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10 Years of Guild Wars 2

Little late to the party, but two weeks ago marked 10 years since the release of Guild Wars 2.

Surprisingly, I’m still playing.

Okay, perhaps “still” needs some quotation marks or an asterisk or two. There have been multiple, years-long periods where nary a guild has been warred. But it is absolutely true that I have been low-key doing daily quests and farming for probably well over six months now. And it is even more true that I ended up purchasing the ultra-deluxe edition of the End of Dragons expansion, that came with a bunch of extra premium currency.

Even more true than that is the fact that… I continue to play the game all wrong.

As any long-term reader could readily diagnose, my problem is an unhealthy desire for efficiency. Why do X when you could do X + Y instead? Because Y requires Z, about 15 hours of research, and meanwhile you never get around to doing X in the first place.

Let’s start basic. What I want to do is set my Future Self up for success whenever I get back to playing GW2 “for real.” So, for example, these last six months I have parked all my alts around a certain resource node, mined it, switched characters, repeat, log off. That plus the log-in rewards plus the occasional daily set if it’s achievable within 5 minutes has resulted in a nice nest egg. Thanks, Past Self.

Now that I am “back” in the game, I have additional priorities:

  • Play through Icebrood Saga content
  • Play through End of Dragons content
  • Try some of the new Elite specs
  • Work towards completing “Return of” achievements for free Legendary
  • Work towards unlocking Skyscale mount
  • Work towards unlocking some Legendary gear

The rational thing to do would be to pick something and do that thing in particular. But we’re not rational, we’re efficient. Which means spending dozens of hours setting yourself up for future success rather than using those same dozen hours achieving it.

So, for example, instead of continuing to mine that random ore node all my alts are already parked at, wouldn’t it be more efficient to park them at a node that provides resources towards completing Legendary gear? Absolutely, let me just try and start plowing through the Living World mission that unlocks that resource. But wait, since I am already low-key working towards a future Legendary, I should go ahead and set things up to work on the other time gates I know are ahead. Okay… I can get two Provisioner tokens a day just teleporting around, and I have plenty of resources to craft the 1/day Lump of whatever cooldown. Druid Stones take… alright, they take completing 4 Hearts in a certain area everyday for like 16 days. Better work that into my daily routine. Man, I already got all the achievements done for the “Return of” meta in this map other than redoing the story mode. I really want to try another new Elite spec for that though, because my Scourge is getting a little stale. Damn, my Engineer already spent all their Hero Points so they can’t unlock Mechanist without doing End of Dragons areas though. I wonder if I can just pop into the new zone real quick and then ignore everything while going around the map? Damn, I’m pretty close to the Skyscale though…

And so on, and so forth.

I suppose it is remarkable enough that all of this is still compelling in 2022. I mean, yeah, some of that compulsion originates from my side of the screen. But there are some things still extremely unique to the GW2 experience. “Quest” chains like the Skyscale are both meme-worthily long and relatively achievable, provided you eat the elephant one spoonful at a time. Combat isn’t difficult, but it can be satisfying. The mounts in the game are both a joy to use and perfectly enhances the scale of the world rather than diminishing it. There is an Explicit Schedule of Villainy that ensures there is something going on practically all the time. And there are people that appear out of the woodwork eager to engage in these scheduled events for some reason. Seriously though, no one really know how the economy of the game even works, but somehow it continues to do so. Okay, sure, the Mystic Toilet requiring you to flush thousands of materials away to create Legendary gear is one reason demand for goods have not yet collapsed, but are there really that many people working towards them simultaneously?

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even have the answer as to whether I will still be playing in a week. But of all the F2P/B2P MMOs out there that I have tried, GW2 is the only one that has felt “real” enough to “matter.” As in, time you spent playing and unlocking things would still provide utility years later. Granted, the marketing department is nearly nonexistent, the balance team doesn’t play their own game (although someone is recently cleaning house), and you can never really tell with NCSoft titles how long they are for the world. However! I am glad Guild Wars 2 has made it to the ten years mark, and here’s hoping it goes on for another ten. Or at least as long as my interest persists.

One Year

A year ago today, I made my introductory In An Age post.

I still laugh at this one.

And it was all downhill from there.

The archives technically go back to December 2010, as I had imported my Player Vs Auction House posts over here when I moved from Blogspot to WordPress and broadened my scope. Looking back, the beginnings of that transition happened when I wrote OT: Firelands, Difficulty, and Cataclysmic Malaise back in March 2011, which remains one of my favorite posts… especially when I established the conjecture as fact nearly a year later.

That is somewhat of a joke.

Incidentally, up until my Guild Wars 2 prediction post last week, the Established Fact one back in January was the most-viewed page on the site. Posting the GW2 predictions and the TSW subscription numbers (#3 highest) in the same week did fun things to my graph:

Numbers removed to protect the innocent, e.g. my ego.

Not that I write for the pageviews or anything.

To be honest, this website is pretty much my sole outlet to talk about dubious patch notes, tone-deaf dev chats, post funny pictures, and wax philosophical about gaming in general. So if you were wondering whether I had some special Plans for next year and beyond, it is basically going to be exactly what you’ve got thus far.

I enjoy what I do here, and hopefully you do as well. But even if you don’t, well, stick around anyway and maybe you’ll learn something. Or possibly the other way around.

___________

By the way, the Guild Wars 2 headstart went live as I was typing this. My original intention was to jump on the Jade Quarry server because other bloggers seemed to be going there, but it was Full after approximately two minutes of being online. Four hours later, it appears to be merely High, but I wanted to go ahead and jump into the game. So if you want to watch me gleefully man the cannons in WvW, feel free to join me on the Northern Shiverpeaks server.

I picked that server because it was the next largest in terms of guilds that wasn’t Full, or an “unofficial RP server.” According to this page, it may end up being the #6 server in terms of players. I will have more to say about all this later, but suffice it to say, I did not want a repeat of my low-pop Recommended server ghost town WoW experience. We’ll see what happens.