|54 posts found|
OP 4/30/12 2:36:35 PM#1
This weekend I had the pleasure of playing the Beta of GW2. Most of my play over the weekend was streamed which culminated to over 30 hours of streamed gameplay! I was able to try all of the classes, all 3 available races, and delve into a lot of the different parts of the game. I will try to keep each piece short while covering as much as possible. I am using an Alpha Scale instead of my usual numbering scale, as numbers seem to confuse the masses.
(or you can fast forward to the TL;DR version, color coded for your convenience)
I created 1 of each race and sex.. meaning 6 characters total.The Charr was by far the most pleasing visually in my opinion,at least in character creation.I was also happy with the amount of choices available for customization, and the use of sliders that actually changed the features was a nice addition.The color palette was a little strange as it felt the colors that I selected were not what showed… but perhaps that was just my color settings.
The questions they ask are largely Race Specific,with only 1 question that I noticed having to deal with your class…and these questions will determine your story from that point forward, with no way to change it… at least with as far as I got.
CHARACTER CREATION: B+
I went through a number of personal story quests with a few different characters, and for the most part,they all followed a somewhat similar path (depending on your race).In all honesty, they could have just left the story out…with as much as I played a game like SWTOR for its story aspects,playing the personalstory in GW2 is an absolute drag by comparison.You don’t get to choose what you’re saying,and you don’t get to change, even minimally, which direction you can go.Everything is predetermined, and most characters and voice sequences aren’t worth my time.There is no action,just a lot of bantering.
The worst part for me, was that the story quests give you a large amount of XP per quest completed, which made me feel like I should be doing them. I spent a good portion of time on each of my characters running personal story quests, and it culminates to – not a bad experience, but not a particularly enjoyable one either. Money better spent elsewhere in my opinion.
PERSONAL STORY: D
This is what I spent the majority of my time doing, when I wasn’t PvPing or running the boring personal story.The world is top notch,from the visuals, to the way the events are handled.Some major highlights to the world were the addition of hunting extra Skill Points, which was enjoyable.While they were easily visible on the map,finding exactly what you needed to do to get them wasn’t always so easy,and some were kind of challenging to get.
Finding things to do wasn’t tough, you can just open your map, and find a little heart, and once you get there, you usually have a set amount of mundane tasks to do in the area to complete the requisite amount of things to gain favor with the local NPC (which will then give you the ability to use him as a vendor). Its like you travel to these people on some sort of work release program, where they make you pick apples, or feed their cows, or clean up their workshop, and then, off to the next one.
These are not part of the events.. events happen every so often and are usually somewhat challenging and enjoyable, even if they are mostly, kill this, escort that and other various MMO fare. Overall the world gives you more of an organic feel to progression, and you can kind of move around and do what feels right while exploring. Even if you come up to an event that’s 5 levels above you, you can still participate with the others around you.
The combat in GW2 is superb. Not to mince words, the weapon system and gaining weapon skills through use of those weapons is enjoyable, and it definitely makes me want to try all the different weapons for my class. The first 5 abilities are dependent on your weapon, the sixth ability is a heal ability, and the last 3 are your skill abilities you unlock as you level. (not counting elite skills and consumables). Some classes also have other abilities you can use ranging from f1 to f4. Some classes like the Elementalist and Engineer have abilities that will completely change the bar, and this is all capable in battle, making your range of abilities much greater than just the original 10 slots. The dodge mechanic works fairly well, by double tapping which direction you want to roll, you can get out of range or completely evade most attacks, a maximum time of twice consecutively before you need to regenerate your dodge energy.
The traits system is also pretty neat, you gain traits starting at level 11, and for every 5 trait points you get an additional passive bonus (you get a passive bonus for each trait point, but you get a major one every 5 levels). This is enjoyable simply due to being able to spec into what you like the most, and for it to actually account for something in the end with a massive boost. For example, on my elementalist, I liked healing in my water attunement.. Each trait point would increase my vitality and healing done.. and would give me health regeneration after 5 points spent.
Overall the combat will be my mainstay here with all of the weapon and skill combinations to try.
As soon as you get throw into the world (after the tutorial) you have the option to pick up a few gathering tools at a nearby merchant. It would be in your best interest to do so if you plan on crafting at all, as I learned very quickly that additional crafting materials are really expensive. You can buy a sickle, an axe and a pick, and sometimes you’ll get these on drops as well and all have about 100 uses before you need to buy more. The crafting professions are all pretty interesting. I tried Tailoring, Cooking, and leatherworking the most… and I found Cooking to be the most expensive out of all of them, and tailoring seemed to be the most accessible for me early on.
Arenanets crafting system was said to allow you to discover new recipes… but in truth, they help you along most of the way by telling you how many possibilities there are to craft an item with that material, and how many additional materials are needed to succeed in crafting that item.
For example: I could try and craft something by using say, a mushroom, and then the bar will light up with other ingredients that would go along with a mushroom. If I added, say, some salt, it might say there are 10 recipes available. If I add some meat, maybe 3 recipes left.. and so on. If at any point something is able to be crafted, it will light up the crafting indicator and you can then create something – so you won’t be needlessly wasting materials to create items. Sometimes it only takes 2 materials to craft something.. sometimes it takes all 4, and it will ALWAYS have a required level to craft items, so even if you have all the materials, you might not have the skill required. (for example, this recipe requires level 75 tailoring, etc.)
Overall the system is interesting, and enjoyable for the most part. I would say it isn’t as in depth as some of the other systems we’ve seen, like SWG, and doesn’t have that random stat effect that makes systems like SWTOR interesting, but it does have a nuance to it that makes crafting interesting enough to pursue, and that’s all that matters.
Arenanet allowed us to toy with the item shop, and I spent a good amount of time in there, buying items, looking at all the different stuff you could buy. What did I end up spending my money on? XP boosts mostly, some gold… I did not find any of the cosmetic items to my liking. I also bought some mini-pets to run around with. One was a mini centaur, one was a frog, and one was an asura I think. While nothing that was being sold was mandatory, I did find myself vying after those XP boosts.. and I think Anet understands that convenience is something people are going to pay for. There were also bag slots, bank slots, rez potions, transmutation stones.. and a lot of other things I didn’t find necessary, but definitely things that people WILL end up buying due to scarcity, like keys to chests.
In all my time playing I ran into about 3 chests, and only 1 key. I think in time we’ll see that convenience wins out and Anet becomes very profitable, simply due to the steady nature of the game… doing things a little faster really is worth it… and since the boosts are only an hour long, I see them making a good deal of money in a number of different ways – even if it isn’t necessary.
CASH SHOP: B+
I spent a good portion of my time in W v W v W and I have to say, it was fun at some points but frustrating at others. It is most definitely a test of zergs, and nothing more, really. While I was in small groups that could take supply lines out, most battles in W v W were large scale sieges on castles, and it was either we far outnumbered them, or they far outnumbered us.
When you die, you have to spawn way back at your starting point.. or sometimes you get lucky if you hold a garrison closer, but for the most part, you travel a LONG ways in many cases to get where you need to go… and then you often show up on the wrong side of the battle… for example, you come up on a group attacking the castle instead of being inside the castle defending it.. you are a lone ranger outside throwing pebbles at the angry mob with battering rams and sharp pointy sticks. Most of the time the battles go on for a long time… depending on how vastly you (or they) are outnumbered. I rarely found one on one fights in WvW and I guess you really shouldn’t… as that isn’t the point… but I feel the worlds are so vast, and the objectives are meant to be done as a group, so when I’m running solo trying to take out a supply line or siege a castle.. its pretty much pointless. It’s a lot of traveling and yes, in many cases, its very little reward.
The more structured PvP is a lot of fun though, and likely what the elitists will go for, or those actually interested in displaying their build and competency to others. Not the case in W v W where the Zerg rules all.
I was streaming the entire weekend, and in highly populated areas, I did get about 9 – 15 FPS.. and by highly populated I mean 30+ characters on screen. For the most part I was getting a clean and cool 25 – 40 FPS in all other areas, and in some situations.. even with 20+ characters on screen it was more than playable.. so kudos on that. At one point I was not able to log in, which was frustrating. I did not experience any crashing, and it was all playable to me.
The music score was very nice and unobtrusive, I found the voice work to be pretty bad overall, as in, not enjoyable, but the effects made up for it.
Some miscellaneous things… The overflow servers are a nice tough, but a little annoying. Sometimes when you queue up, the queue will pop to go to your server, but you are in the middle of something, or you don’t want to go and then your only option is to requeue… I’d rather just stay in the overflow server.. so perhaps, instead of an overflow.. just make that a separate instance people can travel back and forth to if they way. Another issue with the overflow servers is that it will put you back to the beginning of the zone no matter where you are.
Travel times are not fun, even when you can port everywhere… running takes time, and traveling across the large expanses can be tedious.. especially when a point you want to port to is contested and you can’t get there… its excruciating to run there … and even with speed boosts it doesn’t make the travel any more enjoyable. Think SWTOR pre-sprint. That’s how it feels in some cases.
Underwater combat still seems hokey to me… I spent a good portion of my time trying to find interesting things to do underwater.. and I didn’t find anything. Some quests required you to be underwater…. but it didn’t enhance my experience in any way.
The downed state is a mixed bag… you don’t get to spend much time finding out what abilities do what until you are already down… 4 will heal you slowly back up to full so you can stand back up.. 3 is usually a movement ability of some kind.. 1 and 2 are usually attacks. I didn’t find the downed state particularly enjoyable… I think it would have been better if you could also crawl away while you were down too… just kind of round it out, as you can’t always use your movement ability.
Maybe it was just me, but it seems the Mesmer just isn’t up to par in comparison to the other classes. Maybe that’s why they saved that class for last as they were still tweaking it… but I died more on my Mesmer from doing basic things than any other class.
Melee classes in general have a tough time in PvE… ranged gets all the glory with survivability and some classes put out immense ranged damage. The guardians defensive prowess is as close to a tank as you’re going to get (earth attunement works well too for elementalists), and the guardian and elementalist can bother be really good healers, so the idea that the “trinity” is gone is a lie… its still there, they just modified it a bit and severely reduced the amount of damage a player can take.
(the TL/DR version)
GW2 is definitely worth the cost. I found the entire experience enjoyable. Down to brass tacks though, is it a gaming revolution? No. The game definitely feels like a blend of some of the most recent MMOs to date… a little bit of WAR, a little bit of DAOC, a little bit of Tabula Rasa, and a little bit of WoW(and SWTOR). Its nicely blended into an original experience. The cash shop will definitely keep Arenanet in the green.
The classes are interesting and somewhat diverse. (even though you will run into people who look the same and use the same skills quite often)
The world is beautiful and is a fun experience.
The PvP has its ups and downs but definitely has a little bit of everything for everyone.
The crafting is decent, even if it won’t breed a widespread economy.
The little hidden gems, like NPCs you can talk to, or hidden fights or events are fun, even if they are repetitive. (and they are repetitive… you will see the same events multiple times during each playthrough.)
FINAL SCORE: A-
Hard Core Member
We all breathe and we all die.
4/30/12 2:47:00 PM#2
Nice review and if I'm correct you was very skeptic,I sort of skipped the first post and just looked at the red letters and what not lmao, just being honest.
Bout to go read entire thing.
I do want to say I agree with personal story yet, would of gave it a C myself because the gameplay of the personal story is fun and atleast varied but it's just my opinion any way.
I might get banned for this. - Rizel Star.
I'm not afraid to tell trolls what they [need] to hear, even if that means for me to have an forced absence afterwards.
P2P LOGIC = If it's P2P it means longevity, overall better game, and THE BEST SUPPORT EVER!!!!!(Which has been rinsed and repeated about a thousand times)
Common Sense Logic = P2P logic is no better than F2P Logic.
4/30/12 2:52:55 PM#3
Re: Choosing which direction your personal story goes in, a few examples off the top of my head that I may have dreamed experiencing. (SPOILERS BELOW)
Norn, cunning trait, blacked out at the moot (character creation options)---
* Accept the blessing of minotaur and cause a stampede
* Infiltrate the sons of svanir as tavern wenches
To regain the charr ordnance--
* attack the dredge head on
* ambush the dredge
Human noble, sister lost to centaur (character creation options)--
* Search the corrupt minister's house for clues
* mingle with nobles at a party to suss out evidence
*Canthan (each determines your sister's description)
Upon finding out about a certain betrayal--
*confront the accused directly
*bring the accusation to Thackery
Charr iron legion--
* use the ghostbore rifle
* use the cannon
Charr blood legion--
* kill the legionnaire
* banish the legionnaire
4/30/12 2:55:31 PM#4
Great review, but I actually loved the underwater combat and so did my friend who played with me most of the weekend. We found we were actually quite good at it and it required unique strategies from those on land. There might not be much to do down there yet, but maybe they'll fix that. Then again, I think even ANet knows there are more fans of land-based questing than not.
4/30/12 2:57:10 PM#5
"...gaining weapon skills through use of those weapons is enjoyable"
Please elaborate on this.
Is it a UO/Darkfall kind of increase?
Playing: Lotro (lifetimer), DFUW
OP 4/30/12 3:01:34 PM#6
Originally posted by marcust
When you equip a weapon you have either 3 or 5 skills associated with that weapon.
If its a 2 handed weapon you have 5 skills, one handed weapons have 3 skills and the offhand weapon has 2 skills.
You don't choose the skills, they come with the weapon, but in order to unlock them, you have to use the weapon.
So you start with just one skill and spam that until the second skill unlocks. Then as you progress, the third through the 5th unlock over time.
You don't always know what the skill will do until you have it unlocked, so there is a lot of mystery with different weapons, which eventually will lead to different combinations depending on the weapons you choose.
4/30/12 3:02:56 PM#7
I read just about the whole thing and I enjoyed it, good review. I agree with you about the personal story. I never really understood why devs try to package a single player game inside of an MMORPG...single player games always just do it much better.
I think the only thing I disagree with you on is the PvP, I found the WvW more enjoyable than you did, but that may be because I didn't die much due to playing a thief and teleporting away from anyone chasing me lol :).
Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?
4/30/12 3:04:22 PM#8
Originally posted by maskedweasel
I enjoyed gaining the weapon skills, but I hated the fact that weapon skill gain is directly tied to how many kills you get with the weapon. It made gaining weapon skills in WvW nigh impossible, and gaining weapon skills in a big zerg event extremely easy.
I would much rather they based weapon skill gain on USING the weapon, not killing things with it.
Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?
OP 4/30/12 3:04:22 PM#9
Originally posted by RizelStar
I was pretty skeptical at first, but was always a supporter. I am pleased with the end result, and forsee myself playing for a couple months at least.
To give others a kind of scale.. there is a flat leveling curve.. so how long it takes you to get to level 3 will take the same amount to get from 79 - 80. With that said, I played 30 hours and got all characters to at least level 5, .. one to level 15, and one to level 8... so if you add it all up, I could have had a single character in the 40s easily in a single weekend. Most people should be able to get to max level in under a month... not that it matters in a game like GW2.. but just a point of reference.
OP 4/30/12 3:07:53 PM#10
Originally posted by Creslin321
It did depend on class... I found that I stayed alive a lot longer as an elementalist where I could throw out nukes from very far away, and use earth and air attunement to run away. Not to mention I could rez 3 members of my team at any given time, and heal us all to full health with a few skills.
Thieves were the one class that could kill me consistently 1 v 1... every other class I could stand toe to toe with and whittle them down, but thieves just disappear on me and come back swinging...
Minister of Propaganda for GW2 Fascist-Capitalist Party
4/30/12 3:09:07 PM#11
Not completely true, ANet stated that the leveling curve will flatten the leveling curve will flatten after having reached a certain level. This level is probably level 20.
Edit: I'm sorry, I messed up a quote.
OP 4/30/12 3:10:53 PM#12
Originally posted by Alot
Ah, well I didn't really experience that in my time, so I can't really comment. Thanks for pointing it out. Maybe on the next test I'll stick with one character and see how far I can get.
Hopefully we won't have too many more events before launch.
4/30/12 3:15:24 PM#13
Originally posted by Creslin321
Probably because they can see through my monitor to me and people like me who don't play single-player games. And I don't play single-player games because I don't want to game alone (playing Skyrim whilst sitting next to or chatting with someone is NOT remotely the same). So, I seek story in MMOs because I can think of no more enjoyable activity than playing a story-based video game with my husband and friends.
4/30/12 3:17:01 PM#14
I loved the personal story. If you choose the same options during character creation you will get the same quests but if you choose different options during creation you will have a set of completely new quests. My Engineer and Warrior had completely different stories with no overlapping quests.
4/30/12 3:21:25 PM#15
Pretty good review, I think you missed the mark on the personal story, though. Mine stopped at 20, and I made at least 4 choices in that time. I was Human Orphan Noble, I had to make a choice involving my friend, a choice over how to handle white mantle, a choice over who to bring to a fight with me, a choice whether to mingle during a party or invade someone's home with brute force (Oh, Logan...), I don't even think those were the only ones.
If you're looking for the Bioware version of choice you'd have to play a Bioware game. Not even an MMO. I'm not knocking you, but the choices in SWTOR were shallow compared to their single-player games, they actually didn't change much besides how you talked to people and how they talked to you. Bioware does choice great in their single-player games, I saw nothing of that in their MMO.
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4/30/12 3:25:09 PM#16
I thought the personal story was OK. However, compared with SWTOR, the way it was presented and voiced looked like a cut scene from Legend of Zelda on the SNES. Shame, cos the rest of the game rocks.
Hard Core Member
4/30/12 3:27:58 PM#17
Im explorer myself and i don't see why traveling is timesink its a mmo and constantly you have a event you can join.
Under water combat and whole underwater experience is very good.
Personal story is not best but i dont mind its not long and when game launch im not planning on making 100 characters so it won't be a big part of the game.
Cash is something i realy don't care about and won't spent one dime buying something.
Most of your review i agree.
For me its pre-view A+ one of best beta experience in 13 years i play mmo's.
4/30/12 4:00:54 PM#18
I love this REVIEW, not reviewette because it is a REVIEW, and how you made a REVIEW on this game and RATED it in color!!! Thank you for sharing.
Though I don't totally agree with you on the personal story part of the review I do however think that ANET can improve the quality of it some what.
I too played Swotor and loved its diverse story line but I found the personal story line in GW2 to be a wonderful mix within the games system. I loved it.
Though I seen some beta bugs within the personal story, some voices didn't activate and such. I found a few things I'd change within it such as if anyone is with you doing your personal story they too should be rewarded without it effecting their personal story.
I did join a friends personal story and it gave me no credit / exp / loot for doing it with him. If I chose to be rewarded then it made me lose that part of my personal story.. I don't agree with this setup since it deprives me from my own experience within mine.
Though the review is subjective I agree with this review and personally can't wait for the next BWE. Guild wars 2 has clearly made all other MMO's unappealing and worthless imo.
OP 4/30/12 4:17:04 PM#19
Originally posted by gaeanprayer
The major difference is BioWares story is interactive.. you are who you want to be... you have no choice in GW2.. and there was nothing about the story that made me want MORE of it.. in SWTOR.... I'll come back for the rest of the story.
I don't feel that it needs to be BioWare exclusive, as far as story is concerned... GW2 was full of cutscenes.. why did they have to cut the cutscenes short by making conversations so boring to watch. The most fun I had during a cutscene of a conversation was to see my character speak to the other character from the right side of the screen instead of the left.
In SWTOR, and many other games, mind you, the story is told with expressions and actions just as much as it is with words.. and thats where the difference shines.
4/30/12 4:28:54 PM#20
I know we shared some simliar thoughts about SWTOR pre-release, so I definitely wanted to spend some time seeing what you thought of this weekend. On the whole I think we, again, shared some of the same feelings and impressions of the game, although there are a few things we might differ on. The biggest though to me is WvWvW, where I do agree that right now the zerg rules all, however games like DAoC and Warhammer it was not always the case. (Note I do say not always!) I think it just takes time for things to settle in, and for Warbands to form up with regular leaders and it can diminish the zerg mentality.
Good stuff man!