life moves pretty fast

Almost three weeks since my last update… wait a minute. I actually wrote a post on 3/8 and then completely failed to publish it.

Oops.

To catch up:

  • We chauffeured TJ and Noelle (my parents’ cats) successfully and without harm. TJ does not like anyone but Dad, and the trip didn’t endear us to her at all. Noelle headbutted me right in the mouth the next day to show all was forgiven.
  • Do not book a car from Enterprise through a third-party service, including Expedia, because they will screw things up. But we got a 2024 Hyundai Palisade, not quite a luxury SUV but a couple notches above what I’m used to in size and comfort and tech goodies. It has level 2 automation (adaptive cruise control plus automatic lane keeping), blind spot cameras, parking cameras etc. as well as heated seats/steering wheel, individual temp/fan controls per side, etc. but it burns more than twice as much gas as my Prius C, and I prefer the feel of driving a smaller car. Gimme those creature comforts and safety features on a sub-20K hybrid or fully electric car, please (yeah, right…)
  • My parents arrived OK a couple days later, and their stuff in a POD a couple days after that. We’ve been over a few times to help with a few things and generally to visit.
  • I thought we had things resolved at work but we encountered a couple of new showstoppers. (Also, I hate .NET and how Framework and Core have similar-looking but different version numbering schemes and out-of-order dates for how long they’re supported.) but Now we’re mostly just waiting on a 3rd party library vendor to fix an issue. So things have slowed down a bit for me and I’m doing a few long-wanted but low priority code cleanup tasks.
  • My spouse is sick, probably allergies but it hit hard. I’m not feeling super great myself, but our symptoms are quite different and I’m at least getting decent sleep.

I’ve been playing a lot of Guild Wars 2 lately. The “Realm of Dreams” update for Secrets of the Obscure landed just before the cat taxi run, bringing additional story chapters and the long-awaited expanded weapon proficiencies.

The story for SOTO is an absolute mess that I won’t even try to summarize, though it does have some intriguing bits. And almost every new combat mechanic and set-piece boss fight are SUPER ANNOYING (some encounters make it inevitable that you’re going to die and get resurrected over and over and over, others slow down your movement to an excruciating crawl). Nonetheless, I got the new goodies unlocked. Pistols for Guardians are OK, not amazing with my greatsword-focused guardian who was doing the story. Axes for thieves are pretty great (but maybe not better than staff, aside from having a little range). Pistols for Elementalists struck me as extremely meh. Maces for rangers are awesome, and I wound up leveling up a new ranger to 80 and going Soulbeast with them. (Also risked going to the SOTO area with them at level 63, avoiding all combat, to find a Sky-Chak Striker to tame. One aspect where SOTO does beat Path of Fire or Heart of Thorns: once you get a certain distance into the story, you have access to a portal there for all of your characters and don’t have to play through the story again to let them in.)

I also found some better guides and have been working on unlocking the skyscale mount in Tyria as well as SOTO. It’s overly complex, with game design clearly leaning on the availability of wikis and tutorials and online automated exchange rate tools. I now have all of the collections done, but since I wasn’t training the right Masteries on that Guardian, I still have to do more experience grinding stuff to fully unlock it. At least that’s straightforward.

Guild Wars 2 has coins, gems, karma, spirit shards, laurels, transmutation charges, research notes, astral acclaim, racing medallions, festival tokens, provisioner tokens, geodes, bandit crests, 16 expansion-specific currencies, 3 guild currencies, 8 PvP/WvW currencies, 8 raid/dungeon currencies. None of those require inventory slots and are shared between your characters. But then there are also inventory items: 11 keys, 16 core tokens, 16 Living World tokens, 3 expansion tokens, 14 festival tokens and 2 special event tokens. Plus some oddball crafting materials that are not that different from tokens. And some discontinued currencies and tokens which one might run into on occasion.

The skyscale’s saddle collection requires 30 provisioner tokens, which have to be acquired from scattered NPCs in exchange for other tokens/hoarded materials (or in a couple of cases, items from the auction house). But each NPC only allows buying one or two tokens per day per account. How is that fun?

This is *after* finding an egg (random drop in one of a few only-searchable-once-per-day locations; I got it on day 3), Skyscale Egg Infusions quest (which takes you all over the world and some of the steps require specific timed events, giving you about a 5-minute window during an event that happens every 3 hours), and the Skyscale Growing Comforts collection which required items dropped from specific enemies around the world).

For comparison, the raptor mount in Path of Fire happened right after the first running battle, and in fact is given away at an early level to all players now even without the expansion.

One of the reasons I have stuck with / come back to GW2 so many times over other games is how well it eases the friction that other MMOs present. Don’t want to join a guild or look for a group? No problem. Kill stealing? It doesn’t exist, everyone who does damage gets XP/loot. Penalties for dying? None. Inventory management? Smoothed. Don’t want PvP? It’s completely separate. Fast travel? Easy and fast. Account-wide currencies and bank vault? Yes. But the crafting and the different tiers of items get insanely complex, as do achievements/masteries/etc.. I suppose some people like that, though, and it does add some longevity to being at max level (in theory. In practice, how many new characters have I started?)

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