GW2 – Zergs and Deaths

I made it to the Straits of Devastation, and joined in on some zerg action over on the western half of the map.

Temple of Balthazar
Temple of Balthazar

It was a lot of fun and the best way to explore the map – I picked off nearby skill challenges (most were of the “commune with this place of power” variety) and discovered points of interest.

I’m even getting better at juggling attunements: I typically start with earth and put down an Eruption, to get some bleeding going. Then I’ll switch to fire and follow up with Meteor Shower and Lava Font. Finally, I switch to water and cast Healing Rain and Geyser, to help heal the front line fighters.

While swimming out to explore near the next step in my storyline, I found the Plaza of Lost Wisdom… and unwittingly entered a group event as a lone explorer. I was killed in about 2 seconds with basically no chance of survival. Check out the damage I took after gaining the exploration xp:

Palace of Lost Widsom
Palace of Lost Widsom

Yeah… insta-death.

The interesting thing I notice about GW2 and my characters, is that I’m minimally attached to them. In others MMOs, I play very carefully, because I hate dying. Even though death penalties are generally light these days, I just really hate defeat so I setup fights, use my skills, draw mobs carefully, and so on.

But not in this game. Death in GW2 comes so often, so unexpectably, and so unavoidably, I just don’t care. I’m not seeking it out, nor do I play recklessly (i.e. charging solo into a large group), but when a mis-timed jump while trying for a vista can lead to a falling death, when Champion-level mobs can one-hit me, when turning the corner into a new area might result in a 2 second death from a half dozen mobs simultaneously attacking, when many fights in the storyline missions are “balanced” for a group, I’ve just learned to view death as a break to sell junk to the merchant. No matter how carefully I play, I’m reminded fairly regularly that it doesn’t matter and my char will die. Especially since up until recently I was having video issues that forced random 5 second breaks on me (hopefully resolved, see below). I’m removed from and can’t get as immersed into my character due to being destroyed on a regular basis.

In fact, I change my playstyle knowing this. When fighting multiple mobs (i.e. you are in a storyline and can’t avoid it) I’ll use AoE skills (obviously!) and start tabbing around to find the lowest health mob when I’m also low on health. The reason is – the low health mob is the one I can most likely finish off with my downed state skills, giving my a Rally. Normally you are best off concentrating on one mob of a group, in order to reduce the numbers. But in GW2, it is better to tab-locate the mob nearest death when it happens to you. I’m not embarrassed to admit I’ve survived several group fights with a combinations of bleed stacking and finishing off enemies from a downed state. It’s ugly but that’s dealing with GW2 group fights.

More advice is this – when exploring, always get the waypoint FIRST. Then go do whatever you came to the area for. 😉

P.S. The screenshots may look a bit grainy. I finally turned all graphics settings as low as possible to see if that stopped the video crashes. So far is has noticeably reduced the number of crashed I suffer, so I’ll put up with the bad looking graphics.

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