Atop a crane in Skrittsburgh

The Heart of Skrittsburgh

Welcome to Skrittsburgh!

No, wait, get out of Skrittsburgh you unworthy foreigner. Oh, nevermind, come back in.

This is life as a visitor to the Skritt city. Sometimes the doors are open to you and sometimes they’re sealed shut. Is it because you smell? Do they only let humans in on Thursday? The Charr on Monday? Maybe the Charr get in on Caturday. Of course, Asurans get in on the winter solstice, to celebrate the shortest day of the year.

Actually, Skrittsburgh is the central cog of an ongoing, large dynamic event within the Brisban Wildlands. When the city feels protected, the gates of the city are opened to outsiders. When the city is under siege and the Skritt King has fallen, then the doors and gates close. Foreigners are only let back in when any nearby threats to Skrittsburgh are eliminated, and the Skritt have chosen a new King. Total access to Skrittsburgh is not entirely denied, as the cavernous city also has outer boroughs that offer the player hearts to complete, and some peculiar lost goods thrown around, as well as a beautiful waterfall area. It is normally these outer boroughs which are the key to entrance into the inner sanctum of the King, his treasure chests, and the special Skritt vendors.

A Dynamic Circle

Asuran Tech

The Skritt have taken Asuran technology for their own use.

The Skrittsburgh center is sort of the mini-city reward of the greater circle of dynamic events within the area. When the city is closed, you can normally find a dynamic event going on in one of the outer boroughs. These events will wipe out the NPCs in the area if not stopped, but if you turn the invaders back then you’ll please the people of Skrittsburgh. Invaders are the key word here, as Skrittsburgh is walled in by various threats. From the east, the Nightmare Court may arrive to take over the city. From the north, human bandits have set up camp right outside the entrance, and to the southwest, the Inquest is looking to regain some of the disassembled technologies the Skritt have claimed for their own. Worst of all, the Destroyers are still lurking below the surface and may rise up at any time to do what Destroyers do: look ugly, make lava, and destroy everything.

Things don’t calm down for long once you’ve defended and freed the city. There is normally a quiet handful of minutes, until some new dynamic event alert pops onto your screen. Yup, more invaders, but this time if you don’t stop them, they’re heading straight through that open door to take the city or to slay the King. I helplessly tried to stop a Destroyer army and its giant crab boss from eating the King, but I just sort of ran around from the

Destroyer boss until one of his minions gave the King a killing blow. Immediatly after that, all the friendly Skritt NPCs became hostile, and shouted to kick the foreigners out. Next thing I know, I’m booted out of the city and back to one of the outer boroughs.The end effect is that keeping the city open to players will require players to cooperatively push back invaders. It’s tough to stop two invasions at once. Whether it’s the bandits up north or the Nightmare Court coming from the east, it’s more than one player can handle.

Skritt Throne

The Rat King has moved out of the sewers.

Tell Me Of Your Rat-nest Usul

Once inside the heart of the city, you’ll be treated to a town made out of junk. Yes, junk, and I mean that in the nicest way. The Skritt love shinies, and shinies seem to be everyone else’s actual shiny things, or everyone else’s forgotten old junk. It looks like a refugee camp in some ways, like something out of District 9. Still, Arena Net managed to make a junk city look visually interesting. Some parts are even little creepy, with the weird carnival costumes laying around, unused and for no purpose of being there.

What the city offers the player is a full set of crafting stations, a thankful Skritt King with two treasure chests behind him (Don’t miss these!), a skill point challenge or two, some basic merchants, repairs, and special Shinies merchants. The Shinies Merchants have what seem like junk or perhaps crafting goods, like a bunch of wooden planks. They also sell necklaces and weapons, and pretty good weapons in fact. Their offerings have a level 20 requirement, but should be an upgrade at level 20 over anything you have. I bought both the Skritt Pistol and Skritt Rifle for my Engineer.

Odds and Ends

Creepy Canrival

These things freaked me out.

The heart quests in the boroughs offer some nice distractions. I wasn’t a big fan of the Heart in the grub area. It’s basically a kill grubs and collect trophies off them, then hand in the trophies sort of deal. There’s some defective security turrets you can mess with, but those are few and far between compared to the amount of grubs and grub holes waiting to be stomped. My favorite of the various Heart quests in the area was a soldier that needed help near a Destroyer den. In this area, you can kill Destroyers, stomp out Destroyer burrows, or, best of all, pick up fallen Skritt and carry them in your arms back to safety. Your can see the fallen Skritt in your character’s arms when you do this, and carrying the Skritt works like a weapon bundle that offers you a speed boost. I call this the Forrest Gump quest.

Skritt activity continues outside the city as well. A group of Skritt will ask you to escort them on a scavenging mission. This is codeword for stealing Asuran tech from an Inquest lab area far beyond the Skrittsburg borough. Normally, the escort quests in Guild Wars 2 are quite enjoyable. (Yes, you read that right.) This one proved to be the hardest escort quest I’ve had though. I am not sure if it was my relative level or the fact that the Inquest lab was swarming with Inquest soldiers. You can also run into a second dynamic event in the nearby area if someone else has decided to help out a Golemancer at the Asuran secret weapons lab. Completing the Skritt escort leads to another Dynamic Event back at Skrittsburgh, but I’ll keep that scenario to myself.

East End Waterfall

The East End of Skrittsburgh reveals a wonderful waterfall.

A Show of Things to Come?

What Skrittsburgh reveals is some of the depth and options that the Guild Wars 2 dynamic event system offers. If they can hide a small city behind the outcomes of dynamic events, then they could also hide a dungeon or a mini-game. Considering what the developers have spoken of in regards to the risen city of Orr, it seems like endgame could play out like a far crazier and larger version of the Skrittsburgh DE system. It has also been recently revealed that the city of Ebon Hawke is in the game, and they haven’t specified if this a zoned city or an open world city. Considering that there are heart quests within the city, I am likely to believe that is open world part of the larger zone its within, much like Skrittsburgh.

The key factor to this is giving the player a sense of bigger, greater, and more wonderous things to do as they level up. I don’t want WoW-raiding in the game. I don’t want gear treadmills. I do want a bigger, badder challenge set before me, and these sort of DE systems can be a part of that.

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The New PVE

RAWR DREDGE POWAHR

So there’s no questing, right?

Following Monday’s quick stress test of Guild Wars 2, I have seen roughly the same question asked by various people. My first response to the question consists of wishing they could play the game and understand, and my second response is a vain attempt to accurately put into words what is better understood through playing the PVE content.

So here comes the vain attempt.

The way PVE in Guild Wars 2 is constructed changes the entire feel of the PVE experience even though certain tasks may feel familiar to MMO players and the Story Quests may feel familiar to single player RPG players. To better explain what to expect with PVE in GW2, I am first going to address what people expect from “questing” and then address the question of whether or not there is questing, then I will answer the common follow up question of “what do you do then?”

Po Lycanthrope Pimpin

Werewolves on parade, HO HEY

The Kill Ten Rats Legacy

The initial moments of your typical MMO experience consist of a short cinematic, then being dropped into a starter area and making a short walk towards the first person with a brightly lit punctuation mark above their heads. Talking to this NPC will grant you a welcoming greeting from the local populace and then some following instructions about some annoying nuisance in the area. When I made my first WoW character, I had to show my worth by killing some wolf pups and pigs. In the first Guild Wars, I had to talk to some important generals to hear about the status of the town, then the issue of the war with the Charr and then go out into the instanced quest zone. Rift spawned me from a machine, had me pick a soul tree, and then find my way out of the test chambers and into to the dire future of a dark, decimating war. The Old Republic had me meet my Jedi Master and help her recover some hologram disks.

Following that introduction to the game, quests normally flowed from there on out into a Go Here direction that lead to a group of NPCs that beg and plead you to do some menial tasks of collecting and killing that make you wonder just how lazy these poor helpless souls are. At the worst of times—waves at Tera—the game becomes a friendly bit of fruitless genocide. You decimate X amount of Y and collect trophies off their corpses, and don’t forget to steal their honey buns and treasures, so you can bring them back to your friendly NPC who is waiting for you and everyone else with a grateful reward of experience, gold and some low level goodies. You smile, watch your XP bump up a bunch and sigh. Then you look back behind you and see all those mongrels have respawned and nothing has truly changed.

This is the Kill Ten Rats Legacy that has become a norm for MMOs. Blizzard has tried to freshen it up a bit with each expansion and add some cuteness and story to break up the genocidal mania, but questing has remained a list of requests to collect trophies and kill the unfriendlies. Even the story-focused The Old Republic offers bonus rewards for these sort of kill ten rat quests, even though it feels very un-Jedi-y of me to keep killing the locals just to keep up in levels.

So when people ask if Guild Wars 2 has quests, I assume they mean something along the lines of what I’ve described above. To that type of questing, the answer would be no, there is no questing in Guild Wars 2. Yet, and this is what some will find, there are still the tasks present and there is still killing present. The way the system behind Guild Wars 2 works changes the feel of these tasks and the way the world acts.

The Beetletun Farm

Beetletun Farm after I had ran the Centaurs off and fixed the sprinklers.

The Guild Wars 2 PVE System

Guild Wars 2’s world revolves around the relationship between two major elements: the Renown Hearts and the Dynamic Events. Sometimes these two things are confused, because neither involve getting a quest from any NPC and both notify you of their presence by simply being near them. In fact, the game can refer to both of these things as “events”. Often, a Heart and a Dynamic Event will occupy the same area and doing the Dynamic Event will fulfill your Renown Heart.

To get deeper into these two systems, I’ll point out the major differences. First, Renown Hearts are marked by NPCs on the map with a golden heart above their head. When you first arrive to the area, these hearts will be empty. A progress bar will show on the side of your screen telling you what sort of tasks will help you fill this bar. The basic formula for a RH is help X with general problem Y. These are still the same lazy farmers looking for some help that you may be used to, but how you help them is a choice of which tasks you’d rather do. You can feed cows, water plants or stuff out worms. You can find hiding children and tell them to do their chores or you can find rats and kill them to make the town keep up a high-class appearance. Every time you do a task for a Renown Heart, the meter fills up a little. No other players can fill up your heart for you and once filled, you cannot repeat the Renown Heart for full credit. Filling the heart just allows you access to the NPC’s shop of goods, which are normally purchased via Karma. Renown Hearts are static and don’t move, always remaining for players who haven’t finished them yet.

Dynamic Events are events that are triggered by other events, players or via timers. How and when these events happen is not always easy to tell, but they often happen near Renown Hearts and their fail/succeed rules can fulfill Renown Heart tasks. If your Beetletun Farmer wants help protecting his farm and repairing broken things, a Dynamic Event of a Centaur attack that includes fighting off waves of Centaurs that are lighting his farm on fire will fill up that Renown Heart as you fight to succeed at the event. The difference is that everyone involved in the Dynamic Event gets credit and fills up the progress bar. Dynamic Events also chain into other events. If you don’t fight back the Centaurs, they’ll likely take over the farm and proceed to the next friendly outpost. If you defeat the Centaurs, then the local Seraphs (a sort of police) will mount a charge towards fighting the Centaurs back further and further.

Often, both in story and in tasks, the Dynamic Events and Renown Hearts are tied together. In this way, they tell a sort of atmospheric story of the area and give the game an organic feel. I’ll now go a bit deeper into how they change the scope of the land.

Underwater slave pens of the Krait

Because I had failed defending the fishing village, I had to go rescue fishermen from the underwater slave pens of the Krait.

Baddies With Purpose

In a Kill Ten Rats world, mobs wander along very strict paths just waiting to be run into. While some NPC may tell you these bandits, gnolls or zombiess are terrorizing the locals and stealing their supplies, you never see the evidence of this. From what I can tell, the bandits of Elwynn Forest care more about staring at trees and sitting around the campfire than they do bugging the folks of Goldshire. I would argue that those poor bandits are deathly bored by their own existence, wandering aimlessly and heartlessly without the average newbie to come along and shove a fireball in their face. Thank goodness you’re there to give these horrible people something to be horrible to! Thank God this Paladin is here to kill us, they scream.

As is, the average MMO mob exists to be killed and has little purpose in life or programming beyond that.

In Guild Wars 2, there is a lack of the typical aimlessly wandering  mobs that fart around, roaming to and fro, dreaming, sleeping, walking and again, roaming until killed for the purpose of a quest. There are no forest bandits hanging around looking for some action. I have run across some nasty Ettins and found some bandits practicing their skills at their own hideout, but the Moa Birds and fireflies of the world ignore me when I walk past them. I do admit the Skale that wander the rivers are rather ornery, but that’s because I’m snatching crabs from the traps they’ve been messing with.

Like the previously described Centaur attack, the enemy mobs in Guild Wars 2 often have a purpose to their arrival and their attacks. The key word here is arrival. Most of the mobs you will fight in Guild Wars 2 arrive to you. They don’t wait somewhere to be killed. They are soldiers with a purpose and you’re in their way. If they aren’t planning an attack on a Beetletun farm then they simply won’t be there. If they are trying to defend a camp of their own, they will be focused on defending or retaking that camp from you and the Seraphs. This makes mobs aggressive and purposeful, so that you aren’t killing a set amount of them, but are instead driving them back out of the area they occupy. After you’ve driven them out, they won’t reappear until they’ve been able to mount another attack. After I cleared the Centaurs from Beetletun farms, I never saw them on the farm again. I was able to drive them back and out of their camp. They fought back versus other players and got as far as a waypoint spot, but never made it back to the farm.

So you took over their camp?

Right, and they can take over your camps. When I proceeded past the Centaurs to help some Ettin Chieftan out, the Centaurs pushed forward, moving all the way to a small outpost spot on the map that had been a friendly Waypoint when I first came across it. When I died trying to attack a Centaur Chieftain near the Ettin Renown Heart, I had to resurrect way back at the town of Beetletun rather than the nearer waypoint by the other Centaur camp. At this time, the Centaurs had also retaken their camp after I had previously taken it over. Back when another player and I defeated the Centaurs at their camp, the Seraph forces took hold of the area and one of them turned into a weaponsmith merchant, offering me unique weapons taken from the centaurs for a monetary price. When the centaurs took the camp back, these NPCs were pushed back or killed, and no longer available to me.

Also, after helping out that farmer and clearing the Centaurs from the immediate area, a Winemaker became available to talk to. By talking to her, I started a new Dynamic Event involving her ruined vineyard. Not all Dynamic Events happen spontaneously. Some of them, like the Winemaker and the Giant Boar Hunt in Queensdale, are initiated by a player finding a NPC and making the right dialogue choice. These DEs are still open to whoever runs across them once active though and thus not secluded quests only relevant to the player who begins them.

I help out a winemaker

Defending Beetletun opened a dynamic event with this vindictive winemaker.

Okay, so it’s just events? Does that get boring?

I never got bored of the combined events system of Renown Hearts and Dynamic Events, but I did run into spots in the first BWE where I felt I had done everything and were seeing some DEs recycle. Whenever you get to this point, I offer the opinion that you should explore. In fact, exploring is the way to level as it leads you to all things in the PVE game. Due to the previously mentioned differences, where you go on the map is not as heavily influenced by quests. In World of Warcraft, there are parts of Westfall that I haven’t spent an hour in despite playing many characters and alts, and running all of them through Westfall for the Deadmines quests. The reason I never went to these corners of the map is because I had no quests there. Killing mobs there was of no greater purpose than to grind and exploring brought me little in the way of experience. While you can explore in most MMOs, the lack of reward for doing so often keeps people from bothering with exploration. The typical system of MMOs pushes people towards optimizing their time used towards goal attainments.

In Guild Wars 2, there is experience provided for finding points of interest and there are Skill Point Challenges spotted around the map. As well, there are hidden jumping puzzles that normally lead to a boss or a treasure chest. You don’t really need a direction to go in Guild Wars 2. If you spot what looks like an island or a cave then going towards it will likely lead to an event, skill point challenge or point of interest. There is very little wasted space on the map. In the Godslost Swamp in Queensland, I was doing a Renown Heart and decided to swim down into the deeper parts of the swamp water. When I did this, I found the sunken ruins of the Temple of Ages. Meditating at the ruins provided me a skill point reward, along with experience.

The Standard Stuff

Beyond the exploration aspect, there are still the Story Quests and Dungeons beginning at level 30. These two elements are likely the most familiar to other players and easiest to understand. I have watched youtubes of some people playing the game and sort of randomly gunning around a Renown Heart and not noticing a difference between what they were doing and your standard MMO fare. I understand that the combined Heart/DE system is not as easily understood due to its subtleties. When you step into a Story Quest, the game becomes instanced and progress is linear with some splitting paths dependent on choices. For people struggling with the open world concept, these may be easier to get a feel for right away. The DE/Heart system requires paying more attention to fully understand.

I would comment more on the game’s dungeons, but I have not yet got to the point where I can do a dungeon. Hopefully a future beta allows the testers enough time to reach that point. Even with keeping my mesmer from the last BWE, I only made it to level 18 during the stress test.

In Conclusion

Play the game for the glory of the Moletariat.

Or check out these informative youtubes:

CaraEmm does Dynamic Events subtleties

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CyqGJHTjes

Hidden fun in WvWvW

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81mwQ4i_AwE

Guild Wars 2 Open Beta Impressions

A Dredge Mole

Guild Wars Beta Impressions

Well..

Well I am admittedly hooked on ArenaNet’s yet to be released MMO-crack. At least I am familiar enough with this dealer to have some confidence they will not drive me into the poor house. Oh wait, I am in the poor house. Still, that cash shop doesn’t allure me. Except for the pirate costume. Did anyone check that out? I’m building canons and firing canons; a pirate’s life for me.

The beta itself actually opened up an hour early. I woke up to check to see if there were any new updates to download before the beta went live and suddenly found myself at the server selection screen. As I had planned to do, I created a Human Mesmer and cycled through the appearance options until I had created the bearded man that I am. I would have liked a couple more beard options, maybe one a little less Oregonian hiker looking, for later my beard choice and my class choice would turn me into a bit of a scary clown.

I went with a commoner background and the regret of not recovering my sister’s body for my character background choices, along with Lyssa as my patron god. My girlfriend went with the street rat option and the missing parents, and our third adventurer friend went with being a noble. This allowed me to see what variation exists from your choices in the story quests later on. After finalizing my choices and choosing my name, the game breaks into a painted storyboard cinematic. Images swoop across the screen, providing dramatic movement to what are essentially art stills. Your character voices the introductory narrative of their story and finally appears at the end against a dramatic backdrop. This intro is a well done and gets you pumped to play, which is why it is disappointing that the later story segments lose the dramatic movements for a static art still behind two characters making simple gestures as they chatter. Having played SWTOR, I am familiar with Bioware’s approach to story presentation and I actually did not feel it fit the MMO genre. People do not want to wade through multiple dialogue segments to accept a kill-ten-rats quest. The storytelling in that case became intrusive to the flow of the game, but Guild Wars 2’s story segments don’t fully convey the emotions of the situation due to the lack of dramatics in the talking head moments. While not a huge concern for me, the story segments are marked as works in progress and I would suggest that ANet tries to use some more dramatic angles and art piece movements in their personal story exchanges. For example, if my story conversation begins after I just ended a bar fight in my friend’s bar, it would be interesting to see my character sitting in front of an art piece depicting the injured bartender or a disarray of broken bottles, then swooping up to show the character with whom I am about to exchange words.

A swordsman and his beard

But let’s get to the real good stuff: the events system.

Ironchef Zebes talks out the Centaur Battle

Story segments play out against an artistic backdrop.

After the instanced introduction fight, you arrive to the Human starter area named Queensdale. Here, the game opens up and a scout marks out people in the area who need help. Most, like myself, go straight to the cow and corn farm. Here I began feeding cows and watering plants, letting the rest fight the worms sprouting up in the cow pen. Suddenly, a giant queen worm appears and I drop my bucket of water for my sword and focus. By this time I had learned two sword skills and working on the worms had brought out the third skill that creates a clone. The sword and the staff were two Mesmer weapon options that didn’t interest me before the beta, but became my favorites after the beta. I feel each served their purpose well, with the sword allowing good melee damage and control. The staff provided great group support and defense, which worked very well in the giant zerg that was the opening moments of beta.

Speaking of that zerg, the one at the farm finished off the queen worm pretty easily. It was at this point that most of us had filled our renown bar for the farmer and were ready to move on. I chose to take the path down the road to a Moa ranch. Other players split off towards the river or up the hill. At the Moa ranch, one of the farmers himself ran up to me and asked for help with some bandits. I began checking bushes for his Moa birds, but most were hiding bandits. Twice, I was doubled by hidden bandits and on the second encounter, the two bandits eventually took me down. It was at this point that a helpful ranger player showed up and helped me finish off the bandits from downed state. When I got back up, I saw a couple of players heading into a cave and followed them in.

Inside the cave, I discover the bandit hideout and a pen where those bad dudes and ladies have been rustling up some moa birds. With the few accompanying me, I take down some bandits and begin destroying their supplies. I attempt to jump into the moa bird pen, but get jumped by five bandits. They make short work of me and I have to respawn back at the first farm. By the time I get back to cavern, there’s a larger group and they’ve set the moa birds free. I get credit for this due to being the sacrificial lamb. Guild Wars 2 is a game that is punishing in that it will knock you to the floor, but rewarding in that it gives you credit for trying your hand at a challenge.

Meanwhile, I’ve found myself in the middle of another small zerg heading through the bandit cavern. We exit through the initial area and find ourselves in another section of the cave filled with bats. After the bats, we find a path up the rocks that leads to a spiraling bridge. As we ascend the bridge, bandits attack us and fire some explosives. Eventually we make it to the top where a bandit lieutenant awaits us. Again, I die at first until I find my sweet spot behind the boss. I may be a Mesmer, which is a magical trickster, but with just a sword in hand, I play more like a street magician thief.

After some time and teamwork, we take the big man down and one of his bodyguards cowers in fear, offering up some goods for sale in exchange for putting the beat-down on his commander. We all get some nice loot off the boss and I exchange a bow to someone for a staff. As you may be able to tell, the Guild Wars 2 experience is friendly and cooperative. I never found myself getting in the way of others or found other players as an obstacle towards my goal.

At this point, I’ve grouped up with this crew and joined their guild. We make our way back out of the bandit cave and towards a nearby orchard. The orchard owner is asking folks to get rid of the spiders and bats pestering her apple trees. We begin on this task, but our mighty size spawns a second event and spiders begin swarming in around us. I have switched to staff and begun learning my staff skills which prove helpful when positioned in the middle of the technicolor furnace of Guild Wars 2 combat. Yet, in the middle of this fight, that Moa rancher comes running for me again because those bandits we whooped got pissed and are attacking his home in waves. Our group splits for a few, with myself and some others taking out the bandit waves.

Attacking spiders in the apple orchard

Time for a caster to act like a caster.

Arachnapwnia and other mind wracking puns

With my return to the apple orchard, the event scales up again and soon a giant spider queen spawns. Did I just mention the technicolor furnace? Well now that color show is on full blast. I’ve also learned all five of my staff skills by now and unleash a giant chaos storm on top of our good friend Fat Charlotte the angry apple munching spider.

The spider goes down and I’ve just completed three events in a short span of time. I’ve jumped from level 2 once I got to Queensdale to level 5. Again, the group begins to splinter towards different destinations and I go exploring. I find a river dam under attack by harpies. I try plugging holes and fighting off the earth elementals and harpies, but harpies don’t roam around without friends. They are also a couple levels higher than I am, so I wander back down to the river to take care of some crab cages for a fisherman. I decide that this whole crabbing thing isn’t the life for a Mesmer and wander off towards a downed player on my map. Once I arrive to the downed player and help him back up, I realize I’m at the first farm again and bandits have begun attacking and setting the hay on fire. Yes, we’ve really pissed these guys off. All we do is keep killing them, so I guess they have a right to be angry. Everyone has a right to be angry or at least that’s why my crazy ex-roommate told me. Of course, if you keep attacking farms then I’m going to keep having to beat your behind. It’s nothing but a vicious cycle.

Erstwhile at Old McDonalds!

Players are grabbing buckets of water to douse the flames and I’m fighting the bandit waves, feeling confident with my new found levels and weapons. Unfortunately, fire still burns you and I get dropped hard by five bandits and their ring of fire. Burn, burn, burn and event scaled higher.

We still defending the farm, so I had yet to see an event fail. I wander back down to the river and realize a giant drake has appeared to defend its eggs. I am not sure if this drake was overscaled or if the mob fighting him just wasn’t as good, but the drake boss took longer to take down than any other boss. I then proceeded back towards the dam and used the drake zerg group to finish off those harpies. After this, I returned to the farm to spend some of the karma I’ve earned for doing all these helpful slaughterings. I notice that the sprinklers in the background have begun shooting out poison. When I was last here, the sprinklers were water a farm and a few worms were strolling about. Now the farm was being poisoned. This was my first time encountering the consequences of a failed event and didn’t feel like dealing with the consequences. It was about time to head back to the city and start the next segment of my personal story. I only mention this to mention that the little township outside the city had a well and it was a poisoned well. A couple villagers tried drinking the water and got sick, and the NPC by them advises me to talk to someone about fixing the situation. So even though I was trying to avoid the issue, the ramifications of the failed event had spread across the bridge and to the foot of the city.

And the city? Daunting.

Yet, city talk is another entry to be had. I would call this my first run with the game for it was around this point I took a little break. Was it fun? Yes. Was it different? Yes. Did it all make sense at first? No, but yes. People began rezzing each other right off the bat. Groups of zergs formed naturally and the map truly became player versus environment. You couldn’t just ignore the quests in the area because the “quests” came at you. The combat worked and was an active element. Everyone moved and learned to dodge or die. Putting up a Chaos Storm, people leaped into it and gave themselves a Chaos shield by the combo interaction. My Winds of Chaos bounced off of enemies and on to other players whether they were in my group or not, buffing them with random boons. The general interaction with the world lead you places and the world itself was vast.

And in the end? The Molerariat shall prevail.