Welcome to PvP, enjoy your stay!

PvP in Guild Wars tends to be a bit of a sticky situation. People either love it, hate it, or have never gone near it. Guild vs. Guild and Heroes’ Ascent are hard to get into unless you’ve got a group of friends to play with that are pretty decent, Codex is just odd, Random Arenas is, as the name suggests, a complete crapshoot, Alliance Battles combine the “we need a group” and random parts, and Jade Quarry and Fort Aspenwood are barely considered PvP and generally will have long, long waits trying to get into a match.

I’m generally part of the “nah, no thanks” camp when it comes to PvP. My guild is small and we’re all primarily PvE players, so GvG is right out. HA doesn’t really interest me much, and even if I wanted to try, I have no experience so no group would take me. Codex is interesting in theory but not really my thing. RA can be fun, but sometimes it can be utterly frustrating, and tends to be full of people trying to sync matches. AB isn’t really something that interests me. FA and JQ I do rather enjoy, but as mentioned above, it can take absolutely forever to get into a match sometimes. There’ve been days where I’ve waited ten minutes for it to find enough people on the Luxon side to start a match (yes, I am Kurzick).

Well, today, ArenaNet released a PvP-oriented update. And while it doesn’t fix all of the problems inherent in GW’s PvP (mostly because a lot of them are because of the community and not the game itself), it does do a lot to make it more interesting for people who may not have tried it before.

The biggest change is to the Gladiator title. It used to be that you’d only start gaining points on that title track after five consecutive wins in RA. This is, understandably, not an easy feat, and RA being what it is, is really not up to skill at all, and rather is down to luck more than anything else. Now, you get a point for every consecutive win, starting with the second. If you win two or three matches? Those matches actually meant something, now, as opposed to before where it was basically nothing but wasted time. The title itself now requires five times as many points as before to get to each rank, but since you’re earning points much faster, this makes the title much more accessible to everyone – particularly people who may have wanted to try out PvP before, but always found it too frustrating to bother with.

Codex Arena was always a neat idea from the start, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be as popular as a lot of people had hoped originally. The nature of the format – you have a small pool of skills to choose from, and the pool changes daily – makes it difficult to get into, because you have to really know your chosen profession in order to really be any good with it. That, and the skill rotation happened so quickly (every 8 hours), that once you figured out a build that worked for you, the skill pool would change. Again, something that could be highly frustrating. The time for the rotation has changed, now, though – now you have a day before the skill pool will change. That’ll give you a bit more playtime before you have to start from scratch again, making it a bit less annoying to play. The title for Codex has also been adjusted in the same manner as RA, making that title less irritating to try and progress in.

Ahh, Jade Quarry and Fort Aspenwood. They are my guilty pleasures – I can’t remember why I originally decided to try them out, but I decided that I quite enjoy playing them. They’re fairly easy, low-stress formats that any profession can play and while teams are random, so long as you can deal damage, you’re golden. The problem is that most people play these on the Kurzick side, and hence it could take forever to get into a match. No joke, I have waited 10 minutes for a match to start before. Of course, the epic dance parties that happen in the outposts while waiting can be fun, but you know what’s more fun? Obliterating Luxons and giant turtles. To try and encourage more people to join in and play, they made a few changes to the way rewards work for FA and JQ (and also AB). Now, instead of earning Kurzick/Luxon faction, you earn Imperial faction, which you can later exchange for K/L at a 1:1 ratio, or if you wish, Balthazar faction, at a 3:1 ratio. This way, if you’re waiting for a match and it’s taking too long? Just hop over to the other side! You won’t be penalized for playing the other side at all, since you can decide what faction you want to change your Imperial faction for. This also allows you to hold much more faction than normal, since your Imperial faction cap is the sum of your Kurzick and Luxon caps. The faction reward for wins has also been increased, which is always nice.

There were some other things in this update – Zaishen coins are now tradeable, some of the coin costs on items have changed, there are new coin rewards (Envoy weapons which cost 100 gold coins…steep. I probably won’t be saving for them myself), and there are new PvP quests aimed at giving a better introduction to the formats for people who might not have tried them before (awesome, those are), as well as some new items available. Basically, all sorts of nifty stuff.

This update was definitely aimed primarily at PvP players, but I would definitely say that it benefits PvE players quite a lot, too. Tonight I played RA and got a win-streak of 8 matches (according to my glad title track, I’ve only passed five wins once before), and I managed to play a dozen matches of JQ with the timer resetting only once. And I had fun, too. Of course there are people complaining about it – I came across a few determined whiners in Great Temple of Balthazar earlier tonight. And I certainly did some trolling of them, I’ll admit. So sorry you can’t sync RA with your guildies as easily because there’s a ton more people trying it. Complain all you want, but that format never required skill. Me, I’m going to have fun playing and not feeling like I wasted my time if I lose before five wins, and enjoy the fact that I can play JQ and FA quicker.

So, if you’ve never given PvP a try in GW, or always hated it? Go take a look. Get your feet wet. You might find that you enjoy it more than you’d think!

Defeat ALL the things!

So, I was originally going to do a post about Charr week that was last week, but…I think there’s going to be enough blogs covering that right now. Plus I’m more interested in the Sylvari anyway and am waiting for their turn in the spotlight.

So, I recently (in the past few days) finished up my Canthan Vanquisher title. I actually did the last eight areas in two days, which is a lot for me – especially considering that last week was one of the most exhausting and stressful workweeks I’ve had outside of the holidays, and I did half of that after coming home from nine hours of trying to not scream. Yeah.

Now, I definitely take my time with these things. I started vanquishing…oh, I don’t even remember when. Quite a while ago…I’d say probably nearly a year ago? I did Elona first, finishing it somewhere around Christmas, I think, and then turned my eye to slowly working my way through Cantha. My problem is my attention span. I can’t grind my way through a ton of stuff quickly like that. The thought of vanquishing Tyria makes me cringe, because there’s just so much there. So many areas, and so many a pain to get to. I’ve gotten about twelve done there so far, and those were all thanks to the Zaishen Vanquish quests. I’m not even a quarter of the way through it.

Not only that, but sometimes I just want to do something else. I took a break from vanquishing to run my Paragon through EOTN so I could get Deldrimor armor for her. I spent a fair amount of time in Kamadan buying the sweets, alcohol, and party stuff needed for those titles. I played around on my other characters a bit. All of these things were to refresh my mind so I could go “Okay. I want to get this areas done today if possible”, and actually be able to stick to it. Because vanquishing is definitely a daunting task – almost all of the titles are. One of my friends has managed, in the time that I’ve done two vanquish titles, get Legendary Vanquisher, Guardian, and Skill Hunter. I can’t even imagine finishing all of that. I’ve been ‘working’ on Cartographer for ages, and while all three continents are at about 96%…the thought of going back over every area (which for Prophecies means redoing missions – just kill me now) to scrape for those last little bits is just mind-numbing to me. I still can’t get Masters on Eternal Grove in NM, let alone HM, so Guardian is right out. Skill Hunter…blech. Random boss spawns in Prophecies means that’s right out, because I know I’d get bored and irritated far too quickly trying to get the right boss to spawn.

So, then, what can I do? At this point, I may as well vanquish Tyria and finish that up, since I did start it and am about a quarter of the way through. The real question is, though, what to do past that? I kind of have it in my mind to do Treasure Hunter/Wisdom, and see how high I can get Lucky/Unlucky at the same time. It’s kind of odd that I want to do those, since they’d require far  more grind than most every other title I could do…but at the same time, I can do them at the same time as other things. I’m rank 3 Treasure Hunter and Wisdom, as well as rank 2 Lucky and Unlucky, just from opening every chest I’ve come across while playing and vanquishing. Yes, I’ve done some chestrunning, but that only accounts for about 30 of the ~550 chests I’ve opened. I did a bit of Golden Egg farming, but I don’t have the patience to farm much, and have only gotten about 50 of those. I didn’t really waste time or money on Nine Rings, because I’d rather actually play than go afk. The fact that those titles are account-wide also is nice; stuff I do on other characters helps with this as well.

My friend presented the idea of doing Legendary Master of the North to me the other day. I may just get suckered into doing that one…am I insane? Only time will tell. Right now, I think if I hit 15 titles, I will be amazed. But hey, it certainly gives me something to at least to attempt to work towards.

And one of these days, I will defeat you, Eternal Grove, and get my Protector of Cantha title! Grrrr.