After I finished writing up day one, I headed back into game for round two. I forced myself not to jump into game as soon as I was awake, but it was tough and the temptation was very strong. It was to be another long day of gaming, but I was ready for it. One thing I didn’t expect, however, is that in spite of the utterly brilliant trick of being able to send crafting materials directly to your storage … I’m still running out of space for all the neat gear I’ve been collecting (and crafting). I thought that you could buy additional bank space with gems, but I didn’t see that option in the gem shop yesterday.
ArenaNet’s community managers updated the official Facebook page for Guild Wars 2, listing the major issues they were addressing (connectivity to the game is top priority, and the issues I mentioned yesterday are definitely on their list). Although ArenaNet has been pro-active about enforcing their rules of conduct, I did see a couple of examples that must be skating mighty close to the line for naming practices: I suspect that enforcement will be stepped up as the major technical issues get resolved.
I wanted to get a couple of other names reserved, so I spent part of Sunday creating my second, third, fourth, and fifth characters (I actually hate the usage “toon”, but it seemed too appropriate for the heading in this section). In addition to my human ranger, I added a human mesmer (also named for her long-ago ancestor), a charr engineer, an asuran elementalist (because I really enjoyed the beta elementalist I created), and a norn guardian. I’ll need to buy another character slot to add a sylvari character.
I didn’t spend a lot of time on each of the new characters, generally getting them up to about level four and unlocking all the skills for at least one weapon and equipping gathering tools and salvage kits. It was still late afternoon before I resumed my ranger’s adventures.
Unfortunately, the problems with the Black Lion Trading Post continued through Sunday as well. Instead of the blank dialog box or the 502 error, you now get to see a sleeping Quaggan, which instantly reminded me of Twitter’s famous Fail Whale.
Guild mechanics seemed to be back closer to normal: I was able to accept both of the guild invitations that had been sitting uselessly all Saturday, and we were able to send guild invitations to prospective members of the Royal Tyrian Highlanders that all seem to have been successfully accepted.
The party mechanism is still not ideal, but either we had better luck with it on Sunday or ArenaNet has been making changes to address some of the worst aspects over the weekend. The “Join in” right-click command seems to work properly most of the time now (when it’s available), and even with more people trying to co-ordinate, we did manage to get everyone together at the same time, same place, and same instance.
On Sunday night, RTH had planned to continue a group exploration of Kessex Hills, following on from our successful group exercise in Queensdale on Saturday. We had too many folks wanting to join so we formed two parties and (at least for the opening areas of Kessex Hills) created a mini-zerg. The northeast corner of the map didn’t present any major challenges to the two groups, although our lowest-level member had some unlucky situations and needed a bit of revivification along the way. We took part in a few small dynamic events and had more than enough firepower to annihilate any group of bandits that appeared.
Also, luckily enough for us, whatever server issue was interfering with Dolby Axon had been addressed, so we had about a dozen of us (participants and kibitzers) in the RTH chatroom while we ran riot in (part of) Kessex Hills.
When the rush stopped
The facerolling phase didn’t last all that long, once we moved further south into Kessex Hills. We got separated into mini-groups while trying to find our way up to a vista, and a few party members thought it’d be safe to jump off the ledge to get back down onto the road. Three deaths later (including someone who wasn’t in either of our groups, but foolishly thought we knew what we were doing), we regrouped and carried on.
I was busy gathering while part of the group went up onto a plateau … and very quickly backed out again. I didn’t see for myself, but the description made it sound like the massed ranks of centaurs up there would be willing to re-enact Custer’s Last Stand for us if we proceeded any further along that way.
Witch dampens our spirits
We worked our way down to the southern edge of Kessex Hills, visiting the sylvari outpost where Natural and I had visited during one of the first beta weekends: memories still haunt us about the masses of risen shambling forward as we desperately defended the outpost. It was quiet during this visit, however.
We were starting to lose party members to real life at this point, but we had one last big event to take part in: an underwater trip to visit a krait witch and give her a stern talking-to. There was already a sizeable group there ahead of us, and they were taking losses. We joined in … and got our collective butts kicked. It was an excellent example of dynamic events scaling to the number of participants. By the time we got the win, seven of our combined party were floating in the water defeated, and I couldn’t count the defeated members of the groups that were there ahead of us or joined in after we got there. Epic. Damp, but epic.
Crafting really is quite a bit of fun and as I mentioned yesterday it starts to be useful very early. What has been holding me up is that I have the bad habit of running out of just one key component (that I seem to need for almost everything I want to do in that session): yesterday it was vials of thin blood. I’d collected what seemed like a more-than-adequate number of vials by beating up skale around the Beetletun area, but all the recipes I was following (or trying to discover) seemed to need vials of thin blood and I ran out very quickly. If the trading post was open, I could have bought some more, but I guess I’ll need to go be the reservoir bully and beat up more skale for a while…
We’ll be seeing a rush of new participants today as the pre-order folks get their one-day early access. I won’t be in game as much today, as it’s a work day, but I’ll try to do enough to report on for tomorrow.
Update: The final day entry is here.