If you missed the first Guild Wars 2 diary, you can read it here.
After introducing myself to the Sylvari and the Grove, it was time to begin exploring the surrounding area known as the Caledon Forest. I couldn't see myself venturing too far out, since I was still leveling up my character, but Guild Wars 2 offers more ways to earn XP than simply killing things. So I gave my XP meter a boost by exploring areas and finding unexplored points of interest.
Random NPC's had Renown Heart icons over their heads, meaning they had side missions for me. I could trigger these quests by talking to them, but I would soon find out that this wouldn't always be a necessary step. One of these tasks saw an NPC named Warden Annwyn ask me to defeat nearby fireflies and deliver their essence to her. While my character was still at a low level, nearby players helped out in taking them down. Fireflies proved to be weak foes, but things got a little hairy when neutral wildlife would get caught in the crossfire. Nearby moa birds that were hit would suddenly start charging angrily at me, so I'd start getting attacked from two fronts. Despite this wrinkle, this event was easy to complete thanks to the many players hanging around.
After exploring more of the area, I headed out to Morgan's Spiral, located in the southeast end of Caledon Forest. It was time to fight off a round of zombies! It's funny that even in a landscape defined by nature, luscious greenery, and wild flora, like something out of a fairy taleâ¦I still have to deal with the undead! It's the trope that just won't die. However, I definitely needed the XP. Couldn't really continue my personal story without it.
So after taking a few deep breaths, I braced myself as hordes of undead creatures starting rising from the swamps, consisting mostly of Risen Thralls, Brutes, and Grubs. They each hovered around level 6 or 7, which made them easy fodder for a large group. The rush ended with a pair of abominations, each of which proved to be just as simple to dispatch. Again, having players all hanging around not only lends to the social aspect of GW2, but it makes these quests a breeze. Giant abominations don't stand much of a chance against a group of 20 to 30 questers.
I was then introduced to the dynamic questing element. A nearby event was unfolding, as an Asura named Agent Rexx was in the middle of an escort mission. As they crossed paths with me, I could decide whether to join up with them or walk away and do my own thing. Considering my need to level up some more, I opted for the former. After taking down a pair of abominations that got in our way, Agent Rexx made his delivery and I was credited with full XP and loot for taking part in the mission. It's neat to watch the world unfold around me and for surrounding side quests to take place in real time. It makes GW2's world feel organic.
The character that Rexx made his delivery to was an NPC named Warden Spy Alarin. Alarin informed me of a separatist group of Sylvari known as the Nightmare Court. The Nightmare Court reject the teachings of the Ventari Tablet and choose to embrace the nightmares found within the Dream. Think of them as the Sylvari equivalent of the Sith, choosing to join the Dark Side by embracing their negative emotions. Alarin asked me to infiltrate Briarthorn Den, disguised as a member of the court, to save prisoners that the sinister sect seek to convert to their cause. So it was time for some good old-fashioned espionage.
After donning my cunning disguise, I didn't waste much time in causing trouble with the Nightmare Court. I started picking fights with duelists and defeating them in one-on-one battles. This mission then focused on the espionage bit, as I tricked a guard away from his post before telling his prisoners to make a break for it. Afterwards, I comforted some captive hounds and made my way out, having sowed enough discord for one day. As much fun as the disguise was, it was time to continue my personal story.
This is just the beginning of my journey as a Sylvari, but I've already encountered undead forces and a darker half of the Sylvari race. The side missions all help support the main story, while also offering some much-needed variety. Next time, I'll continue my personal storyline and take the fight to the Nightmare Court. I won't have random strangers to fall back on for help this time around and I'll also have some tough decisions to make.
Shacknews' Guild Wars 2 diary series follows Ozzie Mejia's journey into NCSoft's online world. Read the ongoing series here.