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Guild Wars 2: Initial Impressions

I am digging the Jesus Christ Superstar helmet

Ok internet. I take it back. In one of my previous posts, which stirred much controversy, I criticized ArenaNet for claiming to have abolished the holy trinity while allowing players to spec for healing and tanking. While I am not going to claim having delved deep enough to know the intricacies of the grouping system (something I will do when I eventually get into some instances) I can safely say that I was wrong and whoever called me on this was right. With that out of the way here are my initial Guild Wars 2 impressions.

Anyone who read my previous posts related to GW2 will know that I quite disliked the beta weekends experience and did not have very high hopes for the game. Not that I was doubting it would be a good game. The player buzz, developer talk, and youtube videos all indicated that ArenaNet was onto something here. However you sometimes fail to connect with a game in spite of its many virtues. I feared that would be the case for me and I wouldn’t be able to join the launch buzz leaving me with 55€ worth of data on my hard disk just waiting for an uninstall. After leveling a Warrior to 20 over the past 5 days I can say that I shouldn’t have worried. Guild Wars 2 is a great game and I am loving it.

My initial impression of the game is extremely positive. ArenaNet have definitely raised the bar with this one and now I understand the frequent talk of ‘changing the genre’ that seemed to come up whenever someone was discussing the game pre-release. It is clear to see that the developer did not just take WoW as a starting point and built on that like other recent MMOs have done (Rift and SWTOR I am looking at you!). Not that I am criticizing that approach. Those games have their own merits. However, in constantly thinking out of the WoW box, ArenaNet have definitely made something that is both innovative and fresh. This does not mean that ArenaNet re-invented the wheel. There are definitive nods to other MMO mechanics here. WvW owes quite a bit to Dark Age of Camelot in structure. Dynamic events are similar in concept to those presented in Warhammer Online. The crafting discovery system takes a page out of Dragon Quest VIII. And yet every single facet of this MMO was scrutinized and questioned within the framework of the game that ArenaNet wanted to develop, making it feel like a revolution of the genre rather than a simple evolution.

There are so many things to like about this game that its quite difficult to know where to start. The game at release is much more optimized and works quite well on my rig. The combat is action based and extremely fluid, the aforementioned dynamic events create a living breathing world which is a real joy to explore, the artistic vision of the game is a thing of beauty and in general ArenaNet did their very best to create a game which is just plain fun. Whenever I try a new MMO there are things which make me go ‘Why hasn’t anyone thought of this neat idea before?’. GW2 is full of such ideas. In due time I plan on making a few posts detailing highlights from the game and possibly sharing some thoughts about the design decisions taken by the developer.

Out with the jumping, in with the dodging

Not to say the game had a smooth launch. Frequent disconnects, inability to log in, guilds not working properly and, for me, frequent and regular crashes to desktop made this a less than stellar launch. Also, to date, the auction house is down with no ETA when it might be going live. On a more personal note I am not enamoured with the community so far. My polite post on the GW2 facebook page (their forums are down) explaining my problem and asking if anyone else is experiencing it was met with ‘give them a break’, ‘stop being a troll’, ‘upgrade your pc’ and some replies which can be summed as ‘stop whining, this is an MMO launch and you have no right to complain’.  I fixed the crashing issue after a lot of experimentation with the graphical settings. Just in case anyone is having the same problem setting post processing effects to low resolved it for me with little negative effect on how the game looks.  In game the community is much more friendly and the fact that the game does its best to remove griefing opportunities largely helps.

That’s about all I feel like sharing so far. Now excuse me while I go back to Tyria.

My username is Avaloner.9106 and I am playing a Norn Warrior on Piken Square (EU).

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4 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2: Initial Impressions

  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed the game so far. My experience pretty much reflects yours: some problems, some bugs, but all in all a fun ride.

    I hope you get to play some dungeon soon, I would like to hear your thoughts on the “soft-trinity” we discussed before.

    Cheers.

    1. You would expect people to be more decent on Facebook than in-game given that they appear as themselves (most of the time). Time will tell though. So far in-game has been very pleasant. Even general chat is fun most of the time.

      1. Yeah I’ve found general chat (which I usually make a point of turning off in MMOs) to be fairly friendly, outside of overflow servers anyway 🙂

        I had sworn off MMOs after SWToR, but my friends talked me into getting GW2, I’m happy they did. So far it’s been really nice.

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