Guild Wars 2 initial impressions

Well, the servers are coming down for a patch so that’s my cue to write up a blog post.

I started late and only got to level 4. Keeping that in mind, here’s my list of pros and cons so far. Let’s start with the bad stuff.

The game is a lot more beta than I’d anticipated it being. It’s pretty janky in places. Attacks lag a lot at times (generally in crowds) and the game is missing that indefinable smoothness that a quality finished product has. I’m sure they’ll get there before launch, but based on what I’m seeing I’m guessing they still have a few months work to do. I’m going to predict August or September at this point. Though maybe they can pull it all together sooner.

Angela spent probably more time than she should have tweaking her character (that’s a good sign for the character creator) and suddenly the game just reset her at the start of character creation with all her changes lost. Overloaded servers probably, but it bummed her out. I think we both thought the game was going to be closer to launch-ready than it is.

Here’s another MMO with a prologue and once again I didn’t like it very much. The character I stuck with was a Norn Fighter and he has to fight a Worm at the end of his prologue. He got knocked on his ass almost immediately, spent the whole fight unconscious and yet in his story line he’s called “The Slayer of Issomir” (or whatever the worm was called).

Not a fan of Overflow Servers, really. I spent all night in an Overflow Server, as far as I could tell. We rolled on a really crowded server, unfortunately.

[EDIT: I think I need to give more detail here… if you only encountered the Overflow Servers on initial login I’d think they were a great idea to avoid queues. But that’s not the case. Whenever you zone there’s a chance you’ll be put back into them. For instance I had a quest to deliver an item to an NPC in the next zone. I went over there, handed in the item and the next step of the quest was back in the zone I’d just left. When I went to zone in I was told the server was full and I had the chance of either queuing for it in-game, or going to an Overflow Server.

With a few tweaks (making sure you and your party end up on the same Overflow server, or lettings friends volunteer to join you on the overflow server you’re on) the system will be fine. Great, even. But in it’s beta state I didn’t like it much.]

The game is gorgeous.

The story for my Norn Warrior is actually pretty interesting.

There’s a lot of “organic grouping.” I never Grouped but I fought with a lot of other players. It doesn’t feel like we’re competing for mobs..instead we’re acting like characters should act: banded together against a common enemy. I love that anyone can res anyone else.

Character progression is entertaining. You use a weapon to unlock skills that utilize that weapon. When you get a new category of weapon you get a whole new series of skills to unlock. At level 4 I’ve been working on Sword, Shield and Axe skills. So far Sword looks best for single enemies and Axe looks best for groups.

Combat feels pretty good. If I hadn’t spent last weekend playing Tera I’d say combat felt great, but I’m a little spoiled now. Still, fighting stuff is fun even at level 4. I’ve never seen an MMO where the combat DIDN’T get more fun as you leveled up, so I expect the combat gets really entertaining after a few more levels.

You can get (and I believe send) mail from anywhere. No more looking for a mailbox!

You can travel around the maps really quickly once you’ve done some exploring to unlock teleporters.

Quest rewards are either currency that you can spend on exactly the gear you want, or a select of gear that’s all applicable to your character’s class. None of this typical MMO situation where you get quest rewards that are only good to sell or salvage.

Stuff I need to acclimate to:

Not every event is for you! As you run around the world doing your pre-ordained story quests you’ll see events pop up. If you’re like me you’ll immediately change direction to take part in the event. And sometimes get your ass handed to you. LOL. I was trying to do this one event and I died over and over again until I stopped to look.. I was fighting clusters of level 7 mobs when I was level 2. Well THAT explains it! LOL

In Closing

I probably won’t put much more time into this beta weekend. I’ve seen enough to be comfortable with my pre-order and I’m looking forward to the day I play “for real” but I think I want to save the storylines for launch.