Community Event: Pi[e] Day!

Today is Shrove Tuesday in the United Kingdom, also known as pancake day. Such sweet delights await me this evening, and that got me thinking of the community event organised by Relics of Orr: Pi[e] Day!

This community event will take place on Sunday the 13th March at 8-10pm GMT (that’s 4-6pm EST) in the Rata Sum International Districts. The event will be covered on Split Infinity Radio by Relics’ own Tasha Darke, and Guild Wars 2 Live will be hosting a livestream.

Here’s what you can look forward to:

 
[08:00pm GMT] [04:00pm EDT] Commencement Ceremony, Tasha On-Air
[08:15pm GMT] [04:15pm EDT] Pi[e] Trivia Begins
[08:30pm GMT] [04:30pm EDT] Pie Raffle #1
[08:45pm GMT] [04:45pm EDT] Scavenger Hunt Begins (Item List Revealed)
[09:15pm GMT] [05:15pm EDT] Scavenger Hunt Ends
[09:20pm GMT] [05:20pm EDT] Pie Raffle #2
[09:30pm GMT] [05:30pm EDT] More Pi[e] Trivia
[09:45pm GMT] [05:45pm EDT] Forum Contest Winners Announced
[09:59pm GMT] [05:59pm EDT] Pi[e] Trivia Ends
[10:00pm GMT] [06:00pm EDT] Event Closing Announcement

 

If you’ve not been following the Relics forums lately, be sure to drop by this week and submit your own pie/pi trivia to be eligible for the raffle contest, here (Rules on the Pi[e] day forum page, here) Remember, all submissions must be made by March 12th.

To all those participating: Good luck, have Batman!

– Cornish


Sneaky Thief Reveal

No! Bad Gametrailers!

I’m not sure how I feel about the circumstances surrounding the new profession reveal for Guild Wars 2. I’m incredibly excited by the new profession, sure, but annoyed at the manner of the information drop. There’s slight irony in that it happens to be a class that relies on stealth and backstabbing, too. I’m talking, of course, about the Gametrailers release of GDC 2011 demo footage of the Thief profession of Guild Wars 2. I’m not really surprised the megasite took no time in breaking the convention embargo, and I’m disappointed that they show ArenaNet such little respect, but there you have it. This just adds to the ill-feeling I have for these huge, corporate gaming websites. It also seems that others aren’t too happy about this info leak, either.

As for the profession itself, I’m excited to see the return of the shadow stepping abilities of the Assassin, and the “Initiative” resource  is reminiscent of the combination chaining abilities of said profession. It’s pleasing to see that stealth isn’t unlimited, as I’ve always seen that type of tactic as gimmicky and out-of-place in non-sci-fi environments.

The class seems pretty frail, though, and appears to take a large amount of damage even from lowly enemies, such as moas and eagles (I shouldn’t really judge this on one sample of demo footage, however). I’m enjoying the possibilities surrounding the thievery ability, and what you can steal from particular enemies. I’m equally amused and terrified by the prospect of the Gakis’ return in Guild Wars 2, as I’m sure there’s only one item that could be stolen from them. Namely, the underwear. “Baaa-!”

 

Honestly, this works better than Blurred Vision.

Dual wielded daggers, among other weapons, are set to make a return with the Thief, which makes this the first profession I’d consider for my Norn character since the Warrior and its gun wielding option – I can’t say no to dual pistols. In addition to that, even though I’m happy with the Norn week information, and the demo footage of GDC, I’m still waiting for the appearance of some friendly buccaneer NPCs in Guild Wars 2. Come on ArenaNet, don’t disappoint!

Right, now I’m off to check out the new Embark Beach update, and then to storm FoW with [MVOP]!

– Cornish


MVOP Night and the Dervish Update

Massively Overpowered!

Last night, MVOP met in the Consulate Docks to begin the run through the Nightfall Campaign. I stayed behind to check out the new Dervish update, but I did join the livestream group for the vanquish of Melandru’s Hope. Discussion covered the Dervish skill update, PAX, and of course there was Guild Wars 2 speculation. You can check out the recorded session here, and tune in to the next MVOP Night over at the Massively channel.

In other news, ArenaNet changed up Guild Wars yesterday with the new update for the Dervish, so I’ll give my initial impressions.

Firstly, the Dervish is now much less of a tank than it used to be. Well, I find it harder to use as a tank, anyway. A few of the skills that I had on my old skill bar changed too much for me to want to use them, and others won’t function as I’d like with the new enchantment remvoval skills. At first I thought this was a bad thing, but after changing up my skill bar, equipment, secondary profession, and attributes, I’ve discovered how versatile the new Dervish can be.

"I now juggle conditions like I juggle geese!" - Kronox Gaia, Feb. 2011.

The Dervish is much more of a support profession than before, with more party heals and condition placement abilities available to them. Energy management is better, with the introduction of adrenaline use on certain scythe skills, and the revamp of mysticism. I’m also glad they increased the attack speed of the scythe to get adrenaline notches quicker. These are all great improvements.

As for skills, I’ve always steered clear of the Avatar skills before, but after the update they seem incredibly useful. These elites can now be used for a multitude of beneficial purposes, be it team support, self defense, inflicting conditions, stealing health or energy. The number of different skill bars that have yet to be created with these changes is exciting, and I’ll share with you a new build that I’ve just started using:

Profession: Dervish/Mesmer.

Attributes: 13 Scythe Mastery, 11 Earth Prayers, 8 Mysticism, 10 Illusion Magic. Also, I’m currently running with 440 health and 30 energy.

Type of build: Condition spamming and Area of Effect damage.

Skills:

1: Avatar of Balthazar – Elite skill. Use for increased physical armour, faster adrenaline build-up, and applying burning when enchantments are stripped.

2: Fragility – AoE damage when enemies gain/lose conditions.

3: a) Crippling Sweep – Use to apply crippled condition.

b) Zealous Sweep – Useful for energy/adrenaline management.

4: Staggering Force – First flash enchantment. Strip off with skill 5/8 for cracked armour condition.

5: Wearying Strike – Strip off flash enchantment, applies deep wound.

6: Reap Impurities – Strip off enemy condition, damages adjacent enemies.

7: Heart of Holy Flame – Second flash enchantment. Strip off with skill 5/8 for burning condition.

8: Signet of Pious Light – Self heal, use to strip off flash enchantment.

As you can see, this build is based around the application and removal of both conditions and flash enchantments. It’s important to maintain the Avatar and have Fragility active on at least one enemy at all times. With each application of a condition, enemies hexed with Fragility (and enemies adjacent to them) take 15 damage, and once again when a condition ends/is removed. Because of the almost constant application and removal of conditions, most enemies will go down pretty quickly. This skill bar also causes more burning than my Elementalist’s!

I’m loving this build, but I’ll likely tweak it if I find any bosses/foes that counter it. I’d also love to try it with an E/Me hero/guildie with Teinai’s Crystals and Hypochondria. >:D

Here’s the build code (that’s minus rune attributes, of course) – OgWkEop6ayej7dC8f1uBYn74V/C

Have fun with it!

-CornishRocker


Doors Close on Shiro and Human Week

To begin, I’ll apologise for not writing an MVOP Night blogpost yesterday. My evening was spent (in other words, wasted) watching the Machinema Minecraft livestream, featuring Notch, the creator of Minecraft. The less spoken about that boring experience, the better.

Getting back to Guild Wars, on Thursday, Massively Overpowered blasted its way through the last couple of missions of the Factions campaign, aswell as adding a little variety at the start of the livestream with a vanquish of Witman’s Folly.  With Shiro bested, MVOP can now move on to Elona and begin the march towards Abaddon, and the ganked ascension of Kormir. You can watch the livestream here next Thursday.

Can we expect parlor games in the Throne Room, perhaps?

ArenaNet finished up Human Week yesterday with an intriguing post on the three human military forces of Kryta: the Seraph, the Ministry Guard and the Shining Blade. This post builds upon what we learnt about the Seraph and Shining Bade in ‘Ghosts of Ascalon’ and ‘Edge of Destiny’, and includes a little passage of prose that may find its way into either a third book or the plot of Guild Wars 2. The post introduces two new characters, Lieutenant Serentine and Minister Caudecus, affiliated with the Ministry Guard. The previously mentioned backlash against the Queen is hinted at in the exchanges between Serentine and Caudecus, and it’ll be interesting to see how this plot will play out in Guild Wars 2.

The post delves into Krytan law, some of which we saw in ‘Ghosts of Asclalon’ during Dougal’s interrogation. It appears the Ministry Guard prefer to deal with upper class crimes, leaving the Seraph to sweep up foreign and lower class disputes. The ministers, and even the Ministry Guard themselves, also seem to be kicking up a little political unrest, as was touched upon by Queen Jennah in ‘Edge of Destiny’. These elements may play a part in the personal story of human characters in Guild Wars 2, and would be interesting to follow, especially if we could pick a side ourselves.

The Shining Blade seem to have risen from their lowly state in Guild Wars 1, and are now the personal protectors of the Queen. It’s strange that they aren’t widely recognised by the public, even after their involvement in the fall of the White Mantle. I suppose they must have faded away from public interest over the decades, and the Seraph have instead flourished in their place. It’ll be great to see the new uniforms in-game, and compare them to the Robin Hood-esque designs of those in the first Guild Wars.

Is Brave Sir Robin a member?

With human week finished, I think I’ll read up on the new Dervish update preview and give my thoughts in a later blogpost. I already like the idea of “flashing” enemies with new enchantments. Dirty Dervishes, eh?

– CornishRocker


The Flaming Asura: Oil the Steel, Polish the Leather

Blogg, the Flaming Asura

The next installment of ArenaNet’s Human Week was released to us this evening, and this time we’ve been treated to several looks at human armour art in Guild Wars 2. Firstly, I shall have to say how much of an improvement this new armor looks in comparison to that in Guild Wars – and are those both Mesmers? (EDIT: Maybe, maybe not. Read this post by Regina Buenaobra)

The paragraph that stands out to me most in the blogpost is that regarding the six armor slots. That’s one more space for armor than in Guild Wars 1. On one hand, I think it’s interesting that ArenaNet is making the torso component separate from the shoulder plates, as it could allow for some interesting combinations – such as a warrior bearing huge iron plates on his shoulders while sporting nothing but a few “strategically placed” leather strips along his midriff. Yet, I’m concerned how this design choice will affect the implementation of storage spaces we’ll have available in Guild Wars 2. With the possibility of having six slots of storage burdened with that second set of armour, it’ll be good to see what system the developers have put in place for storage options. It’s possible that the system of GW1 has been completely overhauled, but we’ll have to be patient. I do like the Xunlai, though. If the Order of Whispers is still around, the Xunlai could be too. Hell, they managed to get into the Realm of Torment in the first game, why not Kryta “in these Dragon haunted times”. Urgh, that expression is grating.

I know which set I'd take into the Shiverpeaks.

Right, to go even further off topic, I’ll address the rather touchy subject of “sexiness” that was broached in the blog. As an Asura, I’m not too familiar with the human approach to matters involving gender representation, but I believe it’s down to perspective. If an individual cannot handle the thought of an avatar showing a little skin, in a video game, I might add, then maybe this isn’t the right environment for them to be playing in. At least ignore that particular content and wear something a little more classy. There are alternatives to choose from. Simply put, if you cannot abide some of the design choices, move on and find something that better suits your taste. Besides, Guild Wars art isn’t that risqué, and you could do a lot worse than the ArenaNet design team.

Bookah, I can tell you’re drawing up your own conclusions about this topic, and probably wondering why I’ve started ranting in the first place. I should remind you that clothing is srs bsns, especially for we Asura. We still have to pay the same price for armour as the Norn?! With a third of the materials?! Scandalous! – speaking of which, the Norn were teased as the next race to have a week long feature.

The Browncoat Guild of GW2? I'm in.

I still haven’t said what  think of the armour shown in the news post. I’m overjoyed with the prospect of different choices in single set and multiple set pieces of armour. The renewed dye system will also be wonderful to toy around with, especially with the more elegant and baroque clothes. I also imagine Cornish is getting excited by that tricorn hat on the buccaneer type in the overcoat.

Yes, yo-ho-ho, and all that.

– Blogg, the Flaming Asura.


The Flaming Asura: The Gossip of Divinity’s Reach

Blogg, the Flaming Asura

Having finished reading ArenaNet’s newest blogpost on the dialogue of Guild Wars 2, I’m even more excited by the prospect of wandering the home instance and streets of Divinity’s Reach. It appears that ArenaNet has aimed for a level of background dialogue somewhat synonymous with that of various sandbox and RPG games we’ve been subject to over the last few years. On a much larger scale, of course. It seems that this dialogue will feature heavily in gameplay, and I hope ArenaNet can pull the implementation off effectively. I’ve seen Cornish play a few games where he’s killed a boss, and in the next town there’s an NPC still moaning that “Bluebeard Bonesmasher” is raiding his brother’s farm again, despite the fact that old “Bluebeard” has been slain. That kind of inconsistency is devastating to immersion.

I like the level of detail going into the lore behind the dialogue, and the throwbacks to the first game (including air elementalists). There appears to be a fraction of humans losing faith in the six Gods, a concept somewhat unfamiliar with the current Guild Wars humans. It would be interesting to see how completely new players to Guild Wars react to the Gods, as the attachment felt towards them from the first game likely wouldn’t exist. I hope there will be a basis for new players to grow attached to, or even care, for the Gods, as they may play an integral part in the personal stories of human characters.

Kormir's there too. She's hanging around out of aggro range, leeching exp and loot drops.

I found the last sound clip interesting, with the soldier recalling how many centaurs he’d killed. This made me think back to the Guild Wars Guru IRC chat with the GW2 developers, in which they mentioned a combat log. I wonder if it’ll have a record of what your character has killed, akin to the soldier’s example in the sound clip. I’m imagining a system similar to the heroic accomplishments screen of the character record in Bioware’s Dragon Age.

Alas, no Jeremy Soule samples, this time. Maybe in a few months we’ll get something.

– Blogg, the Flaming Asura.


Asuran Scan: Human Week

 

*Scanning GW2 news*

Just this evening (For GMT, that is), ArenaNet has announced this to be a week of Human related Guild Wars 2 news! All signs point towards this new slew of information satisfying the expectations of lore hounds and art devourers alike. Even audio snippets are to be awaited. /yes, /grin.

Straight from the ArenaNet blog, the postings will include –

  • Tuesday – In a blog post full of cool audio clips of the background conversations between human NPCs, writer John Ryan will show how writing and sound design bring the human story to life in Guild Wars 2. This dialogue, overheard by your character in the human areas, really expands and fleshes out the world in a way that simple quest text can’t.
  • Wednesday – Character art team lead Aaron Coberly discusses the current state of human character design in this blog post, which features some great examples of the range of armor and clothing available to human characters in Guild Wars 2.
  • Thursday – We’re updating the human page on GW2.com with new background detail authored by Jeff Grubb, new wallpapers, and a brand-new video tour of the human homeland.
  • Friday – Lore and Continuity Designer Ree Soesbee explores the tension and balance of power between the three main armed factions in Kryta – the Seraph, the Ministry Guard, and the Shining Blade in this intriguing blog post.

I enjoyed the dialogue blogpost by Bobby Stein in August last year, and I was hoping for a follow-up to that sometime this year. We won’t have to wait long, it seems, as we’ll be getting more insight into the background audio and dialogue of Guild Wars 2 tomorrow. Sweet. Maybe we’ll also get some Jeremy Soule samples?

I’m greatly looking forward to the armour and clothing blog, and I bet someone else is, aswell. The art assets of Guild Wars 1 were great, but I’m sure those in the sequel will allow for more freedom and experimentation with armour and clothing. Can’t wait to see what the artists have come up with.

For those interested in lore (myself included), it seems that Thursday and Friday will be focused on the history and environment of Kryta and Divinty’s Reach. New information on the Ministry Guard, the Seraph and the Shining Blade will be published, too. It’ll be interesting to see how the latter two have developed since the War in Kryta.

Definitely looks to be an exciting week.

– CornishRocker


MVOP Night: Canthan New Year!

Massively Overpowered!

Last night, Massively Overpowered took a little break from the routine of mission progress, and started the livestream in Shing Jea Monastery for Canthan New Year. We didn’t hesitate in joining other revellers in the Dragon Nest minigame, at which certain members did brilliantly well, and others (i.e. me) performed terribly. I’ll agree I was a little rusty, what with not attending Canthan New Year since 2007. Anyway, after winning a few prizes, our small groups split up to take on a few CNY quests. We traversed Shing Jea Island gathering ingredients for fireworks, aswell as aiding Hapless Chong in finding his destiny.

Topics of discussion ranged from past Canthan New Years to the taste of Mountain Dew, more Guild Wars 2 speculation and even suggestions for a contest to tie in with our final Factions mission against Shiro. It seems viewers have also begun to pick up on my distinctly English accent amidst all those American varieties. Maybe I could use a little of my Geordie, or native South Western, dialect to keep the ventrilo lot on their toes!

Are you feelin' lucky?! Try out the Nine Rings on Canthan New Year!

After grabbing some festival rewards at Shing Jea, we then headed for our next mission: Unwaking Waters. This mission is one of my favourites in Factions, with the afflicted charging forward on foot and Kuunavang blasting players from afar.

Unfortunately, the recorded Livestream doesn’t seem to have been added to Massively TV, yet – but I’ll keep an eye on the channel. I bet Rubi’s been busy with Massively’s news, and preparing for the roundtable discussion with both Guildcast and Relics of Orr. Can’t wait for another joint podcast!

Edit: Oops! I overanticipated the roundtable episode of Guildcast this month; Relics didn’t participate, this time. I feel a little foolish for not realising this sooner. Listening to it right now at Guildcast.

Hope to see you next week at the Massively Livestream!

-CornishRocker


Happy Canthan New Year!

RAWR!

To all Canthans out there, Hishiro Kutzima wishes you good fortune for the year of the rabbit!

As a little proposal, does anyone want to go on a celebratory Factions vanquish? Maybe do a few hard mode missions? If so, then either leave a comment, message me in-game, or send me a tweet/email saying where you want to go and I’ll happily join you.

Aside from that, over this weekend we’ll be busy gathering lunar tokens, ingredients for the Celestial Rabbit’s meal and participating in yet another Boardwalk. Can you smell that seige turtle soup? How about the smoky remains of fireworks and sparklers? I’m getting excited already!

I also hear that Guild Wars Guru has a poetry competition lined up this year.

See you at Shing Jea Monastery with the GWOnline Alliance!

– CornishRocker


MVOP Night: Echovald Guardians!

Massively Overpowered!

What a great evening we had! After all our group members accumulated 10000 Kurzick faction points, we were ready to take on the Luxons and afflicted at the Eternal Grove. After meeting in House zu Heltzer, organising the groups and sorting out skill bars, we began the livestream. Moving through Drazach Thicket, we reached Saint Anjeka’s Shrine and then moved on to the main mission. Having experienced players with you for co-operative missions is fantastic, and it helps to have ventrilo/mumble, too!

Topics of discussion were, of course, mostly about the Guardian profession of Guild Wars 2, revealed yesterday on the official website. I reckon we’ll see a few Asuran Guardians in Guild Wars 2, actually, what with that wonderful specimen shown on the Guardian page. That new wallpaper is pretty cool, too.  Chat also turned to Guild Wars 2 Guru’s IRC chat with the ArenaNet staff (which I missed, instead watching Giant Bomb’s Thursday Night Throwdown – I highly recommend you check these out), and speculation covered underwater combat, Winds of Change, and the next profession reveal – I’m betting on the assassin revamp.

 

I swear to be more than just a mule in Guild Wars 2: Assassin's Promise.

Also, I agree, Rubi’s sound of disgust on the last GuildCast was priceless! I’ll have to send in a lot more emails to get that kind of reaction again, I’m sure!

Hmm, puréed Orrian undead, that must be the Guild Wars version of water pollution.

See you next week on the Massively Livestream!

-CornishRocker