GW2 BWE1 First Impressions

I’ve played a few hours and I want to get my initial impressions out while they are still fresh.  These are my very early impressions.

Server Issues

I’ve had a lot of bad luck getting an optimal experience in Guild Wars 2 thus far.

When I first launched the game I was getting error after error while trying to join Sorrow’s Furnace.   Others on Ventrilo with me were getting the same error.  I thought to myself that I would try another server and simply delete a character that I make and choose a new home server, but my thought process was flawed because as soon as I chose a server I realized I was locked into it.  Being separated from my guild, I entered my credit card into to obtain 2,000 free beta gems so that I could buy an 1,800 server transfer.  After several hours of trying, that feature does not work.

Performance

GW2 does not run as well as I hoped.  I immediately noticed I’m getting low FPS in many areas.  Some areas speed up and the game feels smooth, but in order to get any decent performance I need to turn my shadows to low and shaders to medium.  I’m still averaging about 20 FPS with a rig that runs every other game I’ve tried on the highest settings.  I assume this is due to the game utilizing more CPU and less GPU, as well as a lack of optimization given the beta status.

When I get near a lot of other players the game slows down considerably.  In the Human starting area the event to help the water was packed with 50 people and I was getting a lot of slow down.

Combat

I think I like it.  I’ve tried a Thief and an Engineer so far.  I will comment more on individual classes later, and create videos.  Combat in general is fun.  I really like the idea of abilities being tied to weapons.  I’ve tried daggers, guns, rifles, and each of the abilities for the classes have felt unique.  During an event in the Charr starting area I was able to utilize my AOE attacks with a rifle and I farmed up a lot of kills, but I also attracted aggro and died.

“Dynamic” Events

They’re not dynamic.  Duh.  They’re events, and that’s what I’ll call them.  The events are fine.  They feel more natural than WAR’s Public Quests, but they are absolutely an iteration or evolution of that system.   I wish they would remove stages and make the experience more organic.  The early events in Human lands were putting out fires with buckets of water, defending against waves of bandits, and feeding cows.  I’m not very impressed with the early events, but even the second stage of events are becoming more fun.

Overall Feel

I haven’t decided yet.  Movement feels odd.  I’m not yet used to it.  PvE progression is better than the standard questing because I feel more free to go about the game in my own way.  I like the level of quality in the map system (maybe my favorite part so far) and I like the overall quality.  Polish is moderate, definitely not high.

I’m going to continue testing to focus my thoughts on specifics.  WvW is next on the list. Video after the jump.

Here’s a video I took live while playing.  During this video you’ll hear ventrilo.  Future videos I have that disabled. Youtube videos are in the works.

  • I also could not get onto Sorrow’s Furnace. I played the Norn area on another server. The game looks good, & ran smoothly until the flood of players caused everything to lag like crazy. The guardian class reminds me of a paladin. There is nothing too evil in the cash shop at the moment, I noticed you can buy a random pack of 3 mini-pets.

  • I think the game is awesome, i have a top notch computer and don’t experience any of the clunkyness you mentioned. I love the Charr tutorial epic quest….was epic….

  • Cheers for posting your thoughts, they’re pretty much the same that I thought during a previous event. My biggest worry is obviously the cash shop, but other than that, the performance issues definitely need to be worked on, as does the movement. The movement, by the way, feels weird because your character is actually hovering about 2 inches off the ground when moving (and sometimes when standing too) and the animations don’t always match the way you’re going. I’ve noticed this effect (sometimes called ice-skating) in other MMOs, too, but it hasn’t been quite this bad anywhere else.

  • I feel really lucky. It took half an hour to get in but once we were there we’ve had no lag to speak of and frame rate has been fine. This is playing on a US server from the UK.

    I totally agree on the “dynamic” events. They are PQs. Good PQs but nothing more. Of course I’ve only seen the starter areas.

    Other than that, it’s an AAA MMO in fairly classic style. That’s all I wanted. No need to reinvent the wheel.

  • I’ll keep on eye on thoughts, interested to see if its a MMORPG OR SPORPG, meaning single player running around doing your own thing like I hear swtor is. That is fine in some games but not what i’m exactly looking for so i may continue my mmog hiatus

  • The connection issues are the same here on the European side.

    I am also getting the same crappy performance on my pc on low settings on 1920×1080.
    Running an I5-750 cpu, radeon HD5830, SSD and 4 gigs of ram.
    Normally no problem running any modern pc game.

    Fps on average around 20 to 25. some places above 30. other places 15 or so.
    In other forums ive read people with a very new high end system getting 15fps.
    Optimization needs work before release.

    Gameplay wise… Im having a blast and want to keep playing. Feels not completely fresh, but fresh enough. I like the personal story quests.

    The game Is good fun if only it ran smooth.

  • Interesting thoughts so far. What I’ve been reading has been pretty much in line with my expectations, and what you’re saying here (some more negative, some more positive).

    That said, I’m still itching to play for myself, even if this beta event isn’t proving to be the revelation some were hoping for. But on the other hand, I’m even more concerned now that GW2, good or bad, isn’t the game for me…

    We’ll see. Look forward to more thoughts, especially on the PvP.

  • Performance issue:

    The Devs have stated that the game is still not optimized and right now is leaning heavy on the CPU so even lowering graphic settings may not help much. So you guess was right Keen. I think this beta will help them work the kinks out.

  • Had a look in the official GW2 forums. Seems many people got low fps and someone with a system (slightly older card on his end) comparable to mine had only 30% of his CPU and 40% of his graphics card in use.

    lol? That explains low fps.

  • Its kinda cool how its just 2 files to run the game and doesnt need installing … crazy. Probly run it from a USB stick on any computer

  • The combat just feels great. It doesn’t look like your toon is whiffing at air and watching numbers (hello LOTRO) – sword swings and missiles actually feel impactful. For that and the amazing city and outdoor environments, box price fully justified. I also like the variety of loot that is dropping. Never thought there would be a loot pinata aspect to the game, but with 80 levels, you are always looking for upgrades. And of course if you can’t use it, salvage kits come in 3 quality levels, which affects the chance of salvaging rare components.

    This is a complex game – can’t wait for release already.

  • Not sure about people lagging. I played for 6 hours after work Friday, and only experienced a couple of lags during the whole session. As for fps, a few people in chat would bring this up, but on max settings I have been quite steadily getting 30fps.

    I don’t exactly have a massive powerhouse PC, but it is a sandy bridge i5. My GPU is just a Radeon 5770.

    Keep in mind folks this is a fairly early beta. 2 of the races and their entire areas are not released yet. Think of this mostly as a REAL beta test they’ve been kind enough to let a large bunch of us into. This isn’t an ‘open beta’ like Tera, where the game is actually fully out and released in Korea for almost a year. The game isn’t done yet! Most of the ‘issues’ I have been reading about should be sent in as a bug report. That is what we are there in the game for, to make sure none of this is in final release.

    My Impressions: I can’t believe the art style. Its just great. It extends into everything including UI elements. Very unique and stylish look. The dynamic events, at least in the early stages really remind me of public quests, but many are fairly random, not on a timer. That’s where ‘dynamic’ comes from.
    Combat is amazing. I just love being able to strafe around and roll as any class while still firing off abilities. I love the fact there is no mana, and that down-time between pulls is non-existent. If you loved to grind for some reason, the combat is way more satisfying that any other mmo I have played, including ‘action mmo’ Tera.

    I am very impressed with the ‘polish’ so far. Its pretty incredible for a game that is months away from release. The music and delivery is just great. I am very happy I pre-purchased and will be eagerly awaiting all BWE and the headstart.

  • The thing that amazes me the most so far is the scale of everything. It makes me feel that I’m back to when one could get lost in a MMORPG. The human capital is just jawdroppingly awesome.

    Gameplay is superb, totally different from the sub par WoW clones we got served these last years. The events become more “dynamic” (as in “world changing”) when you progress in levels. If you fail to save a place, it may become occupied.

    I played a Norn Warrior to level 12 and am currently trying a human Guardian. I will definitely be playing a Norn of one of those two classes at release, the Norn lore and area are just fantastic.

    For me, the game delivers. Of course, they need to fix the server issues, performance issues, disconnections, etc… but that’s what beta is for – you can be sure the guys at ArenaNET are collecting tons of useful data while we play.

    Concerning graphic performance, well, I have a Phenom II X4 940 with an ATI HD6870, so quite an old system, and the game runs decently with high settings, but could be much better. My graphic card barely heats up, the game seems to be very CPU dependent for now. I hope the developers have a few aces up their sleeves to make things better.

    My temporary conclusion is that I don’t regret my pre-purchase at all. The game has one of the most impressive worlds of all MMORPGs I’ve played, and I played all the mainstream ones and many smaller ones. I’m looking forwards to play this for a long time.

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