I have a real life fear of heights that persists into virtual environments. I suck at jumping puzzles - always have and always will be horrendous at them. I have a personal goal to achieve zone completion in at least one zone for each of the level ranges - the ones I used to complete that range. As I progress through the tiers of content, vistas have become the bane of my Guild Wars 2 existence.
I liked the idea of vistas when we first encountered them in the Beta Weekend Events (BWEs). I’m a graphics whore and explorer. One of my greatest joys in MMOs is to see the creative and lush realization of fantasy worlds, something GW2 does exceptionally well. However, my excitement over the gorgeous views vistas provide, quickly turned to chagrin when they were added as criteria for the zone/map completion achievements.
I want zone completion. I suck at jumping and am terrified of heights. I knew vistas weren’t going to go down well. I’d already had what were for me, harrowing experiences in high jumping areas in GW2 BWEs, I got headaches that hastened me off the game when they were completed so I could lay down. I kid you not! LOL
I’ve been waiting to play GW2 for a few years, having pre-ordered as soon as Amazon had it listed - almost 3 yrs before it was released. I have no other MMO on my near horizon. I plan on purchasing the Rift expansion at some point but GW2 is my main MMO for quite some time.
I’ve established goals to offset the freeform game play which is refreshing but could lead to an unfocused experience. I don’t want to repeat my Red Dead Redemption “all over the place” journey that was entertaining but ended in never seeing the credits roll. I want a feeling of having seen the credits when I hit level 80.
Seriously, an aerial maze? Why??
Dredgehaunt Cliffs is a level 50 to 60 content zone. It’s a bit of an overlap zone, covering level ranges also available in other areas. I happened to go there after carving up pirates in Bloodtide Coast. Having entered the zone to do all of the skill points, it became a goal to finish the map for my up to level 60 zone completion achievement. Had I known about the Dostoev Sky Peak vista, I would have immediately backed out of the map and gone elsewhere!
After fighting my way to and through the skill point challenge, I knew this vista was going to be a pain in my ass. First off, it’s like an aerial maze where you have to figure out which of the scaffold pathways will lead to the vista, while fighting off mobs. Did I mention that I’m also directionally challenged?? One might wonder why the hell I play MMOs at all! *SMILE*
Sphincter of defeat rises in Dredgehaunt Cliffs
After 15 minutes of racing around the bottom of the cave testing to see which scaffold would lead to the vista, I found the right one. I began fighting my way up - tentative and yeah, scared. I intentionally avoided using any of my “leap to ...” skills which have on occasion, launched me under the game world, into solid objects or off platforms. This was NOT a time when I could afford to be inadvertently screwed over.
After reaching the top of the third bend in the platform and putting the smack down on two mobs waiting to kill people, I realize the way forward is blocked by a gate and missing planks. Shit, I have hop up onto the railing and leap across to the perpendicular platform, which has another mob waiting to clock your knot when you land.
While I’m deciding what to do, two more players reach the same impasse. One uses a hunter skill to pop him across. He lands safely and continues on but I see him die a bit later. The second person attempts to jump unaided and falls to his death. I get up on the railing, carefully align myself. I miss landing by a hair and plummet to my death. This was the first of many deaths for various reasons, each time having to fight through the cave again with it’s event and trash mobs spawning. On my subsequent attempts for that part of the puzzle, I used my “Retreat” speed boost before trying to jump across which worked.
An hour after I first entered the cave, I’m a couple of turns and a few packs of mobs away from completing this damn vista. The trickiest fight is a quadruple group I can't seem to beat but I’d reached the juncture where I flippin’ REFUSED to let this one vista stop me from completing the zone. No freakin way! I had to get by this last group. After that it’s an easy zigzag run by mobs to the vista, if you’re not terrified of running on the narrow platform suspended HIGH off the ground. By now you know I’m not going to be able to run it. I’ll have to clear all the mobs but as pairs, I can kill them solo.
For the love of all that’s holy
I’m at the 4-pull mob group for the umptenth time. I tried waiting further down for other players to get up here but people venturing this deep into the cave are far and few. All my gear is broken and my resolve is failing. Each fall having unnerved me, I’m more tentative with each attempt.
I see another player getting close. WOOT someone is coming up behind. He makes the jump over and is able to run up to where I am because I’ve recently killed the mobs behind. Sweet! Together, we can easily dispatch this group. I’ve seen this person die at this point too when I was further behind so he/she knows it can't be done solo.
I get behind them ready to help fight but to my surprise, they pop a speed boost and run through, aggroing everything in their path. I’m stunned for a split second before I start RUNNING TOO. My heart is racing and my head pounding. If I fall off now it’s game over. I’m close, so close when the unthinkable happens. I get all the bounce-back aggro as the mobs begin returning to their original positions. Nooooooooooooo, it’s an UNCEREMONIOUS AND BRUTAL NPC GANKING. I use every defensive Guardian spell available - everything... all of it... anything to stop from dying this close to the end. I die. Again.
You shall not pass
It certainly felt like GW2 was telling me, “You shall not pass...”. Indignant, I had news for it, I wasn’t moving. I’d stay dead on this platform until someone resurrected me so I could finish. Fuck it, I’d be up here all damn night if necessary!
I asked for help in zone chat. There were some smart remarks but mostly, people empathized with my struggle. A couple of players on the ground below me started trying to figure out how to get up there. I watched them die in combat or fall in their attempts to reach me.
I whispered a guild member, Sarzan, we’d joined this guild together. I could see he was in Caudecus Manor. He offered to come when the run was over. I was more than happy to wait. In the meantime, a group of players formed a rescue party and sent me an invite. OMG that’s some community of players. That wasn’t the only offer of help. More flowed in via whispers and zone chat.
The first group to reach me was a trio that resurrected me and stayed to help dispatch the enemies in my way. Just as we were finishing it, I received whispers from my own guild attempting to invite me to a party so someone could come get me down. By then, I was already on my feet and moving. Too afraid to do anything up there other than move in a straight line killing shit until the vista was at hand, I couldn’t respond to messages immediately.
Only in GW2?
When the vista was completed, I thanked my rescuers and ported the hell out of there! I was so glad to be getting out, I didn't think to take a picture! Once I was out of the cave, I responded to the other gracious offers and let people know I was alive and well. I can’t imagine that many offers of help coming from players in many other games, one in particular, when even the most legitimate questions were met with mass ridicule. I believe help would have come from strangers in EQ2 and W101 for sure. The other games I’ve played, not so much outside of your own guild members.
Completing this vista was definitely the most harrowing experience I’ve had so far in GW2. And this is one of the easier jumping puzzles compared to videos I’ve seen of what’s inside WvW and some of the bonus content/encounters. They need to add a cooking recipe for smell salts. I’m going to need it if I insist on achieving zone completions. O-o