What I Learned from GW2’s BWE Day 1

I’ve learned a lot, but these are some of the major points I came away with from today’s testing.

No Trading – Mail For Everything

This is by far one of the weirdest and most nontraditional aspects of Guild Wars 2.  You can not trade with anyone. You have to mail everything.  Instead of right clicking on someone’s portrait and opening a trade, you can open a mail window and send items over.  You can mail from anywhere, and it’s instant.  At first my jaw hit the floor in pure shock at the mere thought, then I just started laughing nervously, and not I’m stuck somewhere between wondering if I actually like it.  You have to take into consideration the Auction House system.

Auction House from Anywhere – Buy and Sell Orders

So you can’t trade, but you can put up buy orders.  The Auction House becomes a trade window of sorts.  I can put out a buy order saying I want to buy an item and anyone, on ANY server, can fill that order for me.  I can put up an item for trade for another item, or put an item up for sale for gold or gems (Cash shop currency).  This AH can be accessed ANYWHERE.  I was accessing it while questing.  I was extremely baffled by the auctioneers standing around in town, though.

Hearts are WoW Quests in Disguise

I thought the hearts on the minimap were events, but they’re just WoW quests in disguise.  You go up to them and work individually to complete them.  Once completed, they’re done.  They are far more organic feeling than WoW quests since you’re roaming the zones to complete them and they fit the theme of the area.  I absolutely prefer this over the traditional quest hub system since that felt entirely immersion breaking and this system at least disguises it better.  Still, the heart quests are traditional feeling by “kill x” etc.

Events are the Orange Circles -> They’re better than Hearts

I realized the events are the orange things that pop up sometimes on top of the hearts, and even sometimes coordinate with the heart areas (or do they always?) to provide an augmented experience.  I was doing some quest right at the beginning of the Norn area to transform into a leopard and kill rabbits, then suddenly an event starts and has me utilize that same leopord transformation to kill other bad guys that appear out of the ground.  The orange events are more rewarding since they give karma (currency), and seem more difficult and interesting.  I assume these can be repeated.

Videos and Classes

I have plenty of footage to process into videos for posting tomorrow.  I’ve been able to try several of the classes and I’m already figuring out which ones I enjoy and which ones I hate.

Running Commentary of My Overall Impressions = The Important Stuff

There is still a long way for GW2 to go before they’re ready to launch.  I’m actually questioning if it was a good idea to adopt so early.  I’m having fun, and certainly learning a ton every hour that makes things more enjoyable, but I end my day of play with the gut feeling that this game needs a lot more time in beta to polish. Heck, for all I know the plan is is to wait several more months before launching.

I don’t regret my purchase, but I am grateful there isn’t a subscription fee.  If you asked me right now if you should pre-purchase, I would say I’m on the fence and want to play more before I can recommend it.

  • I had so much fun tonight playing both a Norn War and a Human Necro. Im putting this beta aside and waiting for the release whenever that comes.

    Some people are judging it likes its a release day…

    Maybe Rift and SWTOR were way more polished at their ‘open / pre-order’ betas but they were only weeks off their release date.

    kudos ArenaNet, keep up the good work.

    ~Higgs

  • I am not regretting buying the CE, for a sub free game, it is well built. Just hope they keep the capital to enhance the game.

  • Arena Net have always said they are treating this more like a real Beta and less like a marketing event. I wasn’t sure how much I believed that, but I think there’s something to it now – it seems like the game really is several months off launch.

    To answer your question about “orange circles”, Keen: They are repeatable. I gather that they get much more involved in higher level zones, with linked sequences of oranges circles moving up and down the maps and sometimes interacting or leading up to bigger events. That said, it seems to me that in practice they are basically what WoW would call daily quests, only they repeat more frequently and are easier to do as a group, and more convenient for drop in/drop out play.

    Overall some of the details coming out now just make it seem like a very odd game. Mail instead of trading, players constantly getting punted into overflow districts because the zones are hitting their population ceilings (and then being unable to meet back up with friends), the whole “pick your PERMANENT server before doing anything else!” thing… I’m less sure what to think with each bit of info that I hear. But then I see a video of an actual fight in the WvW area, or someone randomly joining a group in PvE and going on an adventure, and I immediately get that urge to play.

  • Well I learned that the Norn starting area is highly skippable and may actually turn some off from the game. Best I can describe it is very hippy. Now the Charr starting area/story – playing it gets me as pumped as watching WAR /vanilla WoW’s cinematics.

  • @gnome That’s interesting. I’ve only done the Charr starting area so far, which I really enjoyed. It’s very, very traditional though. Reminded me of the tutorial/starting zones of any number of other MMOs. Mrs Bhagpuss chose to start in the Norn area and said she liked it and found it to be pretty much just what she expected from her experience of the Norn in GW1. She didn’t mention anything about hippies!

    I was surprised by how “beta” the game seems. Surprised and really pleased. I was expecting a pretty much finished product just being offered as a shop window but it looks much more like a proper beta. I ran into several bugs in my few hours play, nothing major but noticeable. I love the drop-down Review panels that appear after you complete each event or story-point. I’ve been giving plenty of feedback through those.

    I’d be surprised now to see release in the early summer, which was what I was expecting. That makes the pre-purchase more valuable to me, rather than less, since it makes it likely that I’ll have access to more time in beta than I expected and that my time there will be more meaningful.

  • NCsoft + p2p = no thank you.

    I still can’t believe the hype over this game. Take a look at the store people! And NCsoft…NCsoft is a publisher that will Shut Games Down. They’re evil.

    Whatever. For those enjoying the game, I’m sincerely glad you are. I’ll do my pve in TOR and pvp in Tribes. Life goes on.

  • This is the first major MMO i’m not gonna buy. I dont have anything against the game, but i’ve just been burned too many times. I’ll wait untill after launch and see what ppl say about it. Beside, it sounds like you can catch up pretty quick anyway

  • I’m honestly not that surprised: it’s what I thought it would be, a solid MMO, but nothing revolutionary as so many people are claiming.

    From that last post’s video, the movement animation looks so…bad. Like, really, really bad, as if he’s literally just leaning forward and then sliding one leg up and one leg down; plus, from what I’ve seen in other videos, the combat looks fairly tedious, spamming the same filler over and over and then waiting to use situationals on CD (could be wrong, but that’s really all that I see from it, but perhaps I’m only noticing it because I’m actually looking at it from a critical “would I really want to pay £50 for this?” rather than a “I’ve already pre-ordered, I need to justify to myself that this will be amazing” view).

    All in all, from your experience and others, I’m happy with my decision to wait for it to come crashing down in price weeks/months after release. Your big draw, WvWvW, just seems so shallow to me when I consider that it really isn’t going to have of an impact on other people in the server other than little buffs to stats.

  • I’m indifferent so far. It’s neat, and I’m sure I’ll get my monies worth, but I don’t know if I like it any more than that. I won’t really judge until launch though.

  • The game everyone seems to be looking for will never exist except in everyone’s collective, nostalgic, hazy dreams.

    The game isn’t perfect but for 60 dollars it’s a massive value and a no brainer if you like the genre. Everyone is talking about it like you’re not sure if you want to settle down with the game when you don’t have to.

    Think of how many of these games people got “burned” on that you’d still be playing once in awhile if they for B2P.

    I guess its just my perspective. I look at value for the dollar. I bought and ended up with 5 days played in TOR in the free month 1/2. Even though I found the end game lacking and too gear/guild driven I still got more then my 60 dollars worth. So if I can play and enjoy GW2 for 40 plus hours it will be well worth the asking price.

    Then again I buy, on average, 2 games a month (mostly console) so 60 dollars for 20 plus hours of quality entertainment is all I’m looking for. Fortunately, from what I’ve seen GW2 will offer me 100s of hours for 60 bucks.

  • @bhagpuss
    Well specifically the quests are all – ‘get in touch with your animal spirit’ stuff, like when you have to click on a bush to flush out game, then kill whatever gets flushed out. And the ones where the statues ask you riddles. I do not know the lore of Norn though, so this may be totally appropriate. Compared to the Charr area, where its all explosions and pushing thru waves of enemies and war machines – heh! Now this is coming from a guy that totally enjoys playing Hobbits in the Shire. Anyways, very subjective obviously so its good to hear its hitting the right buttons for Ms B.

    Really happy with what I’ve played so far – and yes it has beta written all over it. Happy to provide feedback to make that finished product that much beter.

  • I am one to believe that you can’t take the word on other people. I think it’s best to try it out. If you are skeptical just wait until they have a free promotion going on before bashing it. I am in beta, and i love it. But thats my opinion.

  • @Bhagpuss: I do think the feedback system they have is very clever indeed. Good points about your prepurchase feeling more valuable *because* it’s so very Beta, as well.

    @Dril:
    “I’m honestly not that surprised: it’s what I thought it would be, a solid MMO, but nothing revolutionary as so many people are claiming.”

    I can’t speak for everyone, but personally I was a huge fan of GW1, and was hoping for at least a spiritual successor. I wasn’t interested in GW1 as an MMO-light, but as a great Co-op RPG fused with Magic: The Gathering inspired customization and incredibly elegant combat and PvP mechanics. The fact that GW2 is less like GW1 and more like an MMO is actually a huge turnoff for me.

    “…the combat looks fairly tedious, spamming the same filler over and over and then waiting to use situationals on CD…”

    That’s a great pull quote; I’m sure they’ll put it on the box. 🙂 I can’t escape the impression when watching that if this were an FPS, everyone would gripe about how enemies were bullet sponges and all the weapons felt anemic.

    On one hand, I remember enjoying WoW a lot when PvP was this slow back in TBC. On the other hand, at a glance it gives the impression no abilities are powerful enough to really matter. After playing games like DOTA2, and knowing about zerg vs small group fights in DAOC, I find myself really missing abilities that strike terror into the entire enemy team.

    @Fergor:
    I’m much more concerned about getting my time’s worth, given my current list of unplayed games and unread books. I’d rather spend 60 bucks on a game that is 5 hours of condensed amazing than one which just keeps me busy for 100. Partially I’m just not interested in getting invested in an online world right now, which really moves me out of the target market for GW2 I suppose.

  • Setting my graphic settings on the highest possible makes it run better then on the lowest setting?

    Is this the twilight zone? What sense does that make?

  • About the auctioneers in town – you need to be at one to recover the merchandise you bought. It is not mailed to you.

  • @Jim: “I’ll do my pve in TOR”
    I’m not sure I’m gonna be able to do PvE in TOR or any other game the same way after playing a GW2 beta week end… the wait until release will be damned long 🙁

  • Today has been a huge improvement from yesterday, the terrible lag has completely disappeared and while I was having a lot of login problems this morning that has also now cleared up.

  • First off, the way you had to copy this and that, create a new folder etc… etc… was like going to the movies and being forced to sell popcorn and sweep the floor before the movie started. I know many players who had a hard time getting the download to work because they did not understand what they had to do. It was not very player friendly if you ask me. It should have been download, sign in and play.

    The game crashed for me five times in PvP. No big deal it’s beta but getting bounced to a Q after the crash pisses me off to no end. Then in PvE we ended up in Q’s again going from zone to zone. What sucked was two in the group would go through but the others ended up in a Q waiting to get into the zone. It seemed like I was always in a Q or waiting for someone else to get out of a Q.

    PvP was fun but was a zerg. I think my guild was one of the few PvPing right out of the gate but we were out numbered by the other server probably 4-1. Then add in crashes and Q’s we did not have a chance against those odds. I do not believe the red team was even playing because I never saw a red player all day long.

    Ranged attacks ruled the field of battle and the up close fighters were turned into dust quickly.

    Now for the good things. Character creation, graphics, maps and the wide range of skills each character has are all awesome. All of the EU players were telling me that had no lag problems playing on an American server. The bottom line is it was fun but GW2 is not an MMO if you ask me.

  • “GW2 is not an MMO”
    I’ve read a lot of unfair hater “reviews” on different web sites and forums, but this definitely gets the first place in my list.
    /facepalm…

  • You can buy and sell in the auction house anywhere but in order to collect your money or goods you have to approach an NPC aucioneer.

    As for no direct trade: its very very hard to make a direct synchronous trade without exploit possibilities. It is also very hard on the server. To make it unexploitable and light on the server you do a complete asychronous trade system, thats why all items go through the mail.

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