Guild Wars 2 – Final Pre-Release Impressions
Guild Wars 2 could be the worst thing to happen to my real world social life. Or the best thing. Depends on how you look at it.
I spent as much time as I could playing the beta this past weekend. It started off with a race to get onto the server we wanted. A process which included remotely logging into the home computer from work and enduring the slideshow of setting up a character and choosing a server. It’s a good thing we did though, otherwise the server would have been full by the time I got home from work. I say “good thing” though the people who I was trying to play with on that server never ended up getting on… Hope you had fun doing less fun, more lame things.
I created an Asura elementalist. I chose both a race and profession I don’t intend to play as my main character when the game is released. But it turned out to be fantastically fun. I’ve never particularly enjoyed the spellcaster role in games, but this just feels so much different. You aren’t standing in one place spamming spells. You’re constantly dodging attacks and trying to get position so your onslaught has the greatest effect. It had a lot more similarities to the Mesmer I played last beta weekend, but I really enjoyed the zipping back and forth between close and ranged attacks that the Mesmer had.
I played a fair amount of PvE; just general exploring and questing along with the multitude of dynamic events that pop up as your wandering around. The Asura starting area is very cool. But not as mind blowing as the human area. It’s hard to compare to Divinity’s Reach, though Rata Sum, the Asura city, does have a very techy sci-fi feel to it that fits their personality to a tee.
But by and large what consumed most of time time was World vs. World. This is multiplayer PvP on a massive scale. Literally hundreds of players on a single map battling for stratigic locations. Supply camps generate supply and allow you to reinforce your castles or build siege weapons to bring down opposing structures or players. They are relatively defenseless but are often near the edges of the map behind castles or keeps making them somewhat secure by geography. Towers and keeps are heavily fortified and a battle to take down a keep can take literally hours depending on how well defended it is.
Supply can be carried by players and used to repair the damage that the attacking force, sometimes 50 or more players, are doing. Or it can be used to build weapons to repel the mass of attackers. The result is battles for a single map position that can last hours and require some loose strategic thinking. I use the term loose, because there are really not clear “commanders” on your team. The result is more like a large flock of birds that moves as a process greater any one individual in that flock. I’m sure as the community matures more effective strategy will become common place. For now it’s fun just being a part of this “force” that crashes against walls like waves against a cliff until that wall finally gives way. When the walls on a castle come down and your group pours through, it really feels like what you see in the movies when the gates fall and the hordes go rushing in. Except less pillaging.
Though the rewards are still compelling in WvW. You get experience for everything you do. Whether its straight forward attacking, or just escorting supply packs from A to B. You can really play at your own pace and make a meaningful contribution to your team’s objective.
I was excited to play WvW, but I certianly didn’t expect to get sucked in like I did. But that pretty much sums up everything about this game I’ve played so far. Everything I’ve tried has been fun and engaging. But most of all, it all just feels so natural. Now just 4 long weeks until I get to play again. But I won’t feel required to play as intensely during these beta weekends, because I’ll know at that time, I can log on whenever I want… no subscription fees. Hells yeah. This game is going to rock. Now just to find a good guild.