Day one of the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event has now come and gone and I've got a couple of thoughts on my experiences. I'm not going to get into too much detail as you'll have a full preview probably sometime next week, but I did want to give some first impressions and other thoughts.
The most important thing (for me) to address is whether or not Guild Wars 2 passed the test I mentioned in our recent Beta Weekend Experience Expectations piece: does GW2 really just have things going on everywhere in place of quest content? Can you just run around and find things anywhere?
I spent most of my first day testing this out. Going anywhere and everywhere and seeing if I could find things to do. Literallly almost everywhere I went I'd find some sort of event or activity going on and I never once had to think about having to find a group for anything due to the awesome implicit grouping design. Participate in the fight with someone else? Get full XP. Get full loot. Provide area buffs? Everyone is affected, regardless of whether they are grouped or not.
I also want to talk about all the activity on our forums regarding performance and such. Guild Wars 2 is not optimized yet, so yes, you may be experiencing some really crappy performance. I have a ridiculous rig and getting above 40FPS in most instances is not very likely (Known Issues: SLI is non functional and the game is CPU bound at the moment). The latter bit is extremely important, it means you are not going to see an appreciable framerate difference in lowering your graphics settings if your CPU is the performance bottleneck. I'm sure some of you are getting way worse framerates, but the suggestions I've seen along the lines that ANET shouldn't launch in 2012 due to these issues are a bit much. That's, in part, what these weekends will help ANET improve.
No, you don't need to sit around filing bug reports. Just playing will give them tons of information and hopefully they will be able to improve performance significantly. I've been part of many beta tests in the past and I can tell you that these sort of things can change very quickly. Once the game is no longer CPU bound players should see some vastly improved performance (especially when dropping to lower settings, if necessary).
This also applies to complaints that X content is too hard/too easy. Numbers in a spreadsheet can be (and likely will be) tuned if they are over or undertuned at the moment. I can tell you that the story quests I've done definitely seem overtuned (too hard). But these are just numbers in some files somwehere, they can be adjusted.
Lag and other technical issues? Same thing. I realize you guys are super frustrated. I had my own friends say they wanted to switch servers because latency was unplayable at primetime last night. This sort of thing is to be expected. If you end up participating in the next couple of weekends and aren't seeing improvements from event to event, then sure, be concerned. Right now? I think it is all a bit premature.
What were your day one experiences like? Share 'em in the comments below!