Guild Wars 2 is Pretty Great So Far

Posted by PeezMachine (209 posts) -

I hate MMOs. Or at least, I hate what we think of of when we think of MMOs. The original Guild Wars drew me in because it was essentially a Collectible Card Game (CCG, like Magic: The Gathering) and eventually left me feeling cold as it became bloated and unbalanced and picked up more of the typical MMO trappings.

So it might come as a surprise to hear that Guild Wars 2, which is technically a MMO in the way that the heavily instanced Guild Wars was not, is pretty much my favorite thing - at least from what I've played of the beta. There are tons of things to talk about, but I'll just pick the few biggest winners and losers here and save more detailed item-specific analysis for other posts (or the ensuing flame wars in the comments).

What I did: Over the two "Beta Weekend Events" (BWEs), I tried out 5 of the 8 available classes. I tried 2 of the 5 races (Human and Norn) but didn't spend much time outside of the human zones because I didn't want to see everything before release. I spent a vast majority of my time in PvE, though I did play some team PvP and the server showdown "World vs. World vs. World" large-scale PvP (we'll call it WvW for short).

What Worked:

1. You actually want to see other players. Loot, experience, resource nodes, you name it - you sacrifice none of it when you run across other players out in the world. This has had a huge effect on the social dynmanic in-game: players frequently call out for help or to point out a new event happening that they want other people to experience. If a typicall PvE experience in an MMO is "dog eat dog," Guild Wars 2 is "dog help dog." It was actually relaxing. Is that possible?

2. The scaling. You never really feel out of place in Guild Wars 2. For example, in a typical MMO, a level 20 character is going to steamroll a level 5 area, but in GW2, you're scaled down to an area's level if you're way above it. Sure, you'll have the added bonus of your better equipment and skills, but you will not be a god amongst insects. The effect is twofold: first, you can always return to (or explore other) low-level areas and still find a challenge and second, you won't see any super-high level characters griefing you in the starter areas. Also, Dynamic Events (think "quests") scale depending on the number of players involved, and while the extra firepower you get definitely makes things slightly easier, you don't have to worry about an event becoming trivial just because a lot of people are working on it.

3. The feel of combat. Simply put, it's active and fast-paced. This is not a "hit your skill bar and trade hits" type of game. You'll need to dodge and maneuver to make it through the day, and if you're anything like me, you'll feel like a champ when your skills (usually reserved for paying the bills) allow you to take down higher-level enemies. Skills feel general enough to be consistently useful but complex enough that you'll be rewarded for using them smartly.

4. Versatility. Arenanet has long talked about how they hope to break the "tank-heal-DPS" model for MMOs (and really, any team-based RPG), and I have to say, they've done it and then some. Every class can do a little of everything, but more importantly, they do it all differently. For example, my Engineer survives by using Blinding attacks and an AoE slow, whereas my Thief uses Interrupts, Stealth, and skills with built-in Evasion, and my Warrior uses thick armor and some tactical skills (or a shield if I'm feeling like it). For damage, it's the same idea: my Engineer prefers damage over time, my Thief goes for big spikes, and my Warrior likes to start off with a rifle before swapping to a greatsword to charge in for the kill. The ability of most classes to quickly swap between two weapon sets and use a variety of ranged and melee weapons just drives home the fact that you can make any class do just about anything, but without making the various classes feel any less unique.

Some Issues:

1) Lots of buttons. You'll end up with 10 skills in your bar (5 weapon skills, a healing skill, 3 utility skill, and and "Elite" skill) as well as up to 4 "class" skills that live ABOVE the skill bar and are accessed using the F1-F4 keys. Trying to access the right skill at the right time while dodging about and keep the camera where you want it can be an iffy and sometimes painful proposition. I found using Shift+1-5 to use skills 6-10 helped a bit, but my left hand still felt a bit overworked.

2) Bigger isn't better. I think that GW2 has been at its best in groups of 4-6 people (EDIT: 4-6 for boss events, 2-4 for most everything else). At that scale, everything feels social and active without being a clusterfuck. A lot of it has to do with the visual style of the game, which is very active and as a result can quickly feel very busy. It's why the 5v5 PvP feels far messier than the original Guild Wars' 4v4, even though it's only an extra 2 players. In the massive WvW events where it's typical to see 40-man battles, you really just spam your skills and hope for the best. The thing is that GW2 eschews a traditional resource system (skills don't cost anything to use, they just have a cooldown), and while it really works on a small scale where the nuances of the combat system feel present and important, that system loses its precision when things get big. As a result I found myself spending a lot more time in PvE than PvP.

I'm On The Fence About:

1) WvW. The scale and grand strategy of it are pretty impressive, but the combat is just too unsatisfying to do it justice. It's like watching a brilliantly written and directed movie with terrible actors. Sure, it's a great movie, but it's not always that much fun to watch because at the end of the day, it's the actors you have to live with. WvW is an incredible setting for a meal that isn't that satisfying. It's an awesome spaceship but it's made out of toothpicks. It's [metaphor or simile of your choice].

EDIT: I also had massive framerate hits in WvW, which certainly killed the sense of precision. Hopefully I'll have some new hardware in before the next BWE, and we'll see if that helps.

2) Dynamic Events. When the events connect to other events or make some sort of tangible (but fleeting) impact on the world, they really work. Like this one event where you have to clear out a cave full of troublesome Grawl and then, if you succeed, you have to gather resources to build an ice sculpture in their cave? That was cool! Or the one where bandits try to poison a reservoir and if they fail to stop them, it triggers a new event where you need to run around killing blobs of toxic ooze and collecting samples? That was nice because the result felt immediate. However, too many of the events are boring escort affairs or glorified (and usually overly drawn-out) variations on "Kill Ten Rats" for the whole thing to get a solid stamp of approval.

Final Comments:

I have other minor quibbles with Guild Wars 2 as it is right now, but I think we've covered all the love/hate/maybe in the game's fundamental systems. In short, it's absolutely brilliant. Much like Skyrim, it feels like there is really no wrong way to play it - you just jump in and start doing whatever works for you and you'll have a good time with it. This might not work for hardcore MMOers who misinterpret the flexibility as simplicity, but it's perfect for anyone looking for some solid mechanics in a world that would rather reward you for your victories than punish you for your shortcomings. What's even more incredible is that in my time with the beta, I've not once said to myself "man, I wish this other player would just leave me alone." It's too soon to tell if that's the result of a good community or of sharp design that supports collaboration over confrontation, but whatever it is, it has to be a first for games like this.

Or maybe there aren't games like this, and that's the problem.

#1 Edited by PeezMachine (209 posts) -

I hate MMOs. Or at least, I hate what we think of of when we think of MMOs. The original Guild Wars drew me in because it was essentially a Collectible Card Game (CCG, like Magic: The Gathering) and eventually left me feeling cold as it became bloated and unbalanced and picked up more of the typical MMO trappings.

So it might come as a surprise to hear that Guild Wars 2, which is technically a MMO in the way that the heavily instanced Guild Wars was not, is pretty much my favorite thing - at least from what I've played of the beta. There are tons of things to talk about, but I'll just pick the few biggest winners and losers here and save more detailed item-specific analysis for other posts (or the ensuing flame wars in the comments).

What I did: Over the two "Beta Weekend Events" (BWEs), I tried out 5 of the 8 available classes. I tried 2 of the 5 races (Human and Norn) but didn't spend much time outside of the human zones because I didn't want to see everything before release. I spent a vast majority of my time in PvE, though I did play some team PvP and the server showdown "World vs. World vs. World" large-scale PvP (we'll call it WvW for short).

What Worked:

1. You actually want to see other players. Loot, experience, resource nodes, you name it - you sacrifice none of it when you run across other players out in the world. This has had a huge effect on the social dynmanic in-game: players frequently call out for help or to point out a new event happening that they want other people to experience. If a typicall PvE experience in an MMO is "dog eat dog," Guild Wars 2 is "dog help dog." It was actually relaxing. Is that possible?

2. The scaling. You never really feel out of place in Guild Wars 2. For example, in a typical MMO, a level 20 character is going to steamroll a level 5 area, but in GW2, you're scaled down to an area's level if you're way above it. Sure, you'll have the added bonus of your better equipment and skills, but you will not be a god amongst insects. The effect is twofold: first, you can always return to (or explore other) low-level areas and still find a challenge and second, you won't see any super-high level characters griefing you in the starter areas. Also, Dynamic Events (think "quests") scale depending on the number of players involved, and while the extra firepower you get definitely makes things slightly easier, you don't have to worry about an event becoming trivial just because a lot of people are working on it.

3. The feel of combat. Simply put, it's active and fast-paced. This is not a "hit your skill bar and trade hits" type of game. You'll need to dodge and maneuver to make it through the day, and if you're anything like me, you'll feel like a champ when your skills (usually reserved for paying the bills) allow you to take down higher-level enemies. Skills feel general enough to be consistently useful but complex enough that you'll be rewarded for using them smartly.

4. Versatility. Arenanet has long talked about how they hope to break the "tank-heal-DPS" model for MMOs (and really, any team-based RPG), and I have to say, they've done it and then some. Every class can do a little of everything, but more importantly, they do it all differently. For example, my Engineer survives by using Blinding attacks and an AoE slow, whereas my Thief uses Interrupts, Stealth, and skills with built-in Evasion, and my Warrior uses thick armor and some tactical skills (or a shield if I'm feeling like it). For damage, it's the same idea: my Engineer prefers damage over time, my Thief goes for big spikes, and my Warrior likes to start off with a rifle before swapping to a greatsword to charge in for the kill. The ability of most classes to quickly swap between two weapon sets and use a variety of ranged and melee weapons just drives home the fact that you can make any class do just about anything, but without making the various classes feel any less unique.

Some Issues:

1) Lots of buttons. You'll end up with 10 skills in your bar (5 weapon skills, a healing skill, 3 utility skill, and and "Elite" skill) as well as up to 4 "class" skills that live ABOVE the skill bar and are accessed using the F1-F4 keys. Trying to access the right skill at the right time while dodging about and keep the camera where you want it can be an iffy and sometimes painful proposition. I found using Shift+1-5 to use skills 6-10 helped a bit, but my left hand still felt a bit overworked.

2) Bigger isn't better. I think that GW2 has been at its best in groups of 4-6 people (EDIT: 4-6 for boss events, 2-4 for most everything else). At that scale, everything feels social and active without being a clusterfuck. A lot of it has to do with the visual style of the game, which is very active and as a result can quickly feel very busy. It's why the 5v5 PvP feels far messier than the original Guild Wars' 4v4, even though it's only an extra 2 players. In the massive WvW events where it's typical to see 40-man battles, you really just spam your skills and hope for the best. The thing is that GW2 eschews a traditional resource system (skills don't cost anything to use, they just have a cooldown), and while it really works on a small scale where the nuances of the combat system feel present and important, that system loses its precision when things get big. As a result I found myself spending a lot more time in PvE than PvP.

I'm On The Fence About:

1) WvW. The scale and grand strategy of it are pretty impressive, but the combat is just too unsatisfying to do it justice. It's like watching a brilliantly written and directed movie with terrible actors. Sure, it's a great movie, but it's not always that much fun to watch because at the end of the day, it's the actors you have to live with. WvW is an incredible setting for a meal that isn't that satisfying. It's an awesome spaceship but it's made out of toothpicks. It's [metaphor or simile of your choice].

EDIT: I also had massive framerate hits in WvW, which certainly killed the sense of precision. Hopefully I'll have some new hardware in before the next BWE, and we'll see if that helps.

2) Dynamic Events. When the events connect to other events or make some sort of tangible (but fleeting) impact on the world, they really work. Like this one event where you have to clear out a cave full of troublesome Grawl and then, if you succeed, you have to gather resources to build an ice sculpture in their cave? That was cool! Or the one where bandits try to poison a reservoir and if they fail to stop them, it triggers a new event where you need to run around killing blobs of toxic ooze and collecting samples? That was nice because the result felt immediate. However, too many of the events are boring escort affairs or glorified (and usually overly drawn-out) variations on "Kill Ten Rats" for the whole thing to get a solid stamp of approval.

Final Comments:

I have other minor quibbles with Guild Wars 2 as it is right now, but I think we've covered all the love/hate/maybe in the game's fundamental systems. In short, it's absolutely brilliant. Much like Skyrim, it feels like there is really no wrong way to play it - you just jump in and start doing whatever works for you and you'll have a good time with it. This might not work for hardcore MMOers who misinterpret the flexibility as simplicity, but it's perfect for anyone looking for some solid mechanics in a world that would rather reward you for your victories than punish you for your shortcomings. What's even more incredible is that in my time with the beta, I've not once said to myself "man, I wish this other player would just leave me alone." It's too soon to tell if that's the result of a good community or of sharp design that supports collaboration over confrontation, but whatever it is, it has to be a first for games like this.

Or maybe there aren't games like this, and that's the problem.

#2 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2494 posts) -

Hey, another great post.

As a side note (as I see you've been saving parts of the game for release like I have), I was helping a fellow guildie through Divinity's Reach late last night and I had to make the camera point straight down at the floor and zoom out just right as that is one of the things I don't want to spoil for myself come release (I'm a human fanboy at heart when it comes to GW). A very interesting experience. You should try combat like that some time (against somethhing easy preferably). Also, Divinity's Reach has amazing floors.

Anyway, for things that worked;

1. You nailed it.

2. Some events are definitely ruined by "zergs" of players, and that did happen to me a couple of times last beta (less so on this one). However, in general - aside from that slight imbalance which I'm not sure they can fix - you're right, scaling is a fantastic mechanic. However, I have to note that it's a bit harsh at times (moving from a lvl 10 area, for example, to a bordering lvl 13 area) and I would prefer if it lowered you to 1-above the level cap rather than onto it.

3, 4 - spot on.

Your issues;

1. it's been worse elsewhere (for example, GW1 didn't let you use that shift trick) - but I agree.

2. I disagree. I think PvE works best with an even smaller group (say 2-3) as it keeps things challenging and doesn't send the group-adjustment sky rocketting. 5 made things a bit easy and more made them take a bit long. As for WvW, I think you haven't really been exposed to what it's capable of if those are your observations regarding the numbers involved. WvW works best in two states - groups of about 4-8 engaging in small skirmishes and groups of about 10-15 in larger ones. You should never engage the enemy if they have a number advantage or even at equivalence as it's a waste of time - and resultantly you should never find yourself in those horrid 40-80 person free-for-alls.

BUT things like that iron out if you're rolling with teams who are serious about combat efficiency and tactics. It turns out (to my actual surprise) that Lincoln Force is indeed a force to be reckoned with in WvW (and I'm not even exaggerating here) - so I hope you roll with us a bit more on that front. (I assume I haven't played with you in game yet as you aren't on the beta roster)

Your on-the-fence points;

1. Roll with us, I implore you. I think a number of guys on here can back me up in saying that the game really changes if you're with a team of like minded individuals who know what's going on - for example, and can probably serve as guys who can testify to the difference.

2. I agree, though I personally like those escort missions (aside from the NPCs moving altogether way too slowly sometimes). This spawns from my feeling that GW2's world feels so... cohesive. There's really a sense that the areas are interconnected and interact with one another on a deep level. Anyway, yes, I hate stuff like those "kill ten rats" missions, which pop up WAY too frequently - especially as some of them are far overlong.

#3 Posted by PeezMachine (209 posts) -

@selfconfessedcynic: Excellent comments. In retrospect, I think you're especially right about 4-6 even being too big for most PvE. Threw an edit in there accordingly. No, I'm not on the GB Guild roster.... yet! In all fairness to the WvW, I kind of just walked into it and joined the fray - I wasn't with a guild or party so I just looked on the map for the action and went to it. Not the most refined methodology, but I at least spent a good chunk of time with it.

The issue of scaling on player number, is, as you so very well put it, a most likely impossible-to-perfect balancing act. After all, they want players to synergize with each other, which sort of implies that you become disproportionately stronger with numbers. I'd say it's close enough, though.

#4 Posted by selfconfessedcynic (2494 posts) -

@PeezMachine: Hey, I hope you make the jump and join us. We're on Yak's Bend, the American server though a lot of us (including myself) are from Australia and around EU.

I only just realised that these are some of your first posts here, and I hope to hear more from you around these parts in the future.

Anyway - I'm really quite happy with how it is at the moment, and am scarily leaning towards the way of thinking that this may actually be one of my favourite games full stop. If only I didn't really dislike structured pvp, it would already be there - but as of yet, I think I want to see more of the expanded world and personal story.

Either way, I would have bought the game just for WvW if I knew how good it was a couple of months back.

#5 Posted by BionicRadd (617 posts) -

Concerning the "too many buttons" thing, I'd suggest doing what I do in all MMOs including the original GW.

WASD for movement.

1-4, Q, E, R, F, Z, X, C, V for all my spells, as well as various alt, shift or control modifiers when needed in games like WoW. This centralizes all your attacks around the hand you're using for movement.

Doubt you'd really need the modifiers for GW 2, since I assume you have to pick a load out in town like you did in GW 1?

Now for a question from someone who hasn't had a chance to try GW 2. Can we solo? I mean truly solo. The thing that killed GW 1 for me was Heroes. I just hated it.

#6 Edited by Seppli (9746 posts) -

Rebind your keys more smartly. I've set my skills keybinds like this. 1,2,3,4,5,E,Q,C,X,Y (for skills 1-10). I've got some extra buttons on my mouse, which I use for profession skills, employing shift+M3,M4 and alt+M3,M4. Perfectly ergonomical setup.

I like the elementalist class the most thus far (having tried 5 out of 8 professions), because I get the most simultaneous active skills out of it, thanks to the attunement mechanic. I'm used to playing with 30+ hotkeys in other MMOs, any less than the 25+ active skills of the elementalist and I feel underwhelmed. Guess I'm very different that way.

That said, if you rebind the keys around WASD (and replace keyboard turning on A/D with strafing), you should end up with a way more ergonomical button layout, especially for as little as 10 hotkeys for skills total.

#7 Posted by selfconfessedcynic (2494 posts) -

@BionicRadd: Truly solo? No.

When around the world, you'll always end up doing events with people just by chance if nothing else - the times where you're absolutely alone, some of the events simply aren't possible like that (or wont trigger if it's just you there).

For example, I don't think anyone will ever solo The Shatterer.

But yes, check out this thread for more opinions on the matter.

#8 Edited by Seppli (9746 posts) -

@BionicRadd said:

Concerning the "too many buttons" thing, I'd suggest doing what I do in all MMOs including the original GW.

WASD for movement.

1-4, Q, E, R, F, Z, X, C, V for all my spells, as well as various alt, shift or control modifiers when needed in games like WoW. This centralizes all your attacks around the hand you're using for movement.

Doubt you'd really need the modifiers for GW 2, since I assume you have to pick a load out in town like you did in GW 1?

Now for a question from someone who hasn't had a chance to try GW 2. Can we solo? I mean truly solo. The thing that killed GW 1 for me was Heroes. I just hated it.

Solo'd everything (lvls 1-26). High TTK (time to kill) in general. Active dodging and skillful movement required constantly. Respawn rates currently too high, to make soloing perfectly enjoyable, but it's a viable playstyle and loads of fun regardless.

Reported as much ot ANet. Hope more do so. It'd just take some little tweaks to make it a much more enjoyable experience when adventuring solo.

There are, as of now, no AI companions.

#9 Edited by UssjTrunks (534 posts) -

I found mobs that were at your exact level extremely easy to solo last BWE. I was level 14, and every level 14 enemy I faced would go down in 3-4 hits. It's the higher level stuff that's harder to solo and takes a while. But as long as you don't get too ahead of yourself, it's very doable.

#10 Posted by Evelgest (121 posts) -

@BionicRadd said:

Concerning the "too many buttons" thing, I'd suggest doing what I do in all MMOs including the original GW.

WASD for movement.

1-4, Q, E, R, F, Z, X, C, V for all my spells, as well as various alt, shift or control modifiers when needed in games like WoW. This centralizes all your attacks around the hand you're using for movement.

Doubt you'd really need the modifiers for GW 2, since I assume you have to pick a load out in town like you did in GW 1?

Now for a question from someone who hasn't had a chance to try GW 2. Can we solo? I mean truly solo. The thing that killed GW 1 for me was Heroes. I just hated it.

No, GW2 isn't instanced like the original, so you don't have to select skills before leaving town. You only truly get to choose the last 4 skills and an elite. Your main attacks are dependent on your weapon. You can switch skills whenever you're not in battle. Solo-ing dynamic events is tough and in some instances, nearly impossible. The Heart events, however, are easily solo-able.

I didn't have an issue with too many buttons. Then again, I mainly played a Warrior and Mesmer this weekend. On my Deathadder I have the closest thumb button configured to my healing skill while skill 7 to the other thumb button. Skills 8 and 9 are currently Shift 2 and Shift 3. I may have to configure 5 to something else though.

#11 Posted by Bollard (5027 posts) -

At the OP, first of all very well written post, was good to read. Also, I might have to rebind my 6-10 skills to shift+1-5 too, as I found myself having to click them more often than not cause I don't like reaching that far from WASD. Then again, as necro when all they do is cast minions it's not an issue to just click em anyway.

@selfconfessedcynic said:

As a side note (as I see you've been saving parts of the game for release like I have), I was helping a fellow guildie through Divinity's Reach late last night and I had to make the camera point straight down at the floor and zoom out just right as that is one of the things I don't want to spoil for myself come release (I'm a human fanboy at heart when it comes to GW). A very interesting experience. You should try combat like that some time (against somethhing easy preferably). Also, Divinity's Reach has amazing floors.

Just play Anti-Pacman with the map view, that's what I did :P That way you can move and see where you're going more or less, just in 2D. If you get stuck on something not on the map just whack jump a lot ahah

#12 Edited by Benny (1937 posts) -

I feel there isn't enough build-up and pay-off for epic encounters. I know the shatterer and tequatl for example are larger battles but what I mean is, some of the pve feels rather 'throwaway' in that completing events is almost just ticking off boxes on a list of things to do and not necessarily memorable or challenging, or requiring a decent time commitment (e.g. 1-2 hours.)

I worry a little when they talk of having no end-game that there wont be real ass-kicking bosses guarded by swarms of monsters whos only goal in life is to scalp unprepared challengers. I do hope to be proven wrong and would love to see some sort of Fissure of Woe style zone out in the world that really proves who are the most skilled and not who has simply followed zergs round all the dynamic event chains in the world.

If anyone has any links to developers talking about this sort of thing specifically I'd love to read it.

#13 Edited by UssjTrunks (534 posts) -

@Benny said:

I feel there isn't enough build-up and pay-off for epic encounters. I know the shatterer and tequatl for example are larger battles but what I mean is, some of the pve feels rather 'throwaway' in that completing events is almost just ticking off boxes on a list of things to do and not necessarily memorable or challenging, or requiring a decent time commitment (e.g. 1-2 hours.)

The game was designed around no grind or extended time commitment (trying to appeal to casuals/people with busy schedules), so events are supposed to be quick.

I worry a little when they talk of having no end-game that there wont be real ass-kicking bosses guarded by swarms of monsters whos only goal in life is to scalp unprepared challengers. I do hope to be proven wrong and would love to see some sort of Fissure of Woe style zone out in the world that really proves who are the most skilled and not who has simply followed zergs round all the dynamic event chains in the world.

I didn't play any of the dungeons, but from what I've seen, they seem similar to GW1 dungeons like FOW.

#14 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (2960 posts) -

@Benny said:

some sort of Fissure of Woe style zone

Man, FoW is scrub-league. Talk to me about the Underworld or Urgoz's Warren.

#15 Posted by selfconfessedcynic (2494 posts) -

@Benny: @UssjTrunks:

I would agree that some of the PvE content is definitely throwaway, and a great example would be the time I spent with in the norn starter area over the weekend. There was a couple of quests there where we had to do things like give beer to thirsty soldiers which just draaaaaaaaged and didn't feel like you had any real impact on the world (mainly because there was like only 1 thirsty soldier who we had to spam beer on and 1 hungry soldier that we found).

However, I disagree that there is a lack of pay-off and time-sinky-ness to the PvE. Two good examples would be the svanir boss at Frozenfell Creek (the whole event chain can take a good hour if you're quick about it like me and robbie or 2 if you're alone like me in the last bwe) and there's another one at Svanir's Dome (the very north of wayfarer foothills, NE of hoelbrak) which is supposed to be a multi-stage assault on the svanir encampment ending in a pretty big boss fight. We showed up just before the boss, and that thing took like 20 mins to take down (with only 5-10 players there, so the event scaling wasn't even tripping balls yet). I can tell you that it was pretty awesome once we finally did it, though I will say that after it was done the NPCs kindof just walked off and we were standing there in an empty camp with nothing to do for a tad - so I guess the payoff was just the feeling of success there.

If that's the point you're making, though, you're definitely right. Once you get to the end of an event chain and do something spectacular, the moments immediately proceeding that are the world rapidly normalising, which is invariably a huge anti-climax - at least throw a bloody parade or something, people!

@Dark_Lord_Spam: lol

#16 Posted by Benny (1937 posts) -

@selfconfessedcynic: I feel bad I missed the events you were talking about and I totally get the satisfaction of having completed a challenging quest, but since it's an online game I'd like something to show for it too or as you said something crazy like a parade!

If I wanted to complete tough stuff to prove something to myself I would play super meat boy to 100% completion or Ninja Gaiden blindfolded (probably impossible.) They obviously do care about the impact of the PVE on the world because it's always one of the things they ask you to rate the events on and I hope that it's something they continue to play close attention to, cause the rest of the game is outstanding.

#17 Edited by project343 (2807 posts) -

@PeezMachine:

I haven't seen any "kill ten rats" events at all and I made my way up to level 31. The worst that I've seen are the 'collect X of this and bring it back to Y before they move onto the next phase.' Or, you'll sometimes come across an event that'll have you 'clear X number of Y's in a town' (such as killing all 15 pirate invaders setting fire to a town, then putting out all the fires). Perhaps you're thinking of the hearts, and those generally offer non-combat alternatives to filling up.

And I 'adore' the escort quests. Particularly when escorting a lowly adventurer through a dangerous swampy route to a new town that you haven't been to. It feels like cooperative exploration that thrusts you into the unknown and rewards you for it.

@selfconfessedcynic: I'll say that, having gone through every zone to near-completion throughout both beta weekends, the Norn starting area is probably the weakest of the bunch in terms of hearts/events. If you haven't gone through the Charr or Human content, I'd say that you'll be pleasantly shocked at how mind-blowing-ly fantastic some of the event content is in the game. The human war effort against the centaur (particularly with Kessex's zone-wide centaur meta event struggle) and the Charr's event-chaining, world-impacting events (oil refinery spilling into a lake, entire outposts getting sacked to the ground, etc.) are spectacular.

#18 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2494 posts) -

@project343: I pretty much explored all of the lvl1-15 areas across my 4 characters and the human ~lvl25 area (yeah, kessex hills). Before kessex hills, I got HELLA sick of the whole centaurs thing. Every other event was just kill some centaurs or recapture something taken by centaurs or help these dudes kidnapped by centaurs.

Only when you get to Kessex does that get interesting - as you say, the map-wide centaur showdown is pretty darn cool to behold.

Perhaps my opinions will change when I start seeing more of the lvl25 areas for races other than humans, but at least amongst the lvl 15 areas (which encompasses both of the events I mentioned before), I think norn wins it as their event chains were more varied. As for the charr area, I just think it's too damn brown. The only times I was seriously impressed was a) when I realised that the sphere in the middle of the black citadel is actually a semi-sphere (I wont spoil more than that) and when the lighting changes near where ascalon was / the great northern wall is.

#19 Posted by PeezMachine (209 posts) -

@project343: From where I'm standing "Feed 10 cows" is functionally equivalent to "Kill 10 rats." It's not the killing that makes "Kill 10 Rats" quest a terrible thing - it's the 9 times you have to kill rats after the first one. This is mostly an issue with the Reknown Hearts more than the proper Events (for the scope of this article, I kind of combined the two and called them "Events"). As for the escort missions, I think they have a lot of potential but just move far too slowly right now, With such a big and interesting world, I don't want to wait for a painfully slow pack mule to get a move on before I can go see other things. A brisker pace and I'm back on board, as I found the skirmishes in the escort missions to actually be some of the best.

#20 Edited by project343 (2807 posts) -

@PeezMachine: I think the brilliance of Guild Wars 2's PVE design is in it's free-form nature. You never have to do anything to proceed something else, and you can tackle these somethings in any order you like. If there's a particularly grindy renown heart, you can walk away from it without a care in the world. With the feed 10 cows comment, ArenaNet alleviates most of the grindy by removing the convoluted requirement number and replacing it with a bar (which, to me, changes everything--it feels a lot more like I'm helping out on a farm and gaining their trust as opposed to fulfilling a checklist). More than that, IIRC about the feeding cows example, it has SEVERAL alternatives:

  • Cleaning up the holes in the area
  • Killing the worms
  • Killing nearby bandits
  • Watering the corn
  • Participating in any of the events that happen in the area (giant worm, bandit raid)

That last point is one of the most refreshing design decisions in the game. Rather than sitting around grinding, I tend to fill up my hearts more via events than anything. Rather than cleaning up the small town in Gendarran Fields, I defended it against the onslaught of risen (zombies) in one of the most panicked, memorable events in the beta. My not-so-grindy heart was filled in no time.

And to the escort comment, I do agree. They move a bit slow, but I'm a patient person. Did you submit that feedback via beta forums? They've been rather fantastic at reading every single forum post after they close down their forums and applying those changes for the next beta weekend (they cut down Engineer turret cooldown time in like... half! Squee! :D).

#21 Edited by UssjTrunks (534 posts) -

@project343:

If you're after 100% completion, you need to complete all the hearts.

With the feed 10 cows comment, ArenaNet alleviates most of the grindy by removing the convoluted requirement number and replacing it with a bar (which, to me, changes everything--it feels a lot more like I'm helping out on a farm and gaining their trust as opposed to fulfilling a checklist).

Really? :P

I didn't find any of them particularly fun, but they were bearable. However, the grind was minimized because the events were usually only a few minutes long and, like you said, you could complete a variety of tasks.

#22 Posted by project343 (2807 posts) -

@UssjTrunks: You must have missed the bug catching one, the one where you get turned into a pig and sniff out truffles, the one where you fight in an arena against hordes of monsters, the rabbit food one, the snowball fighting with the local children one, etc..

#23 Posted by UssjTrunks (534 posts) -

@project343 said:

@UssjTrunks: You must have missed the bug catching one, the one where you get turned into a pig and sniff out truffles, the one where you fight in an arena against hordes of monsters, the rabbit food one, the snowball fighting with the local children one, etc..

Those actually sound awesome. All I did was the stuff in Queensdale, and it was mostly just helping people with their farms.

#24 Posted by project343 (2807 posts) -

@UssjTrunks: Here's a video of the pig truffle one, put out by the Yogscast dudes. It's spectacular. I particularly enjoy how the screen goes all vibrant-looking in the pig form.

Also, in a previous example I mentioned a town right on the edge of a swamp that was constantly met with risen (zombie) attacks. The heart there tasks you with cleaning up all the rotten corpses in the town, cleaning it up, and prepping for the waves of attacks. I think, compared to the awesome later stuff in the game, the early stuff is much less compelling. Then again, the rabbit food one is in the Norn starting area, and you have to grab bags of rabbit food and work your way through a minefield of rabbits who chase you down, tackle you, and eat your food. The idea is to bring it back to the farmer without getting knocked down. I also particularly enjoyed Beetletun (in Queensdale). Cleaning up the city and playing hide and seek with the kids was spectacular.

I think, overall, the hearts alone are a more compelling than traditional questing. You can make progress without preemptively talking to anyone, you have a variety of methods to completing the goal, and they open up these delightful little exclusive shops for your karma--often yielding some really silly rewards if you want to spend your karma on them. But obviously the PVE experience is much more than hearts. They only exist as silly little diversions that move you around a zone. The meat of the game is the event system.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.