Who gets sick of grinding for flying in one MMO, so immediately starts grinding for flying in another? This loser!
But, seriously. How can you not love the Skyscale? Even if the collection achievement for it is kinda freakin’ brutal, by which I mostly mean “long and tedious”. I did the first tier over the weekend, and would have probably finished most of the second but for the fact I can only stomach one jumping puzzle a night—I’m not bad at it per se, but I loathe platforming—plus a few of the collectables are gated behind events that didn’t or hadn’t popped when I went to look.1
It’s also interesting doing this right off the back of getting bored halfway through grinding Pathfinder in World of Warcraft. Nazjatar is, just, like an awful fucking zone, for starters, and for seconds it’s really kind of obvious how blatantly Blizzard is copying off Anet’s Living World formula. Except, like… wow. Badly. I had to finish up Season 4 in order to unlock the Skyscale collectables, and ANet’s storytelling is still just miles and miles ahead of anything Blizzard has ever produced. But mostly it’s just so noticeable how much more alive Dragonfall feels compared to Naz—particularly now people are starting to earn Pathfinder and are abandoning the latter en masse—and how even when it’s frustrating or repetitive it still actually makes you feel like you’re achieving something. Finding a zerg and rolling through a meta event is still fun in a way that, again, Blizzard tried to emulate with Island Expeditions and Warfronts and totally tanked on.2
And even for all I whinge about GW2’s collection achievements—and don’t worry, I do—they’re still way more engaging than Pathfinder’s timegated rep grinds. I do legitimately actively hate running back and forth across maps doing platform-based Easter egg hunts, but they’re still more engaging than a month of Kill 20 Hydras over and over and over again. Besides, the way GW2 maps are structured, there’s always a Vista you missed or event you can crash3 or downed rando to res4 while you’re running around.5 So even while they’re kind of tedious, GW2’s collection events still have you doing different things (or at least the same things in different places).
And, of course, all of GW2’s endgame unlocks are account-wide. Meaning I only need to go through the unlock chain pain once… then can immediately go use my shiny new mount with whatever level 1 alt I feel like rolling this month,6 because lol.
So, y’know. Tl;dr:
- Pathfinder still sucks, and Nazjatar is terrible.
- Living World Season 4 was pretty great, and I feel the boss-killing events still managed to feel epic without having some of the PREPARE TO DIE-level frustrations of some of the previous ones.7
- Skyscales are 💜💜💜
- The Skyscale collection is kinda a pain but it’s manageable so far.
- … did I mention: !!!💜💜💜Skyscales💜💜💜!!!
- Joko’s throne room, plus while I did get into a zerg for the doppelgänger fight, I didn’t actually… get a doppelgänger to fight, so I’ll have to re-do it.↩
- A hot take I feel qualified to make, given I’m pretty much the core demographic for this kind of content.↩
- The one time this backfired: Dragonfall has a map reset at the end of its zone-wide meta event chain, which when it hits sends everyone back to the initial zone encampment and removes all of the additional camps and quick-travel infrastructure you build along the way. Obviously this reset hit me right before I was about to click on a particularly annoying-to-reach collectable. Obviously.↩
- PvP is completely segregated from PvE in GW2, meaning everyone you meet running around in the world is an ally. All of the game’s mechanics encourage collaborative play. Even quest and resource nodes spawn individually, which can be somewhat amusing when the entire zerg rushes in to mine out the one rich ore vein that spawns at the end of a miniboss room.↩
- “Ressing downed randos” is also part of the Skyscale collection achievement. Like, the game really wants you to help each other, not fight.↩
- Male Nord Engineer!↩
- The Mordremoth fight… uu-uu-ugh.↩