After the last stress test being only one hour long, there was some speculation among the GuildMag staff: Dutch was joking that the next stress test would be even shorter. Thank goodness he was wrong: Wednesday’s event was a full four-hour stress test.
Unfortunately, the technical issue I alluded to in an earlier journal entry is still keeping me from playing Guild Wars 2 on my desktop machine. ArenaNet’s technical support folks have been quite helpful, but we still haven’t solved the problem. This meant I didn’t take my usual notes during the stress test, and I’m certain I’ve forgotten all sorts of details.
At the end of the last stress test, I’d left my Ranger down under the bridge between Sojourner’s Way and the Delanian Foothills in Kessex Hills (there’s a slightly out-of-date map at the official Guild Wars 2 wiki: this is in the upper right-hand corner of the map). Fortunately, when I reloaded into the area, I was up on the bridge, not down in the water, surrounded by drakes and scales.
I didn’t really have any definite plans for this stress test: do a bit of exploring, gather materials along the way, take part in a few dynamic events, etc. I figured this event was intended to stress ArenaNet’s servers, not me.
I took advantage of being right at both a waypoint and an armour repair spot to ensure that I could easily return there and that my last set of adventures didn’t leave me naked (so to speak). Right outside the gate, some travelling merchants were trying to get escorts to take their caravan safely on to their destination. I don’t remember what the destination was supposed to be, because we no sooner set foot on the other side of the bridge before bandits bushwhacked us and stole the cargo. I assisted the merchant Irvine to recover the stolen goods and then returned to the fort to unload my excess inventory and get my armour repaired.
When I came back out to the road, there was another dynamic event waiting for me: escorting two Lionguards on a patrol around the fort (which also has a vista, which isn’t yet shown on the Wiki map).
The patrol really doesn’t go very far, but Lionguards Morris and Thetan do try to bother the local fauna as much as they can, even before you encounter the bandits infesting the last part of the patrol route. I was the only player around, so it fell upon me to keep the two of them alive for the circuit — a challenge I fell a bit short of mastering. About two-thirds of the way around the walls, we encountered a larger group of bandits who quickly killed all three of us.
When I rallied at the waypoint just outside the fort, I found a fellow player looking for help with a personal story quest (Kessex Hills seemed a bit under-populated during this event, at least on our server). Sujay the Great was hoping to find someone to help get past an ettin infestation and find out the fate of his parents. Having no pressing engagements, I was happy to offer my services. On the way to the start of the quest, we had to fight the same bandit mob that prevented me from completing the first dynamic event. With Sujay’s help, it was a lot easier and we got the Lionguards safely on their way with a captured bandit (we didn’t stick around to find out what happened next).
After each of us had a disconnect (Sujay right after we agreed to team up, and me just as we tried to enter the personal story instance), we took on the massed ettin menace and — eventually — triumphed. It took a while, as we had to isolate each ettin from the group in order to have a reasonable chance to take it down without being swarmed and stomped.
Exploring Kessex Hills
After completing that chapter of his personal story, Sujay was kind enough to stick around and revive me numerous times as we explored more of the Kessex Hills. We helped Gort clear out his home (more ettins), and we found a few more vistas (through yet more ettins). We were doing well until I happened to fall off a cliff and end up in a heap on the dockside where there was a bugged skill point (Merkessa the Fire Elemental stubbornly remained friendly, so we couldn’t earn the skill point by fighting and defeating it). A passing thief was kind enough to revive me, as Sujay was busy with something else for a few minutes.
Not more than ten minutes later, we started getting notice from ArenaNet that we’d need to log out and load a new build. Sujay and I joked with one another that ArenaNet was paying close attention to our bug report and had just jumped into action to fix the problem we’d reported. When we loaded back in, we re-visited the skill point. Yep: ArenaNet had fixed the skill point problem already. Either brilliant timing or proof of creepy stalker behaviour…
Sujay had to log off not long afterwards, but it proved once again that ArenaNet has done a great job of making it not only possible to team up with random strangers in PvE but positively beneficial to do so. This, to me, is one of the greatest strengths of Guild Wars 2: making the co-operative aspect of the game a winner.
As with every other beta event and stress test, the end came all too soon and I was left wanting more time in Tyria. Roll on the 25th of August!