Guild Wars 2 beta weekend - a quick look at Structured PvPBy: RiskbreakerRiot posted at May 01, 2012 2:50 pm
After the surprisingly good Diablo III beta, I was a bit worried that Guild Wars 2 would not live up to my expectations. But now that I have had a taste, I can't wait for the game's final release.
The first thing I noticed is just how quickly the game booted up. Diablo III impressed me with its quick startup time but Guild Wars 2's was even faster. Another great feature is that the client saves both your username and password, making login a breeze. It was easy to jump straight into the character creator and the game world.
Over the weekend I played mostly Structured PvP, which is incredibly fun and like nothing I have ever seen in a mmo before. You can access this mode anywhere in the game world by the menu, and instantly have all skills and high level equipment. This means that no one has gear or level advantages, so the battlefield is pretty much even.
It took a while to customize my characters' skills, weapons and traits but it was all interesting. Those players who like trying out different builds will love Guild Wars 2, especially since you can reset traits etc to experiment with different play styles.
I played as every class in the beta, except for the Ranger (I just forgot to make one - I'll have to do it first thing next beta). I think they are all viable in PvP and I didn't notice one particularly overpowered class. Here's a quick breakdown of the classes and how they play out in Structured PvP:
Guardian: the first class I made in the beta. While ArenaNet said there isn't a specific tank or healer class in Guild Wars 2, the Guardian feels like a combination of both. He has a lot of healing and support skills, making him the hardest class to kill. However, he lacks in crowd control making it difficult to kill players who choose to run instead of stand and fight head on.
Elementalist: in my opinion, the Elementalist has the best looking skill animation of all the classes but it also one of the most difficult to play. This is because they have 4 different 'attunements' which you must switch between. Each attunement has different elemental skills - fire, water, air and earth.
Thief: normally, I don't like rogue/thief classes but this one was really fun. I made a Thief with dual pistols and some ninja-like skills. Thieves have stealth (short duration so it isn't overpowered) and the ability to well, steal. I didn't actually use the stealing skill much so I can't comment on its usefulness. The weapon skills use 'Initiative' which replenishes over time, so you can't spam skills non-stop. Thieves also specialize in things like traps and poison.
Necromancer: this class focuses mainly on summoning undead minions but can be tweaked as more of a dps class. Necromancers have an interesting variety of skills, ranging from the usual summons, to transformations (lich form, plague etc), traps and dps skills.
Warrior: the master of weapons and a class that many players choose to start off as. Warriors build up rage as they do damage to unleash even more powerful skills. My favorite build was using a rifle, which gave the warrior more of a ranged, rifleman sort of feel.
Mesmer: from what I have noticed, Mesmers were one of the most popular classes in Structured PvP. I saw one in almost every match and they were hard to kill as well as hard-hitting. They specialise in illusions and clones. I would like to try out this class a little bit more in future betas - they are definitely worth the time spent learning their play style.
Engineer: a class that uses pistols, rifles and robots. The Engineer can place turrets at fixed locations which automatically fire upon enemies or even heal allies. The trick about this class is that you need toolkits to access more skills. If you choose to take all the turrets, you won't have room for the toolkits and some useful skills. It's important to find a proper balance.
Ranger: this was the only class I didn't make in the beta (I just forgot). From what I have seen, Rangers can summon pets (some of which are very powerful) to aid them in battle. I'll get more firsthand details next time.
So overall, the beta experience was very good. As opposed to Diablo III's overloaded servers, I was able to get into the Guild Wars 2 beta every time with no problems. To facilitate this, ArenaNet implemented 'overflow servers' which hold your character (and saves all progress you make) until the regular server gets some free space. While it may separate you from your friends temporarily (if you are on the overflow and your friend is on the regular server, for example) it's definitely better than having to wait in a queue. I believe this was my best beta experience to date.
Best PvE moment: I remember playing as a Norn Mesmer and escorting a caravan. The forest reminded me of the Ewok forest in the old Star Wars movies and a Norse sort of region at the same time (the main city made me think of Valhalla). Anyway, I was following 2 NPCs and the cart when suddenly I saw a herd of Minotaurs rushing between the trees up ahead. They turned around the corner and came charging at us directly. That one simple scene had some amazing cinematic direction because I have never seen such an event in a mmo game. Normally you find animals wandering fields and you kill a set number of them; but in this quest, the beasts attacked you and your supplies.
Best PvP moment: I was fighting a guy on the Clock tower - I can't remember our classes. All I know is we were out on the ledge, seeing the entire map behind us, fighting for our lives. Then I activated a skill that knocked the enemy up in the air and back over the edge. He fell to his death and I was rewarded with the kill. It was awesome.
I hope ArenaNet doesn't take too long to release Guild Wars 2!
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