What Do I Really Want?

Specifically: what do I really want to buy with money?

Short answer: I dunno.

Long answer: buckle up.

The other night, I spent literally 40 minutes agonizing on whether I was going to buy 2000 discounted gems in Guild Wars 2. The agony was specifically derived from the fact that there was a 20% discount on Shared Inventory Slots, but only for one day. Discount of a discount is a great deal, yeah? The way the math worked, I could buy 3 Shared Inventory Slots for about 1500 gems, then combine the leftover gems with an upcoming 400 free gems I was earning for hitting 5000 in-game achievement points and then buy a 800 gem Character Slot. Best of all worlds!

Alternatively, I could not buy Shared Inventory Slots at all and just get three Character Slots with the same gems. Which got me thinking: “what’s the actual value to me of… any of these things?”

A Shared Inventory Slot is what it sounds like: a slot that is shared across all of your characters. I have two of them currently, as one comes with each expansion. Right now, the first slot is filled with a gem-store item that basically disenchants gear. That’s helpful when cleaning up all the random crap gear you get showered with in this game. The second slot used to have a portal scroll to the most effective farm area (Bitterfrost). I now have it filled with the Quartz resource, as I use my alts to farm 10 Quartz at a specific area, then log into my main and turn 25 of that Quartz into one Charged Quartz, which is a time-gated crafting material for goods down the road. All of which is convenient, but not particularly exciting.

So what would I even do with three more? Don’t get me wrong, those slots would get filled with something of marginal utility. There’s a neat “positional rewinder” item you can get to help with Jumping Puzzles, for example. But I’m not using my alts for Jumping Puzzles. In fact, right now, I’m not playing my alts at all, beyond the 30 seconds of farming Quartz. I’m really focused on the “Return To X” achievements, both for the rewards and the fact that I actually never played some of these Living World stories. So even in the case of Character Slots, it is not as though I would be utilizing them right away. So maybe I just don’t buy anything at all.

“Besides, there is so much more I could buy for $20-$40.”

That thought got me down another rabbit hole. Because… is there anything else I want to buy? Surely, yes? I have 44 items in my Steam Wishlist, for example. But even with deep, current discounts, I have had zero compunction to purchase any of them. About the closest ones are Wildermyth, Red Dead Redemption 2, Disco Elysium, Horizon Zero Dawn, and some random assorted Roguelikes and Early Access Survival (redundant, much?) games. But would I really stop my current routine to play them immediately? And if I didn’t, what are the odds they would end up on the Game Pass by the time I did?

Yes, folks, Game Pass really has broke me. Know what the final straw was? Dicey Dungeon.

I really had not played a single game on Steam throughout all of August and September and most of October. Then I bought Dicey Dungeons on October 24th for about $5. Played it about 3-4 hours. Guess what showed up on November 11th? Yep.

“It’s just $5, who cares?” It’s the principle. I already have hundreds of purchased games I’m not playing, on top of free* games I’m not, to be buying more. Although I guess in this case I actually did play it right away, so whatever. The principle!

This journey of self-flagellation did reveal something a bit deeper to me. Namely, that I can’t really answer the question in the title. I’m apparently actively avoiding spending money in Guild Wars 2, I don’t want to buy games on sale lest they become free on Game Pass, but I’m also not particularly saving towards anything either. I mean, I’m not a mindless consumer that feels as empty as my shopping cart. But is that also a proxy thought to not looking forward to anything? What am I excited about? It was going to be Battlefield 2042, honestly, but it plummeted to the the top 10 worst-reviewed games on Steam within two days of release.

So, yeah. I got nothing. Or maybe just gaming ennui.

Posted on November 29, 2021, in Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. So much of the supposed “Must Have” mentality in GW2 utterly mystifies me. You can frequently hear people advising new players to spend thousands of gems on things like the never-ending salvage and harvesting tools or the shared inventory slots and I just boggle at the thought. I’ve been playing for a decade and I’ve never for a moment felt the need or even the desire to buy any of those things.

    What, seriously, is the point? I can see the shared slots – *if* you play all your characters as some kind of gestalt. I play them as individuals who only “know” each other by their membership of the same guild. They swap things through the guild bank, the same way any guild members would. That’s easy and convenient. I have two shared inventory slots that came to me free and I don’t sue either of them. There’s something in them but I couldn’t tell you what.

    As for the gathering tools – they sell in stacks for virtually nothing on vendors. Why would you want permanent ones? Yes, you can add those gems to the permanent ones that increase yield etc but my problem has always been getting too many harvested mats not too few. I spend half my life clearing them out and selling them – why in god’s name would I want extras?

    Anyway, not to rant about it but you’d have to have a mindset so different from mine as to virtually quailify as a different species to want to pay real money for this stuff! Just use the perfectly functional basic in-game options and spend your time and money on something more interesting!


    • I actually agree. I was tempted for but a moment on the infinite Unbound Magic gathering tools, as Unbound Magic is something that needs farmed a lot if you want to buy all the Ascended trinkets, etc. Then I realized you could buy lesser gathering tools for 4900 karma apiece, so I just bought a bunch of those on all my characters. Which then started to eat into my karma horde, taking me down about 650k down to 400k over a month or so. “See, it’s worth it!”

      But that’s when I realized two things. First, unbreakable tools only makes sense when you’re farming on alts, and thus only makes sense when you have Shared Inventory Slots to “easily” swap between them. So that’s basically a packaged deal for $40+. Second, well… I’m not farming forever. Once I have all my alts geared appropriately, why would I ever gather Winterberries again? Volatile Magic farming is apparently more profitable anyway, but it’s difficult to imagine farming via gathering when I don’t need what I gather.

      There is a subtle benefit to the infinite tools insofar as I always end up keeping 2-3 extra tools of each type in my bags, because I hate running out while I’m farming. So that’s like 10 inventory slots you save. But I could just as well buy another bag slot for a fraction of the cost, put a huge bag in there for a fraction of the cost, and then just farm karma during Wintersday (or so I have been told).


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