Monday, October 1, 2012

Guild Wars 2: From Love to Apathy

Guild Wars 2 is an impressive entry into a flooded MMO market bringing changes that are a breath of fresh air. I’m currently 50 levels into the game. I feel as though I have experienced enough to do a review of the game. While I have only obtained level 50 thus far the game has been out a month now and there are plenty of level 80 characters, read on for my thoughts on the game.

Guild Wars 2 is a beautiful game. Arenanet utilizes a heavily modified Guild Wars engine bringing superior animations, particle effects, foliage and shadows. The structures and environments are all gorgeous. The vegetation looks realistic and the sky is awe-inspiring. The game reminds the player of a first rate AAA single player game which is an extraordinary feet for a MMO.
Arenanet spent a lot of time tuning their graphics and while they are beautiful, there are some down sides. Spell affects are stunning but when there are a group of players in the area it can be confusing as to who is doing what and there can also be a rather large frame rate drop. More on the design front, the cities can be a bit overwhelming to navigate due to the sheer size of them.

In my current play through, I am enjoying the engineer class which I played during the beta a good bit, along with other characters. The engineer is a versatile class that has a lot of abilities for different situations. I’m not sure I can play another class. The kits that the engineer carries allow me to go from long range rifling, to medium range grenades, and when I can get up close, I can toast my enemies with my flamethrower. During all this my turrets keep my enemy at bay, or pour more devastation into them. With that said, the class has a lot too it and I am still learning all the abilities it has.

I am loving the leveling system thus far. The personal story that your character follows is intriguing and engrossing. However, I do find the difficulty of the personal story spikes at times to a somewhat unrealistic level only to do a complete 180 and become extremely easy. Zones have more than just simple quests like most games. Points of interest reward the user with XP. Viewpoints are usually found at the end of a jumping puzzle and the player will get to experience an area cutscene. Jumping puzzles that will remind you of old platformers are exciting to see in a MMO. When you explore a zone to 100% the completion bonus is substantial.

The game does a great job with the age old question “how do I play with my friends when our levels vary so much?” Guild Wars solves this by allowing friends to return to lower level zones and be down leveled to that zone’s recommend level. This will allow the higher level player to enjoy content with their friend at a non-trivial rate, and still accrue rewards attuned to their level. Just last night I received a level 46 gun off a level 9 raptor.

When exploring Ascalonion Catacombs at level 42 I was appropriately down level to level 30, the recommended level for the story mode. Ascalonion catacombs is a difficult dungeon. My group did wipe a couple times. As you get further into the dungeon there are way points to respawn at. Currently, it’s possible to zerg a couple bosses after dying and my group ended up doing this (unplanned) on two bosses. The waypoints should not be accessible when the dungeon is in combat. Some of the bosses may need to be tuned a little, as it is possible to get one shot with no warning.

Guild Wars 2 is primarily a group focused PVP game as the title suggests. There are currently two forms of PVP in the game. SPVP is Arenanet’s competitive multiplayer environment that will hopefully be played at eSport events in the future. All players are brought to level 80 and all rewards are purely aesthetic. I have only played a couple rounds on my engineer thus far. I did well and enjoyed the game play. The second form of PVP is world v world. World v world pits three servers against each other in a gigantic map, allowing players to capture strategic points, participate in dynamic PVE events, storm fortresses, and upgrade their keeps. When there are enough players in the area this is an extremely fun game type with rewarding loot. Players you kill will drop loot(not theirs). I received two upgrades and half a level, in an hour of play. It’s a fun way to play with friends of all levels because once again, players are all the same level.
However world v world has some limitations, on my server (Stormbluff isle), it’s always full, resulting in a queue. Waypoints are few and far between. When you die you’re looking at a 3-5 minute run back to where you were just to hope you don’t die again. Arenanet did this to stop “zerging” and it works however something else needs to be done. Unfortunately I have no suggestions. Like Arenanet I don’t want 30 waypoints that results in a constant zerg. I hope they find a good solution, it’s just annoying right now. The other downside of world w world is if you’re not with a group of folks (random or guilded) it’s boring.

The crafting system in Guild Wars 2 is extensive and more involved than other games. At the same time its extremely frustrating. I currently have two professions which require the same materials. This has led to an extraordinary amount of farming lower level zones for materials to level up my crafting. It’s tedious and you’re constantly out leveling the gear you can make yourself due to the lack of materials. For instance, I’m level 50, but can only craft level 35 gear. It’s a shame because at a glance the crafting system has some great potential.

Guild wars 2 is a breath of fresh air. It still has its faults but I enjoy it nonetheless. The leveling system and content that Arenanet team has implemented is fun and only a few quests seemed tedious. Guild Wars 2 is the first MMO I’ve ever played that I can truly say I’m not in a rush to max level. I will however say that if you’re looking for a raiding PVE content game, this game is not for you. There is no end game raiding content as of the publishing of this article.
P. S. My account was hacked(I can only blame myself I guess?). It took Arenanet 5 days to return my account to me. In that time a nice German fellow, leveled 18 levels, got some decent gear, and seemed to have a blast. When I received the character back, Arenanet did not level him back to his original state, I guess I didn't really want to play that content anyways. I really could care less if i played the game again, despite my raving about it. A lot of folks got hacked, enough for the president of Arenanet to make a statement about the issue, blaming the user. I'll take responsibility I guess however the security measures are terrible. Below is the email you get when your hacked:

Someone -hopefully you!- has requested to change the email address associated with your Guild Wars account.
Need help or have questions about your Guild Wars account? Visit our support site:
-The ArenaNet Team

There is no confirmation(like Blizzard does) or anything like that. Just: "Hope it was you". More dismay was that the hacker moved my character off my server. I now cannot move him back because my server is full. I no longer can play with my friends so there really is no reason to login.


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