Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Best Game Yet in LOL


Friday, December 20, 2013

What a difference an upgrade makes...

Been waiting for the Haswell chip to show up for the Macbook Pro and it finally has, so my old mid-2010 lappie is being put out to pasture. Given the dual video processors (Intel Iris and NVIDIA GE FORCE) I expected the images to be a lot sharper and richer, but I didn't think about what this would really mean.

Last night Sar. and I jumped into GW2, put the vid. options up high and visited a lot of places we thought would be pretty. Here we are in Divinity's Reach, vogueing for the screen shot.

We were in Lion's Arch when Sarah noticed this guy's sword with the sky moving across it.

Here's the last picture of my necromancer on the left, and the screen shot on the new computer. The lighting and the details on the gear and the hair are most noticeable.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Uphill Both Ways in the Snow

Was pawing through some older posts in here and ran across one that reminded me of what it was like in the vanilla WoW days, when men were men and god help you if you fucked up on a 40 man run. So you kids who have it so easy these days, check this out. See how we real men of MMOs used to play (lol).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Necromancer Redux

Okay, I know I said (back in July) that I hated the necromancer and didn't think I'd be able to level her to 80. Well, I got schooled by a guy from Transylvania. Igor raps it down in a 1 hour plus video. Okay, so he sounds like a vampire, but his advice for the hybrid build (power dmg and condition dmg) is dead on.

I respec'd and followed his advice and -wham- I am killing solo and multiple mobs with ease. So, I will indeed take this toon to level 80. She's already at lvl 40.

I swear, in this game your favorite toon is the toon you're playing at the moment. They're all good.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

L2Math Young Grasshopper

Normally, of course, the expression is L2P, learn to play, usually shouted at some noob who makes a noob mistake. Today's post isn't about noobs though. It's about the mathematics of game play.

When I first started playing MMOs, or games with lots of build/spec options, way back in 2005, I became painfully aware of the need to calculate if I were going to be serious about things. I often tell the story of my then 9 year old daughter and me using a spreadsheet to figure out whether to go 2H or dual wield. We calculated the damage for each spec. In these sorts of games, there are constants and variables, and if you know the values you can get very geeky very fast. In World of Warcraft I will admit to reading multiple posts on Elistist Jerks to determine the best shot rotation on my hunter or the best cast rotation on my warlock.

When I played Rift and SWTOR (Star Wars: The Old Republic), I didn't play them long enough or have as much love for them as one normally needs in order to reach the point where you start pulling out a sheet of paper and running equations. Guild Wars 2 has reached that point. I have seven level 80 characters: thief, ranger, warrior, mesmer, engineer, elementalist, guardian (not sure I'll even like the necromancer to get her to 80). I've relied on my own sense of things, enlightened by a few posts and video guides, but I haven't sunk to the level of algebra... until this week. I think it's because it's summer break and I'm playing more, not sure. There's also multiple pleasure points in these games, only one of which is reaching the top level (80). There's a supreme satisfaction from tweaking and min/max'ing your character, not unlike the pleasure car guys get from fiddling around with the engine of the car.

At any rate I was pleased to encounter the real deal in GW2. Here's a forum exchange on the warrior build. Now remember, there aren't "tanks," in the classic sense of that, in this game. But every toon has group support capabilities and solo/pvp abilities. Here's an exchange about the warrior between two nerds who disagree about the min/max for group and solo. Yes, it's in secret language you may not get, but just read it for the intensity and specificity and well, the math and reasoning.

First we have Veritas:
The reason 30/10/0/0/30 partial or full Signet build is the strongest is because you can get 100% crit chance in all berserkers (or knights, but then you already aren’t doing max dps). Once you hit 100% crit chance, 1% crit damage = 1% damage. So, you have nearly maximum power, and effectively, a 30% damage bonus from Discipline because you, literally, always crit. Neither Desperate Power nor Attack of Opportunity come close to equaling that damage bonus. However, if your group comp (Ex. Ranger running Spotter) or food (Master Maintenance Oil and Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash) allows you to achieve 100% crit without needing 10 in Arms for Deep Strike, 10 in Tactics would push your dps even further. So it actually looks like this in a full signet build:
250 precision, -20% CD on GS, ~15 stacks might and + 10% damage
615 precision(Deep Strike, Heightened Focus) and15% crit damage(15% damage at 100% crit)
575 is reality though cause SoR will always be on cooldown
But for dungeons, if you take group support(banner of tactics and FGJ), they compare more similarly in Arms, but the 15% crit chance from Discipline still nets a ton of damage because of the extremely high crit modifier.
and then Molch rejoins:
I run full Berserker with 4 ascended pieces, rest exotic. As support, we assume Banner of strength, banner of discipline and 10 stacks of might (you have 8 already with SoR and FGJ)
Your damage goes with Power x (1 + Crtichanche x Critdamage) – pm me, if you want to know why this formula.
I have 2596 power + 10 × 35 might + 5 x 35 might from Forcefull GS. (average)
57% critical chanche + 20% fury = 77%
104% critical damage.
+ 10% damage
(2596 + 15 × 35) x (1 + 0.77 × 1.54) x 1.1 = 7504
You lose 150 precision, 10% damage and 5 might, but gain 15% critical damage and 15% critical hit chanche.
(2596 + 10 × 35) x (1 + 0.85 × 1.69) = 7178
30/25 deals 4.5% more damage, and I dont even consider the fact, that GS skills have 20% less CD.
The reason for this is, that precision scales very bad, the diference between 77 and 85 critchanche is not that big. To get 100% critchanche, as you suggestet, you neet to sacrifice even more, eg.: sigill of acuracy instead of sigil of force, or precision instead of bloodlust. If you do, your damage will drop even more.
Edit: 15% critdamage at 100% critchanche is NOT equal to 15% damage. If you already have 100% critdamage, it is (1 + 1.00 × 1.15)/(1 + 1.00 × 1.00) = 7.5% damage. Only flat + x% damage stacks multiplicative, thats why + 10 % damage is so incredible good.

And this is part of what makes gaming fun, imho. It's got gravitas; it's got weight, depth, thought. And while you can calculate to your heart's content, there's always room for dissention. There's always the element of skillful play or situational variables to make it just unpredictable enough to keep you engaged.

And by the way, if 8th grade algebra had looked like this, I'd have been all over that baby.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

LOL teaches Impulse Control

Still playing and enjoying League of Legends (LOL, to those who play). I'm actually getting better at it too. AFter you learn to play the particular strengths of your guy, you have to learn the hard lesson all LOLers must learn: impulse control.

There will come a time, often in fact, when you have a bad guy down to about one bar or less of health.  You're in pursuit and you know you can take him out, but he's heading toward his tower. Now comes the  moment of decision. If you're not tanky, do you dare pursue into the tower. Do you... tower dive? A tower can kill you. Fast.

90% of the time the answer is no, a$$hat. But it's sooooo tempting that most of us try it, at first as a noob who is clueless, and later as she-who-should-know-better-but-can't-resist-the-urge-to-pwn-he-who-is-almost-dead, sooo almost dead you can already taste the kill.

You see, in LOL, it's about your stats. People report their skill as kill/deaths/assists, or in the case of my last game as a mid-laning Rumble: 7/2/6. That's pretty good. Sure Tryndamere has 21/5/6 but everyone knows Tryndamere is a KS face roll killer: that is, a kill-stealing (lands the final blow even though you mostly damaged the bad guy), face-roller (easy to play, keep hitting that one key). There are a few of those sorts of toons: Teemo, Darius, Draven, and others. At any rate, most people pooh pooh the stats on those guys.

So people want kills. Only the support guys are happy with a high assist stat. The rest of us see it as victimized by a kill stealer. We hate that. We want kills! But we also don't want deaths. When you die you "feed" the bad guys; they get gold from killing you and they can use it to buy items that boost their potency. When you kill them you get more gold to boost your potency. Kill is good. Death is bad.

So back to impulse control... you learn, eventually, after dying way too much, feeding the bad guys, and embarrassingly reported as killed by a tower, you learn to back off. Even though you think you can land that final hit. Use your ulti (ultimate, last acquired but most devastating move) if it's ranged; toss up an ignite and hope for the best, but do NOT tower dive, young grasshopper. Learn patience and impulse control.

And here's the summary of my last game...11/0/2

Friday, July 26, 2013

Necromancer... just... can't... dig it

I have seven level 80 toons. This is the last type: necromancer. I'm trying to get into it but though I'm at level 18, I really don't like playing her.

It's not cause she's a caster. So is the mesmer and I love the mesmer. The necromancer is just burdened down with a lot of gimmicks and I've never liked gimmicks.

So looking back across the other seven, I see that I favor the ones with a lot of mobility and options. I like the guardian. I like the warrior. I like the ranger and the thief, the engineer and the mesmer.

Now the seventh one turns out to be the first one I rolled: elementalist. I got my elementalist to 80 but I hated it all the way there. In that case I think it's just that it felt too much like a WoW mage. That's the only class in WoW I never leveled to the max. The elementalist also has some gimmicks, but I don't think that's my problem with it. I just didn't find it fun...lots of casting and AOE. Meh.  If I'm going to be a squishy caster, I want to support. I want to heal (LOL or WoW) or CC. At least the elementalist has some nice support stuff, though, to be honest, the engineer is best at that.

Now I could be wrong about the necromancer. I've looked at videos and even the pro guys just don't make it look like much fun. Here, let my eastern European friend rap it down for you. I get it. I get that power goes with axe and focus in OH, and it's about burst. I get that condition dmg goes with sustainability with scepter and pistol in OH. I will continue to try... sigh.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Night Vale Dog Park Secret Police

I need to create a guild with that name, or maybe Radon Canyon Pink Floyd Festival.

[Night Vale, listen to it via iTunes podcast.]

Sunday, July 07, 2013


Just played a round of LOL (League of Legends) and finally did a good job! Read the chat.

The Pro Social Side of Gaming No One Ever Talks About

One of my earliest memories of WoW, probably from around Fall 2005, is buff envy. I had rolled a warlock, and I was trotting down a pathway in fairly low level zone, when I heard a sound and noticed a new item had appeared above my action bar. Coincidently, I had just run past a mage running the other way, who had raised  his arms as he approached me. Turns out what he did was buff me. He cast a beneficial enchantment on me. I thought that was so cool. He just did it, unasked. I searched my spells for something I could buff people with and found nothing. As a warlock all I'd ever have would be underwater breathing, a great spell... if you're underwater.

Ever since then I've always looked for and highly regarded the ability to buff/bless other players. When you work within a guild or on a dungeon run in a party made of many other players, you buff each other. It's not just the cultural norm or the etiquette of play, it actually helps the likelihood of a successful encounter. But, I have to say it feels even better when you're buffing strangers. It's a true, free, random act of kindness then.

I've encountered such gifts in every MMO I've played, and I'm pleased to report they exist in Guild Wars 2, too. However, the reach of the gift is even greater, and it's clearly both a game norm and a status element. Rather than buff other players, which you can do but which tends to arise passively as a consequence of a skill point you've spec'd into, in GW2 your guild can create small iconic banners which bear the crest of the guild and dispense buffs of various kinds. To be able to fashion these banners, a guild needs to accumulate points from activity and achievements. Once they create a banner, and place it, it lasts for about 30 minutes and will dispense a buff to anyone who touches it. Popular buffs are summarized in this description of the ultimate banner, which bundles them all:

spawns a guild banner that will give +10% karma, +15% magic find, +10% experience from kills, +10% gold from kills, +10% increased movement speed, and +15% gathering chance to any ally that touches it for 30 minutes.

As with most MMOs, there are places where people gather in great numbers. Often, this is in the plaza of a central city, usually near the bank and auction house, which are typically in proximity to one another for obvious reasons. In the good old days of WoW, Iron Forge was one such city, and so great was the gathering of people there that it was typically referred to as Lag Forge because of the server lag created by the huge number of people moving about in the area.

In GW2 there are four main cities: three capitals, one for each race, and a worldwide capital. The action is mostly in Lion's Arch, the worldwide capital. This week, our guild, the Most Popular Girls in School, unleashed its first public banner in front of the bank. It offers a 5% buff to karma. (Click to enlarge). It sports our guild logo, the friendly beaver (um, yeah, we did that), and it announces to the world that our guild has arrived. This sort of incentivizes a guild to reach the level where it can offer such banners, not just for the benefit of the guild players, but as an act of kindness for the MMO world.

So what do I mean "no one ever talks about?" We hear a lot about killing and violence in video games; we hear about them as isolating and full of angry, hostile, young male players. That may be true for games like Call of Duty, Gears of War, Modern Warfare, or other XBox live networked game play. But most MMOs are actually inviting, friendly, worlds. It may be because the average age of MMO players tends to be 32ish, and hopefully the trash talking and misogyny is lessened, but I think it's because of the world-ness factor. CoD and similar games rely on temporary player vs player team play. You and your buddies might usually play together but you're usually not part of a larger guild, and you're not involved in a larger, enduring world of other players. I think virtual worlds scaffold social culture better because there's more to the game play than fighting. In fact, there's a lot of time spent not fighting, e.g., in captial cities. This, and the fairly traditional, omnipresent buffing/blessing concept that is part of a world culture, tend to cultivate a self-reinforcing, pro-social, play space.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Meanwhile... Mesmer

I seriously did NOT mean to dress her like this.  She's a mesmer, and I had bought what I thought would be awesome armor 'cause it was named "profane armor" skins. Well, it looks great on a guy, but they made it trampy for girl toons. Grrr sexist game devs. But you know, once I got it I needed to find some toon to wear it. Seemed to fit the mesmer vibe.

On the upside, I ran across the most articulate and thorough video guide to a toon that I've ever seen, and lucky for me it was about mesmers. I already have 6 level 80s. This mesmer has been hanging around at lvl 22 as a joke for quite a while. She's named for one of the characters in the web series Most Popular Girls in School. I link it here but I also warn you that almost every other word is the f* bomb. Don't blame me; I warned you. It's hilarious though, acted out with Barbie dolls.

Anyhow, here's the awesome mesmer video guide. Get this... it's in four parts. Followed his play style advice and good golly, this toon is fun to play. Like the guardian, it's hard to kill, and a great support toon because of the damage mitigation that can be shared with others. So, I'm playing her and having fun. She's about level 36 now.

Monday, July 01, 2013

How Arenanet (Guild Wars 2) Makes Money with a No-subscription MMO

Buy it once; play it forever.
Yep. Just spent about $20 to buy account bound armor skins for two toons. Steampunk, bro!

Friday, May 17, 2013

BTW, my LOL fun continues

And apparently so does everyone else's...

And onward we go... next stop: Casters

Well the guardian hit 80. Still lots of fun to play. Actually was the first toon I stepped into Orr with. I was running with this guy I stumbled upon and he dragged me into Orr.

So...time to double back and grab the last two professions and get them to 80. They're both casters and I'm feeling so done with casters thanks to WoW. But, well, maybe this will play differently.

This is Rachael Tice, the mesmer. She makes copies of herself and then blows them up, which damages, or stuns, or confuses, her enemy. She has some helpful healy stuff for group members too. Like her gear? It's an impulse buy of gear skin set from the cool store. You know, the cool store, where the cool stuff is for the cool kids. Not exactly the Auction House, just some stuff like pets 'n tools you can buy for the luls or convenience. I think she looks great.

She's only level 20. We'll see how long it takes to get her going. I'm still not particularly good playing her, but good enough.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

More on Guardian, but only as an example....

I think this is why I love this game. Of course, there's a lot of other reasons, but for today, this is it. This is thinking man's game. You don't HAVE to think, but it's hella fun and productive if you do. Here's the tale.

So my guardian is running a spec that I have never seen anywhere else (except today when I stumbled on it in youtube). Most peeps tell you to run 0/0/30/30/10 or whatever the other one is. But, I made my own up and it's killer. The key to this game is weapons, weapon swapping, and chaining your shit. Let me 'splain.

Gain Aegis when your health reaches 50%
Here in the valor chain is a nice operational trait: gain aegis when you reach 50% health. Aegis is a buff (or boon I think they call them in this game) that puts up a shield and thus blocks incoming dmg. Besides buying more time on your two health CDs, oh wait, your THREE health CDs...

Gain might when you block attacks

it also procs the next thing: Gain might when you block attacks. This sucker stacks; it's short-lived, but it adds a lot of dmg to your attack. I was checking it out and it adds about 1K when I do it right.

Sigil of bloodlust: Gain +5 power when you kill a foe
But wait, there's more. I start out with my 1H / OH combo of weaps. When the caster bad guy responds, I use zealot's defense, a sword skill that "blocks ranged attacks while casting magical projectiles." Also by starting out with this weap. I can put some DOTS, and then set up this:

Sigil of BL: 100% crit on swap to this weap in battle
I swap to the 2H great sword which activates the Sigil of Intelligence: 100% crit when you swap to this weapon in battle. So now, hopefully I've stacked might and =boom=  If I'm fighting more than one, which is usually the case, that stack of power on the Sigil of bl (just above) is pretty sweet too. That stacks to 25 and stays there till you die. +25 power, crits, might stacks. OOoooo yeah baby, rock 'n roll.

I should also add, because it's so OP, that I am pretty hard to kill. I have the usual self-heal that everyone has. I also have spec'd for these lovelies, which gives me two OH SHIT buttons for healing.

Invulnerable while insta-recharging the next two items

About to die? No problem. Punch the Oh Shit button, go invulnerable while you reset the next two buttons below...

Quick! Hit this for a shield and then,

Quickly, toss up that shield. Yeah, shield... Oh hey, I wonder if this also adds to the block stacking...hmmmm

Heal yourself (and allies) and back to fray!
Then punch this puppy for a self heal. Back to the fray (maybe punch that block attack at the top), and since I might still be below 50% health aegis is still proc'ing. bwahahahaha. Probably my full heal is cooled down now too. bwahahahahaha. Too bad I don't pvp.

Nothing to say here except BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Guardian, Revisited

So I rolled one. And then about lvl 20 I deleted it. Then, for some reason I rolled another, mostly as a joke to run with my kid in a lowbie zone. And then, about lvl 25 I started to dig it. Then, about lvl 49 I could not stop playing it. She's now lvl 68 and I'm taking her to 80.

I'm not sure I can tell you why I like her, but in GW2 there are no cookie cutter builds, no "the way to play this class..." It's super appealing that almost everything sensible you try to build is a good build if you understand the class mechanics you've built. The weapons radically change the moves, and the moves chain in interesting ways.  Then tonight I stumbled on this quote in a forum, and it summed it up for me, especially the vibe that comes through on the quote:

And while we may seem thematically similar to them, we are not Holy/Prot/Ret paladins for anyone coming from WoW. There is no tank spec. There is no healer spec. There is no DPS spec. There is only you, your allies at your back, and your enemies before you. That’s the role of the Guardian.

I've noticed that it's pretty hard to kill me. I have a lot of options to sustain myself, and ways to get back up.  Right now I'm digging the 1H sword and torch OH. I have some nasty attacks that are quick as well as DOTy. I may need to pick up all possible weaps. though since, as you might expect, at some point you encounter the bad guys running your spec. who are thus immune to your spec attack. You know, flame type guys against which flame attacks aren't very effective. And, because of the way the game's built, I can just have some fun noodling around with weaps in particular situations. I love the hammer for its CC and its awesome chains and well, I'm just in love with the 'mighty blow' which launches your foe as if you've taken a #3 wood to his gut. Fore!!!!!!!

[If James were playing GW2, this would be a possible good choice for him, though it would be hard to get him to walk away from the warrior, I bet. Heck, I have a lvl 80 warrior I love playing too.]

Saturday, May 04, 2013

I think I'm turning Japanese I Really Think So...

Well, maybe it's more like Chinese, eh? Was playing along one evening and noticed that suddenly the tool tips were going bilingual, lol.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Yes, I'm on break...

Sadly, he's probably a white guy.
Okay, so I found him. It's Afro Samurai, one of my favorite graphic novel series. Here, watch some of it. Altho, this guy needs a bigger 'fro and a cig. hanging out his mouth.

Jumping Puzzles

There are several jumping puzzles in this game. They are a sort of game within a game. They are fairly hard and not for the faint of heart. The best ones are somewhat hidden off the beaten path. If you don't play explorer in this game you miss an awfully lot of very cool stuff, from special chests (after you kill the veteran/elite guarding it) to these jumping puzzles. There is no way to explain in words how hard these are. They are a sort of Rube Goldberg-esque version of twitch skills.

Here's one I'm working on now, Cellular Fells. I recommend you watch in on Youtube so you can actually SEE it. It's in a fairly dark cave.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Guild Groweth

So, we now have Tychem, Mootah/Nizwa, and Licentius in the guild. We're earning enough guild points to do things like create a custom emblem. What do you do with "Most Popular Girls in School?" There were no "girls" pictures. I almost went for the sword crossed with a single long stem rose, but ... that's so corny. Then I found the waving beaver. Um yeah, I went there. If you've looked at the silly but somewhat profane web show we've taken our name from, it fits. Anyhow.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Here be Dragons ... and a beginning mod community

Dragon fights are 'events' which are triggered periodically in the upper level regions of the Guild Wars world. There is a bit of regularity to them. Though the don't spawn exactly by the clock, they are available to spawn within a limited time window. Apparently, the Guild Wars beginning mod. community is on to this. For quite some time I've heard people refer to two sites: Orrmaps and Dragon Timers. Orrmaps is a resource map, server specific. Here's my Tarnished Coast map. Yes, it's specific to me and my finds. I started it on the weekend, whilst running with Tychem and Nizwa so it doesn't cover all the area that I've actually ranged over in the game. The other browser-based mod is the dragon timer, Guild Wars Temple (I don't know why either). It too is server specific. These are the timers for our server. This page has live count downs to spawn windows. Now the GW2 people have limited your ability to get a chest to once daily on the special events, because the chests have rare drops usually. But still, it's great to know when to start posting up for Claw of Jormag, for example.

Speaking of which, I tripped the light fantastic in the Claw of Jormag event twice yesterday and grabbed some shots. It can be a bit eerie as the people start to assemble for the event. They arrive, face the right direction, and just stand there. It's rather like that scene in Hitchcock's The Birds, when the ravens start assembling on the children's playground behind the unaware Tippie Hedren. Remember there's a window of spawn time, not an exact moment.

Anyhow, it's a great zergy fight; here's some shots from yesterday. There are several phases to the fight and I'm only showing you the last part because, as usual, I forgot to grab shots till it was almost over. Click to enlarge.

So there's a lot to tune into. He drops a wall to protect himself periodically, which you need to burn down to get to him. He drops corruption spots (dark blue ice) that will kill you if you don't move out of it. He drops elites and mini bosses, which have to be handled. And this all happens in a bit of a cycle I have yet to memorize. Like most fights in GW2, you have to MOVE yer feets, be context aware, and play strategically.

Friday, April 12, 2013


I logged back on to my engineer to get her past 70. I think she was at 65 or so. I started running with her and kept dying on skill points. Yes, skill points are hard to do alone sometimes... but really only if you don't have a handle on your toon. Every other guy I've got can solo skill points. So, wtf, I wondered.

I used to love my engineer. How did she get so lame (lol, it's me, not you). So, although the GW2 community is still fairly young (game's been out barely 6 months), I sought wisdom amongst my compadres. And, of course, I found it. The thing about the community is that it's not very sophisticated and organized yet, not compared to WoW. So although there were many "engineer PVE build" type videos and pages, each one I glanced at seemed to be ... off. I'm a connoisseur now, thanks to WoW. I found a winner with barely 500 views, oddly enough. Check it out. What's hugely amusing is that, while the language sounds like Greek to you, I totally understand what he's saying and I'm on it.

Drops from Supply Crate
So I respec'd Gracehopper (mashup of grasshopper cuz she's wee and Grace Hopper cuz she's an engineer) per his recommendations. I've been running her with the new spec for about a day and I"m so digging it again. What I especially like is being able to do awesome dps but still offer the group some kewl healy stuff from my supply crate (see below), which drops 6 healy kits, a flame turret, a heal turret, and net gun turret. Oh, and I solo'd the skill point that I'd been dying on all last week.

So I'm a happily re-engineered engineer and I hope to hit 70 today and 80 soon. That will give me 4 80s.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Well Um Yeah, Another Alt.

As you know, dear reader, from the WoW years, I am a confessed altaholic. So it should come as no surprise to you that I have mostly used the RMT in GW2 to buy extra character slots to roll... more alts. Those clever bastiges only give your four character slots and there are eight distinct play classes: warrior, elementalist, ranger, thief, mesmer, necromancer, guardian, and engineer. Obviously I needed to roll them all. In the picture here you'll see them all lined up neatly at the feet of my newest alt.

The problem is that each class, once you get going past, oh say level 10, gets hella interesting to play. Yep, every class. There is no dog here. They all are different too. It's not like the way WoW has ended up where the difference between the shadow priest and warlock is tough to define. Anyhow... so meet my latest, a guardian (rather like a WoW paladin). I've named her Ashley Kachadorian after a character in the wonderfully obscene and hilarious web series, The Most Popular Girls in School. It's a stop-action with Barbie dolls. (Do not watch if you are easily offended.) Sarah and I even created a guild called The Most Popular Girls in School. Yes, we're that silly.

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Pleasures of Playing on an RP Server

I'm playing on an unofficial RP server. That means that, although this server is not labeled by Arenanet as an RP (role playing) server, many if not most of the players on it are indeed role players. They don't just play pretend games. They quest. They do dungeons. But, a big part of their fun comes from interaction in character. In fact, as I've learned from my RP'ing daughter, this can include a guild application that asks you to write the backstory for your main character. Yeah.

Before you wrinkle your nose, realize that most RP servers are very genteel places, in contrast to, say, your average PVP server, which seems full of middle school boys with foul racist, sexist language or older men who are deeply in touch with their middle school boyhood. PVE servers are ... ok. This server, Tarnished Coast, is a joy. Very little snark, and people tend to get called out on it when they go there. Generally pretty witty repartee in general chat, which is fun to participate in or just watch. RP servers host a better class of people. Yup, I'm going to stick by that claim.

But every now and then you run into something weird, a scene ongoing, a band of players in the midst of their RP'ing. Usually I see this in Inns or small town squares in the game. As a regular player you can feel like you're walking through a set during a shoot, very awkward. "Excuse me, sir, sorry, yes, just quickly passing though, so sorry, ok. Yes." It's rather amusing to realize how powerful their scene setting is, that it should make you actually feel like an intruder.

Last night I ran into it in the middle of one of the capital cities. As I was working through a jumping puzzle I noticed a lot of very well dressed players, not dressed for war but for a formal event. Then I noticed the couple on the balcony area. I grabbed a shot. You'll notice the language in the chat screen, done mostly via emotes, makes it pretty clear what's going on. I thought it was cool and wanted you to be able to see what it looks like when a large group gathers for RP. Note too, if you can, that they are from a variety of guilds. In the very back right corner of the screen shot you can make out the bride and groom. I'd have grabbed a better shot, but...well... I felt like I was intruding.

Wedding in The Grove on Tarnished Coast

Monday, March 25, 2013

Elementalist O. M. G.

I have several different professions. Yeah, I actually started on elementalist, but then I got drawn in by warrior and thief. But recently I've been thinking maybe I'm just not playing the elementalist the best way I can. I've been using a staff because it offers the most DPS, but it's kinda slow to roll out. I imagine it's great in a group where you have some time and there's probably a heavy armor warrior up front. But hey, this video really opened my eyes. Check this out!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Where HAVE I Been? In Guild Wars, yo!

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So I finally left WoW when I realized two things. First, I was really bored with it. You know you're bored with it when you just can't face leveling another toon. Second, I got into the beta for Guild Wars 2 and I really liked the new mechanics.

That was late November. I haven't looked back. At first it was PC only and I still played 'cause it's that good. Now the Mac version is running and though marked beta it's almost bug free.  Only bug I've hit is rare and intermittent mouse control thing, probably because I don't play full screen.

So here's why I love Guild Wars. Yeah, that's right, no subscription fee. Instead there is a RMT optional Auction House, but... get this, the stuff you can buy (with your gold or RMT) is not going to make a significant difference in the power or playability of your toon. That's right; it's SKILL baby, not who has the most coin or the most time to grind for coin. It's mostly cool shit (like dye for your gear) or P2P mats for professions. Second, great lore. It actually has story arcs and holds to them. Third, no grind. Fourth, no locked in roles. Every toon can heal, kite, tank. Fourth, public zergs (à la Rift). Fifth, dynamic questing; quests pop up as you wander in range of the activity. Sixth, oh hell, just watch the video.

I might add, crafting doesn't suck. In fact, there's recipe creation. Very cool recipe creation.

The game up and down levels you as you move through regions. So, if you want to play with a lower level toon in a level 30 zone, the game downscales your DPS to match the region so you play as an equal (and get credit for XP etc.)

I now have a thief, ranger, elementalist, mesmer, engineer, warrior, necromancer... so far.
(By the way, the dungeons are hard and hella fun.)

PS In the video the guy is talking about beta. There is no queue for World vs World. That's fine now. Yes, you have to mail stuff to another player; no trade window, but... you don't have to visit a mailbox to get your mail. It opens anywhere, and it's instant, so no big.

Here's my current toons. Every one is fun to play.