Impressions: Levels 1-15 In Guild Wars 2

By Alec Meer on August 27th, 2012 at 1:33 pm.

Edit – the grouping issue has been officially explained as a bug rather than design.

One thing: my three days (and counting) in Guild Wars 2 were comfortably the most gripped I’ve been by a new MMO since those heady, early days in World Warcraft.

Another thing: it’s got the most serious design flaw I believe I’ve ever seen in any MMO.

I’ll get to that second point in a bit: let’s talk positives first, for they are very positive. Guild Wars 2′s Early Access has devoured much of my bank holiday weekend, which has surprised me given how icy-cold my heart has become to MMOs in recent years. The Skinner Box model bothers me deeply, and as soon as I’m aware of those cynical compulsion loops doing their thing I struggle to derive anything from a game that contains them, other than self-disgust. There’s no denying that Guild Wars 2 has them, but it is built to be more than just a dripfeed, and that’s a big part of the reason I didn’t immediately curl my lip at it as I did within minutes of starting, say, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

It’s an obtuse old bastard, is Guild Wars 2. It’s quite evidently built more around systems than exploration/discovery, but it also does remarkably little to explain those systems. While this did mean my first couple of hours were beset by confusion – just as my monitor was beset by a whirlwind of UI elements, stats, progress bars and funny-lookin’ circles, while the icons on my skillbar seemed to change every time I looked at them – I came to appreciate not having my hand held at all times.

‘Oh!’ I’d tell the small group of other journos I was playing with (in theory – more on that shortly). ‘You have a different skillset for each type of weapon load-out’ or ‘you can get upgrade stones by mining or salvaging unwanted loot’ or ‘jute scrap comes from salvaging cloth armour’ or … and so on. At that stage, they didn’t respond with ‘I KNOW SHUT UP’ but instead with ‘ohhhhhhh.’ We were discovering how the game worked together, rather than being presented with something as self-evident as the trad MMO formula has become.

Of course, almost all of these aspects do lead back to traditional MMO elements. For all the promises, for all that long trek up Mount Hype over the last half-decade, Guild Wars 2 turns out to be a risk-averse take on the old formula. The claimed concept of quest-free adventuring is just bullshit. Sure, you don’t have a questlog and you don’t have to wander up to dudes with exclamation marks over their heads and you won’t be told you need to collect 25 pig noses. Instead, you’ll wander into an area, and an objective will appear on your screen, which you can choose to follow or ignore that instruction.

The objective always entails going to a nearby spot, marked with a yellow-orange circle on the map, and killing a certain amount of a type of beastie or collecting a certain amount of a type of object. It’s shown as a progress bar rather than a proclaimed number, and it happens at speed and overtly rather than the bad old ways of having to kill 29 pigs before they dropped even one nose, but, by God, it’s a quest and and no mistaking. But that’s okay, because I do have to say I prefer stumbling into something and feeling as though it’s all happening somewhat organically to amassing obviously-declared assignments from stationary goons. Though there are plenty of stationary goons here too, it’s just that you tend to chat to them after you’ve completed the objective rather than beforehand. On top of these more familiar, if ad-hoc elements, I got lost in side-stuff like collecting all the ‘vistas’ and auto-travel points, a decently meaty crafting system and hunting for hard to find Skill Points that I could then spend on new abilities. Plenty to do, and no fixed order to do it in.

I was never alone during this: quite the opposite. Both these standard quests and the ‘heart’ quests which are looping, free-for-all mega-fights in the open world are, at this stage of the game, filled with hordes of other players. The heart quests especially are pure carnage, with dozens of characters biffing waves of monsters. I’m lucky if I can even get a hit in on anything, so busy it becomes. At first I laughed in disbelief at the absurdity and the inability to do anything useful, then I got all OCD about doing all the ones I could find because XP, cash etc, and now, at level 15, I understand my preferred character build enough to have actually found a role within the frenzy.

It looks like madness. Anyone watching would think it a parody of a videogame, mindless button-pushing as endless flashing lights go off and a barrage of numbers pummels the monitor. I have found personal method within that madness, and that’s part of what makes GW2 more than just A.N. Other MMO. It is a tactical fighter, one you hone and tweak and reshape into the form you most prefer.

For instance: I am a Norn Thief, which means I am a master of stealth and subterfuge despite looking like a brick shithouse (the Norns are the Hulk race, essentially). Initially, I fought with a dagger, using skills and tactics very similar to those I used as a Rogue in World of Warcraft. A little bit of teleporting, a little bit of invsibility, a little bit of backstabbing.

Then I switched to sword and, I eventually realised, this changed my skills. In fact, it opened a whole new tree of skills, which I quickly unlocked over the course of simply stabbing stuff with said sword. No more teleporting and backstabbing, instead a whole lot more open warring and ultra-damage.

Then I found a gun and equipped it in my off-hand, which meant I could do stuff like pistol whip, headshot or fire blinding gas in the midst of my swordplay.

Then I found a better dagger and swapped that for the sword, which opened up a few more skills still, orientated around teleportation and stealth. My favourite skill so far, in fact, is the one that has me fire a quick shot at a distant enemy, then teleport right to them at which point they get a dagger in the guts. Then I can teleport back to where I was and do it all again. Cheeky. Cheery.

Then I decided to put the pistol in my main hand and the dagger in my offhand and, oh boy, a whole new set of skills again, this time all about fighting from a distance but using special tricks to get out of trouble if an enemy got too close.

Then I equipped two pistols, and got more skills still.

Then I equipped a bow. Whole new skill tree. Exploding arrows! Gas arrows!

Then I went underwater, and fought with a harpoon. Whole new skill tree.

Then I found a harpoon gun. Whole new skill tree.

I’d unlocked all these skills by approximately level 8. There are more skills to buy as I continue to level, but already my character is essentially a half-dozen different classes unto himself, which I can switch between at will depending on either the situation or person preference. (So far that that preference is dagger’n'gun most of the time, but gun’n'dagger in the big, open-to-all boss fights where it’s unwise to get too close).

Like the questing, I feel like I’m cobbling stuff together my own way, according to my preferences and not according to some Treadmill Of Doom. I don’t know how long this will last – I suppose it depends on whether I become inclined to get highly, highly tactical and learned about how the skills combine with each other, which is almost undocumented outside of some faintly bewildering tooltips, but is clearly crucial to the later game and to PvP. Hell, I don’t even do dodging yet (double-tap in a direction to evade), but evidently that’s vital. There’s a lot in there: it’s an active, reflexive fighter that requires dedication and education.

Here’s the colossal, incredible folly of Guild Wars 2, though: I can’t play it with my friends.

This is mainly because the servers are too busy in this first weekend of play, so even though we’re all on the same sever whenever we switch zone we get dumped into the ‘overflow’ area, which is a sharded netherworld with all the same contents (mobs, quests, NPCs, etc – you can play completely as normal) but containing players from assorted servers rather than yours, all queuing to get into the real zone on their own server. So, I’d be there while my chums were in the zone proper. Server loads can’t suffer the only blame for this, however: it your game has been designed in such a way that people who want to play it together cannot be in the same place despite being on the same server, you have done something very, very wrong indeed at a fundamental level. This shouldn’t happen at all, whether or not it’s an alternative to queuing to get onto the server in the first place. Friends cannot play together. Madness.

Eventually, I’d be told there was a space ready for me, but by that point my chums had often moved onto a different area, which entailed their being dumped into another overflow thinger, and so were no longer on the same shard is me. Time and again this happened, this often fruitless attempt for multiple players to play a multiplayer game together. We could be in the exact same spot, we could talk to each other in party chat, but we could not play together. Occasionally, double-sixes would come up and we’d all be reintegrated into the ‘real’ zone at roughly the same time, but as soon as, for one reason or another, we needed to change area, that was that again.

As seems to be GW2′s wont, this is barely documented and poorly explained, so it might be that there is some arcane way for a party to actually play together consistently. Right now, we’ve given up on even trying – especially as the game won’t let us join each other on our ‘personal storylines’, which is a string of scripted quests, interspersed with flat, tedious cutscenes, tailored to your choices in character creation. We can be in a group, but as soon as one player starts one he disappears into his own instance leaving the rest of us behind. Well, not always. Sometimes it’s worked. It makes no sense, and it’s become a gamble not worth taking. So right now I guess we’re all working on levelling up until such time as we can do high-level stuff together or the servers calm down so we can stick in a pack.

Honestly, I’d have thought any MMO’s first and highest priority should be letting people play with their friends. It’s crazy that GW2 got this fundamental aspect wrong, especially as it seems to have gotten so many other things so right. It doesn’t depart far from the essential MMO template, but it’s made that template more compelling by being less prescribed and more flexible. It’s definitely massively multiplayer too, as those vast packs of boss-ganking warriors in the ‘heart’ quests prove, but right now it’s lonely multiplayer, giant fights fought silently with people you’ll never see again rather than faithful friends.

Hell though, it’s got me even though I’m essentially playing it by solo (and not by choice, honestly – I’m not John). There’s been no other MMO that’s had this pull on me, not since WoW and City of Heroes back in the day. I don’t know how long it’ll work for – probably not long, knowing both my attention span and my workload – but it sure is great to have some of my deep-baked cynicism towards this genre scrubbed away, at least for a while.

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273 Comments »

  1. Nick says:

    I think the party meeting up in overflows is a bit bugged at the moment, it works sometimes though..

    • SealedSun says:

      Yes, apparently you’re supposed to get into the same overflow server as your pals. But that simply doesn’t work at the moment.
      ArenaNet acknowledge this in post on mugbook
      But it seems to be waaaay down on their priority list. So we’re essentially back in “Diablo 3″-land: A single player game with all the drawbacks of MMOs.

      • lonesock says:

        If you right click on any party member and hit “join in (zone X)” you are transported to their overflow. No mess, no fuss, works like a charm for our 4-person group.

        I actually prefer the overflows to the main instances, less laggy.

        Edit: but you have to be in the same zone/location already, then join in. That was a bit confusing.

        • Nick says:

          It doesn’t always work, sometimes right clicking and hitting join results in nothing, but we figured out a bit of rezoning gets it working eventually if its playing up.

          • lonesock says:

            Guess I’m lucky on Anvilrock :3 We’ll see if it gets worse when my dirty retail friends try to join up tomorrow.

          • Wreckdum says:

            I couldn’t group with friends at midnight on Friday… Haven’t had the problem since. And we’re currently 42 now. And I’m on Yak’s Bend which is a full server.

          • CoFran says:

            Been having the same problem, even worse : yesterday we get in the same overflow, cool so far, as soon as someone would move TWO screens away, he would appear as in overflow and dissapear from our minimaps and screen. Moving back closer would make the party member magicly reappear.

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      • Didden says:

        You also have to ‘Right click’ a party member and click ‘Join In’ to sync to the same place / server etc. But yes, this is buggy right now, and I expect will be fixed in the next 48 hours. It’s a new MMO… they all have issues on launch.

        • Ragnar says:

          The overflow shard thing separating players has been an issue since the very first beta weekend. My wife lost the connection and had to re-connect, and we were unable to end up on the same shard since. After several failed attempts, we just gave up on it.

          SWTOR had a story narrative to interest me in playing solo, and I could largely ignore other players and just play it as KOTOR 3. GW2 lacks the story narrative, and co-op play is the only draw it has to me. The mechanics and systems it has in play are really interesting, but the combat and questing itself bored me very quickly. Though damn if the capital city doesn’t look impressive.

      • deke913 says:

        Not defending this because it is pretty weird…but there was no mention of the fact that you can play WvW or structured pvp in a group with no problems at all. 50 of us on TS in WvW and had a freaking blast.

        • Dominic White says:

          On a lot of servers, you can’t get into WvW at all. There’s no overflow system there, just queues. Long ones.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            Ah yes, the WvW queue. I actually think the relatively low player cap in WvW is a larger issue than players having trouble staying in a group together from overflow to overflow. The latter stands to get fixed sooner rather than later, but the WvW cap will probably not change without a massive overhaul of the backend technology.

            As someone who usually gets on to play an hour here or there as I can find the time, I will probably only be able to do WvW at the slowest off peak hours. Which is a shame because it’s one of the bits I’m most excited for.

    • Truga says:

      To get the all of your friends into the same instance, I have found the best way is to have everyone log off, then log on at the same time (countdown on mumble/teamspeak workse great), preferably in the same area. After you do this, if someone is still not in the same instance, they can right click a dude in the party and click “join in “. And it’ll work for the vast majority of people right after everyone just relogged.

  2. alice says:

    for all that long trek up Mount Hype

    That is such a genius phrase. Reminds me of “climbing the mountains of conflict”

  3. Gundato says:

    So basically, wait a week or so for the server load to stabilize. Sucks, but I have Dark Souls on my PC.

  4. Enzo says:

    I still prefer Secret World.

    • Mordsung says:

      SW has the better setting and more interesting/original story, but the combat is so abysmal that it really ruins the rest of the game for me.

      • Tacroy says:

        It also has a monthly fee. For $15 I could buy like three indie games a month.

        • Shuck says:

          Or, heck, four older AAA games on Steam.
          I wonder if a big part of the seeming increasing dissatisfaction with MMO subscriptions is due to the huge increase in game buying power of $15 since the days of Ultima Online.

        • djbriandamage says:

          If TSW had GW2′s pricing model – box plus optional addons – I’d have been playing it since launch.

          • Tacroy says:

            Exactly – TSW’s beta events totally sold me on paying up to $60 for the game, but it better be like sweet heroin flowing through my veins to get me to pony up $15/month – I mean, if I’d subscribed when it came out, this month I would have sunk as much into the game as I’ve paid for Guild Wars 2 last Friday, with no letup in the foreseeable future.

            $15/month is just not tenable unless you’re World of Warcraft, and even then it seems to be shaky.

          • Contrafibularity says:

            Why would you want TSW to be like “sweet heroine running through your veins”? Everything and anything that attracts me to TSW has nothing to do with addiction-inducing mechanics (like those Blizzard had designed by addiction psychologists). In fact, if it had any more of this grind, I would just walk away.

            FYI though, you are in a sense spot-on by saying you want an MMO to “be like heroine” because the reward-mechanisms in these addiction-based MMOs like WoW stimulate the same area of the brain which gets activated by cocaine use. Which, in turn, happens to be the same area that lights up in the brains of bankers when they get a tragicomically large paycheck for destroying humanity doing “god’s work”.

      • Montoli says:

        I keep seeing people say this, and it keeps baffling me. Secret World’s combat is actually pretty rad, as far as I can tell.

        The enemies are interesting and distinct. The ground-warnings give you something to do, dodge-wise. The bosses (Especially dungeon bosses) are intricate and unique. And as a player, (after the super-early game at least) you get to sit and design your own deck, deciding exactly how you want to fight, with a level of granularity not seen since the original Guild Wars 1.

        (Seriously, Secret World’s combat is more like Guild Wars 1 than Guild Wars 2 is!)

        I’ll grant that the PvP in Secret World is balls. So if that’s what you’re basing things off of then fine. But for PvE content, I actually have a hard time finding too many faults with Secret World’s model. (My big one is just that too many powers look the same)

        And I suppose that early game, when you don’t have enough powers to put together any kind of interesting power deck, and your options are just “shoot them in the face” or “shoot them in the face, harder” then it might feel kind of lame? But by the time I was ready to leave Solomon Island, I was fairly sold on the combat. It was fun, interesting, and challenging in interesting ways. (Ways like “having good positioning” and “coming up with a power setup to deal with this threat” ways, which I like, much more than just “having the best gear.”)

        Anyway, I know Secret World gets a lot of flack, but seriously, what are people’s beefs with the combat? Is it just that everyone is giving up on the game before getting far enough to have a good selection of abilities? Or is there some other flaw that I’m just blind to?

        • Sian says:

          Well, to me TSW’s combat just doesn’t feel very meaty. A few examples that just stop me from fully enjoying it: All pistols sound and act the same, be they MACs or Lugers. Hammers have absolutely no impact, at least not the first tier skills. And then there’s the matter of samey skills. There are a LOT of them. But the combat itself was quite enjoyable.

        • Xzi says:

          Well it may be just me, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the combat in Guild Wars 1, either. My problem with combat in TSW is that I ran through so many weapon and skill combos in the beta, and didn’t find a single one that really felt visceral or interesting to me. It honestly felt like a step down from WoW to me, and that’s pretty bad. Only the combat of course…I felt like the skill system was pretty interesting and unique. But if using those skills doesn’t provide any satisfaction, then the whole thing is kind of a wash.

          More than that, though, TSW seemed like it was going for a VTMB-ish feel, which was all the more disappointing when I discovered it to be falling so short of that. In the end GW2 just managed to do its own thing better and with more polish. The unique art style, the exploration systems, the tactical but not overly complicated combat, and the enjoyable progression through variation all blend into one very pretty package. Take all that and make it free, and TSW would need to REALLY step it up in order to compete. Puzzles are nice, but if I wanted to solve those without the tedious combat interrupting, I would just play Uru/Myst.

        • khomotso says:

          I’ve also never quite understood this common complaint. Judged as a PC combat system, it’s weak sauce, but in comparison to the rest of the MMO genre it seems par for the course. So the main complaint I had is that TSW claimed to be different, and the combat was decidedly not. Didn’t budge the needle.

          My other complaint is that I enjoyed melee far more than pew pew, which felt clinically detached, but the game was very unforgiving of melee play, especially in dungeons. There wasn’t much role for you outside of humdrum tanking. I felt pressed into builds I didn’t really enjoy just to be helpful to the team.

          But then I also don’t enjoy the whole dynamic of boss fights in general – it’s like the leveling treadmill in reverse, just trying to make the colored bar go the other direction ever so slowly as learned repetition takes over – so that may just be my own peculiarity. Everyone gets so all excited about these dungeon set pieces where the monstrous lumbering thing gets gradually whittled down. Must be something I’m missing.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      If TSW let me complete the whole game solely through exploration and investigation (in the same way I could theoretically level in GW2 exclusively through crafting), I would prefer it as well. But seeing as it forces me to wade through its stiff grindy combat in order to reach the good bits, no thanks.

      Funcom was so close with TSW. It’s a real shame they didn’t have the will to make it more of a Call of Cthulhu-style investigation/mystery game rather than just another combat obsessed MMORPG with a couple amazing investigation elements pinned on.

      • Josh W says:

        Exactly it’s bizarre! If you had to ask which game had the ability to level up entirely through exploration and crafting, so you can run away from enemies rather than engage them, wouldn’t you say it would be TSW?

  5. Bloodloss says:

    I’m glad you had the balls to criticise it, at least in some way. In my opinion, it’s one of the most overhyped games in recent times, perhaps of all time. I’ve gotten pretty good at not getting caught up in hype though, so I just expected a game similar to WoW with certain upgrades, which is what I got for the most part. It’s just a shame that they didn’t feel like actually being revolutionary, despite all their claims – it’s still the same old tedious button mashing MMO combat, except even worse if anything as it’s far more spammy and less focused on a rotation, at least from what I’ve seen so far. In addition, the PVE is far worse – complete uncoordinated messes, unlike the tactical WoW bosses who needed a certain degree of planning and cooperation. And for all the talk of how “the end game starts at level 1″ and how amazing it will be – “no boring quests or grinding!” it doesn’t feel much different to me, all that has changed is the method of delivering quests to player.

    Perhaps it’ll get better, but I doubt it. Unfortunately, I have also been playing it solo due to the fact that most of my friends despise MMOs; I think I may join them in that belief soon, as GW2 was pretty much my last hope for a new, innovative and less dull MMO.

    • vee41 says:

      Just had to comment on this. Button mashy combat: You can button mash all you want, in PvP you’ll lose quick though to anyone that uses even inch of their brain capacity. In PvE the action combat means that it is much more about positioning, dodging and timing than having a certain skill rotation.

      The biggest change though, the one that set it’s apart from WOW mold, is that it is CASUAL. Yes, that is not a negative. There isn’t a certain grindmill and route you take through the game, you do what you want and get rewarded for it. There isn’t ‘competition’ for doing things: getting resources or items, in PvE you are all fighting for common cause. There is sense of community, you are actually happy to see other players as they ADD to your game experience instead of stealing your mining nodes and tagging your mobs.

      It just feels very different from WOW mold. It’s hard to put into words. It’s about having fun, not having a list of things to do and putting a little ‘x’ in front of every task on that list after you’ve done them.

      Edit: The word I was looking for was serious. It’s a game that does not take itself too seriously. It basically says: “HEY! You don’t have to quit your job to play me, just pop a few beers and have fun ait’?!”

      • Valvarexart says:

        You’re saying that as if it is a good thing.

        • Skhalt says:

          Because it is. The point is since there is no competition for monsters or resource nodes, you can rush to aid another player without an afterthought, they can do the same, etc… Basically, anything that MMOs usually make frustrating is made light. And this shows on the overall mood and behaviour of the IG community.

          • Valvarexart says:

            Taking away features that seem frustrating at first glance does not necessarily make for a better game. It just makes it more approachable. Features like open world PvP are in my opinion some of the best parts of WoW.
            Also, I have seen like zero player interaction thus far in Gw2 (level 25 atm).

          • Brun says:

            Open world PvP is indeed one of the things that this game sorely misses. However, WvW does successfully capture the old-school Alterac Valley style of persistent large-scale PvP that WoW has since lost.

            EDIT: Zero player interaction in what sense? I interact with players every time I do a Dynamic Event. Just because they aren’t partied with you doesn’t mean you aren’t interacting.

            Honestly the only point the Party System serves (outside of doing dungeons later in the game, I guess) is to get your friends to show up on the minimap so you can find them. You don’t even NEED to party to do anything, as credit is shared as long as you contribute.

          • Valvarexart says:

            That’s the point. You don’t NEED to interact with people to get things done. what I mean with zero player interaction is no talking to people, no trading etc. Resurrections are the exception, otherwise everyone is fully self-absorbed.

          • Unruly says:

            I just want to say that in a game where PvP is such a focus, such as GW has been historically, open area PvP in the vein of WoW would be absolutely terrible. Do you have any idea why PvP in WoW is always so unbalanced? It’s because they have to make sure that skills work both in PvP and PvE. So one side of the game or another is going to end up being unbalanced, and tweaks made to a skill to accomodate one area can completely upset how everything works.

            Which is why GW1 ended up splitting their skills into PvE and PvP versions. Nerfs to skills to make them less super-powered in PvP were making them worthless in PvE. And they couldn’t boost PvE performance without also making them stronger in PvP. So in the name of simplicity they split the skills. The PvP skill would perform similarly to the PvE skill, but it might have reduced damage or duration. I haven’t tried PvP in GW2 yet, but I have a strong feeling that it’s going to end up the same way. Because when it comes down to it, it’s the best way to do things. There’s no point in punishing PvE players by nerfing their skills to make PvP better. And if you don’t want to split the skills into PvE and PvP versions then that’s what you’re going to end up with. Well, that or super-powered PvP skills. But as Blizzard and so many others have shown time and time again, companies are more likely to take skills that work just fine in PvE and nerf them to the ground in order to appease the much smaller PvP crowd, because competition almost always takes priority over cooperation.

      • Montoli says:

        >The biggest change though, the one that set it’s apart from WOW mold, is that it is CASUAL.

        Wait, are you saying that the thing that makes it different from WOW is that it is casual, unlike WoW?

        I thought the whole point of WoW was that it expanded the market for MMOs by making them more casual, thus enabling it to become the cash cow that we know today?

        • Brun says:

          I think he means casual in the sense that it’s significantly more cooperative than a game like WoW. In WoW you got things like people fighting for access to quest mobs (tagging) or resource nodes, but that kind of thing can’t happen in GW2 because of the way credit is shared, even outside of parties.

        • wengart says:

          There also isn’t a monthly sub hanging over your head. I can not play GW2 for 2 months and comeback with no loss and no fuss.

      • Bloodloss says:

        Maybe that’s true in PVP. In my experience, not really – people just spam all their abilities as they can and rince and repeat. It’s better than WoW’s combat though, mainly because people don’t die in 2 seconds. Either way, my main complaints are in regards to PVE.

        You say it’s casual and there’s no grinding, but how is it really different than WoW’s? It’s certainly not faster to level, on the contrary. And you might say, as I pointed out in my post, that “the end game starts from level 1″ but is that all I have to look forward to? Generic, boring quests? Which are in no way better than WoW’s, as it happens, and endlessly killing mobs for their teeth is replaced by spending ages looking around for cages or nets to repair or whatever.

    • Sian says:

      People not understanding the combat and mashing buttons is what leads to Guardians popping their bubble, pushing away the one and only mob that everybody was wailing on, and everybody having to get within melee range again – including the guardian. As a warrior, I really don’t want that to happen just when I deliver my uber adrenaline strike of face-cleaving.

      This happens so often. People think, just because a skill is on their skill bar, they need to mash that button in order to do lots of damage. Nothing could be more wrong. Use your skills when they make sense. In the case of the bubble: It not only pushes back, but also blocks enemy projectiles and (not sure on this) gives an extra effect on friendly combo finishers – the perfect skill to use to protect your own ranged fighters and casters. It is NOT part of a melee rotation. ARGH!

      • Brun says:

        This. As a Necromancer I’m usually only using two skills to DPS unless something bad happens that requires me to use additional skills to respond.

      • Brise Bonbons says:

        I think it depends a lot on your profession and what weapons you’re using. I tried elementalist for the first time this weekend, and found that in normal PvE content it mostly devolved into using all my fire spells, switching to water, using all those, switching to air… I didn’t have any clutch spells that needed to be timed well, and moreover the content was so easy that there was no need to time anything carefully anyway.

        Which raises another point – we’re all doing level 1 to maybe 30 content right now, bar a few people who rushed to higher level. No MMORPG has difficult content or tactically demanding bosses when you’re not even 50% of the way through the leveling curve. For that matter, GW2, for all its faults (I think it has several more serious than what the article describes), probably does the best job I’ve seen in an MMORPG of providing challenging content early on if you want to go looking for it. Wander into the areas intended for players 3 levels ahead of you, and you will find that mashing your skills getting you killed more often than not.

        Anyway, in contrast to my elementalist, I felt that my mesmer, guardian, and engineer really keep me thinking and active in combat. You simply can’t spam skills on, say, a scepter/torch mesmer or a pistol/shield engineer and expect to be effective.

        • wengart says:

          It also depends on the quest that you are doing. I recall a fight in the early char area during the last beta event. There were maybe 20 some players fighting a shaman, and he would wipe out 4-5 people with one or two attacks.

    • adammtlx says:

      Yeah, spammy. That’s how I felt about it when I played beta back in early May. I’m saddened to hear it’s still the same, since the spammy-ness drove me crazy. Not having any resources to manage could be a good thing, but I never felt like it was when I played. I mostly just felt like I’d hit every DPS ability when it was off cooldown and every utility ability when it seemed appropriate, all of which required no more than 3 of my 15 brain cells.

      Even in PvP I found that spamming my abilities was just as effective as trying to be “strategic” since combat still mostly devolved into waiting on cooldowns while whaling on the ’1′ key.

      I also never much felt like I was “exploring” the world. Everything felt very planned out. But that could just be me being silly. I was looking forward to GW2 being the next long-term MMO stop for me and it does not appear that will be the case. My faith in the industry is rapidly waning.

  6. celluz says:

    This might be ninja’d but if you right click the name of a party member (might work with the friend list too) you can join their overflow server even if you are in the actual world so its not as splitting up as you think since you can choose to be together.

    • Dodger says:

      Logged in to say this. As long as you’re both in overflow, the “join” feature seems to work. You do all need to be joined if you want to do personal story together. Played most of the day yesterday with my girlfriend and we rarely had trouble meeting up.

      The system definitely needs work (it should just automatically keep you together), but they’ve said it’s a high priority fix. At least I can do a workaround for now to keep playing with friends and guildies.

  7. BarkingDog says:

    oh come on, the hearts most certainly are not “killing a certain amount of a type of beastie or collecting a certain amount of a type of object”.
    Admittedly you can complete the hearts by carrying out these actions if you so choose, but equally there are always alternatives that fill the meter just as much, like lighting torches, reviving npcs, or more obscurely, uprooting weeds, feeding chickens and teaching cows how to race.
    And it’s entirely up to you what combination of actions you carry out to complete the heart; I certainly agree that these are still quests, but the degree of freedom and the diverse elements that let you complete them in practically any way you want make them the most enjoyable quests yet.
    Every time you find a new heart, it’s not a case of “oh great, time to kill/collect x of y”, it’s just as often a case of “what’s this? race against the clock to catch and feed cows their favourite type of beetle? well alright!”

    That being said, it’s incredibly difficult to level with friends, and guilds and auction houses are broken right now.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Well said. I think the original article actually muddled together renown hearts (filling hearts on the map, usually by doing menial tasks mixed in with combat, as you describe) and the events which often pop up around those hearts, such as “fight off waves of bandits trying to burn the straw you want to feed that cow”.

    • gunny1993 says:

      The problem is people go into any mmo expecting some magical innovation, since they have no idea what this they want from this innovation literally any change is a let down in their mine.

      To me the small changes you noted are some of the best I’ve ever seen in an mmo, they allow the freedom i always hated being taken away from me in quest hub style ones.

      And i haven’t found it hard to quest with friends at all, so far i’ve played about 20 odd hours with 3/4 mates and we have never found it hard to quest, possibly you chose a server that has a silly high population.

  8. Lobotomist says:

    Alec , Alec …. Why ?

    Its not professional to give bad review (or state a major flaw) based on a bug that game has when its not even launched properly (its still open only for preorders)

    Overflow system – is a stroke of genius. Instead of waiting two hours in the queue to log in (hello SWTOR,D3..etc) you are put in a “overflow server”

    So you get to play , instead sit on your hands… if that is not good, i dont know what is?

    And guess what. Grouping with your friends when on overflow servers works too! – but its bugged right now.

    So yes. As every game and MMO launched in this and previous centuries, GW2 has some bugs. (guilds are crazily bugged , Market is not working…dont even try to change world servers). Basing “review” on a temporary bug is just lame.

    Also – Heart Quests , are not dynamic events. Its just something in starter zones to let people transcend from regular questing system into dynamic system mindset.

    Hang on in the heart quest area after you finished (or failed) the quest and see what is happening. You will be surprised (and rewarded with loads more xp)

    • trjp says:

      You seem not to grasp that the word ‘works’ and ‘bugged” are mutually incompatible.

      It’s because you’re wearing fanboi goggles which you may want to remove – I, for one, want to know that the game works (or doesn’t) because it’s a major factor on whether (or more likely when) I buy it.

      MMO reviews are notoriously impossible, so this is merely his statement of ‘how it is right now’ and, as such, I think it’s a really decent write-up.

      Multiplayer is something I’m really interested in because – frankly – Guild Wars was shit at it. The vast majority of players played solo – much more so than WoW (which is essentially a solo game anyway) – so I wanted to know whether they’d actually grasped the whole idea of playing together properly (rather than just to achieve the odd difficult bit).

      If you can’t stand the idea that something you are clearly mad about isn’t perfect in everyone else’s eyes – I suggest you pull your tin foil hat down further and stop reading their opinions…

    • misterT0AST says:

      Who told you that this is a review?
      The title says “Impressions”.
      Reviews on this site are usually titled “Wot I think”.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s not a review. It is a piece of writing about the reality of playing Guild Wars 2 right now, and is hardly going to be anyone’s final word on the game.

      • Lobotomist says:

        Alec, perhaps…
        But you quote one simple bug (and one they are working to fix right now) as (and i quote) :
        ” it’s got the most serious design flaw I believe I’ve ever seen in any MMO.”

        • Cinek says:

          MMO fanboy – a person who qualifies every issue of his favorite MMO as a “temporary bug” that will be fixed soon™.

          • lonesock says:

            Except this bug is practically a non-issue with the “Join In” button. And yet the article makes no effort to find the “arcane method” of fixing it and instead waits for Arenanet and commenters to point it out. Admittedly, it’s Arenanet’s job to make it easier and explain how to group up, but its not impossible to find.

          • Tacroy says:

            Look, the fact that there is a “join in” button is the design flaw. I mean, I’m having a blast with Guild Wars 2, but it’s utterly stupid that it will spew people in a group across any number of overflow servers when they already have the capability to group them together, and the people have already indicated that they want to be grouped together by forming a party.

            There shouldn’t even be a join in button, the game should just do it. And if it does happen that the party gets split amongst servers (e.g, one player enters a personal instance) it should pop up a message box in the middle of the screen saying join in or ignore, instead of waiting for you to figure it out for yourself.

          • Dominic White says:

            The game CAN’T do it because each zone has a maximum number of players assigned, and it won’t go over that, no matter how much players beg. Yes, it would be really nice if you could bring a whole party with you into a zone, but you can’t, because it’s full and they’re slowly letting in players one at a time.

            It’s not a huge design flaw with the game. It’s just the servers being full during the launch crush. In any other MMO, you’d just get a queue and not be able to play at all.

          • lonesock says:

            Hey, I agree Tacroy, they should totally do a popup or just automatically put you in the same overflow. It is stupid to bury it in a menu.

            I’m mainly just annoyed over phrases like “most serious design flaw in any mmo”, like Lobotomist. If you wanna talk design flaws, try pushing through a line of ironbreakers and brightwizards in a Warhammer keep siege , or grinding crafting in Aion. Pressing a button doesn’t break the game for me.

            Edit: I can’t speak for the full overflow, Dominic, I haven’t had that problem yet. Could be my server is light or I’m not on at peak hours. Maybe they’ll add an overflow server browser, haha.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            It’s odd that the game doesn’t keep a party together now – I think that’s the bug. If memory serves, in the second beta weekend event they added code that would keep parties together automatically when one person got sent to an overflow server. It worked at that time, based on my testing. So I assume there is a bug now that causes the current issues.

            Perhaps they chose to change it so that you have to manually join your friend, in which case I’d agree it’s a silly design choice. But until the bugs are worked out we can’t really say.

          • Baines says:

            The weird thing is that Alec spends so much space and effort on his hatred of the overflow servers that it honestly sounds like he’d rather sit in a queue for two hours than be allowed to play the game without his friends.

            (I know the idea is that with a standard queue method you sit doing nothing for an unknown time, but you have an uninterrupted experience once you get in. If you plan to spend hours playing after you get on, and you only want to play with specific people, that can be preferable to immediate but unstable access. Mind, I also know that people will queue in a game and then go do something else entirely for the next 5 minutes to 2 hours, until they notice that they’ve made it into a game proper. If you are willing to do that, then non-playable queue times have less meaning for you.)

        • Trinnet says:

          Jim’s name is Jim.

          • lonesock says:

            He’s just routing through the hive mind to Alec, got sent to Jim overflow.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          Hyperbole is the worst thing ever.

      • CptPlanet says:

        You should hold off writing impressions until it actually launches then just in case.

        • derbefrier says:

          uh oh not one of these people. unless they plan on wiping characters and making everyone start over on the 28th Saturday is the day the game released. Its not a beta its the day paying customers get to start playing. If you wanna hang on to marketing speak to try and justify a not so good launch that’s fine just remember to repeat the PR mantra “It doesn’t count because our “official” release date is 3 days later! (wink, wink that will fool them). Perhaps if they hadn’t done stress tests at 10 am on a Monday this could have been avoided.

        • tetracycloide says:

          Maybe he should hold off on writing impressions until the first patch just to be safe…

    • Galcius says:

      lobotomist does have a point though – instead of being stuck staring at “You are in a Queue to enter Queensdale. You are at place 1087 of 5460. Estimate Wait Time: 30 minutes” you actually get to play the game whilst you wait.

      It’s not ideal though. I get the impression they seriously underestimated how busy it was going to be. Which is daft considering they must have known the exact headstart figures in the lead up to release.

    • Shinikake says:

      At least you get to play.

      It’s been 3 days and I still can’t even get the key to register to my account nor has their “tech support” responded to any of my tickets.

      Oh and seriously, what respectable company uses twitter and (shudder) “bookface” to provide updates to their flagship software?

      Bottom line: I have never seen a poorer implementation of key registrations and logins than NCSoft’s multiwebsite/game logins.

      I don’t know about the rest of you lot, but I don’t much like paying for “open beta”.

      • Ateius says:

        … er … I went to one website (guildwars2.com) to register my key. I go to the same website to manage my account, and to check the latest news regarding the game (which is right on the front page, if you’re so inclined). What on earth are you doing trying to register your game via facebook?

    • Montoli says:

      >Overflow system – is a stroke of genius. Instead of waiting two hours in the queue to log in (hello SWTOR,D3..etc) you are put in a “overflow server”

      You may view the overflow system as a stroke of genius. But coming to the game fresh off of Secret World, it feels like an ugly kludge more than anything.

      (In Secret World, it just maintains a bunch of instances of each zone, transparently in the background. Instead of one “real” version of the zone and a bunch of “temporary holding zones for overflow” they are ALL real, and it just dumps you in one (according to load balancing) when you enter the zone. Or, if you have a party member that zone, it automatically makes sure you end up in the same instance. It is very seamless and easy, and after playing with THAT, I wince every time I see giant dialogs onscreen in GW2 about how I’ve been moved to the overflow but don’t worry, soon I’ll get into the real one, probably!)

      So yeah. After playing with that for a month or two, GW2′s overflow servers don’t really feel like genius. More like the opposite.

      • Sian says:

        Overflow is better than queueing, but TSW’s solution is plain better, I agree.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        I’m sure TSW’s system works very well for the seven people who play that game. But if they had hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people hitting the servers all at once, the situation might be different.

      • gunny1993 says:

        Doesn’t overflowing work on an area based system rather than a whole server one, i,e if there are 200 people in one zone you go to overflow. If so this is a great system as lag is always increased when more players are in one area at one time. (for evidence look at rift world events)

  9. vee41 says:

    Grouping stuff worked well in betas, you could go to same overflow instances and follow people to their personal story instances as well. Guess it’s the overload.

    Game is a diamond, quite polished one even, overloading of servers is a bitch. Having good times with RPS guild at Gunnars Hold.

  10. Commander Gun says:

    “Especially, the claimed concept of quest-free adventuring is just bullshit.
    (…)
    The objective always entails going to a nearby spot, marked with a yellow-orange circle on the map, and killing a certain amount of a type of beastie or collecting a certain amount of a type of object. It’s shown as a progress bar rather than a proclaimed number, and it happens at speed and overtly rather than the bad old ways of having to kill 29 pigs before they dropped even one nose, but by God it’s a quest and and no mistaking”

    If i had the time, I would type: “See, i told you so!” tens of thousands of time to all the fanboys who used the ‘no-quests!’ argument on forums and i tried to make the point that this is almost impossible, only to be rebuked over and over again…

    • vee41 says:

      Sorry, but that was just his opinion.

      It is actually fresh and new, there really is no going back to quest hub style for me.

      • Somerled says:

        It is the same old hub style, really, but all the horseshit is compacted into a single progress bar that pops when you enter the region. I love that. It has downsides too, but it’s so far very refreshing.

        To me, it feels like the game is acknowledging that I just came for xp and isn’t going to get in my way, but won’t step out of character either.

    • Galcius says:

      It’s questing Jim, but not as we know it.

      Alec seems to be confused between dynamic events (which are the circles on the map when something happens) and the reputation hearts. The reputation hearts are your bread and butter levelling content, and they can be completed numerous ways. Those ways might include “bring me 10 raptor heads” but they might also include reviving guards, retrieving supplies and killing bandits, and if you don’t feel like beheading raptors you can complete it in the other ways.

      This is very different from standard MMO questing.

      The dynamic events often are just “Survive 9 waves of Centaur attacks” but you don’t *have* to do them (although they have consequences like settlements being captured etc.), they are generally fun and the rewards are good. Also if you get bored holding off the centaur you can just wonder off and you’ll still get a reward if other people complete it successfully. I even got a reward for an escort event that I stumbled into briefly, decided I didn’t like how slowly the NPC was moving and wondered away from.

      It’s sufficiently different from the standard MMO grind quests that I’m really enjoying the levelling. It’s funny because I wanted to play the game for the PVP but I’ve found I don’t like WvWvW and I’m loving the PVE!

      • derbefrier says:

        also there’s nothing dynamic about these events, at least in the starting zone. They are the same thing in the same place every time its just a static repeatable quest. hell at least in rift they would appear randomly on the map does this change once you get out of the newbie zones?

        and his assessment is correct these are just quests handed out in a different way. your still collecting goat horns for some lazy NPC and killing 30 of this and that not that i am complaining. I am having fun but it is what it is.

        also the lag while better is still shitty.

        edit: I dont mean to give the impression i am not enjoying the game. I have been quite a bit. I do like the fact i can just go running around and find something to do. the crafting seems pretty cool so far and I am enjoying the story for my Charr thief (Ash Legion FTW!) The weapons system is fantastic. water combat is actually fun (something never before accomplished in an MMO). I havent tried PvP yet waiting for the lag to die down and to learn a little bit more about the game first but despite my initial complaints i am having a great time

        • scottb says:

          I think this is a result of the overflow servers. It looks like it’s repeating to the player because you’re most likely jumping back and forth between overflows. Once you’re consistently playing on the same server (and thus, the same “map”) you will see the results of the dynamic events sticking.

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          I believe the events become much more sophisticated once you leave the early zones, but I’ve never leveled beyond 15 in the beta events. I have seen video of longer event chains that push from one side of the zone to the other, and I do think there are less endlessly looping minotaur invasions.

          That said, I think the whole argument about whether GW2 just has standard MMORPG questing or not is a bit silly. I mean, here’s a description of a piece of game content: “You are under attack in a town, drive off waves of attackers while a timer counts down”. Is that an MMORPG quest? A set piece in the latest CoD title? A mission in an RTS campaign? A custom mission in ARMA?

          The key for me is that GW2′s events don’t care if you are there or not, they just happen and you are free to stumble on them, ignore them, or dip a toe in and wander off as you like. Sure, I would prefer if the game was full of AI actors – as in STALKER – but I understand that is not practical in an MMORPG of this scope. So what we get is some fun scripted content that has the good sense to happen whether we are there or not.

          I’m not really sure what people were expecting.

          • derbefrier says:

            well that’s cool its not that i was expecting every event to be different i was just expecting more than what i have seen in the starting areas. but it makes sense to keep it simple there to allow players to learn the ropes so they know what to to do once they get out in the higher level areas.

            @scottb

            i didnt consider that you got a point there also

      • Gnoupi says:

        Note that as long as you contributed, it works also if no one completes it for you. Centaurs will take over the encampment, it will tell you “event failed”, but you will still get rewards for your contribution.

        • Dominic White says:

          People seem to have misunderstood ‘dynamic’, here. It doesn’t mean that you’re somehow re-writing the story or changing the world FOREVER. It means that things are constantly in motion whether you’re involved or not, and victory or failure does have knock-on effects, whether you win or lose. They’re not permanent and things will loop back eventually, but they DO have major effects on zones. I’ve seen entire towns wiped out if there aren’t enough players around to help, locking out respawn points and fast-travel until the region is cleared.

          And it really does bear repeating: Hearts aren’t dynamic events. They’re the one big static element, because they’re basically there to gather players up into regions where dynamic events *are* clustered.

          • Lobotomist says:

            Yep ? Nothing different ?

            There is a point on starter human map. A keep of sorts (the one where first cutscene happens)
            Once i bought weapons there, and for the longest time i tried to find a vendor again but he wasnt there.

            ok…

            So leveling my mesmer, i hang on in the zone exploring. Experienced quite few dynamic events , rescued few npcs, escorted few. On the end i helped some guy recover stolen weapons. Than he started walking back. It was not marked as dynamic quest, but for lack of better things to do I decided to protect him.

            Turns out that the guy went to the keep and opened weapon shop.

            touche

          • Cinek says:

            ” It means that things are constantly in motion whether you’re involved or not, and victory or failure does have knock-on effects,” – isn’t it by definition something that’s happening in every MMORPG? I’m not really impressed. Even SWTOR got loads of events constantly in motion with or without my personal involvement in them (Ilum or GTN being two most notable things).

          • Brun says:

            I wouldn’t put Ilum or the Auction House (lol) on the same level as these events. And besides, GW2 has both of those – WvW and the Trading Post (which is admittedly broken at the moment), in addition to dynamic PvE events.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            “isn’t it by definition something that’s happening in every MMORPG?”

            The point is that the scripted quest content isn’t focused on you and what you’re doing. There are always other players fighting monsters in an MMO, yes, but when you roll up on a given quest in a given zone, you will always see the same game content and fight the same monsters and do the same scripted series of events, no matter what is going on in the world around you.

            I have gone into the human starting area in GW2 several times, and done totally different series of “quests” each time. I think it’s accurate to say that I haven’t really done the same thing twice in that zone, yet. That by itself is a huge difference from every other non-sandbox MMO.

          • Dominic White says:

            By ‘Dynamic’, I mean that things are in progress and can and will change whether the player is involved or not. A good example would be one I just stumbled onto.

            I was just tooling around in one of the Charr zones, walking along the edge of a river. Then I noticed explosions on a small island in the river delta, so I swim over and investigate. Turns out there’s a bunch of evil shaman types that are trying to complete a ritual to curse the river. There’s a bunch of players involved, and I join in.

            The problem is that we focus too much on one side of the island, and a shaman on the other side completes the spell. A few moments later, the blue river turns green, and much nastier monsters start appearing in it. Then Tar Elementals start rising up along the shore. Okay, the area is screwed. New event starts: Guard the water purification plant further up-river. The tar elementals are trying to gum it up. We eventually protect it, but only just, and the water returns to its normal colour.

            All of that would have happened even if I wasn’t around. If I was just screwing around further down-river, all I would have seen was the water suddenly changing colour and a bunch of nasty mutant monsters trying to eat me, while blob-creatures rise up onto the shore. I left before things could go any further, but I’d not be surprised if another event started to hunt down the shamans at their source. If we’d failed the water purification goal, it likely would have triggered an event to escort engineers to the purifier and guard them while they repair it.

  11. whitepaws says:

    The group feature was working pretty well in the 3rd Beta weekend and the following stress tests. I can understand that it is irritating and it has made me furious, when I was not able to join my friends. But I have seen the system working, so it is only a matter of server load and tweaking to get it back up.

    By the way the “renown hearts” you called heart quests are the ones that are more “standard” and the “free-for-all mega fights” are the dynamic events.

  12. Obc says:

    during the beta i had no problem playing with some friends, now on live it doesn’t work.

    btw i am lvl 20 with my carrot mage. i invested about an hour to collect all the stuff their is to find in Lion’s Arch (very original city design) and about 45 minutes doing the same in Divinity’s Reach (most beautiful city). i did this because i could and it was something else than just monster slaying.

    and yeah all the “events” (heart) are just quests, though the good part is i can just walk around and either kill stuff or do something else (like clicking on traps) and i don’t have to wait for something stupid to drop.

    the dynamic events (orange stuff) is neat and i love that they just spring up out of nowhere, but they are essentially zerg fest. i guess with higher levels they become more demanding, but till lvl 20 they were cool but nothing special. a downside of these is that you can miss a lot of em. i was interested in a special meta-dynamic-event in the human and sylvari starter zone aswell as one in the norn starter and it never started when i was there. for hours i jumped back to these zones but they were never available. in the 2nd human zone a lot of orange-events were already about to be finished when i got there. essentially they can be great fun but the best one take too long to startup and finish too fast.

    crafting is ok but as pointed out in the article, not very well explained. its very obtuse. also the UI could need more tutorials (like putting mats for crafting into a deposit by right-click or all of em via a small symbol in the corner of your inventory).

    also an explanation what all the words regarding stats means could be helpful: as a mage, what is the difference between an aura, a boon and what does fury mean, what is a blastfinisher? i have to look everything up on the official wiki.
    or maybe i am just too stupid….

    anyway there are a lot of stuff i don’t like but the good stuff still outweighs all of em. (like the awesome pvp and the general feel of my class)

    • scottb says:

      I got to 19 on my thief before it was bed time and still have some questions about the combat. It took me about 14 levels before I realized that my #1 dagger ability is actually 4 abilities that change based on situations (it automatically chains attacks.) I still don’t know how combos work to my advantage and if I should be using the finishers at certain times.

      The thief profession skill is baffling me at the moment. It seems that it starts a chain of skills when Steal is successful, but the next skill that pops up changes in ways that I don’t understand fully.

      Overall, I love the feel of the class and how versatile it seems to be with different traits and weapon loadouts.

      • Luke says:

        Skills that are marked combo are either Fields or Finishers.
        Finishers should be deployed in, or through (in the case of projectile finishers) fields. Basically. That’s the “when”.

        Blast finishers produce area effects that either hinder opponents or help allies.
        Whirl finishers create projectiles that are thrown out in all directions and will either hurt opponents or help allies struck by them.
        Projectile and Leap finishers either damage the target or buff the user in some way.

        The actual specifics of the “how” are obscure. It depends on the type of field that you are interacting with (Water is always some type of heal, Smoke causes blindness or grants stealth et cetera) but it also changes depending on what type of finisher you use in non-obvious ways. Using a blast finisher in a lightning field grants swiftness to allies, but a projectile finisher inflicts vulnerability on foes, while a leap finisher dazes the target.

        As for the steal, I’m fairly certain that the ability changes depending on the type of item you’ve managed to ‘steal’. And as this is specific to the type of enemy that you’re fighting, it will vary wildly from encounter to encounter.

        • derbefrier says:

          so let me make sure i understand this because I am in the same boat.

          A “field” would be like laying down a wall of fire and a “finisher” would be like shooting an arrow through the fire to become a burning arrow or something like that?

          • Sian says:

            Exactly, but not every area effect is a combo field and not every ranged skill works as a projectile. If they do or are, it’s noted in the tooltip.

            That being said, combo fields seem to have the special kind of border, with puzzle and heart shapes floating up from them.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            Correct. A projectile will pick up an effect from a field, such as burning from a fire wall, poison from a poison gas cloud, or even healing (if you shoot through a guardian’s healing mark, when your projectile hits it will heal allies around the target).

            A blast finisher will project a similar effect outward from the point of impact. I.e. if my warrior stomps in a fire field, I will create an AoE fire damage effect. If I stomp in a healing field, I should generate an AoE heal effect.

          • derbefrier says:

            hell yeah that sounds awesome. Thanks for the clarification

        • scottb says:

          Oh ok, steal makes much more sense now. I was always expecting to pick up items from stealing, but I’m actually stealing a weapon of sorts. Got it.

          The confusing part was that my Thief doesn’t have any ‘field’ moves with daggers, so I was missing a vital part of the combo mechanic. I figured the ‘chain’ attacks were related, but it seems that’s just to give you bonuses for hitting the same target repeatedly.

          I totally forgot about how skills can be linked like that between players. Looks like I got some readin’ to do.

          • Sian says:

            If you want to have a look at combos, you can use a pistol to create a smoke field, then fire through it. If you hit an enemy and the combo activates (not every combo works 100 % of the time), you’ll get a notification on-screen – I think it’s heart-shaped, but can’t remember for sure.

            But yes, once the wiki is back up, there’s a list of combos. It’s a useful read!

  13. f1x says:

    The overflow instances and such are definitely a pain, but I guess it will be sorted out after the initial launch madness

    On the other hand I must say, this is the first MMO since WoW vanilla that made me explore the map, not only because of completion but because it really feels interesting, I think also because the game design dosnt force you to do a “quest route” or have any stress with optimizing time with quests, so discovering map is simply fun

    • Gnoupi says:

      In the Asura starting zone, I actually spent 20 minutes following a messenger robot (DEL-X99) going from npc to npc. You can actually follow little stories, with that.

      Great attention to details.

      • f1x says:

        Indeed, there are lots of small details <3

      • Skhalt says:

        I actually spent 3 to 4 hours just exploring Hoelbrak (the Norn capital), talking to NPCs, play a few games of Keg Ball, chatting happily with other players, watching all those little details that make this huge city feel alive (and it hardly is the largest of them). And since I dont have to pay a monthly sub, I dont feel pressured to do something “useful”.

        By the way, as there is no RP tag on servers, it might be worth mentioning the RP EU community is on the Piken Square server.

        And that Keg Ball is awesome – I cant wait to see the first inter-guild championships :D

      • scottb says:

        The little details are what makes this seem like a true evolution of the genre. I’m constantly figuring out something and thinking “wow, that was a great solution to the problem.” For example, the crafting window lets you access your bank and the collections. The collections being a place to store all of your materials. Best part of the collections? At any time, anywhere in the world, you can click on the gear in your bag and select “deposit all collectibles” and POW, all of your materials teleport to your magic material bag.

        There are a lot of tiny little tweaks that really help get rid of all the tedium. You really are playing the game for a vast majority of the time. No flight paths, no selling junk one item at a time, no hearthstone to deposit stuff in the bank. Maybe everyone knew this already, but I avoided all of the beta and didn’t really read anything to keep it fresh. And I love it.

        • Enkinan says:

          You just solved my gripe about vault size, thanks!

          • scottb says:

            It’s been a long time since I played a game that had useful hints in the map-wide chat window. But since everyone is learning together, you can actually ask for hints without being made fun of.

      • Brise Bonbons says:

        “In the Asura starting zone, I actually spent 20 minutes following a messenger robot (DEL-X99) going from npc to npc. You can actually follow little stories, with that.

        Great attention to details.”

        This, to me, has been the most exciting innovation in GW2. These little unmarked story bits do more to get me invested in the world than all the fancy cinematics and branching personal story lines combined.

        At one point I escorted an NPC to a Norn homestead, and after clicking on NPCs for a bit, I stood in the yard, trying to decide where to go next. Then up comes another NPC who informs the NPCs in the yard (who I had assumed were just window dressing) that a statue had been knocked over by the Sons of Svanir. Then one of the yard NPCs declares she’s going to go fix the statue, and runs off.

        Now, mind you, there has been nothing so far indicating that this is a quest or a mission or an event. No notification in the corner of the screen, no orange circle, no heart. But I follow this NPC off across the hilss, because now I’m just curious.

        When we arrive at the statue, she gets to work, and *now* an event kicks off tasking me with defending her from high level angry viking men. This sort of thing is where GW2 truly shines, and it’s what makes me so keen on just exploring the world and paying attention to the details.

  14. razgon says:

    I love the game, but the overflow maps are getting out of hand. Basically, on a Euro server called Piken Square, which had its load listed as “Low”, I was put on overflow servers -Something is not right there.

    Other than that? Best MMO to come out in a LONG,LONG time…and thankfully we don’t have to listen to the “When will it be F2P?” moaning with this one ;-)

    • Dominic White says:

      “I was put on overflow servers -Something is not right there.”

      The overflow servers work on a per-zone basis. A server can have a low overall population, but if 95% of the players are all crammed into the newbie zones, some players are going to get displaced.

      • Gnoupi says:

        And since it’s the launch, you had 90% of players in the same starting zones which are going from level 1 to 15, for each race. So of course, a lot of overflowing.

  15. GrimDestruction says:

    I agree with Obc I might not be able to play with my friends but at least I still get to play and not have to deal with queues that take hours.

  16. Gnoupi says:

    So far, the main problems you encountered are due to the launch period, I see.

    “The heart quests especially are pure carnage, with dozens of characters biffing waves of monsters. I’m lucky if I can even get a hit in on anything, so busy it is. ”

    To be honest, that’s a launch problem, exactly. The fact that you have a large amount of people in the same area makes the zone look like a firework, indeed. But once people will get to higher levels, it will smooth down. Having played on a calmer moment, you have 4-5 people on the same heart, sometimes 10 on the special events. And that’s how it will most likely be, once the launch weeks pass.

    About the “can’t play with friends”, it’s a bug, actually. It was a problem in the first beta weekend event, that parties were scattered on several overflow servers (again, because of the amount of people in the same zone). It was ridiculous to the point in which you were playing with your party, then changing zone, and everyone was on a different overflow.

    They fixed that in the subsequent events, and people in the same party are automatically joining the same overflow server (if necessary), and if not necessary for one of them (their home server being empty at this place), you have the option “join in”, on each of your friends.

    This, for some reason, doesn’t work correctly under the launch pressure. I had it work flawlessly Sunday morning, on the calmest moment, but at the afternoon, it was back to failing. I think it has something to do with the contact list not updating correctly the position of your friends, and therefore refusing to group you with them, since they are “on another map”.

    It’s annoying for sure. But it will get fixed. It was working without a problem earlier.

  17. Dominic White says:

    It’s strange to call the game risk-averse, especially when a lot of WoW players are bouncing off GW2 because it’s just too strange and alien for them to comprehend. Combat where you need to run, dodge and look for visual tells on enemies? No mana? No eternal gear grind? Freedom to travel and explore, and not be led around by glowing yellow exclamation marks?

    Those jumping up and gloating ‘Ha ha! Look! QUESTS!’ don’t seem to have been paying attention. They never said there’d be no monster-slaying and macguffin-grabbing. What they’ve said since the beginning is that they’re giving it context and making it happen around you, regardless of your involvement. I’ve seen towns lost, 30+ players nuked at once by a giant boss, enemy factions become friends and vice versa, all within the newbie zones. And y’know what? At no point did I have to run back to town, look for yellow exclaimation marks, head out, repeat, etc. I just wandered and explored and did stuff that presented itself, and helped out other players, and did a whole mess of things that MMOs haven’t done before.

    There’s almost zero reward to just bashing random wandering monsters, too. They’re there as obstacles, rather than reward-generators.

    Heart events are also misunderstood. They’re not the core of content – in fact, the final continent doesn’t have any of them. They are really just player-magnets, offering low-intensity goals like random critter hunting and busywork for small rewards. Essentially, they’re gathering areas with rewards attached, and dynamic events tend to cluster around them.

    • Gnoupi says:

      The main change in GW2, for me, is that it’s not “take quest, go there, do stuff, come back, take quest to go to next place, repeat”.

      It’s actually “explore, wander to find things happening around you, join in, fight with other people who are also coming to help… and come back to exploring”.

      The game is rewarding exploring a lot, and I don’t mean by the “points of interest” and “vistas” giving experience. It actually feels like you find something, when you explore. In other games, GW1 included, exploring a full map was made mostly only for some crazy “cartographer” titles, or pure OCD explorer. But most of the time, you wandered in empty places, lifeless, and it lacked a point.

      edit: oh well, you said all that already, I read badly. But that reinforces the point.

      • DiamondDog says:

        The exploration element has been a joy, so far. You’re bang on with how the quest system feeds into that. Instead of being funnelled into a specific area for a mob you need to complete a quest, you find yourself just meandering around the map joining in with things as they happen. It probably helps that the Asura starting area is pretty stunning.

        It’s actually reminding me of the early days in WoW in some ways, where you’d just wander around a zone looking for good views and cool looking buildings, for no other reason than to say you’ve seen it.

        • f1x says:

          Indeed, WoW managed to do that very good, because it feed on a lot of previous lore and excellent map design, it was weird that no other MMO managed to achieve that until now,

          WoW itself had a perfect chance to resurrect that with the “Cataclysm” but somehow it didnt deliver

      • lorddon says:

        I love the little chests they hide off the beaten path that aren’t marked on the map at all. The vistas are a nice reward for exploring, but the chests are for people who really do just wander because they can.

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          The chests are really nice, as are the weird little NPC conversations you can stumble upon, or the lovely little grottoes and ruins you can find.

          I’ve really enjoyed the jumping puzzles too.

          Given how important a “character” the world map itself is in most MMOs, I’m really surprised no one else has done so much to bring it to life and make it interactive before. But I think in GW2 the world itself is the real star, not the huge dragons or the 5 major plot NPCs that show up in the personal story.

    • Ajh says:

      After the first beta weekend my WoW guild asked me what I thought about it. My first comment was if you stand still as a caster you die so much, I had to get used to casting while running around. If you wander off the paths of the beginning area when you’re just a baby you can get your low level butt handed to you easily.

      The biggest thing I saw which I still see now in the pre-launch is players helping each other. If you see someone fighting 4 centaurs you run up and help. During event things players pick each other off the ground. Walking around randomly players will revive fallen players. This concept is rather refreshing, even if I haven’t gotten to play with my friends yet (I work on weekends, so I wasn’t even aware of the bug.) other than to get them to the hall of monuments stone vendor because several of them didn’t have the stone in their bags either.

      My main complaint is an entirely not related to the quality of the game itself one. The trading post is down. I need 1 more scrap of leather…arrrrrrrggghhhh. Yeah…

      I’ll continue on playing both games, especially since things slow down at work in mid October through December, so I’ll have plenty of time.

      • Gnoupi says:

        That’s the main thing about this game, for me, compared to other MMOs. Dynamic events, sure. But most of all, it’s the fact that everyone is rewarded for helping.

        Because it changes the whole dynamic. In most MMOs, if you go to kill the centaurs because you thought this guy was in trouble, there’s a good chance that in fact you “stole” his kills or quest objectives. And he will even be angry at you for that.

        Paradoxically, it becomes so easy to play with other people, that it shuts down the need for actual communication and social contact.

        About your standing still caster dying a lot, Earth elementalist says hi!

    • Gorf says:

      wrong reply

    • briktal says:

      Are WoW players really doing that? I’ve really only seen comments like that from the super hype train. I mean, there are other genres of games that people play besides MMOs, and I don’t see a lot of people talking about how WoW players don’t “get” Skyrim or Call of Duty.

      Also, there is a decent amount of reward for bashing random monsters, especially neutral mobs. A lot of them get left alone (especially if you are out exploring and not really near anything) and the longer something you kill has been alive, the more bonus XP you get. And you’ll also potentially get crafting mats and other drops. I mean, you shouldn’t just run around killing everything, but it’s probably helpful to take out a moa or two and you head somewhere.

      Hearts really make the world feel “right” to me, at least in the early zones. They do a really nice job of defining “places” in the world. Without them, I think a lot of events would feel a little disconnected.

      • Dominic White says:

        You see a lot of it in the public chat. Players asking why they’re dying repeatedly, and you see them them trying to ‘tank’ giant monsters with their faces. Players unaware that they can travel to other zones, or do stuff that the game hasn’t laid out for them to do.

        Some of the questions being asked are good, legitimate queries, and sometimes the game doesn’t make it 100% clear that you really CAN do whatever the hell you want, but a lot of it really does read like people trying to shake off the conditioning that they’ve been used to for the past half-decade or more.

      • cyrenic says:

        I’ve seen it on message boards, too. GW2 is anything but risk-averse.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        The only WoW-related chat I’ve seen was someone asking where Mankrik’s wife was. :p

  18. Triangulon says:

    Just thought I’d mention that the Sylvari starting areas are stunning. It’s like being in ferngully!

  19. Recidivist says:

    Firstly, I agree that the system isn’t perfect, but what you’re criticising isn’t a design flaw, it’s just glitched to hell presumably by server load. When you right click a party member’s portrait there is a “Join in” option which is supposed to put you in the same overflow server as a friend and queue you together. It doesn’t work reliably right now, but that should be ironed out in time. You are supposed to be prompted everytime a party member nears a story instance entrance. Again, this doesn’t work either, but it should be fixed, hopefully, shortly. These features worked during the BWE’s, so they aren’t missing, just broken.

  20. Commander Gun says:

    I’m thinking about purchasing this and probably will.
    However, since the games will only release tomorrow and already there are lot of server problems, what would it mean?
    I guess it’s best (as in almost ever new MMOPRG release) to wait a few days/weeks for the hype to calm down a bit, or do you guys think single player experience will not be affected?

    • f1x says:

      Well, I had a pre-purchase so I woke up early this saturday to play, first I could play then the login server was destroyed + some other technical problems and most of saturday it was imposible to log
      but by saturday night, and through sunday I had few problems, and late on sunday everything was mostly perfect,
      so to be honest Arenanet managed to solve everything quite quickly, today and tomorrow will be probably hell again for 1day pre-purchases and the official launch but I think the worst has passed and I’m quite impressed by how Arenanet managed everything comparing to other MMO launches (I would say only Rift was as smooth),
      sure the overflow system can be annoying, but as someone pointed out: if the login server dosnt crash : there is no queue (remember WoW expansions or SWTOR infuriating 2 hour queues)

      So regarding your question i think you can safely start playing (for example) wednesday, right after official launch and you wont notice any issue

      edit: I been playing mostly PVE, I dont know if there is any issue with PVP at the moment

      • lorddon says:

        I’ve been impressed with the constant communication from them on Facebook and Twitter, trying to keep everyone up to date about the most common issues at the time. Props to the long shifts they’ve put in.

    • Ajh says:

      Right now you can play the game pretty much fine. As server stability goes this isn’t that bad a launch. If you want to wait a month you can do that too though. It’s entirely up to you.

      • Brise Bonbons says:

        This. I think the game is best in small groups, so waiting a week and avoiding the launch zerg will probably be more fun.

        I don’t think you’ll be missing much, it’s pretty easy to catch up in my experience.

  21. AmateurScience says:

    ‘ The heart quests especially are pure carnage, with dozens of characters biffing waves of monsters. I’m lucky if I can even get a hit in on anything, so busy it is. At first I laughed in disbelief at the absurdity and the inability to do anything useful,’

    Sounds a lot like Realm of the Mad God.

    Which is a Good Thing.

    • f1x says:

      Its quite crazy, specially on those random escort events when 3 billion people are following the npc

      but on the other hand, since kills cant be stolen and there are not “quest item” or “quest mobs” and exp-quest-progress is global, its not so painful…. remember Cataclysm or Rift for example, waiting for that quest mob to respawn with 200000 people waiting aswell just to see who will be the fastest and will get the kill… :s

    • Luke says:

      Ha, yes. It’s often a lot like that.
      I felt I was only useful in these situations (as badly lagged as I got whenever there were that many people in an area) when I loaded up with as many aoe attacks as I could and fired indiscriminately into the swarms of enemies.

    • cyrenic says:

      I’ve actually had the most fun doing obscure events on overflow shards, where it’s just me and two or three other players. There’s a risk of failing the event, and you feel like you’re contributing more. The zerg events are amusing but it looks like events will get more fun as population disperses.

  22. mmalove says:

    This sort of launch snafu is not all that uncommon in always online multiplayer games: it just tends to manifest itself differently. In Blizzards case, it was the great error 37. Here, at least you can still pudder around, albeit not the way you intended to spend the evening, for sure.

    I will say, for all people hate on secret world, that’s one thing it got RIGHT: you can group/friend players on different servers, and jump between them at will. If your server dies unexpectedly, more often than not the game seamlessly throws you into another one. I wish more MMOs could leverage this kind of technology, because I about refuse to play another multiplayer only game where the concept of “servers” impedes my ability to do the very thing the genre was named after: play it multiplayer with my friends.

    • Dominic White says:

      Once things calm down, they’re actually going to let players hop between servers – server-guesting has been an advertised feature for a long time. Right now, there’s so many players that they’re having to force players OFF their chosen servers to keep things running smoothly.

      And as you say, the alternative is queues and/or players not being able to play at all. Overflow servers might not be a perfect solution, but they mean that people can play.

  23. DiamondDog says:

    I can’t say this without sounding like a smug prick but I think any disappointment people have comes from buying into all that hype. After the first beta weekend it was pretty clear to me I’d have a great time playing the game, but it was still covered in a lot standard MMO stuff. I’m pretty much just enjoying it for what it is. As for the combat, if anyone thinks it’s just button mashing then all I’ll say is you’re playing it wrong. Very wrong.

    I do completely agree with Alec about the grouping, though. I know it’s barely been out, but if there’s one thing they should have gotten water tight before launch, it’s making sure people can stay as a group. As it is I’ve been mostly solo, talking to friends on mumble while we all quested in the same zone but in different instances. It was only doing World v World stuff that we got to play together. Hope it gets sorted soon.

  24. LTK says:

    For instance: I am a Norn Thief, which means I am a master of stealth and subterfuge despite looking like a brick shithouse (the Norns are the Hulk race, essentially).

    Were you also busy slaying kings and betraying sorceresses?

  25. garion333 says:

    Sorry to be a PITA about this, but this article really needs a quick copy editing job done to it. Don’t usually feel that way about RPS articles, but there’s some glaring typographical errors here. As an example there’s this: “GW2 more than just A.N. Other MMO.”

    Anyway, otherwise this was a good read with some salient points.

    • f1x says:

      You are a PITA, whatever that means, and I assume you are not refering to that bread used for kebabs

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Not sure if joking with that example…

    • Unaco says:

      What’s wrong with that quote is, it’s out of context. In the article it is…

      “and that’s part of what makes GW2 more than just A.N. Other MMO.”

      … which is perfectly grammatically and typographically cromulent.

      Also, as you have been identified as a pendant, I’m afraid. The Pendant Bus will be round to collect you shortly, for your trip to the Pendant Penitentiary. Please, remain inside your residence until it arrives.

      • apocraphyn says:

        I’m not sure if this is some kind of meta-”inception” style joke, akin to “I am a Rouge”, but it’s pedant, Unaco.

        Pedant.

        Pedantry.

        Pedant! Not pendant!

        …and with that, sorry for being such a pedant. This isn’t the first time.

        • Unaco says:

          It works every time. The Pendant bus will be calling at your residence also.

          • apocraphyn says:

            Ack! You got me.

            In a totally unrelated topic, I’m really enjoying Guild Wars 2 so far. Gained an entire level through creating several bowls of spaghetti in tomato sauce. My life goal is complete.

      • Yosharian says:

        cromulent.. what the shit

        • LionsPhil says:

          It’s sad to see that some people have yet to have had their vocabulary embiggened.

          Mostly because it makes me feel old that Simpsons references are actually becoming something less than absolutely culturally ubiquitous as it slumps into “that thing that was good over a decade ago”.

          • Hardlylikely says:

            I agree, although that particular reference has always irked me a bit, but it’s also amusing to see someone so keen to share their ignorance that they will take a moment to post about it, instead of double clicking, right clicking, and selecting “Search With Foo”.

  26. Megakoresh says:

    “my three days (and counting) in Guild Wars 2 were comfortably the most gripped I’ve been by a new MMO”

    Heh, I see you haven’t yet played Firefall.

  27. Sian says:

    There’s an event in the Sylvari starting zone where you have to protect some dogs from a horde of spiders. This event often turns out as a loss. Why? Because nobody bothers to read the very short instruction: Use the spider repellant to kill the spiders and to heal poisoned dogs. It requires the most infinitesimal amount of thought to get this right, and yet almost nobody ever uses the repellant, thus the dogs eventually get poisoned and die, long before the event is over.

    And why is that? Because people expect a simple “go there and kill everything” quest. So yeah, lots of events require you to do that, but there are plenty that don’t.

    • Spinks says:

      Or maybe because GW2 likes to replace your hotbar every time you pick up a new item without warning you, and new players (starting zone, remember) don’t always realise this. Plus being rushed by a horde of wild dogs is not the ideal time to stop and carefully read through the new abilities, which do explain how to use the bug repellant.

      The downed bar is the same. The point in a fight when you are downed and desperately fighting for survival is not the time when you are able to pause, read the new abilities, and figure out how to use them.

      It’s a good example of why this game is a bit pernickety and feels as though it pushes a lot of information onto players without always giving them time to figure them out.

      • Brun says:

        I also got the feeling that the game threw a lot at you at once, although I think part of the frenetic pace stems from so many people being crammed into the starting zones at once, and as a result you tend to get sucked into these huge dynamic events.

      • jrodman says:

        My kingdom for a pause button.

  28. Laurentius says:

    “The game is rewarding exploring a lot, and I don’t mean by the “points of interest” and “vistas” giving experience. It actually feels like you find something, when you explore. In other games, GW1 included, exploring a full map was made mostly only for some crazy “cartographer” titles, or pure OCD explorer. But most of the time, you wandered in empty places, lifeless, and it lacked a point.”

    No direct response but general opinion about it as this is my main gripe about GW2. Game is imo counter exploring just like SW:TOR and other mmos. No instancing world means mobs respawning so it’s pointlessly tedious to for example to climb the mountain since on your way back all mobs will be back making such trip a chore, once a glossy novelty of nooby areas wears off it will be as striking as in Sw:Tor. Now so hailed idea of downscaling players when they return to low-level areas seems just plain sadistic, now I despise monsters scaling in single player rpg, but this is just menace, it brings tedium of tiresome mob thumping to a new level and you even don’t get better rewards like let’s say hard mode in GW, this looks like a cruel joke to me.

    • Dominic White says:

      You do realize that you don’t have to hike everywhere, right? For the cost of a few copper coins, you can warp instantly to any location in the entire game that you’ve visited before. If you don’t feel like fighting your way somewhere and all the way back, you don’t have to, ever.

      If you choose to make things painful for yourself, that’s your choice, and no fault of the game.

      • Laurentius says:

        Yes, that lessen the tedium somehow but not removing it, and certainly it won’t promote exploring.

        • Dominic White says:

          .. What? Exploring gives you a constant string of rewards and continually confronts you with new events, towns, characters, etc. Once you have explored an area, you just don’t have to make the trek all the way back if you don’t want to. That’s like saying that nobody explored in Skyrim because there were enemy spawns and fast-travel.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      If you don’t have respawning of monsters in a massively multiplayer game, that would be awful. There would never be any monsters. And if you do instancing as you say, you are doing nothing more than playing a single player game with some online co-op, ala Diablo. I realize GW1 had instancing but this game is a complete world everybody interacts in, not zones with towns as virtual chatrooms for meeting up.

      And as Dominic said, you can teleport anywhere using the waypoints. You don’t have to run up to a waypoint to use it. You just open your map, and click on any discovered waypoint to travel to that place. If you’re running on foot everywhere, you’re seriously playing the game wrong.

    • f1x says:

      I explored a lot and didnt have to kill that much, usually where there are “vistas” there are not so many mobs, the design is done so mobs are mostly in places where you should go to “kill”, so the designers actually thought about what you mention

      on the other hand, avoiding mobs aint too hard, my only problem was when I explored an area with superior level mobs, for example I’m 11 and go to where mobs are level 16

      • Brun says:

        There are plenty of places to explore that aren’t even marked as “vistas” or “points of interest.” I’ve found several neat little areas already that weren’t marked in any way on the map but were simply rewarding to find for their own sake.

      • Dominic White says:

        You can usually hit 2-3 levels above your weight. 4-5 is a stretch. Anything above that and you’re going to have trouble.

        Interestingly, rewards for doing events in zones under your level are actually pretty decent. You won’t get as much XP as doing events meant specifically for your level, but you still make good progress. Loot drops are scaled up to your levels as well, so you’ll probably pick up some decent gear even when you’re slumming it’.

        Doing content in the Lv1-5 area (TutorialVille) will always give crappy rewards, though.

    • lonesock says:

      My friend was getting lvl 14 greens while helping me in a lvl 5 zone, so I don’t think downleveling is as pointless and tedious as you suggest. It would seem loot scales to your player. Edit: oops didnt refresh in a while, got beaten to it :P

      Also, in my opinion SWTOR and GW2 promote exlporing more than any mmo before, with vista and exploration objectives. The vista points are usually mob-free, and more of a jumping puzzle than anything. I’m digging them. I suppose if you want to explore a mob-infested area you do so at your peril.

  29. ScubaMonster says:

    The questing system is fundamentally different from any MMO. You don’t have to sit there shouting LFG! in chat. You just run in and participate as a group. You don’t HAVE to form a party of any kind, that’s basically there to play more closely with your friends. I can run up and contribute and get credit without having to join up with a group. And the “questing” is far from collecting 10 boar tusks, etc. You can almost always do multiple things to advance the completion of an event. And yes, it’s an EVENT. After you complete one part, there may be other parts afterwards that start, such as an invasion you have to fight off.

    Yes I agree, the game isn’t 100% revolutionary, but the questing is by far and away better than any other questing model presented. There is no order, I can go wherever I want and do whatever events I want. As you travel further out you’ll run into harder ones because the mobs are higher level, but I could still participate with other people if I wanted to, I might just get killed a lot faster if I fight stuff.

    Really, without any sort of questing, what do you have? Even Skyrim has quests but you don’t really hear people complain about it. You complained that you couldn’t figure out what to do with the UI elements, etc (which honestly, isn’t that hard to figure out) but if you were dumped into a complete sandbox with zero direction, I’m sure this article would be complaining about lack of direction and so you were confused and didn’t know where to start.

    As for combat, yes you press buttons. Guess what? You did that in GW1 too. Where this game branches off is that it’s faster paced and you can dodge and roll. If you just sit there stationary you WILL get killed a lot. It takes coordination. Even though Tera had true real time combat, you still could just sit there and faceroll stuff with little thought for the most part. GW2 though that won’t work except for the easiest of enemies you encounter. I always have to stay one step ahead of what I’m fighting or I will get pummeled. I’m playing a ranger so I even have a pet, I’m not exactly a squishy class like an elementalist, but I still have to be aware of what I’m doing. Is the combat something we’ve never seen before at all? No, but it is more nuanced and reactionary, and requiring thought, than just about 90% of any mmo’s out there.

    GW2 isn’t a perfect game, but I’m sorry when you sit there and say it’s not really that different from other mmo’s you and I must not be playing the same game. Or you being contrary for contrary’s sake.

    Edit: I noticed you didn’t say anything about WvWvW combat. Now THAT is truly amazing. It even beats DAoC back in its prime. Quite simply, the borderlands PvP world is a complete blast and done on a scale I have never seen.

    Honestly, this article seems like you wrote it as you alt tabbed to complain about stuff you instantly encountered without delving into it fully. And the fact you apparently didn’t try PvP of any sort before writing this article is a disservice since it is a big part of the experience in this game. I challenge you to name an MMO save for Planetside or DAoC in its prime that comes anywhere close for PvP.

  30. Metalhead9806 says:

    I would rather the overflow system than being stuck in a two+ hour queue like I was when i played Rift during early access.

    At least I’m playing the game I paid for, not staring at a two to three thousand player queue countdown.

  31. Brun says:

    GW2 certainly has some of the best zone and world design since WoW. I’m noticing a lot of the same subtle tricks and optical illusions that WoW’s zones used to create a since of immense scale and enormity (like WoW, GW2′s zones get very creative with draw distances and view fog). One thing GW2 does differently, however, is get vertical. I’ve found myself looking UP a lot more when exploring zones because the vertical scales are so immense – Divinity’s Reach is the best example of this so far.

    Beyond some early bugs that will likely be fixed within the first week, this game has easily lived up to the hype.

    Also: Daggermancer represent. I have so missed playing a melee caster – that was one of my few favorite memories from Age of Conan (playing a Herald of Xotli).

    • DiamondDog says:

      Ha, I love that you pointed out the looking up thing. For a good few hours I spent my time wandering in and out of the Asura city Rata Sum, thinking it looked quite nice, nothing amazing. Until I finally looked up and noticed the enormous floating cube above my head. How the hell I missed that, I have no idea.

      I sort of casually remember to look up in every new area now.

      • Brise Bonbons says:

        The Sylvari capital is astounding for this reason. Holy crap the Pale Tree is gorgeous.

        Also, as mentioned below, often looking up will reveal areas you can climb to, which is a mechanic that actually works much better than I was expecting. Actually decent platforming in my MMORPG? How is this possible?

    • Luke says:

      There’s a “not really” secret area in the silvari starting zone that I only discovered because I was looking up and wondering how all those boulders were floating up there in the sky. And then decided to go have a closer look.

  32. Jimbo says:

    You mustn’t say anything negative about this game – in fact it’s better if you try not to even think it. Haven’t you been paying attention for the last 2 years? This is The Saviour of MMOs and that’s that. Get with the program, RPS.

  33. Shooop says:

    Well two things that work out for me right away then:

    1) I ordered the game off NewEgg at a $10 discount which came with none of the pre-order bonuses like early access which as I now hear is irrelevant because I probably couldn’t play it anyway.

    2) I don’t know anyone else who’s playing this game so I’d have to make friends in it anyway! Forever alone indeed, but it’s OK for once!

    Your impressions so far appear the be the general consensus on the game: great when it decides it wants to work.

  34. vandinz says:

    Thanks to SWTOR I’ve not interest in picking this up yet. I’m loving it (SWTOR) more than any MMO, including WoW. Maybe when I’ve leveled a couple of max characters I’ll take a butchers at this. Why more people don’t like SWTOR is beyond me, it’s superb.

  35. Stinkfinger75 says:

    I have been having a great time with GW2 so far, made better by playing it with a controller. I feel it’s meant to be played this way and far superior to kb/m. For the ease of movement alone it’s worth giving it a go. Check out my profile here:

    http://pinnaclegameprofiler.com/forum/showthread.php?25192-Guild-Wars-2

    Pinnacle comes with a 30 day trial, try it out and let me know what you think in the Pinnacle forums. I’m always looking for good feedback and functionality improvements.

    • Sian says:

      A controller? I know this game doesn’t have the slew of skills and buttons other MMORPGs have, but it still amounts to 14 skills buttons, movement, camera control, jumping and a bunch of menus. I can’t imagine how that would work BETTER with a controller. It could work, sure, but better?

      • Stinkfinger75 says:

        Better indeed! What I did was create a profile where everything gameplay related (weapon skills, profession skills, camera movement, character movement etc…) is on the controller and it works incredibly well, even for ground cast spells, GW2 essentially plays like a third person action game this way. Everything menu driven is still handled on the keyboard because it just works better that way. Plus, in a game like this where on a kb/m you are trying to juggle WASD movement, weapon skills, profession skills, weapon swapping, camera control, jumping, dodging, most times in very quick succession I feel my profile is vastly superior to a kb/m setup. I have also noticed that in combat settings I am almost always the only one running around and fighting while nearly everyone else is just standing still firing off commands ala WoW. Try it out why don’t you?

        • Sian says:

          Well, I won’t try it mostly because I already don’t use a normal keyboard, but a G13 instead. This allows me to control movement with a thumbstick, but still gives me the easy, precise and quick camera controls of a mouse, plus I’m pretty sure I’m not very good at targetting the ground with a controller.

          While your idea is interesting and I’ll at least check out your layout once I’m home, I probably won’t be playing the game like that. I’m just not that trained on controllers, having grown up with k/m. Besides, I only own PS3 controllers. I really need to invest in some decent ones one of these days…

  36. MadTinkerer says:

    The overflow thing may be a problem, but when you consider that it’s the tech-based alternative to a problem most companies are applying marketing-based solutions to… well I wouldn’t complain too much. In other words, would you rather have an in-game cash shop like every other F2P RPG?

    Speaking of F2PRPGs though, they might want to consider splitting the servers into manually-selectable “channels” if they don’t figure out a good solution. At least then you can potentially switch to the same channel your friends are on.

    • Moraven says:

      When it does not work at launch, it is a problem.

      When people had connection issues the first 5 days for D3, it was a problem. But many commentators came to point that out, even people who did not play it yet (and seeing the problem go away in a few days or some players ran into it)

      WoW is launching this type of tech in one month. They are launching the start of it in a day where underpopulated zones are combined into one (along with cross realm questing with friends in the same zone). If it fails to work, it is a problem.

      • Brun says:

        No MMO has ever launched in a fully functional state. To pretend that “it’s a problem” unless the game is perfect on day 1 is delusional.

        And the only “problem” with the overflow system is that it’s working a bit too well at the moment and the party system is being flaky because of it. Technology-wise the overflow system is doing exactly what it’s supposed to: prevent long queues.

        • Moraven says:

          I must have missed something when it is preventing you from playing with your friends.

          • Hug_dealer says:

            its not stopping you. You can still join into other friends overflow, just not into anyone in their home server.

            They have to leave the main to join the others. it is having its teething issues, but its still quite easy to join them.

  37. CrashMaster says:

    The main reason I’m really enjoying GW2 is the rewards for exploring not just the map, but the world. I wander in the general direction of my personal story quest, and don’t feel the slightest bit of angst if I get sidetracked by a vista, resource node, or event. I love exploring. I’m the weirdo that looks at every option in the game settings before I play. I click on every NPC with a name and I leave no spot on my map uncovered. GW2 rewards me for that, unlike the other MMOs I’ve played where I always lag behind my guild mates because I spend too much time farting around instead of grinding out the levels. This is the first game where I out-leveled my husband because of my crafting fetish.

    The excessive hype around the game is causing some very insightful and well executed design decisions to get overlooked. GW2 doesn’t have anything that’s so different that it creates a new genre, but it has an answer to everything I don’t like about the current state of the MMO. Some of those answers don’t look like that big a deal, but put them all together and you have a great game. Here’s the short version of my list :)

    * Gold farmers drove me out of EQ 2 because I couldn’t compete with them for resource nodes. In GW2, you can’t steal a resource node – everyone has their own. You also can’t tag kills and steal XP from people.

    * High level players clearing low level rifts drove me out of Rift. How not fun is it to get halfway through a challenging event then have a max level character come through and clear it and get nothing for the time you invested? In GW2 you get rewarded for your participation regardless of who you partied with, and everyone’s level is scaled to the event.

    * Boredom caused me to drop WoW. Too much walking around doing nothing to get to the next bit of content. In GW2 because I scale to the content, and the rewards scale to my level, I can walk around anywhere in the game and it’s not long before I find something worth doing.

    * Having to spend hours on the Auction House drove me away from D3 (OK, I know it’s not an MMO, I’m trying to make a point). In GW2, everything is a commodity. There is no lucky roll that gives you some awesome combination of stats that you’ll never find again. You want a two handed sword with +condition damage for your build at level 20? It take a few minutes to figure out the best one available on the AH.

    * Having to pay a fortune in Warhammer to swap out my build for different roles really annoyed me. In GW2, I just swap my gear to change up my skill set. There are still traits, but I don’t have to completely commit to a particular play style and I don’t have to spend a ton of money if I want to do a dungeon that’s easier if you have certain skills or a certain team composition.

    * Also in Warhammer, getting steamrolled over and over in PvP by folks that had +40 reknown ranks on me just so I could grind out reknown so I could start to compete in the highest tier of PvP drove me out. GW2 has two flavors of PvP, and in both of them you have a chance to be useful to your team regardless of your level or your gear.

    An example of something that’s easily overlooked, but was really important to my enjoyment of the game. I started a dynamic event by talking with an NPC and I thought “oh boy, now I’m going to get crushed because I’m the only one here”, but the event difficulty scaled seamlessly to how many people were participating. By the time the other folks jumped in we had gone from fighting 3 ambushers at a time a horde. That is an amazing accomplishment by the development team in my opinion. The other MMOs I’ve played (and I’ve played most of them) not only do you have to go around finding quests, you have to find quests that are right for your level and party size.

    That said, there are pre-launch issues, but do we really not expect them for any game that launches with so many players? Of the launches I’ve participated in, this one is going pretty smooth. I’ve gotten to play instead of waiting for queues, I haven’t crashed once, I’ve only had a couple short bouts of lag (but I stay in the overflow instances when I get dumped into them). It took a couple of tries to sync up with my husband after zoning, but compared to the SWOTR launch, the Conan launch, the D3 launch, et. al. I don’t have a lot to complain about. I could go on and on and on about the stuff I like though…

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Well said! Long but good read, and raises some important points that do get overlooked too often.

    • Enkinan says:

      Wow, well done. This pretty much nails it. I’m having an absolute blast.

    • Shooop says:

      The whole bit of XP for everyone who takes part in an event was one of the things I really liked about the game during one of the betas I got into.

      It’s simply genius. It rewards everyone for stopping whatever they’re doing and jumping in which makes it like a MMO actually should ideally be like.

    • scottb says:

      Well put. I am really enjoying the even smaller details they put in that really make a difference.
      - Allowing you to deposit collectibles any where, any time into a bottomless vault
      - Gold is actually valuable. This might go away with levels, but every copper seems to count so far.
      - Crafting interfaces have direct access to the bank, no more running back and forth endlessly.

      There’s some other touches that I’m just forgetting also. But along with the other stuff you mentioned, the game has really improved on the genre.

      • CrashMaster says:

        That’s another thing… the ArenaNet folks are very responsive to player feedback. (I told you I could go on and on…) I pre-purchased a while back, so I played 3 of the beta weekends. There was no bank tab on the crafting stations, and there was no “deposit all collectibles” button on the inventory (you had to deposit them by right clicking on each stack). They pay attention to quality of life issues and from what I saw on the beta weekend forums, I feel like they take our feedback seriously. The community liaisons seem to be there to actually communicate instead of protect the development team from us and lock threads.

        I’m also amazed at how quickly ArenaNet can get a patch out, and how little impact it has on the players. I see “new build in 2 minutes” announced in game. I log out, wait for 15 minutes, and log back in. Not having to take the whole game down for hours to do maintenance on a regular basis? They should get an award. Yeah they had some severe problems Saturday morning when the early access started, and it took hours to fix, but they kept us up to date via twitter and I thought they handled it as well as could be expected. I was really disappointed, but unlike some of the other games, I’m not expecting these types of problems to be a regular occurrence.

  38. Hug_dealer says:

    my favorite part of the game is that combat does not seem to be level centered.

    If you are good enough you can kill mobs way higher level through skillful play, if you are lvl 7, a lvl 11 isnt easy to kill, and a level 12 is impossible.

    at lvl 6 fighting a lvl 9 ettin, you will get dominated by standing around, but using dodge, interrupts and skillful use of my weapons, i went from being able to barely beat 1 by standing there, to juggling 4 of them at once, and winning with ease.

    I cant wait to get deeper into the game, and i love the discovery mode for crafting, i generally ignore that portion of the game.

    All in All its everything I hoped for, and i hope it will keep getting better. I can definately see it hurting every other mmo out there.

    Also, I can understand people complaining about not being told how to do everything, but it seems most people are finding it more fun to figure these things out naturally. Like the first combo i did put a fireshield on my guy, since then i have been watching what other people do and attempt to combo with them.

  39. Vinraith says:

    It took an inordinate amount of effort on Arenanet’s part to talk a 1000+ hour GW1 player like myself out of buying their sequel, but based on this article I couldn’t be more grateful to them for doing so. Turning the whole game into an MMO is bad enough, but an MMO I can’t even reliably play with friends? That’s just sad.

    • Sian says:

      Buy it in a few weeks and that won’t be an issue, as the population will have spread over the game instead of being concentrated in the starting areas. Seriously, this is a much smaller issue than some people make it look like.

      The overflow system is not perfect. It was better during beta, when it worked as designed. But even in its current state it’s way better than waiting in a queue, especially if you know how to gather everyone in the same overflow.

      • Vinraith says:

        “It’s much better than waiting in a queue.”

        That’s nice, I’ve never waited in a queue because I don’t play MMO’s. It seems to me there’s a simpler solution to this problem than this bizarre “overflow” thing, it’s called keeping the game instanced in the first place.

        All these shifts to MMO design are net negatives from the outset IMO, that they cause secondary problems like this as well is just further evidence that this whole debacle is something to be avoided.

        • Brun says:

          The overinstancing of EVERYTHING was actually one of my biggest beefs with GW1. The “MM” in MMO stands for “Massively Multiplayer,” which means I expect to be playing alongside large numbers of people.

        • Sian says:

          If you’re so strongly against a relatively open world, it shouldn’t have taken much to dissuade you from buying GW2, because that’s a core design decision without which almost everything else about how the game works would not be possible.

          So bickering about the overflow system in a game you wouldn’t have had any fun playing is kind of strange.

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          It’s just silly to say that instancing is inherently better than open-world or vice versa. They are simply different types of games with different goals and different paths to achieving them.

          I play MMORPGs because I enjoy forming ad hoc groups with people I don’t know. I do play with friends as well, but an instanced game like GW1 will never allow for the sort of spontaneous socialization and cooperation that a game like GW2 enables. Dealing with a few technical hiccups in the overflow system is a small price to pay for the coop experience that GW2 brings to the table.

        • Berzee says:

          “keeping the game instanced in the first place.”

          I have always heard such games referred to as “single player” and/or “co-op” games — such as Trine, Magicka, Age of Empires, etc…

          • Vinraith says:

            GW1 was a co-op game.

          • Berzee says:

            In that case I can see why GW2 could be mighty disappointing. =\
            It’s like the reverse of someone making a squad-based tactical simulator called Asheron’s Call 2. (although that would have of necessity fared better than the real AC2 :P)

          • Hug_dealer says:

            GW2 is a coop game also, as in all dynamic events are designed with multiple players working together, Only now its not limited to your own instance.

            The game features group instances for single parties, and they have hard modes designed be the hardest content in the game.

            So yes, you can solo alot of the game, just like you could solo alot in original guild wars. But the truly tough content like dungeons and Events will require a well organized group to win.

            So far i have seen enough gameplay to know that zerging does not result in a win after you leave the starter zone. Zerging simply gets everyone killed.

    • The Hairy Bear says:

      Or maybe you could just wait a couple of weeks until its fixed…

    • Hug_dealer says:

      You are missing out on a fantastic game then, it takes guild wars and makes it even more teamwork oriented than the original.

      The fact you loved the first so much, and never even tried the 2nd just proves how sadly fickle you are.

      They blow you away with the original game, and then you ignore their second that amps up everything about the first game and making it better.

      IE the fact you cant play with friends, when you actually can. You wont be missed though, to many of us are enjoying the game with our friends. I question whether you play with friends or not though, as your friends would likely own the game already and told you or showed you just how awesome it is, and you would be owning it.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I’ll add that I was a fan of the original who was looking forward to the sequel since it was first mentioned and they have also done a great job of knocking all that enthusiasm out of me. Don’t want an MMO like this. We might be a small minority in a sea of WoW players and others but you are not alone.

      • Vinraith says:

        It’s an odd strategy, really, to design the sequel to your game to appeal to fans of a completely different game. It seems to be working brilliantly for them, though.

        • DrGonzo says:

          I’m a big fan of the original Guild Wars. I also love Guild Wars 2. Not sure what your point is really, the original was an mmo, but with instancing. Which the sequel also has, if you just want to stick to that stuff you probably can.

          It’s taken many of the ideas in the original and built upon it as a sequel should. And I think it will appeal to the vast majority of GW1 fans. You don’t like anything remember, so we have to take that into account.

  40. kharnedge says:

    The overflow switching works fine so long as none of you are in the non-overflow server. If one of you is, just log out and in and you’ll likely be put in an overflow. Also why are you complaining about not playing with your friends when they are in a different zone than you? That’s not bad game design that’s player stupidity.

    Edit: you know, on top of that, why are you saying the biggest design flaw is the inability to play with friends when the only reason is a small bug that is easy to get around, and the game does friend systems better than any other considering you don’t even need to be on the same server.

  41. Euphoric says:

    Do people research before writing commentary anymore?

  42. shagen454 says:

    People keep saying this is the best MMO they’ve played in a while. This is the best game I’ve played in a while. Granted that is not saying much as mostly utter crap has been being released.

    SWTOR even though I contained my expectations, it just didn’t feel like a Bioware game. Just like Diablo 3 I could only play for a hour and end up feeling like I was getting the nods of Slumberland.

    Not so with GW2, the game keeps me compelled. It managed to get me to level 15 without really caring about leveling or about new “shinies”. The combat, at least on the engineer after level 10 is pretty intense. The game difficulty is also perfect in spots as apart of my “Personal Story” there was a quest I could not beat until I really figured out how to play my class. It definitely raised my blood pressure, it was loud, intense and lot’s of fun.

    Even though the in-game map is in depth I have found myself lost. I defintiely do not feel like I am “zoning”, exploring the world is a lot of fun even if I prefer WoW’s art direction over GW2, GW2 is still a very pretty game.

  43. Kaiji says:

    Haven’t seen anyone say this yet, so I’m gonna say it (and mean it)…

    This will go F2P within a year.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      nah. The game lives up to the hype, and will continue to gain purchases. As its the main source of income.

      Good games continue to sell well, bad games dont.

      • Kaiji says:

        At some point Arenanet will realize that the entry fee is barring a huge demographic of people from the cash-shop they’ve already implemented.

        The day will come when it will make more sense for them to remove the entry fee.

        • Hug_dealer says:

          no, no they wont.

          they will lower the price, and release expansions. The cash shop is not like what you find for other cash shops, and you can turn in game money to gems and use them in the cash shop.

          The best they might do is offer a f2p up to a certain level, to allow people in.

          They have no reason to ever go F2P for this game. That is just my personal opinion on it.

          • Kaiji says:

            “They have no reason to ever go F2P for this game.”

            ^ False statement.

            Thanks for the discussion.

          • Brun says:

            I’m with Hug Dealer on this one, the microtransactions in this game seem to be designed as more of a supplement to the box price rather than as the primary source of revenue.

          • Kaiji says:

            @Brun

            Yes, that’s how the game’s revenue model works right now. Eventually it will make more sense for them to remove the entry fee and increase buyable cosmetic items, and I’m confident that’s exactly what they’ll do.

        • mnem says:

          GW1 is almost 7 yrs old? now and still its not F2P, so I dont see GW2 going that way.

    • ffordesoon says:

      No.

      F2P beats subscription, but it doesn’t beat an MMO that costs you one essential transaction ever. F2P tends to be harder on the wallet in the long run, and single-transaction products don’t feel like they’re holding things back from you so you’ll pay. And there are free-to-play games that aren’t that way, it’s true, but the paychological effect of possibly being forced to pay still persists.

      They might lower the price or release a free trial version, but they’re not changing the model. Not within a year, at the very least.

      • Kaiji says:

        “they’re not changing the model”

        For all you or I know, going F2P could already be a part of their longterm business plan. Don’t speak as though you know the rock solid facts when you actually do not.

        With the MMO industry veering more heavily toward the F2P model as the months go by, my opinion is just as valid as yours. It could go either way, and I think GW2 will be F2P within a year.

        • DiamondDog says:

          “Don’t speak as though you know the rock solid facts when you actually do not.”

          “This will go F2P within a year.”

  44. mnem says:

    No one seem to mention achievements! Daily, Monthly, PvP, crafting, W v W. You finish one and the game will reward you with items that you can only get in Black Lion Store.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      that is a neat touch.

      Arena net has definately made everything in the game rewarding, even something as simple as killing random mobs.

  45. Enkinan says:

    I am really enjoying the hell out of this game and I havent even WvWvW yet which was what got me to order it in the first place. Well done ArenaNet, well done. It’s so refreshing to not have that list of things to do and just get out there and play.

  46. Rhalle says:

    A game with rich, complex mechanics, fierce competition and it doesn’t treat players like mental defectives with an ATM grafted into their chests?

    You won’t see any large American or European company making games like that ever again.

    And for NCSoft’s take on everything, you can thank Jake Song, who over a dozen years ago set the course with Lineage 1: an MMO made out of Diablo 1and Nethack with a superficial overlay of some obscure anime for plot. It was once the most popular MMO in the world. It still exists on private servers, and I’m going to play it all weekend, because it is one of the best games of all time.

  47. irongamer says:

    I’m loving GW 2. I didn’t care for GW 1. I find the combat interesting and dynamic. But most of all game brings exploration to the MMO genre. This includes the randomly placed view points, skill point challenges, points of interest. Doing all these gives you exp. Most of all my friends and I have been spending most of our time on jumping puzzles. Totally worth the money and so much more content yet to see. Heck I haven’t even finished a single starter zone, each one is huge and has a wealth of different events.

    I often find myself experiencing a different event when I come back through an area. Areas which I previous thought, “why is this here”, become clear it is part of an event that was not running at the time.

    In my book, it is the most stand out fantasy MMO since EQ 1. It took over a decade for someone to try something different and I love the changes. They took out all the pointless crap that has plagued fantasy mmo’s for years. Totally worth the pre-purchase.

    Now, the glaring issue of grouping. I’m not sure how this got through to release. Frankly it is rather embarrassing for a title that does so much right. Right now if you want to group with your friends you have to play on overflow. If you make it on to your real server and then quick travel you are kicked back to overflow… So currently there is no reason to be on the real server unless you want to PvP. However, when you are in the queue, the little window keeps popping up “enter world” or “re-enter queue”. My friends and I always re-enter the queue. This window has caused some jumping puzzle deaths…

    If you are having issues “joining in” from the party member drop down, one of you will need to relog. This has fixed it every time for us. If you have on party member on a different overflow, have them log out and back in.

    Awesome title, I’m going to be sinking a ton of time into this game. Worth full price even with unbelievably obvious grouping issues that made it to release.

    [Edit]
    Also, as others have mentioned this game is RICH with art and lore. Other titles don’t even come close to the feel of this game. The art on the walls in houses looks like real art. The human city is insane. It’s like they had a bunch of artists and said, “just go crazy guys and gals.” I haven’t played any other MMO that comes close to the rich artistic style offered in this tile.

    • Brun says:

      Now, the glaring issue of grouping. I’m not sure how this got through to release.

      They probably didn’t have many beta tests where over 50% of a given realm population was in overflow. That bug is likely something people encountered rather infrequently during the beta weekends, so they were unable to pin it down during development.

      • irongamer says:

        I can understand that from a pure testing point. But on the broad planning scale, this is something that should have been thought through and caught. At any rate my friends and I can still group.

  48. Carra says:

    Coming from WoW and having tried a few other games it’s noticeable how it improves on quite a few things.

    You can just teleport instantly between places and regaining your health between fights goes very fast. You’re very powerful, even on the lowest levels and you can customize quite a bit just by using a different weapon. Unlike WoW there are group quests that you can actually do although I’m curious how that will work out on the higher levels. Now I’m just waiting until games start to drop those annoying space bag limits.

    Above all, it felt fun to just walk around and explore. The latest WoW expansion just pointed you from quest to another…

    My major problem with it right now is the fact that I only have 5 character slots. The first thing I do when playing a game like this is trying our every class for a few levels. I cannot do that in this game :(

    • goettel says:

      You can buy extra character slots for 10 euro a pop – which seems like a lot, but having paid more than five years of WoW subs I think I can live with it.

      • Malk_Content says:

        Yar, if my the time I absolutely have to have a 6th character and can’t bear the idea of deleting one I currently have, then the game is good enough to spend an extra tenner on, and this is coming from someone with 4 characters already (the 5th is reserved for starting afresh with friends tomorrow.) I imagine I will delete characters 3 and 4 a few times before they hit lvl 10 to find my last two professions but I’m happy with that.

      • Carra says:

        I know, I just feel that I should be able to create one of each class to try them out without having to pay extra.

    • tomek says:

      You can hit the gear button in your inventory window to instantly “teleport” all mats into your bank. This helps a lot.

      • Carra says:

        Thanks, I’ll try that out. Other games have solved it with an always Teleport (Diablo 3) or send pet to market (Torchlight) so it’s great to see they provided at least something to easy bag carrying.

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