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.