Monday, August 25, 2014

Regarding GW2

I am a simple newcomer to Guild Wars 2, despite having purchased it slightly before it was released.  I played it for a good while, slowly drifted away for no particular reason, and came back with more determination.  Which is where I am now.  And I feel a disquieting sense of deja vu stealing over me.  The truth is dawning that I am beginning to feel the same sense of listlessness that fueled my apathy the first time around.

Worry not, gentle reader, for I have prepared for this possibility and am determined to push ahead. But now that I'm aware, I want to look around and discover why.

All the good things that I wrote about a while back are still true.  The community is different, the camaraderie and natural cooperation are still inherent draws into the game.  Yesterday I participated in a guild challenge, and I wasn't even part of the guild, and the guild stewards offered me as much help as one of their own.  I got my chest of goodies along with every one else and then joined in clearing the spiders for the other runners.  No one scorned me for a moocher or told me to cheese off, and we parted as friends.

No the issue is not the community, but it's really more the game itself.  Yesterday, I came upon a heart and helped a Charr engineer gather reservoir samples by clicking on some odd pump things and killing a bunch of skulkers.  And if that is boring to read you'll understand when I say that I had to shake myself awake about halfway through.  There was  nothing wrong with this quest location except that it felt unconnected to the overall world, or to the zone, or to the Charr, or to my character.  It simply was there, and I did it.

One of the true strengths of GW2 is that it is so easy to get into.  Log in to your character, check the map for nearby activities, and you can be playing within seconds.  No need to worry about being in the right zone or the right level, or having the right weapon.  Pick up a branch and join in the fray.

But that same ease of entry can also be a barrier to a deeper connection to the game.  Most of the areas I've been in have been interesting, but not distinctive - like the Ebonshore Plant, for example.  I don't feel like I really know what's going on there (other than they have annoying skales in the water) or why I should care what's going on there.

But as I was standing around contemplating the banality of my life, something happened, as it always does in GW2.  The Flame Legion started to attack - its shamans polluting the precious water that I had worked so hard only minutes before to clear of noisome creatures.  This may be the most boring place on earth, but it was MY boring place, I wasn't going to let the Flame Legion pollute it.

Recently, the Mystical Mesmer gave an extensive response to Belghast's post in which he mentioned how he couldn't get into GW2.  And I have to say that I am sympathetic to Belghast's complaints.  There is something surreal and ethereal about Tyria, particularly when leveling, that makes it hard for me to tightly connect to it.  I reach for the thread of a storyline, and it all disappears from my grasp.

I'm sure that I'm going to cover several more zones and levels before I intuitively grasp what's happening around me.  Then, perhaps, I'll understand what I'm missing right now.  But as I've said before, I'm playing the long game.

Post twenty-five in the Blaugust challenge to post once a day for the 31 days of August.

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