Logged onto Guild Wars 2 today after about 2+ weeks of not playing. Decided to be
lazy authentic and not read anything, to better simulate the Joe Q Casual experience.
After a 500mb download, I appeared to be on an island near Mount Something-or-Other, five feet from a Personal Story portal. What was I doing again? Oh, right. I had spent a number of missions getting extra-special explosives to destroy one of those bone ships. I guess no one can be bothered to bring a cannon or trebuchet up in here? It worked last time. Whatever. All I need to do is… swim underwater… past a whole bunch of mines… with Risen all over the place… as an Elementalist.
I am downed almost immediately, surrounded by the most banal MMO mobs ever created, and oscillating rapidly between my ineffectual real attacks, ineffectual downed abilities, and having no abilities being so close to the surface.
By the way, has anyone actually used Water Ability #5 as an Elementalist in anything approaching a useful manner? Even if you aim correctly, it always seems like you hit them 1-2 times and pass through them, dealing less damage overall than you would have just auto-attacking. Oh, good, that Water #5 launched me into a mine. Christ, this gameplay is worse than I remember.
Next step: clear the area of undead.
I am not trying to be cute with the picture – there is literally zero mobs of any sort within the green circle. After trying fruitlessly to climb aboard the bone ship and then determine if there are mobs underneath the weird coral formation, I eventually encounter a Risen shark on my way back to the island. Apparently satisfied that a stationary shark 1000 meters from the boat was killed, Tonn decided to plant the bomb. We swam back without much incident.
At this point, the detonator does not appear to be working, and the
murlocs naga krait are attacking. Tonn says he will repair the connections, give us the signal, and then says to push the button when the detonator goes green. Now, I am no explosive expert, but won’t the detonator go green the instant the connections are repaired? Nevermind. I kill some extremely small waves of mobs with the help of four other NPCs. “That’s the signal, hit the detonator now!” After a lame explosion, the following happens:
Did my game bug out, or did they literally just show me a bunch of water and haphazardly say that the dude died? No body? No explanation of how or why? I get that the “impact” was probably lessened by the time between I last played GW2 and today, but come on. This is exactly like when What’s-His-Face died at the Place “defending” the Thing (if you played GW2, you know what I’m talking about). There is simply no sense in it. I do not find pointless, off-screen deaths particularly compelling.
Enough of that nonsense.
I use the HotM Express to get to Lion’s Arch to check out the Halloween stuff. There are decorations and… an orange circle. I go there. I click on some NPCs, and suddenly I am a bird. I click on some people and get “points.” Okay. I finally find the NPC that gives you an item that runs on Candy Corn. As far as I can tell, I am supposed to find six people/things that can correspond to the four different buttons on my new hotbar. I talk to the first ghost nearby like I am instructed to. The dialog is pretty incoherent, but maybe that is the point? I keep getting feared away from the NPC by what I imagine to be another player still doing the costume brawl thing. Am I still “flagged?” I dunno.
I successfully talk to the ghost by clicking really fast before I get feared away. Not sure if I “completed” this step so I use the device to see if it marks anything in the quest area. Oops, out of Candy Corn. I watch the player grief people at the ghost for a solid three minutes before I head to a strange icon labeled Commander So-n-So, thinking perhaps this is some new NPC to explain what exactly the fuck is going on.
Talk to a Pumpkin-Carving NPC that says I need to carve an unspecified number of pumpkins before I can get a title or join his order, or possibly both. On my way to the Commander icon I see a toilet paper roll go flying through the air. After clicking on a table, it looks like a Candy Corn monster appears, but I keep walking. Ah, okay. The Commander is simply one of those players who bought the Commander book for 100g; this person is simply AFK at the bank, in somewhat cool gear. I right-click them trying to Inspect and… that’s right. ArenaNet built a game with a Vanity-based economy, and included no way to Inspect other players.
About to log off, then decide to take a screenshot with some random person nearby:
Funny story about that armor I’m wearing. You see, I actually got to level 67 and went the rest of the way to 80 by crafting in town. Afterwards, I sort of arbitrarily chose a set of gear off the AH based on stats that might potentially be good for a support character in dungeon runs. As I equipped everything, I noticed that the color was off; this happens occasionally when you equip gear that has three color zones when you had been using gear with only two up to that point. I was having a surprisingly hard time figuring out which zone was not colored right though, so I changed everything to the same color to figure it out.
The silver bit that refused to be colored correctly ended up being… the boob window. Or underboob window, I suppose. Or just “window,” on Asura.
In any event, pretty sure I am done with Guild Wars 2. It was probably not fair to make a half-hearted attempt to jump back in to check out the Halloween event while so acutely aware of how much fun I could be having with Borderlands 2 instead. Then again, maybe that is a perfectly fair scenario given the realities of gaming today: it is not enough to be a good game, you have better than every other game someone could be playing at that moment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Making Gold in Guild Wars 2
All you really need to know about making money in Guild Wars 2 is the following:
This was true before the Trading Post officially came online, and it is especially true afterwards. If you cannot afford your level 40 Trait book (i.e. 1g) at level 40, you are doing it wrong. And not only are you doing it wrong, you are literally throwing real cash money away too.
First, some perspective:
The 100 gem exchange rate has fluctuated up and down since release, but it has generally stayed between 34s and 24s pretty consistently. As of today, it is 25s 25c. Technically you can buy gems in increments as small as 1 gem, but I am using 100 gems as a convenient unit of measurement. As you might have noted, the cash exchange rate (in the US) is 800 per $10, or $1.25 per 100 gems. Useful things like extra character slots will set you back $10, extra bank space $7.5, and so on.
…or you can buy them for 2g 2s and 1g 51s 50c respectively. Which I am about to do as a level 25 character. Here are my main methods:
Step 0: Low-Hanging Fruit
Sell your Unidentified Dye.
At the time of this writing, this item is selling for 6s apiece and you likely have accumulated 5+ by the time you reach level 25. While you may actually be a person who likes tweaking the colors of your character, in my opinion using these items instead of selling them is a losing proposition. Dyes are character-specific NOT Account-Wide, the dye colors you get are random, and since they are selling for 6s apiece, you are paying almost $0.32 each time you double-click.
Many of the “good” colors like Black are going for 2g+ by themselves, but rolling that dice is like scratching lotto tickets. And besides, if you follow this Step and the others, you will likely accumulate enough money on your own to straight-out purchase the colors you want instead of getting yet another Key-Lime Green Dye.
Assuming, of course, you want to spend $10 to make your toon wear a darker shade of black in the first place.
By the way, the Transmog tokens are selling for ~50c as well, which is likely of much better use to you than making your sword look fancy for two levels or less when you get another upgrade.
Step 1: Stop Salvaging
The first instinct you should develop is a desire to VENDOR every non-upgrade piece of equipment you pick up instead of salvaging. Getting 25c for that sword may not sound like a lot of money, but four of them is 1s and that quickly starts to add up. When you salvage, what you are really doing is spending ~3.5c to destroy a 25c+ item into 1-3 crafting components which damn better be worth more than 9c apiece or you are literally throwing money in a hole.
Sometimes Salvaging will indeed net you a profit. Cloth armor below level 20 will typically salvage into Jute Scraps, which are selling for 24c or more. Some low-level heavy armor will similarly salvage into valuable 17c Copper Ore.
Another thing to keep in mind are the Runes/Insignias/etc in Green items – many are generic, but some sell for 1s or more by themselves. You will likely have gotten a few Black Lion Salvage Kits from 100%’ing zones or doing Story missions, so this is the situation in which to use them effectively.
Step 2: Stop Crafting
I can understand that this will be tough for people to internalize – even I’m having a hard time resisting – but between a globalized Trading Post and sanctioned RMT gold-buying, crafting simply makes no sense. Arguably, it never made sense in a game without endgame gear progression, and absolutely makes little sense in the asinine crafting model that ArenaNet is offering.
Just look at what is happening right now:
If that picture isn’t clear, I am buying a massive amulet upgrade for 1 copper over its own vendor price.
A globalized Trading Post means the margins for any crafted good are always going to be razor-thin; it is not about competing with 1-2 Auction Barons, but all Auction Barons everywhere, including the ones willing to work for pennies a day. Supply for most goods is effectively unlimited, so there is no “cornering the market” without cornering ALL the markets. A few niche markets may develop along rare recipe drops (assuming they exist) or legendary materials, but again, they are “niche” across all servers… so not very niche at all.
Think about it for a second. Every weapon or piece of armor you could possibly craft can and will be crafted by somebody else. They will craft said piece multiple times because that is what they need to do to level up their skill, and they will need to sell that piece to pay for all the money they are sinking into the crafting system. Just like 200,000 other people.
When it comes to crafting gear, it is truly a Buyer’s Market.
If you want upgrades every 5 levels like you would get with crafting, simply buy the vendor+1c priced goods instead of effectively paying 10x that amount using mats that you could have sold. Prefer specific stat loadouts that are not represented very well for some reason? Look at the random odd-level gear, e.g. level 21-24 instead of level 25. It might be pricier, but you will have saved an enormous amount by selling your mats. Or, you know, pick up that +Healing +Vitality weapon with the higher DPS and stop trying to twink your very first character.
All of the above ties into the next step:
Step 3: Sell All Your Materials
Tiny Totems are 48c. Tiny Claws are 51c. Vial of Weak Blood is 41c. Jute Scraps are 24c. Copper Ore is 17c.
That last one means each Copper Ore Node is 51c, every five nodes is 2.55s, and every 397 nodes is an extra character slot. That is not counting any of the jeweler pieces you might pick up, or the heaps of other mats you will acquire from killing mobs inbetween nodes. And with GW2’s overall game structure, you can easily collect this amount on your way to 100% map completion in starter zones, no grinding required.
Although, if I’m honest, dicking around Queensdale and other starting zones can be remarkably lucrative. Gear drops are scaled to your own level (e.g. level 25 gear), but the incidental drops like Tiny Totems, Vials of Weak Blood, and those loot bags all drop the same regardless of your higher level. It kinda make me worried in a way, since right now it appears that a level 80 character farming the starting zones might be the way to go given the remarkably low price on endgame ore/wood/etc. We will have to see how it pans out.
Step 4: Never Skip Events
Killing mobs = loot.
Killing lots of mobs = lots of loot.
Killing higher-level mobs = better loot.
Tagging hundreds of higher-level mobs with random AoE in a (badly) scaled Event = Loony Toons amount of loot.
In practice, I imagine there is some behind-the-scenes algorithm that stops Event mobs from dropping loot in the same proportion to random questing mobs. But every since I began to realize that each piece of gear is 10c-30c to a vendor, I will drop everything and run halfway across the zone to “participate” in every Event. What I am looking for are those seemingly endless, bag-filling trash waves where everyone is spamming their AoE buttons. Do the same as them, just spam your Loot key too.
When the boss rolls out though, feel free to tag it and bail. For some dumb reason, Veteran/Champion level mobs do not seem to drop better items (or often any items). So if you have seen this Event before and know there is no treasure chest at the end, there is not much point in sticking around.
Step 5: “Help” Your Neighbors
No doubt this will be controversial along with the boss tag-n-bail I suggested above, but it’s worth noting that you only have to deal 1 point of damage to a mob to get full looting rights when it dies. If you are cruising around the countryside and see a random stranger doing their thing, bust out an instant-damage ranged attack (if you have one) and send it at the mob they are fighting.
If you see some sparkles, congratulations, you win. If not, no worries, continue doing whatever you were doing before.
It might seem unfair, and it technically is from an effort vs reward perspective, but… well, in an absolute sense you did in fact help that stranger and subtracted nothing from them, e.g. their chance at loot remained the same. If this kind of social injustice concerns you, well: don’t blame the player, blame the game.
Step 6: Never Repair
Each time you die, a piece of your armor gets “damaged.” This does not, in fact, mean anything. As the tooltip for the ugly, puke-orange shield states, your items do not start losing effectiveness until they are ALL damaged. While death is a lot more common with the Dynamic Death Trap Events and such, the likelihood of you dying 6+ times in a row before getting an upgrade is actually pretty remote.
Ergo, save your 1s-5s+ repair fees and put it towards replacing said damaged gear with pristine upgrades. Or just pocket it entirely and wait for drops.
Step 7: Be Choosy with Waypoints
If you have not already noticed, the costs for Waypoints is based on your level and the distance traveled. Before too long, they will start costing more than 1s apiece. Needless to say, this starts adding up the wrong direction. The good news is there are a couple of ways to mitigate the sink.
First, instead of using a Waypoint to go from capital to capital, use the Heart of the Mists Express. Press H, go down to the PvP tab, click the Mists button, run into the Lion’s Arch gate, Waypoint your way to the gate area (assuming you have been here before), then take the gate that corresponds with the capital you want to go to. Bam! You just globe-trotted for free. The cool thing about the HotM Express is that you can use it to return to your own capital if you find yourself in some Queensdale cave and don’t want to pay the cover charge; just think of it like a Hearthstone with a 4-loading screen cast bar.
If you need to go from a capital out to the field, you can shave 5-10% off the total cost by simply walking outside the front gates of the capital before using the Waypoint. Since inter-city Waypoints cost nothing, there is really no good reason to not take the one closest to the front door, step outside, and pocket the change.
Finally, well… you may just want to walk sometimes. Some walks are more feasible than others, but all of them will get you out in the general location of resource nodes and profitable random Events. And, hey, I have heard people talk about this “exploration” thing, if you swing that way.
Bonus Step: Buy Some Cheap Food
Seriously folks, crafting is broken:
Whether you are out either adventuring or farming, you might want to stop by your local Black Lion Trading Company representative and browse their 1-Copper Menu. Although I am not level 35, I can still appreciate those noble Cooks who slave away making +18% Magic Find, +40 Power buff treats that last a full 30 minutes and then sell them at a tremendous loss for basically no reason. Know that 1 silver piece I saved you when you followed one of the seven steps? Feel free to purchase 100 of these delicious treats.
For those below level 35, there is still a wide, wide selection of 1 copper buffs, including more +Magic Find ones, if not exactly as high as the Cherry Tarts; you can browse the Wiki entry for their specific names. Some of the other cool ones are the most basic to craft, like Handful of Bjorn’s Rabbit Food (+20 Vitality for 1 hour, no level requirement) if a bit “pricier.” Honestly, when the cash shop is selling 50% XP boosters for 150 gems, getting a 10% XP boost for even 10c is truly a bargain at twice the price.
Considering how much of a Buyer’s Market GW2 has turned out to be (thus far), any concrete “do this to be rich” advice will probably come in the form of where chests respawn or the most lucrative Events are located. I know of at least one sort of “challenge chest” in the Norn area, but I am almost fearful that looting it even once every few days might constitute an exploit. Nevertheless, I will try and collect their various locations in a future post for your own perusal.
If you have your own gold tricks or locations and feel like sharing them in the comments below, by all means do so.