A Secret Land of Contrast

This was the first weekend in a long time were I wasn’t busy both days, it really is amazing how much gaming you can get done when you have no plans and can sit in that big ole recliner an entire day with your hand glued to the mouse. It is really relaxing but no matter what i have that nagging sense of guilt that I should be doing regular people things like cleaning or social interaction, if any one has tips on how to bury that urge it would be appreciated.

I always have fun playing TSW and get a great sense of achievement after completing a zone as they are quite extensive and with my slow plodding pace these large areas take forever. I have finally made it to the last area which I really couldn’t wait to explore. New quests, new characters but mostly it is just nice to have different atmosphere to be enthralled by and what a great zone this first one is.

Besieged Farmland is wonderful and has to be my new favourite zone, while it seems to have the same creepy forest vibe as Solomon Islands it has its own very unique feel. It is a wonderfully diverse area which is full of contrast and juxtaposition in its different parts, buildings, lighting and makeup.

You start out in this lovely quaint little village nestled up in the mountains, with little buildings being very well detailed and oozed charm. The lamplight’s glowing on the porch, the shingled roofs and crumpled remnants of a past castle, and the wonderfully diverse inhabitants from the humans, to hobbits and the Protectors of the forest. It is nice seeing our first area were the secret world is not so secret with the supernatural, ethereal, mystical and human populations having a certain type of co-existence. It’s strange as I got this sense of mourning from many of the supernatural characters which echoes many of the themes present in the anime Princess Mononoke… I start wondering when and if the forest gods will rise up, but at the moment there seems to be a greater evil requiring their attention.

The rest of the zone is full of different parts which are equally as atmospheric. There is the creepy Farmlands and decrepit Barns with your usual population of scarecrows, The destroyed and gutted carcass of a once large city complete with abandoned facilities, The ramshackle tents and siege engines of the vampires, The church with an old world feel, an abandoned army barracks with shells of armored tanks and mysteries left behind in lockers, a magnificent Windmill reaching up to the sky, the ruins of a once great castle now infested with cultists and a filth infected marshland which has its own disturbing but atmospheric slightly sepia based light tones.

The other areas and zones, while being very cohesive in their look and feel can sometimes feel quite bland after very long play-sessions or considerable time spent there as all the elements just seem to blend together. Solomon Island is probably the worst offender of this as the same environmental overtones run through the three. Some of the area types feel recycled as well with the beach and the dense forests infested with Ak’ab inherent in all and it all just blends into an overarching feel which although nice becomes a tad underwhelming. So when such a diverse area comes along it feels great and even though I basically spent an entire day roaming around it continually felt fresh and new, if I have to do any farming at a later date it will be here.

One thing I found very intriguing though was the relationship between the humans and the vampire legion assaulting them. At first they make the easy target as they do have red names and after quest dialogues such as Iorgu’s you just feel like they are some mindless animals that need to be sent to the slaughter. But after rampaging through there little areas and camps my compassion glands started acting up again and I honestly had an overwhelming sense of sympathy for them and their situation. They really are eking out quite a miserable existence in the shells of buildings, huddling for warmth near the fires and close to their dwindling food source. It is such a meager existence that it makes them come of as just pathetic, you start to wonder how they could even be a possible challenge against the human encampment.

Poor Unfortunate Souls

You come to realise as well through questing that they are being purposefully starved, it is clear that the vampires crave and need blood with hungry vampires maybe making better killing machines I guess, as they crave that kill for the sweet taste of blood. Or quite possibly it is just a way to control the large force, like a drug dealer giving out a fix for a favor. I feel sorry for them and though i can take solace in the silence I bring with the barrel of my 12 gauge I really feel a need to seek revenge against the masterminds causing their plight for their own selfish secret agendas.

Dakka Dakka… BOOM!!

Also I have finally completed my Shotgun hindering build soooo hooray for me. I have been working on this build for a while now but now with being in Transylvania the SP and AP are absolutely flowing in so it was easy to finish. I took a long time pouring over the skills trying to find the right actives and passives and while it still needs a bit of tinkering to get right it feels wonderfully tactile to play, although it might take a while till i am less confused with both weapons being the same resource type.
I Love those shotgun noises and it does a lot more damage then my assault affliction build but of course the minute it was finished I was going against mobs who were immune >< Anyway two ranged weapons now equals lots of Dakka Dakka

And lastly I am going to try working a bit harder now on plowing through the various quests and will hopefully be finished up most of the zones by GW2 release. I haven’t rushed myself at all during my past and current play times so it will feel very weird to playing that way but realistically I know that once GW2 comes around it will be my sole focus for quite some time. To accomplish that though I might just skip all the investigation missions until I can come back and spend some quality time turning my brain to mush and I am already missing spending hours just listening to the dialogue which I have yet to explore in Transylvania. Sad Panda as there just doesn’t seem to be enough time.

OOOHH, and here’s a nice Slideshow from faction questing and the Besieged Farmlands