GateCrash: Trailer

Have a safe and fun New Years everyone!


Winter's Day and Gate Crash

If you're like me, you like recipes.. b/c I don't like guessing what collectibles combine into what (mostly the having to buy extra components from NPCs and then having too much extra). Thats why Dulfy's website is so good; it has guides such as this one which shows you recipes for these special live events.

I still can't believe I hit lvl 80 yesterday.. and according to the pic, I've only scratched the surface (52% map completion???). As I said, working on my Mesmer (mostly for pvp) and if I somehow find the time, try the Elementalist. 


So! We haven't talked about Magic in a while and lucky us (?) there are a few new previews of the upcoming expansion of Gatecrash. The 4 new guilds include Orzhov, Boros, Simic and Gruul. With the exception of Orzhov.. all my favorite guilds are in this expansion! Lets take a look!

So, an Orzhov card; I don't particularly like the Extort mechanic.. seems a bit weak to me, but when you look at it closer, it seems to shine in multiplayer games with lots of enemy opponents. Still.. white and black color combinations.. I've never made that combination..

Boros! I like the militaristic, lawful good.. (zealotry) feel of this guild and the mechanic of Battalion seems to fit the flavor. Kind of requires you to have a few fighters.. better if they had vigilance and good toughness.

Gruul.. many of my decks are a Red/Green combo as I like direct damage, dragons, mana ramping and big creatures. I have one deck (Kraken deck) that has an easy way to nearly always have every land out.. using Bloodrush would just be game over.. and rage quit for some people.

Simic! The basis of my Kraken deck.. Blue/Green. I imagine creatures with this Evolve mechanic will be typically 1-3 mana more expensive/weaker than a creature of the normal cost.. a double edged sword.. requiring many creatures.. but making your chump blockers into a greater threat.



It took forever (thanks to my alt-o-holicism), but I finally did it!... The Guardian is a fantastic pve class, especially if you have a Ranger or Engineer partner who can agro all the enemies to you. Greatsword them down and reap experience much faster. I'm still unsure of his effectiveness in pvp; but now that i'm at max level, I can slowly get better gear for him and see how strong he can be. But i'm working on my Mesmer now as the class seems incredibly strong for PvP.


First Christmas with only one Grandparent

Took some good photos from my friend's daughter's bday the other week and I don't believe I posted about it. Yeah, (thats a boy). Take a look at my site for some new ones and maybe oldies you may not have seen before. I had organized the pictures and folders a few months ago to make it easier to view certain shoots.

I added this link to of Digital Camera World's website to my bloglinks as it is a fantastic site, full of news, reviews, previews, guides, etc. Highly recommended; moreso for newbies in photography, but I absolutely love to read (and about stuff i'm passionate about, so double bonus).

While I'll write an entry or two before Christmas and the New Year, its always good to say it early: Everyone have a happy holiday, pull yourself away from the pc to spend time with your loved ones and try your best not to drink and drive.

Introverts and Violence

It makes me sad inside when I hear about such tragedies such as the Newtown Massacre; more frequent are the killings and more horrific. If you or a loved one was affected by the tragedy, you have my deepest condolences; I don't have children, but if I did, I would think that a school would be the last place they would be exposed to gun violence. How sick do you have to be to kill innocent children? I wasn't surprised when the typical types of sources (media, senators, etc) blamed video games instead of looking at their own country's laws on gun control.

I was a bit offended when they started pointing fingers at introverted people who are the type to be more susceptible to cause such atrocities. I identify myself as an introvert; I enjoy my solitude, I find i'm better at expressing myself through writing, I do not enjoy large gatherings, but rather enjoy smaller deep conversations instead. According to the below video, 1 in 3 people are introverts. There have been many famous people in history that were introverts, including: Albert Einstein, Warren Buffet, Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt.

There was a great Time Magazine article a few months ago where it had a little quiz that would show how much of an extrovert/introvert that you were. I can't remember if this was the same one, give it a try.

What would you say you are: and Extrovert or Introvert?


GW2: Crafting Answered!

Overview of Gathering
There are 4 major types of things you can gather in GW2:
- plants/herbs; depicted by a green bush type of node (for cooking)
- ore (for most weapon/armor crafting)
- leather (for light armor and ranged weapon crafting)
- wood (mostly for ranged weapon crafting/artificing)

While you can gather plants, ore and wood from nodes via tools (axes, sickles, pickaxes), you typically get leather from salvaging (via salvage kits) other items.

Like any MMO, gathering is important as a way to get the materials you need for crafting (duh, but it needs to be said). Otherwise you will need to spend alot of money buying it from the auction house. Both crafting and gathering skills are important as they upgrade your gear, have recipes that contain consumable buffs (to increases stats or experience gain), can be used to sell on auction house (for more money), and have achievements related to them. One of the best things about both crafting and gathering in GW2 is that you gain experience for it; if you max out a crafting skill, that will net you 10 levels. There are 80 levels in the game and 8 crafting skills, you do the math.

 Is gathering/crafting needed? 
If you want to gain levels faster, then yes. If you want to have more money.. maybe you don't want to craft. GW2 employs an interesting model for crafting; instead of buying a recipe from a merchant for the sole purpose of leveling your skill, you combine certain pieces of materials to form new recipes. If you're a very much a trial-and-error type of person, this will be for you. If you're the exact opposite, you'll hate crafting. If you want recipes, there are many websites with exact recipes.

Why are there so many materials?
Because there are many different kinds of weapons/armor/items that can be created. A crafted item can have many kinds of stat boosts (strength, vitality, toughness, precision, etc) and to make certain items, you need those specific materials. Depending on the level tier you're in, there are higher level versions of it. Ie. In tier 1, you may have 'tiny claws' while in tier 2 there will be 'small claws' while in tier 3 there will be 'claws.' Each type of claw providing greater boosts in strength.

Crafting in GW2 is different than other MMOs in that if you have the money, you can have every crafting profession; you can have 2 of 8 active at any time, but to switch, it costs a certain amount of money, depending on how many levels you have in it.
I've been told that Legendary weapons (the strongest weapons in the game) can only be used if you have the necessary crafting skills associated with them. Maybe they're bind on acquire. If you are hardcore and intend on getting Legendary weapons, then you'll need to invest the time/money to craft, otherwise you won't need to worry about it.

Remember: gathering can take up alot of your bag space (for cooking in particular), so always ensure you click on the gear icon in the top right of your bag window and select "Deposit Collectibles." You collectibles is a hidden bank in the sky that stores all your gathering mats that is share between all your characters and accessible from any crafting station.


Explanations for the Previous

Soo.. lets clarify yesterday's entry; what made playing (in particular) the Mesmer make me nearly (partying with the gf made it much more enjoyable) lose interest in the class and more terrifying, the game itself!

1. Not knowing the skills to use in solo pvp
- although I was able to get a true level 80 invader to 25% hp, it was all due to my confusion ability and didn't really know what other skill to use

2. Getting hit twice by catapults 
- in Kessex Hills zone, there is a centaur camp that has (rather smart) catapults
- it was only the second time to experience getting hit by one catapult, and fall onto the floor, only to get hit by another catapult
- while it didn't result in a death, it was incredibly annoying

3. The frailty of the Mesmer shown in Personal Quests
- there is a part in the PQ where you help the Vigil protect a small outpost in Kessex Hills from hordes of Risen undead
- by itself/solo, the Mesmer (at low levels atleast) seems to be very underpowered
- by time I had to face off against the ONE veteran, all the npcs were dead and I couldn't find a proper way to dispatch it
- I ended the PQ prematurely by running out of the zone 
- while when I had done the same PQ with my Guardian, he barely broke a sweat

4. Krait respawn rates
- getting killed by Kraits in an area in KH that was respawning FAR too fast
- I would kill 3, then another 4 would take their place

5. Getting owned in WvW and the severe lack of people doing it
- I think our server has become accustomed to winning and it has caused us to deal with losing badly to the point that they give up or atleast become more disorganized

An mmo isn't made with the intention of solo play; it needs to have that option, but has the gentle invisible nudge to play together. Thats why playing in even a party of 2 made the Mesmer more enjoyable. Not getting attacked and being able to more freely use his confusion ray and other skills, made him much more effective.

While experiences such as yesterday lead me to believe that (atleast at low levels) the Mesmer isn't necessarily made for solo play(my Guardian will go out of his way to agro 5 enemies 'just to be efficient'). Knowing that had I been a true 80 (if I ever get there) with half decent gear, I would have been a force to reckon with in WvW/PvP.

Then you have today and you get some wicked armor from completing Heart Quests.. and the game turns around for you. Absolutely loving my new sinister looking Mesmer; before he looked a little too effeminate for my liking. For the longest time, even till your mid 40s, your character may not look too impressive. The trick is to right click on the Heart Quest reward gear, even if it is weaker than the gear you have on. By using your transmutation stones that you get from Dailies and getting 100% map completions from towns, you can look quite formidable in earlier levels (whether you want to waste consumables on that is another story).



Dear Mesmers of Guild Wars 2,
Thank you for making such a crappy class, that I have actually(temporarily) lost all interest in the game. Why do I keep finding these things out around level 30? /lesigh


The Urge

Dear Gaming Gods,
Please give me the strength to stick with only two characters in Guild Wars 2. Each class that I have has their own draws and the alt-aholism (which I attribute to the Robot Devil) makes it very hard to stick with one character. I just want to have one level 80, then i'll go crazy with the alts. I promise.

Would like a shirt like this lol.


Guild Wars 2: Newbie Questions Answered!

Item hierarchy
- white, BLUE, then GREEN, Yellow, Gold Purple (not really sure which one is higher lvl, gold or purple)
- this is the first mmo in which i've seen that Blue comes before Green in rarity
- i've found what distinguishes an item between blue and green is that green are upgraded with runes
- runes give special set bonuses if you have more than one
NOTE: you can use high level salvaging kits on items with runes in it to re-use those runes in other gear (every piece of gear i've encountered has a slot for an upgrade)
NOTE 2: you do not benefit twice from the same rune; only one benefit is received
ie. Rune A
Gear with 1 rune: +5 Power
Using gear with 2 of the same rune still results in only +5 power, not +10 b/c you have both. It only means you get the second bonus IF there is one.


There is:
- Power (direct damage)
- Precision (crit chance)
- Toughness (damage reduction)
- Vitality (health; 1 point = 10 hp for every class)

Extra stats (things to consider when speccing):
- Crit Chance
- Magic Find%
- +Condition damage; this is important if you have alot of conditions for your weapon skills (conditions = debuffs such as bleeds, burning, confusion, etc)
Zone wide rewards & when to move to the next zone
- you get experience for nearly everything you do: fighting/farming, crafting, gathering (materials from resource nodes), doing heart quests, personal quests, dynamic events, exploring new areas, discovering Points of Interest, Vistas, World vs World (aka PvP)
- there are no traditional quests in Guild Wars 2; there are 3 main kinds of quests which imho was created to develop immersion into the game:

1. Heart Quests
- appear in the top right area where the quest tracker normally is
- the npc to return to get rewards has a Yellow Heart symbol above their head and on the map
- each zone has more than 10 Heart Quests which are area quests that start by either talking to a certain NPC, but most of the time happens when you walk into the appropriate area
- similar to Warhammer Online's public quest, as you contribute to the heart quest, you gain 'influence' 
- you gain influence by doing one of many (up to approximately 5 different) things for the NPC
- normally there isn't a time limit
- once you have full influence, you get experience and a small amount of karma and gain access to some rewards you can purchase from the NPC with that karma (more about karma soon)

2. Dynamic Quests
- there are no NPCs that give the quest or to return to, there is only the orange text in the quest tracker to let you know what to do
- normally there are orange icons on the map: Gears (normally something to interact with), Crossed Swords (something to attack), or a Horned Helm (a mini boss)
- it is my belief that the (GW2)game system can tell where players are and it will spawn a quest in that area
- similar to a Heart Quest, but it may not always happen if you're in the area
- you can do a Dynamic Quest as many times as you like
- there are Dynamic Quest CHAINS, whereas a Heart Quest normally only has one stage
- unlike the Heart Quest, the Dynamic Quest SCALES in difficulty depending on how many players are participating
- depending on how much you contribute, results in you gaining either bronze, silver, or gold rewards which is always experience, karma and a bit of money
- these quests will recycle over and over, even if you've already completed it
- there is sometimes a time limit

3. Personal Quests
- denoted by the Green colored text under the quest tracker
- what makes it special is it is a special quest only for your own character, although your party can help you
- each race has their own Personal Quest which is special and personalized at the beginning by the background choices you make
- each Personal Quest will force you to make choices that has an impact in your world/instanced home setting/story
- the PQ increases in difficulty after each consecutive quest
- PQs give the greatest lump sum increase in experience, other than possibly capturing a major keep in World vs World
- PQs also give money, gear for that level (not YOUR level), and other materials (Black Lion keys, gathering materials)

Each zone is appropriate for certain levels; when you zoom out a bit, it'll show you the appropriate level bracket (1-15, 15-25 etc). The game is great for partying with new players as when you go to lower levels to play with them, your character is de-leveled for that area so it is still challenging. Best thing is you still get rewards for the area. By questing in the appropriate level for your character, you'll get better experience, although it is normally easier to do lower level tiers.


An important thing to remember:
1. Daily Quests
- Every day you can complete the same 5 challenges:
1. Kill X different kinds of creatures
2. Kill X amount of creatures total
3. Gather X amount of different times
4. Participate in X amount of (Dynamic) events (does include doing many WvW captures)
- completing a daily quest will give money, experience, a transmution stone and a Jug of Karma (gives 4500 karma)

2. Map Completion
- you'll notice to the left of the major map (M), the game tracks the different things you've done (Heart Quests, Points of Interest, Vistas, Skill Point Challenges, Waypoints etc)
- if you complete everything and get 100%, the game rewards you with a zone appropriate (not level) reward of usually gear, gathering tools or materials, money and experience
- it doesn't feel like the reward is that impressive, but it does reward a completionist

Click me!

How to read the basic map
- Basically, put your cursor on everything and anything
- the Green Star is for where your Personal Quest is
- a black weight/money scale is to denote the Auction House (called the Black Lion Trader)
- the black round bag denotes the bank
- A diamond is a waypoint, which are used for fast travel (for a cost that increases with distance and level)

So that is just part one, of many. I wrote this a bit later than I wanted, but I was busy leveling my character. Please feel free to correct anything in the comments section or add more things you'd like me to write about. Cheers!


The MMO Gamer: Short Attenti... ooo! Shiny Penny!

Now.. I figured i'd post this article first while its sort of still fresh.. don't worry, I'm still going to write up a newbie intro guide to Guild Wars 2! I like to post screenshots anyways and I haven't taken any yet for the guide anyways.. so possibly the first part of the guide will be up Friday evening.

One of (the many talented)bloggers on my bloglist, Bernard at Diminishing Returns, writes a short entry on how ArenaNet has failed to stick to their 'unique philosophy' of creating a game with near limitless ability to keep the attention of their audience. From the way it is written, it seems to me that he is implying that the game is boring already.

I really can't believe the short attention span, coupled with the insane addiction people have to games. Its only 3 months into the life of the game and people are complaining of lack of things to do. Granted, if i played with only 1 character(alt-aholic), i'd be close to max level in my near 1 month of playing; but this is free content and it looks like ALOT of content. I don't doubt people have 100% completion in this game, from the amount of hours I see put into it (8-10 hours a day; don't you have work people???).

I feel sorry for developers, for they seem like they are always stuck in a lose-lose situation. They must say their mmo is different (like suggesting unlimited attention grabbing ability), but a mmo cannot contain unlimited hours of gameplay, even with pvp, for people simply play too much, and eat up content too fast. These are also the gamers that are the first to complain and complain the loudest. Maybe it comes with the territory (being a mmo game developer), that you just take the good (developing a game you're passionate about) with the bad (trolls and mmo player demands).

Its a bit unreasonable to be bored if you haven't:
- watched every vista cutscene
- got 100% for every map
- got max gear from pvp and dungeons
- completed every dungeon
- watched every personal quest dialogue cutscene
- got max lvl for all crafting

At that point, I would say there are still more things to do:
- there is 4 other character slots (plus expanding it) to make alts for other races, other classes
- you can help other people with their quests, dungeons, etc
- you can become more dominant in pvp; defeating greater foes with lesser numbers (or do you like zergs?)
- people in COH boasted a great community; you can do something and make your server in GW2 a great place to play with friendly, helpful people

Publishers/Developers would absolutely LOVE to make a game that had unlimited hours of content. Why? Then you keep 'paying' (less so in this case of gw2: no sub). If they knew how to, they would. Its their goal to make a great game, but also keep making money. I'd say be happy with what you have, slow down and enjoy the game infront of you.. and worst case scenario, keep complaining or better yet, get off the pc and do something else with your life and get a real life achievement. 


Guild Wars 2: Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

I always meant to, but I never did when the screenshots didn't come out like I thought they would (it didn't show the little popup when you hover over gear).. but I wanted to write a little 'how-to' guide or beginner's guide for Guild Wars 2. I know that its a tad late, but there 'are' new players every day and I was very lucky to have very experienced friends who would answer my very noob questions. 

The worst thing when playing a new game is being lost and not knowing the things that makes a game great that everyone else seems to know. So per the request of one of my closest friends (that's you Brown Magic), i'm gonna do my best to answer all the questions he has and provide a newbie friendly guide in nice bite-sized entries versus one huge entry where TL:DR will naturally happen.

I'll be answering the following areas below:
- differences between solo play, group play, world pvp, etc
- item hierarchy (blue, green, gold, purple, etc), and important attributes
- zone wide rewards and when to move on to the next zone
- how to read the basic map
- basic overview of races and classes

- what to do from levels 1-15, then 15-30 etc (not just grinding but types of things you can experience best)
- overview of gathering; purpose, do you need it, why there are so many mats, zone equipment
- overview on skills vs traits and how to spend
- some setup options, moving gathered items, how to access bank
- overview on karma, mystic coins, and other currency; how to get, why you need it, how to spend
- differences between personal quests, heart quests, dynamic quests

I guess I partially didn't end up writing alot of this b/c i'm by no means a master of the game, but I am passionate about it and won't go on to brag about how it'll never be cancelled.. unlike some games.... b/c it eventually will.. but I would have moved on a long time ago and playing Guild Wars 4.
If anyone has any questions they have (ill answer them to the best of my limited knowledge) or would like to see me write something, please leave a comment and I'd love to try to get it posted for you! 


You picked the right server..



Now granted, it was one.. of many zergs like below..

We were very well organized; constantly flanking our opponents. I would have preferred to see a bit more defending at the end. People got so confident at our huge zerg, that they took off all their armor.


Guild Wars 2: Personal Quest

Lets get straight to it people: I am still loving (see: addicted) Guild Wars 2. Its a great game, but not a perfect game. I question frequently why I can't trade items with players.. I can't think of an mmo game that i've played where there were issues with it. But when you have a free mail system.. it doesn't cause too much of a bother. The main issue i'm encountering these days is the Personal Quest system.

 I love the Personal Quest system in that when you customize your character, you have a background story which affects your actual over-arcing story in the game. You experience your story via a Personal Quest, which is a persistent quest that is always available to you; you can zoom through it (although it increases in level difficulty) or wait til you hit max level to tackle (it will of course de-level you so that it is still challenging). Your friends can join you and it will take you to the appropriate map areas that you normally would visit anyways, so its rather convenient. It gives a good chunk of experience, has good loot rewards, and you can save the gear for transmuting in the future.

While I haven't encountered how indepth/special your story gets (thanks to my alt-oholicism), the beginning always seems to be very tailored to how you chose your background story. But after you get over that beginning part, it seems to become a generic storyline of you needing to defeat the dragons.

That isn't my main issue I have with the game b/c I don't expect Arenanet to develop such a detailed questline for the many ways you can customize it. My beef is that the dialogues between you and NPCs are not engaging. I wish it was more like SWTOR; in SWTOR, you got to pick your responses, finding a balance(or extreme I suppose) between Light and Dark side choices. In GW2, there is a preset dialogue that you must just listen to. I guess we should be happy that your character has his/her own voice and isn't just a silent mute.. but its really boring to just listen to these preset dialogues. I would have loved to see (we can never expect to have choices in the future; NEVER! I have thus predicted it) dialogue options implemented in the future, but doubt it will ever happen.

To nitpick a little more, your party members that join you on your personal quest have no input (a la dice roll per SWTOR) and get no rewards other than the loot and xp of the monsters you kill in the instance. So very little reason for them to join you, other than to be helpful and participate in one's personal story.


Guild Wars 2: More Rewards

Hope my American friends and bloggers had a great Thanksgiving; since my work services the US, we were off too, so I spent the majority of the day leveling my new (altoholic) favorite class: The Guardian. Loving the Greatsword - Sword/Torch combo for high dps... its weakness is when i'm against a very strong enemy/boss that has alot of hp, I switched my greatsword for a mace/focus weapon combo to go toe-to-toe.

As you can see; another Map Completion reward. I got 2 greens (1 heavy legs which I couldn't use, and 1 medium foot which I could). A slightly better reward than the last time. I was excited at first at the amount of leather, until I saw they are the unrefined version.. always a catch.

Duhh I wonder where the cultist headquarters is.. Gee I dunno


Guild Wars 2: Lost Shores Vantage Point

So there hasn't been as much talk about the Lost Shores live event for Guild Wars 2 as I expected (shame on some people lol). ... the best way to describe it is... Rift with better rewards, IF and ONLY IF you have the patience of an addicted mmo player... which I do apparently. I didn't play the original Halloween live event, so I have nothing to base it on, other than previous games I've played. And this one reeked of Rift. Now granted, Rift was very good in many ways (although I can't really recall why), but the main feature of the game, "rifting" was not my cup o' tea. It was one massive zerg, going from objective to objective, spamming the same ability and eventually ganging up on one massive boss. No skill.. just mob mentality.

I kind of thought it would be different for Guild Wars 2's live event... how naive I was. The Sunday event was one pure zerg spending approximately 5 minutes beating up on one massive creature at a time, with a million hitpoints, over and over and over. And OVER. What felt like 2 hours of my life that I will never get back, we did this. This would be acceptable if we were gaining gold, karma, or some form of loot while we did this, but we absolutely got nothing from these champs/veterans. 

See here is where i'd put some really fantastic screenshots of my fabulous loot to make me feel MUCH MUCH MUCH better about spending 2 hours of watching my character auto-attack... but for some reason, the game won't do that. I had individual screens for each item for above, but each screen was empty.. unfortunate. Basically, as you see there:
1 lvl 39 Legendary heavy armor shoulder piece (lvl 39) for my lvl 15 medium wearing engineer.. 
1 lvl 62 L spear .. which the engineer also can't use
1 lvl 62 L shortbow.. surprise, can't use that
1 lvl 62 heavy chestpiece
1 box that contained a lvl 80 accessory and a 20slot bag without requirements

I really kind of wished that ArenaNet would make the game realize what class you're playing and give you some more appropriate loot. Its not complaining, just facts; look at this Map Completion reward I received last night for getting 100% for the Sylvari starting zone.

1 Staff.. which an Engineer can't use
1 Heavy armor shoulder piece
Thank goodness I received that ore.. that was probably the part I was most excited to see.

So all in all... if you actually had a high level character (lvl 27? and quickly rising) for this event, I really hope you had the time to participate, because 5-7 legendary items is pretty cool.. unless your character can't use any of it.. then boourns to that. I would really like to see a live event where you're defending your city/place from wave after wave of enemies. But in a 360 degree direction. By having one main monster/enemy, it just fosters zergs which is absolutely boring; by having enemies coming from all sides on something you need to defend is a much more interesting way to play. 

Since my Engineer is lvl 27+, he's obviously the class that excites me the most and suits my style of gameplay. And as you can see.. a flamethrower rocks monkey-butt!


Guild Wars 2: Live Event Rewards or lack thereof

If you visit MTG Realm's blog, you'll notice that there is a Magic Grand Prix (whatever that is) coming to my hometown of Toronto at the beginning of December.

Take a look! This is mostly for my girlfriend's brother-in-law, although I think he would already know about it ;)

The world of... .. .. I don't even know what is the name of the world of Guild Wars 2.. it doesn't come to mind. Its really beautiful as the two screens below show.

Rawr and Stuff
I had the opportunity to try the new Live Event today.. it was a major zergfest with disappointing rewards.. actually I only got an achievement (whoopie.. /sarcasm off) and some dynamic event rewards (karma, xp, whatever)... I hope the lvl 80s or other people find nicer stuff.

I have been able to get full map completion for capital towns (except the Sylvari town) but you only get 3 transmutation stones which allow you to (quite self-intuitively) clone your gear to look the same if you like a certain style.

I was told that if you do a normal zone completion (vs capital city), the rewards are much better. I was very excited when I actually finished the whole starter Charr zone... but wasn't too happy with the rewards (can't please anyone, can you ArenaNet). I received a green (which I think is considered as 'rare') rifle that does more condition duration, 1 heavy piece of armor (for my... medium wearing ..engineer..), 3 transmutation stones, 40 pieces of jute cloth, and some coins.
Word of warning.. at Black Lion chests may not be worth opening as I received:
1 crafting booster
3 mystery tonics that randomly transform you
1 piece of scrap metal (really?)
1 bank access express consumable
If I actually get more keys to open the chests, ill post screenshots and advise what I received. 


Anonymity and the Internet

The internet is a ..."special animal".. it encompasses almost everyone's life. For better or for worse, its here to stay and it isn't going away. While sharing information is a great feature of the internet, we've seen many examples of where it has gone horribly wrong. We have the General Petraeus scandal (affair) and Amanda Todd (cyber bullying) tragedy as very recent examples.

My friend wanted to highlight a function of sharing that is used on the internet currently.. that while is a popular form.. it has it's weaknesses. My friend Brown Magic is a fervent player of the real-time strategy game, League of Legends, which (in my mind, please excuse the ignorance) is like Starcraft, but individualized heroes that you can level up. There are various websites in which you can post 'builds' similar to the builds you would see created on RPG games or MMOs to make the most efficient version of that class.

Two of the main sites include:
Solomid & Mobafire

My friend made a really detailed guide for his favorite hero and posted it on the site for people to learn and be effective if they chose that hero. The problem stemmed from the way in which these kinds of builds are exposed to the community; currently exposure is based on a voting system. One can either set their guide to vote anonymously or needs to write a comment to be able to vote. If your guide isn't very popular (for real, or artificially), then your guide will be mired at the bottom of the list, never to be seen by most players. People can be both devious and malicious and abuse this system by voting down your guide (whether it has merits or not and whether you tried it or not) and voting up their own or their friends (whether it is good or not). 

This reminds me of an issue that I see at my own work. We have a third party company that we've recruited to get us more clients and the way we compensate them is from the number of clients they get approved. It doesn't matter if they're pushy or provide a poor representation of our company (through lies or not telling the whole truth), so long as they get a certain number of clients approved, they wipe their hands clean once the process is done, leaving my group to deal with uneducated, angry clients. The system is broken but there are solutions as always: if we tied this third party's compensation to the sale volume plus the satisfaction of the client, it would benefit our company to a greater extent. 

Another example is this very own blog.. or my photography website. I sometimes sigh when I look at my page views and the amount of comments/favorites that I receive compared to others. I put an honest effort into my entries and my photos and it makes me sick when some blogger blatantly writes some provoking article for the specific intent to draw traffic to their site, or a photographer takes photos of a nude model and has more views of the one photo than my whole site (although that is a bit different).

So while my friend has written a great guide, his guide was unfortunately voted down by a person that created a horrible excuse of a guide themselves and their friends voted up theirs so they would have better exposure on the site.

This is obviously unfair and broken-ish system of displaying information. But I discussed with my friend.. that this is the internet; it is the place that constantly spawns internet trolls every day b/c it is so easy to be anonymous. The only thing I could say to console him (other than being able to get his story out there) is that we do these things (possibly for the fame) but because we are passionate about what we do. I'm extremely happy if even one person visits my blog and likes what I write. I never get tired of people telling me that i'm a talented photographer and I should do that instead of my current job. This is something that we must always remember; to do what we are passionate about and damn (ignore) all those that don't understand it.

Now, we're not just going to leave it at that; we are going to write about a few solutions we have in mind.. whether they come to fruition as mainstream in the future, who knows, but it is better to give solutions than just complain about things that are broken.

One solution that BM suggested was to have a "like" system similar to Facebook which when I think about it is a rather good way too. It alerts your friends (sometimes whether they want to know or not) that you like something, and if you don't like something, you can comment and *ahem* 'discuss' it with others. While a system like this can still be exploited by getting people to just 'like' the guide more than others, Facebook has a great system in that it uses real identities (to the best of my knowledge), to prevent fake accounts. And maybe this is what League of Legends is missing: real accounts linked to guides. And while that sounds like a very expensive solution, there must be user accounts one makes for LoL and maybe they can link a person's career performance (game-wise) to the public, so that possibly, a person with a longer (game) career has more weight than one that has a very short (and possibly fake) resume. I have seen some websites or games (Guild Wars 2) can tell the IP address you're logging into, i'm quite sure the same principle can be applied when voting on a guide in this situation. If it can tell you're from the same IP, then it prevents you from voting more than once on the same guide.

Another solution that BM brought up was if you are restricted to why a guide is helpful via commenting, there should be a choice of categories such as:
1) I used this build, and it worked!
2) Lots of detail and well explained
3) Good use of media
4) The writer knows his/her stuff
In separating guides by hero and then being able to search popular guides by how it would benefit the user reading it, may be a better way than an Up/Down Vote system. Anonymous systems always seem to be a very flawed way of communication.. but a by-product of the internet that we may not be able to escape.

I hope my friend finds solace in what i've written today and hope he realizes that he has written a helpful guide that has probably helped one person dominate, or at least like his favorite hero. If it even helped one person, it has value and that in itself is heroic.


Some things never change; I can't figure out what class I want to stick with in Guild Wars 2. And they make it hard on you, by having 8 classes (5 races) but only 5 character slots(with the ability to buy more slots). Tricky trick ArenaNet.. I see the invisible hand.

So far I have tried:

The Thief
- really great single target dps
- thin as a paper; you need to have your evades or stealths ready, otherwise you will die frequently
- pretty good ranged skirmishing with the shortbow

The Ranger
- tried to emulate the White Lion class from Warhammer Online (melee pet class).. its ok.. but the way they weapon=skill set works... if I use a greatsword, i'm better taking on more than one creature at a time vs single targets
- very much a ranged dps-geared class (i've done this in nearly every mmo i've played; so i'm bored of it)

The Guardian
- initially was fantastic as I never seemed to lose life
- until I switched from a mace/focus combo to anything else.. which I then saw I wasn't as invincible
- something about not using a shield normally, makes me feel weird using the class
- can have a few short duration pets (floating weapons).. its 'interesting' but not my style

The Mesmer
- initially super fun.. but kinda wish I was a girl, so that I don't feel odd playing a female character (i've only played a female character in the Fallout series for the Black Widow perk to do more damage to male characters).. a male Norn.. just doesn't seem right for a Mesmer
- a pretty paper-thin class as well.. although one combination of weapons provides 2 block moves.. but that means you have 2 less dps skills.. decisions decisions

I'm really looking for a class that can skirmish (end game pvp); one that normally not super far back with the casters, but can do some melee if necessary, but doesn't dish out all his dps via melee. One that isn't just one-sided: they can dps, heal and provide buffs and debuff their allies. HALP! Because at this rate, i'm already late into the game (my friends are working on their 2nd or 3rd lvl 80) and I have a smattering of low teens.

Any suggestions? What class seems to fit that description?


Guild Wars 2: Living Under a Rock

Hi, my name is Jomu and I didn't play Guild Wars 2 when it first released, I only started this past week.
[Gasps, and a woman faints]

I tried to explain to a friend yesterday, how good Guild Wars 2 is.. but everything I could come up with, didn't come out right and he said it sounded like everything WoW does. I can't imagine WoW does the same thing as the below. Here you go Brown Magic (and anyone else that hasn't for some reason played the game):

While there aren't many traditional fast travel options in GW2, there are waypoints to each major area that you will travel to in the game; for a small price (1% atleast early game), you can teleport to towns. No longer are you twiddling your thumbs and 'enjoying the landscape view' as the flying mount flies you to the place you want to go; just go there instantly or as fast as your internet will allow. Borderlands had it, and it was good. Nuff said.

Weapon Sets

Remember in traditional mmo's where the skills you use are chosen by you? You'd open the skill/ability tab and click & drag it into your hotbar. Well in GW2, you cannot choose your skills (technically) b/c it is based off the kind of weapons you have equipped. For example, if you're a Ranger, and equip a longbow, you will have skills geared towards attacking single target enemies from very far away, while if you equip a shortbow, you'll be better equipped to do aoe damage instead and cripple them. You'd think that you'd hate something like that, but it is pretty decent and ensures you can change the way you play very easily, for as soon as you switch weapons (there is a hotkey to switch between two chosen sets), it changes the skills in your hotbar.

Jump Puzzles
There is alot to do in GW2.. one of the many diversions is jumping puzzles scattered throughout the land. Some are 'easy' while the one I did last night, gave me a heart attack, and apparently it was one of the mid range ones. So what, you may ask? By completing them, you get achievements and there are chests waiting for you at the end which respawn each day, so you can go back and get the rewards. There is also a huge sense of accomplishment, for not everyone has the finger dexterity to do these.

Dynamic Events
I never understood what they meant when they said 'dynamic events' and always thought ArenaNet had just 'ripped off' Mythic with their Public Quests. I do believe, that the game can tell if there are alot of people in the zone (and certain areas) and will supply 'public quests' for the players to join and work together on. If there aren't alot of people in the area, I find there aren't as many. Either way, it flows very naturally and fits in with the story.

Didn't understand this one until I did it myself; a vista is a special area that normally takes a bit of creative exploration to get to, but is significantly easier to get to than doing a Jumping Puzzle. Normally granting you a small experience reward, it gives you a cutscene of a panoramic view of your area. Every screenshot provided are from vistas. It draws you more into the game and to make you realize how much work ArenaNet put into the game to make it beautiful.

Shared Bank
Yes. Shared bank. So no need to mail your alts stuff.. believe me, I tried and was sad when I couldn't. Its a smart shared bank though; when you craft, you don't need to have the item in your backpack, anything you have in your bank, you can use to craft at the station. This means, no going back and forth when you've forgotten material. Fantastic fantastic!

Check. Not satisfied? My rogue has an ability called Death Blossom where when used, he does an acrobatic spin in the air while (I guess) throwing knives/daggers at his foes. I've never seen an mmo class that did that; it still amazes me when I watch it in action.

NPC and Creature Placement

There are many npcs placed all over the world, which really makes you feel like the world is populated and not an empty husk, just filled with quest-givers with legs glued to the ground. They walk around, talk and you're even able to have conversations (although a bit hollow) with them if you choose.

Map Innovations
The map feels like a similar innovation that I've seen in another game i've been playing recently, but I can't think of the name. Anyways, my girlfriend tends to get lost easily when we play mmo's which is maddening. In GW2, you can literally draw a path for people to take if they don't know the way. Amazing!

Mail System
Any sent mail seems to be free. Free. And you can send stuff to any player on ANY SERVER. You heard me. Wow. Did I mention it was free?

Many different ways to level
You can level the traditional ways... actually scratch that. There aren't any traditional 'quests' in GW2; although there is the Storyline quests which is your character's story, that is something different. There are Heart Quests which are like public quests (area specific) but for soloing. You can gain xp from exploring areas of interest, vistas, jumping puzzles. You can gain xp from crafting. Let me rephrase that, you can go from level 1 to max level (80?) by ONLY crafting. Yeah.

I'll write some improvements and annoyances later.. i'm busy having fun.. and writing this.. blah!


Late to the Party

I was just thinking that it will be a nice change to play Guild Wars 2 (yes, very late to the party!) because the normal pve world will not have any gankers to worry about. That I can rest easy and just be wary of monsters with high agro-sights.

 While I'd always have to be on high alert when playing Warhammer Online, even if i'm in my own territory.. I wonder if its better than having to deal with the griefing I encountered in Rift. The 'good side' had a habit of taking their max-leveled characters to our lowbie area and killing all the Rift monsters. It was annoying b/c although we had permission to attack them, we obviously couldn't even scratch them at our level. I knew it was really frustrating when that happened, and all you could do is use another character that wasn't in the same zone, or just log off until they left.

I'm hoping I don't find many griefers in Guild Wars 2 and find a great community of players instead.
By the way, what server is everyone playing on (and character name)? I'm trying to get to my cousin's full server, so I can join him and his guild.. but.. it doesn't look like it'll let me any time soon. If being at the bottom of the server list means, the most full.. then i'm SOL.


Welcome back to Wakfu

I just received an email from Wakfu (that FF Tactics-like mmo by Square Enix) inviting me to come back and offering 4 days of premium access. It made me scoff right away and deleted it, but then it got me thinking: it must be really great to have such a short premium access, that it'll get me addicted right away. 

While I initially remembered how monotonous the PURE grind (killing the same creatures over and over for easily 10-15 levels) was, I also remembered what made it great: a constantly changing world. A world where if you slaughtered and harvested non-stop and didn't spend the time to repopulate the world, it would just become barren and empty. Any time you came into the world, it will look different. I really enjoyed that aspect of the game; making a real difference.


Them Old Times

I miss the days of UO where I would just explore, visit the same spots/dungeons and not be obsessed with getting to max level or even completing the next quest. I hope that happens when I start GW2 in a few weeks (waiting on a new internet provider for faster speeds).


Satire and Posing Girl Gamers

While the author says that this entry is a satire, it is poorly done and makes it seem like he's angry and was seriously burned by some girl (and who hasn't?) recently. By not making it more obvious, with each more nonsensical argument, it's harder to believe that this was a lampoon. Basically it seemed like a whole lot of elitist talk on how if you're not up to his standards as a hardcore gamer, then you're shallow and a poser.

"People who play video games understand the fundaments of fun."
Hehe.. "fundaments" ..I like this.. this must be one of those weak arguments. A game is a game, even if it is a Facebook game. Sure, I don't like hearing the click-click-click, knowing that she is wearing down my mouse, but its ok.. she bought me that mouse to game!

"If the ratio of party games to every other genre is even close to 50% (or worse, beyond) you can bet that the console only gets dragged out for special occasions as a novelty when friends are over."
It can be said that there are two arguments here; 1) that you're not a gamer if you like musical type of games or party (Mario Party/Raving Rabbids) games, 2) that if they have those type of games, that it only is played when people come over. First thing is, video game nights with friends is really fun. While it may not make you a hardcore gamer if you partake, it still makes you cooler than the girl that sits on the sidelines and rolls her eyes. If anyone looked at my Wii game collection initially, I would be in the category of 'poser' to this author because it was alot of party-centric games.. but that is what the Wii was kinda created to do.. bring people together to play together.

"If your guy or gal doesn’t know what you mean when you ask them for their K/D ratio or whether they’re interested in a quick deathmatch, there’s a good chance they usually have no idea what you’re talking about"
Elitism. Alot of people play games, and don't bother to learn the vocabulary of the type of game they're playing. They're not interested, not because they're pretending to like the game. They're not interested b/c they're too busy having fun with the game.

"Folks who’ve never heard of a ColecoVision or a Commodore 64 know nothing about the roots of their so-called favorite past-time."
You're making this so easy! As time goes by, the newer generation would never have touched or heard of those old game systems. I've heard of ColecoVision, but I've never played on it, much less heard of a Commodore 64. I must not be a true gamer then. 

"Anyone who claims to be a video game fan and can’t handle standard first-person shooter controls on a console is clearly not fit to call themselves a real gamer"
Probably one of my favorite weak-sauce arguments; this person obviously is a fps gamer and thus puts a strong weighting on the validity of those games. I personally love pc fps for the better controls, but play on the 360 so I can play with my friends who prefer to play infront of their tv than pc. Clearly he's wrong, turn-based strategy games are the only REAL games worth playing!

I don't see what the problem is with a girl that pretends to like games when she's spending time with you; isn't it normally the opposite? We're pretending to like something the girl is passionate about, so we can get closer to them? Think of it this way, you know those couples where the partner doesn't like it that you spend all your time playing games and thinks you're wasting your time? A person that will pretend to like something you're passionate is about, will more than likely atleast pretend to understand and let you partake, rather than steer you away.

You know how long a sarcastic guy like me will last in the joint?
Sooooooo long. ~Jeff Winger, Community

Now thats satire.

Captain Scarlet and her disappointing DLC

You know.. it seems to be common courtesy to alert your readers that there will be spoilers up ahead. While I don't think there is any real spoilers below, you've been warned.

I wish.. I took a picture for you guys..
I 'found' the time to complete the aforementioned Borderlands 2 dlc (so I can have a more informed opinion) and should have taken a picture of the 'treasure horde' which you get at the end of the game.

Wonder.. if its somewhere on the internet.. maybe.
Like the Hulking Gunzerker?
 Anyways, when you complete it, you enter a room similar to the Original Borderland's treasure room which has significantly less chests, but its not like you have that much backpack space anyways to take everything with you, nor a handy vending machine to junk the rest.

Essentially, it comes with about 5/6 super chests that have up to 4 rare (blue) or better items in it. I had my 5% magic find relic on which got me 3 pink rarity(E-tech) items. I unfortunately didn't get any legendary weapons.. although I got an insanely powerful lvl 30 shotgun from the end boss of the normal campaign.

As it has been said before, the DLC seems a bit short; gather a few items with brief skirmishes with lots of (annoying) running around. You are rewarded with many interesting blue weapons including a cursed grenade that has boomerang child grenades (I obviously don't use it for that reason). From what I read though on previous reviews of the DLC, I expected some crazy interesting weapons.. like weapons with different elemental properties or different effects.. but I didn't see anything different than we've seen so many times.

Once you defeat the end boss (Release the Kraken!!! I mean.. Leviathan) and loot the treasure room, you are given the quest to defeat a lvl 50 monster.. which I doubt i'll ever get to (with 3 other alts). You also get a quest to defeat the end boss again with the possibility to get to the treasure room again. The question I have to find out, is whether this is repeatable unlimited times or just a second time.
He's actually pretty short...

So other than a few unique rare items that every character who does the quest will receive, there wasn't really any interesting rewards in the DLC. It was a nice getaway from dusty badlands and sterile cities with a 'few' areas that were more lush, including a grotto. I still couldn't forgive the amount of travelling that was entailed in this DLC; everything could have fit into one map the size of the Highlands from the original campaign. The game kept alluding to the fact that although you were helping Captain Scarlett, that she will backstab you at the end. And even when it happened, it was a 'ho-hum' moment and when you defeated her, you barely noticed.. it wasn't memorable at all.

In conclusion, if you like fat lewt.. then as long as defeating and farming the last boss is possible (& getting to the treasure room), then this DLC is worth it, otherwise I wouldn't consider this worth 10$ unfortunately.