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E3 For Everyone Diary

Reed Hubbard Posted:
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Koltrane's E3 For Everyone Diary

Day 1 - May 10, 2004

It's been a week since I downloaded the client for Guild Wars and loaded it on my computer. Each night I fire it up just to look at the intro graphic, and almost each night some new information has been streamed to my client. At first I was treated to a smooth animation of a camp in an impressively rendered wilderness. The camera moved in and out as the clouds rolled in the distance. Campfires crackled and crude banners swayed in the breeze as an occasional flock of birds flew off to some distant destination. The sight is still mesmerizing, and this is merely the opening screen.

In the past few nights I have received additional features. This weekend, epic music was added which sets the tone for the upcoming demo. Tonight, my client was streamed an options tab which gives me the ability to change such things as resolution, sound options, and default language. One of the languages is "Swedish Chef", an option which begged selection. I did. Someone at Arena has a great sense of humor.

My anticipation is growing...

Day 1 1/2 - May 11 (barely), 2004

As I was about to shut down my computer for the night, I checked MMORPG.com one last time, and there I saw that the Guild Wars test was already live! For a brief moment, I panicked. I needed sleep, but I just had to see what this game is like! Sleep, as many times before, drew the short straw.

I fired up the client and logged in. Immediately I was asked to choose a first and last name. I chose Angelshot as my last name. That made no sense as I didn't choose an archer class, but I was giddy, so let's move on. I then chose my class. The class system in Guild wars is a dual one. You choose a primary and a secondary class. I chose a warrior for my primary and a monk (healer) as my secondary. At the present time there are six classes (warrior, monk, ranger, necromancer, mesmer and elementalist) and you may mix any of them. I swear I'm gonna try a warrior/necromancer during the week, but I made a more sensible choice and off I went.

The necessary files loaded quickly, which is really nice. Arena has developed a method of streaming updates to your system with little downtime. The loading times are shorter than on most online games in my experience. When I loaded up, I found myself in a solo area. I killed a few mobs and ran down the road to be flagged down by a soldier who said I was needed to help. This quick mission and the area in general seem to server as a warm-up. Here one gets a taste of the layout of Guild Wars. The areas are not linear, meaning they are not single path start to finish. However, they are not wide open and fully traversable either. There are paths and you must stay on them. The game will not let you jump down into a pit. You must find your way in. The game pathing seems pretty good, though, so clicking on a mob in a pit will have your toon run to it via the correct route.

I finished the requisite solo tasks and headed through the big door. There I encountered a number of players gathering groups for the first cooperative mission. The players that were not grouped had their class abberviation overhead (e.g. W/Mo15 for Warrior / Monk level 15). Those gathering groups had a symbol overhead with a number which denoted how many were in the group. I paired up with a guy and we headed into the mission zone. Big mistake. We got wiped just out of the gate by a swarm of scorpion-like creatures. So I was taken back to the courtyard where I got into a group of three. We handled the mission much better.

The maximum group for the first mission is four and each mission area is private. This mission is no cakewalk...it took me four groups to finally finish it. I don't want to give away a lot, so suffice it to say there were several named mobs that took a good bit of teamwork to vanquish. My group was finally victorious and made it to the second courtyard, where a bunch of othe sleep deprived people were waiting for the next quest. I looked at my clock, it said 3:00am. I have to be at work in 5 hours. My better judgement kicked in and I logged out

So far, I'm very impressed. I do have an issue with the camera control as it tends to get skewed to the side and even in front of your toon during battle, but it's probably a setting I haven't explored yet. The graphics are fantastic and the scope of the game is incredible. When you open the lever to enter the first big gate of the first quest, you will find yourself overlooking the gameworld. Take a moment to notice the detail even on the faraway buildings, and take note of how smoothly the game is running.

I would say more, but I have less time to sleep than I did when I started this entry, so I'll continue tonight. In the meantime, download the client and see what you think. I'll be interested to hear everyone's thoughts.

Excuse me while I pass out.


Reed Hubbard