Staying with my MMO gaming this week, I partook in the Mordrem Assault Event that’s currently ongoing in Guild Wars 2. It’s my first real event, and it’s been…okay, I guess. Every hour, one of three zones in the game gets assaulted by Mordrem mobs, and people will get together as zergs, zipping about the zone to beat down the spawned mobs. I won’t go in depth, but if you’re interested, this video is pretty all you need to see:
The action itself was pretty fun I have to say, I’ve never been in a huge group of players fighting a common enemy. I think this is pretty much what I can expect in World vs World. But I’m lukewarm because in this mass of players, it gets really chaotic if you don’t know what’s going on and it feels like you have no effect on anything. People have been rather unimpressed with the rewards of the event. I’m no expert, but it seems the only things you can gets are cosmetics, miniatures and a bag of rare loot. For me that’s not a problem though. This event is meant to get people playing together and participate in a common activity, and presumably also to show off to the new players how populated and alive Guild Wars 2 is.
Speaking of new players, I love that Guild Wars 2 is now free. Sure there are some basic restrictions to avoid an influx of undesirables, but it really doesn’t look like ArenaNet is trying to monetize free account players with gameplay handicaps or pay-to-win microtransactions. Guild Wars 2 was from the beginning buy-to-play and this move, ironically, is the logical next step. With Heart of Thorns coming out, that will be the standard version for future content updates I believe and it’ll still need to be bought for money. The only thing that’s changing now is that the barrier to entry into Guild Wars 2 is free for anybody. I wonder what this means going forward though. If a second expansion gets released, will the free accounts get access to Heart of Thorns for free, or will the base game be as far as it goes?
Apart from that, I’ve felt the urge to revisit WoW, in particular the Night Elf region of Teldrassil. It’s curious how a digital world made of polygons and some ambiance music can harbor emotions and memories just like any real place can. I joined a private server named “Dalaran-WoW” after spending some time with retail WoW. Retail is awfully fast paced these days. One thing I enjoyed in WoW was the feeling of weight that quests had, the danger that mobs posed and all that combined to grant the game a sense of meaningfulness. Wandering around in these zones, it felt adventurous.
I created a bloodelf mage in retail and all that sense was gone. I’d one or two shot mobs, quickly running through the environments to turn in quests, and of I go to the next area. This way I spend much less time actually taking in the scenery, much less time playing in a considerate fashion. I’m not a fan of grinding, and I realize that in old WoW, especially vanilla, grinding was a fact of life, even when you don’t count in pure grinding (as opposed to the “kill x of y” grind quests).
I might change my opinion of retail if and when I jump back in for a longer period of time. For now though, on this private server I’m having a much more satisfying time playing, thanks to the slower pace. Dalaran-WoW is a server that prides itself on its polish. I’m told that pretty much all content is very bug-free, more than any WotLK private server. I’m not experienced with private servers and wouldn’t know what would be typically buggy, but Dodgykebaab on YouTube, a popular private server reviewer recommended it last year. Since then, I’m sure the server could only have gotten better. Since I’m in the oceanic time zone, I’m usually online when most players aren’t, but on average there are around ~500 players online, which I suspect is the lower end. Anecdotally though, I can say that I frequently run into players, and the ones I’ve interacted with have been very friendly and helpful. When I did the Barrow Den quest, I had the help of a fellow huntress who really stuck around with me until I finished all the objectives there, the two of us running around getting lost in that cave.
Also, on YouTube there is a user named “Zerwolf” doing a Let’s Play series on the server. He’s opening a guild and I’ve already contacted him to join. If you find yourself on the server, alliance side, give a whisper to Wolfzie! Or me, my name’s Shoshanna in game.