Koltrane's World Preview Diary
TGIF! Well, I'm always glad to see Friday (aren't we all?), but today I was especially looking forward to the end of a particularly tough work week, for this was the real start of the Guild Wars World Preview Event. After last night's small taste, I was ready to jump right in.
I started at mission 2, Divinity Coast. I was quickly invited into a group of six and we jumped headlong into the mission. It was a quick run and a successful mission, made easy by having a full balanced group. Missions are successive, meaning that you must complete mission 1 to get to mission 2 and so on. My Divinity Coast group was all business. No talking or diversion. I followed along as we plowed through every creature thrown in our path.
We were tasked with picking up the Divine Eye of Janthir and taking it to a village. The Eye casts a cool effect that reminded me of the eye at the top of the pyramid on the back of a dollar bill. Along the way the mission changed a little, but we handled it well. During the course of things, my warrior/monk leveled to 16. My first official level in Guild Wars. I'm so proud.
After successfully completing the mission, I logged off for a bit. Despite a strong desire to continue playing, a stronger desire - hunger - got the better of me. I took a break for supper then returned about 8pm central, ready to play. Well, I was ready to play, but Guild Wars wasn't. I couldn't log in.
Of all the beasts I fought tonight, the worst was the lag monster. Around the middle of the evening, the Guild Wars servers were crippled. I tried to log in but was greeted by one of several "connecting" messages. The few times I did manage to get in, my character froze after a few steps. I have no idea if it was an anomaly or if the servers just can't handle traffic over a certain threshold, but either way the system was unusable. I went in to the bedroom and watched a Law and Order rerun, thinking what a dud tonight's entry would be.
An hour later I returned and this time I logged in immediately. The huge lag spike of the previous hour was all but gone. There were a couple of other small instances of slowdown and one flat out error, but on balance the rest of the night went smoothly. I decided to pick up where I left off and headed to mission 3, The Wilds.
Mission 3 requires teamwork and you can start to see how the missions will get progressively tougher. My first group got wiped out about halfway in. We had had some initial success, but then we got careless and stopped working together. I took on a Jungle Troll all by myself while other members pulled some others. Suddenly our healer was dead and three Jungle Trolls were having their way with us. In most multiplayer games teamwork is important, but in Guild Wars, with its quick paced combat, teamwork is critical. We learned that the hard way. We attempted it again, but the system bombed me out halfway through. I reported the bug (this is a pre beta event, after all), and decided to try again.
My next group of five needed a healer, so we hired a monk henchman. I mentioned yesterday what a great idea I thought this was and I'd like to reiterate it. Sometimes a group needs a certain class of character that just isn't available. In such a case, NPC henchmen are waiting at the gate to round out a group. The NPC will not be as good as a real player, but it gives a team the option to augment its skills before starting a mission. Our NPC healer was great. She pathed well and kept us all alive and healed for the most part. A human monk would have been better, but the henchman was great in a pinch.
The Wilds are truly wild and are only linear in a broad sense. It's easy to get turned around and retrace steps. My team dwindled to three players and the monk, but we still managed to get most of the level done. My teammates (Pepso Previewgamer and Pix Ed) and I split up and looked for the way out. This was probably not the best idea, as Pepso and the monk found the way out, Pix got stuck on a bridge, and I was wandering around the pathways trying to find any of them. Pepso and the monk got killed by a named mob and his spider minions in a position that made a rez almost impossible. But Pix and I combined our talents and came up with a creative solution. After we hooked up and found our way to Pepso's corpse, Pix used her elemental skills to firebomb the spiders and pull them individually toward us. I used my secondary monk skills to keep her healed, and soon the minions were dead. This allowed me to rez Pepso and the monk. Once we all got healed up, the boss mob was toast.
This was a great example of how teamwork and disparate skill sets work together in Guild Wars. Two warrior/monks would have had a much tougher time than Pix and I did. We were able to use our individual strengths to get our teammate up. Once Pepso was healed, he took the charge and the three of us worked through the remainder of the mission. It was cooler than my meager words can express and was a shining moment in my Guild Wars experience.
Well, with the exception of the huge lag spike, the event is proving to be a blast. I'm really enjoying it as are other MMORPG.com readers. A tip of the hat to Fonzie Guy, Tymora Evenwood, and the others who took the time to give me a tell. And my apologies to I Am Snapple. I was AFK writing this piece when you sent me your tells. I tried to respond, but you were gone by then...my bad. I hope more of you will come out and join us this weekend as we shred Arena's virtual world. I hope to fight alongside some of you as well. Give me a tell in game. I'm under the alias Koltrane Curtisian. I promise I'll chat back, unless I'm writing up my thoughts.
Stay tuned, there's more to come!