Being a dungeon noob is stressful
Posted by Troll Racials are Overpowered [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 September 2013, 7:00 am
I finally did my first dungeon in Guild Wars 2. Not a year late, for I took about a year off, but surely it shouldn't have taken me this long. The first was available at 20 or so. I didn't even consider doing one until I was near 80. Even once I'd decided that I would do a dungeon it took days to actually do it. It's time to round up the reasons why, and maybe see if there is anything to do about that.

 Guild Wars 2 is not nice to new people. It is particularly unkind to WoW people. In fact, I attribute my ability to have played it again and not wandered away confused to my having not played much WoW in months. Instead I played shooters, and Civilization, but the latter is not relevant. I spent a lot of time aiming while moving, shooting things while not letting them touch me, and generally working out the notion that I should run like a chicken with its head cut off, but like it still has its head and is carefully avoiding the guy with the axe.

WoW has movement, but outside of PvP it doesn't have much quick movement. Get out of the fire, but what's the rush, really? Boss drags you in, you run out. Outside of the choreographed dances the movement is comparatively leisurely. Add to that years of muscle memory of exactly how fast your character is, and probably every single boss fight too, and there's very little pressure. Guild Wars 2 likes to do devastating things very quickly, and you cannot simply move, but must instead dodge, because in this magical world rolling on the floor makes you temporarily invulnerable to most attacks.

Some mobs I could fight a half-dozen at a time and maybe have room for one more. Other mobs will seriously tax my survival with just one. It's something to do with evading attacks. Some hurt more, but more importantly, some are broadcasted more clearly. Maybe the animation is longer, maybe it's bigger and more dramatic. Compare dodging a centaur's knockdown with a bunch of little tiny spiders shooting poison.

Scale this up to a boss level and maybe you'll understand my reluctance. I could die at any moment and I would very likely have no idea why. Was there a constant AoE? How much did that condition hurt? When exactly do I dodge? This was exactly what happened on the first boss. I died and died, not in any of the red circle spam, but dead anyway. Maybe I should get a couple pistols so I can do more than auto-attack when at long range.

Generally people have been pretty nice in Guild Wars 2. Not sunshine and flowers nice, but rarely are they blatantly rude. Yet there are just enough mean people to keep me on edge, wondering if I'm going to find myself back in trade chat, or worse, a random PUG. It's not fun being on the losing end of a boss fight, or a group fight, and with my almost total lack of experience, the odds of the former, and therefore the latter, were daunting.

There is no LFG tool. I don't mean an automatic random cross-server group generator. I mean that it has nothing. There isn't even a way to list yourself as looking for a group, putting Guild Wars 2 instancing at the same level of sophistication as pre-Burning Crusade WoW. On the plus side, the waypoint system means that once you've found the entrance there's little travel time to worry about.

Thankfully, players have made their own lfg website. That's great. It's how I found my group. But it sure would be nice to not need to tab out to check it. I wonder how many people even know it exists. I didn't until very recently. Though given that it's about 50-50 that anyone saying lfg in a channel is told about it, I suppose many people have some notion that it exists.

So far my dungeon experience probably doesn't sound so great. The first fight was admittedly awful. Before and after that I died running past trash (since mobs leash in instances this seems to be the way to go). I was a blantantly noobish noob who was somehow level 80 and didn't even know to switch to group-oriented tools before the boss. Yet no one was mean about it. They gave some basic directions and a few bits of advice. At least one bit could have been appropriately followed with " , dumbass", yet it was not.

One particular bright spot is the res mechanic. With all the defeated NPCs that give experience and sometimes quest credit, it's a habit to res things. Run over and click on them. In combat, out of combat, doesn't matter, though it is a lot faster out of combat. In group events you'll see a few people helping up the dead person. I'm not even sure it's an altruistic gesture as much as it is a habit. The result is that I didn't have to deal with an angry rezzer who refused to do so. People just pick you up and go back to shooting nightmare vines.

In the end I got some shinies and the idea that maybe I could run some more in the future.

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