Guild Wars 2 – My First 5

Outside of a few glitches, my early access experience went pretty smoothly. Unlike other launches, I didn’t have to wait in queue to log in, and although other people experienced login issues, I wasn’t one of them. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t playing in the first few hours of the launch. In fact, I didn’t even log in until almost lunchtime on Saturday because my husband and I had been celebrating our anniversary out of town.

The first order of business, of course, was creating my new characters since none of the beta weekend or stress test characters/items/cash carried over into launch. I had a hard time deciding who my Fynralyl would be since I both wanted her to fit my idea of who Fynralyl is as well as be a character I would enjoy playing past more than the first few levels. While I am really interested in most of the professions, I knew that certain ones, especially melee classes like the Thief, wouldn’t exactly be my cup of tea so to speak.

My very first Fynralyl was a gnome rogue in the first D&D game I played with my husband. There is a Thief class in Guild Wars 2, but as I mentioned in my previous post, I was very hot/cold with the class and knew I didn’t want to tie up my main name on a class I just wasn’t sure about. So, I started looking at other Fynralyls in my gaming history. More recently, I’ve had a Sith Inquisitor and a Smuggler in SWTOR, as well as my Shaman in WoW that were all named Fynralyl. The Elementalist could stand in for either the Inquisitor or Shaman in different ways, but I still think of the Elementalist as a mage-like character, so knew that wasn’t going to feel right either. Engineer is probably the closest to a Smuggler in GW2, but I had no love for the small amount of time I played one. Engineer was definitely not going to be one of my first five GW2 characters created. I was stumped. I wanted my first character to feel right as Fynralyl because no matter if another class levels faster or gets more playtime, I still think of Fyn as me.

Another first Fynralyl was the very first one I played in an MMO. Not long before Wrath of the Lich King came out, I started playing WoW with my friend (and within a few hours my husband joined in as well). My first Fynralyl, created on a PvP server no less, was a Holy Paladin. Since my friend was a Prot Warrior, we leveled all the way from 1-80 as a team and had a blast doing it. I never switched to another spec. I learned to help DPS with Holy Shock and Judgements, stacking crit to have them count (and score bonus heals). I was Holy and I was a healer, but I wasn’t just a healer.

I was hesitant to try a Guardian in Guild Wars 2 because of the whole melee thing. I’d heard that it was a lot like a pally, but I was still not sure I wanted to have a melee main, despite the fact that my Shaman was Enhancement and I’d leveled another Paladin as Prot (also named Fynralyl, but on a different server), I still didn’t think I would do well with it. And let’s face it, we all want to do well and have fun in a new game. I had played a Guardian for a few minutes during the only beta weekend I was involved in and I remembered liking the mace ability that felt like Consecration. I said, sure… why not! Worst case, I would hate playing it and I’d have to delete and reroll as a new profession.

So, as a nod to the very first Fynralyl, who was a gnome rogue in D&D and to my first MMO Fyn, who was a holy paladin, the first official character I rolled in Guild Wars 2 was Fynralyl, Asura Guardian:

Isn’t she adorable?

Naming and creating my next four were a lot easier. Vystrie, Norn Mesmer:

Kturra, Charr Thief

Nyevnen, Sylvari Elementalist

And finally, Lindria Lorlach, my Human Ranger, who is named after the first character I ever made in D&D, even before I made the name Fynralyl Raydona.

I spent most of the weekend playing on Fynralyl and had a great time. I did, however, have a few gripes that others have likely gone into more detail about. First off, grouping was not working well. A big part of that was the instanced overflow areas. I play MMOs as a way to play with specific people in my life, you know, like my husband. If we didn’t have our timing down, one of us would be in an overflow while the other was in the main map. Someone might then recommend that we not take the “travel” option and stay in overflow. Except this doesn’t work either as there are multiple overflow instances and no way to bounce between them. In fact, we came out of an instanced story that we’d participated in together as a group in a party, and were then put in different overflow instances. It was beyond frustrating. I know that it was a major issue for my friend Anexxia and her guy. I do, however, have every confidence that they’ll adjust it as they get everything ironed out during launch. I just hope it happens sooner rather than later.

Another bone of contention for me is that the Black Lion Trading Post (ie: auction house) was down all weekend. Now, I’m not one who plays the Trading Post to make as much cash as possible, just to have it. I do, however, like selling off excess mats and finished goods so they’re not cluttering my bags or becoming vendor fodder. Not having an outlet meant that not only are my characters strapped for cash, but the single small bank that they all have to share is bursting at the seams. While raw and refined mats each have their own slot in the shared crafting bank, if you exceed the max stack, those items can’t be deposited. Also, any component pieces you make (like settings, rings and hooks for my jewelcrafter) have to go into the main regular bank that only has 30 total slots. Combine this with the finished goods I haven’t been able to unload and my bank already looks like this:

Again, I’m sure they’ll bring the Trading Post up as soon as possible, but this only served to highlight how limited storage really is in the game. If it were just limited storage, it wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s also the only method to move items between characters unless you have a trustworthy friend to mail items through. Unlearned dyes that I want a specific character to use and crafted weapons, like the dual axes in the above screenshot, have to be stashed somewhere while I wait to get things sorted out. Don’t get me wrong, the shared bank space has its perks, but I think it should be in addition to character specific space. Just like five sisters can’t share a single bathroom without catfights, 30 slots of non-crafting material bank space is enough to start a riot between my five girls.

Even with these couple of gripes I have, I’m still having so much fun playing my new game. Guild Wars 2 is definitely my kind of game. Off I go to explore some more!

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My Men of SWTOR

When I was a kid and my mom was a newly divorced young mother of four, she would take pictures of attractive men from magazines and tack them up on the wall in her room. None of it was obscene, but she enjoyed having some eye candy to look at. While my life right now is totally different than hers was at the time (I’m very happily married and have no kids), as a woman, I totally get it.

As a gamer, it takes on a whole other aspect. When I played World of Warcraft, I just could not get myself to play male characters. Every time I created a male character, they were almost guaranteed a sentence to the chopping block. There was Fynnigan (from my Fyn naming convention days), a male Human Warrior, that got rolled at least three times. Then deleted three times. He’s the one I liked the best. There were countless other male characters I created (mainly Death Knights) that only made it a few levels before being stripped of all their gear, their meager amount of silver mailed to another character, then never seen again. I think a huge part of it was that I didn’t roleplay or see that conglomeration of pixels as anything but that… pixels. I didn’t have a character to get into, to see past physical imperfections.

And let’s be honest. Male Humans (and a lot of the other races) just aren’t that nice to look at… or watch run… or watch swing a sword or cast a spell.

Enter Star Wars: The Old Republic

I’ll be the first to admit that Bioware has some awkward movement going on (have you seen the dances? /shudder) in the game. However, they did all kinds of things right with character creation customization options.

Hello gamer eye candy.

For the first time, I’m interested in playing male characters in a game. Most of that has to do with the fact that there’s a story, with fantastic dialogue and opportunities to develop my character’s personality through dialogue choices. I can’t even begin to tell you how much that alone has drawn me into SWTOR more than any other game. So, there I am, sitting at the character customization screen and I realize something else. I can make my character HAWT for extra incentive to play, beyond the story itself.

Thus began my first real foray in playing male characters in online games and I’m going to introduce you to my version of my mother’s Wall of Men. Here are My Men of SWTOR:

#5 Vrassek

So, not only did I create male characters, I created some non-human ones! Since they’re not my favorite, I almost left them out, but I figured it’s only fair to include my two Rattataki men. Vrassek is a little on the mean side and probably a real jerk, but there’s no denying that his intensity could be a fun in the right situations. He currently flings lightning from the shadows when he’s not cauterizing Republic innards with his double-bladed lightsaber on Juyo.
#4 Paxim

And here’s my other Rattataki. He’s also an example of something else I don’t normally do. He’s in the male body type 3. While I love the look (hunky, right?) I can’t help but give him the whole thick-necked, lunk-headed personality. I don’t know why. It just happens. But take a look at those smoldering eyes. Paxim might be a cold-blooded bounty-hunter, wading thick in the scum of Hutta on Sanctum of the Exalted, but he’s got those eyes, so he makes the list.
#3 Vextir

Oh Vex… my bad boy. Vextir is one of the few characters, whose personality really started forming before I ever made a decision in the beginning cutscene. Vextir only cares about two things: credits and more credits. Sure, he’s a little bit of a womanizer, but he’s never really cared. He’s there to do the job and get paid. Until a little slip of a slicer turns his head on Hutta. But that story is just beginning to unfold on Space Slug.
#2 Xinc

Xinc is a rake. There is no other word for it. If Vex is all about the credits, then Xinc is all about the ladies… all of them on Juyo. He thinks he’s debonair and dashing, but it’s really his boyish charm and easy attitude that bring all the girls to his ship. Whatever works right? His current lady? Beryl Thorne on Taris. Not that he has much competition, seeing as the place is swarming with Rakghouls. But don’t tell him that.
#1 Gavin

He’s my favorite. In case you couldn’t tell by the #1 ranking I gave him. As you see from all of the above, a part of me loves the little bit of cruelty, stoicism, bad boy and rake. But that’s the small part of me. When it really comes down to it, I want to know he’s got my back, no matter what. Gavin still looks young, but not boyish. He’s clean-cut, but not a pretty boy. He’s a little weathered despite his youth. He may not be hugely muscled, but he’s solid. That’s what I get from him and why he’s my favorite. He’s busy putting down Separatists in Ord Mantell on Juyo. But when he’s off duty? Let’s just say he’s got some real warmth too.

I mean really, take a look at those eyes. /melts

OMG a Gaming Post From Fyn!

I have a weight loss blog and a writing blog (this one) but I have never started a gaming blog because I never (and I mean NEVER) blog about gaming, even though I’ve been a gamer of one type or other for over a decade. And since it very well may be the case that I never blog about gaming again, I’ve decided to do this one here.

Let me preface this by stating that I am neither in the hardcore World of Warcraft camp, nor the hardcore RIFT camp. I enjoy both games for different reasons and play them both, although I will admit that I play WoW more since that’s where most of my friends play and I have established characters and resources that help me support my altaholism.

One of the things that I particularly like when I play RIFT is all of the events. It provides a break from the questing/gathering grinds.

The problem with RIFT? I like the rift events a little too much.

Story time!

This last weekend my husband and I worked hard moving everything out of our bedroom and shampooing carpets (yes, I’m getting to the point) in preparation for the delivery of some new bedroom furniture. We worked HARD. And we really deserved a break. I played around in WoW for a little while, but didn’t have anything to do that appealed to me. It all felt grindy and that’s not what I wanted. So, since I didn’t want a straight grind, I switched to RIFT to play a level 10ish Guardian Rogue that I had been enjoying.

My luck was in! It was a very active night for rifts and invasion events. I had a blast chaining between rifts and killing invading commanders. I racked up so much planarite that my husband was jealous. Next thing I knew, my clock said it was 2:30 am. My normal “off the computer” time is 9:30 to 10:30 pm. sometimes I’ll stay on until 11:00 if it’s a weekend and I’m just in the groove. Three and half hours later than that? Um, yeah…

Which led me to think about gaming in general and what really pulls us in. What really drives us to play? What causes us to lose track of time? What can lead to the always denied, but always feared, addiction? It boils down to this one question:

Could RIFT be more addictive than WoW?

Oh, in WoW you can chain heroics or chain battlegrounds. You can definitely get caught up in something and lose track of time. The nature of the events in RIFT, though, have a very different feel to them. In WoW, you know that there will be a dungeon to run or a battleground to queue for, regardless of when you’re on. With RIFT, those events have a “do it now, because it’s about to go away” feel. If you don’t drop what you’re doing and run over, you could miss the rift (and the rewards) entirely. When the rifts combine with the invasions in the same area? Knock it out, grab the rewards and follow the pack to the next loot filled rift. It can get absolutely insane and fun and I completely lose track of how many I’ve actually done.

It’s the same mentality that retails stores exploit to get you to spend money. Limited time only! Quantities limited! Hurry in now for the best deals EVAR!

You know what I’m talking about.

Yeah, I know that there will be rifts going on somewhere any time I log into the game. It is, after all, called RIFT for a reason. But do I want to bank on the rapid spawning that’s happening now to be there later? Is it going to be as good? Because these are the best rifts EVAR!

And I’m not necessarily saying this is a bad thing. It’s an engaging game, which is what so many of us want. Change my world with no warning, please! Give me something to jump up and respond to when I’m tired of killing mobs!

I am saying that it’s something to be aware of, especially if you’re predisposed to addictive behaviours. I had a blast, but it jacked with my sleep schedule for days. I can’t let myself get pulled in so much so late at night.

But it sure was fun!