Thursday, December 20, 2007

Guild Wars: Legendary Defender of Ascalon

I haven't played Guild Wars in a while but I often remember the game fondly. One of the things that always surprised me was how much time people spend in the PVE game gaining novelty titles and equipment that offer no game advantage. In other MMOs I have played such things are regarded as fluff and often looked down upon by serious players. Even people who do go for them (collecting rewards at festivals for example) quickly get bored and discard them once they are over but in Guild Wars the pursuit of novelty armour sets and novelty titles has become almost an obsession for many. Indeed in many ways these rewards are the "End Game" of PVE Guild Wars. Getting them is no trivial task either. Fancy armour sets (with no better stats than common armour) require many many runs of high level dungeons to acquire rare drops. The most coveted titles require many many hours of play to achieve. For example the explorer titles require a player to painstakingly walk their character over every square foot of the game world.

Even though people spend hundred of hours gaining these titles the game (and the players) treat the whole thing with just the right amount of light heartedness in my opinion. Just look at the humorous names you get for maxing out 5, 10 or even more titles. Thousands of hours of dedicated game play are required to net the moniker: "Kind of a big deal" or "I'm very important".

Perhaps my favourite title (no I haven't earned it myself) though is "Legendary Defender of Ascalon". This title is given for something which should actually be impossible to do but players found a way around. It is given for levelling all the way to the level cap of 20 before leaving the factions starting area of "Pre-Searing". It should be impossible because the highest level mob in pre-searing is level 10 and mobs more than five levels below you don't give XP. I don't know what genius discovered this but the apparently impossible feat can be achieved, with a lot of patience through a process known as death levelling. Mobs in GW gain XP when they kill something and will level up themselves. Roughly speaking the process of death levelling involves aggroing a mob and bringing it close to a resurrection spot. Then let the mob kill you to gain some XP. If done correctly the mob will still be around when you resurrect and the mob can have another go. By repeating this process you painstakingly raise the level of the mob until it is high enough for you to kill and get XP yourself. Then repeat, again and again and again. According to this post the title will take at least 710 hours to acquire. Of course it serves no purpose in game. But I still think it is kind of cool.

No comments: