A sad farewell – TT going out of style like Comic Sans MS

Hey, everyone.

Given our inactivity over the past half year, it’s probably no surprise I bring the unfortunate news that TT is going to be discontinued for the foreseeable future. 

I’ll save everybody the long-story – ultimately, though, as the manager and founder of TT, I have neglected the site for a while and finally decided I needed to take a good look at the whys and hows and such to that. It’s always the IRL that’s to blame, damn you meat space. But after several real life changes and obligations, I simply do not have the time to dedicate to its upkeep – and that has been awfully obvious.

So much gratitude to dish out

I wanna thank everybody at ArenaNet, and especially the Community Team (Martin, Regina, Stephane, and Rubi) for the unspeakably amazing opportunities offered through what started as a crazy fan-project. From being invited to FanDay, all the exciting events at various PAX’s, the prize donations, and holiday cards. Most importantly for the friendships that I gained from those experiences and hope to continue to maintain. You guys have a top-notch thing going – keep it up.

To all my fellow community project leaders and friends – you’re amazing and mean the world to me. I’m still thrilled to meet and hang out with you guys, as recently as PaxEast 2013!! The team over at GuildMag (Dutch!) who gave me my start (Matt & Clint, my fellow podcasters <3), Peter and the rest of the GW2Live community. My girl E-Beth – so many congrats on your life, woman, and here’s to more awesome in the future. Hunter, one of the first GW2 blogs I ever followed / was inspired by. The ROO crew, for the talks, teachings, and cameos – Ryan for all the life advice you’ve offered. And so much gratitude to Dan/JR for all the wisdom and venting sessions over the years.

Dara, Bryan, Verene, Jeshe, Connor, and everybody I’ve ever met through the community. You guys rock.

And to my writers and contributors - I owe you guys so much and I feel like I kind of let you down with this. But know that I’ve always felt you guys became the heart of the project for your passion to be involved with TalkTyria. I wish I knew what else to say other than thank you, sincerely, for everything.

What about the site itself?

We’ve got a load of content that everybody’s put a ton of heart into and many of our fans have appreciated over the years. I have no intention of taking that off the internet for now – it should still be enjoyed and referenced for those who seek it.

Any contributors or writers who wants to archive their work and use it elsewhere is welcome to it. pop me an e-mail if you have any technical issues with doing that (some users got deleted in a back-end clean up so there may be some issues of missing posts!)

I am exploring some possible options but I’m open to suggestions from anybody out there.

Thanks to everybody for being a part of this fantastic journey.

Isa, aka izari.

Awesomely Helpful UI Tips and Tricks

By now many players have gotten used to the way Guild Wars 2 handles combat, dynamic events, and other big ticket features. But through talking to some guildmates and other random players, I’ve been seeing an interesting pattern that really isn’t all that surprising; people don’t know everything about some of the game’s most useful menu and UI options. Being the ever helpful player I am, I want to do my best to inform people of these little gems whenever possible.

So without a further adieu, here’s a list of helpful UI tricks for those not in the know!

• Mini Map Options and Controls

The Mini Map is a rather helpful tool for many players in the game. It’s a quick and easy way to see what the immediate surrounding area has to offer in terms of terrain, NPCs, and gathering nodes. Though, not many know about some of the useful features that are available for the Mini Map.

Guild Wars 2 Tips - Map Draw & Personal Waypoints

Brighting the day with happy faces.

1. In-Game Clock: By going into the General Options tab of the Options menu, you can see where to enable it under User Interface. This digital clock can be set for either your current Local Time, or the game’s Server Time. Once enabled, it will appear on the bottom left-hand corner of the Mini Map. This little extra tool can help players keep track of the time while they hack and slash through Tyria!
2. Drawing and Marking: While playing in a party, or even on your own, players have the ability to coordinate with their fellow party members via drawing and dropping a red ping on the Mini Map. To do so is actually pretty simple. All you have to do is hold down shift and right click on the map in order for a red ping to appear. Alternatively, if you hold down shift and hold and drag the right mouse button, you can draw on the Mini Map. With these simple trick coordinating in dungeons and WvW raids with party member on the fly can be simple!
3. Personal Waypoints: Personal Waypoints aren’t exactly what you may be thinking. They aren’t Waypoints people can make and use to teleport to anywhere on the map, but they do allow people to know where they’re going. They are persistent markers that players can set by holding down the left Alt button and right clicking on the Mini Map. These markers allow a way for players to mark a specific point on the map they wish to travel to, or a way to show their party a specific location they want the group to travel to.

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Real Life Lore: Tyrian Settlement Through 12th Century Eyes

As a medievalist I read a lot of books which form the basis of fantasy worlds like Tyria: Arthurian romances, tales of chivalry and myths of exquisite beasts which have been told and retold for centuries and have become embedded in our culture. In the present day, people draw upon these legends for inspiration, be it for books, films or videogames, and the world of Guild Wars is no exception.

What I’d like to do today is begin to look at possible sources of inspiration for Tyrian lore, beginning with the pre-history of the world, and what the game creators may have drawn upon in the birth of Tyria.

A brief gloss of Tyrian pre-history is possible through archaeological evidence in-game, however there are little surviving texts from that period which makes it difficult to have a true understanding of the events of that time. The Giganticus Lupicus, or true giants, are believed to have walked Tyria before 10,000 BE (before the Exodus of the Gods), when they went extinct at the hands of the Elder Dragons. They can be seen as the ‘true inhabitants’ of Tyrian land, having been the original occupants. Far later, around 786 BE, the Six Gods settled in Tyria and brought humanity to the world, who pushed from Orr into Kryta and Ascalon.

A similar situation is recorded in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (published c. 1136), which tells the tale of the original settlers of the British Isles, their battles and struggles, and the stories of the kings who ruled, including Arthur. Brutus, who is exiled from Greece for the accidental murder of his parents, sets sail with the Trojans for a new land free from persecution and attack. In his hunt, he comes across a Goddess in a dream, who tells him the following:

 “There is an island […] once inhabited by giants,

But now it is deserted, ready to receive your people.

There kings shall arise from your line, and unto them

Shall all the lands of the Earth be subject.”

 

If we look at what this passage says, we can clearly see the parallel between the message from the Goddess, and the assumed message from the Six Gods of Tyria: humans go to a land which was once dominated by giants but is now empty (in Tyria, this is due to the rampage of the Elder Dragons, from which the land is still recovering), and are sent to rule. The humans in Tyria’s eldest age, with the assistance of the Gods, assume power over three kingdoms, and conquer the natives in those areas, such as the Charr in Ascalon.

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Shield of Absorption – A Bastion in the Dark

Shield of Absorption - Guardian - Talk Tyria

You’re standing on the edge of your keep wall, peering over the crenelations into the morass of writhing bodies, baying for blood below. Your commander shouts directions to the troops: “Man the cannons! Push them back!” Your allies rush along the length of the walls, dropping fire and arrows on the invaders below, but they just keep coming. Agitated, your grip tightens around the edge of your shield.

“Get that siege up! And for Dwayna’s sake step back from the edge!” but the command comes too late – you catch the eye of an unsuspecting sylvari: too concerned with building her arrow cart to notice she has strayed within reach of the scorpion wires and deflective walls from the enemies at the base of the wall. In an instant she is gone, enveloped into the chaos below.

You have to act fast – the ground troops in the keep’s courtyard could get the soldier back on her feet if only there weren’t seventy angry invaders clawing at her from all sides. She has a split second of invulnerability before she is lost, but you only need a second more to save her… if only the path were clear. You grip the arm-guard of your shield and, taking a running jump, leap over the wall’s edge.

Landing in the tumult below, you stumble – that was a long fall. A protective symbol sprouts from your feet and spreads across the ground around you soothing some of the pain and burning your enemies. Standing over your downed comrade, you crouch into a protective stance and activate your shield of absorption – a pale blue light erupts from your shield. The sheer force of the mystical energy drives the surrounding enemies back. You now stand alone over your ally, a clear ring of ground between yourself and the enemy. Arrows and fireballs fly from the twisting mass of opposing bodies – but each bounces uselessly against your bubble, sending waves of energy across the entire dome, like ripples on a millpond. You hear the keep gate open behind you; your allies rush out and pull the sylvari to her feet. “Retreat!” you shout, spurring your allies into a sprint back towards the gate. 

For me, this is the most satisfying part of being a guardian. There is no more pleasing sight than 50 arrows bouncing limply against my Shield of Absorption. You, effectively, take out roughly 1/3 of an armies’ firepower with just one skill AND you can activate it a second time during its duration to heal all allies AND seeing as it is a “light” field any projectiles which pass through it will heal conditions on allies! What’s not to like?

What is even better is chaining shields with another guardian to provide a full 8 seconds (or even more, with more guardians) of protection for a downed ally. I was doing this with a player I met called Sigma in the Aurora Glade Borderlands a couple of weeks ago. We were directing our troops back and forth from our keep gate to the enemy main base – each time one of our allies fell we run up and Sigma would begin to heal and I’d pop my shield, after 4 seconds we would swap. It pretty much guaranteed that we would be able to get the ally back on their feet almost every time.

For complete protection, you can also slot “Sanctuary” – a tier 3 slot skill – which provides a much smaller but much more effective shield which, in addition to blocking projectiles, also makes sure enemies cannot get within melee range. The only issue with this skill is it’s prohibitively long recharge, and the 1.5 second cast time. It’s not as effective as a “quick fix”, but you can drop Shield of Absorption and then use some of the protection that provides to effectively position yourself and cast Sanctuary. Sanctuary also heals and doesn’t need you to maintain it, so once it is up, you’re free to move, resurrect, attack etc.

Both of these skills are extremely effective if used correctly. Drop your shield at a choke point (such as the archway leading to the South Western supply camp in the Borderlands) to stop your allies from being mowed down as they attempt to push through. Push multiple enemies towards the edge of a cliff, away from a gate (from the inside) or off your tail when being pursued, with the knock-back effect.

The majority of the guardian population seems to have an infatuation with the greatsword. I get it – who doesn’t like swinging their large weapon around, after all? But the humble shield needs to get a bit of love, if only for this one skill. I firmly believe that it is the most useful tool in the guardian’s arsenal.

To the reader: Which is the skill which you most enjoy using with your profession? Do you use a “sword and board” with your guardian, or do you find you’re better off with a different weapon set?

 

About the author:  Distilled (Will) has just started his PhD so will soon (well, in 4 years time) be Dr Distilled. In his spare time he enjoys first being the Talk Tyria ranger writer, then having a falling out with his drakehound and divorcing his ranger and moving in with a guardian . He writes regularly on Guild Wars and gaming over at Distilled Willpower. You can also follow him on Twitter at@Distilledwill!

Swimming in GW2: Long Walks Off Short Piers

I am often stunned by the sheer level of detail that went into the design and implementation of Guild Wars 2. Yes, I love questing, but when I don’t have the time or just want to do something relaxing, there’s so much more to do in Tyria. One of my favorite GW2 pastimes is swimming (no jokes about the natural buoyancy of sylvari, please…).

GW2 really hit the mark here. Not only is the water beautiful and realistic, but swimming feels authentic. On my first full day of GW2, I spent over an hour just splashing around, swimming and exploring in a single area. I love that there is no timer for underwater areas, no oxygen meter to keep up with. Swimming is hassle-free. I’m not great at underwater combat; spear guns and harpoons really aren’t my forte. Combat feels as it should though, and I have to admit, trying to fire an arrow or swing a greatsword would be pretty ridiculous in those situations.

I thought I would share a couple of my favorite splashy haunts, which I love for varying reasons.  There is so much more than scenery to be had on your aquatic adventures (though there’s plenty of that, too!).

For the player seeking relaxation and peaceful vistas, I recommend swimming to the area just east of Laughing Gull Island along the Bloodtide Coast. GW2 Laughing Gull IslandHere, if you don’t mind fighting your way across the island, you will be rewarded by spectacular views and water that you just know is warm and inviting. The weather and the time of day play games of light and shadow with the water, the sky, and the picturesque islands directly opposite Laughing Gull. If you’re screenshot-happy like me, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the 360-degree beauty of this spot as you swim through the narrow channel (the chef in me insists on reminding you that there are sugar pumpkin nodes, lots of them, on Laughing Gull Island, though they’re surrounded by angry trolls — soloing them is not your best bet if you’re not playing a melee char.)

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Guild Wars 2 Armor Guide – Basic Naming Conventions & Runes

So I’ll be honest; I wrote this mostly for myself, because for whatever reason the naming conventions on armor in Guild Wars 2 had me completely befuddled until I had it explained to me like I’m 5 years old by my twitter krewe.

I figured if I went ahead and wrote an article on it, I could hit three birds with one post. First, by writing it out, I’d remember it better. Second, I’ll now always have this to come back to when I get confused again (and let’s face it- that’s gonna happen). Third, it’s now available for all the world to see just in case there are other players like me.

So, here’s hopin’ it’s useful!

I’m focusing on armor, here, as weapons do differ slightly, but most of the core ideas apply to them, too.

Why understanding the naming conventions is important

I guess, technically, it’s NOT required since you can just hover over items to see what they get you. But having a general / better idea of how gear is named and what it all means will make finding what you’re looking for specifically faster and easier. I’m not suggesting we memorize every single name and what stats that refers to, although if you WANT to, nobody’s gonna stop ya.

Honestly, though, it’s extremely helpful at higher levels, since you’re more likely to want to have more than one set for different roles or play styles.

Also; it makes you feel smart, and who doesn’t like that?

So let’s start with the basics.

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Guild Wars 2 Community Projects Update – Episode 4 – Tools of the Trade!

Well then! You’d think after such a recent Guild Wars 2 community projects update  it’d be some time before our next installment, but alas! This is one fandom that doesn’t rest. Over the course of the past few weeks I’ve been keeping an eye out and bookmarking any and every site of interest I’ve come across. The collection’s gotten large enough to warrant a new post!

Though i don’t normally go for themes, I decided this week we’d focus on tools of the trade. Most of these sites offer interactive apps or functions that allow you to dig through and find exactly what you’re looking for; from previewing high level armor, finding those pesky chests, or playing around with possible builds.

If you’ve thought about needing it, someone has, apparently, already made it happen!

So let’s take a look at these gems!

What’s new with the Guild Wars 2 community

Guild Wars 2 Spidy (Live trading post listings, statistics, and economic tracker)
Playing the global market in an MMO has always been a fun, albiet risky at times, way to make money. While the in-game economy is still trying to sort itself out a bit, people have been quick to learn a few tactics to get rich fast or take advantage of short-lived market booms. GW2 Spidy is a great site that tracks the flucuations of the economy from item prices, gem exchange rates, and availablity.

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