Such a lack of personal experience of the original has always left me at a
disadvantage when the term gets thrown around in relation to MMOs. I
could dimly apprehend its relevance but nothing resonated with my own playstyle, which tends towards the chaotic. I act often on whim and sometimes on whimsy. I create my own goals, pursue them for as long as they interest me then drop them without a second thought.
I am not, nor have I ever been, in the habit of slavishly pursuing any path set out for me by a game or its developers. The concept of moving from ride to ride, waiting patiently or impatiently for each to start, whirling around and around until the music stops then staggering off towards the next is alien to me. Well, it was until yesterday.
Last Friday my Thief dinged 80, the sixth of my Guild Wars 2 characters to reach that milestone. Rather than jump straight back on the horse with my Mesmer or Guardian I thought I'd goof around for the weekend. I spent all Friday night and Saturday morning sorting the bags and bank vaults of six characters. Then for an encore I organized the guild bank.
There were a lot of weapons and pieces of armor strewn around and in the course of tidying it all up it became apparent to me that I had a lot of level 80s dressed in level 50-70 gear. At best. I spent most of the rest of Saturday on the Trading Post, buying and selling. People will buy anything. I was amazed. Throw any old rubbish on there and it's snapped up in seconds.
GW2 has a number of open-world events that conclude with the dropping of a chest the size and appearance of a commercial freezer. Inside this chest can be, but rarely are, Rares. Not counting the Temple events in Orr there are six of these chest-droppers. Three feature lieutenants of the Elder Dragons: Claw of Jormag, Tequaatl the Sunless and The Shatterer. The other three are The Frozen Maw, Shadow Behemoth and Fire Elemental. They keep to a strict schedule which you can find handily recorded, tabulated and regularly updated at the Guild Wars Temple website.
On a busy Sunday the resemblance to what I imagine a real Theme Park to be like was unmistakeable. A few minutes before the earliest point at which an event could begin people would begin to gather and mill around, becoming increasingly fractious the longer they had to wait.
With the exception of Tequaatl, who just appears at the ominous cry of "There's something in the water!", all the events require some chain of pre-events to be completed. If these are right at the main location, as they are for The Claw and The Maw, the whole zerg sets to with a will. If they happen somewhere out of sight, as at The Shatterer or Shadow Behemoth, everyone shuffles around where they stand, complaining that someone ought to be doing the pre-events.
Someone always is, and they are the ones who often miss out on the main event because of their public-spiritidness. By the time they hoof it over to the where the action is, the action isn't. The ride has stopped and everyone has has moved on.
I did this most of the day. The only event I didn't do was the Fire Elemental. Never done that. I did the Shadow Behemoth for the first time (the first several times) thanks to reading The Egg Baron's recent fine walkthrough. It's been bugged as long as I can remember but it's working fine now. I did The Maw, which pops about every 30 minutes or so, many times; Claw of Jormag and The Shatterer a couple and Tequaatl once.
I got half a dozen or so Rares, a couple of which were upgrades that I used. I blew the rest up for Ectos. It was a fun way to spend Sunday, but it really brought home to me how mechanical and gamelike GW2 can be. This morning I read J3w3l comparing the open world of Firefall to GW2 "...every time I try to level in GW2 it is just ticking off the check list
of stuff to do so I can progress to the next zone. Fill in that heart,
see that vista", she says. "It could have been an amazingly large, open and complex world but now it feels entirely compartmentalised."
Still and all, I did have fun.
3 hours ago