GW2 Mists and Battleground Impressions

I spent some time in the Mists this weekend.  The Mists are a PvP staging area for both WvW and Battlegrounds.  In the Mists you can practice and try different weapons, completely customize your traits and slot abilities, and fight against golems and various class-clone NPCs to become better at fighting.  This practice area is required because players, even at level 1, can press ‘H’ and instantly be teleported to the Mists.  Once in the Mists, your level 80 prefab is thrust at you and you’re able to immediately PvP — you’re given full sets of gear, weapons, and everything you need.

Seeing what a class will be like at level 80 without having to actually level one is great for players who want instant action, and the prefab 80 is only in the Mists and in Battlegrounds meaning you can’t use this level 80 in WvW.  This sense of arcade-like-instant-action suits the battleground mentality.  It’s not how I enjoy PvPing, but I know it will entice a larger number of players who simply want to log in and instantly fight.

Battlegrounds seemed fun to me.  Several times the matches would be one-sided and we’d be camped outside our spawn point, but that happens in WoW multiple times a day.  The gameplay of the GW2 battlegrounds is mostly capture and hold, but it’s done in settings that feel unique.  One map is a town with a catapult and destructibles that players fight in to hold objectives, another map has a keep, mine, etc., to defend.  These ‘maps’ are no substitute for the real dynamic PvP happening in the World vs. World, but I like GW2 BG’s more than others.

Here’s a video I took of the Mists to show you how it works.

My WvW impressions are up next.

  • I like the separation of WvW and battlegrounds. BGs have always been more of an arcade type feature and I always found it annoying to have them overlap with RPG elements, character development, and Open world PVP. By getting access at level 1 and getting the gear etc. it focuses on the true nature of battlegrounds and it seems to be separated from open world PVP. Maybe this is battlegrounds done right instead of having some half baked mix where battlegrounds are connected with other parts of the game. You want instant PVP action….now you can have it…all the way.

  • Exactly, and using a prefab template of your class disconnects players from the character they are actually progressing. This removes the tempation to spend time in Battlegrounds over WvW. If someone is going to BG, they were going to BG regardless. Now the min/maxers will likely go where they’re actually playing the character they spend time leveling: WvW.

  • This is an interesting topic you all are talking about here.

    My brain says your all are right, but my gut doesn’t feel the same.

    Now the PvP purist in me (Counter Strike Brain Cells) says I would love a PvP game with Skill > Gear. Keep it as even as possible. But my Gut says I’m just not sure if would really want to do ANYTHING in an MMO for very long that doesn’t build up my little puppet!

    Now if the WvW is fantastic this isn’t really a problem, but if it gets to a point (Like WAR) where your running around getting smoked by a pack of 100 over and over again, sometimes I just want to get into some controlled small group PvP. Some nights your just not in the mood to hear the community beyotch all night.

    Not sure how the grand scale WvW works so this may all be a mute point!

    Either way thanks so much for keeping us informed.

  • Question:

    So each class has a max total of 10 abilities to use? Also if I have 10 slots, how many abilities do I have to choose from to build my 10 slots.

  • Howdy, in about an hour I’ll publish my WvW post and video. I hope it showcases WvW in a light that gets you excited for the possibilities. I put myself in your shoes, a working Dad who loves dynamic PvP but also needs some quick get-in-get-out action, and I see GW2 capable of providing both experiences.

    To answer your question, each class has 10 hotkeys. 1-5 are your weapon skills. It depends on the weapon, but 1-5 on a 2h’er are all usually abilities for that weapon whereas 1h’ers are 1-3 and 4-5 are the offhand. 6 is your heal ability. 7-9 are slot abilities that you earn by unlocking skill points; these abilities are things like warrior stomp, buffs, etc., and you can choose from many different ones that you unlock. 0 is your epic ability like the Engineer has to drop a crate of all his turrets.

  • @Howdy: Realize that one has a lot of variety in setting up their abilities depending on weapon sets and skill choices. Here is one of the build calculators out there to give you a better ides of the options available:

    I like the idea of not being able to switch weapon sets while in combat as a certain degree of temporary commitment is likely necessary given the migration away from the traditional dedicated trinity of class roles.

  • That link Gankatron gave shows how you can customize your traits. You can allocate something like 70 points into various trees. If you put in 10, 20, 30 in a tree you get to choose a trait.

    To sum up all the customization you have:
    – Weapon Choice
    – Slot Ability Choice (Spend points to unlock the ones you want)
    – Heal Ability Choice
    – Epic Ability Choice
    – Trait Point Allocation
    – Trait Choice

  • Keen, do you know if the trait allotments are fixed once committed or can they be switched in a fashion similar to weapon sets (i.e. without a complete skill/trait reset) to switch between healer/dps roles for instance?

  • @Gankatron: In the beta I was able to respec, but I didn’t pay attention to whether or not I could swap the traits once I chose them without respeccing the whole thing.

  • @Howdy Doody: I played an engineer for the majority of the weekend and at first I too was under the impression that I only had like a handful of abilities. I had 5 abilites, 1 healing slot, 2 skill slots (4 max over time I believe). I bought 2 kits with my skill points, a grenade kit and a mine kit. Both of these acted like new stances when used and gave me 5 more abilities and a special ability. I could hotswap between my kits in combat much like a warrior changes stances in WOW. So basically I had 18 abilities I was using, which could be upgraded to 30+ at higher level. I’d imagine most classes have similar kits they can equip to expand their abilities as well.

  • @sikk: I am fascinated by the Engineer, and will level one. Switching kits in combat is a situationally powerful ability. One could switch between primary weapons, to bomb, grenade, and mine kits on the fly. Did cool downs also transfer; if not that would be quite a powerful rotation…

  • @Gankatron: Yea it was a pretty fun class once I realized how those skill kits worked. By default in your first skill slot you just get a single turret you can drop down so I had no clue that the kits would work how they did. Cooldowns would continue to tick while I swapped, so I would use a couple of gun abilities, then swap to grenades, toss all the different ones, then swap to mines and dump 5 and blow them up and while they were on CD I would swap back to grenade and they would all be refreshed. I could just keep swapping with only a global CD in between swaps.

  • I purely played a ranger, and thus probably had the smallest amount of skills of any class, but to me this was a breath of fresh air, I could actually watch the battlefield and make use of dodging.
    I don’t know if this will make the game stale quicker, but I don’t think so.
    SW:TOR had tons of skills but is found the combat to be dull. GW2 may be a bit more arcade like than other MMO’s, but I find the faster paced action to be very enjoyable.

    You can see me on a arrow cart atop the gate as keen runs into the inner keep, siege weapons in this game are very satisfying

  • @Gankatron & Keen – Traits are fixed until you reset them again unfortunately even in the Mists. I had to reallocate all 70 points even if I just wanted to change one trait. On the plus side, I had a lot of chances to re-evaluate the traits I wanted.

  • Thanks Steel!

    In this way one cannot fully claim that GW2 completely breaks the trinity model as some traits favor certain roles, and people are not going to re-spec in the midst of an encounter.

    That being said it still offers so much variability that I am more than happy to try out a given spec for a while before experimenting with the myriad of other possibilities within each class.

    It is a comforting feeling to have most of my worries concerning trait versatility allayed prior to launch; this is in contrast to SWTOR where in the beta (and throughout my post-launch time) I felt that the talent trees provided mostly an illusion of choice as people with a set role were likely to have a large majority of talents in common due to the limited choices, many of which were forced upon one to progress up the tree.