Friday, 6 September 2013

Green is for Necromancers

Why do we all have such small imaginations when it comes to clothing our avatars?  I mean, if we each had a gold for every scantily clad, staff-wielding Elementalist or each Guardian disguised as spiky metal behemoth, we'd all be able to buy a Legendary.  I can't really speak to what goes through the minds of people that play other classes but I can certainly speak for myself.


I swear I didn't go looking for this...

When I first created my character I was very frustrated by the lack of armour variety.  Instead most of the gear seemed to have a lot of fur trim.  That was not too immersion breaking for me being a norn; very hunter/gatherer.  But I really wanted to make my toon look like he raised the dead as a key part of his livelihood.    I was inspired to use a lot of green.  And look for stuff with bones on it.  Yeah, inspired. It's easy to blame the concept art and the UI design.  The concept art for Necromancers included a LOT of green and quite a lot of deep red.  The Necro weapon skills are mainly green as are a lot of particle effects.  I'm sorry I keep saying green, it's kind of a theme, though...

So, why green and, less so, red?  Well, the red is easy: blood and viscera.  The green?  Well, we associated green with corruption and decay, yet most of the vitality we see in everyday life is green! How often do you see things that turn green when they go bad?  In my experience they generally go a darker version of their original colour and then they go black.  Also most of the pus I have ever seen has been a creamy yellow; calling it green would be a stretch.

Given the paucity of gear early on I decided to leave the real customisation to the elder game.  Also, since you level so fast, it would be a quite a chore to maintain a look with an ever-changing armour set.  I started looking at the gear you could get from dungeons and quickly found the awesome that is Arah.  The Arah light armour is a necromancer's dream.
Arah Light Armor

I can't imagine anything fitting a class better.  I asked around and quickly discovered my chances of getting that much gear from Arah were slim so I looked for compromises and quickly found parts of the Twilight Arbour set combined well with Arah.
Mix and Match - TA everything except head and shoulders
I'm not alone.  If you look at any “share your necro” thread you'll see people post that combo.  It's realistically achievable and looks pretty cool.  But I never even made it that far.  No-one wants to run TA. I compromised again and came up with this
[Arah TA COF combo]

Since EVERYONE wants to run CoF this seemed much more likely.  However, I'm really starting to strecth the look here.  Then I discover runing Arah is even harder than I expected and I end up looking like this:
The compromise

This apple has fallen so far from the Arah tree it might actually be a different sort of fruit altogether.  Maybe a lemon?  Having said that I was happy with this look for a week or so but it soon became quite immersion breaking.  I just didn't like how I looked.

So, when I decided to switch from a bleed/condition sceptre build to a power/crit. dagger build it was a great opportunity to have a gear re-think.  In search of inspiration I began trawling the aforementioned “share” forum threads and I found some fantastic looks.  It seems that charr and sylvari make particularly good looking necromancers!  Here are a few of my favourites:

Amazing charr necro (but still Arah gear)

Sort of Shamanic sylvari necro

Still a lot of green and black, eh?  I didn't see a lot of norn in those threads so I looked to the normal sized humans for inspiration and found this.

Now, that's more like it.  If you're going to get up close and personal with a dagger in someone's face you don't want to be sporting a skull encrusted dress, it's just not practical.  Inspired I set about earning my exotic gear (rebuild remember) and looking at skins. I still have one piece of gear to get, a coat from Honor of the Waves, but other than it's complete.  I'm very happy with it.  At least for now.

Things about MMOs that GW2 made me forget

Before GW2 I played FFXI for a few years, the Aion for about 9 months, then back to FFXI until about September 2012. Last month I was very taken with the idea of playing FFXIV.

This was notable for several reasons:
a) I played the alpha of 1.0 and it was, bar none, the most broken, poorly conceived disaster I have ever experienced.
b) SE always struggled to meet my expectations with regard to communicating important information the player base.

But, inspired in no small part by the efforts of the new producer, I decided it was worth a second look.  I pre-ordered, downloaded, couldn't get on the server my friends were on, I waited, I missed the warning about registering your boxed code, I waited, I finally got on the server with my friends, I didn't register my code, my account was deleted, I got a refund from Amazon.

However, just that week long daliance with idea of playing FFXIV bought back some horrible memories that GW2 has banished for good:

  • Mob claiming
  • EXP reduction in parties
  • Timed spawns
  • Shared loot pools
  • RNG-based skill progression
  • Forced group content
  • Being drip-fed skills
  • Mana pools
  • Subs!

I could probably go on but that's enough.  How could I have ever enjoyed playing games with mechanics like that?! You'd have to be some sort of masochist.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A kindred spirit in Tyria

My last post was one of frustration, disappointment and a bit of anger.  I don't really like to be that guy. But when you feel like that nothing really makes you feel better than someone expressing exactly the same feelings.

Enter Justin 'Syp' Olivetti, whom you may know from his blog "Bio Break" (linked on left) or, more likely, as a writer for Massively and host of Massively Speaking.

Justin had this to say about the Living Story at around the same time I was expressing my frustrations: Guild Wars 2: Living story, dead interest.  That post echoes so many of my own sentiments; validation is good for the soul.

Then episode 259 of Massively Speaking rolls in a Justin enthuses about the new Living Story event, the Queen's Jubilee, and how they have changed the Living Story achievements system so you can avoid some of the "harder" content to still get the overall reward.  He wrote another post about that here.

I was intrigued and decided to return to Tyria, albeit about a week after the show, and was surprised to see the Queen's Jubilee was still running.  It seems another change, that had passed me by, was that the story instalments now overlap.  In other words, it's fortnightly releases but no longer just a two week window, which is MUCH more suited to my play time.  Hurrah!
The Crown Pavilion
So, when I logged on the new instalment, Clockwork Chaos, had just launched and I was initially frustrated to find I needed to complete a large chunk of that before I could get back into the area where most of the Queen's Jubilee stuff was happening.  That turned out not to be too much of a chore and, in fact I really enjoyed it.  I mean loot was dropping like rain all around me and that's always a cheerer.

I was all but given up on GW2 but after a 6 week break I find myself back to wanting to log on everyday. I had wanted to write a post about just how much I had enjoyed these two instalments but once again Mr Olivetti had beaten me to it:
If the Bazaar of the Four Winds and that weird election represented a low point of my recent interest in Guild Wars 2, then the combo of the Queen’s Jubilee and the Clockwork Chaos represent a rebound of tremendous proportions.
You can read the rest of his post here: Guild Wars 2: Die Die Die, Die Die and you can follow him on Twitter @sypster