Sunday, 28 October 2012

[GW2] The Mouse Ran up the Clock

I have to disagree with some of my lovely fellow bloggers out there about the latest piece of GW2 controversy - the Mad Kings Clock Tower. A jumping puzzle so devilishly difficult that the creator - Josh Foreman - has stated that he anticipated only 5% of players would be able to beat it.

I think if you're going to make a very difficult piece of content then it is perfectly reasonable if some people are not skilled enough to complete it. That is the very nature of difficult content - whether it's for a festival or not. The fact that people are able to legitimately complete it at all means that it isn't too difficult - ie, unbeatable. And I think some of the hate (particularly from those standing in the lobby waiting to try again) comes not from the failing in the design, but simply from it's high skill requirement.

I had a torrid time getting the puzzle done - and it took me well over 2 hours of constantly trying. But I had a heap of fun doing it. For once it was a jumping puzzle which truly challenged me, and not just making it to the end after a long-haul and a couple of deaths and thinking "Phew, that was tough!" but rather getting to the end and taking all my clothes off and dancing like a madman screaming "YES, I CAN SLEEP! FINALLY, I CAN SLEEP!". I have not encountered any other single piece of content in the game so far which has evoked that kind of reaction from me - not even defeating the mighty Zaitan (please, really?).

I didn't have any trouble with the camera or unclear edges. At least no more than with any of the other jumping puzzles. They were factors I knew I would have to take into account before I even started the puzzle. They are factors that anyone who has done any jumping puzzles before must have known they would have to take into account.

Click to enlarge
I will concede that it can be difficult when you've got some fattie norns and charr obscuring your view. But really that is only for the first 20 seconds of the puzzle and I can't help but feel the entire thing would lose some of it's appeal if it was the only JP in the game to force you to do it alone/with a party only. I liked the social element - waiting at the bottom to see who would come back, and who made it to the top, hurling abuse at the chubby norn up front - it was part of the whole madness of the experience.

Sometimes I over or under-jumped and went headfirst into the soup. Sometimes I got flustered because the vortex was on my tail and mistimed a leap. At the time I might have put that down to bad design, but really I know that they were the parameters of the puzzle - a difficult jumping puzzle with the added pressure of a timed element.

I know this won't be a popular opinion. But I can't help but feel that this puzzle is fiendishly difficult, and that is the main reason it is receiving such a large amount of bad press.

It is a puzzle which requires significant practice, a lot of patience and a sliver of luck - but once you get it, it is perfectly achievable and uniquely satisfying. Not every single piece of content should be easy enough for every player to complete straight off the bat. That would be bad game design.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

[GW2] Something Wicked this way Comes - Halloween 2012

A redditor put it quite rightly earlier today when they said "Oh, you're in for a treat - holiday events are ArenaNet's specialty", they couldn't be more right! Halloween, Wintersday (Christmas), the Dragon Festival, Chinese New Year, St Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving and Tasty Treat Weekend (Easter) all got the ANet treatment in Guild Wars 1. Halloween and Wintersday were particularly big events which affected every major city with decorations, events, games and countless holiday-themed quests to do. Almost all of the events also affected the world at large through special holiday drops such as candy canes and snowman summoners at Christm... sorry, Wintersday.

First on the agenda with ANet's latest baby is Halloween 2012 and historically, as good as Wintersday is, I think Halloween is most peoples' favourite Guild Wars festival. From the ghoulishly brilliant Halloween masks, to the Mad King's abysmal jokes (lord help you if you don't laugh) it's a great chance to take a weekend break away from the grind to partake in some light-hearted pagan ritual-ing.

ArenaNet have promised us a whole heap of freakily-fun stuff to keep us entertained for the whole week, including new jumping puzzles, quests and events (you can sort of see a fiendishly difficult jumping puzzle in the above image). I'm hoping we see the triumphant return of the Mad King (complete with terrible jokes), some tasty treats to munch on while adventuring, and a funky new outfit in which to prance about and be mischievous. I'm sure it won't disappoint.

22nd - 30th October. It's going to be wicked.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

[GW2] Long Term Goals

The subject of "End-Game" is a polarising one in the GW2 community at the moment. Part of the population seems to say that with only a handful of high-level zones and only so many times you can run the same eight dungeons before you start tearing your hair out, the GW2 end game is pathetically lacking. Another part is arguing that the sidekicking system turns the whole game into an end-game, potentially, and with the numerous paths available in each dungeon - you have far more than eight dungeons-worth of content available.

I try to stay out. I've only really just hit level 80 on my first character within the past week, and only just reached the final personal story mission (it is rather satisfying to see "Kill the Elder Dragon Zaitan" as my quest objective). I've never done explorable mode on any of the dungeons, and I don't have a single exotic item (except the spear I just got from exploring the whole of the Cursed Shore). So I'm not too worried about exhausting the end-game content quite yet.

However, in terms of long term goals, rather than "End-Game" content, for me, the Legendary Weapon saga seems to be the pinnacle of what I could hope to achieve in the coming years. Requiring vast amounts of wealth, karma, skill points, PvP killing and sheer dumb luck, the Legendary Weapons are exactly what I would hope they would be - reserved only for those who put the time and effort into achieving them.

Right now, I'm just looking at accumulating the wealth to craft myself a set of exotic armour (hit level400 armoursmithing last week). The insignias alone will require 30 large scales (roughly 1.5s each - 45s), 30 ectos (15s each - 4.5g), 30 Gossamer (1.5s each for scraps, x2 = 90s), so we're looking about... ALL of my money and that's without the Orichalcum, Gossamer Scraps and Gossamer Thread required to put together the actual armour components.
I've just hit 10g for the first time, so I'm going to look to accumulate the required coin by exploring and farming high leveled areas. Hoping that I can gather some of the above ingredients for myself while building up my capital and hope that the two streams meet somewhere in the middle.

So, end-game isn't really a worry for me at the moment. And anyway, I can't bring myself to enter Arah to complete the final mission alongside the newly reunited Destiny's Edge without first completing each of the story missions in the preceding dungeons (Still missing Sorrow's Furnace, Citadel of Flame, Honour of the Waves and Crucible of Eternity). In  my eyes DE won't have properly reformed until I've FORCED them to do so.



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