It’s the end of the first week of Pandaria – so has it been a success? Bloggers have been weighing in all week – we already rounded up the very early impressions and some off-the-beaten-path posts, so here’s our second roundup of the week!
I’m guessing that quite a few people are waiting for the weekend to weigh in with their thoughts, so we’ll probably do another roundup on Monday!
- Big Bear Butt goes to the defense of his fellow ursines, asking just what’s up with all the hate for Pandaren, anyway? – “I’m wondering if most of the rage at Pandas as a playable race is coming from people who wanted a race to feed their power fantasies better.”
- Erinys says that she’s having the same feeling about Pandaria she had about Vanilla WoW – “In short, I’m basically back to vanilla. The little wide eyed girl in a candy shop trying to do everything at once because there is so much to see, to listen to and to play with.”
- The Grumpy Elf isn’t. In fact, he’s more than a bit impressed with Pandaria’s offerings – “Even venturing through the dread wastes I felt it was more menacing than anything deathwing ever threw at us. Could the game finally be giving us a story again? A feeling of immersion again? A feeling of fullness? “
- And Zinn is so far undecided if he likes the expansion or not – “If I had to say anything bad about the Pandaren starting zone, it would probably be that the Pandaren are not half as peace loving and altruistic as their serene faces want to give impression of.”
Short and Sweet
- Targeter believes that this expansion could be Blizzard’s masterpiece, period – ” It’s the perfect balm for my recent MMO hurts. It’s funny yet poignant. It’s action-packed yet contemplative.”
Kaozz hasn’t managed to do too much of the expansion yet, but gives us very early first impressions – _“
The music is interesting and the world of Pandaria is gorgeous. I really love the look and feel thus far.”_
Cuppy gives early impressions too, since she’s taking her time with the content rather than rushing – “I’m loving the little stories and finding myself truly caring about these new Pandaren people. What are they all about? Where and how do they live? What is their culture, and how can I be respectful of it?”
Rohan summarises his experience on his second day, giving details on the new paladin mechanics and the second half of Jade Forest – “I’m also enjoying the new Retribution model. Most abilities give Holy Power, and Inquistion/Templar’s Verdict use Holy Power. It’s a much tighter loop, and is a lot of fun. “
Tobold finds the extremely similar openings of Jade Forest for Horde and Alliance more than a bit disappointing – “I had hoped that somebody playing alts of both sides would at least have two different experiences of the start of Pandaria, but that was not the case. I find that a bit cheap.”
Bob at Altaclysmic gives us a quick review of the expansion so far from the professions’ point of view – “The supply of cloth is plenty to cover both First Aid and Tailoring needs. Random drops seem to provide an endless supply of greens for disenchanting. Enchanting also has a large selection of enchants to boost your leveling. “
And Rush at Scribblings on the Asylum Wall is loving the visuals of the expansion – “I played through the original Alliance quest line in the beta, so I knew the zone was gorgeous, but if it’s possible the northern part of the zone where the Horde lands is even more spectacular.”
Are you writing a first impressions post? If so, let us know below or link to us from the article and we’ll pick it up!
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So yeah, this MMO came out this weekend. Indie thing. You’ve probably not heard of it.
Or then again, maybe you have.
Guild Wars 2 has indeed turned out to be the juggernaut it promised to be, and it’s knocking down all other MMO writing in its path. So, since I’ve spent the last two days with my head up WoW Patch 5.04’s particulars, to balance things out here’s a MASSIVE roundup of all the fascinating posts on Guild Wars 2 and how, after this long, long wait, it finally turned out.
Long and Detailed
- Ardwulf sums up his experience from beta to live in extensive bullet point form – “The game overall is very strong. Barring the occasional bug or borked event, all of the essential progression elements (tasks, events and other means of gaining XP) work great.”
- Anjin was expecting to dislike Guild Wars 2 – but turned out to love it – “For all the time I spent adventuring, I spent equally as much time exploring Divinity’s Reach. That city is amazing.”
- Matt Daniel at Massively is loving Guld Wars 2, but writes a lengthy post looking at the things he believes it could be doing better – “I’m also not a fan of how large of a role these static-quests-that-occur-at-random-times (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it) play in overall progression, and the reason for this is simple: They occur at random times.”
- Paeroka has been a Guild Wars fan for a while, but writes a really detailed pro-and-con post about her first five days’ experience – “There is no “queuing” to kill a named quest mob. There is no kill stealing in general. And no stealing of resource nodes either! I do not feel that I have to go from quest hub to quest hub and check off the available quests in each of them.”
- The Mighty Viking Hamster, who was skeptical about GW2, writes of his complete conversion to this new way of building MMOs – “ArenaNet have definitely raised the bar with this one and now I understand the frequent talk of ‘changing the genre’ that seemed to come up whenever someone was discussing the game pre-release. “
- Jeromai writes about Guild Wars 2 in detail – but apparently only managed to tear himself away because the servers went down – “I truly don’t understand how people are having a problem with gaining experience. I suspect they’re just running from heart to heart and not doing anything else”
- Psynister writes a HUUUUUUUUUGE review of the game – when I say this review covers all aspects, it really, really does – but it’s still very interesting – “GW2 uses a semi-horizontal leveling system, where-in your effective character level is reduced when you go to zones that are lower level than you actually are. “
- Chris at Game by Night enthuses about the game, which he says captured him even though as a newbie, he started out overwhelmed – “You know that whole “me posting more” thing? Yeah, GW2 wants wants to end that. That should be a testament to how good I’ve found this game.”
- Rohan shares his impressions of GW2 in a lengthy, interesting point-by-point discussion – “So changing weapons means something, it actually changes your gameplay. It’s not just cosmetic. This also allows GW2 to make weapons feel appropriate.”
On The Bans
- Ravious comments on Arena.net’s ballsy decision to publically air the reasons people were banned – “ArenaNet decided that it would be better to air some dirty laundry. The effect? It appears that they are reinforcing how they want their community to be, and people appear to be rallying behind them in force.”
- Timothy Burke also comments on this particularly interesting, and apparently really successful decision – “Basically it breaks down into two major causes: first, that the account has been hacked by gold sellers and second, because the player was saying racist, homophobic, or grossly offensive things in public chat. “
- And the thread where Arena.net actually aired the dirty laundry is really interesting reading – “If you think you were unfairly suspended, or if you’d like to know the specific chat or character name that got you suspended, post your character name and we’ll reply in graphic detail with the reason for the block”
Other Specific Topics
- The Nozy Gamer reports that the most-played MMO of the weekend was NOT World of Warcraft – “Despite the gaudy numbers, the scary thing for other game developers and publishers is that this weekend was just the early launch for those who pre-ordered GW2. “
- Green Armadillo wonders if the real MMO under threat from Guild Wars might not be WoW, but RIFT – “When you look at what distinguishes the remaining MMO’s – and in particular the surviving subscription games – I’m much more worried for Rift. “
- Syncaine wonders if the game will actually stand the test of time – “The point remains that if killing boars or whatever did not lead to something, most would not spend hours killing boars for the ‘gameplay’ factor. “
- Keen considers what it means for both the game and the player who did it that the first level 80 got there before the game was even officially launched – “Guild Wars 2 officially launches today, yet many players are already max level… What does that say about the game? What does that say about the player?.”
- Ironically enough given the game’s name, Azuriel is having real trouble with guilds in Guild Wars 2 – “Some random guy in Wisconsin six servers away claimed ownership first, now and forever, leaving me with choices like The Invictus, XxInvictusxX, Invictus 2: First Blood, and a cavalcade of increasingly poor choices.”
- Syp loves the crafting aspect of Guild Wars 2, and explains why he’s just that taken with it – “God bless ArenaNet for making crafting nodes non-exclusive. I hated that feeling of rushing toward a node while seeing someone else doing the same, worried that they’d get it first and feeling resentment toward them either way. “
- Tobold wrote a post about the first boss of Guild Wars 2 – the login server – “I’d love to tell you how much fun I had playing Guild Wars 2, but in reality I haven’t even beaten the first enemy of the game yet: The login server.”
- Moxie didn’t buy the Collector’s Edition – but decided to buy a bunch of extra items for the game instead – “Total: $300, the same price as two GW2 CEs, and we’ll certainly get a lot more use out of the gems, slots, soundtrack, and guide than we would the figurine or the in-game items”
- Stargrace checks in at level 30 to discuss the experience she’s had – which has been almost deleriously positive – “How to tell I’m REALLY enjoying a game? I stop playing alts.”
- Healing The Masses has been getting fully ADD on Guild Wars 2, and presents the experience of doing a little bit of everything – “The world feels absolutely wonderful and makes you feel like some wandering adventurer out to help (or make mischief) where and how you please. “
- Syncaine gives Guild Wars 2 the thumbs-up in typically cynical style – “Overall though a good start for Anet and GW2, even with that stupid baseball cap they gave out to everyone that instantly kicks immersion in the nuts.”
- MMO Gamer Chick shares her experience of playing GW2 over the weekend, both solo and attempting to play with friends – “Alas, out of the many hours we spent in GW2 this weekend, our characters were only able to spend a small fraction of that time in-game adventuring with each other.”
- Lorehound’s Mike explains why he’s in the minority as someone who didn’t like GW2 and won’t be keeping playing – “Making all the quests public is nice, but it doesn’t solve the problem of having boring quests and I have no interest in completing hundreds of them before I get to some good ones.”
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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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The NDA for the Guild Wars 2 Press Beta lifted very recently, and whilst the impressions posts aren’t as thick on the ground as they were at the end of the SWTOR beta, one thing really stands out to me from them.
I’ve never, ever seen a bunch of beta impressions as frothingly enthusiastic as these before.
It might be a small sample size. The gripes might have yet to come out of the woodwork. But for now, the people who have played the beta and reported on it think that Guild Wars 2 is on track to absolutely rock:
- Ravious at Kill Ten Rats isn’t normally one to rave, but it would appear he’s making a major exception – “What I can say with finality is, if $60 is the price tag of Guild Wars 2 it is going to blow away the competition in terms of value.”
- Massively ran two seperate impressions pieces – from Elizabeth Cardy and Shawn Schuster . They both loved, loved, loved it – “Guild Wars 2’s combat system is everything it’s supposed to be. I don’t mean that it’s everything MMO combat is supposed to be but everything that game combat should be.”
- And Syp at Bio Break has been reading everything he can get his hands on, and he’s pretty darn excited too – “Combos, rallying, WvWvW, personal stories, skill bar setups — it’s all coming together to make a product that has a refreshingly new experience rather than just refreshingly polished approach.”
Wow. OK. I’m really looking forward to this one now.
Seriously, is Guild Wars 2 going to be all it’s cracked up to be?
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So, as you’ll almost certainly have heard/seen/participated in, this weekend was the Star Wars: The Old Republic mega-beta-test, where hundreds of thousands of eager testers leaped onto Bioware’s servers for a weekend of play on the new MMO.
Whilst we’ve already covered one pretty epic crop of SW:TOR reactions , here are some of the more interesting and as-yet unexplored snippets that popped up from the blogosphere this weekend:
- FAIL PUG is having some problems with the human male body options – “What you won’t notice in that list is anything remotely resembling a normal male body shape. Whilst I’m totally in favour of having body shape diversity in the game, none of the available male character models look anything like Lando, Han, Luke or Obi-Wan, which is a bit odd in a Star Wars themed game.”
- We Fly Spitfires didn’t play the beta, and thinks you shouldn’t have either – “I’m going to be melodramatic and say that betas are disingenuous elite events that kill the fun for everyone else and serve little function other than to fuel the hype machine.”
- In An Age goes through the experience for several different classes – “Trooper: This was the class experience that immediately gripped me by the balls, and threatened to never let go. You barely have time for 2-3 dialog choices before your ship gets blown up, and you stumble out into a heavy fighting zone with blasters and explosions going off every which way.”
- And Tobold is looking at future class balance in SWTOR – “So in the unlikely case that every class and talent tree is equally popular, we end up with 3 tanks, 3 healers, and 18 damage dealers. And it is likely that there will be even more players going for the damage dealing talents instead for healing and tanking, based on the experience with other games of this kind.”
What corners of the SWTOR beta did you explore this weekend? Or are you avoiding it too?
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