Koltrane's E3 For Everyone Diary (page 2)
Day 2 - May 12, 2004
Tomorrow is the official start of E3, but the Guild Wars demo is in full swing. Less than 24 hours after Arena kicked off the demo event early, the word has obviously spread to a number of eager players. I logged in this evening to find a good number more players than the previous night. Of course, it was 1:00 am Central when I first played, so maybe that had something to do with it, but I digress.
When I logged in I was excited about starting on the next cooperative mission, but, much to my chagrin, I found myself at the starting point for the first coop level. Granted, this is a demo, but I was hoping to keep my place so that I could make my way through multiple levels over several nights. No problem, because I easily picked up a group of four and we burned through Perilous North District 1. We had all completed the level before and knew exactly what to do and where to go to complete the mission. Quickly, we found ourselves starting level 2.
Level 2 was definitely a tougher run. Players for the E3 demo are all set at level 15. Although you may gain skill points and items, your level is fixed for this test setting. That being the case, level 19 bosses are a good match for a group of 15s. Level 25 bosses take considerably more planning.
It was on this run that I saw the value of a well balanced group. Guild Wars is not a solo effort. It is most definitely cooperative and requires you to build a team to accomplish your goals. In my group we had two melee fighters and two ranged fighters with different magic secondary classes. Most RPGs are set to reward a balanced team, and Guild Wars is no different. There are places that seem to be designed for archers and casters while others require a tank. Attempting to complete a mission with four warriors would be notably more difficult than with a good variety of classes.
Again, on this run, I was impressed by the quality of the gameplay and the animation. There were occasional lag spikes, but the game was smooth the overwhelming majority of the time. The players and the mobs move about with fluidity. There is no jumping or lag warping here. But all is not perfect. One rather annoying issue is that of player blocking. If two melee players attack a mob and player A gets there first and player B is directly behind him, player B will not attack the mob unless he manually moves around player A. In most fast paced games such as this, the character will automatically step around the other player and attack. This can be quite annoying when multiple things are happening on screen and you realize that you haven't taken a single whack at the mob because your teammate was in the way. The upside is that the same rules apply to mobs, so a Charr might get stuck behind his Shaman, allowing you to take them one by one, but it's still and issue that needs to be addressed, IMHO.
When my teammates and I finished the second level, there was a true sense of accomplishment. The mission required teamwork, puzzle solving, and more than a bit of skill to achieve victory. I don't want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that you get to build and fire a trebuchet in this level...HOO AH!
I was unable to continue on into the next quest because of an annoying thing know as real life, but I look forward to tackling it tomorrow. I only hope I don't have to retread levels 1 and 2 just to start 3, but we'll see!