Well, not really a sting, but I needed a creative title, and there you are.
What we actually did do was penetrate deep into a wasp’s nest. The wasps are called Azebaj in this area and they’re as big as sheep, but that just makes it more exciting. Check this out:
Xagoth and I thought we’d fight our way down as far as it’s safe with just two casters. It turns out that’s not very far. But since additional guildies were on the way, it was only a question of time until this happened:
Awesome! I love grouping. Some people complain about forced grouping, but if I wanted to play a single-player game, I’d go and play Guild Wars 2. Ahem. I mean Super Mario or Solitaire or something. In my nerd-colored world, MMOs are here to be massive and multiplayer. From the start, not just at endgame, as if the first 80 or 200 hours a player invests mean absolutely nothing.
Some game reviewers are pleasantly surprised to see GW2 reward player’s time investment from the start by giving experience for every little mundane task. Wow, you walked five steps forward! 10 XP for you! But I remember a time when newbie activities were rewarded the same as high-level activities, and that was more than ten years ago in EverQuest. It seems that the industry has managed to completely forget that era and now players are surprised to rediscover it in new games.
Anyhow: Vanguard has all that intact, it does both the multiplayer and the massive part brilliantly, so joining up with those three other people felt great. Onward we went:
Yep, that’s a huge wasp nest.
In one corner we discovered the Living Mass of Royal Jelly, a five-dot mob, meaning that it’s a lot stronger than a normal mob of this level. That didn’t help, we smacked it inna face, which it doesn’t have:
Our glory didn’t last much longer, because on the way down to find the Azebaj King (or Queen), we wiped and left four neat tombstones.
When we returned to the dungeon, though, a stranger was already waiting there and seemed to be looking for a group. A paladin! Finally someone who’s not squishy. Witness Oneck in his splendid armor:
Some people say Vanguard is ugly, but I think the furry-type humanoids (wolf-people and cat-people) look quite nice, and especially the armor models and reflection effects are extremely competently executed. I haven’t seen too much convincing caster armor yet, but just have one look at the festival of copper and chain that pally is wearing and tell me with any amount of honesty that you think it’s ugly.
Now that we had the complete trinity represented in our group, enemies just melted away left and right, spilling wasp-guts and showering us with sticky substance. This felt awesome. There was a real, tangible difference between having a tank and not having a tank. I like how Vanguard rewards grouping, and grouping right is rewarded even more, by having more fun and more glorious battles. That’s the point of this whole thing, right?
Other games, call them “simpler games” like World of Warcraft, have kept the trinity formula but have dumbed it down. When I tanked in WoW I felt nothing, I could pull a dozen mobs and we’d still not be in very acute danger, and people were yelling at me to pull more while we hadn’t even finished off what we had just pulled. in Vanguard, every pull feels substantial and every victory feels like something you earn. I hope it stays this way into the high levels. This is something you can’t get from an easy game, in order to feel you’ve achieved something, you need a game that presents a challenge.
And with that thought, I pulled my stuff from my tombstone and had to go, leaving the rest of the group hunting for the Azebaj King (or Queen).