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Guild Wars 2 Previews: Eurogamer Expo and PVP

By Ross McDermott on October 10, 2011

It’s been a long week since I stepped off my flight home from the Eurogamer Expo, the duties of managing my own growing Empire in EVE Online consume most of my time. But happily I was able to take a step away from it all and get to hang out with a good friend and visit the beautiful city of London, ride the underground on a daily basis and visit the impressive Eurogamer Expo, held in the Earls Court Arena. Waiting outside we were queued up with other gamers, all hopeful to get a sneak peek at up and coming titles that they still eagerly await the release of. Countless other gaming media sites attended in their droves to get their hands on the locked-down goodies, and we were no different.

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Stepping through the doors of the convention centre we were greeted with all sorts of colourful displays. Gaming’s peacock-feathers were unfurled and they happily courted the would-be customers and reviewers, begging us to sample their ample wares. Developers, Marketers, CEOs and Senior Producers mingled with the masses, happy to stop and discuss their games, products or whatever other projects they were involved in related to the industry. Even OnLive™ was there, handing out FREE OnLive consoles in exchange for simply registering with the service.

Right away myself and my associate Velyks set about scanning-down and locating the Guild Wars 2 play areas. When stepping into the building a giant banner read 'Play Guild Wars 2 here!' and even though we wandered around it in circles, for the life of us we couldn't find them. We wandered aimlessly for several minutes before, somewhere at the back of the hall; we saw the elegant, creative Guild Wars 2 logo summon us from our daze. Eagerly like school children we skipped, merry as poppets through the crowds, delightfully trouncing other gamers in our wake, standing on feet and making merry in the mayhem.

Sensing our impending eagerness, we were happily greeted by a Guild Wars 2 developer, who unfortunately didn't have time for an interview, but did have time to usher us to several PC screens where we'd get to taste a relatively new feature being demo'd at gaming conventions around the world: Guild Wars 2 PVP.

Quickly we were tasked with the goal of creating a character of whatever race and class that was available on the demo, other players were ushered into their respective booths and each one given a headset and nestled at their mouse and keyboard, revving themselves up like warriors before the fight.

Once ready, the developers gave the all clear and we were all transported to what appeared to be a ruined town centre, or perhaps market area. The rain fell, the thunder clapped and the music brought it all together to provide an immediately satisfactory visually aesthetic experience. In my haste I had chosen an Engineer, and the rest of my group all seemed to have chosen Elementalists. Pressed for time I quickly read my skills. A heal, an auto-attack shot and a net-gun. There were other skills available though in the timely-pressured environment I felt that those were satisfactory.

We wandered aimlessly for a short while, occasionally we'd see an enemy target, I'd web him down while my Elementalist companions viciously laid down bolts of elemental death upon our foes. From strength to strength we went, each time I pinned them down and my caster backbone summoned torrents of fire and ice to subdue and ultimately decimate our enemies. Once all was said and done, we'd claimed a sweeping victory, we'd killed and maimed and brutalized our way to the end.

We happily thanked the Guild Wars 2 developers as they thanked us for participating and ushered us away so the next group could take part in the demo. Myself and Velyks then made our way to a seating area, where we reflected upon what we'd seen, and how we felt that it all came together. The combat felt comfortable. It was easy to step into, and provided a level of depth even though I'd only managed to wrangled my way around a couple of buttons. Each class’ individual heal restores a considerable amount of health and the cooldowns feel just right. The same can be said for the other cooldowns: they all feel 'comfortable', you certainly can't spam them, though they all felt like they were available exactly when you really needed them to be. While I didn't take note of the specifics, I think it was close to a minute or 45 seconds. That’s a solid quantity of time.

The team could easily work together, it's not as though we were shouting at each-other at all, in fact few of us communicated vocally, and yet we were easily able to determine what others were doing based on clear spell effects performing clear tasks. Objectives were vague other than 'kill the enemies', but that was most likely due to my own personal negligence. Teams were color coded, red and blue, which meant it was fairly easy to determine who was who. This may all sound fairly basic to a Guild Wars player, maybe it doesn't. My flirtation with Guild Wars happened a long time ago, and while I don't play it actively now, I still step foot into the world every once in a while to experience its powerful aesthetic.

Check back tomorrow to find out what happened when we got our hands on the PVE side of things, an altogether much more in depth look at the game since the demo was forty minutes long. Oh, and we play The Adventures of Tintin too.

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