Adventure Log: GW2 Weekend, Kingdom Hearts, Skylanders, and more

Keen – GW2 ramblings and Steam Sale backlog

Sylvari jump puzzle
Sylvari jump puzzle

I thought I was sure about playing a Ranger when GW2 launches, but this weekend has thrown a wrench in my plans.  I blame the structure PvP — battlegrounds — for my flip-flopping.  Classes behave so different when put in an isolated frag box.  There is a ‘best spec’ and a ‘best team comp’ for winning tournaments.  I’m told it’s just like the original Guild Wars, and I can say from experience it’s similar if not worse than WoW’s Arena min-maxing.

I think what I’m going to do is forget I ever played in battlegrounds.  I had fun — lots of fun — but there was another side to it of frustration thinking about how it’s unfortunate you can’t win a tournament without a a particular class in your group or even being in your group can be a detriment.  I love the Ranger in PvE and in WvW.  Maybe I’ll just leave it at that and have fun.

The Steam sale has decimated my funds.  I bought the Batman Franchise 88% off then picked up the Fallout New Vegas pack that came with all the DLC and saving a fortune.  I also bought Arma 2: Combined Ops because it was 40% off and I want to give DayZ a try.  This has officially created the biggest backlog I’ve ever had, and ensures I will not be bored one minute until GW2 launches.

Graev – Skylanders, Kingdom Hearts, and adventure games

Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance MusketeersI played Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and prepared myself for Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance by finishing off loose ends with the Kingdom Hearts franchise.  I put in about 15 hours getting ready this week.

I’m still on my adventure game kick.  I played and beat Back to the Future, and I’m working through Sam and Max seasons 1 and 2 (which I’ve already played in the past) as a refresher so that I can play season 3 for the first time.

Keen and I also played Skylanders a bit this week prepping for Skylanders Giants in the Fall.  I’m leveling up some Skylanders that I want at max level for Giants, and finishing up some expansion pack content.

Last but not least, I just started playing Final Fantasy Theatrhythm.  It’s a lot of fun and very nostalgic.  It has music from the first 13 FF games and, like the title alludes, it’s a rhythm game.  It’s the first 3DS game to have paid DLC.

  • How much do you think the min-maxing for sPvP and Tournaments is going to hurt GW2 in the long run? Or do you actually think it could be a good thing to have both these dramatically different styles of PvP in there, allowing people who want a more casual don’t worry about best build WvW style, as well as the sPvP and Tournaments for the hardcore PvP fans?

  • @Fergor: I don’t know the best spec yet. I know having a Guardian, Warrior, and Memsmer in your group of 5 is a solid foundation.

    @Drathmar: It won’t hurt GW2 since it was this way in GW1. There are people who thrive off this kind of meta gaming. They thrive on the one ability point making the difference. They thrive on the twitchy competitive nature, giving themselves a team name, and winning tournaments. There is a huge market for this kind of play, and ArenaNet has done well to separate WvW and sPvP.

  • @Keen: I tend to agree, I am glad they are separated, and I am glad and hope they don’t have any plans for WvW to actually become competitive as well and just leave it the competitive to were it is.

    On a side note, not sure if you or any of your other readers are e-eports fans, but has anyone else noticed that every single BWE has been during a major MLG event ><. It has really cut into my GW 2 playing time.

  • I played thief, necro, and mesmer each to level 10 this weekend. (btw that Sylvari jumping puzzle was the bane of my existence this weekend lol). Of the three I enjoyed mesmer the most, although I enjoyed using the shortbow enough with my thief that I’m thinking seriously about playing ranger for live.

    I wonder if it’ll bother me at all having all of my weapon skills unlocked by level 10 and then cruising the next 70 levels without any new skills. Only one way to find out I guess.

  • @Keen

    Yeah could be a bit of a pain. I seem to remember reading/hearing an interview about specs though in how as much as people have been toying with the system that ANet claims that the general public has yet to get around to making the “power specs”.

  • The game’s not even out yet and people are claiming a certain spec is better than another. Keen, you’re an experienced enough gamer to see past this. From my experience with GW2, I believe there’s more than enough variation in each class to compose a solid enough counter to flavor of the month groups. However, keeping in stride with my first comment it’s way too early to tell. All I can say for sure is, don’t get discouraged. If it’s anything like the first, they’ll be releasing abilities in packs to keep the meta jumbled and those min maxers on their feet. It’s the best way to do competitive play imo

  • Crashed every fifteen min. bwe2 was way more stable. New drivers didn’t help at all.
    Mesmer mostly… But fragile. Sylvari definite not my race. Asura are harry potter house elf with stuck up attitude. I called mine dobi.

    The ending event was boring. Maps are way r too big

    Didn’t do a single pvp this time. Will try ranger stress test..you know they having one more.

  • I’m also having a lot of trouble deciding which profession to choose. I was set on Engineer, but then I was kind of disappointed by the class. I also had a lot of fun with Thief and Warrior, and Ranger was way more fun than I thought it would be. Elementalist is also great, but there are so many which kind of turns me off (so vain!).

    What probably isn’t helping me is that I’ve been reading the profession-specific forums for more info, but it’s mostly complaining about sPvP. So I’m getting largely negative comments based around an aspect of the game that is not my main concern.

  • @Mangus: I’m an experienced enough gamer to know it exists. I saw it in action. These are facts: Some compositions and builds in a 5-man team outperform others. Those compositions and builds will change over time, but they will always be there. It’s the nature of that type of PvP.

    @Fidjit: I recommend avoiding anyone complaining about their character being underpowred or overpowered based on sPvP discussion. How a class performs in a vacuum is only relevant to the elitists. A class may suck in sPvP but be a dominant force to be reckoned with in WvW and PvE. You can also do thigns with a class in PvE/WvW that are awesome but completely worthless in sPvP.

  • @Jadawin: Yep, I played a little this past week. I’m waiting for more heroes to be added. They added one on Friday but I haven’t been able to give him a try yet.

  • Engi sounds and looks awesome, but there’s some issues with the skills and pacing from all I hear. still, Asura engineer is gonna be a must alt. 🙂
    my main hasn’t changed – love Elem and will roll my Norn pyro. one thing that did disappoint me a bit with other classes is the spell/skill effects and animations (I like eye candy, I can’t help it), Elem looks and feels so powerful compared to others atm! the elemental attunements appeal a lot more to me than weapon switching, too.

    until then….plenty of indie games waiting on Steam – I won’t be bored.

  • @ Syl: The professions can be surprisingly uneven when it comes to how good they *feel*. I.e. the necromancer felt really anemic to me compared to the warrior I rolled later. And as you say, the elementalist feels really kinetic and powerful, the sound and visual design combines to make for a very satisfying experience. My engineer felt somewhere in the middle, and only having a couple weapon options just emphasized this.

    I think the sPvP will be gratifying for competitive teams; the tournament system is slick and compelling, the rewards seem good, matches are short and feel fair. That said, I’m not serious about competitive team games these days, and I’m afraid the format will get pretty boring for solo/casual play after a few weeks. I’m confident the 3CP mode and the sort of “Tag! You’re it!” play it engenders – combined with a lack of built-in voice comms – will prevent it ever being as compelling a pub game as say, TF2 or DOTA.

    My other concern is how they will place teams in the automated tournaments. Clearly their desire is for “pro” teams to play in the ticket-driven VIP tournaments, but given the option I’m sure pro teams (or partial teams) will join the normal tourneys to stomp lesser players or grind rewards. There really needs to be a matchmaking system in place to keep new players out of matches with pros as much as possible.

    Honestly, after following GW1 for years I don’t have a ton of faith in ANet’s ability to keep structured PvP balanced; they’ve simply never been very good at it. So my plan has always been to focus on the PvE and WvW, which both bring a lot more unique and refreshing ideas to the table than sPvP does anyway.

  • While I don’t expect I’ll really get into sPvP in Guild Wars, I do have some gaming experience that may be relevant. I play Magic: The Gathering (the real game, not Duels of the Planeswalkers) at a basically professional level. One of the things that I’ve learned over the many, many years of playing that game is that the vast majority of players really don’t know anything about game balance. When you read casual forums, you see a lot of players complaining about this or that card or strategy being imbalanced. More often than not, the thing that they are complaining about is not only not imbalanced but sometimes isn’t even tournament viable. Generally the people who can really speak to a strategy being actually imbalanced (rather than simply just “good”) are the top professional players (people well above my skill level). I think the same will likely be true for GW2. You’ll see a lot of complaints for casual or low level competitive players (particularly pro wannabees) that are really quite baseless. I think that you should generally ignore this and listen to what the pros are saying.

    Another piece of conventional wisdom from my M:tG experience is that metagames are self correcting, to a degree. Every so often a strategy or group composition will come along that is just so dominant that nothing else can compete against it. More often than not, however, there is a “best” strategy that is better than everything else on paper but not completely dominant. There are usually strategies which will easily beat the “best” strategy at the cost of being worse against other strategies. If ANet has even basic game balancing skills (something to which I can’t speak to), I suspect that we’ll see some of this in GW2. As long as there isn’t a single strategy which has absolutely no weakness whatsoever, there will always be a healthy possibility to come up with creative strategies to beat whatever the king of the hill is. You have to anticipate what other people are going to play and then design your strategy to beat that. It’s always interesting to see a Magic tournament where the consensus best deck loses to a person who accurately predicted the metagame and designed a deck to prey on what other people brought to the table. Keen is absolutely right that there is a huge subsection of gamers who just love this kind of strategizing, and hopefully GW2 will be able to capitalize on that.

  • The saving grace of the sPvP is it’s basically a separate game. You also can instantly roll whatever class you want to play rather then have to level up a new character if you’re bored/want to play the FOTM class. Whatever meta game develops, players can easily adapt to it.

    Ultimately I mostly play solo so tournaments would never be anything I do anyway. I’ll mostly play the sPvP to test specs, break up my game play and get better at playing my class.

    I do wish they rewards you earned had some connection to your PvE character. A title/gear look/some xp/etc would be great.

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