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Saw That One Coming

Just another Black Temple clear when…

What? Even *monks* can use it?

What? Even monks can use them?

Ayep. Called that one.

The funny thing I realized, inbetween the tears, is how the error message is “You can never use that item.” Challenge accepted – I’m tweeting Ghostcrawler as we speak.

Reinventing the Wheel

Other games have pretty much killed my attempt to slog through Guild War 2′s storyline, but I still rubberneck around the forums and dev posts with a sick sort of fascination. Some of their decisions make you wonder if they have been living under a rock for the last fifteen years of game design.

Hey everyone.

We are looking into an additional reward system to add to bosses so that killing a single boss feels a lot more rewarding than it does right now. We are gathering data internally on it and will release information on it as it gets closer to being implemented.

Being stuck at the last boss and unable to finish the dungeon thus receiving now reward is a terrible feeling for any player, hardcore or casual. We are looking to remedy this.

Iteration is the name of the game (source)

Hello, William Fairfield, Game Designer. Maybe bosses should, I dunno, have some loot associated with them instead of a chest filled with vendor trash to complement the same vendor trash we have been collecting from the hundred mobs we slaughtered on the way in? I think that worked in every MMO prior to this one.

We’re very aware our LFG system is lacking, an it’s high on our list of things to rework. We have some other very pressing issues to handle first, but as someone who built/runs dungeons, and often PUG them, I dislike our current obscure and non-informative system, and re-building it is high on my list of things-to-flail-my-arms-about-to-talented-people-who-can-do-something-about-it, so that they do something about it. (source)

Thank you, Robert Hrouda, Content Designer. You get 50 points for honesty. And lose 50 points for letting the game go Live with a LFG tool actually worse than the one WoW had six years ago.

[Nobody running Story modes anymore] is absolutely an issue as the game matures and we are working on ways to make running story mode with someone worthwhile even if you have already run it so players just reaching these dungeons can more easily find groups to play with. It will probably take some experimentation before we find the right motivator.

Jon (source)

Hello, Jon Peters, Game Designer. Perhaps if you did not nerf subsequent Story mode runs into the fucking ground, more people would do them? Your anti-botting protocols should already handle multiple playthroughs back-to-back, so… what was the point in such a huge reduction?

That last one really gets me. Think about it for a second. The pool of available players who have not yet ran the Story mode for a dungeon is always decreasing. That is a fact even if GW2 has increasing sales because, even ignoring server differentiation, the magnitude of new players coming in is unlikely to be higher than it was immediately after launch. The pool is always getting more shallow.

“No big deal,” I hear you say. “WoW dungeons have planned obsolescence the same way.” “Nein!” I say to you. GW2 auto-levels you down to match the dungeon mobs, which means you’ll always need a group; the longer you wait to start doing dungeons the less likely any such run will actually take place. Conversely, if I have some morbid curiosity about the story of Auchindoun Crypts in WoW after all these years, I could stroll in there with a max-level character and solo the place (barring any weird mechanics). And even if you manage to guilt four guild-mates into running a GW2 Story-mode for a second time, they are getting absolutely hosed for no goddamn reason.

Seriously, why? Oh, that’s right, there is some ridiculous fear about “farming.”

For the longest time, I could not understand why all the posts on the GW2 forums were talking about farming, diminishing returns, botting, anti-farm code, and so on. Why is this such a uniquely critical problem to GW2? Then it hit me. “You have entered too many instances lately.” Blizzard has instance caps and lockouts. PROBLEM SOLVED. Maybe I should be giving ArenaNet some credit for letting people run the same Farmable Explorable Mode as many times as they want in a day… but honestly? All this backhanded DR and anti-farm mechanics cheapens the lipstick on the pig.

I have never truly appreciated Blizzard’s methodology of instance design until seeing the alternative. People can complain about Reputation and daily quests as chores, but it is better than the wink-n-nod alternative of “we KNOW you are going to grind your face off, so let’s treat you like the little farming bots you are.” The equivalent would be for Blizzard to have removed the 25 daily quest cap (like they already did) but mathed out a decreasing reward slope to “enforce” a 25-daily limit. I do not feel that is actually any more humane, and it comes across as patronizing as well. It is the Skinner Box without the box; just some dude in a lab coat fondling your nucleus accumbens until you collapse.

If limits are necessary – and there are good arguments that limits are indeed necessary to save us from ourselves – then just give us the goddamn limits and call it a day. You can do A once per day, and B once per week. Done. This whole “do whatever you want… except that, and that too, and maybe you should go outside for a while, eh?” is just dumb. It all ends up making more rules, not less.

Splendid Chest “Farming” in GW2

I do find the degree of “secrecy” surrounding Guild Wars 2 sort of amusing. It was not until this Reddit thread popped the lid off of Mystic Forge recipes that prices for Mystic Coins jumped 300% (and, briefly, 3000%) practically overnight. And that was four days ago. I am not expecting everything to be datamined two weeks after launch, but you and I both know there are thousands of players running around hoarding secrets until they get banned for exploiting, ArenaNet hotfixes it, or someone finally blows the whistle on the Gravy Train.

So… ahem. Toot-toot.

If you were not already aware, there are Splendid Chests scattered around the world, most commonly as jumping puzzle rewards. They reset on at least a daily basis, and some are much easier to get to than others. I am going to show you the four easy ones I “farm.”

To be honest, if I had wrote this post 1-2 days ago, I would be telling you how you could be looting your own-level blues and greens in these level 1-15 zones. In the time I was taking screenshots though, either something changed behind the scenes or I was simply crazy this whole time, as the Splendid Chests are spitting out unscaled, zone-level rewards. This can still occasionally be worth doing, as I note below.

If you consider Splendid Chests and “secret” locations to be spoilers but kept reading this post anyway, last chance to bail.

Click the pictures for larger versions.

Queensdale

One of my favorite spots.

This one is one of the fastest to get to from anywhere (assuming you use the HotM Express): exit Divinity Reach and head East along the water. Alternatively, there is a Waypoint across the lake, but it is often Contested due to Events down there. You will know you are in the right spot when you see three bandits hanging out near a wooden door. The bomb bandit on the left of the door is actually semi-bugged to constantly regen health, so watch out.

Inside Beggar’s Burrow itself, there will be bandits galore, often in linked groups of three. I typically have little issue solo AoEing them all on my Elementalist, but things can quickly escalate out of control if you are not careful. As noted, the bandits in there are on a ridiculously short respawn timer, so if you want to farm humanoids and the sticks of butter tiny sacks of goods they drop, this will provide endless supply.

The chest itself is up the ramp in the back, on a wooden ledge, guarded by a Veteran bomb-laying bandit. He can chain-knockdown you, so be careful.

Wayfarer Foothills

Probably the more rewarding farm route.

Bandits too stressful? Try this Norn area. Portal to Hoelbrak, walk outside, and head north then hug the west mountains. Or, just take the nearby Waypoint.

The first thing you will notice is the Potato farm in the Jotun village – around 6-8 plants. These mobs don’t hit too especially hard, but again, you might want to be careful with how many you aggro at a time. There is a Veteran Jotun in the back, guarding a normal, one-item chest. And, hey, a Point of Interest!

Literally within throwing distance North of that village is the Shamans’ Rookery. The cave is not so much a jumping puzzle as it is a trap puzzle: ravens will knock you back/off the ledges if you stray within their little red circles. Periodically, you will fight with NPC shaman, some of whom can also knock you around. Given my familiarity with the place, I have basically figured out that I can just run past them all before they get me in combat (which will slow you down, making the jumps impossible). At the end, there are two level 10 normal NPCs guarding a door, which opens after you defeat them.

Also of note is there is always a Rich Copper Node towards the beginning of the jumping puzzle area on its own island. If you stand on top of the torch pillar, you can actually make the jump back onto the ledge. If you don’t make the jump there, or fall off at any other point, you can probably just run past all the level 7 shadow mobs down below.

North and East of the Rookery is the Wurmhowl Spikes. This area could not be any more straightforward: a few groups of 3 linked mobs, and then finally a mob pile at the bottom (with an Veteran). Aside from the linked mobs, you may want to watch yourself out there because there is a very frequent Dynamic Event escort quest that runs nearby. Depending on the number of players in the area, I have seen level 17+ mobs spawn beside the road and aggro on me. Since the game forces you down to level 13, those level 17+ guys can be very touch-and-go.

Kessex Hills

Just for giggles…

I was not going to bother posting this one, as it is significantly harder than the others, and more out of the way besides… but, you can decide for yourself. If you never been in this area, just head straight South out of Divinity’s Reach and hoof it across the zone. Once you grab the Gap Waypoint, just head North.

Inside will be relatively high-level bandits, including one of those annoying bandit cannons. Towards the back of the cave, there will be two linked bandit Veterans, who forced all my cooldowns. After that, you can see the Splendid Chest through the cage, but as Admiral Ackbar would say: It’s a trap! I do not remember if you have to click on the cage door or attack it, but either way the two Veteran Ettins will bust out of their cages and immediately attack you if you are nearby. I recommend running out of the cage area to give yourself some time to prepare.

Then… you know, solo those two Veterans like a pro, loot chest, ????, profit.

______
As I mentioned upstream, I was pretty sure these Splendid Chests were giving out level 25-30 gear for me a few days ago but are not anymore. Oh well. The level 8ish gear can be Salvaged into juicy 20c+ mats, the mobs drop 20c+ items, and you run across 10c-20c+ resource nodes. If you find yourself just aimlessly wandering around looking for something quick to do, well, here you go.

I know of another Splendid Chest in south Plains of Ashford (aka Charr starting zone), but not only is it way the hell far from everything, it is a Jumping/Trap Puzzle with capitals J, T, and P. There is another in the Norn area that I could not remember how I got to, but it suffers a similar issue.

Hopefully you have found this useful and the title not too misleading.