Hello, friends, and welcome yet again to another installment of Choose My Adventure. Over the course of last weekend, I’ve continued my journeys in Guild Wars 2‘s fantastical land of Tyria, and although I didn’t manage to accomplish quite everything I set out to accomplish (more on that in a bit), I still managed to get quite a bit done. As such, I’ve got a lot to talk about, so I’ll keep this intro brief so we can go ahead and get to business.
But first, of course, let’s talk about the results of last week’s polls. I asked y’all to vote on which zone I should venture to next and what I should try to accomplish over the course of the weekend. The votes for the next zone were pretty all over the place, which is probably because there were 11 different options to choose from, but in the end, the vote went in favor of the Fields of Ruin, a zone recommended for levels 30 to 40. The votes for which activity I should try to take part in were also pretty close, but the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon ended up pulling out the victory. So how did all of that go for me? Gather ’round and I’ll tell you all about it.
This weekend’s festivities were a bit of a mixed bag. I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way up front: I didn’t do the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon. This wasn’t for a lack of trying on my part, I promise you; I tried on multiple different occasions over the course of the weekend to pull together a group using both the game’s LFG system and good old-fashioned map-chat recruitment, but to no avail. Apparently, low-level dungeons like the Catacombs are run pretty infrequently these days, and the few groups I was able to find ended up turning me down when they discovered that I was below level 80 and that I wasn’t intimately familiar with the dungeon’s mechanics.
I do understand, I think, the reasoning behind not including an automated group finder in the game: Leaving it up to players to find parties the old-fashioned way encourages community-building and socialization, both of which I firmly support, but I’ve noticed that it also tends to mean that lower-level players end up having a hard time finding groups for content that is considered obsolete by the majority of max-level players. It’s a shame, really. At any rate, I apologize, dear readers, for I have failed you.
There is good news, however: My time trying to find a dungeon group was not idly spent. I did indeed venture forth into the Fields of Ruin, and I planted my proverbial flag on every vista, renown heart, and point of interest I found, ultimately accomplishing 100% map completion. But I didn’t stop there! I figured that I might end up having better luck finding a dungeon group if I were able to enter some of the higher-level dungeons, so I focused my efforts on leveling up as much as I could and headed straight into Bloodtide Coast, a level 45-55 zone, in which I likewise achieved 100% map completion. I began the weekend at level 30 and ended it at level 54, which I think is some pretty respectable progress.
So this week, since I can’t remark on GW2‘s dungeon experience, I thought that now might be a good time to talk about the overall leveling experience instead. As I mentioned, I spent most of my playtime leveling up by way of map completion, but I got some extra assistance from dynamic events and personal story quests. Overall, the experience was a pretty pleasant one. One thing that I do very much appreciate about GW2 is the variety of ways in which players are able to earn experience over the course of the game. Just about everything you do, from discovering points of interest to harvesting crafting materials earns experience, which means that you almost never have to avoid taking part in the activity you enjoy because it would result in the stagnation of your progression.
That being said, however, there is one major issue I’ve had with GW2 since the day it launched, and it doesn’t seem to have gone away: Map completion — which entails completing all renown hearts on a map and finding all waypoints, points of interest, vistas, and so on — will only take you so far. This is, I suppose, the less-positive side of the “everything you do earns experience” coin that I mentioned above. Since everything earns experience, it sometimes feels as if you’re expected to do everything in order to progress smoothly.
It’s worth noting that, at the beginning of this CMA series, I shelled out some gems that I had left over from the last time I played the game in order to purchase some heroic boosters, which boost both experience gain and the discovery rate of rare items. I have had the booster’s buff active for the entire duration of my playtime so far, and even with the increased experience gain, I’m still not quite to level 55 after completing the entire Bloodtide Coast zone. Mind you, I’ve been completing literally every dynamic event I’ve come across in addition to the usual renown hearts, personal story quests, and map-completion accomplishments mentioned earlier, so it’s not as if I’ve been expecting to just complete a zone and move on, but I have to wonder how much more event-grinding I would have had to do to get to this point if it hadn’t been for the boosters I bought.
And yeah, dynamic events are a lot of fun; I’m not denying that. But what isn’t fun is running all over creation hoping to find said events, and since they show up on your map only when you wander near enough to them, that’s often what you have to do. Yes, there are other ways of finding events — asking in chat, for example, or using one of the many event timers/trackers on the internet, but for a game that seems to put such an emphasis on providing a smooth, “do what you want whenever you want” style of gameplay, it seems like an odd design choice to make players run around aimlessly looking for dynamic events, which are arguably the primary avenue of experience gain in PvE.
Still, I can only fault the game so much for that because I can’t honestly say that I didn’t enjoy every second of my time in the game despite the headless-chicken scramble of looking for dynamic events to complete for that last bit of XP after getting 100% completion on the map. And yeah, I could have made it easier on myself and just moved to a different zone to complete its renown hearts, but as I believe I’ve mentioned previously, I’m an incurable completionist, and once I get started in a zone, I feel obligated to 100% it before I move on, so I decided I wouldn’t open that particular can of worms.
On top of all that, there’s still one method of experience gain that I haven’t yet dipped my toes into: crafting. And that, my friends, is where your first vote of the week comes in. Over the course of my adventures, I’ve been obsessively accumulating crafting materials to the point where my crafting material collection bank (which is handily seperate from the standard bank where gear and other such items are stored) is overflowing with ore, wood, plants, and other such baubles. I figure it’s time that I put them to good use. So my question for you is this: Which crafting professions should I take up?
The tradeskill professions are as follows: First off, we’ve got the newest trade profession that was introduced with the release of Heart of Thorns, the Scribe, which can create a variety of products, most notably including buff-granting consumables and decorations that can be used to customize the appearance of guild halls. Next we’ve got the Armorsmith, which, surprisingly enough, makes heavy armor, which would probably useful since that’s what my Revenant wears. Then there’s the Artificer, which creates a number of magic-oriented weapons (foci, scepters, staves, and tridents) in addition to useful consumables like potions. The Chef specializes in cooking up a variety of different foodstuffs that provide buffs and experience-gain boosts as well as dyes to make your armor look super fancy. The Huntsman can create an array of ranged weaponry and miscellaneous utility items ranging from bows, pistols, and rifles to harpoon guns, warhorns, and torches. The Jeweler predictably makes useful trinkets like amulets, rings, and earrings. The creation of light and medium armors are overseen by Leatherworkers and Tailors, respectively. And last, but certainly not least, there’s the Weaponsmith, which — surprise! — makes weapons of many different types, including most of those that are usable by my Revenant such as axes, swords, maces, and spears.
CMA: Which tradeskills should I take?
- Armorsmith (19%, 22 Votes)
- Artificer (1%, 1 Votes)
- Chef (23%, 27 Votes)
- Huntsman (3%, 3 Votes)
- Jeweler (10%, 11 Votes)
- Leatherworker (2%, 2 Votes)
- Scribe (18%, 21 Votes)
- Tailor (4%, 5 Votes)
- Weaponsmith (20%, 23 Votes)
Total Voters: 115
Unfortunately, my playtime this weekend is going to be even more limited than last weekend’s thanks to the fact that I’m heading into the last couple of weeks of classes, and that means it’s time to hammer out research papers and study for exams, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still going to squeeze in as much gaming time as possible. As penance for failing to do the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeons last weekend, I’ll continue trying to find a dungeon group. Although at this point I’d be willing to settle for pretty much any dungeon just so I can report back on what the game’s dungeon design is like, my higher level has opened up a few more options, so if you’ve got a preference on which dungeon I should try to run, cast your vote and I will do my best to comply.
CMA: Which dungeon should I (hopefully) do?
And last, but not least, I once again need you to decide which zone will be my next conquest. Although all of the unselected options from last week’s vote are still technically fair game, I’m going to exclude some of the lower-level zones in the interest of not presenting you with a poll that’s longer than this article. Check out the list below and cast your vote.
CMA: Which zone should I go to next? (Recommended level range yet again indicated in brackets)
As always, make sure to get your votes in by Friday, November 27th, at 11:59 p.m. EST. I hope everyone (in the U.S., at least) has a wonderful Thanksgiving, and be sure to stop by next week to see where my journeys take me next. Until then, friends!