PG – Trying it Out

I threw in some money to support Project: Gorgon in the last days of its Kickstarter – after it had met its initial funding goal. I figure why not, help out an indie MMO. I fiddled around a bit but didn’t really have a chance to play until this week.

And unlike my recent experience with GW2, which has a nice flow of things to do, I um… wandered around for an hour and didn’t really make much progress at all.

Tutorial Cave Exit
Tutorial Cave Exit

I did make it out of the tutorial cave, but likely missed half the things to do in there. I spent my time remapping some keys (I am hardwired to use “R” for run, which in this game is “auto move forward”; also I picked a better Screenshot key than the default CTRL-P) and searching in vain for a way to move the chat window – the default for me is to appear in the middle of the left half of the screen, as you can see in this next screenshot:

Chat Window
Chat Window

That is super distracting. I want it out of the way in the lower left corner.

The graphics aren’t anything to drool over, but they are fine. Some of the funds raised via Kickstarter will go towards better art and music, so they should improve.

Oh, while I’m talking about graphics – the screenshots in this game are ridiculously high res. As in: there are two screenshot settings, regular and hi-res. Since I run 2560×1440, those are the regular screenshots. The hi-res ones are 5120×2880 (!!). Considering 4K is 3840×2160, the hi-res screenshots blow away 4K resolution – not that my monitor supports that anyway. I shrank some of the shots to 25% of the original dimensions to get a mere 1280×720 pic that is roughly 2MB instead of the ~20MB size of the hi-res pics.

After exiting the tutorial cave and finding my way to the nearby town/fortress, I spoke to two NPCs and picked up some quests. One was to obtain hash browns, another was to obtain grapes. And I couldn’t figure out how to do either one. Undoubtedly there are other NPCs that sold these items or the items are craftable – but there I was, unsure of how to finish either quest.

So I wandered the (strangely empty) landscape for a while. I say “strangely empty” because in your typical MMO, the landscape is teeming with low level mobs just standing around waiting to be slain by low level adventurers. Not here. What few animals there were around were mostly non-hostile. Once in a great while, an occasional wolf would attack me.

Red Crystals
Red Crystals

My mentor in the tutorial cave said something about investigating the red crystals in a nearby lake, so I went there but… nothing. Perhaps I need to talk to somebody in the town first.

The Awakening
The Awakening?

I decided to circumnavigate the town and there is some crazy landscape out there!

I found one farmer who needed help killing a bear in the barn, so I agreed to do it. And got smacked hard resulting in another death (first one was right after rolling a character!) and a rez in the town.

Ouch
Ouch

Later I found some tigers and engaged them, only to be killed very quickly as well.

OK, I may need to retreat to the town and talk to every NPC I can find, surely there are quests I can actually do to level up various skills. I don’t really want to pick on rabbits and wolves. It could be I’m used to the more modern take on the new player experience in an MMO. It’s been a long time but I kind of remember that Asheron’s Call had a slow initial ramp up, where you picked on various landscape animals to gain a few levels before wandering into small caves to attack slightly higher level mobs. I didn’t find any caves near the town so maybe I’m a terrible explorer as well.

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GW2 – Early Levels

After just under 4 hours of play on Autumn, my Asura Guardian, I am level 14 and through the first batch of storyline quests: Experiments Gone Wrong.

Leveling and questing flows smoother now – I remember with my previous batch of lowbie characters, finishing up the initial zone and having to quest in an adjacent area to level up appropriately. Granted, this wasn’t a huge deal, but however ArenaNet rearranged things, I was able to hit level 10 within Metrica Province, and then reach 14 by doing the personal story quests. I also detoured for every dynamic event that popped up.

Hm… I just remembered that before starting out, I ate one of those Birthday Boosters, which grant an xp bonus for 24 hours (of in-game time). That’s a 100% boost to magic find, WvW rank gain, experience from kills, and gold from kills…. that bonus to experience is probably what I’m seeing here.

Ah well, at least I didn’t use a level 20 experience scroll, that only saves a bit of time after all.

I looked at the new Profession Reward Tracks and spent a few hero points into Consecration, since those skills have useful AoE effects and are all combo field starters (fire and light starters).

After reaching the castle at Artergon Woods, I decided to get to the vista and call it a day.

Artergon Woods
Artergon Woods

GW2 – Starting Anew

It’s been a while since I played any MMOs, including GW2. Since the expansion is coming up, I decided to play and try to make up my mind if I would splurge on getting a copy of Heart of Thorns. I probably will, since GW2 is so easy to dip in and out of. The catch is I might wait until a sale occurs since it isn’t like I have tons of characters at the level cap ready to burst into the jungle.

So I logged into my higher level characters, and felt a bit lost. I had an exclamation point in the upper left corner that basically said “you need to re-pick your build” and when I went to look at the changes, the UI was totally revamped.

As Syp lists in his post on coming back to formerly played characters, it can be disorienting. I have a level 80 and 74 in GW2, I kinda didn’t want to ask a series of dumb questions in chat. 😉 Instead I went to the wiki and started reading a bit before putting that aside – I’d rather figure stuff out again instead of studying the game before playing. How hard can it be to start a new char – won’t the developer smooth the learning curve?

As it turns out, yes ArenaNet did. At least so far. Last time I started a character, you had to swap weapons in order to use each one a number of times to unlock skills – 3 for main hand weapons, 2 for off hand weapons, 5 for double handed weapons, etc. Now it appears that early skills are unlocked by level, and swapping weapons (manually, dual wielding in order to quickly swap isn’t unlocked for me just yet) gives a notification that a new skill is learned immediately.

Another thing I noticed is underwater sections don’t have the breath timer… however that might be something that comes back in later zones.

I have a bunch of birthday scrolls, both level 20 and level 30, that would instantly bump my new characters up, but I am determined not to use them. First, getting to level 20 isn’t that much time, and second, I don’t want to miss the gradual introduction of new mechanics; that’s half the reason I started some new characters!

I re-rolled a Guardian, and deleted a Thief in order to roll an additional Mesmer. Both are Asura because for various reasons, I really like that race. I couldn’t get into the culture of the Norn or Charr, humans are a standard race, and my other Mesmer is a Sylvari, which isn’t bad, but not as cool (to me) as Asura. I like the look of the capital city Rata Sum, the mad scientist/inventor vibe, and also like short characters in general. Nothing is so fun as having a short character beating on a giant landscape mob (e.g. hobbit taking on a mountain giant in LoTRO).

Storm Effect
Storm Effect

Graphics appear to be revamped as well, in early Metrica Province I don’t remember so many translucent neon effects, holographic plants and storm effects. It looks great!

I only had an hour to play, so I work on my new Guardian. An hour of leisurely exploring and basic shopping (purchase available weapons) got me to level 6. I hit a few scenic vistas, filled in some hearts, and had a fun time.