Putting real skills to use in virtual space
One of the reasons why I am so pleased with Guild Wars 2 is that there was obviously some very definite thought behind the realism of various game skills and internal structures that delights me in a specific and particular way.
For example, Mr. Aro is a hobbyist chef, and because of this I recognize that whomever was responsible for building the Chef skills actually knows what they are talking about re: food. Every pie needs some lemon juice and starch, for example, which is a standard pastry trick; the herbs used in various entrees are correct and applicable to their real world flavors. I’ve found myself playing with the experimentation/refinement pane and going man, a loaf of tarragon bread actually sounds super delicious right now.
I’ve also tinkered around with Jewelry, which is a lot more straightforward than Chef bits but just as interesting: you have to have a stone to put in a setting to put in a piece (a band, a hook, or a chain) before you can craft a ring, an earring, or an amulet. Usually minutiae like this drives me around the bend, but for some reason in GW2 it delights me instead. I think it’s because somehow the ANet devs have managed to strike upon timesink tedium that doesn’t feel like needless grinding; instead for me it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle where I maybe can’t see all the pieces but it all still makes SENSE.
There’s a lot to be said for shit that just plain makes sense, y’all, I can’t lie. This is a game that counts a real-world economist on its staff and maintains its own virtual currency valuation histology, which absolutely blows my mind into tiny little diamond sparkles of delight.
All of this attention to realistic detail has really struck a nerve with me, and I’ve spent a great deal of my non-gameplaying free time taking all this wonderful and very specific data and putting my own real skills on top of them; in the really real world I’m a web developer and front-end designer, and I have not yet met a data point in GW2 that I haven’t wanted to build an app out of.
Good With Beer is a Chef helper that searches on both ingredient (oh my god what are the two recipes it says I’m missing that I can make with yams) and recipe (so this takes a bowl of spicy chili, wtf is that). Unfortunately the chef data keeps changing, assumedly for economy-balancing reasons, so some of the quantity data is out of date — looking at you here, dyes — but I’m constantly going through and updating the relevant bits.
The Dyealogue is a searchable and filterable catalogue of dyes, with color swatches at a glance and, where applicable, the separate cloth/leather/metal colors noted.
What I wanted to emphasize here was speed and ease of use; the GW2 wiki is pretty rad and Guildhead is super exhaustive, but having all of this data in a quickly-loaded and returned search isn’t something the big databases can really offer.
Also, they were super fun to write, and you bet they’re going on my professional portfolio. :D