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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General MMORPG » GW2: Beta Impressions

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July 20th, 2012, 14:09
Last beta weekend starts today.
Which would be my first too, as I pre-ordered just after a beta weekend ended, and the next one happened right the weekend when I had my bi-yearly vacation already planned and bought.
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July 20th, 2012, 14:47
Go! Go! wolfing!

It's my 3rd BWE and I'm quite happy that they are making the Sylvari and Asura playable. Along with all the other change they did.
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July 20th, 2012, 14:55
I'm pretty "meh" about GW2 and I've been in two betas. Nothing about it excites me, but I can't deny that it's made with a lot of passion. It's just not made for someone like myself.

Still, I got beta access for this one as well, and I'll check out the Sylvari areas and see if they've changed something or if I might have been too harsh on it before. Not likely, though.
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July 20th, 2012, 16:19
I loved the beta so far and from what I've read of the patch notes and various sites I think its heading in the right direction as well.

I will be "sailing" with a guild called The Shipwrecked Pirates for this game, an old Shadowbane guild…If anyone from the watch intends to play GW2 but doesn't have a place to go, I would suggest you give it a look. They don't randomly recruit but seeing as most people on The Watch are pretty mature, I doubt there'd be any problem.

And if not interested in joining you can still just send me a message in game. Korgh.1387 is my handle on there..or just pm me here.

For those that want to check out the shipwrecked pirates (My name on that forum is Korgh): http://www.thesaltymaid.com/

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July 22nd, 2012, 15:16
I'm loving it, but I'm not sure about the longevity. I mean, combat seems repetitive. You have 5 weapon skills and 1-5 other skills. I know in other games you usually just use a bunch of skills too, but …
- In other MMOs you get to upgrade them. You level up, you get a little excited when going back to the trainer to get your Fireball 2 and Ice Shield 3. Not the same here, you just learn your combat skills very early on (probably the first day you play) and your general skills (which you only can use 1-5 depending on level, and chances are you'll be using the same ones for a long time)
- You get to choose them all. You cherry pick the 10-20 abilities you want to use. Here if you want the Fire arrow, that means you have to use the 5 abilities that shortbows bring, so you only really get to choose the weapon to wield and the 1-5 general skills

The social aspect is interesting. You don't make enemies (nobody can 'kill-steal' or 'ninja loot' or 'ninja gather your resources'), everybody is your friend here, but then, you don't party with people. As events happen, you fight with others, revive them if they're down, until the mob(s) die. I don't remember the name of anyone I've fought with as I never see their names anywhere.

But hey, it's a pay-once game so to me it's a sure-buy (well, already pre-bought it, but still). I also like that each race has a different (long) starting zone and each race has a different storyline.
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July 23rd, 2012, 10:50
Well, I still don't "get it".

The Sylvari area looked pretty bad to me, and had a very poor use of colors. The Sylvari themselves, however, looked pretty cool - with lots of variety during character creation.

However, the human main city remains one of the most impressive and beautiful cities of all time. It's HUUUUUGE

But the actual gameplay is repetitive to me - and I much prefer story-driven quests like in TSW/TOR over these "dynamic events" with absolutely no underpinning. I mean, why am I doing these things - beyond acting the hamster on a wheel? Why can't they combine engaging stories with the events - and have the best of both worlds? I fully agree that the quest hub thing is getting old, and we need more - but if I have to choose between immersive storytelling and no quest hubs - I gotta go with story.

Also, the "personal story" for humans - so far - has some of the worst writing I've ever witnessed in an MMO, and that's saying something. It's incredibly amateur and pretty juvenile.

I'd have played it for the story if it was engaging, but after playing TSW/TOR - it's just way too hard to accept writing at that level again.

Someone tell me there's more to this game than hunting down events and gathering feed for cows and killing mobs? I don't care for the PvP implementation - so that's out. I think the personal story writing is abysmally bad - so far - so what IS the magic about?
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July 23rd, 2012, 11:49
While you get 1-5 skill very quickly, you unlock utility slot and elite skill slot slowly.
yea, you dont get to choose skill like TSW, but frankly i am not missing that, since the combat is alot more responsive in GW2.
I would say different stroke for differnt ppl. While GW2 does not has TSW's writing for sure, nonetheless for someone who skip through every cut sence after seeing it once, I am glad GW2 choose to emphasis the other area of the game.

In TSW everyone goes to Kingsmouth, in GW2 you start at your race zone.
In TSW you dont get to save any npc, you fight their corpse or spirit and you laid them to rest, in GW2 you try to make sure they are alive and get out of the harm in one piece. Both game has different field they excel at.
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July 23rd, 2012, 12:24
The evolution of skills stop at 30 - and from what I've seen of the defensive skills - they're not particularly exciting. The game is very clearly based around giving you almost everything from the beginning to avoid the "grind" - which I suppose is what people like about it.

Unfortunately, I've always considered the evolution of my character and my arsenal one of the primary pleasures of any CRPG. I don't think it's better to give people all their toys almost from the beginning - because then they're left with the activities themselves - and if you want a fast-paced competitive activity - we have shooters or similar games for that.

If you want a powerful story-driven RPG experience in your MMO, then there are FAR FAR better options out there.

So, I guess the reason to play GW2 is if you want a non-progression game in a fantasy world with limited underpinning for what you're doing. Ok, there's exploration of the world itself - and I suppose that might be reason enough to play it.

Can't argue with the reasonable nature of the B2P pricing - but I don't see it as a powerful longevity contender.
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July 23rd, 2012, 14:18
Progression continue all the way to level 80. It's called traits and skill points. Traits allow you to customize your stats and some skills (reduce cooldown, larger aoe, etc). They also give you "perks". Better stats = skills more effective. Skill points are for skill utilities. Some of which can be life savers, when used properly, and some build, like the Necromancer minions master, rely on it.

As for getting everything at the same time. In GW1, you spend most of the game at max level, getting max level armor and weapons is easy as well. This have a benefit, which is that you don't have to spend lots of time in the game to have access to the content, but it doesn't mean you will be able to complete the content because of that. There is a lot of emphasize is getting better at the game, as opposed to hide incompetence behind game mechanics in Guild Wars.

As for defence skills not being exiting. How exactly? Compared to GW1, it is a major improvements. Although, the game is quite a bit twitchy. I can understand that some people don't like that.
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July 23rd, 2012, 14:32
I really like GW2 but for very different reasons than TSW or other games. Strangely almost opposite reasons. I like the light hearted approach, the over the top high fantasy graphics, the sometimes corny writing, that, for humans at least, you tend to be a "good guy hero".

To compare to another game I am playing, and like, TSW, I like TSW because its more realistic, incredible graphics, darker, deeper story and writing - in some ways for the opposite reasons I like GSW design.

As for game play - I like that I can master the basic skills quickly although I am hoping as I go up in levels it continues to let me progress. Unlike the others commenting I have only made it to level 12 in beta and don't PvP so do not know how it gets higher up. I do like how everyone is encouraged to work together. I still find myself going out the way to let others get kills or be polite … forgetting its all a group effort.

For me GW2 is a fun, entertaining romp in high fantasy with lots of other people and over the top atmosphere - so very enjoyable to explore, develop my character, enjoy the person story and interact with others in the process.

However, totally to my own surprise, I find TSW to be a bit better (my opinion was the opposite before) in that the hand holding is less obvious, its got some depth, and I find myself more immersed.

I plan on playing both though. My main worry with TSW is that the horror aspect can wear on me as I am not a horror fan, and I miss having interaction in dialogue - which players can't do in TSW. I also see a lot of reuse of models for monsters and after the open group concept and encouragement of GW2 the return to kill stealing and lack of cooperation in TSW tends to stand out more.

As for why so many people seem to love GW2 - possibly that it is F2P, that it provides instant gratification, that its flashy and full of action and glamour, and fairly casual and easy going.

Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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July 23rd, 2012, 14:35
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Progression continue all the way to level 80. It's called traits and skill points. Traits allow you to customize your stats and some skills (reduce cooldown, larger aoe, etc). They also give you "perks". Better stats = skills more effective. Skill points are for skill utilities. Some of which can be life savers, when used properly, and some build, like the Necromancer minions master, rely on it.
I'm aware of this, but traits are not very exciting and basically give small passive bonuses for each point. Yes, there are skill points - but we're talking about a small amount of situational skills that really don't feel like much progression.

I'm not saying there's literally no progression - but that 30-80 will not, by any means, have enough progression for me to play the game. Because the game seems to have nothing else to offer me.

I LIKE progression - and I like the loot hunt - just as long as it's balanced and it actually ENDS at some point.

As for getting everything at the same time. In GW1, you spend most of the game at max level, getting max level armor and weapons is easy as well. This have a benefit, which is that you don't have to spend lots of time in the game to have access to the content, but it doesn't mean you will be able to complete the content because of that. There is a lot of emphasize is getting better at the game, as opposed to hide incompetence behind game mechanics in Guild Wars.
I didn't like GW1 - as it was way too instanced and didn't feel like an expansive MMO. More like a cooperative game with some zero-progression PvP to boot. Not my thing.

As for "hiding incompetence behind game mechanics" - I'm not sure what you're talking about.

I fully understand that skill is a key factor in GW2 - but that doesn't make the game interesting.

Exactly like Chess - the boardgame - is extremely skill-based with a set of very simple rules is boring as hell to me. The game isn't bad - and it's very competitive - but my god is it boring.

To each his own, naturally.

The one thing that Guild Wars had that I liked more, was the massive amount of skills that weren't tied to your weapon. It meant your options felt more expanded and there was a much more meaty reason to keep playing.

As for defence skills not being exiting. How exactly? Compared to GW1, it is a major improvements. Although, the game is quite a bit twitchy. I can understand that some people don't like that.
I'm not comparing it to GW - I'm comparing it to games with combat that I like in the same genre, like WoW, AoC, TOR, and so on.

Your main arsenal consists of 5 weapon skills, 1 heal skill, 3 "utility" skills and an elite skill. The heal skill is self-explanatory and they're all functionally similar in that they help you survive. The utility skills are what I'm referring to - and I shouldn't have called them defensive skills. But they're all very situational and deal with a very limited variety of buffs/debuffs.

I HATE that I only have 5 primary skills and I don't enjoy the weapon switching mechanic because it feels unnatural and has a significant cooldown.

There's no denying that skill is involved, however - and I'm sure people will be very good at dodging and using their limited arsenal in the right way.

I love "twitch" combat - but it's not enough for me. If I wanted a game with limited progression and fast-paced combat, I would have chosen a shooter or similarly fast-paced game - and that would be no less demanding on me, as a player.

Skill is something I will require of any competitive game I play - as I hate the random factor. But I need much, much more than a pure skill-based game to invest my time.

Just like I'd rather be playing an intricate board game like Arkham Horror than I'd want to play Chess.
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July 23rd, 2012, 18:16
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
As for "hiding incompetence behind game mechanics" - I'm not sure what you're talking about.
In most MMOs, your gear are more responsible about your success than how well you play. Players seek better gear to make the game easier over learning how to play.

In GW2, incompetents can hide in the event zergs though.

Your main arsenal consists of 5 weapon skills, 1 heal skill, 3 "utility" skills and an elite skill. The heal skill is self-explanatory and they're all functionally similar in that they help you survive. The utility skills are what I'm referring to - and I shouldn't have called them defensive skills. But they're all very situational and deal with a very limited variety of buffs/debuffs.
What class did you play? Because not all the utility skills are buff or debuff. The Engineer class mechanic actually depends on weapon kits slotted in those utility slot.

And the situational is a design intent. I can see some people not liking it.
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July 23rd, 2012, 20:10
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
In most MMOs, your gear are more responsible about your success than how well you play. Players seek better gear to make the game easier over learning how to play.
You mean except when you go up against people of a similar gear level - which is typically a goal achievable with time and effort. That's a downside to gear progression that can't be truly avoided. It's a delicate balance of letting gear progression be within reach - and yet keeping it there as a carrot for extended play.

But it's true that a lot of people who aren't particularly good at PvP like to point at inferior gear as the reason they lose all the time.

But you can actually evolve your gear level AND be a good player at the same time. It's quite doable.

In GW2, incompetents can hide in the event zergs though.
I couldn't care less about where people hide. I just want a fair shot at being on an even level - and that's fully possible in all but the most grindy gear progression games.

If most people really think that removing the carrot and letting PvP be "all about skill" will somehow make the game fantastically fun - they're wrong. Why? Because most people suck at high-end PvP - and they won't have anything to blame here.

So, no gear progression will automatically hit the majority as a major downside to the game - even if they'll never admit or realise it.

What class did you play? Because not all the utility skills are buff or debuff. The Engineer class mechanic actually depends on weapon kits slotted in those utility slot.
Ranger and Thief.

And the situational is a design intent. I can see some people not liking it.
I don't mind them being situational - but I mind that most fights are fought without really needing them - so far. I understand it's different for high level PvP - but it's not going to be enough to please me.
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July 24th, 2012, 01:05
again, I'm loving it and I will play it release, but I do agree I don't feel there is much 'new things' after about level 15 from the little I could experience. The 5 shortbow skills will always be the same, no matter what, same with longbow or sword+shield. So, I won't see anything new there ever after I spend 30 minutes to get the 5 skills.

One thing I love about MMOs (and RPGs in general) is looking forward to gaining more skills/spells as my character(s) grow in level. Maybe my mind is still (and probably forever will be) tied to the D&D design of progress, but that's how I enjoy my games. With limited upgrade options, comes limited enjoyment for me. And by upgrade options I don't mean adding +5% to my critical chance or +2 Intelligence. I'm talking about new options that expand my range of choices during combat, and I just don't see that in GW2. Feels like the same attacks I'll use at level 12 are about the same I'll use at 60, except that they'll do or heal more damage.
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July 24th, 2012, 03:00
There are trait you can customize with. Trait is not just stat improvement at all, it will define how you play your char.
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July 24th, 2012, 05:47
While I enjoyed GW1, I think I'll stick with DDO which does allow my chars to grow as they level.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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