Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tyrian Family Values

Ok I admit it...

It has taken some work to pry myself away from Guild Wars 2 long enough to actually sit and write my monthly blog. I even had my friend remind me that I needed to do my blog, and instead I ended up editing hers and helping her with her publishing schedule... when not playing Guild Wars 2 that is.

But I promise I'm getting better! (twitch twitch).

Ok so it has been a month since release, and to say the game has gone well is an understatement. As expected there were hiccups (no launch is ever perfect). I am sure by now those of you in the know, know about the first couple of weeks where the trading post could not handle the volume of players, and had to be shut down as it was upgraded.

The trading post is back up, and not a moment too soon!

I have to hand it to ArenaNet, for all the griping the playerbase has given them, they stuck their noses to the grindstone, and systematically figured the problems out with multiple crucial areas of the game. They even garnered further respect from this player, by turning OFF their sales of the game when server capacity exceeded what they were prepared for, just so they could ensure that the content was not trivialized by overpopulation. (As a sidenote- sales are ON again, so come on in! There are more servers now and the population caps have been raised.)

Here it is, September 30, and I have finally reached level 80 on Bel. Yay me! Now this is the part where normally I would get bored with a game and leave it for something else. That will not be the case this time because thanks to the many systems in place, I still have a TON of stuff to do! For starters, I have not even finished my personal story. I am also in the process of getting 100% completion for every single map in Tyria... and no where close to finishing that (I am currently at 54% complete). My crafting skills still need to be upped to the max level of 400 (I am both a huntsman, and a leatherworker). I am still trying to max out my guild- Sanctuary Of Hope [SANC] with guild updates (which is interesting since most of the guild are busy representing other guilds). Not to mention I have yet to really get my alts leveled; especially Ghita, Allyanis, and Tannia Shrike- the three redhead sisters.

In short... there is still a long way to go baby.

On top of the world ma... again.

In a game where people seem to be rushing to level 80 so that they can experience "end game", I am one who prefers to take my own sweet time and enjoy the world around me. I think as gamers we have been spoonfed this mindset that a game does not truly begin until you reach this nebulous "end game". With Guild Wars 2 I greatly disagree... It is not what you do after level 80 that decides your end game, your end game begins the moment you step out of the tutorial area for your character's race.... at level 2! How is this possible you ask? Look at it this way- In this game you can freely go back to any zone you have been in, and you are automatically down leveled to the level of the content you have to fight, thus making content still challenging. Let me rephrase that, there is NOTHING trivial about a level 80 going to the starter zone (level 1-15 usually). This greatly enhances replayability, and continues to reward you, should you have skipped content in a mad rush to level 80, and now you have decided you want to see more of say- Kessex Hills (level 15-25 human zone). Even if you have 100% completed the map, and gotten the rewards, there are still numerous events that can still use your help, and I bet my bottom dollar you have yet to see ALL of a given zone's events. There's your end game right there.

As a case in point of why it is good to go back to areas and immerse yourself in what is going on, I want to tell you a little story of the family I met in Wayfarer Foothills (level 1-15 norn starter zone).

You what? Is this some kind of joke?

I was running around minding my own business when this girl comes up to me, "compliments" me on my hair... yeah... about that... then proceeds to pelt me with a snowball. My initial reaction was, "Why you little runt!" I gathered up snowballs and began assaulting her and her siblings, of whom there were a LOT!

Wife gone, kids running amok... this sounds like a job for super dad!

I found their father inside the lodge, and asked him why he was so distressed, and especially why his kids were running amok throughout the homestead. He mentioned to me that his wife had gone off hunting and left him to take care of ALL of their kids. Needless to say, it was lunch time and he could not leave to get food for them all, so I volunteered my time to slaughter some Dolyaks, and get him some meat.

There's a moral in here somewhere... 

He then proceeded to grill up some of the finest Dolyak jerky I have ever tasted, and proudly shouted to his kids that lunch was here. He also graciously parted with some of the meat for me, as a thank you. At this point, I could have left Gareth and his brood, but the children were so interesting with their antics that I had to stick around and see what they got into next. Sure enough, one of his daughters stuck an axe in the giant Dolyak head mounted on the lodge. Her brother overheard the conversation and decided to take it upon himself to hunt a new epic creature that dad could replace the ruined Dolyak head with. My parental instincts kicked in, and I opted to go with the tyke to help him out.

Sure kid, we can hunt that.. why not.

In typical norn fashion, this kid- Jafri, picked the biggest, meanest animal he could find to hunt for dad... and luckily there were other players there to help me before he got gored with any of the four horns that this longshanks had sporting.

Yeah Gareth, he did all the work, I just looked pretty.

Successful from his hunt, a proud Jafri presented the head to his father, who damn near had a heart attack!

I always say the family that slays together, stays together.

Another satisfied customer... I felt it was time to leave... except... the girls were muttering about something inside the homestead, then one of the daughters asks her dad where their mom kept the honey. Uh oh, that is never good...

Umm, that's a lot of honey for one bear.

Not to be outdone by Jafri, the other kids decided to do a ritual to the bear spirit to ask for one of their own to wrestle. If I remember my bear rituals correctly, you only need a teaspoon of honey. Apparently no one told these kids that.

When bears stampede, on the next national geographic!

Instead of attracting one YOUNG bear, they managed to besiege the town with HUNDREDS of bears! All I can say is I am sure glad there were other passersby. It took us almost ten minutes to thin out the bear stampede!

Oh I am going to make a fortune in fur coats!

After all the hijinx that these kids got into, it will be any wonder if Gareth ever lets his wife go hunting again! It was at this point, when the calm of the shiverpeaks settled onto the Taigan Groves, that I decided now was the time to leave this peaceful homestead of Victor's Point in search of a beer.

Tell your wife when she gets home that she owes Bel Geode a case of ale.

As I left, i noticed that it was literally an hour later. I spent that much time in one area pushing things through to a happy ending, and only when I was sure there was no more danger to those kids, did I decide to take off. It had me thinking about norn family values, and how dedicated the homestead is to their kids. In a norn relationship, husband and wife are truly equal, and both have the same epic strength and desire to have their legends grow together. It's a great concept that I have to admit is something I strive to find in my real life relationships. I am just glad that ArenaNet gave me the chance to see this firsthand.

I am definitely proud to be norn!