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Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 

Beta Weekend Event Reviews & Impressions (Archived)  » An Honest GW2 Beta Review

11 posts found
  ProfRed

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/29/03
Posts: 3557

 
OP  4/30/12 9:08:39 AM#1

I played a good amount, and I tested just about everything but crafting.  I partied up with a couple friends, explored, tested everything I could think of and I have a good grasp of GW2 after the weekend.

PvE, Dynamic Events, Exploring, and the Personal Story

Exploring the lands and doing away with quest hubs is a huge plus for me.  It isn't implemented perfectly, and there are things that I would change, but that is all a matter of opinion.  The best part about this is the freedom it gives you to simply set out into the world without putting too much thought into it.  A big part of Guild Wars was exploring the maps, and for many completing 100% of the objectives and this is present here.  The telescope guys give you a glimpse of the area and the first thing I did was go after the skill points on the maps.  After this you can travel to the hearts and complete the main dynamic events which are pretty fun, and scale well.  There are more hidden events that branch off and these are where I found a bit more challenge and entertainment. 

The problems I found with this setup is that it is somewhat antisocial.  Not just when playing solo, but even in a party with friends.  Part of it is because many of the areas are non stop action with little breaks and experience can come flying in, but in a way it can become a bit stressful and nonstop.  It felt like a ADD gamers dream, but I could see it wearing on people.  Luckily there are tons of ways to take a break from this in game. 

I enjoyed the daily system they have.  As you are playing and do different things your daily progresses and these things support playing in a variety of ways which is really where this game shines in my opnion.

The personal story is pretty entertaining and a way to take a break from the madness and do a bit of character building, and overall it was enjoyable.  I didn't find myself having to know what happens next or continuing it, but I know that it will take some pretty epic turns and be pretty awesome by the end.  It is no Bioware story telling, but I have faith because Guild Wars 1 had some pretty cool twists and turns.

I love that areas outside of yours have a fog of war, but I wish that this was also expanded to the starting areas.  I do not know if the telescope guys exist as heavily after the starting areas or if they taper off, but it muted the sense of exploration.  My friends and I would simply rush to the skill points in starting areas and then tackle each heart and any side events we came across.  If I had my way the telescope guys that reveal most things in an area would be completely gone after the 1-15 zones, and next beta weekend I will focus on higher level characters instead of multiple lower ones.

WvW, PvP, and Parties

So these are the things that make it an MMO right?  WvW is where this game really shines for me.  You can immediately travel to the mists at level 1 and try out your character as a level 80 with level 80 gear and a full skill bar.  There are ample test dummies and you can figure out if the class is something you are interested in leveling.  This was really cool, but also a bit of a spoiler.  The WvW was great though, a really fun experience and I could see myself spending hundreds of hours here.  The organized arenas are exactly what they are, and I doubt I will be spending much time with these, and honestly I won't comment much on them either. 

My only concern with WvW is that over time it will start to lose it's draw because nothing is permanent and while it is huge it will always be the same map with the same systems resetting every couple of weeks.  It is so much fun now though it is hard to predict how this will turn out.  There are some bugs I ran across here though.  Mainly with the ability to teleport to your enemy and performing this action on a wall.  It put me inside the wall where I could see outside, but couldn't escape or target anything outside of it.  I was completely stuck, and I tried a /stuck command and some variants but couldn't get out.  I tried relogging it and it told me the map was broken basically and to try 2 minutes later and then a bit later I was ported back to Lions Arch.

Partying up with friends is currently pretty difficult and not very intuitive with overflow servers.  We spent a couple hours just getting to the same areas, and actually playing in the same instance/overflow.  There is a way to do it, but it should be much easier.  What I found, and I think everyone should do, is:

1) Immediately when you get to your main starting area for leveling after the intro go into the mists (H->PvP->Be in the Mists), do the intro stuff here if you like, but go into the Asura Gate closest to where you zone in and it will take you to Lions Arch.  From here you will be surrounded with PvP Asura Gates to the Eternal Battlegrounds.  If you go North by the Grand Piazza there are 5 more Asura Gates which lead to each areas starting leveling zone.  Go into each of these and get the waypoint right by the gate, then go back and get the others.  Now in the World you can open the map and zoom out and change between these.  You will be downleveled to match content and you will still level up.  One char could do the entirety of each of these starting zones, and if you are a completionist you can unlock 100% of each location for character achievements.

2) Now whenever you party with friends you can choose where to level.  My two friends were Norns and I was Human so we decided to level in the Charr areas.  In doing this you can travel between the lands and pick up all the available skill points to further advance your character as well.  So all of us took the waypoint to the Black Citadel.  Now when you are in a major city with your party you will all show up on the map, and you can all zone into the leveling areas together and you will be playing together.

The issue arises when you create a party and you all travel to the same area you will most likely be in different overflow instances.  To alleviate this have everyone take the waypoint to the closest major city, zone in, and then once together zone back into the world.  There should be an option in the party interface to join together or change to a party memebers instance. 

Game Systems and Conclusion

The combat was fun and fast paced.  I did enjoy acquiring every weapon combination my class could use and unlocking all of the skills, but this happened quite fast.  There was great variance in the weapon types and the combat really become fun when I unlocked the ability to switch weapon sets.  Each set did something different and I found myself at different encounters switching my sets for different situations.  I really didn't have a favorite and I switched quite often.  This made the combat pretty dynamic and it made my class play like a number of different classes at the click of a button.  I really enjoyed this, and even as a Thief I found that through skilled play I could stay alive, dodge, juke, escape and outlive/outlast even my Guardian friend in very hairy situations.  It was a blast.

However, after trying the classes at 80 with numerous skills unlocked, and all of my skill slots I have to say that I miss the Guild Wars 1 skill collection and multiple combinations/builds/loadouts that completely changed the class and added a great deal of strategy.  You can still choose your weapon as customization, but really you should be good with all combinations and multiple weapon types as an integral part of your class and it isn't really a customization or strategy question.  Yes there are on the fly action oriented strategic decisions where this game shines, and this is a great thing for many, and there are numerous skills you can choose to give yourself some variance, but the deep class building strategy is not here like it was in Guild Wars 1.  Take that however you want as it is a matter of opinion.  This MMO plays like an action game, with twitchy on the fly decisions, and in depth combat, but it lacks the deep theory crafting and combination building that many spent hours and hours on in GW1. 

This game will really cater to skilled players using their weapon combos in different situations in PvP, and while you can button mash to success in PvE the better players will shine in late game PvP.  It really is a fun system even if it lacks a bit of depth in some areas I think it is just advanced enough to not be overwhelming, but allow for skilled players to really show their stuff.  Another thing I love about the combat is how it kind of queues up, and isn't like most MMO's with their global cooldowns.  Even if it is lagging or your animations are too slow you can hit the same attack quickly 3 times and then watch as your character carries those actions out.  It really feels twitchy, but also it can feel a bit off at first if you are used to regular MMO GCD combat.

Itemization is pretty good from what I experienced, and I hope it continues to ramp up.  The level 80 pre geared characters armor was a bit underwhelming, but I know there will be plenty of variances.  The cities were amazing and overwhelming at first, but just the right size I think. 

The graphics were pretty solid and I was impressed across the board, aside from some animation stuttering here and there.  I was able to run it perfectly on a mid ranged laptop and the nice weather systems didn't seem to drag it down at all. 

I was one of the lucky ones who experienced no D/C's or failed login attempts.  Maybe due to server choice, but I did experience lag and some issues that come from overloaded areas, but nothing too bad really.  I would say it compared pretty evenly with almost every MMO I have played on launch day which is good for a beta client.  The combat does sort of queue up which is different than most MMO's with global cooldowns.

I did get my 2000 gems and spent some time with the commerce section of the game including a server transfer to play with friends.  This process was immediate and painless, and I didn't really see anything in the shop that was a deal breaker.  I didn't think any of it was necessary or a big deal.

Final thoughts...  The game is solid, the combat is a blast, but it does have a few issues.  I think it could use 3-6 more months to polish things off.  It feels just a bit rough around the edges in some areas, but once it dials in it can be a real treat.  There is the unfinished dialogue background, the two starting areas and races, and some simple additions that could really round the game off.  Maybe most of this is done already and it could be out sooner.  The biggest downside to me is the social aspect and party support.  Although in this day and age most MMO gamers are somehwat anti social and the PvE really caters to more of like a dungeon crawling experience so far which is great for many.  The only other thing I want to bring up is that in Guild Wars they focus on a character through achievements/halls/etc clearing the game 100%, and this really is the best way to advance your character in my opnion by having each one clear each areas starting zone, getting all the skill points, and while I love this it really makes me only ever want to have one character.   The bonus is I can make my other characters and take them straight to the mists for instant PvP action with whatever class I feel like playing at the time.  In GW1 this was supported by having the ability to create a PvP char at max level and I think part of this philosophy carried over. 

It is a solid game, and maybe some people here overhyped it in their minds and they will be in for a shock on some systems, but if you give it time and let it entertain you for what it is I think there is no reason every gamer out there shouldn't pick this up and spend some time with it.

 

  Mardukk

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/05/11
Posts: 1458

4/30/12 9:16:40 AM#2

Are all mobs dynamic content only?  Or do they have areas of mobs just wandering as well as the dynamic content?  Is loot off the mobs interesting or do all mobs just drop the same universal loot table stuff?

It's nice to see that most people had a good time with the game.

  ProfRed

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/29/03
Posts: 3557

 
OP  4/30/12 9:25:09 AM#3
Originally posted by Mardukk

Are all mobs dynamic content only?  Or do they have areas of mobs just wandering as well as the dynamic content?  Is loot off the mobs interesting or do all mobs just drop the same universal loot table stuff?

It's nice to see that most people had a good time with the game.


There are some random mobs that I came across, but most were not hostile.  It did seem like 100% of hostile mobs were tied in some way to some event to be honest, and it also seemed that their spawn rates were extremely dynamic based on the number of players around.  I read that zerging events was overpowered, but I found that once you advance a little bit they became extremely difficult to get through without dying if there was a large number of unorganized players there.

The loot was quite varied.  There are numerous crafting supplies, rare weapons, rare equipment, etc. and it seemed like it was somewhat inspired by Diablo which I guess Guild Wars kind of was.  I really enjoyed the loot system from Guild Wars 1 and it had that addictive ARPG formula pretty solidly down just lacked a bit of depth and it seems to be just as present here.

Honestly I was a bit meh about the game at first.  I felt the first 4 hours or so was a bit sloppy and didn't bring me in as well as it could have.  It was after this that the game really started to come into its own.  It may just be that it is a bit overwhelming at first.  You can immediately go to the mists, to the giant starter cities, etc. and if you aren't familiar to Guild Wars method of waypoints and fast travel it can be pretty shocking at first which really is a good thing once you cross that barrier.

  Mardukk

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/05/11
Posts: 1458

4/30/12 9:30:53 AM#4

Interesting, I'm not sure if having all hostile mobs tied into an event would be a good thing.  Seems it would be better to have both dynamic event mobs and wanderers.  I can see that you would tire of events especially if the combat is as hectic as you indicate.

 Good to hear about the loot though.

  Alot

Novice Member

Joined: 1/04/11
Posts: 1984

Minister of Propaganda for GW2 Fascist-Capitalist Party

4/30/12 9:32:58 AM#5


Originally posted by Mardukk
Interesting, I'm not sure if having all hostile mobs tied into an event would be a good thing.  Seems it would be better to have both dynamic event mobs and wanderers.  I can see that you would tire of events especially if the combat is as hectic as you indicate.
 Good to hear about the loot though.

I'm pretty sure that not all hostile mobs are tied to Dynamic Events, in Godslost Swamp you had Skelk which weren't involved in any DEs but were still hostile, and across the map you had bats which would usually be hostile. Same goes for Ettins.

  ProfRed

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/29/03
Posts: 3557

 
OP  4/30/12 9:34:42 AM#6
Originally posted by Mardukk

Interesting, I'm not sure if having all hostile mobs tied into an event would be a good thing.  Seems it would be better to have both dynamic event mobs and wanderers.  I can see that you would tire of events especially if the combat is as hectic as you indicate.

 Good to hear about the loot though.

Yeah, and this is all starting areas.  The maps are big, but jam packed with events both hidden and visible on the map.  I do hope that at later levels less is revealed to you and there is a bit less event density with more exploring. 

My friends both loved crafting by the way.  I have heard a lot of good things about it so next beta I will focus on getting a higher level char and crafting. 

  xposeidon

Novice Member

Joined: 3/26/12
Posts: 393

What is "real"? How do you define "real"?

4/30/12 9:36:05 AM#7
Originally posted by Mardukk

Are all mobs dynamic content only?  Or do they have areas of mobs just wandering as well as the dynamic content?  Is loot off the mobs interesting or do all mobs just drop the same universal loot table stuff?

It's nice to see that most people had a good time with the game.

I think they did a great job with mobs in this game. For example when out of outposts in the zone there are mobs wondering around. Deer for example were peaceful and wouldn't attack you while the troll looking things were very hostile and ready to take you down.

The other are dynamic mobs, that appear only during the event, we had to escort a caravan or defend an outpost and I can tell you the mobs were not in the zone before, where did they come from? I'm not sure but they weren't there before. I guess this is the cool thing, the outpost was really getting attacked, and you had to defend or it would've been taken over. Instead of having a quest guy telling you to go kill 10 of the mobs and then turninng the quest in without having an effect, this is a more enjoyable system.

Remember... all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more.

  Xzen

Novice Member

Joined: 5/01/06
Posts: 2642

A sword is never a killer, it is a tool in the killer's hands.
- Seneca

4/30/12 9:39:38 AM#8
I came across a lot of hostile mobs as soon as I got out of the starter zones. They were just out in the feild. Didn't seem to be tied to anything.  Also grear review agree with pretty much everything you said.
  ProfRed

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/29/03
Posts: 3557

 
OP  4/30/12 9:45:43 AM#9

Yeah there definitely were some, but early on the event density is very high, and while the map is exposed pretty clearly it is good for starting out.  I just hope that as we go further the telescope guys aren't even there and you have to find the hearts and events yourself.  I also hope that they get more spread out.  I will find out more on this next beta weekend. 

  kevjards

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/27/10
Posts: 1451

4/30/12 9:46:41 AM#10
my only problem with this game is the Humans characters,they look shockingly bad compared to the Norn and Charr.the game itself is fine and i find it very challenging.which is nice to see especially at low lvl.still think it needs a few months on the pollish.i hope they do something about the way the humans look..it kind of reminds me of the humans in lotro,females that is..it looks like the armour is painted on..but that is just my opinion.when all said and done if the only fault i can pick with the game is the way a toon looks then thats fine by me.if they dont change the humans i'll just roll norn and charr..no biggie.
  CookieTime

Novice Member

Joined: 6/02/10
Posts: 359

4/30/12 10:06:33 AM#11
Originally posted by ProfRed

Honestly I was a bit meh about the game at first.  I felt the first 4 hours or so was a bit sloppy and didn't bring me in as well as it could have.  It was after this that the game really started to come into its own.  It may just be that it is a bit overwhelming at first.  You can immediately go to the mists, to the giant starter cities, etc. and if you aren't familiar to Guild Wars method of waypoints and fast travel it can be pretty shocking at first which really is a good thing once you cross that barrier.

This. I felt the same way. The beta was just overwhelming and when that happens, nothing stands out. The game is filled with awesomeness, but it's just too much to grasp in such short amount of time. It needs to give at least some direction even for us who followed the development from the start.

Examples of things that need more explaining right from the get go:

- crafting

- WvW rules

- difference between renown hearts and DEs

- the importance of dodge is not stressed enough

etc

Eat me!