An early post-mortem: GW2’s Mordrem Invasion

I was kind of stoked for Guild Wars 2‘s Mordrem Invasion. Perhaps I should have seen it coming – with a legend like the Battle for Lion’s Arch under its belt, I should’ve known ArenaNet would pull something of the sort before the game’s first-ever expansion.

As a newcomer to Tyria, it felt like a case of right time, right place.

It didn’t quite turn out that way, though. In fact, after just a couple hours of hard chewing, I could push myself back from the table and look at the pie for what it was: a preheated filling of grind mixed with hilarious frustration, wrapped in a thin crust of déjà vu.

So I made an early exit, and here I am rambling while Mordremoth’s minions continue to invade Tyria.

One of the first things that struck me about the event was the sheer amount of running. I still haven’t wrapped my head around the fact that there are no mounts in GW2, so the result is a good deal of amusingly cadenced mass cross-country. It looked more like a cosplay marathon than an army of heroes hastening to the front to repel an elder dragon’s assault.

Lady Lairyn Aurey joining the Mordrem warpathNow where have I experienced this before? Where have I run with dozens of random strangers in sight along the same route before? Oh yes. Defiance. All those hours of tyre-burning up and down the roads of post-apocalyptic San Francisco, rushing from arkfall to arkfall like the professional plunderers our characters there were. Which is what we’re doing here, innit? Just in a different context.

That was the déjà vu. Sinking my teeth past that, I tasted the grind.

Each zone-wide incursion lasted just half an hour, and reaping the most rewards within that window meant repelling the Mordrem twenty times throughout the zone. Wow. Having just made the connection between the Mordrem and Defiance‘s arkfalls, I immediately thought of Trion’s ‘who grinds wins’ contest.

I wouldn’t have committed to that, and neither did I feel inclined to commit to this – especially with the frustration mixed in.

Lady Lairyn Aurey arriving at the Mordrem battlefrontI’m not a fan of tab-targeting, and I was playing a melee-focused Guardian. Unlike in Defiance, where I could stand on the periphery of the big clusterbleep and pick my shots, the Mordrem incursions had me in the thick of said bleep, scooting back and forth like in a Keystone Kops movie, swiping ineffectually while Mordrem died in droves faster than I could blink.

Net result: I was introduced to that ugly gnarled stick called the scepter and its corresponding usefulness in a boss fight.

But frustration aside, resorting to ranged underscored something else for me: the tagging mechanic. I didn’t engage in it, but I certainly shook my head when I saw it surface in map chat. Back in WoW, it was ranged classes stealing mob kill credits from melee ones. Here, it was people bouncing off incursions like rabid London-in-a-day tourists, doing the bare minimum at each one to pick up credit.

That would be the dead insect in the pie, I guess. I hope there wasn’t something like this going on when Scarlet Briar invaded. Events like this are supposed to bring out the best in all the world’s citizens, not just on the game level but on the meta level as well.

Lady Lairyn Aurey facing the Mordrem

I don’t care much for the rewards, even though I could consider myself in the camp that thinks them inadequate. I also know this event is also a chance for older players to get a second shot at stuff they missed during Lion’s Arch. None of it matters to me. Looking at the Mordrem Invasion as a whole, I see only an underdone and unnecessary addition to an already sumptuous banquet table.

Good thing I didn’t get my fingers too dirty eating this pie.

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