Guild Wars 2 Preview

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Guild Wars 2 Preview

The emphasis on working together with other players without jumping through hoops is something this genre has really needed.

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Gotta say, this review sold me on the game, wasn't really sure cause I never played 1 so i just overlooked this game and any info. Good preview all around.

I'm still under the impression that this game's core focus is PvP (not sure where i got that, tho).

I'm really looking forward to buying this game...

wow there's something I haven't said in over 2 years.

A few things I'd like to clarify or correct:
1) Gems aren't directly converted into gold. You have to sell them on the player-driven marketplace to other players for gold, which means that if thousands of people buy gems on day 1 hoping to get rich, they're going to be disappointed. You can't get any more money from gems than people can pay for them, and early on there just won't be much gold to go around.

2) Mystic Keys do drop in-game (and they're also given as a quest reward for at least one of your personal story quests). They're just rare. Mystic Chests and Mystic Keys can also be traded on the marketplace, so if you have no interest in buying a Key, you can at least get some gold out of it. As you pointed out, these things mostly give cosmetic rewards anyway.

3) Similarly, transmutation stones, dyes, and XP boosts can be purchased or found in-game. They're just also available via the store. And don't fear the XP boosts; leveling was (in my experience) quite rapid without them, and the boosts only work on monster kills anyway (which give a paltry amount of XP relative to hearts, events, and storyline quests anyway).

4) Your bar may technically only consist of 10 skills at once (plus your profession mechanic), but every class has access to more skills than that in combat. All classes except 2 can equip a second weapon set that they can swap to in combat to give them an extra 5 weapon skills, and there are also many utilities (like engineer kits), profession abilities (like elementalist attunements), and elites (like warrior Rampage) that provide an entire extra skillbar of 5 skills. Plus every environmental weapon (sticks, boulders, rocket launchers...) you pick up comes with its own 1-5 unique skills.

@lancar: it's a common misconception. It stems from (I believe) the fact that PvP is not an after-thought in the game, and they've stated multiple times that they want to make their PvP e-sport worthy...but that doesn't mean the PvE content has been neglected. GW1 was supposed to be primarily PvP focused at launch, but as the game matured they focused more and more of their efforts on building a solid PvE game, and they've built GW2 from the ground up with both PvE and PvP in mind.

lancar:
I'm still under the impression that this game's core focus is PvP (not sure where i got that, tho).

There is a lot of PVP to be had. There was only so much time available in one weekend, but I plan to focus more on the PVP side, crafting and whatever else I missed the next time the beta weekend is up.

I played the beta event and had a blast, I'm loving the game so far, altough not perfect and a bit over-hyped, this is definitely the MMO I'm going to play.

Some of my impressions so far:

- The "work together" concept is perfect. Kill-steal is gone, you're actualy looking forward to play with other players, instead of just try to avoid them so you maximize exp/loot gained.

- Combat is fast paced thanks to the dodging mechanic, downed state, and not being dedicated tanks/healers, although the attacks have a bit of a delay, that can be anoying if you're not used to like me, and the lag doesn't help.

- The hearts quests are sometimes a bit generic and not that exciting, but most of the dynamic events were great, at level 15 you have a really epic "raid-like" encounter.

- Fully voiced-over and with cinematics for your personal story. The scripting is not that good actualy, it's very cliched, but at some points I was able to choose between different paths whitch really added to the game story (while rescuing some minotaurs, attack the enemies all in or trick them to get drunk and fall sleep?)

- Just gorgeous, the world feels alive, the cities are massive and the painted artstyle is beautiful. Even the UI looks amazing.

- No subscription fees. Nuff said.

Looking forward to the next beta event and the final release.

You'd think that granting XP to all involved instead to the first to target would be a no-brainer given that the idea has been around since freaking Pokemon Red

HELLS YES! Actually being able to dodge attacks in a mmo!

Nice preview video. I too had played the beta and so far the game has not dissapoint me unlike a few people out there. I do got to agree that one of the problems is the indoor battle (I am not going to be a commoner for my human character).
Also for the next beta you should so team up with us Guild Wars group. It would be a blast!

Scarim Coral:
Nice preview video. I too had play the beta and so far the game has not dissapoint me unlike a few people out there. I do got to agree that one of the problem is the indoor battle (I am not going to be a commer for my human character).
Also for the next beta you should so team up with us Guild Wars group. It would be a blast!

Shouldnt having almost no room to dodge be a tactical disadvantage when fighting in a small indoor space? but i do agree the camera needs to be fixed.

I took part in the GW2 beta last weekend and had a blast. Here's a link to a review I put together myself: http://www.guildwars2forum.com/threads/3081-My-weekend-event?p=29913#post29913

lancar:
I'm still under the impression that this game's core focus is PvP (not sure where i got that, tho).

I'm going to copy and paste a post from SomethingAwful's HungryGerbil:

GW2 is basically three games in one:
- PvE with your personal campaign and dynamic events
- world PvP with dynamic events
- structured PvP

You can do all three or just do one of the three without looking at the other two and so on.

PvE in this game is like what happens if you add SWTOR's story (only scaled back a bit) to RIFT's rifts (only expanded a LOT). You start at level 1 and make your way up to cap, just like any other RPG.

"World PvP"--which, in this game, is actually "world vs world"--is set in four enormous maps that are separate from the main PvE world but still include the dynamic events of the PvE world, and in which three servers are paired up every two weeks to fight each other. It's very much along the lines of DAOC's three-faction PvP. You can level to cap doing nothing but this, if you choose.

And structured PvP is your basic TF2-style PvP events. You are leveled up to cap automatically and everyone is on equal footing in terms of gear, so it's more about skill than anything else

You can choose to play any one of those three games, or a combination. And all for $60. You really can't go wrong.

I didn't get into the PvP aspect of the game during the BWE; instead I spent my time exploring the lands playing all three available races, trying out 4 of the 8 classes (Ranger,Thief,Mesmer and Elementalist).

Soloing is like no other soling in any other MMO I've played. I totally agree with...

if_then_else:

- The "work together" concept is perfect. Kill-steal is gone, you're actualy looking forward to play with other players, instead of just try to avoid them so you maximize exp/loot gained.

Helping and being helped when downed or defeated with revives is a great addition. All players regardless of class can do this!

Add to this that all the resources are shared too, so no more competing players ninja-ing your nodes while you fight a pesky monster who's in the way.

I loved the Beta Event this past weekend. I was watching all the videos of the game over and over again. And I had a blast. I started as a basic warrior Norn and it was fun. Then I tried a Ranger and it was awesome. Put a sword in his hand he is like ninja, the bow skills were awesome, the personal story was a nice touch too. I liked how the death penalty played out. My once concern was the equipment, it seems so frail, but I'm sure that will be balanced out by the time it gets released. Loved it and I can't suggest it enough.

Oh man, this is going to be sooooo cress :P

I missed the Beta weekend due to having to work 3 double shifts in a row, but when the next one comes around, I'm all over that. Oh and I'm buying the game as soon as it comes out too, it looks like a great game to start trying out the MMORPG genre.

I am so hyped for this game it's not even funny anymore. I've taken part in 2 betas so far and I really feel that the game has whole-heartily delivered what it promised.

Not to start a flame war or anything, but I'm not going to prepurchase (or even preorder) this game. Why? I'll tell you;

The first Guild Wars was all about complexity, and adapting your skills and tactics to the situation, and the monsters you were going to be fighting. Are they using mostly fire based damage? Equip fire armour, and bring some skills that alleviate burning. Then perhaps you should bring some spells that target their mages, preferrably damaging them the more skills they use. Are they "fleshy" (as opposed to skeletons, wraiths and so on)? Perhaps some bleeding, disease and poison would be nice? Or perhaps they are melee only, and you should look into making their attacks miss.

With the right amount of preparation, and a good deal of ingenuity, you could complete an area in 10 minutes alone, whereas an 8-man party would spend 3 hours and perhaps even fail. The character level, armour and weapons were so easily maxed, that all you really could judge a person on, was how well they picked their skills, and how adept they were at using them.

Now what do we get?
"Do you want a sword, bow, hammer or a gun? OK, now go out there and hope you manage to dodge their attacks."
To me, it just seems like they dropped all the Magic the Gathering stuff from the game, and that was what really made Guild Wars shine for me. At least I don't have to spend 4000 hours on the sequel.

(and yes, I know that you can have 2 weapon sets, it still seems shallow and simplistic to me)

I was also in the last BWE and really enjoyed it. Yes, it has bugs and issues to work out but I'm really looking forward to release. The game can be difficult as I died several times in a few of my personal story missions but it is fun that it is more challenging than the average MMO.

Also, the holy trinity is finally gone and not a moment too soon. This alone puts it heads and shoulders over any other MMO out right now.

Combat is fast paced but the controls feel mushy. While I dislike that Tera still has the holy trinity, that game's controls feel a bit tigher than GW2's. The characters in Tera feel like they have mass and weight and their attacks have impact. GW2's characters feel floaty and the attacks are nice looking but lack oomph.

Overall, though, I'm still a bit more excited for GW2 than I am for Tera. Though I enjoy both games.

Gestapo Hunter:

Scarim Coral:
Nice preview video. I too had play the beta and so far the game has not dissapoint me unlike a few people out there. I do got to agree that one of the problem is the indoor battle (I am not going to be a commer for my human character).
Also for the next beta you should so team up with us Guild Wars group. It would be a blast!

Shouldnt having almost no room to dodge be a tactical disadvantage when fighting in a small indoor space? but i do agree the camera needs to be fixed.

You can still "Evade" an attack if it hits during your dodge roll. You don't get the distance away you may like, but good timing could avoid some enemy's power attack. Did a bit of that dealing with Ettins.

I'd like to clarify that buying gems with real money is not the only way to attain them. Gems are integral to the economy in that other players buy them off you for gold. On this basis, it's simply a matter of time versus convenience. Since some people don't play as often as others, and might be able to afford putting in that extra dollar or two, they might get more incentive for providing the gem vendors while raking in the gold from players who prefer to spend time in-game to earn their gems.

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the beta. Got to level 20 with my Thief and have never had so much fun in MMO combat before. Everything about it is challenging, exciting and active. You really need to concentrate, and you feel like a badass when you pull off a hard encounter.

If you're interested how the combat feels and operates (when not a giant clusterf*ck), read on, but I expect lots of tl;drs.

The best example is probably in the personal story. For my human female thief, I was attempting to gather information from a captain at a brewing monastery (they literally worship mead), when centaurs try raiding the place. Dual daggers and shortbow in hand, I had to fight back wave after wave, dodging arrows and avoiding slashes with my eyes fixed to the screen. Eventually, the centaurs' leader turns up at the front gate and starts shouting to see the "hero". The captain looks at me disconcertingly and says I should probably see what he wants. I step outside the front gate to see the leader, and he starts screaming about how I think I'm better than he is, and challenges me to a one-on-one duel, immediately charging at me. This is where skill and forethought comes in to play, unlike other MMOs where I would just hit 12341111234231:

The moment he puts that sword ahead towards me, I throw down Caltrops (mini-spikes scattered all over the ground). I jump back as his hooves land on them, and he immediately groans and limps, a lot slower than before (condition applied). Taking advantage, I pounce forward and use Leaping Death Blossom (basically a front-flip over the opponent while striking with both daggers). He's now bleeding rapidly (condition applied). He turns around as I throw a knife at him to cripple him even further (condition applied?). He suddenly raises his shield and the knife comes flying right back at me. Somehow, my immediate reflex is to hit Shift, which luckily was my custom dodge button. I roll out of the way as the knife skims exactly where my face had been. He keeps the shield raised and remains still. Smiling to myself, I switch to my shortbow and fire. Obviously, he still thinks his defence will work, but I had actually fired an AoE arrow, cluster bomb. It sails overhead and I detonate it, raining loads of explosives over the top of him. He starts limping away to get some distance, and I leap forward with Heartseeker (a dagger pounce that does more damage the less the enemy's HP is). It connects directly and he falls dead. His friends immediately make a run for it as I turn around.

I've never had a fight like that in any MMO. Ever. It's just incredible.

I had a blast playing the beta weekend.
One of my absolutely favorite features is: You're downleveled in low-level areas, but the rewards you get for doing events and hearts is not. This means that the game only gets bigger as you level up: Your character never misses out on a zone because he's too overpowered for it. Level 30 in a level 5 zone? Still better be careful pulling more than a few mobs, or you're going to die horribly.

I died often, and horribly.
I loved it.

Gardenia:
Not to start a flame war or anything, but I'm not going to prepurchase (or even preorder) this game. Why? I'll tell you;

The first Guild Wars was all about complexity, and adapting your skills and tactics to the situation, and the monsters you were going to be fighting. Are they using mostly fire based damage? Equip fire armour, and bring some skills that alleviate burning. Then perhaps you should bring some spells that target their mages, preferrably damaging them the more skills they use. Are they "fleshy" (as opposed to skeletons, wraiths and so on)? Perhaps some bleeding, disease and poison would be nice? Or perhaps they are melee only, and you should look into making their attacks miss.

With the right amount of preparation, and a good deal of ingenuity, you could complete an area in 10 minutes alone, whereas an 8-man party would spend 3 hours and perhaps even fail. The character level, armour and weapons were so easily maxed, that all you really could judge a person on, was how well they picked their skills, and how adept they were at using them.

Now what do we get?
"Do you want a sword, bow, hammer or a gun? OK, now go out there and hope you manage to dodge their attacks."
To me, it just seems like they dropped all the Magic the Gathering stuff from the game, and that was what really made Guild Wars shine for me. At least I don't have to spend 4000 hours on the sequel.

(and yes, I know that you can have 2 weapon sets, it still seems shallow and simplistic to me)

It helps if you think of GW2 as a separate game entirely from GW1.

Honestly, I think calling it "Guild Wars 2" might hurt their sales more than if they had called it almost anything else. Too many GW1 fans will dislike that it's different from GW1, too many GW1 haters will assume it's just more of the stuff they hated from the first game, and too many people who never cared about GW1 won't even pay attention to it because they'll assume it was made for people who played the first game.

*Edit: there is still a lot of choice in this game. You'll want to select your last 5 skills and your traits based on what you're going up against. (Your last 5 skills and all the Major Traits can be swapped around at will, just not in combat.) And even the different weapon types have different feels to them; some are more supportive, some are more condition-centric, etc.

There are also other things people can do, like an elementalist can swap between attunements (water being more supportive, fire being more AoE, etc.) depending on the situation, or an engineer might swap to a close-range flamethrower if he gets pulled toward an enemy.

You will also have different individual weapons that have different effects, like ones that can apply burning and ones that have different stats at night, and you can choose from those based on the situation.

And that's not even touching on the cross-profession combos. If a warrior sees an elementalist freeze the ground, he can run over to the frozen patch, stomp on it, and give everyone nearby some Frost Armor. Just for one example. You are still paying a lot of attention to what's going on in GW2 and trying to react to it.

All in all, it's less about preparation and more about reaction. But it's still complex.

Gardenia:

Now what do we get?
"Do you want a sword, bow, hammer or a gun? OK, now go out there and hope you manage to dodge their attacks."
To me, it just seems like they dropped all the Magic the Gathering stuff from the game, and that was what really made Guild Wars shine for me. At least I don't have to spend 4000 hours on the sequel.

(and yes, I know that you can have 2 weapon sets, it still seems shallow and simplistic to me)

I'd have to disagree about it being shallow and simplistic. This may be more about the Elementalist's gameplay, as it was the only class I played during the beta weekend, but I found that I needed to take diversity in my skillsets seriously. I was expecting to build up on Fire and Air for power attacks, ignoring water and earth, but had a number of times when I'd need to switch out gain the effects of other elements when the situation changed on me. I'm used to mage classes needing to specialize, but GW2 seems to require you to mix it up.

One of the personal story missions put in in a one-on-one boss fight. I quickly learned that one element won't cut it. You have to use all your class's abilities to be effective. You can plan ahead, but you have to be ready to change. I think it makes combat more complex as you can't create a winning situation by picking just the right items beforehand.

So im definately looking to get guild wars 2 now. Where as before i wasn't at all.

Big question though, is it going to be subscription based like other MMO's or keep the smart idea of Guild wars 1 and only have an upfront cost?

That's the deciding factor for me.

cricket chirps:
So im definately looking to get guild wars 2 now. Where as before i wasn't at all.

Big question though, is it going to be subscription based like other MMO's or keep the smart idea of Guild wars 1 and only have an upfront cost?

That's the deciding factor for me.

No subscription fee. Buy it, play it whenever you want, forever.

Such a great game and with no sub fee. I love it.

knhirt:
I had a blast playing the beta weekend.
One of my absolutely favorite features is: You're downleveled in low-level areas, but the rewards you get for doing events and hearts is not. This means that the game only gets bigger as you level up: Your character never misses out on a zone because he's too overpowered for it. Level 30 in a level 5 zone? Still better be careful pulling more than a few mobs, or you're going to die horribly.

I died often, and horribly.
I loved it.

Forgot to mention this. The side-kick mechanic, as they call it, is really cool too. You will be able to enjoy all areas regardless of your level, all encounters will be challenging, and you will get rewards according to your actual level. Pretty cool, this is a selling point for me.

Jonci:

Gardenia:

Now what do we get?
"Do you want a sword, bow, hammer or a gun? OK, now go out there and hope you manage to dodge their attacks."
To me, it just seems like they dropped all the Magic the Gathering stuff from the game, and that was what really made Guild Wars shine for me. At least I don't have to spend 4000 hours on the sequel.

(and yes, I know that you can have 2 weapon sets, it still seems shallow and simplistic to me)

I'd have to disagree about it being shallow and simplistic. This may be more about the Elementalist's gameplay, as it was the only class I played during the beta weekend, but I found that I needed to take diversity in my skillsets seriously. I was expecting to build up on Fire and Air for power attacks, ignoring water and earth, but had a number of times when I'd need to switch out gain the effects of other elements when the situation changed on me. I'm used to mage classes needing to specialize, but GW2 seems to require you to mix it up.

One of the personal story missions put in in a one-on-one boss fight. I quickly learned that one element won't cut it. You have to use all your class's abilities to be effective. You can plan ahead, but you have to be ready to change. I think it makes combat more complex as you can't create a winning situation by picking just the right items beforehand.

I played an elementalist a lot over the beta as well and had a very similar experience. (Its also worth noting that with 4 power sets to choose from, the 5 weapon skills is actually 20 when its all trained). During PVP, id go from AOE fire damage, to throwing down water heals, using air to run away, and throwing earth stalls behind me. Every skill had a time that it was useful, and learning how best to use the skills was fun too. There is one air skill that makes you evade backwards and grants you a speed boost. Using this while running away was fun, trying to do a quick 180, roll backwards, then another 180 to keep running away... fun stuff.

if_then_else:
- Fully voiced-over and with cinematics for your personal story. The scripting is not that good actualy, it's very cliched, but at some points I was able to choose between different paths whitch really added to the game story (while rescuing some minotaurs, attack the enemies all in or trick them to get drunk and fall sleep?)

Cool, your options were head on attack or get them drunk... I had the options of get them drunk, or sneak in while shapeshifted into a minotaur myself. I am really curious to see what other differences were put in to the story quests.

During character creation, one of my options was that I lost an heirloom. I loved that a few quests later I found out the bad guy was using said heirloom to cause trouble.

EmperorSubcutaneous:

cricket chirps:
So im definately looking to get guild wars 2 now. Where as before i wasn't at all.

Big question though, is it going to be subscription based like other MMO's or keep the smart idea of Guild wars 1 and only have an upfront cost?

That's the deciding factor for me.

No subscription fee. Buy it, play it whenever you want, forever.

Yay.

Pretty much just that ^

Kordie:

if_then_else:
- Fully voiced-over and with cinematics for your personal story. The scripting is not that good actualy, it's very cliched, but at some points I was able to choose between different paths whitch really added to the game story (while rescuing some minotaurs, attack the enemies all in or trick them to get drunk and fall sleep?)

Cool, your options were head on attack or get them drunk... I had the options of get them drunk, or sneak in while shapeshifted into a minotaur myself. I am really curious to see what other differences were put in to the story quests.

During character creation, one of my options was that I lost an heirloom. I loved that a few quests later I found out the bad guy was using said heirloom to cause trouble.

Yeah, I chose the lost heirloom thing too, and the last personal story chapter I finished was the encounter with that guy that summons enemies with the horn, I absolutely loved too.

Also, now that you mention it, I too had the option to turn into a minotaur during that quests, but I think it was to stanpeed through the camp and rescue the minotaurs, I don't remember about sneaking (that's why I said attack them all in). I wasn't aware the options also changed regarding your choices through the game. Another selling point. :D

Slycne:

lancar:
I'm still under the impression that this game's core focus is PvP (not sure where i got that, tho).

There is a lot of PVP to be had. There was only so much time available in one weekend, but I plan to focus more on the PVP side, crafting and whatever else I missed the next time the beta weekend is up.

This, i was pleased by the PvE gameplay but not blown away, the structured PvP is nice and still i was unimpressed (you can describe it as a capture based Blood Champions, or a balanced focus Arathi Basin and be almost right on money).

The two things I loved about GW 2 are the near perfect implementation of DaoC RvR (i would very much like you to do an extensive article about this next time) and the level designers, the architecture of even the most modest of the capital cities is just amazing, and the human capital city? A work of art.

Sadly, your WvW experience depends a lot on your server.... try to pick a server good at PvP or it might be misserable, Sorrow's Furnace seems to be the DaoC veterans server of choice, sadly i was unable to get into that one last weekend, but mine still kicked ass sunday on the eternal battlegrounds.

Tanakh:

Sadly, your WvW experience depends a lot on your server.... try to pick a server good at PvP or it might be misserable, Sorrow's Furnace seems to be the DaoC veterans server of choice, sadly i was unable to get into that one last weekend, but mine still kicked ass sunday on the eternal battlegrounds.

The first few weeks are going to be pretty horribly balanced in terms of WvW. However, they have said that there will be a ranking system in place, so the worlds that win all the time will be placed against worlds that win all the time.

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