Thursday, 22 May 2014

The sadness of the norn


If you're thinking about rolling a light armour class don't choose a norn male.  Pretty much everything looks like either a dress or tights and when you're as big as a norn it looks pretty incongruous.

I don't doubt it's similar for male sylvari and humans but I'm guessing your cultural armour has less fur.

At least with a charr you just look freaking whacky anyway but a norn, well, you just look like an abnormal human.  Maybe I just lack imagination?

If anyone has any inspiring looks for norn males in light armour let me know!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Dear Wildstar, it’s time we talked

I’ve been talking some smack behind your back and I need to apologise; it’s not you, it’s me.

I know we only dated briefly but I thought we really had something.  I thought you were gorgeous.  Sure, you’re kind of quirky but I liked that.  You were a nice break from all the plastic replicas.  I thought we had so much in common, you seemed to want the same things as me.  You had some whacky ideas and a great sense of humour and that’s something I love.

But suddenly something changed and everything you’d told me before seemed superficial.

I quickly realised I wasn’t enough for you.  You wanted to hang out with EVERYONE!  I’m sure some of those guys are really neat but they’re so loud and brash I just don’t dig those big group dynamics.  I thought we could spend some nice quiet time together, really get to know each other, and create some special experiences but popularity seems more important to you now.  I hope it brings you everything you want but I’ve seen people struggle to handle so many new friends.

Also, you weren't great at keeping in touch.  I know you write almost everything on twitter and your blog but I couldn't read that whole thing just to find out something that might be important; I needed more than that.  I needed you to contact me and let me know that I was special to you.  When occasionally something big was happening you'd let me know but too late, when I had already made plans.

Last but not least, you seem kind of high maintenance.  I felt like it was really going to cost me to maintain our relationship and I don’t need that kind of weight in my life right now.

I still think you’re great, you still have something special and maybe, with time, there’s hope for us in the future but for now I just have to wish you the best.



Monday, 12 May 2014

#GW2 World Completion

I have yet to do world completion on any character and I know exactly why that.

It's because I want to play the racial starter zones as the race in question.  Dunno why, call me a weirdo, it just seems right.

To then come back and repeat those zones on a different character is frustrating.  Why isn't world completion account-wide? It's technically simple to accomplish (count each time a zone is completed, calculate how many world completions have been achieved) and would greatly reward players that play a lot of alts.

Potential negatives "What if you delete a character?"  Let's not over-complicate things.  Keep it the same. Deleting character deletes all progression towards World Completion.

Or track it with infinite individual achievements for each zone and create a meta that tracks World Completion.

It really can't be that hard.

How often to update your gear?

Spent all day looking for this quote yesterday:
Weapons should be within 5 levels of your current level, and armor within 10 levels (unless you do dungeons, then armor within 5 levels) [1]
Obviously it's not a hard and fast rule but it's worked well for me. It's always noticeable when you go to a new zone with old weapons. Do you think it makes a good guideline?

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Saga of the norn

Have you heard the full Guild Wars 2 soundtrack? It's awesome.  Truly.

My favourite piece, bar none, is the Saga of the norn.  I am not sure how often it is heard in-game but it features during the norn racial introduction.

If you haven't heard you can listen here: 

When I get to the last 30 seconds my mind is filled with charging giants and the roars of shape-shifters, a bit like this.

And it makes me want to go and fight Jormag right now.

Hopefully I'll be back for dinner.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Great branding and design

I have been doing map completion on my Engineer in Blazeridge Steppes for the last few... months.  It's such a fantastic looking zone, I just love it.  Maybe you need a good GFX card to appreciate it but the dragon brand looks amazing.  Lore-wise it's an awesome zone with all the ruins and hastily erected charr defenses.  Of course, I expect most people just come here for the Shatterer mega-boss.

Mmm... moody (The dragon brand)
I'm also developing a bit of a love for the charr and their war machines, certainly more so than the asura and their lasers.  Certainly the Anet designers have followed "oily, smoky, flame-belching iron monstrosity" brief with alacrity.

Following my post about the dragon lieutenants it would be remiss not to mention my battles against Kralkatorrik's champion.  It's my least favourite of the three to be honest.  Very little happens in the fight and there doesn't seem to be any challenge at all. Looks cool, though!
The Shatterer arrives

Friday, 2 May 2014

Earning a crust in #GW2

You might have heard of a website called Get Rich Slowly.  I've taken this approach in GW2 and there are a few things I would recommend to new players.

First, items marked as "Salvage Item" shouldn't be salvaged by you.  You should sell them on the Trading Post (TP).  The same applies for opening any bags you collect. Why? Well, you have to trust the market and assume that, on average, the price of bags reflects the value of what you get out. You might get lucky but you probably won't.   So, why risk the RNG yourself?  Take the average profit as opposed to the chance of a big win or a big loss.   Most importantly: don't salvage or open bags for mats to craft with.  More on that below.

Second, level 68+ Rare and Exotic equipment yields Globs of Ectoplasm at a rate of about 0.875.  However, since this is again RNG, I'd look at this link and if the item you are considering salvaging sells for more than the current Ecto sell price you should just sell the item and let someone take the risk.  If you salvage you have a 15% chance of getting diddly squat.  Why bother?

Third, Essence of Luck was introduced to reduce the gold coming into the economy from NPC sales of blues and greens, which were (at the time) basically worthless.  However, once you reach about +70% Magic Find (MF) the amount of luck you need to reach the next 1% starts to get quite steep.  Unless you farm high-value loot constantly boosting your MF isn't really a great investment so consider selling you greens to NPCs for the cash (3 greens are worth about 4 silver) instead.  Blues are worth so little you might as well Crude Salvage kit them.  This is especially true for level 80 greens and blues were T5 mats are in massive over-supply and hence worthless.  The exception here is light armour. Cloth mats have increased significantly in value with introduction of Ascended armour so look to the TP for profits on those first!

This screen capture of my recent TP post history gives you an idea of the figures that might be involved:
Unopened bags, light armour and a rare - cash without the RNG
Finally, if you plan to craft, don't fall into the trap of thinking that farming and hoarding mats to craft with saves gold.  It doesn't. Consider two examples:

1) You're level 40 and need Vials of Weak Blood to craft. You would be better of farming Vials of Thin Blood, selling them and using the profit to buy the Vials of Weak Blood. Always farm items with the highest value.

2) Let's say you farm 1 gold worth of T6 mats and, with 50s of other components bought from the TP, make a 3g value item.  How much profit have you made? 1g 50s.  Yes, you didn't pay gold for the T6 mats but you could have sold them for gold.  Crafting does add value to mats but don't fall into the trap of thinking it's not costing anything to craft with mats you farm: it's "costing" what you could have sold them for.  On the bright side, if you're levelling a craft, that "cost" is the price you pay for skill ups.

So, there you have it: my tips for making a slow buck in GW2.  Don't leave it to chance.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Learning control with a G600

I came to Guild Wars 2 from Final Fantasy XI and Aion.  If you know FFXI you'll know that the controls are not what you might call modern.  The game was built for the PS2 and they didn't do a very imaginative job with the controller, certainly not compared to the frankly amazing system in FFXIV.  Aion, being a "WoW clone" of epic proportions, was a 4-5 hotbar, button mashing nightmare.  I had to remap the Windows key to Shift to even get enough modifiers in play.  So, I came to GW2 using numpad for movement and 1-5 (+modifiers) for skills.  I didn't use the mouse at all.  Is there a name for that

My first character in GW2 was Necromancer and I quickly realised that Staff was just not going to work for me.  While I could ground target (GT) with my mouse and move with WASD OK I wasn't really able to fire off that many skills.  That was OK in a "stand at the back" zerg but not really much fun.  Of course I got pretty adept at swapping my right hand to the mouse for the occasional GT skill and back to the numpad but I didn't have the level of control I wanted.  I had to look down too much to see what I was pressing.  That might be why I gravitated to Clott's Daggermancer build, I just kept my hands in the same place and killed in a green glowing frenzy.  Of course he still suggests the staff for WvW.

When I started my Engineer the grenade kit was completely out. At the time I also believed that the bomb kit used GT skills so I never even unlocked that.  I only unlocked grenades because they were so great underwater (which turned out to be a bug).  I soon realised if I wanted to get the most out of my classes, and if I ever wanted to play a Mesmer, I'd have to buy a multi-button mouse.
Wall of Text break

Never one to rush into a purchase I spent about 3 months deliberating.  Since this coincided with my New Year Living World break it's not as bad as it sounds but when I came back I was determined to be a better Engineer.  And to play more WvW.  That was where I was having my biggest problems: swapping hands meant standing still, only for a second, but that's usually enough.

So, having had the Naga Razar on my Amazon wishlist for 4 months, through Christmas and a my birthday no less (cheapskates), I finally plumped for the G600.  Didn't see that coming did you?  It boiled down to reviews and price.  The Razar didn't seem to offer any more for the extra money.
Even the box is pretty
I have had the mouse for about 3-4 weeks now and I am starting to feel quite comfortable with it.  I discovered I couldn't even circle strafe with my left hand when I first started.  It was quite a learning curve.

The main issue I had with the mouse was that I couldn't work out where to put my thumb for a "home" position.  The G13 and G16 keys are marked with tiny ridges (like f and j on a keyboard) which is really useful but I couldn't settle on the front six buttons or the back six.  Ultimately I discovered the sweet spot was right in the middle, resting on both of them.  The other problem I had was what you might call the "live long and prosper" issue or "pat your head/rub your belly".  Basically when I clicked certain buttons with my thumb my index finger just fired off on impulse.  No idea why.  I think my brain was just, like, "we click with the finger, hand! Not the thumb!"

Before I bought it I also wasn't sure about the g-shift key on the G600.  My old mouse was very narrow and I had a claw rather than a palm grip (it's an FPS thing apparently).  That's not been a problem at all and it's actually great to have that modifier there.

How is it for GW2?  Pretty awesome.  I'm not going to do a full rundown of how I mapped everything but to give you an idea G12 to G17 map 1-6.  I have so far resisted the urge to try and use keyboard modifiers with mouse clicks.  My intention is to keep my left hand on WASD at all times.  If I did use keyboard mods I wouldn't need to move my thumb from the "home" position but that kind of defeats the point of the other 6 buttons.

It's a great mouse, I'd recommend it.  My next post will be about my new Engy build and how I fared on my first trip into WvW.