This weekend was largely one about me playing quite a bit of Guild Wars 2 while doing other things. We’ve been binging a few Netflix series, and GW2 is just about the perfect sort of game for that activity. First we went on a tear of watching through all thirty episodes of The Ranch, a comedy helmed by Ashton Kutcher and a whole slew of other That 70’s show alums like Danny Masterson and Wilmer Valderrama. There are currently the two “seasons” of the show and that is in quotes because the show has one of the most jacked up naming conventions I have seen yet. Whatever the case its funny, and reminds me so much of the people I great up with. While I did not grow up on a ranch… I grew up knowing someone that pretty much was the same as a character on the show. From there we finally started watching Orange is the New Black and have barely made a dent in it, but it gives us another thing to watch whenever we are in the mood to watch something. So far I am digging it. Again it is another show that pairs nicely with Guild Wars 2 because it is a largely verbal show… and far less about what is happening on screen. This is ultimately why I don’t watch nearly as much Anime as I would like, because I have reached this point where I cannot bring myself to “only” watch television. I need to be doing something else at the same time, and I cannot play a game and “read” television at the same time. How I managed to watch Train to Busan is a bit of a miracle… because it held my attention enough to keep me from wandering back to playing something at the same time.
As far as game time goes, I have been slowly working on world completion. In theory I know I should be spending my time catching up to the story… but I find myself instead preferring the slow pace of working on knocking out various objectives on the map. At this point I have 64% zone completion, and am slowly focusing the early zones to get them out of the way. Over the weekend I wrapped up all of the capitol cities and have been doing the first few zones in each area of the map. I posted the above screenshot not necessarily because it is majestic, but represents what felt like a significant achievement. Side note… even to this day I cannot keep myself from snapping a screenshot when I am viewing a vista for the first time. This vista in particular is in Diessa Plateau at the Breached Wall, and it is a fairly contorted jumping puzzle. I wound up spending about an hour working on getting things just right so that I could get up there and score some hero points and the vista. One of the things that floors me is just how damned many people are still active in this game, because during that hour of working on the Vista… I encountered a couple dozen other players trying to do the same thing. When a group of us finally made it across there was much spontaneous cheering. The other weird thing about this game is the way that players will seemingly beeline out of their way just to rez someone. I’ve found myself doing the same thing, and I think largely it is because the game messages it to players that maybe it is something that they might want to do.
I remember in 2015 at Pax South when they were unveiling Heart of Thorns… the speakers talked about it being one of the friendliest communities in MMO gaming. At the time I thought this was a weird boast, because I had never really encountered anyone striking up a conversation with me. However this time… coming back to the game… I am finally grasping what they meant by this. The Guild Wars 2 community is not one of words but instead one of actions. I cannot count the number of times someone has veered off course to come resurrect me, or seemingly stopped what they were doing to participate in some random event that just happened to be passing their way. I myself have done both of these and if you allow yourself to just sort of ride along in the current of the game is is an extremely rich experience. My problem previously was that I kept trying to play Guild Wars 2 like I played other MMOs, where I focused in on a very finite series of goals and expectations and at the same time closed myself to the random happenings. In some way I have started playing GW2 much the same as how I play Elder Scrolls or Fallout games… where I allow myself to wander aimlessly and participate in whatever happens to cross my path… or catch my eye. As a result the game finally makes sense and finally seems as fun as everyone has made it out to be. I still marvel that it took five years to reach this point of realization… but I never claimed to be particularly swift.