By DragonBloodthirsty 4 Comments
I got the opportunity to play in the most recent beta weekend, and I had some mixed experiences.
What was good about it was the successful implementation of a game where you are always happy when someone else pops up. The dynamic events are great fun when you want to participate, and are usually not too much in the way if you don't want to. And world-vs-world, at least conceptually, is fun, although it was having some technical issues at the time I played (which we'll get to later, in the "what was bad" part). The central gameplay from the first game is there, with the running around and casting spells, but it's more mobile in this game because you don't always stop to cast spells. I actually overall liked the story elements, at least for the Charr I played to level 10.
What was bad (and as of this writing the game was still in beta -- which is why this is a blog and not a review) was a lot of things that I found super-annoying. Like, you have to unlock your skills on your weapons slowly by killing things. This isn't much of an issue for the first weapon you choose to use in the starting area, but it feels very much like grinding which I hate and was one of the reasons I played the original Guild Wars to begin with. It's not fun to have to spend forever "unlocking the potential of your dagger" for every element of every weapon on my ele, for example. It will be done in "no time", but the point is that it is an annoyance that doesn't have to be there.
World vs. World was having issues at the time too, so take anything I say with a grain of salt (remember it was both beta and a bad weekend). It took me hours to get into WvW, and I eventually transfered servers (which is free during beta, but will cost money in the final release). I transfered to a lower population server, so I finally got in, but then was getting dominated by servers that simply fielded larger armies. To top it all off, while trying to defend a tower (a kind of castle-like building with walls), I discovered I did not have "line of sight" to the horde below. I was an ele packing AoE spells, but in order to be able to cast them, I had to hop up onto a precarious ledge that only came up to my knees to get "line of sight". They had no problems blasting me from below; for some reason, the targeting will let you target your AoE spells at the wall itself, so you can hit anyone standing above even when they can't hit you. Throw in a couple skirmishes where getting aggro from neutral monsters killed me (some of them hidden, not by their own skills, but by annoyingly placed vegetation), and I was thoroughly displeased.
I'm not complaining because I lost, but about the reasons why I lost. I was a class that casts area-of-effect damage spells. We had a castle I could hide in and throw spells down from on high. It's a situation that should be a dream, but was a nightmare. Instead of raining down firey death on all those below, I was relegated to providing a few lame heals for my sorely outnumbered team. It's not that the other team broke down the gate and killed us that bothers me, it's the fact that I had to stand idly by unable to really do my thing while it happened. I'd be completely content if I had thrown down some epic Meteor Showers before I died.
I had other issues to, but they're more technical limitations. I'll confess my computer isn't a powerhouse, but I ran the original GW with practically no problems. In Guild Wars 2, I got hung up on snow and large armies (which did not assist with the "carefully jump onto the narrow rail around the castle wall" problem). I could do the PvE portion of the game acceptably well (from a technical standpoint), but the PvP ran into problems whenever I got into combat with a huge group.
I don't think I can say often enough "this was still in beta", but with the game's release about a month away, I worry about what the final product will be like. The problems are fixable, but until they are fixed I'm going to remain a skeptic. I have high hopes for GW2 because I was such a big fan of GW, but I hope the last month smooths out a lot of wrinkles.
Also, I might need a new computer if I want to play the PvP in this.