The Chronicles of Lamees is the journal that Lamees Ghaznawi keeps of her adventures in the land of Tyria and beyond. This is mostly sarcastic commentary on the game and the player culture.

Background: Lamees is a powerful elementalist. She is kind hearted and likes to help others, but unfortunately, she is also impatient, a bit tempermental and very stubborn. Occassionally, she will recount events that happened to one of her friends, The Transcendant One (T-1 for short), Kyle the Vile or Saifuddeen Kenaani.

Tuesday, March 28th 2006

Shard Hungry Gaki:

Ugh. Had a great FoW run ruined by another Shard Hungry Gaki. I no longer do 8 member FoW runs, they are so zzzzz. So, I formed a good 5 man (4 man one woman) group. The usual build, one healer, one bonder, me nuking, an SS Nuker and a stance tank.

We had a good start, but then things slowed down whenever we met more than one Shadow Monk. Lining up is an issue for my tank friend, but she's trying. I screamed in rage a few times, but for the most part, aggro control was fine.

But then the Shard Hungry Gaki had to strike. I got a couple of early shards, as did the healer. The lone PUGger started to moan about his drops. I felt bad for the guy and decided I would give him a shard if he doesn't get any on his own. Then, ANet had to rub it in the poor guy's face. So, everyone in the team got shards but the Gaki.

As soon as my 3rd shard dropped, the guy just left complaining that we were all having too good of a run. As long as there are no conseuquences to acting like a moron in PUGs, PUGs will remain the pathetic mess that they are right now. And people wonder why solo builds are so popular. Everyone is trying to avoid the Gakis.


Wednesday, March 29th 2006

Factions Preview Weekend getaway:

I have returned to good old Tyria after a weekend spent in the fabulous land of Cantha. I'll post my thoughts later, but here are some memorable moments from my trip:


Uh, no comment.



Thursday, March 30th 2006

The Bomb that goes Ni!

We approach the other team with caution.. Are they blood spike? They look like they're blood spike! Our target caller picks a target. 3.. 2.. 1.. Poof! They all die except a mesmer with 20% health! Ooops.. EoE Bomb gone bad. :)


Monday, April 3rd 2006

I'm using Whirlwind!

This is one from the olden days. I have to chronicle it here to tease Mike with it even more.

So, I went with some friends to FoW. This was back in the day when I did 8 man groups. In those groups I always went with Air Magic. So, in one group, I did fairly well, and impressed these two friends, Danielle (IGN) and her boyfriend, Mike, with some uber-spikage. So, Mike decides to go Air spiker in our next run.

I remember it vividly like it was yesterday. It was me, Panda, Danielle, Mike and others. We were fighting the two Shadow Monks and one Shadow Mesmer group that's right at the start. We were in the heat of battle and having a hard time killing those monks and Mike was trying to show he was doing his best by calling the spell he was using on the monks, which was: I'm using Whirlwind! (see Whirlwind's description).

The fact that he was standing several feet from anything and that he was spamming that spell made us all break into laughter. The poor man is haunted by "I'm using Whirlwind!" till today whenever we go adventuring/farming together.


Tuesday, April 11th 2006

Why I hate Kyle...

I hate Kyle. He makes too much money and it's too easy for him. While I have to get into PUGs or spend much time forming groups off the guild and friend lists. He just wakes up, steps into the Temple of the Ages, in 2 minutes he has found a 55 monk, off they go to the Underworld, poof! One ecto and 5k to boot and maybe even a good rare item. All that in 30 minutes. I could hardy make 5k a night and he can easily make 20k without even selling his ectos!

Sure. T-1 can make the same amount of money in the opposite role, but 55ing is serious work. You have to time your casts, know where the nightmares are and constantly eye your enchants... One miscast and the run could be over. But Kyle, he just sits there, casts SS and that's it! There are times when he casts SS and then goes to browse the net while SS kills the monsters! And don't get me started on his speedos.

The next time I see someone arguing how SS is NOT overpowered I am using my Lightning Orb on them!


Tuesday, April 18th 2006

The Plot Uncovered!

I don't believe this!!! I was in the Crystal Desert helping aguildie friend do The Misplaced Sword quest, when lo and behold! A collector in the middle of the desert. Guess what his name was... Kyle the Rich!!! Of all names, and of all adjectives!! Oh Mockery, thy name is ArenaNet!!


Monday, April 24th 2006

The Henchie Crisis

So, a party of 8 marches into the hazardous Snake Dance. They kick butt left and right. Blessed Griffons, Azure Shadows, Mountain Trolls, ..., You name it, it had its butt kicked by us. As usual it was me and my henchie entourage which is everyone except Cynn/Orion the floor-nukers.

We get to a group of mean Stone Summit bent on denying me my skill cap. We engage with my usual tactic, take out the front most Stone Summit Herder or two before going for the monk. Otherwise, Alesia just caves under pressure from 4 Herders.

Then something goes terribly wrong. I am stuck in Dunham for a few seconds (the infamous pathing problem around bends). While I was trying to work my way around Dunham's big behind, the courageous, yet often misguided, Claude went up front to give the warriors energy (or some other weird reason). No sooner did he do that than the Herders started to make pastrami out of him.

At that precise moment in time, my on-going conflict with Dunham was resolved and I was able to go around him, so as I started to get in range for my spells. Unfortunately, I watched in horror as Claude's health bar rapidly fell to zero. It took me a few seconds to recognize that Alesia and Lina did not heal him because they were... moving 5 steps!

What happened next, proves (beyond any doubt), that the person who wrote the henchmen AI in this game is a very evil man. Both monks rushed to resurrect the fallen Claude. And in no less than 5 seconds, were turned into salami. 15 seconds later, we were all lying on our faces, dead, except for Reyna, who simply would not die without pushing the dagger even deeper.

With her dying breath, Reyna invoked the evil curse "Extra DP" on Lina. Lina got up, stood there, puzzled. The herders were puzzled too, they stood at Reyna's corpse, confused. Then they went for Lina. Lina started doing an odd war dance, casting Protective Spirit on herself, then Reversal of Fortune, then going back and forth between corpses as if checking for a pulse (with the poor Herders following her, very confused). At exactly the right moment when she would be considered to have died sufficiently after her last death and would accumulate extra Death Penalty, she died.

At the res shrine, I contemplated the traumatic experience that I went through. With the sad state of PuGs and the decline in henchmen intelligence, I am left with a burning question: Why won't ANet implement a system where by you can command the henchies? Because right now, they have no clue what to do other than follow a basic call.

Sad, sad, sad. :(


Tuesday, May 23rd 2006

Xasxas and the Blue Ettin

So, I'm skill capping like crazy about a week ago in the Ring of Fire Islands. I am trying to max out the skill cap title which I discovered cannot be done in this life time. Thanks to ANet, I am capping skills I will never ever use.

Anyways, as I was running through Ember Light Camp, a kind soul commented in local chat that my armor looks rather dashing. It does. I love my 15k Canthan Armor all dyed black. Very lady like. I thank the guy and head out. That little moment of celebrity lead to an interesting encounter. Xasxas happened to be in Ember Light Camp at that very moment and recognized my name from some User's page on the wiki. We had a pleasant conversation in which I complained to him about how they don't make Guild Wars players like they used to, then we decided to cap together.

I had my anti-DredgeEchovald Forest build on and he was Build:Mo/Me Boon Prot. We did fairly well and made short work of those dreadful Mahgo Hydras at the entrance. We had to go in twice as his elite was Healing Hands which is used only by the ever-elusive Rull Browbeater. We killed him in cold blood the second run (yes, everyone's eyebrows are safe now). I capped two warrior elites along the way (that I really don't plan on using).

Pleasant encounter. It's fun to play with wiki people.


Wednesday, June 21st 2006

The Story of an Alliance!

Finally have time to add more entries... Have been engrossed in Factions! The first thing I want to talk about is this alliance business.

I think a necessary reading with this entry is this thread] on Guru which tackles the issue of whether farming faction to gain the top city is even worth it.

For those on the outside (not really into guilds, or their guilds are small and not really into the alliance business), it's very simple. Our guild (which was pretty dormant up until factions came out) got all excited about Factions. We joined a small guild who were friends with some of our officers and we had this dinky alliance of 3 guilds mostly exploring the game. The top guys zoomed through the whole game in 2 days. Then we started to look at wealth (to make up for all the money spent on new armors and trinkets in Factions). Amber seemed like a good idea, so we tried to faction farm. At first we were obsessed with the Challenge Missions, but as we got better competing against own records became harder.

However, during those Challenge Mission runs we met other people who were also trying to develop Faction Farming techniques and so we joined their alliance. Suddenly, the possibility of owning a town became real. At first it was the Duel runs then Lutgardis runs. The faction was pouring and we started claiming town after town.

When we got up with the big dogs it was hard. The gap was huge and pressure was on us. The guild leading our alliance became forceful, they started to say stuff like "Get your faction up to X by this date, if not you will be expendible" meaning that if a guild outside the alliance is found with higher faction, we can get them and kick you. This made things a little more serious than they should have been in my opinion.

Finally, we got close enough to the alliance that holds House zu Heltzer. We pushed and pushed and finally over took them. We all rejoiced and brought all our characters to Urgoz's Warren so we can do the elite misison as much as we can. Shortly after, things fell apart.

There were people in the alliance who demanded that we charge for ferries into Urgoz's joint and people who wanted free and open access. The majority of the leadership of the guilds was calling for free access. However, some of the guilds were composed of 14 year old spoiled-children who wanted to be "paid back for all their hardwork." Aftr the alliance leadership had decreed that there will be no charging, that there would only be free ferries or ferries for tips. They lobbied to change the rule so that all three were acceptable with language that sounded like "if I don't have my way I'll leave the alliance." Unfortunately, the leadership caved in.

The problem that I told them about came to pass, those who were so happy to charge, were moritified that there were people offering free rides in the city. Why would anyone pay 5K, or even 5 gold for something they can get for free. So, they recognized they can't allow all three (free, charging and tips). Pushing (and more Alliance chat fighting) continued. A number of guilds realized that the alliance leadership was catering too much to greedy children. So, one day, that alliance woke up and they had only 3 guilds left. The rest of us, went and joined another alliance.

The new alliance (which we are still in till today, Komalis Protectors [oOo]) was a blessing. Mature leadership, most guilds are in tune and in sync about what they want to do with the house and most importantly, there is recognition that this IS a game, so there is no sword on any guild's neck to produce X amount of faction or be kicked. The only pressure is being a responsible member of the alliance.

Then began the drama.. The thirst for power. :) As soon as we took over the house, our former alliance went crazy and started to make a push for the house. They picked up a number of high faction guilds and made a serious push, but we held them off. Then one day, we woke up to find that the 2 million faction gap between us was gone, how so? One of our guilds defected to them! Treason! Hang'em high!

Of course, such a move tactically, was a poor choice for them, because as soon as we found and added a high faction guild, we were back up by 1 million on them. A couple of days of furiosu farming after that, and their alliance fell apart and gave up trying.

Then came, MaD (our Mom and Dad). They gave us a nice run filled with drama. First, they pushed and pushed until they were within 1 million of us, then took one of our guilds away with bribery (yes, it's that cheesy). But before the next town control update, we had gotten a replacement guild, and they were foiled. A couple of days later, they took away our second highest guild in faction with the lure of fame. They gave that guild leadership of their alliance so that it was now named after that guild instead of MaD (they were apparently very desparate). We still held on.

Then, one day, this guy gets on Alliance chat and says his guild and two other guilds are planning to defect from the alliance and join MaD's alliance. We thought he was crazy. Still, a few days later, all three left on the same day. Their complaint: No friggin' French guild should lead a group of American guilds. What ever.

All of a sudden we lost like 4 million faction in one day and they finally got ownership of the house, for 6 hours at least. :) The same tactical mistake was made... If you steal a guild from an alliance to make up the gap with that alliance, you leave them an open slot in their roster for another guild and an easy remedy. True enough, when we got guilds with faction near the amount that those guilds that left had, we were back on top comfortably and now their alliance has fallen apart.

In all of this, many positive things took place. I met knew players, I learned a bunch of new tricks and I opened over 300 chests. :) The one taxing issue in all of this, is the Alliance Chat diatribes and outbreaks of fights between people acting like children. Still, overall, it has been an exhilirating ride and the success still tastes sweet. I am sure we'll move on to other things later on, but for now, this is fun (and no I don't think PvE faction farming is fun).


Saturday, July 29th 2006

The house zu Heltzer built

Things got very interesting over the past month. After the alliance that was challenging us fell apart, they resurfaced a week later. At first owning a low level town, then quickly merging with a few guilds to take the third highest town on the Kurzick side (Amatz Basin).

This time was different. The leader of our enemy alliance (WHOA, led by a person named Mean Black Dude -MBD for short-) was playing a different game. Now, instead of the WHOA praising anthems and the trash talking, he was putting on a benevolent mask. Proclaiming to be cleanly competing, promising no closure of Urgoz's Warren like they did last time. However, I saw right through that as he was still the same arrogant person. At every opportunity he'd be standing at Lutgardis Conservatory speaking in local chat about how oOo's alliance was trying all these evil things (things that I knew were things he and his guild tried). He was lying out of both sides of his mouth, while pretending to be a victim.

At the same time, our alliance was getting tired. A few of the guilds were slacking on faction farming. When WHOA made their big push, they pushed us hard, and yet we kept them back with only 9 guilds in our alliance. Then the big mistake came...

Foreseeing that we needed to fill the tenth spot, the leadership of the alliance chose to add a troublesome guild led by a troublesome leader. All I can say about him is that he is the Charles Barley of Guild Wars... Very good intentioned and very ill-spoken. Can't keep his mouth shut and can't seem to ever find the right words to say. So, numerous fights later with average people over very mundane things, his guild was not liked by many people in the alliance.

Coinciding with this was the little known fact that the leading guild in our alliance, Komalis Protector, was itself getting tired of the hunt for the house zu Heltzer built. Their faction was gradually declining, their presence on alliance chat was noticeable less. This loosening of their grip at the same time things were getting ugly on alliance chat between Barkley's guild and another guild made things worse. Soon, those two guilds were at the proverbial impasse... "Either us or them in the alliance."

That confrontation was still handled poorly, so the guild that does not follow Barkley, joined WHOA. We added some other guild, but many, many members of the alliance were angry that Barkley was allowed to drive an entire guild out of the alliance. In the meantime, WHOA took control of the house nearly a month after their last attempt. For the first time in a long time, I couldn't just walk up to Vash to do Urgoz's Warren.

Silent during all this turmoil was EoE, the Elite of the Elites. One of the strongest guilds in our alliance and one that showed exemplary strength. They started with little over 2 million when they joined the alliace, but gradually grew in faction to the point that they surpassed oOo in faction (and yet did not demand to lead, unlike MBD and his guild).

When oOo's grip started to slip, EoE announced they were willing to stay as long as oOo was serious about competing. Faced with the mediocrity that the allliance was falling into, they moved out and started the alliance anew with the guilds who were interested in continuing to be members of the best alliance on the Kurzick side. In afunny twist, EoE alone possessed enough faction to hold one of the highest 3 towns. My guild was the second to join and in total 4 guilds from oOo's alliance stuck in there.

Something most amazing, impressive and yet predicted took place after that. WHOA's guilds grew wary of WHOA. The true WHOA and the true MBD surfaced after House zu Heltzer was theirs. The leadership of the alliance was exposed. And (I think) for the first time ever, FOUR guilds left WHOA's leading alliance to join EoE's alliance which was 12 million behind WHOA in faction. It was the craziest thing... Guilds were PMing us to ask to join us, even though we did not hold the house.

A week after they took the house, WHOA lost the house and fell all the way down to owning Lutgardis Conservatory. Needless to say, the next day we got very upset messages from MBD. Mwah ha haaah.

It just goes to show that true leadership will always triumph over fake leadership. Sugar coating will never beat true nobility, and that actions (and faction) speak louder than words. :)


Monday, September 18th 2006

'Which part of "Don't Aggro the Ember Bearers" did you not get?!'

This is a traumatic experience that happened to my dear friend Yasmeen Halabi. She's a new ranger that joined our gang. A little naive Tyrian girl with great dreams. Poor thing, she had so much trust in human intellect and was so traumatized by this incident I will have to care for her psychological well-being for many months.

Yasmeen is a hard worker. She arrived in Ascalon city at level 12 and that made her near invincible for most of the foes. Being a ranger she was very adept as survival too. So, she solo'ed The Great Northern Wall mission. When she arrived at Fort Ranik she saw a couple of guys going to do it so she joined them. The mission was a walk in the park as was the bonus.

The she quickly traveled to the Ruins of Surmia. She decided she would go with others and not just solo or "hench" the mission (Yasmeen does not share my disdain for PUGs). She joined a group doing the mission and the bonus. After following Prince Rurik through crowd after crowd of Devourers, she and her party finally made it to the draw bridge. They left Rurik with Erol and went to do the bonus.

The bonus in the mission is to slay the Flame Keepers who are guarding a Flame Temple in an area locked by two gates. The closer gate can only be opened by a procession of Charr Ember Bearers. So, all that is needed is for the party to wait until the procession makes it there and then, once they open the door, assault and slay every creature in there. Does that sound simple? Apparently, not enough.

So, as the party approached Breena Stavinson, Yasmeen was quick to point out that after talking to her, the party should let the Ember Bearers proceed unharmed. She pinged on the map, she drew lines and X's. As she did this, the elementalist in the party was quick to object "Dude, I know the bonus." Sure enough, as soon as the Ember Bearers appeared, the ele charged for them firing Flares and such. Yasmeen was exasperated, pointing out that these are the Ember Bearers whom the party was to avoid. The good elementalist would have none of this and continued to attack. Because he was level 8, and the Charr too were level 8, and there was 4 of them but only one of him, he was quickly overwhlemed. The warrior in the party suggested to him that he should stay there and die as that will cause them to continue on their path, no harm done, and the party would then resurrect him.

Of course, the man who found it hard to comprehend "Don't attack the Ember bearers" also found that hard to comprehend. So he started to panic and ran back to the rest of the party, bringing four angry Ember Bearers with him. After they were dead. Yasmeen was extremely frustrated. When she questioned him about why he did what he did, the elementalist elaborated that these were not the bonus. At which point, the warrior left. Yasmeen decided to leave too and let Alesia handle the situation.

Fifteen minutes later, Yasmeen embarked on the same journey. At exactly the same point, she was keen to point out to all party members that if anyone aggroed the Ember Bearers they would attack and the bonus would be lost. However, as soon as the Ember Bearers appeared, a warrior in the party assaulted them. After they all died, Yasmeen asked him why he did that and he asked "Isn't killing them the bonus?" To which she responded: "Did you read nothing of what I said?" And to which he responded: "Oh, that? No. Oops."

So, 5 minutes later, Yasmeen was embarking on that journey once again. This time, when the party got to the bridge, Yasmeen patiently described what would happen, and emphasized that aggroing the Ember Bearers would mean failure of the bonus. She added that if anyone aggroed the Ember Bearers and caused them to die she would leave.

And so, the Ember Bearers appeared, and started walking down the valley, towards the lake of tar. Like clockwork, like a computer-controlled hencman, some random party member (this time the ranger), took out his bow and started to shoot at them. That was that. Yasmeen didn't even ask him why. She was certain his reason would make her more angry. She just left. She picked up 3 henchmen. Did mission and bonus, got runners from Nolani Academy all the way to the Crystal Desert and did not do another mission with PUGs till Hell's Precipice and only because the people in the town asked her to help.

I can't believe the sad state of pugs today. Kyle the Vile and Yasmeen have both chosen to hench Thunderhead Keep rather than go at it with human players. Something needs to be done. People are not born this dumb. It's the Searing, I bet. The Charr used depleted Uranium.


Monday, September 25th 2006

A Trip to Elona

Farewell picture with me and my hero friends and my accomplishments in front of the Sunspear Great Hall.

So, after much difficulty and several delay of game violations, ArenaNet finally managed to put together a trip to Elona for all of us heroes curious about where our destiny, and Jeff Strain, will next lead us.

I must say I was impressed with the scenery and design. Istan is a beautiful island. They managed to make the island varied and lively, not dull like Shing Jea Island. On the negative side, leveling up seems to be slower than Shing Jea, which was the main reason seasoned players preferred starting characters in Cantha. Also, the way certain quests pop up seemingly out of the blue after the same NPC had nothing to offer is somewhat frustrating. On the positive side, the Sunspear Scouts idea is a brilliant one.

As gameplay goes, the Hero concept is simply amazing. It might mean that I never have to suffer with PUGs again! :) The boring part is building that hero base for each and every character which will take eons :(. However, having a super heal monk, a Triple Chop tank with "None Shall Pass!", an uber Dervish with condition spamming and Wounding Strike and an interrupt ranger with Broad Head Arrow was fantabulous! Koss is fun to have around. :)

One of the more embarrassing moments in the trip was the, ahem, armor. Really, the word armor doesn't do it justice, it's more like expensive, yet falling apart, underwear. It highly restricted my movement as I was afraid at every turn that my, er, equipment, would fall out. Someone has been watching too many Princess Leia sex-slave B-flicks lately in ArenaNet.

Skill wise, aside from the obvious coolness of Stoneflesh Aura, I was disappointed for my own profession. The elementalist did not seem to get much of a boost. The more they ramp up Fire Magic the more I hate the designers of those skills. It's not like there isn't already a plethora of nukers running about. But of course, we all know this is about PvP, blech. Compared to how rangers got a bazillion new ways to trap and Vimway themselves to victory, it's truly annoying. I fail to comprehend how the new skills will make elementalist play any bigger role in PvP. Eles have long been reduced to Water hex spammers, Flag-runners and Heal Party spammers (upgraded to Heal Party + Extinguish spammers in Factions). After adding 2 annoying PBAoE spells in Fire Magic, ANet adds more junk into Fire Magic. I think they are missing the point. A warrior, with an attack speed enchancement and a few conditions will slice a monk to shreds, even through Protective Spirit, an elementalist never will. Elementalist damage is TOO easy to slow down (Prot spirit, Shelter, RoF), too easy to interrupt and they are too fragile on their own. Adding more kaboom in Fire Magic will not help that.

On the positive side, monks and mesmers seem to have gotten some interesting skills. Dervishes seem to be very interesting and I plan on inviting a Dervish into our little gang, when we finally go to the land of Elona to battle the coming Nightfall.

Until then, I'll have to go back to farming Vera. :(

Addendum: Apparently, I was the most dedicated promotional point farmer... So says the Scribe. Yippeee! :)


Monday, October 23rd 2006

It's Official!

Ok, it's official now... ArenaNet made my profession to be pathetic in PvP by design. Read this. It pretty much confirms what Ensign said. Take heart fellow elementalists!! ArenaNet has improved your uselessness in PvP by adding more skills that will never see the light of day. Hooorraaaay! :(


Sunday, March 12th 2007

Long time no write...

Dear diary. Been a while! I have been busy exporing Elona and lazy reporting my successes and trials. I shall get back to reporting again! :)


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