Mining Guild Wars Craft

I sat down last weekend to start chipping away at my Hall of Monuments.  I only have one more miniature to obtain to round out my Monument of Devotion.  I’m 19/20 and missing a Unique Minipet, so I figured I’d get that one knocked out and call the evening time well spent.

After getting a price check on a Bone Dragon (100p, I don’t have that kind of cash) I decided it would be a good idea to pick up the Black Moa Chick.

I do so love me some moa

So off I cavorted to the Norn Fighting tournament to begin my quest.  Now, I play a Protection Monk, and I’ve never done the tournament before.  So I wasn’t sure if I needed to come prepared with a build that I could fight with or if I would be provided with skills.  So, in the interest of science, I just leapt into the fray.

My first fight was against Little Thom.  I almost killed him too, (with my protection build) except my damage couldn’t outpace his healing signet.  I probably should have switched to the axe I had on me but at the time it just didn’t occur to me.  So I stopped healing and protting and just allowed him to finish up.

I came back in prepared (or so I thought) with my RoJ Smite build.  It was either Lo Sha or Orion that laughed in my face and beat me down faster than a New York minute.  That’s when I turned to the internet to find what worked for a monk.  I saw some mention of a 55 build with skills I didn’t have so I decided to give my regular 55 farming build a try.

I did ok (once I remembered how to use it).  After a few false starts I defeated the paragon but my next opponent was a ritualist who was about to go down when she got the bright idea to strip all my enchantments.  Oops.  Subsequent attempts were foiled by mesmers and trap-happy rangers.

In exasperation I turned to my comrades on the Relics vent.  Chaz (who has more mic troubles than I’ve ever seen) pelted me with his Spirit Spammer build.  I’ve never played a ritualist past the first few levels so obtaining the skills were a little difficult.  In fact, I’m still missing Summon Spirits.

When I first played through Factions I went with the Kurzicks because that’s what all my friends were doing.  Never mind that I prefer a pirate over a ninja and the dark, emo, oh-woe-is-me aesthetic of the Kurzicks annoys my eyeballs out.  So, while working through Factions (which is, in fact, my least favorite campaign) I did as little with the ‘Factions’ part of it as I could.

The result? “You must reach at least rank 1 of “Friend of the ‘insert name of faction here'” to purchase that skill.”

So what started out as an innocent evening romping through a scavenger hunt quest turned into a tooth-gnashing scramble to find quests that will increase my Luxon reputation (The Relics of Orr guild is Luxon now, so I’ll not be bothered with the emo vampire tree-huggers, thanks).

I could probably go through the whole rigamarole with my Mesmer and do just fine, except she hasn’t done jack diddly in Eye of the North.

So, frustrated with 2 hours gone wanting, I turned to what has lately become my outlet of choice for stress: Minecraft.

Hunter and I have been cavorting on Blue Kae’s server.  He has claimed an island and built a fortress on it.  Not wanting to seem like I’m being clingy (I can be a clingy friend sometimes), I decided to build on the other side of the ocean), into the side of a cliff.

The stair is a bit ostentatious, I admit.

 Apart from my first year, I’ve lived my whole life in landlocked areas, so the option of settling on the coast in Minecraft and building exciting things like docks and bridges and lighthouses was too much for me to resist.

Beautiful Tiger Bay with docks and a bridge over the maelstrom.

Don't sail your boat into this, you won't get it back out, trust me.

Anyway, last weekend I finished off the top of the bridge that Hunter and I built and explored the path he made because he was tired of stumbling around in the dark trying to get to my place.  I didn’t really feel like building.  My inventory was stuffed pretty full (precluding the option of embarking on an epic gathering quest) and I wasn’t in a mood to organize everything into boxes (yet).  So I went exploring other people’s creations.

An idea slowly began to dawn.

When Arenanet first broke news of the dynamic event system and personal story there were a lot of excited people.  I think some got a little carried away.  It was clear from the backlash that happened when the community found out that dynamic events were cyclical (this wasn’t obvious?) that people had made some pretty wild assumptions.  Chiefly of which was the assumption that things you do in the world are not only persistent, but permanent changes.  If I go slaughter this band of Centaurs and string up their leader then he’s gone, and he won’t come back.

But in Guild Wars 2 that just won’t be so.  Eventually they’ll select a new leader and those who come after you (or you yourself, if you’re so inclined) can go back and repeat the performance of slaughtering the Centaurs and stringing up their leader.  Such an event is dynamic, and persistent, as everyone sees it and can participate in the open world.  It is not, however, permanent, and that’s what the outcry stems from.

This is also where my mind was able to link Minecraft with Guild Wars 2.

Minecraft multiplayer is completely persistent and completely permanent.  If I dig deep enough and uncover a dungeon with zombies in it, and destroy the monster spawner, it’s gone.  Nobody else will be able to discover those zombies.  They will see the hole I dug and the mossy cobblestone (the hallmark of dungeons), but the experience of finding the zombies and destroying their mode of entry into the world will be gone.  Forever.

It’s the same for building and destroying blocks.  If someone makes a fantastic tree fort and someone else comes along and starts a forest fire (only you can prevent them!) then the forest (and the tree fort) will burn.  The server owner and administrator can roll back the server to repair something like this, but it’s not an efficient or sustainable way to operate. (Don’t be a jerk)

What I’m saying is that Minecraft has persistent world permanence in a way that Guild Wars 2, or any other MMORPG, doesn’t.  I also don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

One of the things the Guild Wars franchise is famous for (and one of the features I most treasure) are the expansive, world-wrapping story lines.  There is a Great Evil out there and it’s our job to stop it.  We will have smaller adventures along the way, and thanks to the GW2 dynamic event system, they have the opportunity to be different small adventures each time, but ultimately we’re all working towards the same goal: Stop Zhaitan from turning all of Tyria into his own personal toilet.

Minecraft has complete persistent permanence.  Guild Wars has lengthy and carefully crafted story lines.

With dynamic events Arenanet is attempting to vary the experience (keeping it fresh and interesting) and with the personal story they offer us a glimpse of true permanence while still giving us the hallmark story.

Ultimately, however, I feel that repeatable story (thereby available for others as opposed to just you) and a completely player-crafted, persistent world, are mutually exclusive.  We can fudge the line between them, but I don’t think they can truly be married.

Of course, I’m not a game developer (and don’t have aspirations to become one), so my thinking might be short-sighted.  But with true freedom comes the element of chaos, and with anarchy a carefully crafted story will fall apart and the experience will be ruined.

I’m not advocating for one system or the other.  Remember, I play both, and enjoy both, to their fullest extent.  I just recognize that they’re very different and I’m willing to enjoy each for what it is before I start pining for what it isn’t.

Just for good measure, a picture of the moon setting behind the Aquaduct of Tiger Bay.

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  • Comments (5)
  1. yeah its pretty impossible to combine the two and still get a really goo game. For the most part I think you’d get something that is really boring either way.

  2. I like them both as well. Here’s a link to my temple so far…

  3. I’m stuck on my own quest to acquire the Black Moa Chick due to an appalling drop rate of Bog Skale Fins.

  4. the finished temple.

      • Tigerfeet
      • December 13th, 2010

      That is SO cool. I still would LOVE to explore it when you’re done.

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