It was partially a letdown, partially a surprise in my trip through Guild Wars 2 this time around. The objectives were pretty clear: GO back to the Path of Fire journey and peek at a dungeon or two, and since I was still kind of fixated on base Tyria, I elected to try a couple of dungeon runs on my own – aka without any of the usual help I would otherwise have access to – and see what things are like.
But of course, I had to at least try to run one dungeon in story mode. Which… didn’t go well.
To be fair, I had no delusions that this idea would go well. In fact, my failure was all but guaranteed in my mind, so when it was hardly a surprise when I fell down dead at the second group of enemies. The fact that I survived the first group kind of took me aback, though.
The dungeon I attempted first was Citadel of the Flame, simply because it happened to be one of the nearest to max level in an attempt to see if my instance-running chops were up to snuff. Before this point, the only group content I had done was in the open world, which is less like a group coordinated effort and more like a zerg of DPS on a pint of energy drink, so I was trying to both see what group content felt like both in general and on a higher level.
That attempt was presumably going to die on the vine before I even started, however. Going into the LFG panel led me to assume that nobody was actually doing these things, hence the aforementioned story mode attempt. That, again, ended in failure.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I decided to head out of the Citadel of the Flame, preparing to just simply warp back to the Crystal Desert, and was instead greeted by a few people who were standing outside of the dungeon’s entry portal. On a whim, I decided to run my face into the portal to see if there was a party forming, and to my great surprise and delight, there was. There wasn’t a full party to start, but myself and the three others who were there headed on in.
I immediately defaulted to my staff weapon and readied water attunement in full, preparing to fall into what amounts to a healer in this game. I respect that there’s no hard trinity in GW2 but I also liked being able to default to healer in water attunement, switching out to fire or earth as necessary. This ended up being a generally good plan as everyone stayed topped up and foes fell at our feet. I wasn’t really able to sit and watch any of the story portions that played, but I also had kind of resigned myself to being forced to ignore them anyway, so it wasn’t a great big hassle. Sure, it was annoying, but not a dealbreaker.
So, how did my first “true” party experience end up feeling? Overall, not bad. I’m pretty sure I was once more carried along, but I also didn’t feel like I was kicking back for the ride, and doing the healing stuff I was able to for the party was nice. I still contend that the staff weapon is the standard for group play and I had a good time with the PUG, who was friendly and informative, even if they didn’t really feel hyper-sociable. As far as PUG behavior goes, I’ll take it.
I would have kept doing one more dungeon – I had once more tried to queue up for a party at the entrance to another when I saw there was a second player standing at the door – but this time the party just did not form and eventually it dissolved. It did take quite some time for us to come to that consensus though, so maybe there are more people hoping to run instances than I had first supposed. All the same, future dungeon running will likely be done by reaching out to the support system I have access to. It just would have been nice to see PUGs for dungeons forming a bit more readily for those who don’t know others that play the game, which is the experience I was trying to replicate.
Once my dungeon dipping got done, I went back to the Crystal Desert – specifically the Elon Riverlands – and continued on with the main story, which ended up holding quite a few surprises. I easily played through a segment in an underground city, I fought Balthazar and died, and then I came back to life. The series of quests that I did were quite interesting overall. I don’t know that I’m very emotionally invested, but I also have to say that seeing Balthazar land in front of me for a scrap was unexpected. And, of course, I couldn’t help but feel bad for Aurene. If you can’t feel sad about bad things happening to a doe-eyed little dragon baby, I don’t think we can be friends.
That’s not to suggest that everything went rosy for my trip back to this area. For example, there was a portion of the map where that Balthazar fight happened that is just chock-full of stupidly hard enemy groups that easily wiped me out over and over and over again, forcing me to use my Springer like a coward and avoid fighting. It sucked, it was frustrating, but I got by, though I would really like to know how the hell I’m meant to survive those skateboarding, chakram-throwing… things. I hope you all know what monster I’m talking about.
Even so, both in dungeons and in the open world, I was still pretty much holding my own and falling into a routine with the Weaver. The sword/dagger combo that I’ve been running to this point makes sense to me, especially as I continue to refine my rotation just that bit more, and the Elementalist overall still has me hooked. I have complaints about Guild Wars 2, but I can also say that I am not deterred and am overall pretty well emotionally invested. I want to see what’s next.
Unfortunately, what’s next in that journey won’t be shared here (though it might be shared in future streams, we’ll see; I don’t want to step on MJ’s GW2-playing toes too much). So that of course means that it’s time for us to consider what game we’re going to play heading in to the new year. Here are the poll choices to suss that out.
What game should we play next? Choose My Adventure!
- Guild Wars 1. Why not go back in time? (47%, 24 Votes)
- Warframe. Do the space ninja thing. (16%, 8 Votes)
- Orbus VR. Put your face into this world. (10%, 5 Votes)
- Swords of Legends Online. Get wuxia with it. (27%, 14 Votes)
Total Voters: 51
As usual, polling closes at 1:00 p.m. EST this Friday, January 30th. In the meantime, I would like to wish everyone reading this a happy new year and share my hope for more adventures to come in 2023.