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.


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.


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.



My GW2 Expectations

I haven’t taken the opportunity to really explain what I expect out of Guild Wars 2.  I have been victimized by my own expectations for years.  Going into a MMORPG expecting something, and finding something else destroys a game for many people.  I usually talk about what I think a game will be, what I want it to be, and how I’ll go into the game when it launches (like I did with SWTOR), but this time I want to clearly outline what I’m expecting from Guild Wars 2; That way if I end up loving the game or hating the game I’ll be able to reference my own expectations before playing.

I want keeps to be highly contested, but not a 'back and forth' grind fest that players burn out on.

World vs. World

My main focus in Guild Wars 2 will be on the World vs. World gameplay.  I really, really want to rekindle my DAOC days where I would spend hours in the frontiers defending and taking territory from two other factions.  I want this war to be intense, but strategic.  Holding a keep has to mean something, so I expect the reward system already in place to be enticing enough for players to want to go out and claim more land.  I want the penalty, or the consequences for losing, to be enough for my team to care about dropping what they’re doing to rush out and defend.

I’m expecting players to know each other.  In WoW you don’t know your neighbor.  In DAOC you knew hundreds of people because you relied on those other players to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you against an onslaught of hundreds of attackers.

WvW should be something that we can play for years and never grow tired.  This is accomplished in part by reducing the ‘back and forth’ feel.  Keeps shouldn’t swap every ten minutes.  They should go days without changing hands, and in some cases longer.   WvW should be on everyone’s mind, but not be something that is constantly going at 100%.  I’m confident that players burn out when true open-world PvP becomes non-stop.

Read on for more of my expectations. (more…)


Rumor: GW2 Cash Shop could be a deal breaker

I will preface all of this by saying that I am basing this entirely off of leaked screenshots and information from places like Reddit, twitter, and other sources which are not primary sources or even guaranteed reliable.  I also want to note that I grappled back and forth all day with whether or not I should even post this because I don’t want to jump the gun or overreact to something that could be fake or changing since GW2 is still in testing.  I decided it was best to speak up now since there’s no turning back if this goes through.

If the information is accurate, Guild Wars 2’s cash shop might be a deal breaker for me.  I wrote just a few days ago how I am 100% in support of a cash shop that sells purely cosmetic items.  ArenaNet included a very iffy phrase in their article about their cash shop offering “time-saving convenience items”, and I pointed that out immediately as something that can ruin the entire idea.

The images show things like Experience Boosts, Karma Boosts, Crafting Boosts, Chance to Find Rare item Boosts, Loot bags with random items, megaphones to talk in global chat, keys that unlock specific chests (I can imagine horrible ways that this can be abused by devs) and resurrection orbs to res yourself (not usable in pvp).  I am not comfortable with those kinds of items.  Something about them rubs me the wrong way.  Maybe it’s the fact that most games with those exact types of items make me feel like taking a shower after I play.  On the other hand, the boosts only last an hour making the purchase probably not worth it anway.  My issue is mostly with what those items mean for a game’s current and future design.

Games with those kinds of items in their cash shops usually design towards getting people into the cash shop which alters the ‘pure’ or unadulterated version of the game’s design.  I was hoping that Guild Wars 2 was going to offer only the items like extra character slots, dyes, looks, outfits, cosmetic pets, etc.  Those items are in the leaks as well, but they’re entirely overshadowed by a horrific sense of ignorance on ArenaNet’s part if they’re not taking into consideration the ramifications.  Cash shops that alter gameplay inherently alter game design.

I hope the leaks are either false or very early in testing and not going to make it into the game.  The only reason I am talking about this is because I care.  I want to voice my opinion and let ArenaNet know that I do not approve.  These types of things are why a company wants a NDA on their MMO, and exactly why many formulate a valid argument against hiding away the dirty little secrets.  If this type of cash shop makes it into the game, I’m glad it came out early because my interest in the game may diminish if I sense any change in the game’s design direction as a result.

One last aside, I don’t want to dismiss the potential annoyance of bag slot space being very limited without purchasing bag space.  Those types of transactions that almost force you into the shop can be just as sinister if gone unchecked.

When it comes to something this scary — a potentially ruined game — I will risk jumping the gun and overreacting.  I don’t want to see it happen, and I encourage others to realize the implications if it does. This is usually only the beginning.  (more…)


My favorite GW2 Press Beta Info

I wasn’t able to play in the beta weekend (good thing because I’ve been terribly sick) but I want to show you guys some of my favorite stuff that I’ve found from around the various sites that do have coverage.

Finding a video that wasn’t some guy just saying the game is awesome (without showing us anything) or finding one that wasn’t trying to be all about the person talking was hard (that’s the annoying part of press betas — let me in so I can make some!)  Most of the videos of PvP were also just some guy standing there instead of actually participating.

I had to throw this one at the top. Want to know why WvWvW in GW2 will work? Because ArenaNet is putting in incentives that will get people out there fighting for bonuses for their entire server. This is like DAOC’s relic system. Now all we need are some really cool dungeons or locations within the mists that only the server ‘winning’ can access.

The best WvWvW video so far.  Lots of action, a cool mech suit, etc. 20 min mark a lot of action starts.

Check out the video below from  I want you to see how big the WvWvW zone is when he zooms all the way out.  It looks massive! Also, take note of the players banging on the door.  It reminds me of Dark Age of Camelot.  This keep he’s in looks like it will be a lot of fun to defend.  I can imagine having hundreds of players from all factions clashing together.  It’s a little unsettling to see the lag, though, but that may be from his computer since the IGN video seems to handle it better.

Next, IGN has a decent video explaining and showing some WvWvW stuff.  It’s funny how he talks about the map and thinks there are only two worlds instead of three… but he doesn’t zoom out to see he’s in just ONE of FOUR massive zones.  Anyway, lots of really cool things to see here like the staging area, a brief glimpse at what your “Competitive PvP character” will look like — that’s the one you’ll do Arenas and battlegrounds with (the inferior kind of PvP) — and how you can customize.

In the video I see him “waypoint” to the keep.  I think this may be a mistake for ArenaNet to allow people to just teleport to the keeps.  Keeping reinforcements from reaching a keep seems like a strategy that gets ignored if the keep can be flooded with people just teleporting there.  I think this might be only for the main big keep in each zone, though, and I am not sure if it can be done when the keep is under siege.  Anyone know?

Jump to 7:35 if you’re just interested in some keep fighting action.

I’m hyped about GW2.  If it’s not obvious, I’m hyped about WvWvW more than anything else.  Watching this stuff brought tears to my eyes … but I think that might be all the sneezing from my cold.

Read on. (more…)


GW2 WvWvW Explained

GW2 just took the top spot on my list of must-have-games.  Reason: ArenaNet has, on paper, come the closest to replicating DAOC.  World vs. World vs. World has just been detailed by Mike Ferguson, and everything he has to say makes me giddy.

Those familiar with DAOC will already have memories of how most of this works.  For those who missed the DAOC experience, I hope that GW2 finally brings you up to speed with the best way to do PvP in a MMORPG.

I really like the idea of server vs. server now.  In DAOC, each of the three factions grew very close because you were an entire team against two other teams.  You were fighting for meaningful objectives, for reputation, for honor, and glory.  In GW2, you’re fighting for all of those and for the ability to move up in what sounds like a ladder system.  Every two weeks your server is evaluated based on how you did and then given a new server to fight against.  I like the sound of creating healthy competition between servers; maybe that’s what’s needed to create the infamous “realm pride” in today’s market.

I’m in love with the idea of lower players joining the fight and continuing to progress while playing.  Giving everyone the opportunity to play removes segmentation and contribute to the server’s victory that week.  I hope that ArenaNet improves their bolstering system over that of WAR and SWTOR, but even if they don’t I can’t imagine why having more bodies would be a bad thing in this type of PvP (whereas in 8v8 having lowbies sucks). (more…)