GW2 BWE3: Sylvari, PvP, Tournaments

This Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event I swore to myself I wouldn’t do PvE on any race or play any part of the Asura because that is what I want to do at launch.  I created a Sylvari and explored the capital city, went out and did a few quests, and then moved right into the battleground pvp.

The Sylvari capital is gorgeous.  In fact, the whole Sylvari starting area is aesthetically pleasing.  The vertical space is used well to create that sense of being surrounded by an enchanted fantasy forest.  Even the very first boss from the tutorial is awesome looking.  He bursts out of the ground having been there the whole time as a tree.  The Bulbasaur on crack is the best looking tutorial boss I’ve seen yet.  I was also easily impressed by the little pod-elevators in the capital city.  I think I’m a sucker for fantasy forests.

I want to comment on something important: Graev’s computer performance.  GW2 runs remarkably well on his 5+ year old computer.  He has it on medium settings and after playing for 20 min he was like, “I don’t care about anything in this game.  The performance alone makes it good enough.”  He’s been struggling with The Secret World’s awful performance enough to not want to continue playing.

As far as PvP goes, I haven’t done any WvW.  I’ve mostly been fiddling with specs and toying around in the battlegrounds.  I find this style of PvP to be so diametrically opposed to WvW.  The styles, strategies, specs, and mindsets are entirely different.  I guess that’s a great thing that the game can offer such diversity.  ArenaNet seems to be handling the separate but equal design well.  Playing one doesn’t make you stronger in the other.

One last detail I want to mention is tournament play.  I grouped with some guildies and we entered in a couple of tournaments.  We made it to the second round on one of them, but mostly got stomped.  Regardless, we had fun and earned some neat looking cosmetic rewards.

  • I noticed they added some more interesting stuff so other zones too. Crafting is awesome. You can literally level a toon by crafting.

  • I played the Sylvari too, since I’m not planning on playing as them come launch. I have been really impressed by the sylvari lands so far. Absolutely beautifully done. The jumping tree is possibly the hardest challenge I’ve ever come across in an mmo lol.

  • I played a few minutes of the Sylvari and Asura just to get a feel for each race. While I still love Charr the best over all I still find myself most likely playing a Human first but honestly for as much as I said I wouldn’t be an alt-a-holic with GW2 I can already tell that I was lying to myself.

    Off topic I had purchased the End Of Nations founder’s pack and was playing in the beta last night for a bit as well. I am so/so on it. Don’t get me wrong it is a fun lobby based RTS but I still can’t understand how it is being considered an MMORTS. I guess it is the loose definition like the original Guildwars being called an MMO by a lot of people while really it was a Coop RPG lobby based game.

    At least I know now that EoN will not take away from my GW2 time. Now just have to see how Mechwarrior Online plays starting next month on the 7th.

  • A tip on performance for those with Nvidia cards – there are beta drivers that were released on july 3. I was reading reports of the drivers vastly increasing frame rates for people. I tried them out and I got a noticeable boost (at least 5 fps).

  • Sylvari zone is just gorgeous, green, waterfalls, verticality…. I will try to resist looking at Asura, as I will start the game with them. I also played an engineer for the first time, and I was surprised by the versatility and easiness of the play style. I would recommend the class to anybody shy of the combat mechanic. Three weapons (plus under water) and a simple choice DPS vs Healer.

    When I compare with the mage having 40+ combinations…

    The leveling is again smooth, and the events fun to play. And i’m still amazed as being surprised by the loveliness of the details, having found an underground city, and an under water scenery.

    As you see, I’m hooked.

  • My guild decided that we would create characters on a EU server just to see how the game would run. We have many UK members and we tested just to see how the game would run for us in the states. I had zero issues nor did most members of the guild. What is funny and I do not understand why but many of the UK guild members indicated that the game ran better on the US servers. Go figure!!!!

    Made a Mesmer Asura. Man is that Mesmer fun!!! My only complaint is the writing is small and hard to read for an old bastard like me. Those climbing and jumping areas will cause you to cuss and scream. Fun but frustrating as hell!!! I am glad they are somewhat hard to complete.

  • The Sylvari starting experience made me, literally, depressed. Chemically, not just mood. I had to log out and do something else. Took me about an hour to feel alright again and a night’s sleep to really recover. I will not be making one for launch, that’s for sure.

    What Thomas above says is interesting. I always play MMOs on US servers (from the UK) whenever it’s permitted and I have always found I get fewer technical problems doing that than playing on European-based ones. Maybe the routes used by UK ISPs are better to the US than to, for example, The Netherlands?

  • Oh look, spam, wonderful. Let’s all mail shredded tires to that address.

    I played both the Sylvari and Asura openings for a first glance but didn’t get much farther beyond that. There some hurdles with the Sylvari I’d need to get over to play one. The opening movie seemed to repeat itself a ton. ‘This is the dream. I dreamed of this. Darkness is coming. This is the dream. I should awake from the dream soon. This darkness blocks me from awakening’, followed by the first words out of your mouth in game to be asking what the dream is.

    I know Keen is holding off on anything Asura for now, so all I’ll say is that I really felt like certain decisions are really forced on you.

    I think this is the first game where I found humans more interesting then most of the other races, but with no sub, I’ll have plenty of time to play them all at launch.

  • keen did the performance in the game improve further with this beta?
    (I am not playing this last beta fase on purpose so its fresh when its released.)

  • @McJigg I agree that Humans are very interesting in GW2. While I love Charr I keep finding myself drawn to the Human story the most. Originally I wanted to be a Charr but I changed my mind since.

  • @Zyler: I haven’t tried WvW. PvE performance seems better. Graev had no problems running it on his old computer.

  • @Michael and others: I too like the human story the most though the sylvari seems good as well. The asura starting area and story seems kind of meh, the charr is okay…. but is anyone else just completely turned off by the norn starting area?

    @Keen: The WvW wasn’t so much laggy earlier as there was some delay in skill casting/etc but there was no FPS lag, at least for me. Haven’t tried since patch though. I’ve been WvWing on and off on Ehmry bay and its been a blast, specially in rails borderland, earlier we kept getting pushed back to our keep from both the defenders and other invaders, coming at us from both sides, yet somehow at one point we ended up pushing both forces back to their own closest keeps despite being outnumbered even if everyone had gone vs 1 side, we just seemed to have a lot of AoE and Necros taking advantage of small enclosed areas and bridges with their marks from using a staff. Was great fun. I was iffy on PvP the last weekend I played because it was meh and nothing much happened we took keeps but no defenders were really on, but this sold me on the game itself earlier.

  • @ Drathmar: The Norn starting area is terrible IMO. The pacing is bad, the events are bland and repeat too often, every heart and event takes twice as long as it should… I think it could actively turn people off the game if it’s their first and only experience.

    Re: WvW – I did it a bit, feels like performance is actually worse on my machine this BWE for some reason. Earlier today I had a 2-3 second ability delay, but that seems better now. I do need a fresh Windows install, tho. That said, in PvE I’ve noticed a lot of graphical glitches (i.e. the world disappearing or polys becoming see-through) as well as weirdness such as mobs getting stuck in walls and becoming immune, bugged out DEs, etc. this weekend, which I’ve never seen before.


    I was the anchor weighing down the guild’s first couple tournament efforts on Friday (I have decided I am terrible at necro), but I found it great fun despite being stomped. It’s a low time investment way to have a quick competitive PvP fix, and I thought it was very well implemented. That said, I am still not convinced how much longevity the sPvP will have for me. The small team sizes combined with the large maps and the 3 CP ruleset makes for an experience more akin to tag than a battle. I think the design is *OK*, but I really wish they’d taken more inspiration from MOBAs and integrated NPCs in a dynamic way that grew more naturally from GW1’s GvG format.

    That said, I’ve always been more interested in the WvW stuff than sPvP. I feel like if I want a round-based team game an MMORPG is just not going to supply me these days.

  • Human all the way.
    I don’t like the way the armor looks on the Charr, while it might be better later, the Norn starting area is Meh, I hate, hate, hate the Asura and actually wish they were not in the game at all, bugged me since they showed up in GW1. The Sylvari are awesome looking, I loved the way my character looked, and I loved the look of the starting area, but the story bored me.

    So the race question is easy, but what class? Crap. I like about 4 of them and change my mind every day.

  • Anyone else think it’s great that the races and starting areas are different enough where people are having such strong reactions to them?

  • I played an Asura warrior in the human start area & did some WvW. I like the quest flow better in the human zones, got lost for some reason in Charr & Asuran zones. There was some lag in WvW but it wasn’t too bad, it is great you can just jump into PVP & not have to get to 80 first.

  • @Fergor — Yeah, actually. I was completely meh to Human, Sylvari and Norn but loved the Charr and Asura stuff. I think each race has a very distinct vibe and theme that really clicks (or doesn’t) with different people.

  • I’m totally in that same boat… I know which races I like, but can’t pick a class…

  • i know each class can heal abit, but is there a class suited to healing or support? anything like a shaman in WOW?

  • @Kenng: Some classes have ways to specialize and use abilities that support the group more. For example, Rangers can spec to use spirits that heal.

  • @ Kenng: The answer is a bit different depending on if you want healing or support.

    Pretty much any profession can play a support-oriented role. I ran a support warrior all weekend in PvE and WvW: I dropped banners to AoE buff my team, used shouts and warhorn skills to directly buff those around me, and swapped to the longbow when my adrenalin was full to plop down a gigantic circle of fire – which thanks to the combo system acted as a substantial buff to anyone who used combo finishers with it.

    If you want to heal allies, look at the engineer and elementalist; those two have the most options when it comes to splashing heals out to your friends. Just realize that these heals are pretty much all small (typically only restoring a few percent HP over time), and while they will help allies stay in the fight longer, you will almost never be able to “save” someone with a clutch heal. Other professions like the ranger and guardian have one or two skills that will heal an area, but they are pretty limited.

    Necromancers would also be worth looking at: They specialize in condition/boon management, which means lots of supporting allies by removing negative effects or applying buffs.

    In short, as a shaman player in WoW, I’d say look at the guardian & warrior (who can play something like an enhancement shaman) or engineer & elementalist (who can play a bit like a caster shaman).