Observations from GW2 BWE2

Beta weekend #2 for GW2 is coming to an end.  While playing this weekend I took note of a few things.  Some of this is WvW feedback that I’ll probably post on the official forums, and some of it is pure observation about things I found fun or stuff I experienced.

  1. Performance has improved
  2. Keep Lords need to be tougher
  3. Trebuchet range is ridiculous, maybe broken
  4. Rangers are fun but pet AI sucks
  5. Put items in the Forge

Performance

I was really laggy in WvW during BWE1.  It was laggy to the point that I didn’t have fun. My frame rate have improved to a playable state.  We had a battle for one of the keeps in our borderland with a truly massive enemy team attacking our walls with multiple trebuchet, cannons, and a ton of people.  The particle effects were out of control.  I didn’t hitch much, and I felt like I could play well.  It wasn’t ideal, still lower FPS than I want, but it was an improvement.  One more improvement like that and it will be perfectly fine for my rig — your mileage may vary.

Keep Lords need to be tougher

In the massive keep defense mentioned above, we held out for over an hour against a force 2-3x our size.  The attackers were never able to take one of our doors down; Instead they used trebuchet to take down our walls.  We fought them in the water, on cliffs, and ultimately in our keep.  For such a long siege, it all fizzled out in seconds.  As soon as they had a decent number of people in our keep, the Keep Lord died in under 15 seconds.  Keep Lords need to be tougher, and need to provide us time to counter the attackers and get them off the Lord.   Even if we would have lost, our boss put up no fight.

Trebuchet Range

The attackers put 3 trebuchet on the walls of the tower so far in the distance all we could see were silhouettes.  That is, until the massive fireballs kept bombarding our outer wall.  The enemy was able to destroy the wall without getting near it, putting themselves in no harm.  With number restrictions on how many people we can bring into the map, we were unable to form a group to go behind and take that tower.  Shooting a keep from another holding can’t be working as intended, can it?

Rangers are fun

The ranger is the class I’ve played the most now.  I started one yesterday and now I’ve changed my mind about playing an Elementalist.  The Ranger is far more traditional, with fewer abilities and a more traditional combat style, but for some reason I love the pets and the idea of sitting on a keep wall plinking arrows down at attackers.  Melee attacks are also fun and useful — I feel like I could actually play a melee ranger like the old EQ days.

Use the Forge

The new forge added this BWE lets you dispose of blue and green items you can’t/won’t use for a chance at something better.  Insert four blues and get a new item.  Several of my friends found fantastic items like putting in a few blues and getting greens (Greens are better than blues in GW2).  My luck hasn’t been so great with it, though.  If you don’t craft, this is an ideal way to find upgrades over vendoring/salvaging your gear.

  • Performance

    I don’t know our machines aren’t all that different (at least for GW2 purposes since most of resources are run off the processor rather than Video Card) and I really had no noticeable lag.

    I would guess the next real jump in performance would be when the graphical portions of the game are put onto the video card. That would be the next big jump that you’re looking for.

    Keep Lords

    Agreed. The only full exchange that I participated in went way too fast. I know people will complain about the PvE mob but… Then again once we have people that are upgrading the keeps to their full extent we’ll see how things go.

    Trebs

    I was surprised at what the claimed range was but haven’t see it myself. I think I heard the guys over at Team Legacy (Tales of Tyria podcast) mention that in the Eternal Battlegrounds you can have trebs set at each of the outer keeps and hit Stonemist in the middle.

    Rangers

    I went the exact opposite. I didn’t want to play the mage type and stuck with Guardian the first BWE. It wasn’t as enjoyable as I had hoped so this time around I played around a bit with the Ranger and while it was fun I decided to try out the Elementalist and loved it. It may even make it as my main character at launch over either a Guardian or Warrior.

    Forge

    D’oh forgot about that..

    Other

    We still had a bunch of people on other servers because of the lockout I think the majority of them were able to transfer over before the deadline.

    PvP Dungeon

    After the first WvW reset our server managed to grab almost all of the WvW area so I managed to toy around a bit with the dungeon. It has potential (as in it could be interesting once other world’s population manages to get it.). I think from what I saw that there should be different entrances to the dungeon overall. As it is now all three entrances are practically together (almost close enough for a Ranger with a long bow to hit the other areas).

    I would like to see what type of loot you get at higher levels. As a level 19 Guardian I recieved two blue pieces of chain mail, 14 badges of honor and 2 blueprints for siege machines (2 catapults). But some of my other guild members didn’t even get the blue gear.

    The only area (if you didn’t manage to get in) that had potential mobs in it was the arena area that someone can trigger. I want to see what it’s like with actual other people in it from the other worlds.

    I never played DAoC so I don’t know how it plays against that idea.. but it’s definitely not what Mythic’s version of DF was ( Realm of the Dead? and I seem to remember people said that sucked vs DF). With the jumping puzzles it could certainly be frustrating with others there.

  • I managed to transfer to your server. i did some of the battle ground.. the limited Traits and utility skills makes me kinda useless. Mesmer and Guardians.

    They tweaked Mesmer from BWE1 to BWE2 significantly that they kinda sucks bad. we’re just creating additional target for other side to kill.

    those Trebuchets were ridiculous.. they just as bad as those arrow carts.

    definitely need more levels and skills to be useful.

    fun, but frustrating feel useless. I didn’t have enough points to even have useful utility skills.

  • Trebuchets are suppose to have that range, working as intended.

    It also depends on who has the higher ground, which is always key in military combat. Hardest thing is trying to take over an enemies Garrison, because they have the higher ground, we attacked for hours but couldn’t breach their defenses.

  • I liked the game a lot, i am kind of concerned about the lack of melee though. Its there but with the massive amount of AOEs its impossible attack unless you want to walk through 500 red circles of death.

  • I commented somewhat extensively in various places after the first BWE that the Ranger is the class to play if you’re one of the people (and there are plenty around) finding GW2’s variation from the MMO combat norm a tad challenging. The Ranger can be played exactly like a ranger/hunter/scout in every traditional MMO. Mine’s level 30 now and if anything that becomes more the case the higher you go.

    A command to make the pet Stay would be nice, as would an option to play without the pet. Other than that I’m completely happy with it.

  • Didn’t do WvW this weekend, was trying out different classes, so nice to hear that some of the performance issues have been fixed.

    I do think that although the game is shaping up well there are a still a raft of issues that need the developers attention, just in the starting areas, personal stories etc. And i’m thinking that an early release in the next couple of months or so is now very optimistic. I do hope they take their time and don’t rush out the game now.

  • I agree about the Ranger, it is really fun, probably my second favorite so far out of playing all classes except guardian up to level 10. The only one I find I liked more was a thief.

    Also, from what I heard from people with higher level ones, sword/dagger rangers are really really good in PvP due to the ability to dodge 4 times (hornet strike, serpent strike, and the 2 evades from stamina) if you can time the abilities well so I imagine melee rangers will work quite well in PvE as well or so I hope.

    Thief was a lot of fun and I love the Pistol/Dagger style with it, as you can pretty much kite forever, as you get a slow from throwing the dagger for your first offhand attack, a slash into 3 second stealth (stealth changes your main attack for all weapons as well to a sneak attack type thing) for your second offhand attack, and then the combo attack (your third ‘main weapon’ attack changes depending on what combination you are using so pistol/pistol is different than pistol/dagger or just pistol, and this changes so you have one for every mh/oh combo possible) is a slash into a shadowstep away from the mob with a high damaging shot. It is really fun to play with the stealth/mobility from that. The combo shots are pretty cool for all the styles I was able to try as well. Pistol/Pistol is a high damaging rapid fire barrage, dagger/pistol is the opposite of pistol dagger, you shoot then shadowstep to an enemy. Dagger/Dagger is an evade attack. Really fun class, and it plays like a thief would with lots of bleeds/poison and stealth/mobility type stuff and mostly single target damage except for when using a shortbow. If you like thief types in other MMO’s you should give it a try next BWE if you haven’t tried one already.

  • Totally forgot about the forge! Glad it turned out useful.

    They made some nice changes to indicate dynamic events a little better. For instance in Queensdale at a spot by the river, there was a tip indicator that popped up and pointed to a note in the upper right corner of the screen explaining to look there for a note explaining that I was in an area where a story type dynamic event might occur. The actual note on my screen stated “the swamp is calm right now”. Something to look for next time I’m exploring.

    There is also an onscreen indicator of when another class has used an ability that you can combo with, and what sort of effect it will have. Really useful!

    I was impressed by the performance. 10 min before the finale running around Ashford Plains with at least 50-60 others, all shooting fireworks,opening those boxes, and generally spazzing out I was getting 15fps (according to FRAPS) in ‘balanced’ graphics settings, with no lag (AMD Phenom 2 X4 3ghz, Nvidea GTX560). Ran around with highest graphics settings the rest of the beta with a 30FPS average. Can’t wait until they offload some performance to the grapics card.

    @bhagpuss – Yea after trying all the classes Ranger seems to be the one I will stick with. Nice variety of weapons and seems very satisfying as a melee class. Necro or Guardian came in 2nd.

  • @ScytheNoire: Shooting from one keep to another just feels like too much. A single player could take down a wall.

    @wufiavelli: Melee does feel less useful in WvW during sieges. A good fight in open-field and the melee shine, though.

    @Werit: A giant jump puzzle with traps. No mobs, no boss, just a chest at the end with crappy loot. Cool looking, but absolutely a wasted opportunity.

    @Teut:

  • I did some questing & a little bit of WvW on my human elementalist. My story instances were actually quite hard, had to do a tough escort quest while under attack by centaurs. I saw almost no lag, even with tons of AOE madness. Hopefully we can one of the other two races next time.

  • I only played for a bit this weekend.

    Glad to see performance improved.
    Its almost at an acceptable framerate.
    Still a long way from running great though.

    Have not played WvW, but I have to agree with your stance on keep lords and trebuchet range.
    It might be realistic, but gameplay should come first.
    Defenders need to have a fair chance to defend.

    Btw where is this mystic forge located???
    I want to give it a try next beta weekend.

  • Wouldn’t the trebuchets actually make the WvW combat better as they are? Seems to me that we’re seeing the need for defenders to reach with counter-battery fire, or play a more active defense by launching a counter attack to take down the source of the trebuchets.

    I could see where in the live game, trebs might need a higher cost in supply and currency to reflect the tactical advantage they offer. Supply generation at the camps also might need to be toned down considerably. Maybe have it regenerate at half it’s current rate.

    I’m thinking having siege weapons more supply limited than currency limited will be key. Increase thier supply costs some, and decrease the supply production some, and you’ve got a bit more emphasis placed on protecting the supply that’s produced and using it smartly. That ought to also have the effect of spreading folks out more too, as it becomes important to protect those supply camps and dolyaks even moreso than now because of how precious a resource supply would be.

  • @Gali: If left as they are, a higher cost would be good. The enemy had 3 trebs out of our reach, in the safety of their keep, with a full-size force between our keep and theirs. They took our walls without much effort at all.

    Counter-battery fire wasn’t possible since they had set up their trebs and were hammering our walls. Any attempt to build would be thwarted.

    A counter-attack wasn’t possible since the zone was full and queued, and our forces were trapped inside our keep defending it while the enemy was attacking. Ideally the third faction would have come and attacked our attackers.

    If there wasn’t a hardcap limit on the number of players allowed, we could have more of our server enter the map and sneak behind.

  • So other than the trebuchets, ya’ll were stalemated with the attackers at the walls?

    Sounds like they’re a pretty good action forcing mechanism. Either the attacker will achieve a breach with them, or the defender will leave the walls to eliminate them. I think that’s a pretty good effect to have for the battlefield. It does definitely seem like a higher cost is warranted though.

    The way the siege equipment can be setup anywhere, I think GW2 has a real opportunity to introduce some cool base-building mechanics to the WvWvW one day. I bet it wouldn’t be hard at all to implement buildable wall/roadblock plans. Buildable Auto-turrets. Maybe even some sort of NPC-generating barracks that will spawn out a squad of NPCs every so often to begin patrolling the map. There’s alot of neat ideas for things they could potentially add to the WvWvW maps via the blueprints besides just siege engines.

  • @Gali: It wasn’t a situation where we were stalemated then they brought in trebs. They had trebs from the start, out of our range — almost literally out of view in the safety of their own base — and took down our walls. That may be working as intended, but if one guy can sit in a keep halfway across the map and take down an outer keep wall… that can’t be intended.

  • They had multiple Trebs at every fight. At one point, they were shooting from one wall to ours. I understand that Trebs have massive range, but I think a cost and/or supply cost increase would be nice.

  • If it’s just one guy though, then a counterattack would work. The problem then is definitely that the trebuchet simply has the best cost/benefit ratio regardless of the situation. They change the cost, problem solved. Trebuchets are fine, they just need to be made prohibitive to use as the right answer to all situations.

    How long until we start seing Citadel spawns being bombarded by massed trebuchets? That’s only the natural progression of things right? 🙂

  • You are say that “In the massive keep defense mentioned above, we held out for over an hour against a force 2-3x our size” but at the same time you are saying “A counter-attack wasn’t possible since the zone was full and queued, and our forces were trapped inside our keep defending it while the enemy was attacking”.

    Both statements cant be true. WvW mechanics wont allow one side to zerg a map. If your map was full and ppl on your server was queueing then you should be 1vs1 with the attackers and a coordinated attack should be able to dislodge them and kill the trebs or at least take the preassure of your main keep so you could build trebs.

  • @Konfuzfanten: Good point. I have no idea where the others were. Could have been tourists exploring for the first time, AFK’ers (which there are PLENTY), or people simply off doing their own thing with no idea how WvW works. That, or the queue system for the map was broken or lying to us. Everyone communicating was trapped in that keep while their forces stayed just out of range and their trebs kept us from building counter-siege.

    That is why I hate the limit. If one server wants to bring more people, then they should be allowed to bring more. They’ll dominate, until the WvW leader board puts them against servers more on their level.

  • Organized guilds rule the WvW, as I suppose it should be; the better the organizational structure, the more efficient the process of attack focus, siege weapon purchase and placement, supply acquisition, scouting information, etc.

    PUG and AFK servers fighting against organized guilds will have to look at this for 2 weeks straight:

    http://i.imgur.com/lBS6i.jpg .

  • From that battle of dream bay video, a strategy used by developer as defender is to build treb in the insider wall and only use outside wall to deter enemy long enough. That should be another counter to offender’s strategy.

  • @rasli That would work, but we were at Ascension bay with zero supply. Keen held them off for a long time with just a cannon, but eventually we got rolled. They were basically splash damaging our wall…it was inevitable.

  • I was swimming back and fourth to try to repair wall our help build counter. But no supply mule was not coming to ascension bay. That stupid choke point of a bridge didn’t help.

    surprisingly about the hour later we took it over with jiyoung running around as commander.

  • I tried to play, but I kept getting disconnected every 5 to 15 minutes… So I stopped playing.

    same thing happened saturday and sunday, so I hop it will get better next time.

    During my brief sessions, I had the strange feeling that leveling was much slower than before

  • @ocelot
    A guildy had the same problem – turns out it was her router and a firmware upgrade made it go away. Think she had a netgear router? Can’t remember but on searching the beta forums, everyone that was having the frequent disconnects had the same router.

  • @Ocelot: I had a bunch of d/c’s initially, but it decreased substantially later on. It might just be my imagination, but it seemed to occur most frequently with using the “F” button to interact with loot and items. I remember WoW in the earlier days also had loot lag that sometimes preceded a dc.

  • Was fun playing with you gents this weekend, thanks for letting me tag along in WvW, and sorry about the whole microphone screeching thing.

    I’ll toss in my 2 cents about the siege of Ascension Bay:

    I think the trebuchet range is probably OK. My thought is, once defenders know about that specific technique for assaulting that wall, it will be very possible for the defenders to put up trebuchets along the wall we were holding when Redbriar keep (the fort where the trebs were firing from) looks like it’s about to fall. Which should be able to limit the effectiveness of that specific tactic.

    Also, the fact that we were being invaded by both of the other realms meant our forces on the map were split. Had that not been the case, we probably could have looped around and assaulted Redbriar. I wasn’t playing WvW earlier in the day, but I understood that our world had been in the lead all morning, so the other two worlds teamed up against us. That was frustrating for us, but seems to be working as desired when it comes to 3-way PvP.

    I do think the keep lord should put up a bit more fight. Perhaps have the event to capture a keep a multi-stage chain, where you first kill an elite vanguard, then after 45 seconds the captain of the guard comes out and you fight him, then finally the keep lord a minute later.

    Overall, I feel like there are ways to counter the technique that beat us, our server just didn’t do them. I’d hate to nerf trebuchets (and remove a lot of potential variety and coordination, i.e. sending spotters forward to help out-of-sight trebuchets hit enemy formations) without at least testing to see if there are valid counter-tactics to what beat us this past weekend.

  • @Brise:

    Yes, the Lord of the Keep was down within seconds in our assaults.

    Also there was an interesting reversal playing on Crystal Desert in WvW after we held ~85%+, the next highest server started to scavenge the weakest one, perhaps because they felt they weren’t contributing anymore.

  • Tux and I set up trebs on a high keep and they were *Just* in range to hit the enemy keeps gate/one bit of their wall
    Although it was great at clearing people and siege on the one bit of wall, and we did considerable damage, we did not manage to out damage the repairing before the hostile’s pushed out and siege our keep whilst some of them re-supplied and repaired.
    However, although the battle went back and forth many times, our trebs were completely safe from harm, and although we did not manage to break their walls, I feel they may be a little too strong. It will be interesting to see how the battles turn out when people have put a bit more time into the game

  • @Gankatron, problem is that even with no one defending the Treb’s, if you have to break into an enemy keep to attack them, it can probably destroy your wall with just the 1 person on it (if he is safe from ranged attack) before you can break down their door because it actually takes quite awhile even with like 20 people beating on it plus a ram.

  • I see this, but then the obvious tactic is to adopt a similar strategy. I understand how this can appear troublesome, but it encourages aggressive drives (or conversely discourages turtles), either to take the enemy treb location or to take advantage of a breached wall, so for the moment I believe I support this mechanic.

    Perhaps this can act as the 6 gun did in the wild west, a great equalizer. Two weeks can be a long time for people to turtle in their keeps.

  • …we will have to see if this introduces too much chaos by making holding a keep to difficult (i.e. too rapid keep flipping). This was not my experience in the beta, but of course it was lopsided as we controlled most of the keeps.

    I am in PainTrain, and running with Team Legacy, and Edge and we burned through even reinforced walls with a variety of siege equipment, not just trebs. I think it is working as intended.

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