Guild Wars 2 Beta. From someone who can actually play the game.By: I would tell you my character name but posted at May 01, 2012 11:53 am
Over the weekend my friend and I logged over 50 hours of gameplay. We hit level 30 late Saturday night and spent most of Sunday wreaking havoc in WvW together as he used massive AOE elite skill on his Guardian and I turned into a Wolf form with my Ranger. That being said we accomplished almost everything in the beta and unlike most game reviewers we were actually some of the best fighters out there.
For the ease I am going to make a list.
1. Questing: Granted running around slaying grubs in a monastery or collecting bugs isn't the funnest thing to do but I found it was a nice break from the constant grinding of the traditional MMO. Some of the group event bosses were indeed challenging enough that we need at least 4 people to slay the majority of them. Some may find this irritating but I found it made me get really excited upon seeing other players running around because I could call them to aid. By far the funnest of the bosses was either the low level Charr Effigy, or the giant ice monster that was summoned by the Svanir Shaman in the northern parts of the Norn starter area. There was even a small part where I participated in building a small settlement in the mountains with a group of NPC Norn, that remained even the next day (I don't understand how). In my opinion the variety of quest available gave a nice break from the constant mercenary lifestyle most are accustomed to.
a. Initially we found that the ease of gaining weapon skills was too easy. However, as the game progressed and foes became more difficult I thought the different ways to use the skills in synergy was way more fun of a challenge than picking a better skill bar from over 900 skills like in GW1. This became particularly useful in PVP. I know many people had their qualms about PVP but I loved it. Maybe this was because I was capable of taking most guys on 2 vs 1 and still win. Or because the only times I lost a match was when I would capture everything and I would get involuntarily switched to the other team or when my friend and I got placed on opposite teams and he had someone to help end, as spectators called it "our battle between gods".
b. The switching of weapons was one of my favorite concepts in GW2. In GW1 I constantly tried to be a close range ranger to no avail. However, in GW2 I was able to pepper my foe with arrows from my longbow, knock him back when he got close, pepper him some more, switch to my greatsword and counter/knock back said foe, then leap to where they were with another greatsword skill, hit them with my remaining skills, then once my swap weapons was again available I could roll back switch weapons and knock them back again and keep moving till I could counter with my greatsword again. After playing PVP I can easily understand how many people could not appreciate the combat of GW2. Most people didn't move! They didn't roll to avoid combat until their skills recharged. It was so easy for us to pick off the weakling in PVP. However, when i met a foe who knew how to use his skills the game got highly more competitive. Never did I see anyone else use the terrain besides myself. I picked people off from the roof of the clock tower (easily could have been killed by the trebuchets people didn't use). When people came to kill me I gracefully sent them flying off the roof usually to their deaths with a knock back skill.
Notoriously, my friend is a mover in any videogame, ie. smashbros brawl, when he plays young link and won't stop jumping, or ike and won't land on the ground. In GW2 he was much the same. He was a staff wielding Guardian for most encounters. His regular attack sends out a wave of damage which makes it easy for him to move while attacking. This made it very difficult to fight him because he was constantly moving and only skilled players had the ability to adapt quickly enough to combat him.
c. Swimming underwater was was like watching my puppy trying to walk through snow for the first time. Awkward. That being said after a little while of getting used to it there was nothing more natural. I never truly got the hang of all of underwater combat, but my friend the Guardian certainly did. There was a moment when we were going after the Krait Witch in the depths of a lake. I got killed at the entrance to her cave, alone, surrounded by six enemies. So my friend the Guardian came up and killed everything with ease. Afterwards he continued to hold the bosses attention as the rest of us brought it down. An impressive feat. In WvW being able to flee from foes by jumping from bridges into the water only to have to fight again was something only seen in movies, never a video game (in my experience).
3. Graphics: Understandably the game slowed a little when there were 100+ people trying to slay the legendary white rabbit and the particle effect was insane. However, my laptop is a year old and I have to say I thought the graphics were amazing even at the lowest levels. I truly felt it was like an online Skyrim. The view to see foes in WvW was amazing. The Guardian and I ventured far to the North of the Eternal Battlegrounds to where Blue was fighting Red (we were Green). We stopped upon a hill during our recon to watch as a group of Red charged to take a supply camp. Soon after in the chat we see "we're coming for you red!". Instantly we see a large group of Blue trailing Red to go defend their supply camp. After the battle commenced we joined in the revelry slaying about 20 individuals until we were regarded as a threat and chased back to territory. One of my favorite additions was also the fact that we could no longer see enemy names through walls. The ability to hide from enemies was amazing. Whether it was jumping off a cliff to a small ledge as everyone else jumped clear over the ledge to their doom, or hiding behind a window waiting for the right opportunity, or behind a wall waiting for an ambush (kind of like Faramir in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers when the orcs attack Osgiliath). That added a whole new feature to the combat of GW2 that I thought made it seem more life like than anything. The view of Stonemist from a distance, or the clouds at the top of Lion's Arch were all breathtaking. Bethesda has a competitor.
4. WvW: Amazing. A little confusing at first but once we had the money the siege weapons were incredible. There was a moment when we were in a deadlock with Red on this skinny bridge in our homeworld. So much so that our Elites could not turn the tide of battle no matter how many people I wolf shouted off the bridge. Or how many people my Guardian friend kept knocked down. So what did we do? We built a trebuchet, on top of a mountain. We climbed back into our fortress and built a trebuchet overlooking the bridge. Once completed we fired the shortest rounds we could onto the bridge destroying the red resistance for good. Did everyone see the trebuchet rounds? They were on fire and had a smoke trail as they soared through the sky.... beautiful. On Sunday evening everyone seemed to get a hang on WvW as the siege weapons were plenty and sieges became quiet the ordeal as golem suits, arrow carts, and ballistae, were brought out to combat one another.
5. Dungeons and stuff: The dungeon the Ascalonian Catacombs was well done. We went in to search for King Adelbern's sword (the ghostly king of Ascalon). The dungeon was recommended for 5 level 30s but that's not how legends are made. I was level 31, my Guardian friend was level 29, an engineer at level 30, an elementalist at level 15, and a level 19 ranger. (Don't try a dungeon unless everyone is the recommended level, the low levels spent most of the time in their skivvy's lying on the ground. Our first level 30 foe showed us that this was going to be quiet the challenge. Our first true boss Kasha Blackblood taught us lesson after lesson. In our final desperate attempt I ordered everyone to charge and res the NPCs dead around her, ball up on her, and AOE everything around us. Crazily enough it worked. The second boss was a ranger was quiet fun as we hit him from range on his pillar and our Guardian friend had to run up a skinny wooden beam to combat him. After a bit he jumped to our ledge with a hammer spreading our ranks. But our Guardian quickly jumped after him (it was like Gimli getting "not tossed" by Aragorn during the battle of Helm's Deep. After bringing him down we arrived at the lovers. Sadly I had the only knock back skills and after a few ghost ambushes we were all armorless. We had to retreat from the dungeon to search for Magdaer another day.
E. err. 6. stuff: We never had time to get to crafting, I am sure that was fun. But we did get to explore the towns a little and the NPC's were quiet nice to listen to. It really felt as if there was a world around us other than the people silently running around. The dive from the top of Lion's Arch was awesome as we did acrobatics through the air for a 6 second free fall. That being said I hardly explored the cities. Why would I? The combat was so smooth and wonderful.
7. Beyond: There were a couple skill points that I am sure some of you had difficulty finding. The 2 I am thinking of were in the higher level Charr and Norn areas. In the Norn area I had to jump up a couple rock outcroppings in a cave to get to a Mesmer boss that was very challenging for a single person yet all the more satisfying for defeating her. That was but only a small platforming taste. The true meal was in the Charr area. At the top of some ruins was a skill point. To get there we had to run like a half mile away from it. Climb some stairs, jump to a ledge, jump to another ledge, run along it, jump over a gap, run up some more stairs, go around a rock, up the back side of some ruins to get to the top of the rock, jump over a gap to a fallen broken pillar, run down the pillar, hop across some more broken pillars, over to an archway, across the archways, over to a platform, under some stairs, up some stairs, and to a boss guarding a skill point.
Conclusion: I always have expectancies for games to improve and time after time games fall short of my hopes for them. Fable 2 was a little worse than Fable 1 but I blindly hung to the small aspects that were improved. Fable 3 made me lose faith in the Fable franchise forever. The new Call of Duty was almost exactly the same as all the other Call of Duties just with different weapons. Fallout New Vegas was buggier than when the cicada come around once every 17 years. I have heard Mass Effect 3 was horrible. Gears of War 3 couldn't have been more predictable. Star Wars the Old Republic...lol. Very few games have improved from the one before it Halo and the Elder Scrolls have but not by much, and not for everyone. Going into the Guild Wars 2 Beta I had my expectations on an all time high and I am happy to say that they were surpassed and then some. Granted the repetitive questing could be changed a little and some of the dynamic event seemed a little too frequent. However, the combat, the pvp, the skills, the smoothness, the graphics were all incredible. I hope they don't change much from the beta because I can't see how they can improve much more. I fear by reading the responses they may actually make the game worse which I think will be easy to do since it is, by far, the best game I have ever played.
P.S. I didn't proof read this. I have some other things to do. :) Thanks for reading my opinions. Hope to see some of you out there, just try not to be at the wrong end of my greatsword....or longbow....or my pet wolf's teeth........or my own wolf teeth.
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