Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event

Last weekend Guild Wars 2 opened up for three days of testing the not-yet-released game. I played every hour I could spare, which amounted to about 7 hours Friday, 12 hours Saturday, and 14 hours Sunday.

Yes it was fun.

Yes I am still recovering from the long gaming sessions.

I haven't played hours on end like that since the days of repeatedly taking guild mates through Urgoz and The Deep. It's been a couple years since we gamed like that.

We had almost a dozen people on TeamSpeak and most times we were intensely quiet, and then the silence would be punctuated by an exclamation and then a descriptive explanation. We were split across two servers as the server we planned to join filled up quickly Friday afternoon and late arrivals couldn't access it.

Human mesmer in starter armor

I first made a human mesmer, and then a charr engineer. I had a hard time with the mesmer at first, being so completely different from my GW1 mesmer, but after I did a little reading and got a staff, I was much happier with her and ended up playing her the most. I found the engineer very fun and understood it quickly due to the great deal of reading I've done on it in the past few months, but I gave it up in the interest of dedicating more time to just one character since I only had the three days.

Human mesmer in starter town clothes, on a wall inside Divinity's Reach

Mostly we played alone. My husband and I teamed up on some PvE exploration only to discover the problem with getting split up on zoning as did many other folks - but this has been confirmed as a known issue on the official forums, and a fix is on the way.

Charr engineer storming the castle in WvW

Our son spent most of his entire weekend in WvW, and I did join up with him more than once, and then most of the entire day Sunday. We ended Sunday night with two trebuchets in our keep (for knocking down walls of the innermost Stonemist Castle), multiple arrow carts, a ballista, and more. He directed other players to go and take another keep when it was getting overrun - he was having quite the fun time (age 15).

Charr engineer in eerily familiar ruins

However, there being no way to earn coin in WvW, this could turn into an expensive hobby. The siege weapons require the purchase of blueprints each time you want to build one. While it's only a few silver, if you aren't PvE'ing to earn that silver, the only other way to get it is to buy gems (trade-able for coin) with real-life money.

Battling inside Stonemist Castle

I hope they add a way to earn coins in WvW or otherwise I'm going to be farming coin to fund our trebuchet habit.

Human mesmer with next armor, in WvW at a supply depot 

I already know I will be playing this game for years. GW1 had me going strong for five years before my interest waned - this one will get at least that, and judging by the increased size of the cities and landscapes, it may take me even longer to soak it all in. This is my favorite hobby anyway; I am very glad for the fresh new hunting grounds.

And tournament PvP... Oh I so am looking forward to getting in on that. So very much.

Overall, I would say the game is not ready for release. I reported at least four bugs myself. There is still much work to do on server issues, optimization, tutorials for the many folks who don't devour every tip on the forums. I would certainly be happy to continue playing while they work out the bugs.

Next weekend event (end of May perhaps is the rumor), I need to dedicate some time to understanding the "melee problem." Apparently melee in GW2 is more akin to FPS targeting. Since a warrior was my main character in GW1, I do need to investigate. Thief or Warrior - must decide by the next event. But maybe it's best they don't have the beta running continuously for months.

This gives them time to really work out some problems so that the next time they open the gates, we the players will see noticeable improvements all at once, therefore making the psychological impact of the improvements greater and therefore the buzz even greater. Marketing strategy methinks?

Well played, ArenaNet.

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