The first image of the evening is what happens when you catch the daily completion bonus train. I am still floored by the sheer number of people actively participating in events. One of the cool happenings of the night though is that I organically crossed paths with @vbarreirojr who was one event behind me in the progression. I sort of love the concept that happens in this game of the commander… because you can see the telltale icons on the corners of your map and generally speaking are a reasonable indicator of where some manner of activity is going on. I’m also starting to learn to get a bit better at watching chat. Often times as new events are starting up someone will link a waypoint to allow folks to jump to it relatively quickly. Through a combination of follow the catmander and waypoint jumping I managed to knock out the daily completion bonus in what felt like record time. I think part of it as well is I am starting to develop a little ancestral memory, as to which are the best areas to harvest resources and which are the easiest vistas to view to get completion and such. It’s funny how I almost look forward to the daily completion bonus because it ends to give me some focus… and from there while participating in it I come up with some other game play for the evening.
Early in the day I was talking to a friend who is contemplating trying to restart the game, and was questioning what sequence of things she needed to purchase. Firstly I think Guild Wars 2 is either something that feels good or doesn’t… and lord knows it took me five years of trying it to finally figure out the secret to being able to enjoy it myself. You can scan back through the history of this blog and you are going to find a bunch of posts that are pretty negative about this game. I wrote one in particular where I called it one of my five biggest MMO disappointments just so you have an easy reference. You are going to ultimately have to decide if the game works for you or not, because it absolutely did not for me for a very long time. However the truth that I finally landed on is that you have to forget everything you know about how an MMO works to ultimately make Guild Wars 2 work. What I mean by that is for the most part MMOs are very task oriented and involve you completing a sequence of objectives in order to move on to the next sequence of objectives. The quest is the most common version of this and that least to more quests and ultimately provides a ladder for you to traverse a given zone with. When you attempt to play Guild Wars 2 in this fashion… your brain rebels against you. There is no quest structure and the concept of hearts are what I tried to latch onto as the replacement. The end result felt like this grindy busywork as I attempted to complete my way across a zone so that I could then move to the next area, making sure to 100% everything in my path. In doing so I kept getting frustrated each time something took me off path or off whatever my current task was, and as a result I bounced exceedingly hard off of the game.
Instead I personally find Guild Wars 2 works better if you view it like an ocean that you happen to be floating in. If you allow yourself to move along with the current you get to experience all sorts of interesting things that happen along the path. Instead of staying focused on some large overarching goal… I find it works best to focus on whatever is presented in front of you. If there is an event spawning near you, go over there and participate because it often times leads its way to other events in the same zone. Instead of trying to traverse things in an A B C D E F manner… I find it just feels better to let the zone explore itself almost. Sure you end up often times going from A to F to G to C to E and eventually back to B and D… but it is done so in a more organic manner. The only negative to this approach is that I find it completely impossible to stay on task. Ultimately I started playing Guild Wars 2 like I play Skyrim or Fallout… just letting myself wander off into the horizon and check out the next shiny object in my field of view. If there is a commander on the far side of the zone… then I should probably head that way to see what all is going on. Sometimes this has lead me to zone events that I didn’t even realize existed. To some extent at times it feels like the game is playing you… but I think in this case it is probably perfectly okay. This game is full of these extremely intricate micro objectives and feedback loops to keep you caught in their gravity and constantly doing stuff. The fact that everything scales… means that you are never going to be doing stuff that isn’t potentially valuable or lucrative. Basically my advice to learning how to enjoy Guild Wars 2 is to stop focusing on the goal… and start enjoying the path.