Monthly Archives: December 2014

YAMCBP (Yet Another Merry Christmas Blog Post)

Just logged in and saw a few nice “Merry Christmas” blog posts, and, at the risk of being very unoriginal, thought I’d hop on the bandwagon.

So, a very quick but jolly

Merry Christmas

to everyone around the world from sunny Perth, Australia.

‘Tis the Season to be… Writing

Oh yeah… holidays! Time off from work! Time to finally write more than a few disjointed hours per week! I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to this.

Santa Writes

Image shamelessly merged from two free-to-modify images of Santa and a feather pen. No, I didn’t add the weird jester doll.

Admittedly, there’s also that little thing called Christmas to get through, but that will be so much easier this year… because all my kids are now old enough to know. We’ve kept the magic alive as long as we could; this year, all three of them will be in on the magic. Maybe that’ll take some of the excitement out of it, but I think it should still be fun. Just in a different way.

I finally found the time earlier this week to post a topic I’d been working on for a while (the GuildWars 2 bounties post; just taking, picking, cropping, uploading and inserting all those screenshots took forever), and may get around to posting on one or two other non-writing ones I’ve been meaning to do, but I do want to get back to the reason I created this blog in the first place, i.e. my own writing.

If I don’t quite finish writing the ending to my work-in-progress before I have to go back to work, I’m hoping to at least get close. Then, next year may find me writing about going through the long, boring, exciting, depressing, scary process of eventually submitting my work. Reading up on potential agencies to submit to, writing/honing my query letter, agonising over picking the sample chapters to submit, and so on. Wish me luck! 🙂

But first, I have to get there, and write my ending. I’ve only got a rough outline thus far, but at least I now have a chunk of time to dedicate to it. (I hope.) Also, I have to complete my timeline (nearly done!) so that I can make sure that everything is logical and coherent. Not such an easy task in the fantasy genre and in my tropical setting, where I need to know exactly when the rainy season needs to kick in so that it all makes sense.

Oh, plus I need to get over this nasty chest cold I’ve caught… I think it’s been around a year and a half since I’ve had a real cold or the flu, so maybe I was overdue. All this coughing is exhausting, but you don’t need that much (physical) energy to sit and write.

And that’s exactly what I intend to do.

A heartfelt “thanks” to anyone who ever read my blog, I’ve learned heaps this year (not least of which was to adjust my expectations time-wise of what’s involved in blogging) and look forward to blogging more next year. And an even bigger “thank you” to my wonderful wife (she reads my blog and my scribblings) for putting up with me sitting in front of my computer for large chunks of my “spare” time and for supporting me in my crazy dream all the way!

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holiday Season or whatever you prefer…) to all writers. Oh, fine, to all non-writers as well.

How to do GW2 Guild Bounties as a small guild

And now for something completely different. One of my (previously mentioned) guilty pleasures is playing the best MMO out there, Guild Wars 2. If you don’t know what that is, I’d encourage you to find out. Unlike most other MMOs (massively multiplayer online games), it’s the kind where you pay once for the game (a modest US$40, or even less when it’s on special… you can’t really go wrong), and that’s it. No monthly fees, no need to buy things with real money to get ahead beyond a certain point. (Yes, you can buy stuff with real money if you want, but it’s mostly for cosmetic or convenience items, nothing that’ll give you an advantage in-game over other players.)

There's much to love in the game of Guild Wars 2.

There’s much to love in the game of Guild Wars 2, from the beautiful artwork to the cooperative gameplay, from the scaling system and dynamic events to the constantly evolving “Living Story”.

One of the best ways to build up your guild is to learn to do Guild Bounties, both the Training variety and the real thing. Successfully completing a Guild Bounty Training event earns your guild a nice 3,000 reputation, while doing a regular Guild Bounty will earn participating guild members two Guild Commendations, two rare or better items, and 50 silver for defeating a single bounty NPC (non-player character), and on top of that will earn the guild some Guild Merits for capturing all bounty targets (two for the easiest tier; there are harder ones but I won’t cover those here).

So what’s a Guild Bounty about?

Funny you should ask. There are certain unsavoury characters in the game for whose capture the authorities offer the rewards mentioned above. They are typically hard to track down, and once found, take a while to defeat (i.e. capture), often with their own particular mechanics to figure out. Bounties are meant to challenge guilds to work together to overcome such adversaries within a limited amount of time. You can do bounties with large guilds of over 50 players, but many people aren’t aware that it’s not all that hard to do with only 3-4 active people in your guild, if you know what you’re doing.

Your guild doesn't have to be big to take down bounty targets, such as Big Mayana here.

Your guild doesn’t have to be big to take down bounty targets, such as Big Mayana here.

Let’s take a look at the steps required to start doing Bounty Training events so your guild can build up the reputation to build bigger and better things. You can use bounties to start earning guild merits, but no merits are required to unlock them, only guild “reputation” (a.k.a. “influence”, or just “rep”).

The essentials to get started

Well, a guild, for starters. Look up “Guild Registrar” on the wiki to find out how to create one of your own. Once you have one, you need to research “Art of War” to level 5, which will take quite a bit of time and effort to unlock:

  • Level 1 requires 500 rep and takes 16h to build.
  • Level 2 requires 1,000 rep and takes 32h to build.
  • Level 3 requires 5,000 rep and takes 3 days to build.
  • Level 4 requires 10,000 rep and takes 4 days to build.
  • Level 5 requires 20,000 rep and takes 1 week to build.
You can have up to 10 of these built, if you have some spare rep, pop them on the build queue.

You can have up to 10 of these built, so if you have some spare rep, pop them on the build queue.

All up, that’s 36,500 rep and a total build time of 16 days – probably more, since you won’t be able to queue the next level until you’ve built the one before.

Once you have access to bounties, build training ones for 300 rep, or real ones for 200. Both have a build time of 72 hours.

The other thing you need is to find a little time when at least 3 guild members are ready to go bounty hunting.

Some nice-to-haves to succeed

  • Ideally, you’ll want characters with 100% map completion, or at least a few waypoints in each of the bounty areas (also see table below). Some bounties are in high-level zones, so you’ll want level 80 characters for the most part. You don’t all need to have ascended equipment, but you probably don’t want to be running around in “green” armour, either. I’d recommend exotic, or at least rare, equipment.
  • Have some nourishment ready to boost your stats a little… every bit helps. Personally, I prefer something like Mango Pies (cheap to buy or make) to help keep you alive longer – you should expect to die… lots, especially as you’re still figuring out each target’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Open Dulfy’s bounty guide and be somewhat familiar with each of the bounty targets (at least glance over their descriptions to know what to expect, you don’t have long to figure out the mechanics once you track them down).
  • If your guild is doing this for the first time, it will be very difficult unless you’re able to communicate efficiently. If you’re not physically in the same location, try to find some sort of VoIP software you can use (each member will need a headset), be that TeamSpeak, Mumble, Google Hangouts, ooVoo, C3… or whatever you prefer. Yes, there’s one obvious client I’m not mentioning. For a reason.
  • I’d recommend having everyone start in Lion’s Arch, firstly because it’s relatively central and you may have to travel quite far, and secondly because you can make sure no guild members are busy fighting things. You probably already know that you can get there quite quickly (and without paying for waypoints) by stepping into the PvP Lobby from anywhere and heading through the Asuran gate almost directly ahead.

Relative difficulty of each bounty

Found Half-Baked Komali!

Some targets are easier to find than others

Not all bounties were created equal, at least not when you’re considering it from the perspective of a small guild still learning how to do them.

If you’re a big guild, or have few members but they’re all familiar with doing bounties, ignore the ratings in the following table – it’s meant for small, not-so-experienced guilds and is, of course, a completely subjective difficulty rating of how hard I think the target is to a) track down and b) take down, with 1 being quite simple, and 5 being quite tricky. (To be honest, on some days when a certain bounty – mainly 2-Mult – pops up and there are only three or four of us, we may let it expire without even bothering to waypoint there if we don’t feel up to the challenge.)

The links will take you directly to the corresponding section of Dulfy’s bounty guide (in a new tab); look through the zones to make sure you have at least a couple of waypoints in each (16 areas for 18 possible targets) near where the target could be; the fewer waypoints you have unlocked in the area, the longer you may have to run to get to where the action is, and time is limited once the fun begins. The order of bounties listed is the same as on the wiki and on Dulfy, i.e. alphabetical.

Bounty Target Area Rating Notes
2-Mult Timberline Falls 2, 5 A big golem is not that hard to spot, and the path is long but not so complicated. However, the fight mechanics make this one of the toughest targets.
Ander “Wildman” Westward Southsun Cove 4, 3 Finding this one involves a fair bit of luck, since the introduction of megaservers means that some veteran karkas (he’s inside one of them) can get killed by karka farming zergs before you get there. Once you have him, he’s not that hard to kill, unless other vets join in. Take down the talking karka first, then Ander when he pops out… can take a while.
Big Mayana Sparkfly Fen 2, 5 Go around kicking “suspicious trees” and hope she pops out… we’ve found this to happen relatively quickly. Once she appears, try surviving while pulling her towards the nearest waypoint until the rest of the team arrives. She jumps around like crazy, is hard to hit for long, and swallows people in range (skills 1-5 will have one “kick” skill, hit that as soon as you see it, avoid the other four. You’ll get spit out with low health or go straight to downed. She’s very tough for small guilds.
Bookworm Bwikki Lornar’s Pass 3, 3 A long path, but not so hard to spot. As long as you know not to attack when he has Frost Aura, it’s not that difficult. Bring plenty of condition removal, as you won’t do damage while chilled (he chills lots…)
Brekkabek Harathi Hinterlands 1, 2 One of the easiest bounties. A short path (check the southern loop first) and not too hard to take down. The only thing making this slightly more difficult is that there are spots on the path with no nearby waypoints.
Crusader Michiele Sparkfly Fen 4, 2 Her path is quite long, and with Sparkfly’s uneven terrain she can be easy to miss if you don’t know the path. She’s not that difficult to take down, though.
“Deputy” Brooke Snowden Drifts 4, 2 Also not so hard to take down, but the path is quite long and the mountainous terrain doesn’t help.
Devious Teesa Frostgorge Sound 4, 3 Her path through the caves in the south-west of Frostgorge is the trickiest bit; out in the open she’s easier to spot. We’ve always found it easiest to use ranged weapons, going toe-to-toe can be detrimental to your health. Bring condition removal and be prepared to die/waypoint as often as it takes.
Diplomat Tarban Brisban Wildlands 3, 2 Another long path, but mostly not so hard to spot. Goes down without too much effort (compared to some).
Bounty Target Area Rating Notes
Inside Big Mayana

Swallowed by Big Mayana… hit the right skill to kick your way out (in this case, 5, but it changes quickly)

Bounty Target Area Rating Notes
Half-Baked Komali Mount Maelstrom 3, 3 The path is easier than it looks, but there are some long stretches without nearby waypoints. Average difficulty for the capture.
Poobadoo Kessex Hills 1, 1 Easiest bounty, if you ask me. Very short path and not hard to capture. If you don’t like underwater combat, wait until he emerges from the water, which in both cases is near a waypoint anyway.
Prisoner 1141 Iron Marches 4, 4 The only reason I didn’t rate finding her a “5” is that she’s quite fast, and several of the possible paths combine along one stretch (left side of the map). Having one player patrol this stretch while others check the remaining paths could be beneficial. Trigger the bounty while running alongside her, she doesn’t hold still. Bring speedbuffs and skills that immobilise, cripple, chill, etc. – anything to slow her down, especially near waypoints. The fight isn’t that difficult, but you’ll be running most of the time.
Shaman Arderus Fireheart Rise 3, 4 Much of his route is in areas where he’s easy to spot, though there are some tricky bits. One or two should melee him when he’s busy scorching someone else; when he turns his nasty flamethrower on you, dodge away and use ranged weapons.
Short-Fuse Felix Diessa Plateau 3, 2 Like the rain in Spain, he stays mainly in the plains, so he’s relatively straightforward to spot despite the long path. Alternate melee and ranged combat, avoid the bombs and he’s not that tough.
Sotzz the Scallywag Gendarran Fields 3, 2 Despite apparently over 300 possible locations (check “suspicious” barrels), we’ve always found that Sotzz will be found in one of them within a reasonable time. As long as you remember to bring “push” skills to get him out of the booze field he creates, he’ll go down quite quickly.
Tricksy Trekksa Blazeridge Steppes 5, 2 Finding her is the difficult bit. Not because she “disguises” herself as a Wind Rider, Cow, Moa, or Pig (she still has that sheriff-star above her head to identify her), but because the path is very convoluted along difficult terrain. Keeping an eye on where you are on the map as well as the map of her path (even if you have a second monitor) while trying to spot her is frustratingly difficult. Once you do find her, though, she doesn’t put up too much of a fight.
Trillia Midwell Fields of Ruin 1, 2 Another one of the easier ones, the path is pretty easy to follow. The fight mechanics aren’t too tricky either.
Yanonka the Rat-Wrangler Fields of Ruin 3, 5 Check “suspicious” rats wherever you spot them (I’ve found the map of those spots to be quite inaccurate). The reason the fight is so difficult is because the little pet rats that spawn all around Yanonka are… vicious. And nasty. Using single-target attacks and no AoE attacks isn’t as easy as it may sound until you’ve tried it. Concentrate attacks exclusively on Yanonka; you do not want to accidentally hit one of her pet rats. I’m pretty sure they hold grudges even after you die and waypoint back. The terrain can be your ally if you find a spot where she can’t easily reach you with melee attacks.
Bounty Target Area Rating Notes
Suspicious Barrel

If a barrel (or rat, or tree) looks this suspicious… interact with it to check whether it might be hiding the bounty target.

What to expect, and in what order

Let’s take a bounty training as an example; the real bounties are the same thing, just with more than one target within the 15 minute time limit.

Triggering the bounty

First, when everyone is ready, a guild member with sufficient privileges (the leader or an officer, for instance) needs to kick off the bounty training by hitting the “Activate” button, located on your guild window, third tab down (the up arrow for upgrades), under “Current Upgrades”.

Some bounties built and ready to trigger.

Some bounties built and ready to trigger.

Once it’s been triggered, you should see the following notification in your chat window:


When the Bounty Training is triggered (from the guild window), a 15-minute bounty timer begins.

Also, the active target (random each time) and how much time is left will show up on the last tab of the guild screen:

Komali triggered

The guild window, showing the name of the bounty target (Half-baked Komali in this case) and the amount of time left to get it done.

Note that the number of seconds will be truncated, so “14 m” could be “14:59”, i.e. right after it’s triggered. (Also, note the 14k influence on the top right of the screenshot, a few moments after successful completion, that should go up.)

On your marks… Location, location, location

At this point, you’ll want to make sure the guild members all go to different spots on the target map. (One guild member should ask on map chat whether anyone has seen the target.)

Most bounty targets have a path; look at the arrows on the map image on Dulfy’s guide and go the other way. The arrows show you which way the targets typically travel; by going in the opposite direction, you’ll increase your chances of spotting them coming towards you. Three of the bounties have suspicious trees/rats/barrels to search, and the one in Southsun requires you to look for Veteran Karkas and find one that’s “talking” (because the target is stuck inside). Either way, communicate to let each other know where you’re going or which area you’ve already covered.

“Found him!”

Komali, ready to trigger

Found Half-Baked Komali! Other team members are just arriving, so we’re only waiting for Komali to get closer to a waypoint before triggering the bounty.

The moment someone in the guild spots the target, let everyone know so they can stop looking and come join you. Announce it via VoIP and link the nearest waypoint in party chat or guild chat (shift-click on the waypoint in the mini-map on the bottom right or on the main map), plus any important information, such as whether the target is north of the waypoint, heading towards it, etc. Tagging up can help if you’re a commander; it’ll make the location easier for other guild members to find (especially if they’re not in the same party), plus it might attract others to help you out.

When to trigger

Don’t always trigger the bounty right away. Unless of course it’s not your choice; when someone find the right suspicious tree/rat/barrel, the bounty is triggered automatically. But if you have a choice, consider the following:

  • How much time is left on the bounty timer? If you’re under time pressure, you may not have much of a choice.
  • How far away are the other guild members? If you have the time, let them get close.
  • How far away is the nearest waypoint? The closer, the better, because, as a small guild with few people for your target to, er, target, you should expect to get downed and die a time or two.

When you’re happy about the timing and location, chat to the bounty NPC to trigger the event timer.

Teesa - Starting the Bounty

The dialogue to trigger the bounty, in this case for Devious Teesa. Note the nearby waypoint, and that we’ve already “called target” on her.

When the Bounty Target is triggered (either by talking to the target or automatically), a second, separate, 7-minute bounty event timer begins.

Beat the two timers

The two separate timers can be a source of confusion for some people.

  • You have a 15-minute window in which to complete the whole bounty (or bounty training); the countdown for this bounty timer can be seen on the guild window.
  • You have a 7-minute window in which to capture a single bounty target; the countdown for this bounty event timer can be seen on the right of your screen like any other event.

If either of these two timers runs out, the bounty hunt fails and the guild does not get its reward (though, if you’ve already captured the first of multiple targets, participants will have received their individual rewards). If you find the target of a bounty training and trigger the event within 8 minutes, you don’t have to worry about the bounty timer, just the bounty event timer. Any later than 8 minutes, and the event timer can be misleading, so make sure everyone in the guild is aware of that.

Komali, two seconds in

Two seconds after triggering the bounty event for Komali (the inset on the right side shows the event timer).

In our case with Half-Baked Komali, we took quite long to find him, so both timers were getting uncomfortably close to running out…

Komali, under 2m to go

Less than two minutes left to take down Komali! On both timers! (Kids, unless you have to, don’t try checking-the-guild-window-while-in-combat at home…)

… but we made it. Barely. 🙂

Komali - Just in time

Captured Komali with 11 seconds left… phew!

A few seconds after you capture your target, the chat log will show this notification:

Chat: Bounty Hunt complete

Yay! Bounty Hunt complete.

The guild window will update to show that you have gained 3,000 influence. Time to trigger the next one! (Though there’s not much point in doing more than one full Bounty per week, as you can only get the reward once a week, you can do Bounty Training hunts over and over to build your influence.)

Teesa Bounty triggered and 3k rep more

One bounty done (3k more reputation), and we’ve already triggered the next one…

The “cage” is what you want to see

And because I missed the screenshot of when we captured Komali, here’s the one for Teesa:

Bounty success cage

This is the “cage” you want to see; it’ll show up after you’ve successfully captured a bounty target. (Don’t feel sorry for her, she’s all cute and innocent now…)

And, on the right of your screen, something like this should appear:

Bounty success notification

The notification that the event has been successful. Yeah, 82 copper… pfft. But you’re not in it for the money.

The stuff you don’t want to see

Teesa - defeated, waypointing

If you’re defeated, waypoint back quickly to keep the target in combat.

Downed against Teesa

Down, but not out. When downed, attack if you’re in range rather than healing yourself; faster death means you can waypoint back sooner.

Here are a couple of screenshots from a little earlier that you probably don’t want to see… with our guild members dead (or mostly dead), hurry and waypoint, then run back to engage the target again before they’re out of combat and go back to full health. Try to always have one party member keep the target in combat. When a party member is downed, especially if you’re close to a waypoint, don’t waste time ressing them.

Summary of tips to successfully completing a bounty

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version if you can’t remember all of the above (or were just too distracted by all the lovely screenshots):

  • As mentioned above (but I’ll say it again) make sure everyone is ready when the bounty is kicked off:
    • Each participant should already have either party chat (for 5 or fewer participants) or guild chat (for more than 5) open at this point
    • Everyone should be in LA, or in a location where they won’t suddenly be in combat
    • Remember to eat food/nutrients with at least 15 minutes remaining on the duration
    • VoIP should be active
    • Everyone should have the Dulfy bounty guide ready, ideally on a second monitor
  • When you enter the area, ask on map chat for people who might have seen the target. If they haven’t, the more helpful ones may still let you know if they spot the target later on.
  • Communicate well and spread out; go to different waypoints.
  • Run the opposite way to the target’s path.
  • Ignore all other mobs while searching.
  • Once the target has been found:
    • Link the nearest waypoint in party chat or guild chat
    • “Call target” on the bounty target
    • Tag up if you can
    • If necessary (and if time allows), wait until the target is near a waypoint before triggering
    • Use this time to change weapons/skills as necessary (condition removal, cc, etc.)
  • Keep an eye on and be aware of both the bounty timer and the bounty event timer.
  • Sometimes, attacking nearby mobs when you’re low on health can help to rally you when you’re downed.
  • Downed party members should attack while in range; don’t self-heal or ressurrect each other (unless you’re far from waypoints).
  • When you’re all-the-way-dead, waypoint and run back to where the action is as far as you can.
  • Don’t forget to repair your armour afterwards! 😉
Teesa - started with a bang

May your guild bounties go off with a bang!

That’s all, folks

I hope some smaller guilds will find this guide useful, if you do, or if you spot any errors, have suggestions for improvements, etc., please let me know in the comments below. See you in Tyria, and enjoy Wintersday, which should start soon!