I finally got back to Guild Wars 2 this weekend, driven by a desire to complete my Living Story ahead of the release of Heart of Thorns. Since GW2 is one of my capped games, I feel a need to keep up with it*, especially since the expansion will be building upon the situations presented in this second season (and the first, I suppose, but I skipped that out of apathy and confusion).
I managed to plow through three of the five remaining episodes, leaving only two to complete. I have to say, they’ve proven to be a pretty good challenge, and I spent a good chunk of time screaming at the monitor. I ended yesterday tracking down the Master of Peace, and was frustrated by the mechanics in that area. But I’m also impressed with the designs that I’ve encountered. There have been a few puzzle-battles in these episodes, and they’ve had some interesting solutions. I could have easily have looked them up on the web and saved myself some grief, but of course that consider that cheating, both in the lazy sense, and in the experience sense: I feel better about learning them through trial and error than I ever could had I simply steamrolled them like minor annoyances.
Speaking of minor annoyances, I also spent a good amount of time clearing out my bank space while on layover in Divinity’s Reach. Specifically, my crafting materials. On Saturday, I thought I’d actually make a go of working on my crafting, only to find that I couldn’t make a damn thing because A) I lacked materials, and B) my skills weren’t high enough.
Crafting in GW2 is one of the worst systems I’ve seen; worse even than the push-button travesty that passes for trade skilling in other MMOs. I’m normally interested in crafting, but the gathering mechanics plain old suck. If the sum of a zone’s quests are considered “grinding”, then collecting materials through “click and animate” repetition is certainly a new circle of hell. While I can philosophically appreciate GW2‘s attempt to provide advancement though experimentation when crafting, having to craft crap just to consume crap seems to double the amount of time it takes to progress, at the expense of doubling the resources. Regardless, it’s far too tedious for me, especially when I know I could be doing something else that’s at least mildly interesting. Maybe once I complete the living story, I’ll go back to the lower level areas and farm materials. More than likely I’ll just buy stuff from the AH, considering I sold most of my high level materials for more gold than I can use at this point.
* In writing that sentence, I thought that it was a bit weird. I’ve got capped characters now in GW2, Star Trek Online, and World of Warcraft, but GW2 is the only one I feel compelled to play because of it. I think it’s because my GW2 cap was earned, whereas with STO I was able to level through the offline duty officer system, and WoW came about thanks to the boost-to-90 that came with Warlords of Draenor. I don’t value those capped characters any less, per se, but I also don’t feel that I’ve gotten to know them as well as I know my GW2 character, who’s been through the entire story — dungeons included.