12 Tips for New and Old Guild Wars 2 Players

Guild Wars 2, Tangled Depths

Welcome to Steam Guild Wars 2!

Guild Wars 2 is a pretty great game that I’ve played on and off for quite a long time now and despite not progressing that far due to my own snail-pace playstyle, I think I’ve learned a thing or two along the way, especially some stuff that might be helpful to new players. With the new release of the game on Steam and despite how they, oddly, set it up so that you need to play as a new account to do so, there are a lot of new players coming in. Well, at least those players that the community haven’t scared away, anyway.

Sidenote: For real GW2 community, not every new player needs to be coddled and taught how to play the game. There are a lot of players, like myself, who see games as a puzzle to figure out and take pride in doing so without guides or handouts from other players. I have seen players in other games, too, absolutely soured due to an over-helpful community, it’s not just GW2. If you’re not sure, it’s always better to wait for those players to *seek out help themselves*. It’s basic consent, really.

That’s why I’m putting my tips here, in my blog where most players will never see it. However, if you’re one of the lucky ones able to, here are my top twelve basic tips for new and old Guild Wars 2 players. Just little things that I’ve found very helpful, and if they’ve helped me, I hope they help you.

Guild Wars 2, Metrica Province?

Dodging Negates Damage, Not Just Moves You Out of the Way

In a mechanic that isn’t found in many other games, dodging not only is a way to get out of a big telegraphed attack, but also negates all damage while you do so. So if you can’t get out of the way fast enough, timing it so that you dodge as the hit occurs will still negate the damage and is the best way, if not the key, to defeating many of the game’s bosses. Also, keybinding dodge to a specific key instead of double-tapping (I use Shift) helps make dodging a lot easier.

Right Click Reward Chests to Collect Them Quickly

If you right click on the reward chests that appear in the bottom right corner of the screen after you complete achievements, they’ll automatically place their contents directly into your inventory. If you’ve saved up quite a few of them before opening, like I tend to do, it’s a quick way to claim them all. Not every chest will let you do this, but a great majority will.

Identify Gear Before Salvaging

After playing a while, you’ll notice you’re acquiring stacks of unidentified armor in Fine, Masterwork, and Rare gear. You can salvage or sell the entire stack as is, but if you “use all” or double-click them, gear of that quality or *above* will come out. So, 10 unidentified Masterwork gear could have 1 or 2 Rares hidden in it. Plus, you’ll unlock all the armor skins that come along with all the gear.

Salvage All Fine/Rare and Lower Gear All at Once

If you right-click on a salvage kit the menu will have options to salvage all gear of a certain rarity or lower. So, after identifying all that gear in the above step, you can very quickly dismantle all the gear as well. Of course, if your character’s gear hasn’t reached full 80 Rares and Exotics yet, you should just do a quick double-check to make sure any gear isn’t an upgrade first before salvaging.

Deposit All Crafting Materials Directly Into Your Bank from your Inventory

And after salvaging all that gear, you can deposit all the crafting materials directly into your bank! In the upper right corner of the inventory pane there’s a button that will do just this. Be a bit careful here, too, as some materials used for crafting can also be used to upgrade your gear directly, like precious stones. Maybe periodically check your bank crafting tab. You might be surprised what’s in there.

Guild Wars 2, PvP Lobby

The PvP Lobby is a Quick Place for Town Services

Say you’re out exploring and run out of salvaging kits and need to hit a vendor or the bank real quick but don’t want to fully teleport back to town, what do you do? Instead of spending coin to teleport, you can just open the PvP window and enter the PvP lobby. There you will find, all within a very short distance of each other: a bank, auction house, and general vendor. The best part is once you’re done, just exit the PvP lobby by using the window again and you’ll appear right back in the same spot on Tyria you left!

Dynamic and Timed Events are a Great Way to Earn XP

While maybe not being the fastest way (which I believe is crafting), dynamic map events and timed events are a great way to earn lots of experience very quickly. I’m not sure if “Champion Trains” are as popular as they used to be, but running dynamic and timed events back to back will reward you with lots of experience AND loot. Good way to level up those mastery tracks.

Browse the Official Wiki by Typing /wiki in the Chat Window

Guild Wars 2 isn’t secretly referred to as “Guild Wiki 2” for no reason. In one of my worst criticisms of the game, there is so much that the game has that is either very poorly explained in game or not explained at all. Instead, the game relies heavily on it’s official wiki, which *is* very helpful. So helpful that to access it you can just type in “/wiki XXX” in the chat window and it will bring up your default web browser right to the wiki entry for whatever you typed in as XXX.

One of the best uses of this feature is for checking Event Timers! For that, just type in “/wiki et” and you’ll quickly see which Timed Events are going on at that exact moment!

Timed Events Run on a Cycle that Repeats at the Same Time Every Day

To be honest, I’m not sure whether the events cycle every 4 hours or 6 hours completely. However, the way the big bosses cycle their events they will start at the same time every day. So, when I wanted to complete all the Triple Trouble achievements, Triple Trouble starts every night for me at 9 PM and Midnight. It was no trouble to log in at those exact times and run the event. Now I need achievements for Tequatl, which starts at 8 PM or 11 PM. It’s best to figure out what time you normally play and then remember to hit the event during that time. However, I do expect once Daylight Savings Time ends for me that the Guild Wars 2 schedule will shift as well. That is, until time changes are abolished entirely.

Guild Wars 2, Queensdale

If You’re Lost on What To Do Next, Achievements Help

Guild Wars 2 is very much a game about achievement hunting. So much so that when you are at the point of the game where Masteries become important, almost all of them need completing achievements to acquire. To complete all the Heart of Thorns Mastery tracks, for example, you need 144 Mastery Points! Good thing there are 198 of them available! Events like Wintersday, Dragon Bash, or Halloween, too, mostly all rewards will come from completing Event Daily, Yearly, and other Achievements. This combines well with the “/wiki” tip from above, too.

Use Karma to Purchase Locked Armor Skins from Renown Heart Vendors

Karma is a currency gained through completing events and Map Renown Hearts that you will find accumulates rather quickly with seemingly not a lot to spend it on. As of right now I have 1.5 Million karma, for example. After you complete Renown Hearts, a vendor will be available to purchase items for Karma including recipes, armor, and other items. A great use of karma is in filling up your weapon and armor skin collection by way of these vendors. Gotta collect them all.

Complete Maps for Transmutation Charges and Black Lion Chest Keys

Map completion is also very rewarding and a great way to earn Transmutation Charges, used to change the way your character’s armor or weapons look using any skin you’ve found. The ‘Identifying’ tip above helps with acquiring those weapon/armor skins, too. Also, if you’re level 80, there is about a 30% chance you’ll acquire a Black Lion Chest Key from completing maps as well. So, with Transmutation Charges, Black Lion Chest Keys, and map completing needed for Legendary weapons, it’s a good idea to focus on doing so.

Guild Wars 2, Ember Bay

Is that all 12? Yeah, I think that’s all of the tips I have for now. If I come up with more later I’ll probably just add them to this post. Anyway, Guild Wars 2 is a great game and I hope you enjoy your time in Tyria!

// Ocho

August Gaming: Space Expeditions, Farmer’s Faires, Volcanic Islands, and Trips to the Zoo

Lord of the Rings Online, The Shire

The final month of summer comes to a close and the autumn air has very quickly descended in my neck of the woods. The windows are wide open as I write this, letting in the refreshing coolness with a hint of woodsmoke on the air. About dang time after how hot this summer has been.

My gaming in August mostly reflected that heat, with Lord of the Rings Online dominating my playtime with their summer Farmer’s Faire. I love a good seasonal event. The rest of the month was split between three other games. I started off the month with some No Man’s Sky, followed by Lord of the Rings Online, a detour into The Division 2, and finished up with Guild Wars 2.

No Man's Sky, asteroid field

No Man’s Sky’s Polestar Expedition is still going on until September 6th and, considering it took me 5 nights to complete, it’s probably a bit too late to start it now. The latest Expedition took place entirely on the newly renovated frigates, showing off what the latest update to frigates is capable of. I’m not sure if a regular playthrough makes frigates as useful as a terrestrial base as the currency needed to build them up is still rare. I wonder if the next Expedition will be a new one or just a replay of the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th expeditions like last year ended. If they do another rehash of the first expedition, though, I highly suggest playing it to pick up that Golden Vector.

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire Shimmering Breeze mount

Next came Lord of the Rings Online for the annual Farmer’s Faire, a celebration of trying to cool down by delivering ice blocks and ice cream and literally throwing fireballs at heat to defeat them. I started with a plethora of tokens from last year’s festival and since there wasn’t too much new besides a new beagle dog pet to pick up I didn’t have to spend time on the festival this year. And yet I did, while also simultaneously finishing up The Great River zone and the leadup to Riders of Rohan. Most importantly, though, I figured out how LotRO’s Legendary Item system works, which in itself feels like a huge accomplishment.

The Division 2, Manning National Zoo aquarium entrance

After some cozy gaming in LotRO, I apparently felt like doing the opposite of cozy, though, and spent some time in The Division 2. In real life I’m quite the pacifist and heavily believe in gun control and peaceful resolutions. Division 2 you’d think would be very gung-ho conservatism, but playing it feels anything but and I find when real world news starts getting to me The Division and The Division 2, where you’re helping to rebuild society, helping civilians in need, promoting green living, and putting the screws to authoritarian militias and gangs really hits the spot. Plus, The Division series is basically “have shootouts in famous tourist landmarks” which by itself is enough of a draw to me. This stint I completed Camp White Oak (based off Camp David) and the Manning National Zoo (based off the Smithsonian National Zoo), completing Division 2‘s Episode 1 update. The Zoo, though long, quickly became one of my favorite zones in all of Division. Such an amazing setting.

Guild Wars 2, Ring of Fire Islands, Ember Bay

Finally, Guild Wars 2, I came back drawn by their 10th year anniversary celebrations and giveaways and continued my main story progress. I finished up the final bits of Bloodstone Fen and made real headway into Ember Bay, part of the volcanic Ring of Fire Islands. Thankfully, this time last year exactly I finally completed the Guild Wars Prophecies campaign, and so coming back to the Ring of Fire so soon feels pretty great as it’s relatively fresh. Although, Ember Bay as a zone is pretty quick and straightforward (finally new hearts, though). Sadly, the next GW2 expansion up next for me is Path of Fire, but since that’s based off Guild Wars Nightfall I feel I might have to complete the original Factions and Nightfall first? That may stop my Guild Wars 2 progression pretty hard.

Well, of course, plenty of gaming to get through and never enough time to do it. I’m starting September in a lull, not much content really draws me out in September. So I may finish up the rest of Guild Wars 2 Ember Bay and then maybe continue Factions. I really should start focusing on trying to get back into Twitch streaming but I want to make sure my life and health comes back in order before starting up a streaming routine again.

Anyway, happy September all! What have you been playing lately? Let me know in the comments and let the fall, pumpkin-spice, and pre-spooky season commence!

// Ocho

LotRO’s Legendary Item Leveling Guide

Lord of the Rings Online, The Great River

I believe I’ve figured it out. A few days ago I posted how I was totally confused about the Lord of the Rings new Legendary Item system. After poring over the wiki and checking all the in-game explanations, I believe I’ve figured out how it works with leveling through the game. I think. Some of it probably won’t become more clear until I hit those marks but here’s my basic path. I’ve compiled it into a Google Sheet for easy access.

Basically, your legendary items are reforged almost every 5 levels, with levels 100, 105, and 120 getting their own specific reforge increases. Most expansions increase the level cap by 10 levels and the mid-point through those expansions the reforge opens up more Tracery Slots, except Siege of Mirkwood (only a 5 level increase), Riders of Rohan, and Fate of Gundabad (so far).

You start switching out Traceries to the next Tracery level during Helm’s Deep (1 to 4), Battle of Pelennor Fields (4 to 7), Mordor (7 to 9), Where Dragons Dwell (9 to 11), Minas Morgul (11 to 13), and Fate of Gundabad (13 to 14). Upgrading tracery levels increases the base Item Level of the Tracery, so it’s always good to do as soon as possible, but with traceries having a maximum level you need to upgrade them during those expansions to get the most out of them. Also, the Item Level of the LI dictates the maximum level each Tracery can be enhanced to using Runes, with Rune Enhancement tiers increasing with every expansion past the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

So I hope this helps. If anything changes, I’ll try to keep this guide updated but for right now this should help as a basic path. I assume once I get to level 101 and the pattern of Tracery tier and Enhancement tiers start being upgraded every expansion it’ll all fall into place, but I won’t get to even that until after Riders of Rohan and Helm’s Deep so I have quite a ways to go.


Lord of the Rings Online, Legendary Item System Leveling Guide
This Google Sheet hopefully helps.

Mines of Moria

You enter the Mines of Moria at level 50 and are handed a brand new set of Legendary Items (LI Item Level 52) that need 1 Heraldric Tracery, 2 Word of Mastery Traceries, and 1 Word of Craft Tracery each.

At level 56, a reforge will add a new LI Weapon and Class Word of Power, bringing the total number of Traceries to 10 total and increase the LI Item Level to 60. Use Yellow level 50 enhancement runes to bring the traceries up to their 60 max.

Siege of Mirkwood

Siege of Mirkwood increased the level cap to 65. Reforges will bring the LI Item Level up to 65 as well. Again, use Yellow level 50 Enhancement Runes to bring the traceries level up to 65.

Rise of Isengard

Rise of Isengard increased the level cap to 75. The level 66 reforge increases the Item Level and max Enhancement level to 70. Still use Yellow level 50 Enhancement runes as their max enhancement is also 70.

At level 71, a reforge adds a new Weapon & Class Word of Mastery (12 Traceries Total) and increases the Item Level and max Enhancement level to 75. Finally, the Purple lvl 50 Enhancement Runes can enhance to 95, so use them to increase traceries to lvl 75.

Lord of the Rings Online, Isengard

Riders of Rohan

The level 76 Reforge is the first one that bucks the trend and instead of staying on level raises the Item Level (and max Enhancement level) to 100. To reach that max takes Blue level 50 Enhancement Runes.

No new Traceries are added with the level 81 reforge, but it would take Orange level 50 Enhancement Runes to fully bring it up to the full 125 Item & Enhancement level as the Blue runes stop at Item Level 115.

Helm’s Deep

The level 86 Reforge is the first opportunity to start replacing Traceries to the next tier up (from 1 to 4), and to get the most out of them should be done as soon as possible. Their new Item Level starts at 126 and can be brought up to 155 using the new tier of Level 86 Yellow and Purple Enhancement Runes.

The level 91 Reforge raises the Item Level to 175 and adds a new Word of Power to your Class LI, bringing the total to 13 Traceries.

Lord of the Rings Online, Enedwaith

Paths of the Dead

Only 5 levels are added with this update but has two separate LI Level reforges at 96 and 100. By level 96 all your Traceries should be updated to the 4th tier. The level 96 reforge brings the Item Level up to 190 and the level 100 reforge brings it up to 200.

Level 100’s reforge adds a new Weapon and Class Word of Mastery, 15 Traceries Total. Enhancements still use Level 86 Runes, although Orange are needed to bring them all up to 200.

Battle of Pelennor Fields

Battle of Pelennor Fields adds only another 5 levels but, like Paths of the Dead, has two reforges at 101 and 105. This update starts the next level of Tracery, tier 7, which start at Item Level 201. New Level 101 Enhancement Runes can be used to bring the max to 215.

Level 105 reforge upgrades the Item Level to 250 and adds a new Weapon and Class Word of Mastery (17 total). Level 101 Enhancement Runes can take you up to 240 without needing Orange Runes.


The 9th Tracery Tier starts at the level 106 reforge, with an increase to Item Level 315. New level 106 Enhancement Runes can help bring it up there.

The level 111 reforge adds a new Weapon and Class Word of Craft (19 total), and an Item level increase to 349. Level 106 Enhancement Runes can bring them up to 340 without Orange runes.

Lord of the Rings Online, Festival Garden at Duillond
Have you ever looked up while stomping shrews?

Where Dragons Dwell

The Level 116 reforge raises the Item Level to 365 and starts the 11th tier of Tracery upgrades. New level 116 Enhancement Runes allow players to upgrade to max.

The Level 120 reforge increases the Item Level to 399 and adds a new Weapon and Class Word of Mastery, 21 total. Item Level 390 is the highest you can get without Orange Runes.

Minas Morgul

The Level 121 reforge raises the Item Level to 415 and starts the 13th tier of Tracery upgrades. You can upgrade to max with new level 121 Enhancement Runes.

The Level 126 reforge increases the Item Level to 449 and adds a new Weapon and Class Word of Power, 23 total. Item level 440 is the highest you can get without Orange Runes.

Fate of Gundabad

So, this is where this guide might not be future-proofed (unless I update it) as this is the latest level cap upgrade. As of this writing the level 131 reforge raises the Item Level to 465 and starts the 14th tier of Tracery upgrades. You can upgrade to max with new level 131 Enhancement Runes.

The level 136 Reforge is the final reforge in the game so far and upgrades your Item Level to 480, the current cap. No new Tracery slots are added with this reforge, and so far all you need are Level 131 Yellow and Purple enhancement runes to get up to 480. If the pattern holds, eventually the Item Level will be raised to 499 with the max achievable without Orange Runes being 490 (but this hasn’t occurred yet).

// Ocho

Nothing is Bad

Shroud of the Avatar, under a cracked moon among the cherry blossoms

Probably one of my hottest takes. This has been a topic that has been bothering me for quite a while now and I’m still not sure I’m capable of fully explaining it well but I feel it whenever I see others go off on how terrible they think something is or how bad games or TV shows are. Being a big Star Trek fan, there’s been a lot of hate thrown Star Trek‘s way especially with all the new stuff that’s been coming out since 2017. Or with Star Wars‘ new movies and all of it’s new series. Claims everywhere how it’s all bad and terrible and awful. Now with the new Lord of the Rings show coming out soon, people are already up in arms and it’s not even out. Come on. The more it happens, the more I’ve come to a realization about myself: I don’t think anything is bad.

Now, let me quantify this a bit. I’m not talking about the actions of major corporations or politicians or the actions taken by developers or people. Peoples or companies actions and their words can indeed be “bad”. I’m talking about the products themselves. Books, games, movies, TV shows, food choices, etc. They’re *not* bad. It’s not the *thing* itself that is bad, because “Bad” ultimately is just a personal opinion but is used as implied majority.

Take Shroud of the Avatar, for example. Perfect? Far from it. But for every person that I’ve heard claim it as a bad game, I can point to many others that love it (and it does have quite a few novel mechanics you just don’t find elsewhere). For as much as people rail against the new Star Wars movies, I know people who say they really like them. For all the people who say all the new Star Trek offerings are bad, I’m personally really quite fond of them.

Star Trek Online, impulse engines heading toward a sparking anomaly

If you’re not a fan of these new things, that’s okay. You could simply just say “it’s not for me”. That’s fine. We’re not supposed to be fans of everything or like every little thing out there and we don’t have to. But just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s bad! People have placed their livelihoods, hundreds of hours of work into these projects, these labors of love. It doesn’t take much to show some respect for that effort and have some humility that your opinion doesn’t overrule others love.

Maybe it’s just been years of introspection, or maybe I find that I’m oddly drawn to things that others are repeatedly telling me are bad or dead. Invariably with me finding lots of worth and value, even if the overall product isn’t perfect. Or it could be simply that in this current climate that spending energy being angry about something so trivial as a game or TV show just feels entirely wasteful.

Secret World Legends, Orochi Tower, escaping fungus

So if your content creation starts entirely revolving around how bad things are or how they’re dying, that’s a very quick way to turn me away or thinking anything you say has value. “Hate gets clicks” I’m sure is still a reality, and it may still even get my click on occasion, but it won’t keep me long or entice me to follow. I’ve absolutely dropped support for writers or other artists due to shifts away from constructive criticism and into bashing.

So, the amount of energy I have these days for hating things that others love or tolerating even listening to that bashing is very little. Sorry not sorry.

// Ocho

Fastest Path through the Farmer’s Faire

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, riding the Shimmering Breeze steed

UPDATE: The day after I wrote this guide (The Very Next Day!), I discovered a path through the Farmer’s Faire that shaved off a whole 2 1/2 minutes!!

The Farmer’s Faire in Lord of the Rings Online is currently going on until the early morning of August 30th, 2022. It’s a fantastic celebration of the summer season and I was just saying in my last post how the Farmer’s Faire was a key to making LotRO one of my most played games.

Listening to this week’s MassivelyOP Podcast, they were discussing the fastest route to 10 festival quests to complete the daily wrapper quickly, and since I’ve been running through the event I feel like I can possibly help answer this!

(Of course if you’re looking for a much more comprehensive guide, and not just some schlub like me’s opinions, your best bet is FibroJedi’s guides, which are amazing and super comprehensive and you should totally go support Fibro’s site. For real)

So here’s my “Fast Path” through the Farmer’s Faire. 10 Quests. 11 1/2 minutes (I timed it). 46 Tokens. Go!

Start in Bywater

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, Bywater Market Stall
Bywater Market Stall

1. Pick up the Wrapper Quest “A Sunny Faire Day” from Campanula Chubb in Bywater.

2. Pick up the quest Manning the Market, then pick up the 1st mission on the left of customers facing Daisy, Apple Shopping.

3. Head to the back of the stall and pick up apples out of the crates until complete. Turn in Apple Shopping.

4. Pick up Shopping List quest from customer on the right end, A Vendor List and around Bywater pick up (counter clockwise): Hard Cheese, White Onion, Brown Bread, Bacon, and a Big Cabbage. Turn in A Vendor List.

5. Pick up quest from 2nd to right customer, A Market List. Pick up (again counter clockwise): Hard Cheese, White Onion, White Bread, and a Green Apple. Turn in A Market List.

6. Pick up quest from 3rd to right customer, A Shopping List. Pick up: Soft Cheese, Red Onion, White Bread, Pork Chop, Green Apple, and a Small Cabbage. Turn in A Shopping List.

To the Party Tree!

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, Party Tree festival grounds
Party Tree and, of course, a rainbow. The Shire has mandatory rainbows.

7. Head to the Party Tree and pick up 5 Quests around the area: Crash Landing, Flying High, Going Hungry, Too Much Festival, and Defeat the Heat.

8. To start defeat 5 quickly-respawning Heat Waves around the Party Tree.

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, Rock northeast of Party Tree
1st Crashed Kite and Foxglove’s Book

9. Head up onto the Rock Northeast of the Party Tree and get the 1st Crashed Kite and Foxglove’s Book.

10. Head to the Camp Site East of the Party Tree and Fly the 1st Kite.

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, under the Party Tree
Crashed Kite and Ball of Twine

11. Head toward the Party Tree and under the tree is a 2nd Crashed Kite and Foxglove’s Twine.

12. Head South to get the 3rd Crashed Kite on the hedgerow.

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, Gaffer's Lane
Gaffer’s Lane Crashed Kite and Foxglove’s Parasol

13. Jump over the hedge to the lane below and pick up the 4th Crashed Kite and Foxglove’s Parasol.

14. Head back up the hill to the Inn League tent and pick up Foxglove’s Wine.

15. Go north to the Ovens and pick up Foxglove’s Teapot.

The Appledores

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, Appledores
Crashed Kite and Cheese Basket

16. Mount up and head west to the Appledores and pick up the 5th Crashed Kite and the Cheese Basket.

17. Head northeast and fly the 2nd Kite.

Bag End

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, Bag End
Crashed Kite and Porridge

18. Head up to Bag End and pick up the 5th Crashed Kite and Bowl of Porridge.

19. Head North Behind Bag End and fly the 3rd Kite.

Pond East of Bag End

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, pond
Pond East of Bag End, Fresh Mushrooms and Flying Kite

20. Head down the hill to the east to the pond east of Bag End. Pick up the Fresh Mushrooms and fly the 4th Kite.

The Grange and Hobbiton

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, the Grange
The Grange – Egg Basket and Flying Kite

21. Head back toward the road and head south to The Grange. At the Grange pick up the Egg Basket.

22. Head south of the Grange and fly the 5th Kite.

23. Head east and pick up the Bread Basket on the Bridge to Hobbiton.

24. Head back to the Party Tree and turn in Defeat the Heat, Flying High, Going Hungry, Crash Landing, and Too Much Festival to make 9 quests completed.

25. The 10th quest is Manning the Market, and it’s timer should have already completed while completing the other quests. If not, just wait for it to tick down.

26. Turn in the A Sunny Faire Day wrapper at the Party Tree with… Campanula Chubb?!

All Done!

Lord of the Rings Online, Farmer's Faire, the Shire, Shimmering Steed horse
The Shimmering Steed Bounty

That’s it! There’s plenty more quests to do, of course, and everything from ransacking mushrooms to collecting chicken eggs to watching races and all the fishing you could ever want. This is just the path I’ve found to be the quickest through the festival to complete the Daily Wrapper.

If you want the steeds, though, you’ll need to run a lot more than the minimum 10. 240 tokens are needed for the Shimmering Breeze steed and all its accoutrements. You’ll still want as many tokens as you can get. But to just finish the daily? This is the fastest I’ve found.

If you have a faster path you take to get your 10 complete, I’d love to hear it! And of course, again, go check out FibroJedi’s guides. Really. They’re fantastic.

// Ocho

It Took a Failing Video Card and Sweeping Personal Changes to Make Lord of the Rings Online my Most Played Game

Lord of the Rings Online, the idyllic Shire

Since I’ve been keeping meticulous track of my gaming habits, over 5 1/2 years now, Lord of the Rings Online currently tops my list as my most played game. If you had told me this even 7 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. At the time, I had only dipped my toes into LotRO and came away largely unimpressed. The furthest I had been able to get a character without scrapping them were the Barrow Downs. To become my most played it took major changes to LotROs stance on story, a structural change in how I approached gaming, and a failing video card.

It was near the end of summer of 2018 when the video card in my PC started failing. Any game I played that was a significant draw on the video card, like Elder Scrolls Online, would cause the machine to crash. Not LotRO, though. LotRO‘s use of my video card was just small enough that it didn’t cause issues. So for a while LotRO was the only game I could really play and enjoy and it just happened to be right in the middle of the Farmer’s Faire event.

Lord of the Rings Online, fishing at the Farmer's Faire in Bywater
Look at how peaceful this is! Look at it!

2018 was pretty stressful for me. My son was turning 1 year old, my health was taking a sharp hit, and my professional life was being upended due to child care/health balances. I needed something relaxing. LotRO ended up being just the game I needed.

In the Farmer’s Faire you help hobbits with shopping tasks, find and fly lost kites, run around corn fields and chicken yards, and spend quite a while simply fishing. All in the idyllic setting of Tolkien’s Shire. You seriously can’t find a more relaxing gaming setting.

Instead of rerolling a new character I took my Runekeeper, which up till then had only reached level 24, dusted them off and continued where they left off. Up until about 2016 or so my usual habit was when coming back to any game to start over from scratch. This wasn’t really working for me, though, as I’d just constantly replay starting zones and never make any progress or complete games. With the start of my game tracking in 2017 I decided to try never restarting and keeping more detailed notes about my character’s goals so I could jump right back in with little refresh time. My only other issue was the group-centric main story.

Lord of the Rings Online, Fireworks above the Party Tree
Fireworks, too?! Over a gorgeous red sunset?! Come on!

If you remember, LotRO originally forced almost all story content to be done in full 5-player parties. I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand what drove them to think that was a good idea. Well, no, I can. Subscriptions. Forcing players to waste time was a way to hammer home that the game was a “world” or a “lifestyle” and finding groups to run the content took more time and heavy interaction with the community. I’m weird in that I love MMOs and having the other players around but I hate when games force you to interact with them. That forcefully slowed progression and meant players couldn’t rush and thus spend more money in sub time. Wasting time as a business model. It’s no surprise subscriptions were doomed to be overtaken by other models.

However, right before LotRO went Free-To-Play and wasting players time was no longer the best path forward, they changed their mind. On or about March 2010, all Volume 1 content was made soloable with Volume 2 becoming soloable in March 2011. Amazing it took them until Siege of Mirkwood to fully realize their games biggest draw was their expansive story!

Lord of the Rings Online, Rivendell
Rivendell, home of the most waterfalls per capita of any city, probably

That was the final barrier for me. And so with the ability to easily see all the story in front of me, one of the most relaxing and cozy settings imaginable, and without perpetually restarting from scratch, finally Lord of the Rings Online became one of my favorite games. Of course I’ve only made it up to the doorstep of Rohan, but I’ve been slowly making up for lost time.

Now I’m only 10 years behind the latest content but I’m catching up fast. Err… faster than I was, anyway.

// Ocho

Trying to Wrap My Head Around LotRO’s New Legendary Item System

Lord of the Rings Online, Rivendell

I’m not finding this easy. Maybe LotRO’s new Legendary Item system would be easy if I was at max level and was basically rebuilding a max level Legendary into the new format but I’m not. My main character, and the one I’ve made the most progress with so far, is only level 75, and just finished The Great River pre-Riders of Rohan zone.

Or maybe it’d be easier if I hadn’t stepped into Moria and got a fresh Legendary Item at the beginning. But no, I’m only part-way through leveling and, for someone like me who likes to simplify systems and make a clear progression path forward, I’m finding the new system very daunting. Let me explain.

Lord of the Rings Online, talking with Elrond
Hey Elrond, are you renting any rooms out?

First, you have the weapon itself, in my case a Runekeeper’s stone. At first they didn’t release any stones besides frost for RKs and my character specializes in fire. Took some waiting and reshuffling to make it fire again. So it goes. The weapon has to be reforged every few levels at a forge-master. Simple enough.

On reforge you can open up slots to put in special abilities like extra damage, more healing, primary stats, etc. But those “traceries” have different levels to them, based on your character level, and limits to enhancing them. So they need to be replaced as you level up and reforge.

Then the traceries can be enhanced with runes to push them ever further, but those enhancements are also level gated, with different levels and limited on how much they can enhance.

Lord of the Rings Online, Great River dream, a big sword in the swamp
I bet that’s Legendary.

It’s all tied together with Ancient Script, a currency to buy all the upgrades and enhancements that seems hard to come by. Not only rare, but a currency that is inexplicably capped, too. I guess, to prevent you from hoarding it to force you into using it? Beats me. Acquiring the script comes from deconstructing traceries you don’t need and a Battle Pass type system that resets every three months or so. Or at least those are the only ways I’ve found.

My character is currently sitting in the Legendary Item room in Rivendell poring over all the fiddliness, trying to create a path through the level 75+ game. Figuring what abilities to add at which levels and when to replace those abilities for higher level abilities and how to enhance them so as to conserve Script, which I won’t acquire as much as more dedicated players, while still capped at max Script. All wondering when the system is going to screw me over and leave me with an underpowered weapon while pointing me toward the cash shop as the solution to “fix” it.

Lord of the Rings Online, a beautiful sunset

As much as the previous system was also heavily maligned, it certainly wasn’t as fiddly or it didn’t feel as fiddly as this. This will take me quite a while to really wrap my head around and make a full leveling plan. As much as players were originally saying that it’s much better than the old system, right now I’m just not seeing it.

Maybe Elrond will let me rent a room. The amount of time I’m going to be hanging out here at the Last Homely House, I’m going to need one.

// Ocho

Quick Review: Guild Wars 2 Living World Season 1: Clockwork Chaos

Guild Wars 2, Clockwork Chaos, giant robot

Guild Wars 2 has been in the process of filling in the gaps in their storylines with all the content brought about during the first season of their “Living World”. In effect, filling in the now quite awkward jump from the end of the base game and the second Living World series, and I’m here for it because that jump was, well, awkward.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m well behind the times when it comes to current content and so it was that from January 2013 to March 2014 I was playing anything but Guild Wars 2. Or maybe I was but since I hadn’t reached the end of the base game yet I felt the new Living World content was out of reach. They didn’t want me to think that, of course, but playing content out of order just never sat well with me.

Guild Wars 2, Clockwork Chaos, Scarlet Briar brandishing a rifle
Scarlet Briar: Awesome, but definitely an under-developed villain-of-the-week.

So when I finally beat the base game and Zhaitan I was met with a “hey, go talk to this person in Lion’s Arch”. That led to a cinematic about Scarlet, what her whole deal was, and how she was defeated and then immediately pushed into the Living World Season 2 prequel into Heart of Thorns. Including all these new people and friends we’re suddenly besties with that we’ve never met before.

Which is fine, it’s an okay stopgap, and the new characters you meet are all pretty great. But the sudden jump and obvious gap were still less than ideal. So when ArenaNet announced they were going back and recreating the events of the Living World Season 1 so the player could play through them, I was all there for it.

Guild Wars 2, Clockwork Chaos, a watchknight ready for duty
High heels? Really? Who put in the order for the super sexy model?

To be honest, though, having played through the first 3 chapters now, mostly 100%ing all the achievements (except the group-focused ones), there’s not a metric ton of content there. What is there feels good, like adding world events to the timers that will run perpetually now, but each chapter so far has only taken between 3-7 nights to fully flesh out. And, I don’t know, the original events over time have felt so mythical that they seemed much larger than this. When it originally launched in 2013, was this basically all there was?

Either way, I’m super happy that they’ve decided to at least fill in these gaps. Even if the chapters themselves can be blown through fairly quick. It shows that they’re caring about the long-term health of the game, preparing for when the servers drop in population and players like me want to still experience the story.

Catering to my playstyle will always make me happy.

// Ocho

Perpetually Behind the Curve

Lord of the Rings Online, Isengard

The way that I’ve found I’m most comfortable playing games these days is taking things slowly, at my own pace, on-level (if possible), and completing as much as possible before moving on. I feel like this isn’t that special and many others play this way, too. Probably not with as many MMOs as I do, though. However, this has led to a fairly obvious conclusion: I’m perpetually behind where most players are in almost every game.

This isn’t a bad thing, though. I’ve absolutely come to embrace this as game companies seemingly push the latest updates like they’re the only content still worth playing. To me, though, skipping to the newest content is like reading a book and skipping to the middle. You’ll probably be able to figure stuff out, sure, but the references won’t make any sense. Level skips and whatnot have to sell well, though. Skipping everything just to be at the top has to be in demand enough to be a draw. Just hard for me to fathom.

So in Lord of the Rings Online I’m currently rolling through Great River, 10 years old now. Guild Wars 2 working through the Living World Season 3 content post Heart of Thorns, 6 years old. Guild Wars 1 working through Factions, 16 years old. Elder Scrolls Online, getting ready to enter Clockwork City, almost 5 years old. Even the most modern game I’m playing regularly, Division 2, I’m 3 years behind.

Guild Wars, Kaineng City
Kaineng City is such an amazing zone, I’d have missed out if I rushed.

Truly, though, I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. Others would kill to see this content again like it was the first time, I’m giving it the appreciation it deserves.

Older stuff deserves respect! Or at least that’s what I tell my aging self.

// Ocho

Why Start Blogging Again?

Elder Scrolls Online, looking out at the vast sea off the coast of Vvardenfell

I honestly have no idea. Years ago I started this blog as just a way to socialize with others in the gaming community as there were fewer options to do so in the larger gaming space. The blogging medium, however, has completely changed. It has gone from long-form opinions being largely found through personal blogs and news sites to a more visual bend or fragmented, smaller snippets of text. Youtube, Twitch, Instagram, and Tik Tok are the leaders now. The written blog is quickly losing favor.

I’ve had some luck with Twitch to see the inner workings. I get it, and I get the draw to it, but even Twitch admitted a while back that streamers are largely discovered from outside the platform. Is a hope for popularity a reason to write or stream, though? If not professional, why do it at all? These questions periodically haunt me. Time and effort invested into the equivalence of screaming into the void.

Lord of the Rings Online, a sweeping vista of Dunland probably

I have no training in writing professionally (this should be obvious). Truth be told, I believe that I’m a horrible writer. At least with Twitch I’ve had a modicum of experience with professional theatrical work, but the arts are all connected. Writing, streaming, drawing, painting, singing, acting, they all have a shared connection. I find I get the same fulfillment from a good game as I do from a good movie or a good book or a good streaming show. Different engagement, but a similar fulfillment.

In the end the only reason I could come up with is just that: connection. To not just be the outside observer and consumer, but to throw in my two cents into the perpetually churning ocean of content. All in the hope that a connection out there, somewhere, is made. A mark that wasn’t there previously has been indelibly left behind.

Secret World Legends, following a path into the abyss, searching for Tyler Freeborn

The struggle to attempt to make that mark, though, is balanced on a psychological See-Saw. Tottering between the See: “What’s the use? Nobody is going to see this.” and the Saw: “I don’t care if anybody sees it!” See: “Where is the value?” Saw: “Why does it need value?” See: “There is no return on investment!” Saw: “Not all hobbies need returns.” See: “The effort won’t lead to professional development.” Saw: “All endeavors develop you in ways incomprehensible in the moment.” See: “Why take the shot if it won’t lead to anything?” Saw: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Those times when the See-Saw falls on the See side, though, are my long breaks and lack of consistency. Those breaks are why I won’t celebrate anniversaries, their number marred by discontinuity. When life rears it’s head and truly says ‘No’ and you have to listen. With the past few weeks I’ve had I’m wondering how I’m even able to hit the ‘Publish’ button now.

Star Trek Online, some random planet with rings of asteroids

So please don’t be fooled by me being able to periodically hit that button. It’s really not as easy as it looks. You have to be comfortable with serious introspection. That may lead you to new places you’ve never been otherwise. Or it won’t and, like this post, may just lead you wandering around inside your own head giving a tour to the world.

For some reason I find both worthwhile. I don’t know what that says about me.

// Ocho