Koltrane's E3 For Everyone Diary (page 4)
Day 4 - May 13, 2004
The online population of Guild Wars has grown dramatically since those first few hours early Tuesday morning when a handful of us groped blindly through the first level. All the destinations I visited were bristling with activity. The overwhelming reaction is highly positive. While it may be a bit early to pass judgement, I would say that Arena's freeplay strategy is a big success. It has served to whet numerous appetites for the game's release, including mine. I'm no Miss Cleo, but I'll bet you'll see several companies try a similar tactic at next year's convention...and maybe even sooner.
Tonight I decided to visit the Siege of Fort Koga. This is a keep take PVP area where one team of 8 must hold a keep for a given time while the other team tries to take it. It's hard to say who has the advantage, but those defending the keep seem to win more often. It may be merely a lack of tactics on the attacking team, but it seems, at least in this build, that defending the keep is the stronger position.
The siege game is definitely fun and I enjoyed it more than the Arena battles, but the fight area is still small and archers and casters tend to be at a disadvantage, especially if they are attacking. Defending archers may perch upon a rampart wall and fire on the camp of the attacking team. Enlarging this area would be a huge improvement.
I enjoyed the Siege area, but I wanted more. Then I went into the Tombs of Drascir.
The Tombs of Drascir is easily the best area, the most fun area, and the most comprehensive experience in Guild Wars. This is where all the good things about GW come together. The Tombs is a tournament area. You gather a team of 8 and enter the mission. First, you must protect a priest while repelling an undead attack. If you can keep the priest and at least one team member alive for 3 minutes you can advance. This is not as easy as it sounds as you can get quickly overwhelmed. I went through it several times and when I was on a team that planned and fought like a unit, it was a snap. The value of teamwork was as evident here as anywhere else in the game.
Next you proceed to a PVP match against another team where each must keep its priest alive. Again, this area is small and the team that stays close to the base will win. If the team comes to your side, you can take them easily. This area needs to be rethought and certainly enlarged, but it's still great fun. If your team wins, you proceed to a relic take where you fight yet another team. This is the largest PVP area I have experienced and it is a BLAST! I wish you could just start here. I had more fun here than I've had in any area of Guild Wars, and those of you who are reading this blog know I'm enjoying the game immensely. You may go farther after this, but my team got spanked here twice so I haven't progressed beyond this one yet.
The relic take is like a cross between a UT CTF match and a DAoC RVR battle. Arena has done this right. The larger teams, the bigger fighting area, the relics, everything adds up to a truly fun and satisfying game experience. Number one on my wishlist is for Arena to implement several of these type battlefields in the final version of the game. In fact, I'd like to see more PVP period. Not that there's a dearth of PVP options, but PVP is where GW truly shines, at least in this demo. Granted, we're all the same level so it evens the playing field a bit, but Player Vs Player is going to be what draws gamers to GW. As smart as the Arena folks are, they are bound to realize that.
The week is drawing to a close and there are still things I need to discuss and areas I still haven't visited. I'd better get on the stick and finish up! Oh, and someone sent me a tell referencing this feature. I'm a celebrity now, guys. Envy me.