This ride is rapidly coming to an end. It appears the only thing that will prevent me from hitting level 80 is not playing. Due to real life activities I have slowed my roll recently and yet, I’m level 60.
Farming Caudecus Manor
Caudecus Manor (CM) is the second instance you encounter in Guild Wars 2 (GW2). I’ll do a write up of my experiences there in a separate post. As with Ascalon Catacombs, I didn’t do the instance as soon as I’d met the level 40 requirement. I waited until I was able to purchase my second tier elite skill, Tome of Courage, for the strong “oh shit” healing skills.
Sitting in my mid 50s with less than 2 gold to my name, I started asking people what they were doing to earn gold. I was routinely selling blue and green gear I didn’t need on the auction house but prices were so low that I wasn’t accumulating very much. In addition to selling crafting components they didn’t need, the overwhelming response was that they were farming CM. Uh?
It appears CM is one of the fastest story mode instance runs. Experienced groups can get through it in under 30 minutes and it drops gear that sells well on the auction house. So much so, that our guild policy when running CM, strongly suggests all participants eat +Magic Find buff food to increase your drop rates on uncommon gear. People on voice chat reported going from being broke to having 5+ gold from the items they subsequently sold on the auction house.
In it for the Money
I jumped at the chance to do CM the next time a guild run was being formed. My primary reason was to earn some gold. Secondary was to experience the content. I want to do every instance in GW2 on story mode as I’m leveling and do the explorable modes as part of my level 80 end-game.
CM was fast, riotous, exciting and yes, very profitable. I was up 2 gold after a few runs. The items sold very quickly, so I kept going back for more. By the end of the evening, I’d run CM several and did the same the next evening. When it was all said and done, I’d banked 4 gold and had become acquainted with more members of our VERY LARGE guild than I would have otherwise. However, an unexpected side effect was that I leveled 4.5 times. That’s on the low side of what’s going on in CM. There were people in voice chat who had leveled 20x! Serious, WTF!?!
Caudecus Manor Crazy Scaling XP
Holy shit, the amount of XP earned as higher level players in CM might be on the extreme side. The first time I dinged in CM I did a happy dance. The second time I was surprised. The fourth time I was horrified and concerned. I honestly don’t watch my XP bar in GW2. I’m merely running around doing stuff. As much as I want to keep in step with my Personal Story, I often find mysel 8 to 10 levels above because I'm not paying attention to the levels until I look up and am like, "Holy crap, I'm level...!"
When I expressed my “uh oh” in voice chat, I learned that people were using CM as a power leveling option. Personally, I was conflicted. I was really enjoying myself and making money that I needed. However, I want to experience the leveling content, not rush to 80. Once my concern outweighed the benefit, I made up an excuse and bowed out of the party. I could have run it more, I wanted to for the money and social aspect of bonding with guild members. However, the amount of XP I was earning was too scary, when I was already concerned about hitting 80. With some of the grinds I’ve faced in MMOs, I never imagined a concern about receiving too much XP.
Aftermath of unintentional power leveling
When I came out of CM I felt unsure of where to continue my journey. I had out-leveled the zone I had been working my way through. Did I want to go back and finish it or move on to the next tier of content? The fact that I was in a snowy zone, my absolute LEAST FAVORITE environment type, certainly impacted my indecision. Had I been doing a zone I really enjoyed, I wouldn’t have questioned what to do next. The content scales me down to the appropriate level so it doesn’t matter.
I think it was more the fact that I’d swooshed past 40% of the levels for the zone I was questing in that threw me for a loop. I questioned whether or not a single instance should be providing that much XP, hence incentive for players to power to 80. On the other hand, how someone else chooses to play their character and execute their journey, isn’t mine to question or fret over. There are plenty of players who want to hit max level as soon as possible, my son among them. I don’t tolerate people telling me how to play my games so am not into telling others how to play theirs.
Dissuade 3rd party illegal services
I had a conversation about the XP “issue” in CM with a long time gaming cohort. We decided to go to the same guild in GW2. He thinks they’ll nerf the CM XP the same way they nerfed cooking. Hmm...
People who want to play GW2 but don’t want to play the PVE leveling content shouldn’t be forced to if there’s another viable option. I’d rather they leave in this SAFE and LEGAL vehicle for players to do their own power leveling if that’s their choice, versus those who will opt to purchase illegal services. In many cases, that choice leads to compromised accounts which become a support burden for ANet. Players purchasing those types of services also fuel the market for these bottom feeders to be present in our game hawking their wares. I prefer they have no market in GW2 and disappear.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio
Anet is providing a safe method for players to purchase in-game gold via the GW2 gems exchange. Can’t we view the CM grind as more of the same? We may question why buy the game if you don’t want to “play” the game? However, that question has an implied assertion that there is a right way to play. I don’t believe there is one.
While I find the completion of PVE content to hit max level the highlight of my journey, others may find it the least desired part of theirs. Who am I to tell them differently? I could see myself power leveling some part of the journey for a 2nd or 3rd character. I’m not a fan of alts but if I play GW2 long enough, at some point I’ll want to play a different class and that desire might come before I’m enthused about re-doing all of the content.
I vote for leaving CM alone. It’s not hurting anyone. The players I’ve grouped with are enjoying themselves. There are people running CM non-stop, increasing the opportunity for level appropriate players to get into EXPERIENCED groups. Better than common gear for this level range is readily available on the marketplace and at very reasonable prices. Many of the crafting professions can benefit from farming the drops for salvaging. From where I sit, it’s a win-win. If you don’t like the large amount of XP gained from CM, complete it once and stay the hell out of there afterward.
Guild Wars 2 - too gorgeous to "end" this quickly.
One of my favorite "chill out" locations in Divinity's Reach