.

January 2015

January starts with a fair bit of farming Omniberries in Orr, meant that I have around 40 now. I have played a bit of WvW and running away and dying a LOT as I try and cap points. I had a better experience following a group lead by a Commander as we took Forts, Towers and Keeps and managed to go from increasing the areas that I had 100%/60%/40%/40% to 100%/100%/60%/40% - the lowest one of them is completly held by the green team though (who actually dominate all of our WvW realms), and this is what happened when a group of about a dozen of us tried to batter down a wall....

I hit the end of the three week part of the daily logins to get the (15) laurel reward, and with the odd ones left over and gathered from Wintersday, meant I had 20 in the bank so went for the next two batches for Mystic Clovers. The first batch ended with 3 Clovers, but the last batch was my worst yet and I ended up with just 1 Clover from that, meaning I am now on 33.

Within a few days of the start of the month, Robin Hoods Mum is more or less decked out in 80th level Exotics - I picked up an Axe worth nearly 8g, so sold that to 'treat' her, and have 55% Map completion, and 105 Skill Points with around 100 left on the map. I have about 150k Karma and 6g in the bank. I did a tiny bit more in WvW that allwed me to get all of around 5 POI/Vista points, but this barely made a scratch in the surface and the green team are still absolutely dominating everywhere on all 4 maps which makes it really hard, and also not very fun to be fair.

My daily routine is looking to be as follows: Logon and get reward. Complete Daily with various toons. Complete Wintersday daily (takes 10 minutes or so including a full round of bell ringing) run round looking for Omniberries. 1-2% Map completion.

In the first week I find that Omniberry's are actually tradable (as I get a handful sent to me from my mate McGlory), and I have no recollection on where I read that they were not, so that makes it a little easier - they sell for around 4s each if I need them. I also did some investigating into costs for the gifts if bought entirely from the TP:

Gift of Magic (250 of each; Blood, Venom, Totems, Dust) - 375g
Gift of Might (250 of each; Fangs, Scales, Claws, Bones) - 405g
Gift of Wood (250 of each; Ancient, Elder, Hard, Seasoned) - 78g

.....a combined total that is not far shy of the cost of the Precursor, Leaf of Kudzu (@900-1000g). Great!

I am currently thinking about the cost of it all. I know that I will slowly build up gold, and am under no illusions that I will drop £50 of my wages for gold (assuming I have ammased 200g by then) from gems to get a Leaf of Kudzu - but I would prefer not to spend £80+ on component parts (or any at all!) on top of the Kudzu though. So my reasoning is to use Karma now on Obsidean Shards to build the 77 clovers, and all laurels gained to be spent on Tier 6 materials. A full month of laurels (55) will return around 160 Tier 6 materials, the equaivalent of around 60g.

The Gift of Wood has not been that hard so far - I have bought planks (buy orders on Ancients, as I need 500 in total) as I go along, and I have loads of 250 logs of the other woods in my bank ready to convert - still stuck on 200 Huntsman due to LAN restrictions. Lots of Omniberry farming means you are always getting Elder wood - there is a reason why a plank is 1s versus the Ancient at 11s as it is at least a 10:1 ratio. In the time I get 8-10 Ommniberrys, I have 60+ Elder and 6 Ancient logs gathered.

I am about to delete the Mesmer and Necro alts - bored with them and they have hit there 26/32 (+8 skill point threshold) levels - I may run through their personal stories though. I may run round more with the Mesmer to get 32nd as that should add another 15 or so skill points.....but I know I will struggle. In contrast my new warrior is fun and has had nothing bought for him at all but will have a good 40 skill points to farm by 32nd level.

The month end reward (Day 28) of 20 Laurels versus (potentially) 2 Clovers and 2 Obsidian Shards is coming up soon. No one knows the exact reward yet, but it would have to be 6 clovers to be 'equal' based on a 30% return rate of 'laurel - Obsidian - Clover attempts' to be worthwhile. I think I will be picking Laurels - to chuck some data into the mix, on my 11 batches so far my average for 10 Laurels = 3 Clovers and 11 Tier 6 materials. Meaning 20 laurels = 6 Clovers and 22 Tier 6 materials.

Also, the slim hope that at the upcoming LAN session (Early/Mid feb?) this would all be complete has died - World completion, and many of the material components would not be a problem, but the shortcut of £ to gems is too prohibitive to justify yet. Add in the imposed 'no dungeon runs' - so we can all do them together at the LAN session (and thus removes the potential to earn gold and the added chances for precursors to drop) hamper things more.

All the guides I have read all basically reiterate the same thing, take your time, dont expect anything to happen quickly (unless you stump up the equivalent gems to purchase ~2k in gold and can rush a toon through the map completion. They also reinforce the 'don't spend laurels on Obsidian Shards' as well, so I will stop forthwith, and that the precursor despite being one quarter of the requirements in actual fact is the be all and end all, and chucking stuff in the toilet to get one will either make you cry with giddy laughter or mourn the loss of the gold spent which could have bought the precursor in the first place.

Thursday I ended up spending all my funds (~10g), grabbing another 30 Ancient planks and buying items to destroy for Ectoplasms (a poor return this time, as about 8 items returned no Ecto annoyingly), and finding that I had loads of Ascended material left over after banking, meaning I had 300+ of each for three of them. I then tried to get myself to 450 Leatherworking to break them down into bricks. This was a lot harder than I thought, and even with a 50% booster I ran myself dry of cash from 414 to 438. With nothing left that gives XP other than 20 slot bags and the insignia's that are completely worthless or require loads of Ecto, I suspect that last 12 points (at 450 I will probably fly into 470+ by making bricks) will cost me a fortune....

I had a chat with DeadEyeMike comparing our respective progress, and he has made a storming effort into his own Legendary, and is much further ahead than I, having completed many of the little bits and even having some of the gifts (but not the Tier 6 ones.)

Friday morning before work I thought I may try and sneak onto the dreaded Green Teams WvW server to grab some points that are not in castles, and like a Ninja, I grabbed all I could. Skill points, Vistas and POI all were got, and just to be cheeky and show someone had been there, I took a camp and killed the Dolyak as well, a little fuck you to the green team. I also hoped to have sold the mass amount of items currently pending, but awoke as broke as I went to bed with just 88 silver in the kitty.

Saturday and Sunday I was a little poorly, and so did not complete daily's and did not improve much on the 2% progress per day. I did get a Black Lion Key from a 100% zone completion, and from that got a dye that I could sell which went for 7+ gold, which was very handy as I was broke.

I spent Karma on my Obsidian Shards, buying 80? or so. I had Ectoplasms as well, and just needed a few more things to make my next few batches of Clovers, including the last few levels to hit 26 with my warrior to farm his skill points. I ran 4 batches, and they went from well to diabolical as my batches produced 4, 3, 2 and then 1. Ten Clovers in total from 40 attempts - I did get around ten tier 6 materials from each batch though, meaning my total is now 43.

I was still ill at the start, so nothing really other than literally logging on to get the daily reward. I hit the end of month reward and so had the choice of some rather nice bits but rather than just take the 20 laurels, I thought I would check some threads on Reddit. I then found that some people had received 7 clovers and 8 Obsidian Shards, which is far better than I thought it would be and better than the laurel reward when needing clovers, so I took that and got them, taking my Clover total to 50 now.

I had about 15 laurels ready and so bought the Tier 6 crafting bags with them, which took the total of all eight materials to approx. 250, or an 1/8th of the way there.

As there is no need to burn through Obsidian shards for clovers at present, I am going to just sit back and gather materials, or rather, the money to buy them. At 70% map completion and no way to advance through my Gift of Wood until the LAN session, its mostly gathering wood (to ensure that I don't use the stuff I have farmed for the Gift). I have approx 100 Omniberry's now, gathering them all with my only concession being that I can sell Foxfires to buy berrys (meaning my farming sessions are boosted by 8 every time i get a fox) and I now have the first of my stacks (250) of the Ancient planks.

Some rough guesses with regards to tier 6 materials - with 60 Laurels (55 from the logins, plus an estimate of 5g of buying stuff) per month = +180 materials/month. This means a total of eight months of spending 5g per month will get the materials required. Eight months......then add the icy runestones, the recipe's....the precursor......what have I started?

To divert myself, I started looking at other things, then wished I had not. I found two quivers (Quiver of Swift Flight and the Quiver of a Thousand Arrows) which also need either 250 Blood (@60s ea) or Fangs (@40s ea)....but this looks to be Fractal related items.

As the LAN approaches, one of the the attendee's, Monkey knows that he cannot catch us up in time, so he hands over the reins of his account for some power leveling. I have him for the next 10 days or so, and DeadEye for the last 10 days, so this obviously eats into my own progress somewhat. Not a problem to be fair and stops me getting bored by grinding my way along - not that I am being very efficiant by farming Omniberry's - its more of a 'get that section done' move on kind of thing and it does give me Ancient logs as well.

I am running around a little in Silverwastes as its the only place I can try and farm to earn gold (which is just not happening to be fair) but as a by product, it does boost my Karma. Otherwise, I log on, try to get my daily (but most of those are bosses and Fractal related now), do an 'Omniberry run' and then log onto Monkey and sort him....so I reckon my World Completion will hardly increase in the next week or so. I did get some gems into my account - and have a shiney new Watchman pick to batter rocks with which can give me sprockets to sell.

I had a mass selling spree of gathered materials (it all looks rather empty now!) and from 6g now have 28g, and have a lot of gems ready to convert when the time is right. I managed to log on for myself for a while, finish off a couple of areas and end this week with 75% map completion - mostly becasue we dropped out of the same league as the Germans and this allowed me to race around the WvW map and complete that. Skill points? Nearly the 200 needed - I think its 195. I have 200 Omniberrys as well so soon I can shut up about them.

Monkey's account, from his start at 28th has improved as I have gathered pets, skill points and done all his dailys and he is now 38th.

Lastly, and not sure why I bothered looking, I noticed the Leaf of Kudzu precursor had risen from 1k gold to 1.1k, and currently gems to gold conversion is pretty dire. Great!

Just a little more running around - some more map completion to start the week. Some Bandit Chest runs in Silverwastes get me the Sword (Bonetti's Rapier) I wanted for Trulee which is nice (both for its skin, and the stats) and I can see why people do the chest runs as they seem to be quite lucrative assuming you have stockpiled the keys. I had only 20 keys though, so not by any definition that lucrative, but I did get 8 Obsidean Shards to add to the pile - and I also got lucky and got the Carapace boots as well, something that would have cost 1000 Crests and 10 gold to buy. So nothing to sell, but some nice things to own. Happy with that as my first experience of it all!

As I had not been in Frostgorge yet, I had a little peak inside, then wondered what all the Commander tags were doing. I soon found out as a pile of people all bundle past me, and swept up in the tide, I followed. What followed was 90 mins of pure zerg Champion rushes as 60-100 people are rushed around and descimated everything in their path like locusts.

We were led by a Commander who knew her stuff - there was downtime of a maximum of 30 seconds, maybe a minute as we went from Chapion to Champion.

My haul at the end looked like this. I had already salvaged all the blue/greens, and kept Rares and packs to open at the end.

The end loot was nothing special really - the rares were all sub 50s and so salvaged for etco's and all the bags contained mostly mats and more stuff to salvage or Tomes/Skill points. Great fun though, and my respect for the people with Commander tags grows - they seem to do nothing but lead and do it well (based on my limited experience in WvW, Silverwastes and Friostgorge to date.

I hit my 200 Skill points required during this week, I leveled and then randomly checked my total to find I had hit the magic number. Was this from some epic battle in The Silverwastes defending a keep, or from the mental Champion runs in Frostgorge? No, it was gathering a Zuccini. Huzzah for Sickles!

I am pretty much done with Monkey's character now - I leveled him to 45 as arranged and done everyone of his daily's, and Monkey 'paid' me with 15 laurels converted to Tier6 materials for my efforts, which was nice as it all helps, and this takes my Tier 6 mats to around 40 of each. I am at around 80% map completion, and bought the last few Omniberrys I needed. I also sold EVERYTHING of value (mostly low level mats) and am sitting on around 50g now.

I started to watch the market relating to Gems and the Leaf of Kudzu, monitoring them on a spreadsheet. As mentioned, I am not adverse to buying it, but I dont want to just pay anything - I need to feel that I am getting a bargain (and I know that cannot describe the purchase of a digital item in a game in any way shape or form) for instance a 1000g item at 400/gems@50g versus the same item at 500/gems@50g is nearly £20 difference. Gold Sellers? No. Potentially hacked accounts is the major turning point, plus the fact that it would likely be me of anyone that would get spotted if I did, and just as importantly, they watch the market to, so you are saving 15%? at most.

The expansion/extension etc is due for the big reveal this weekend, so perhaps this will have an impact on the market - making your own precursor is always the top rumour and I hope things are added to the gem store to make an impact on the gem-gold rate for me. My current 'buy price' is a Kudzu in the low 900's gold, with gems at 400 or below/50g and I will force myself to wait.

Silverwastes has been fun, the chest runs and zergs and events all pile into each other, and I think I finally get what you are supposed to do. I have been down in the passages a few times now, and actually got some Mordren parts - complete luck as I am not sure which of the food you are supposed to eat before attacking them. I will also reconfirm my earlier statment about not spending laurels on Obsidean Shards as once you hit 80, you get them in other ways. The Silverwastes chest runs must have netted me an additional 40 now - I think I have bought around 100-120 keys from crests and had only three (and a half) runs to achive this. You obviously have to stockpile crests in the first place, but protecing keeps and Dolayks etc and the runs themselves all generate them. You can also buy Obsidean Shards with crests, but dont bother - 250 for 5 Shards when you could buy 50 keys and get 15 shards, plus all the other stuff makes it not comparable.

My carapace collection is now 3 x boots, 2 x coat, 1 x gloves ....and you guessed it, I am now trying to work out what I actually need to do with them - but a quick google points towards requiring knowing the end of the Living Story, so I stopped looking.

A bit more farming and a bit more map completion. I still have Monkey and cracking on with him rather than passing him on. With the big announent about the expansion this weekend and the news that precursors will be craftable or questable AND their will be new legendaries, prices on Kudzu have dropped by 150-200g - but the price of gems is still a ridiculus 500/50g.

Not sure how this can be classed as 'playing' as later I have GW2 open and parked at the bank, watching gem ratio and kudzu prices, recording them on a pad....for the next hour or so. Also, people must be speculating that tier 6's are required in the precursor creation, as they all seem to have gone up by 10% from when I checked them 3 hours before the annoucement. This means overall, nothing has bloody changed! One price comes down but others go up....much like in real life. I thought games were supposed to be escapism?

To stop myself looking at Kudzu prices, I check The Lover - the shortbow precursor, and that has also dropped around 100g to 700g. To get away entirely from market watching I decide to get all my crafting bags out and do some Clover batches. I wish I had not bothered as I get a poor return for this lot - my three batches of 10 result in 7 Clovers and around 27 tier 6 mats, dropping 2 Clovers and 6 tier6 materials against my previous averages.

I capitalize on the double XP weekend though, mostly with Monkey, and I do log on with my own 30th Warrior for a while as well. I continue to watch prices for Kudzu, but they seem to have stabilized at the 825-850 level - a good 150 cheaper than it was post Expansion annoucement. However other than a blip where the gems where 440/50g, they have been constantly been in the 490-500/50g range. To put this into perspective, a Kudzu at 800g but with 500gems=50g, costs the same in real money as a Kudzu at 1000g with gems at 400=50g. So my gems stayed where they were. My cash has slowly been working upwards though, and I am sitting now on 75g, all earned by my own fair hand.

Well I did what I thought I would never do, I bought another account. I will let that sink in for a moment before I explain why.

At 75% off because of the expansion release reveal weekend, the game cost me the same as 800 gems from the gem store. 800 gems currently could be converted to 80 gold. 80 gold buys you in the region of say 180 tier 6 materials. Login rewards over the course of a 28 day period gain 55 laurels, or 165 Tier 6 materials. By the time you have hit day 35, you will have equaled or bettered the same cost simply converting laurels to tier 6 materials, meaning everytime you hit a laurel reward from then onwards, you have gained over the initial cost. You also gain some alts to use storage for - this is not a good reason in itself as you cannot send account bound stuff to non accounts obviously, but as a single extra charater slot costs 800 gems, extensions to your bank cost 600, extra bags cost 400 it becomes a viable alternative.

Your alt account also gains a guild influence (worth 4+ gold) to create a personal bank to cultivate and grow over time....all I can say is that at this specific moment in time, with the cost of everything required for a legendary and speculating on costs for precusors, it appears to have no downside.

Would I have done this if I had not got caught up in this Legendary rush? Hell no. Does it make me feel slightly dirty? A little to be fair, as its manipulating something that is supposed to be a timed release..the trickle of laurels therefore requires you to farm to get gold to buy tier 6's - the legendary is something that is supposed to take a while to get - and I know that better than most, having sat facing a wall in the lower dugeons of Guk waiting for Raster to spawn (for the Monk legendary weapon in Everquest)

So apologies if it feels to you as cheating or exploiting - its not against the T&C's, but it is a viable alternative to the insane amount of materials required - and this is coming from someone that has spent 3 hours a day, every day since October playing and is still only at an approx a fifth of the way towards the 2000 tier 6 materials required. I realise that I am trying to justify myself - and I only write this as I commited to log everything about my journey and really have no excuse other than the fact that anyone could if they choose bypass the timed realease of laurels gathering to earn tier 6 materials by simply pumping £50 into the Gem store and converting it to gold to buy them.

Anyway, back to the game. I started the week by completing another couple of areas (Grove and Black Citadel), and now sit at 84% world Completion. I have around 80 gold, and spent another 30 mins or so in Silverwastes topping up my Bandit crests and Karma (which is approx 160k now)

For the next day or so, I do nothing but dailies for three different characters before logging off. Catching up on TV programs and working on a laptop. Slightly lowering my playtime as we get closer to the LAN session....well a little bit anyway. I dont need a quiver now (thankfully) eating into my limited amount of tier 6 materials as they brought back the skin in the Gemstore. It looks lovely and I am very happy with it.

I am about 10 days away from getting my second Chest of Loyalty, and I think I will work my way to 70 laurels in preperation - I bet it takes me longer than 40 attempts to get the 13 I need though.

I dont think I will say anything about the spreedsheet I created that is running in the background at work that polls the GW2Spidey website live feed (refresh on open and every 15 mins) for gold to gems and Kudzu prices, while also showing average Kudzu/Gem to Gold prices over the last week or so, or the whole page of notes I have on Kudzu prices in the last few days post annoucement.....oh, bugger I just have.

Another normal night of gem/gold watching, dailies and then logging off, or in this case, leaving my character waiting on an area for an event to pop up as I could not be arsed in running around anymore to get the last one. I have an app on my phone that has gems/gold prices (which is more accurate than the GW2Spidey one) and noticed a brief (tiny) spike - meaning the gems were 470 rather than the 490-500 that have been for ages. While this is nowhere near my 400 level (and the last time I converted to get my Tempest Skin, I got them all for 374gems=50g!) I once again checked Kudzu. To see it 100g cheaper than it been 10 or 15 minutes ago. I could not press sell quick enough for my gems, and then the buy button on Leaf....I have it!

I start to get the ingrediants ready for the last Clovers that I need, (assuming that I will still get 7 from my Chest of Loyalty) and as mentioned, I estimated 40 attempts, but hoped for better. That did not work at all, and it took me 48 attempts to get the 13 Clovers; but this did add another 54 Tier 6 mats to my total. I also was gifted with a wonderful email containing some Ecto's from @DeanE and thanks again, much appreciated.

I fought Tequantl and picked up a Hammer that at first I thought was a legendary, but was still worth a healthy 9g. I promptly sold that plus a huge amount of my lower tier materials and put it all towards buying the first of my Icy Runestones required.

So, at the end of Jan, my Tier 6 totals and bank look like this: