”God damn overflow!” That was the first thing I heard Tom utter as he took me under his wing for our Tyrian Adventures blog in Guild Wars 2. I had just finished my Human Warrior - Iamthedayman who promises to fight the nightman, become champion of the sun and just so happens to be a master of karate and friendship for everyone.
One in every thirty readers just realised my reference and are probably rolling around with laughter. For the rest of you, read on.
If you’re like me and have no idea what Heller is talking about, that’s okay - just nod, smile, and pat him on the head like a puppy. He’ll appreciate it. I am not the dayman, just a regular Human Thief with the weird, probably-Gaelic name of Pweyl. I picked a thief because the temptation of stabbing stuff a lot is too hard to resist.
During the opening quest I was separated by Tom by the mysterious overflow - a place where players can queue and complete in-game quests while waiting to join the main world. Basically I was in the major world, Tom was not. So that opening quest I was left to my own devices, set down a path to defend my people against an oncoming attack that culminated in an epic battle between myself, 15 other real-world players and a giant set of stone hands.
Yep, it was that awesome!
The first major difference I immediately noticed from my limited experience with World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic was the increased scope of movement in battle. Instead of standing there and spamming the number keys, I was only presented with one attack at first. It was here that i learned that you could dodge attacks in real-time with a quick double-tap of the directional keys. This opens the whole scope for thrilling combat, something I’ll talk about a little later.
Our first course of action was to actually meet up in the game, which was pretty simple after killing the giant hands as we were both placed in the overflow server of our map. Being the young, eager player I am I quickly dashed off to the first Heart - which is the Guild Wars 2 equivalent of a local quest - where we had to... feed cows and water corn. Yeah. There were giant wurms to kill as well, but the main enjoyment was in the feeding.
What can I say, I’m from country Victoria, it’s in my blood!
Being the country boy that Heller is, he took extreme delight in feeding the cow, squealing with pleasure and enjoyment when the cow radiated hearts to show its affection to him. I really don’t understand the pleasure at feeding cows, but smashing wurms with a sword was heaps of fun. A giant wurm - called the Wurm Queen - appeared and attacked roughly 20 of us - a giant event! - and we all congregated and proceeded to smash the Queen into the afterlife... which was when Heller realised there was a giant wurm around and decided to stop showing a weird amount of love to digital cows, and came to help.
Look, I’m sorry I was really into feeding the god damn cows! This is what I absolutely love about Guild Wars 2, you can play the game your own way. Instead of having a rather linear quest path like in WoW which will lead you from one quest to another and you will be forced to kill X amount of this animal and return, GW2 offers you a multitude of options to complete the objective. Tom wanted to slay beasts and feast on their carcasses, I wanted to feed the cows and pick some corn. I’m sure I’m not the only one who enjoys virtual domestic chores. All of these quests are done dynamically in a group, which means it is easier than ever to find friends in-game, as you all have that shared experience together.
After our stop at the farm we decided to go exploring. As I said, GW2 doesn’t force you to go from town to town in search of the next quest, instead it relies on exploration for you to find you next quest which ensures that you explore the entire map, which is absolutely massive I might add.
After a brief stop at a swamp which reminded me of Burt Reynolds in Gator, we climbed the mountain side where we were met with another world event. It seems a giant elemental rock person was out for blood, and with only three of us in the area at the time we had our work cut out for us. The giant summoned a smaller ally, and I found myself stuck between a rock and hard place. I only had 84 health and both were charging towards me. Thankfully I was able to use the dodge ability to avoid the smaller enemies attacks, and strike back with quick attacks until he was dead. By then my healing ability was recharged, and I was good to go against the giant. This was the first time I truly realised the potential of Guild Wars 2’s combat system, suddenly there was an element of skill involved rather than pure statistical power.
Combat gets tougher and tougher the more enemies you have trying to violate you, and seeing as I wasn’t content with Heller being beaten up by a rock golem, we traveled a little bit south to a forest of spiders so we could escort a farmer who was trying to rescue his friend.
Now might be a good time to mention that I actually have a real life phobia of spiders, seriously, no joke.
My personal plan backfired - to get Heller drowned in a torrent of various spiders. Something to note about events - they scale with the amount of people with you. As we were quite low-levelled, but there was roughly 30 people helping escort this farmer, there were dozens of spiders at a level higher than our own. Not noticing this swarm of spiders, I died once or twice while Heller managed to live.
That’s right, the noob was victorious.
...The noob is only victorious when I let him be, but don’t tell him that. It’s all a ruse to raise his self-confidence and ego, so I can do the right thing a thief would do and stab him in the back (and probably kick him while he’s down). Of course. That was my true plan all along, I swear!
After a brief stint in an underground cavern that was full of bandits who were annoying a lovely farmer who promised me a big fat reward for helping her out, we head out towards the pumping station that provides the whole area with it’s water supply. Surprisingly those bandits were up to no good, and were planning to destroy the pipes so we would all be forced to drink swamp water for an eternity.
We fought them off valiantly for five minutes, and when their plan was foiled they decided to poison the water supply instead. There was a good twenty or so players by this stage, fighting a unified cause, and sharing this battle. I can’t stress enough how important this is to the Guild Wars 2 experience.
Tired of rescuing Heller from bandits, poisonous ooze and anything else remotely deadly that wasn’t a cow (I actually think I died more than him, to be honest), we decided to call it a day on a giant pipe, admiring the view of Divinity’s Reach, the gigantic castle-city and human starting city, in the background.
Join us tomorrow as we head off into the sunset, holding hands and singing a merry tune as we explore the lands of Tyria yet again. Don’t forget to jump into the MMGN discussion to find awesome gamers to create your own adventures with.
By Stephen Heller and Thomas Robinson