The first Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event coincided with a out of town trip that I had planned months before. I had figured that I would only get one day of play in, but I did manage a bit more playtime thanks to getting the beta up and running on my somewhat miserable laptop. Still, my next foray into Tyria will likely involve more devoted and extended playtime sessions. So in preperation for that, I am making a list of things I missed out on the first time.
Explore. Discover. Find your own way.
I am big fan of games that include an adventurous vibe, a world that invites you and the challenging invitation of letting you investigate and explore that strange new world. This is part of the reason I became such a rampant Metroid fan. This is why I can enjoy Dear Esther while not qualifying it fully as a game. But you don’t care about that stuff. You’re reading for GW2 info, so let’s get to the point.
Guild Wars 2 is a game that remembers that MMOs once had that same sense of exploration a long time ago, well before the rush to raiding and quest optimization. However, I was not so used to this being in my MMO, as I too had come not to expect any reason to explore.
Browsing through various beta impressios and videos, I discovered what everyone else had discovered while I was trying to min and max my time between leveling with my friends and trying out short bursts of PvP. What other beta users had found was a world full of jumping puzzles, strange characters, high dives, giants of a less than jolly green sort, and somewhat familiar underwater ruins. Now, while I did find the sunken ruins of Lion’s Arch and the cute Quaggan creatures by their homes, I never realized there was a diving platform waiting up above at the top of a climb of stairs and wooden structures.
PEH VAY PEHHHHHHHH
I didn’t spend as much time in PvP as I would like. I do have a PvP entry to come, namely one about the impact of Esports on game design, but for the purpose of really delving deep into what PvP has to offer in GW2, I am being reserved. The main reason is that I really didn’t touch much of anything beyond some pickup games of Conquest and some bad experiences with WvWvW.
First, WvWvW needs to have a community established term. I nominate WubWub, but it seems Dub v Dub has become the quick reference for WvWvW. The problem is neither of these terms shorten the name to an acceptable level of conversational laziness. We’ll probably settle on Dubvee and congratulate ourselves on further reducing our need to read or converse. Yay, gamers. =/
Anyways, I ventured twice out into the WvWvW world and my first experience far outweighed the second. Both experiences suffered from my server choice though. To put it bluntly, the Henge of Denravi server didn’t give a rabid monkey nut about WvWvW for all but the last half-day of the BWE. We were getting our butts kicked before the Friday downtime and after the Friday downtime. One particularly frustrating moment involved having three gates out and all three gates taken. This is a problem that the game could still have despite ArenaNet’s efforts to avoid the issue by matching servers up with similarly ranked servers every week.
My first experience was defending the basic WvWvW spawn point for my server versus a green team that had pretty much taken over everything. Despite this disadvantage, these combat skirmishes helped me improve my play and decide on a play style. I was learning how to survive and dodge-roll at the right time. The familiarity with unlocked skills helps in WvWvW, while the sudden availability of everything in structured PvP is overwhelming at first. Despite figuring out a particular build I wanted to run before the BWE, I couldn’t just step right into having a skillbar I had no experience with and function fully to its intended purpose. In WvWvW, players will be bringing whatever they have in PVE to the battle, just upgraded to a level 80 status.
On my second attempt, I brought two friends along with me. One of them had hardly played any MMOs and the other more experienced but never a PvP type of player. We ran into the same wall as before, but at this point our side was starting to take down the door directly in front of us. We had no resources for siege tools. Everything was left up to basic character attacks to dwindle down that wall of a front door. We fought repeatedly for awhile that felt longer than it probably was. Once we knocked that door down we discovered yet another door behind it. The collective expression of everyone involved was “GWARG DIE DIE DIE I’M OUTTA HERE”. And then still, people kept pounding away at the next door. We did not.
So when it comes to the next BWE, I plan to go deeper into both Wub-Wub-Vee-DiddleDee-Dub and Conquest. I didn’t really touch any of the gem or armor options that are available for customizing your character for structured PvP. I didn’t venture into any of the other WvWvW portals at Lion’s Arch in an attempt to invade enemy lands. I discovered through the magic YouTube fairy that WvWvW had a massive jumping puzzle.
Lost in the City
There were three race-based cities and one additional city in the last beta. I did a brief tour of Lion’s Arch and used Divinity’s Reach as I would any other MMO town. This means I just shopped and hopped, and left with purpose. Next time around, I plan to wander without purpose.I’d love to discover some nooks and crannies in the city districts. I’d like to visit the lodges of the Norn. I’d like to pose for some photos on those Charr Hot Rods.
Hopefully the mini-games are opened up next BWE as I’d like to try those as well. I certainly plan on doing some roof jumping and I’ll try to talk a friend into a game of hide n seek. I feel that there’s a lot of city life to be had.
And then after I’ve mapped the schematics of the city, I dig a hole and let the Dredge in for the Moletariat revolution.