It’s all over bar the releasing. Yes, Guild Wars 2 is now officially beyond the beta stage – but will you like it?
Fortunately, bloggers the world over have been rushing to answer that question, or at least give you all the information they can. We had a few point-by-point discussions yesterday, and today, six bloggers are giving their unique takes on the game – and in many cases, their thumbs-up or thumbs-down:
- Spinks goes over the pros and cons of seven of the major aspects of the game, including the famed PvP World vs World vs World combat – “It is definitely interesting, particularly in the early game when you still have a lot of skills to unlock. I suspect later on things settle down and get less confusing as you get used to what is available.”
- HUnter’s Insight writes a very balanced piece about Guild Wars 2’s pros and cons, but in the end is extremely impressed with it – “I may have some criticisms but I think Arenanet has plain nailed it. A lot of the dynamic event hype and revolution talk is definitely overwrought but it’s a superior game, better than any other MMO I’ve ever played.”
- Rowan at I Have Touched The Sky found Guild Wars 2 potentially rather impenetrable, but also potentially very rewarding – ” GW2 did not grab me the way TSW, SWTOR, STO, Rift and WoW all did. I might get GW2 near launch if it were up to me alone. Sctrz, on the other hand, was caught up in it hook, line, and sinker. I have a feeling we’ll be playing again as soon as possible, and loving every minute.”
- Syp at Bio Break has come to his pre-launch conclusions on Guild Wars 2, and they’re mostly positive – “I think it’s going to be an excellent entry into the MMO field offering strong visuals, a slightly different way to play (less questing, more reacting to the world around you), and many small improvements over what we’ve seen in this genre so far. For some it’ll be the one MMO to rule them all, for others it’ll be a fun side diversion. “
- Moxie at Wild Boar Inn is in no doubt – she’s a self-confessed Arena.net fangirl these days. Nonetheless, she includes both her loves and her few dislikes about GW2 – “Finally, a game that has cities that feel like cities. Divinity’s Reach is hands down the absolute best capital city I’ve ever seen, no contest. It makes Stormwind City look like an outpost.”
Will GW2 be something you must have, or something you must avoid?
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It’s coming soon! But before GW2 smashes into us next month, bloggers have been taking one final look, and summing up some of the finer points of the upcoming mega-MMO that you might have missed…
You might think that you’ve heard everything there is to hear about Guild Wars 2 – its multiple beta weekends have generated a hell of a lot of blogger comment and posts. But before we get the chance to jump in ourselves (at or around the 28th of August, depending on if you preordered), there’s still more to talk about!
Yes, the final Guild Wars 2 beta weekend revealed yet more cool stuff, and in a bit of a case of “great minds think alike”, several great bloggers decided it was time for a point-by-point summary…
- Aly at Mistress Of Illusions has an excellent pictographic writeup of the two new races revealed this weekend, the gnome-like Asura and faerie Sylvari – ” I also appreciate the beauty of their home city, the Grove, even though it possesses one of those fantasy color palates that wreaks havoc on my sensitive tummy. “
- Azuriel at In An Age covers a whole bunch of fascinating ground, from sylvari sexuality to the feel of new classes – ” Presenting a gay relationship right at the beginning struck me as an unexpectedly bold move on ArenaNet’s part. Every single person that rolls a Sylvari character is going to be seeing this (if they are paying attention), as opposed to hiding it in random NPC dialog.”
- And Stargrace at MMOQuests goes over a few particular favourite GW2 features – ” I love that my inventory is rarely ever full, because I can just instantly send all my crafting supplies to the collections tab no matter where I’m at. Thank you ArenaNet for letting me play and have fun without the hassle that comes from a full inventory!”
Yeah, I’m really looking forward to this one now – although given I’m sure Blizzard will schedule Patch 5.0 of WoW against it, I suspect my play time may be minimal for the first week or so…
So – will you be playing GW2?
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“For tonight’s performance of MMO Melting Pot, the role of Hugh Hancock will be played by Johnnie Ingram.” That’s right, folks: you’ve bought tickets for the mid-week matinee, you get the understudy. Hugh is taking a few day’s break, so Johnnie’s stirring the Pot till he returns.
A choice handful of interesting posts to bring to your attention today, in no particular order.
- First of all, if you haven’t done so already you should really read Adam Holisky’s excellent collumn on WoW Insider. As gamers, we already know that playing video games (violent or otherwise) does not make one any more violent in real life, but Adam’s post is a great refutation of the lazy journalistic sensationalism that we’ve all seen. It’s backed by solid facts, and is a worthwhile read even if – perhaps especially if – you’re sick of reading the same innaccurate stories again and again.
The primary way in which we consume such truths is through the news. And there’s a lot wrong with our modern news system. The vast majority of successful outlets are built more on getting readers’ attention than finding truths in a story. This easily leads hyperbolic headlines (like this article’s headline) and to a simulation of reality, even when talking about a virtual reality.
- Over at Levelcapped, Chris has decided that Guild Wars 2 is his unicorn. Despite his best efforts, he’s become a self-confessed GW2 fanboy. This post resonated with me, because I’m rapidly approaching the same state. I’m becoming a tiny bit more excited about GW2 every day.
The thing for me about Guild Wars 2 is that is just felt natural in the BWE. I wanted to be there, and also to range far from the hub. I didn’t want to go out to seek fortune, but instead I just wanted to seek for seeking’s sake. What was out there? What’s going on that I don’t know about, and how can I get involved? I didn’t need any NPC to send me into the wilderness because I was already bolting off in that direction for my own selfish reasons.
- Meanwhile, Matt is taking no prisoners at World Of Matticus, urging raiders who are not pulling their weight to just quit. It’s not quite as harsh as the title might suggest – Matt’s recommending a break from raiding for those who are disenchanted, rather than a zero-tolerance policy on sub-par raiders.
Quit the game for a day. Quit the game for a week. Or quit the rest of the expansion. I don’t care how long it is, but just stop. … You are doing zero favours for your WoW family. They need you to be there and at your best. If you’re not at your best, then don’t even go in at all. You are making things worse.
What interesting posts have caught your eye? Let us know in the comments.
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Hugh‘s away for a few day’s break, so the supply teacher is taking the class again – over to Johnnie.
Even though I love gaming, and MMOs in particular, I’m pathetically traditional in many ways. WoW is my game of choice, and has been for several years. I’ve dipped my toe into other gaming waters occasionally, but I’ve been pretty happy with Azeroth. Recently, though, I’ve found myself logging on less and less, and eyeing up other, sexier games with a lustful glare. That’s why it’s so nice that other bloggers are writing about their experiences in non-Azerothian locations: I can see what I’m missing.
- Zubon at Kill Ten Rats has a great general post about how many games force you to be a bystander rather than a participant. This has become an increasingly big problem for me in WoW (perhaps exemplarized by the “PCs do all the work and Tirion goddam Fordring takes all the credit” storyline at the end of Wrath). Call me crazy, but I want to be the one who kills the bad guy. I don’t want to be the sidekick who stands at the back, cheering on the NPC hero as he gets to kill the bad guy. As Zubon says
“I’ll take fighting at the side of the Fellowship and being second banana there, and I’ll take being the hero of the B-plot while the Fellowship saves the world. I’ll not take being second banana in the B-plot.”
It’s a really great post, and eloquently sums up many of the frustrations I’ve had with recent gaming storylines.
“Maybe it was Tera’s action combat, or perhaps a general ennui with the genre as a whole, but I couldn’t find any spark of enthusiasm for Rift whatsoever. … The game was still as pretty as ever, but again, the incredible fidelity of a game such as Tera, whether you can stomach its design decisions or not, leaves other MMOs looking like so much aged tarnished brass.”
Guild Wars 2 is the game that I’m really excited about. If I’m honest, I wasn’t really too enthused at first, but after researching the game for a few of the Melting Pot’s info posts I’m totally sold. It’s been great to read accounts of the various beta weekends. Both Ravious and Hunter’s Insight have reviews of the latest changes. GW2 is looking excitingly pretty and pretty exciting!
GW players, incidentally, might be interested to hear that qq & pewpew are giving away 300k of in-game gold. All you have to do is reblog the competition stating what you’d do with the cash.
All of this is completely immaterial, though. I know exactly what game I’m going to be playing next. Mechwarrior Online didn’t appeal to me at all … until I saw Razer’s concept for a dedicated hardware controller. Woah, boy. It will be mine. Oh, yes. It will be mine.
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It’s very obvious that GW2’s something different from the run of the mill MMO, as everyone’s got something specific to discuss about its design. Let’s jump right in.
The “Overspill” queuing system came in for some serious questioning this weekend:
Keen isn’t messing around – he thinks that the overflow system just doesn’t work as it stands – “I thought the overflow would be a great way to avoid the queue, but once you start utilizing overflow on me when I’m actually in-game playing normally it crosses the line. Use it for logging in, but let me get out of the overflow immediately.”
Hunter’s Insight, in contrast, defends what he thinks is a much-maligned system – “Do I think it’s a perfect system? No, but I think it’s better than waiting in a queue and not playing at all, and that should be the main thought on everyone’s mind, but it isn’t.”
PvP and WvW
A lot of people have been eagerly awaiting the World vs World combat:
- Keen and Graev give us an overview of non-WvW forms of PvP in GW2 – “Seeing what a class will be like at level 80 without having to actually level one is great for players who want instant action, and the prefab 80 is only in the Mists and in Battlegrounds meaning you can’t use this level 80 in WvW.”
- Chris at Level Capped felt that WvW was very non-standard, enjoyable PvP – “I really hope that everyone who plays Guild Wars 2 sets aside time for W3V2, even if they’re not “traditional” PvP players. “
- The Lorehound found the PvP buggy but extremely enjoyable – “World vs World was a blast, they just need to get the kinks out and if they do, I have no doubt that GW2 will become the PvP game for a long time.”
Guild Wars 2 has a very unusual combat system for an MMO – fast, furious movement-based action:
- The Lorehound compares GW2’s combat with TERA’s even more action-oriented, erm, action – “In all honestly, during my time in World vs World, I didn’t really notice much difference between a true tab-targeting MMORPG and GW2. It pretty much felt the same to me.”
- Keen and Graev loved GW2’s combat, and explain just why – “I love weapon swapping. I can use a Greatsword for one weapon which has a great distance closer then switch to another weapon when I’m in melee range to begin slicing people up. “
- Kill Ten Rats address player concerns that melee is at a disadvantage compared to ranged combat – “Right now, I’d say it is less apparent what ArenaNet intends for PvE melee combat, which makes it tougher for a player to balance the playstyle accordingly.”
Is GW2 just another Next Great Thing?
- The Godmother considers the fact that no game, including GW2, will appeal equally to everyone – “If you subscribe to Chaos Theory, which I am finding increasingly fascinating, you could argue that there was no point in trying to make a game that covers as many bases as possible, you just need to create something that is fun, with the potential for lots of diversity, then release it to the general public and just hope.”
- Lono at Screaming Monkeys feels like he’s seeing exactly the same frenzy we’ve seen for almost every big MMO launch – “A lot of players simply hop from game to game with a crazy list of expectations that no game can ever hope to match.. or maybe they don’t know what they want.”
“Hearts” questing replacement
- Live Like A Nerd gives us a thorough review of both the good and the bad of the heart system – “I have no beef with the quest mechanics in Guild Wars 2. I find them fun, even though some HQs are really mindlessly trivial and not the least bit heroic. I like that there are alternative ways to complete them all. Nevertheless, the experience is not as seamless as it could be. “
- Hunter’s Insight discusses the Hearts, GW2’s quest equivalents, in great detail – “I think hearts are also superior because they’re much less tied to the golden path of quests in other MMOs. Guild Wars 2 is much more an exploration game than other MMOs. You wander from heart to heart, perhaps with the help of a scout NPC, but perhaps not. You’re not following some path a dev wants you to follow, or at least one that is totally obvious.”
- Chris at Level Capped discusses just how much GW2’s game world succeeds in feeling like a world with depth for him“Guild Wars 2 offers so many locations for role-playing that I am sad to think that a lot of the environment was lovingly crafted, but will end up unfairly abandoned. “
- Kill Ten Rats laments the fact that every female character appears half-dressed on the character generation screen – “We justified half-naked norn by their tendency to turn into bears, so they can’t be encased in metal … except that the men are.”
Wow, that was a lot of points. Thoughts, anyone?
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Want to know what everyone thought of Guild Wars 2’s Beta weekend this weekend?
Listen closely. Can you hear that noise?
Wheeeeeeeee … EEEEEE …. EEEEEE!!!!! ….
That’s the sound of about a million GW2 impressions posts landing.
Let’s go check them out.
- Chris at Level Capped opened his GW2 coverage with a general note about how different or not Guild Wars 2 is – “I’m a bit torn with this game. I have to say, I love it to death already, but there are some issues, and not all of them can be attributed to “beta”.”
- Scary at Scary Worlds gives us his quick pros and cons list – “Love the feel of the world. It feels like it is alive and beautiful.”
- Melmoth at Killed in a Smiling Accident is excited about being involved in Guild Wars culture – “MMOs are more than just the games we play, they are the communities which form around the games, and this is what should make them different and special. Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost this depth of community.”
- Pete at Dragonchasers offered us two posts, but overall, he felt the beta experience, but not GW2, was something of a mixed bag – “The good news is that most of the stuff that frustrated me was bug-related and so ought not be there when the game launches.”
- We’ll be hearing from Kill Ten Rats’ team again on specific issues, but overall, they felt that it’s good, but nowhere near as original as it’s hyped – “This game is worth every penny of $60, and I intend to buy another copy for my wife, but this is nothing new in the genre, and doesn’t even do things as well as other Theme Park MMOs.”
- Want to know what’s different? Keen and Graev wrote up some of the things that they felt were most unusual as well as their general impressions – “This is by far one of the weirdest and most nontraditional aspects of Guild Wars 2. You can not trade with anyone. You have to mail everything.”
- Syncaine feels that GW2 is very similar to the original vision for Warhammer Online – “In a nutshell, GW2 PvE is what WAR must have been like before EA told Mythic to make WAR more like WoW. “
- High Latency Life offers general point-by-point thoughts – “I enjoyed my experience in the first Beta, I really looking forward to them cleaning and working on things. If it was released today, I don’t think it would make it, cause to me it smacks of something missing, not quite there. “
- Lyrandre at I Like Bubbles offers a view of her personal experience in the beta – “The game is fucking pretty. SO fucking pretty. The cities feel like cities. There’s fascinating nooks and crannies, interesting NPCs, and breath taking background views.”
- Werit gives us a short impressions piece focused on PvP – “My overall WvW experience was just ok. There was a lot of ‘ring around the objective’ as groups avoided each other to capture undefended (or lightly defended) objectives. “
- Syp apparently quite liked the beta, as he gives us 30 points on GW2, mostly positive – “Divinity’s Reach is more than a quest/vendor hub — it’s a proper city. Usually, “huge” isn’t a desirable attribute for me when it comes to in-game cities, but with Divinity’s Reach I don’t mind so much. “
- And Syl at Raging Monkeys covers a number of separate points about the game, from overflow servers to character customisation to combat – “I am enjoying the combat mechanics in GW2, as I knew I would. Auto-attack and circle strafing take some getting used to; due to the mobile combat style, you will easily reset mobs getting too far out of range.”
Overall, a fascinating mixed bag of reports – no-one saying it’s bad, but we’ll see how subsequent betas develop.
Did you try out GW2 this weekend? What did you think?
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