Editorials

Raphia’s August 21st stress test journal

On a personal note, I’d like to say thanks to the kind folks at ArenaNet tech support for resolving the issue I was having with my desktop machine and GW2 updates not loading. It took a while to work through all the possible causes, but they were patient and professional and a pleasure to deal with. The problem wouldn’t have kept me from playing GW2 completely, but it would have meant using my laptop (my primary work machine) and it’s never a good idea to mix work and pleasure.

For Tuesday’s stress test, I had a similar goal as in the last one: keep all the stress on ArenaNet’s servers and little-to-none of it on me. Just play to enjoy, as it’s almost certainly the last time I’ll see this set of characters.

Clicks to be me

One of the (many) reasons I’m happy we got one last stress test (assuming this really is the last one before headstart) is that I had to replace my mouse over the weekend, and I splurged on a Logitech gaming mouse. This is the kind with more buttons than any pointing device I’ve ever owned. The cool thing is that there are a dozen thumb-buttons you can map to keystrokes in your game UI (the default mappings are 1-9 and 0, -, and =). I’ve tried playing Guild Wars with the new mouse, and I think I’m slowly getting the hang of it, but I still have difficulty hitting the buttons for 6, 8, and 9 accurately.

Log in wrinkles

There were a few differences from the last time I logged in to Guild Wars 2. The first was that I was prompted to confirm my email address (which is a bit odd, as I’ve been using that email since the sign-up for the first beta). I clicked the button, but didn’t get an email from ArenaNet within a few minutes, so I assumed either the mailing daemon was overloaded with everyone logging in right then or that I’d already been confirmed.

The other interesting change was that I got a warning about the drivers for my graphics card. I have a fairly old Nvidia card, so this wouldn’t have been surprising under normal circumstances — except I’d just installed newer drivers for the card last week as part of the work with ArenaNet tech support to fix the upload problem. In spite of the warning that I might experience issues if I didn’t update the drivers, I just noted down the specific drivers to install and got into game (I updated after the stress test was over, and didn’t notice anything while I was playing).

After I took time to get some dinner, I found two ArenaNet emails in my inbox, so I guess the server was just backed-up when we all logged in at the same time. I responded and (apparently) got my email address confirmed.

Loading into … oops!

I loaded in to Kessex Hills on my ranger … only to remember that I was in the middle of a pack of Harathi when the last stress test ended. “After I regained consciousness…” I moved to the nearest waypoint. I think most of the folks on my server (Isle of Janthir for this stress test) were off doing other things, as I saw very few other players for the first hour or two. That made it trickier to get into some of the areas in Kessex Hills that I hadn’t already explored.

No trade at the Trading Post

Early in the stress test, I found that the Black Lion Trading Post not operable: the dialog box would open, but wouldn’t populate. I was able to collect some money from one of the Trading Post NPCs, but I couldn’t place new items for sale or check on the status of items I’d put up for sale in the last stress test (I’m a big user of the Trading Post).

A couple of hours later, ArenaNet had fixed the problem and the Trading Post was working again. Around the time of the first extension, they were even asking us to stress it in addition to the currency exchange and structured PvP areas.

Hey! Free loot!

At some point, I got an in-game email with the pleasant surprise of the day: the Hero’s Band and other items from the digital deluxe edition (and, I assume, the Collector’s Edition). On my level 20 ranger, the Hero’s Band was a pretty minor bauble, but it made a much more useful addition to my level 5 elementalist.

Dynamic events that just won’t leave you alone

After I got tired of being driven off by Harathi mobs, I decided to go to a new area: Brisban Wildlands. It was introduced a while back, but this was the first time I’d ventured there. By this time, there were a few more players around, so it was possible to do some of the larger activities without being swarmed by random mobs. After doing the renown heart near the entrance from Kessex Hills, and a couple of small dynamic events, the other players dispersed in various directions.

I was alone for a while, trying to work my way along the northern edge of the map. While I was taking out some skale and spiders, a small dynamic event came rolling toward me. On the mini-map it didn’t look too big, so I waited for it to arrive while I finished off the last of the local fauna. Then some of the recently killed creatures respawned just before the event rolled over top of me. I dodged and retreated and dodged again and then I was down. I didn’t even see what took me down, as I was trying to re-stomp the skale/spider infestation.

After I ralled at the waypoint, I retraced my steps … and had almost the same thing happen again: kill the local creatures, see the event come in my direction, and have the respawn timed just to co-incide with the event “horizon”. I can take a hint, so this time I didn’t bother fighting the respawns: I just got the heck of out of Dodge. And the event chased me almost all the way back to the road.

I’ll be going back to that area on Saturday, but I’ll bring a few friends…

Personal story bug

After spending some time in Brisban Wildlands, I decided to move my personal story along. I was feeling guilty: here was Logan Thackeray expecting me to help him and the Seraph protect an orphanage and I was off in the wilderness hacking up the wildlife and chopping down trees instead. Time to live up to my (character’s) commitments.

I went back to Divinity’s Reach and looked up my old pal Logan. We fought our way into the orphanage, captured the bad guys, and saved all the kids. We’re heroes!

Except the instance (and the client itself) closed on me before we completed the final dialog and I couldn’t get back on to the character when I tried logging in again. So I have to assume the orphans will need to be re-saved.

Vistas in Divinity’s Reach

Before my glorious attempt to save all the orphans, I decided to complete exploring Divinity’s Reach. I found all the points of interest and unlocked all the waypoints, but didn’t quite get done: the Western Commons and Plaza of Grenth vistas still have me stumped. Unlike the other vistas in the city, these two are up high with no obvious way to climb up to them or to drop down onto them from higher spots. I’m terrible at jumping puzzles, so I’ll probably have to wait until I can watch other players attempting them to figure out how to finish them.

Time to say goodbye

As always, the end of the stress test came far too soon (even after having two hours added to the event). I spent the last few minutes thinking “I’ll just go here and do that, and then I can …” only to be staring at the login screen again. Drat, foiled again!

Saturday can’t come soon enough, if you ask me.

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