GW2 -Exploring

I can’t figure out why GW2 isn’t “sticky” with me. Whenever I resume play, my interest peaks then tails off… but never far enough for me to quit playing altogether.

For lack of a better metaphor to describe what I think the root cause is, I’ll use the Uncanny Valley: GW2 is almost there but slightly different and ends up reminding me of other games where I like some particular mechanic better. Thus, I take breaks all the time.


What I enjoy doing, at least for 25% to 33% of a zone, is explore. But by the time I get that far, I want to stop, only to return after a few days to do the same thing. Someone properly motivated can probably crank out a zone in a sitting but it winds up taking me a week (I don’t play every day).

I have 2 level 80: a ranger (Glyneth) and an elementalist (Aurora). Glyneth is about 45% in overall map completion, while Aurora is about 65%. That doesn’t mean I’ve explored 110% of Tyria, it means they overlap the starter and mid-level areas. 😉

So I like exploring, or do I? The game has been out for nearly 3 years and I’m still poking along so maybe I don’t, at least not enough to starting cranking out the remaining zones.


I do enjoy the jump puzzles and getting to vistas! This vista in the SW corner of Dredgehaunt Cliffs takes more time to get to than the average one. At least most of the falls aren’t too bad and don’t set you back too far. I remember doing some in later zones that were really unforgiving – fall to death on a bad jump. Now that’s really irritating.


Group events and dynamic are fun, but what would be extra nice is something FF14 does – gives you a countdown timer and a current completion percentage, for a FATE. Here in the screenshot above, I can’t tell if the dynamic event has anybody doing it, how close they are to completing, etc. Maybe I’ll be the only one there to an event that has 10 seconds left before it fails. So I’m not motivated to rush over through unexplored territory to show up.


Here is a group event I accidentally showed up for, I logged into the middle of it – the one where Jotun’s overrun a Priory outpost. I logged in and within seconds, an event started which eventually led to the followup event, kill the Jotun champion

Champions are really hard to solo, I don’t think I’ve ever done it, but this particular one I was able to duo with another ranger. Basically we used the fort geometry (ran outside and shot around a corner; the Jotun champion would exit the fort briefly and then turnaround), traded aggro (when the Jotun was running toward me, I’d kite backward and the other ranger would revive some NPCs. Then we’d switch off). If cornered, we’d dodge out of the way into clear space, run to gain more, and re-engaged at range. Eventually we just wore him down through attrition. It felt pretty good to defeat a champion with just one other player helping!


Gliding is fun but gimmicky, although I suppose it helps against falling to a death. At least in HoT you need to do it to get to the various levels in the zone. Here it is a way to skip over a bunch of mobs on the way somewhere… if there is a higher point nearby to glide from.

The skill system is decent, but after a bit I miss the way it was in Guild Wars, where you had control over all 8 of the skills on the skill bar. Here, 5 are locked by an equipped weapon, skill 6 is healing (useful no doubt), so that leaves skills 7-10 as ones you get to choose.

I could swap weapons mid-fight, as a way to access another 5 skills, and that should be no big deal since it’s just another keypress, but somehow that seems ridiculous.

ArenaNet took steps to distance the game from the trinity, but as it turns out I do like more defined roles as opposed to loosely defined roles. Fortunately as a ranger my profession has the “healing” one as the elite spec: Druid. And the elementalist has healing skills when attuned to water (well, health regen fields, which is as close as you get to direct healing).

In this regard perhaps the ideal for me is a skill system like TSW – full freedom to select from skills you’ve unlocked, with trinity-oriented archetypes available to aim towards.

Maybe what it is really going on is I don’t like locking skills to weapons. But that’s a design issue and I can’t fairly criticize ArenaNet for it – for every person like me that doesn’t like it there may be some one who does.


To mix things up I put away my longbow and am trying the sword/axe combo, which is apparently the highest DPS for rangers. I found two cool looking weapons, each of which is the split design most obviously seen in my right hand. The playstyle is different, which again reminds me of GW, where I had the most fun lingering in the back as ranged DPS, directing my heroes and henchmen, controlling the flow of battle, interrupting the enemy here and there… don’t have that here.

I know some bloggers are really into GW2, like Jeromai and Bhagpuss for instance, but I can’t get that committed. Maybe that’s good because various issues with the current state of GW2 don’t really affect me. 😉


I like storylines in general, but I haven’t finished any of the ones in GW2. Meanwhile I did SoA and MoM on 6 characters in LoTRO, so apparently this one isn’t grabbing me all that much.

I like the Asuras as a race more than the Norn, for their in-game culture, lore, and history. Basically I think being a mad scientist tinkerer is better than being a Norn. The actual in-game differences are few: in jumping puzzles, the Asura character model blocks less of my view; Asuras get a racial golem summoning skill I’d rather have than the Norn shape-shifting skills. Unfortunately, while you can change your character’s appearance, name, and gender, you can’t switch races. I’d definitely pay to do it though.

So, what to do. I’m inventorying the games I’m playing and trying to cull a little bit (nothing drastic like uninstalling; more the realization that I don’t have time to play 6 MMOs and actually make any progress); shift priorities here and there. I’m leaning towards putting GW2 onto the less frequently played rotation track.

Basically, there is a lot I like but I grow tired quickly. For a bit, I’ll work on a storyline – I haven’t even finished the  personal storyline much less Living World Season One or Two!


2 thoughts on “GW2 -Exploring”

  1. It’s perfectly okay to enjoy games at a less in-depth level. For example, I’m recently back into playing Path of Exile, though my version of playing it is more “copy a build and just enjoy leveling up at a pace more hardcore players would likely scoff at.” Endgame in PoE? Ha, barely made it up to those refined airs once, and still didn’t understand half of what was going on.

    If GW2 isn’t gripping you, and you feel like you’d like to be gripped a little more, I can think of two things to try. One is, as you’ve tried, switching up the weapon and combat playstyle a little. Speaking for myself, I’m most in love with ranger shortbow, it has the quick firingness I like, and involves some movement and positioning for bleeds.

    The second is to try another race or move to another zone to explore. As a Guild Wars fan, I gravitated strongly to the charr cos of the lore and the opportunity to wander around the beautiful autumn Ascalon landscapes. Norn winter zones leave me cold (pun intended) and I just end up getting a Skyrim vibe over Guild Wars specific flavor. I find most human zones ridiculously generic too (besides Fields of Ruins, but it’s Ebonhawke and there’s charr in it!)

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