GW2 – Path of Fire Demo, The Rage-Quittening

I’m going to try really hard not to sound bitter, angry, and resentful as I write this. :)

I’m home today so I logged into GW2 to try out this Path of Fire demo thing. At first I had no idea how to even participate.

I logged into my Necro, who I had left in Orr outside of the Zhaitan dungeon. Last time I played, I tried to do that last personal story mission to kill Zhaitan. Hoo boy what a mistake that was, but that’s another story. The point is that when I logged in, I was in the middle of one of those Orr events where everything in the area is trying to murder you and I got killed over and over and over again before I could even run far enough away to teleport away from it. So that was a great start.

I logged out again. I noted on Twitter that no other MMORPG makes me as angry as GW2 when I play it. The way the game kills you again and again, knocking you around like a pinball, just feels so bleepity-bleeping unfair.

Okay, true, I obviously don’t know any of the “meta” or any of the best builds or anything about anything. I don’t even have my dodge key bound correctly. I saw another player running around in the same Orr death zone that I was in who didn’t seem to be having nearly as much trouble as I was, so obviously I am doing something fundamentally wrong when I play this game. But frankly I don’t care to figure out what I am doing wrong. The game makes me so angry in the way it punishes the player that I just want to tell it to bleep the bleep off and bleep it’s bleeping bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

Deep breaths. Anyway.

With some Twitter help I finally discovered you have to make a new “demo” character to participate in the Path of Fire demo. It’s really, really easy to overlook this in the interface. There’s a “Create (demo)” button in the lower right corner which I completely missed. There’s also two extra “demo” character slots where you can make characters, but I didn’t even see them because I already have so many character slots I had to scroll over to the right to even see them.

I made another Necro character. I picked a random-looking long-white-haired human dude. He has the exact same voice as my long-suffering bald human Necro from launch, which is very weird.

I started out on an airship, another one of those fantasy airships that obviously looks like it could never fly because of the basic principle that most things are heavier than air but we just go with it because it looks cool and *hand wave* “it’s magic.”

Once the airship lands you walk off the deck into a cave or something and right into a massive fight with … bad guys that you will probably understand if you’ve played the Living Story Season 3. Unfortunately I haven’t, so they are totally random and arbitrary bad guys to me. It is a typical GW2 fight–totally chaotic, a million bad guys throwing a million AoEs and other effects at you all simultaneously. I died.

After a couple more deaths, me and my NPC Charr lieutenant (a completely unknown character to me) finally cleared the room. At this point I noticed that I had a bunch of gear boxes in my inventory. I opened one and it exploded into a new set of gear. I started to put it on, but of course with every piece you have to “Select Stats” and of course I have no clue what to pick. Even if I did, you have to do it for every single piece. So I gave up on that and just kept the default gear, staff, and scepter.

A Herald of Balthazar arrived. There was some conversation between us that made no sense to me, since I know nothing about the story leading up to this point. Of course this turned into a boss fight. I died again. Eventually we drove off the Herald of Balthazar and my character (“The Commander”) declared that he was going to follow it. (Something that I, the player, had NO desire to do.) I followed, fought some more, listened to some more dialog from the Herald that made no sense out of context, a thousand other mobs appeared in a burning village and I died again.

Then I rage quit so that I could write this post.

I mean, I just don’t understand this game at all. I don’t understand how it’s even possible for people to have fun playing this game at level 80. It’s nothing but work and chores and more work and more chores to fight and claw your way through nonsensical fights to see a story. And they just keeping doubling-down on it, time after time after time.

So someone please make a video or a blog post or something with step-by-step instructions on how to casually enjoy this game at level 80, because I’m obviously not getting it. :)

Update: I did better on the second try. :)

5 thoughts on “GW2 – Path of Fire Demo, The Rage-Quittening”

  1. Deep breath. You’re coming in new to a very rough (as in, not polished for new players tutorial-wise) expansion. They have at least given “decent” starter gear stats this time around, so you can safely ignore the boxes that explode gear for now.

    What will be harder for you is a lack of familiarity with the weapon skills, the traits and utility skills, in conjunction with the new mob mechanics added on, on top of the old ones in Path of Fire.

    Honestly, I would use the Path of Fire demo only to evaluate whether you like the art style of the new zones, whether you like the open world exploring and the lavish animations of the new mounts.

    If you are having trouble in Orr already, you -have- to start somewhere easier to get used to the game. That’s core Tyria, from the lower levels up.

    Things to get used to, on easier mobs, is moving while pressing skills, no need to stay still and channel for most skills; and linking each mob animation with an attack. The big attacks will usually have some kind of “tell” before the hurt. Orange circles are to be run away from.

    If you’re pissed off at getting knocked down constantly, the first thing to learn about is a “stun break.” Necros have a number of them, I would recommend “spectral walk” and maybe “spectral armor” for someone new. Any time you are knocked down and can’t move, hit one of them. You will essentially “animation cancel” the stun and get up instantly.

    Spectral walk also provides swiftness, which will help you to evade attacks simply by moving with WASD.

    The other thing that may help you out is to use Summon Shadow Fiend and Flesh Golem. Shadow Fiend is a very tanky minion, and will pull aggro from you more often than not, and that will help with the feeling of being focused beyond your ability to cope.

    Flesh Golem is not so good with aggro pulling/holding, but has a very solid knockdown when activated. This is good for mobs with a “breakbar” – a turquoise bar under their red health bar. You generally want to break most mobs with one, as they take extra damage when broken, and are prevented from doing harder hitting attacks. The breakbar scales with players, so if you’re surrounded by players and one activation of your skill doesn’t take down much, then give up, but alone and in smaller groups, a hefty chunk can be taken away by Flesh Golem’s charge.

    The last thing necromancers will use in conjunction is to go into Death Shroud and use skill 3, a fear that will also take off stuff from the break bar.

    It’s a good idea to rebind F1 to a key you will reach often, as going into death shroud and using the extra health to mitigate damage is a key combat mechanic for necromancers.

    If you can’t get your head around a necro, try a different class. Warriors have very high health sustain and are very straightforward run-up-and-hit things. Guardians have very strong self heals, and also quite hit-things straightforward. Rangers can be very pewpew from range and come with pets, some of whom will tank for you.

    (Avoid ele and thief – high damage but squishy, mesmer – clones and complicated, revenant and engineers – jack of many trades complicated, unless you really like their themes.)

  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself… I also died a what felt like a million times during this demo. I also got quite frustrated by it… and was overwhelmed by the stuff they put in my inventory.

    Granted, I rolled a job I never played before, and had zero idea what I was doing… but still. I expected to romp into the demo, play around with some mounts, see a city. But by the time I finally got to the city, I’d had enough. I might try some more tomorrow… re-roll on a job I understand better (which there aren’t many since I’ve only just come back).

    If this was an attempt to excite and welcome old or lapsed players back into the game, I’m not sure that throwing a difficult battle scenario first thing was the best way to do it. I’m really, really trying to give GW2 a chance to win me back, and I’ve already bought the expansion while struggling through HoT… I hope I’m not going to regret this!

  3. Okay…

    I completely agree with Aywren that starting off with an instanced segment of the main storyline is a TERRIBLE way to open what is supposed to be an advertisement for the game in general and the expansion in particular.
    I have played through the last Living Story and I have no idea who that Charr is, where the airship came from, or what I’m supposed to be doing. The Avatar of Balthazar is also a completely new foe as far as I know – never seen her before. I felt that there was a chapter missing between the end of LS3 and the start of the Expansion, to the point that I’m now expecting some kind of pre-expansion lead-in to arrive in the next few weeks. If there isn’t one then it’s going to be a clumsy transition.
    I also logged into the game without noticing the “Create” button and spent ten minutes trying to work out how to get to wherever the demo was happening. It was only when someone happened to mention in guild chat that they were creating a new character for the demo that I realized how it worked. This is even though they used the exact same method for the HoT demos and I did all of those!
    I didn’t find the instructions in the story instance at all clear. I thought I’d have to kill the Avatar which would have been a typical bloody awful GW2 solo instance boss fight. Luckily she kept running away. I died once because I thought I had to kill her and she wasn’t taking damage from ranged attacks so I went and meleed her- as a staff Ele!
    To re-iterate, it’s a totally inadvised, unnecessary and offputting roadblock that ANet should never have included in a demo. Unfortunately it roadblocks access to the real map, so you have to bull through it. Just keep dying til you get there if need be.
    Jeromai’s detailed advice is great and I hope it helps but I remain astounded by how difficult people seem to find GW2 on occasion. From reading your blog I know you are a very experienced gamer. I would lay odds you have significantly higher “gaming skills” than I do. You also must have a reasonable understanding of GW2 specifically, even if you are rusty and out of practice, because you have a Level 80 character that you’d left parked at the hardest part of the hardest map in the base game. GW2 has the reputation of being one of the easiest, most forgiving, casual-friendly MMOs when it comes to combat and it’s a reputation I have always thought was fully justified so it’s highly instructive to hear people who really do know what they are doing, like you and Aywren, detailing how that’s not the whole picture.
    Personally I always found Necro to be one of the least-resilient classes although that’s not how it’s generally perceived. It’d be near the bottom of my list of “easy” choices. Guardian used to be the go-to class for faceroll-easy PvE and probably still is but if you want a character that will literally never be knocked down and is immune to almost all movement-inhibiting effects, roll an Engineer and equip Flamethrower from the kit option. 100% Stability! Also a never-ending cone of fire that AEs anything you look towards. I use it in WvW on my secondary account and it requires literally no skill whatsoever.
    Jeromai’s advice to go somewhere more forgiving to get comfortable is very good advice indeed. Orr was by far the most annoying region of the original game and while it’s been nerfed many times since then it’s still a pain to navigate. Plus I know from your description exactly where you logged out – I’ve done it too – and the problem with that is that you effectively woke up in a war zone with a raging battle going on. If you feel you need to practice some rotations (can’t believe i even said that) then I’d go and beat up grawl and arctoduses in Frostgorge and maybe practice dodging on the Wurms there that spit rocks at you with metronomic regularity.

    Anyway, take it slow and steady and don’t let the NPCs rush you into fighting things for them before you’re ready. You can always let them die and then revive them when you need them!

  4. Geez! Apologies for the wall of text! I tried to post in Firefox and it was so long it bugged out the buttons so I copied into Notepad and used Chrome to reply instead…and it stripped out all the formatting right down to the line breaks! Hope you can make sense of it.

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