it seems to be running smoothly.

The guild-leader has already registered on the forums, and I gave him admin rights as well, so he can manage the forums as well (good thing, he's from the US, so we have almost 24/7 admin coverage on the forums ). Now it's up to him to promote the guild and make our guild grow

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Remember saying I'm no archer kind of player..?
18 September 2012
Posted in Guild Wars
I've always said I'm not a real archer player, or ranged DD for that matter. But with Guild Wars 2, the general mechanics of the game have kinda changed that.

Where in general MMORPG's one has to dodge a lot as archer, in Guild Wars 2, you have to dodge with every class (some more than other though). And dodging actually DOES lower (or even negate) damage. Not to mention, when you dodge in Guild Wars 2, you're stepping back (forward, or whatever direction you dodge to) quite a distance. And unlike most MMORPG's, the monster really has to 'find' you again after you have dodged. This while in most MMORPG's, the monster has you constantly 'targeted' and a dodge is quite useless, and kiting is the only way to keep the monster away from you.

With Guild Wars 2 somewhat forcing me to dodge (and kite), I thought to make myself a ranger. Mostly because I found out that rangers have pretty good control over their pets (unlike the totally no control a necromancer has over it's minions). But the choice of weapons was one I had to think about a couple of times. One set I was already pretty sure about early on when leveling: an axe and a torch. This combination is semi long range (900) and has a lot of AoE options.
The other set however I was not so sure about. I started with a sword and dagger combination, but that gave me the problem that I had to be in close melee with the monsters. Since I'm only a medium armor wearer, I thought this was not a good idea. I also heard a lot of rangers using a short bow. Well, Though it's fast, damage is ...meh...

I finally gave a long bow a try, and I do like that one as 2nd weapon. This one is an almost fully 1-target weapon (aside from one massive AoE skill, which does ellude me a bit) and has the best range available (1200).  With my pets doing most damage, I give supportive damage to the pet and heal it a bit when needed.

Today when I was wandering through the Caledon Forest, I stumbled upon a troll champion (group event), and some one thought he could take up this one solo *LOL* I decided to hop in and see if the 2 of us could kill this one.
Well, up till I died (my bad, I got stuck in a rock when dodging, and I could not loose aggro when knocking on heavens door), we had the troll down to around 25% (not bad IMO). 2 more players tagged along and then things went real fast.

I think after this troll, I'm ready to play any archer class now available. Personally I think I did a good job on dodging and kiting there and it was a good lesson (the hard way ) on how to use these evasive maneuvres.

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