Guild Wars 2 Beta Preview

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Guild Wars 2 Beta Preview

Guild Wars 2 has the potential to take the MMO genre forward.

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Way to get me more excited about this game! XP

The World PvP sounds incredibly interesting. Hope they can pull it off!

I really don't see how this is supposed to REVOLUTIONIZE the damn MMO industry, its another hotbar based MMO, while obviously a well made one its just another part of the problem and not the solution.

Edit: You can all stop quoting me now, I really don't care anymore why you personally believe this game is god, as I see I'm throwing myself against a fanboy wall here.

I like the game well enough, but the engine is garbage. They could have made a far better game if they'd bought a license and spent the extra development time rethinking blunders like zero player collision and check-based Y axis hit detection.

Animation based game.
No collision. Good luck reading those animations.
Tabbing targets based on nearest-farthest.
No minimap tracking. Good luck predicting where your next tab will jump to. Did you just waste a critical skill on a downed player that your true target was standing in? Such a pity.

And A-net said they had e-sports hopes for their PvP. I had no idea they were such great jokers.

Nice write up - I do agree that GW2 will have an influence on new MMOs, in particular questing and leveling structure.
Had an amazing time playing the beta, even though timezones stopped me from playing the closing event. Next 31 days can't pass quickly enough IMO.

Saviordd1:
I really don't see how this is supposed to REVOLUTIONIZE the damn MMO industry, its another hotbar based MMO, while obviously a well made one its just another part of the problem and not the solution.

For me it's potentially evolutionary in the space that it exists, less so about some ground breaking divergence. The bittersweet fact is we simply are not going to see something revolutionize the entire MMO industry on say the same level of when MMOs first came out, at least not soon. At our current technological level, we are still a ways off from anything like that. What we can do, and what Guild Wars 2 does, is take a close look at a number of the game mechanics that have been stagnate in the MMO space.

I'm still worried about everything ELSE you didn't mention.

Saviordd1:
I really don't see how this is supposed to REVOLUTIONIZE the damn MMO industry, its another hotbar based MMO, while obviously a well made one its just another part of the problem and not the solution.

elaborate? Examples? what would you rather see instead of a hotbar mmo? a hotcircle mmo? There's really only so much you can do with combat skill placement.

Candidus:
I like the game well enough, but the engine is garbage. They could have made a far better game if they'd bought a license and spent the extra development time rethinking blunders like zero player collision and check-based Y axis hit detection.

Animation based game.
No collision. Good luck reading those animations.
Tabbing targets based on nearest-farthest.
No minimap tracking. Good luck predicting where your next tab will jump to. Did you just waste a critical skill on a downed player that your true target was standing in? Such a pity.

And A-net said they had e-sports hopes for their PvP. I had no idea they were such great jokers.

I agree with the e-sports thing, since guild wars just doesnt seem to fit right in that aspect. Tabbing works exactly how it did in gw1, how else would you have it switch between targets? Switching to the one in the center of your screen won't work if you have more than 1 enemy there. If there were collisions, do you realize how impossibly annoying WvW would be? The engine works just fine, and it's not even optimized yet. Also, I can guarantee you that Anet has considered adding collisions because it was in gw1. They clearly made a decision not to, which means it's not a blunder, it's a choice. I will also agree that minimap tracking would be nice, especially since it was in gw1.

It would be nice if people would point out things that can't be fixed through player skill. Stuff like spectator for pvp and wvw, particle effect scaling, performance optimization, and those sorts of things.

the doom cannon:
-snip-

How about, and this is a crazy idea here, an MMO that actually relies on skill and aiming! (Oh god doesn't that idea just shake your britches)

I mean I've heard Vindictus had good combat, but I also heard that's basically just a RPG with mulitplayer zones.

The first MMO developer to actually have a good combat system with less grind and actual content would be king of the god damn world for years...yet no one can grow the brain cells to NOT copy WoW and its predecessors.

Edit: Again, no quoting please, I ceased caring against the wave of people who claim GW2 is going to be god.

Saviordd1:

the doom cannon:
-snip-

How about, and this is a crazy idea here, an MMO that actually relies on skill and aiming! (Oh god doesn't that idea just shake your britches)

I mean I've heard Vindictus had good combat, but I also heard that's basically just a RPG with mulitplayer zones.

The first MMO developer to actually have a good combat system with less grind and actual content would be king of the god damn world for years...yet no one can grow the brain cells to NOT copy WoW and its predecessors.

Well, GW2 would be a step in that direction as many of the skills require aiming where they are going and can be dodged by moving out of the way. Just because the skills you can use are selected by numbers by default doesn't make it a hotbar system like you describe. They also have made large strides towards player skill being a key factor in combat and removing random number generators from determining combat.

Further, the combat in GW2 is fun, at least in my opinion, and the grind apears to be non-existent. I am genuinly curoius what you would define a grind as these days, as there at no point in GW2 is there a lack of things to do and everything can help you level up. Have you had a chance to play the game at all? or are these opions based off of watching videos of the game?

I do agree that this will not be a revolution in MMO's but it is a step forward.

Saviordd1:

the doom cannon:
-snip-

How about, and this is a crazy idea here, an MMO that actually relies on skill and aiming! (Oh god doesn't that idea just shake your britches)

I mean I've heard Vindictus had good combat, but I also heard that's basically just a RPG with mulitplayer zones.

The first MMO developer to actually have a good combat system with less grind and actual content would be king of the god damn world for years...yet no one can grow the brain cells to NOT copy WoW and its predecessors.

Then you get into first person mmorpg, which quite honestly doesn't work. You can't really "aim" if you're in third person, which is the most popular and most effective way to do an mmorpg. don't get me wrong, I'd get right behind a good first person mmorpg, but I've never seen one and I doubt I ever will. Also, I don't really understand how aiming with your mouse requires skill....GW2 has projectile, ground targeted, and directional skills. There are only a handful that will always hit, the rest can be dodged. I feel like there is some skill involved there.

EDIT: Kordie you ninja, you

Saviordd1:

the doom cannon:
-snip-

How about, and this is a crazy idea here, an MMO that actually relies on skill and aiming! (Oh god doesn't that idea just shake your britches)

I mean I've heard Vindictus had good combat, but I also heard that's basically just a RPG with mulitplayer zones.

The first MMO developer to actually have a good combat system with less grind and actual content would be king of the god damn world for years...yet no one can grow the brain cells to NOT copy WoW and its predecessors.

Vindictus is actually a really great example here. The issue is not a lack of creativity (though indeed the games industry is often too willing to play it safe), it really is a technological hurdle in the MMO space. The current limitations of bandwidth and server structure means that you can't have everything. Vindictus might feature combat more akin to an action game, but it's not able to do this in large zones with hundreds of players, hence the limitations. Likewise, games like Planetside can only be pulled off with certain restrictions, like a single hitbox. No matter what you're always going to be fighting with how much packet information can be sent back and forth to so many players.

All that said, as other have pointed out, Guild Wars 2 does a good job of taking combat from just feeling like what we're used to. TOR felt very WoW-like, Guild Wars 2 doesn't. It's probably better demonstrated in my first preview though.

Saviordd1:

the doom cannon:
-snip-

How about, and this is a crazy idea here, an MMO that actually relies on skill and aiming! (Oh god doesn't that idea just shake your britches)

I mean I've heard Vindictus had good combat, but I also heard that's basically just a RPG with mulitplayer zones.

The first MMO developer to actually have a good combat system with less grind and actual content would be king of the god damn world for years...yet no one can grow the brain cells to NOT copy WoW and its predecessors.

Have you ever thought that most people like hotbar MMOs? I wouldn't play an MMO that isn't hotbar based. That is what I have Single player games for.

GW2 does have Hotbar, but it isn't like WoW, where you just stand there following your rotation and getting healed by the healer and not worrying about aggro because of the tank. You have to aim your skills, you have to manage your own health and damage mitigation, you have to dodge out of enemy attacks and abilities, and you have to always be aware because the enemy can turn on your at any second because there is no tank absorbing aggro.

The gameplay in WoW and GW2 is completely different. Sure they have hotbars, but both are really different.

Saviordd1:
I really don't see how this is supposed to REVOLUTIONIZE the damn MMO industry, its another hotbar based MMO, while obviously a well made one its just another part of the problem and not the solution.

I'm with you. Like I said on the Facebook feed:

I thought the beta as a whole was lacking. there was nothing to really engage in. Yeah all that stuff was there, but there was really on incentive.

The Sylvari weren't "similar" to elves, that's all they were. Literally. Elves with leaf hair. You could have thrown them into Amalur or something and no one would bat an eyelash

the only race done well was Charr, but the stories were all B-grade fantasy novel cliches, with no real choices besides "let this traitor live or die?". There was no real choice. I tried the Sylvari, and I hated all the NPCs, I would have rather joined the evil faction, the Nightmare Court, but alas, no such choice was there, making each small choice you got to feel just kind of... "About time I got to do something."

Combat was fun, but lacked any real impact. There was no real impact on anything I did. I never felt my sword hit a creature. I never saw a "tell" when a giant skill was coming, hence a sign to dodge. Speaking of dodging. It sucks. Period. It's way too imprecise and there was no reliable way to strafe and dodge without being a melee-based Ranger.

Really, the combat's fun, and the world's pretty, but just about everything else needs to be redone from the ground up. because aside from the combat and the "dynamic events", which aren't really all that dynamic, there's nothing new in this game.

the doom cannon:

I agree with the e-sports thing, since guild wars just doesnt seem to fit right in that aspect. Tabbing works exactly how it did in gw1, how else would you have it switch between targets? Switching to the one in the center of your screen won't work if you have more than 1 enemy there. If there were collisions, do you realize how impossibly annoying WvW would be? The engine works just fine, and it's not even optimized yet. Also, I can guarantee you that Anet has considered adding collisions because it was in gw1. They clearly made a decision not to, which means it's not a blunder, it's a choice. I will also agree that minimap tracking would be nice, especially since it was in gw1.

It would be nice if people would point out things that can't be fixed through player skill. Stuff like spectator for pvp and wvw, particle effect scaling, performance optimization, and those sorts of things.

No, tabbing doesn't work exactly as it did in GW1. I'm very surprised you'd say that without realising your mistake on reflection.

In GW1, the minimap tracked all players at all times. You could keep the minimap on your peripheral vision and know roughly to which dot the next tab would take you. That is no longer the case, and a feature-sparse minimap DIRECTLY undermines the target tabbing function in much the same way as a lack of collision does. It makes this core interface utility unpredictable. That's pretty big shit.

EDIT: It might be more accurate to say that while tabbing is technically the same beast, the ways in which it can be utilized have been fundamentally changed for the worse. Unless you think making a core system unwieldy is arguable as "simply a difference". I'd be looking at you with a pretty skeptical face if you did.

A highlighted cone that represents the users' target tabbable FOV should be projected from your own dot on the minimap. In that cone, other players' dots should be visible and your current target should be highlighted. That doesn't solve the similar problems caused by a lack of collision, but who cares? Right now, the two problems compound each-other to the point that you could quite legitimately call the arrangement broken. If you don't fix either one, you won't even have a worthwhile competitive passtime, let alone an e-sport.

As to your notion that zero collision was a design decision: I agree. It was a terrible design decision. That's a blunder.

The game is animation based. There are no casting bars and no means of following targets you don't have on-screen. Skill casts often do NOT have visually distinct tells; many skills are represented by artistic blurs shrouded in movement (death blossom). Add to this the fact that without collision, these blurs can stand inside other blurs.

The current situation (in my opinion) is that the game does everything it can to make sure that you can't pull any meaningful information off the screen from one moment to the next. I know what I need to play the game as a worthwhile competitive passtime, perhaps even as an e-sport. I also know that right now, GW2 doesn't provide anything like it.

Just because they took decisions doesn't mean they didn't blunder.

I'm suprise that you did another preview for this awesome game. Also ha I know which Universities you took for your Asuran character (that cutscene did made me chuckle).
Once the game is up and running, I suggest you join the Escapist Guild that the group leader is planning to make.

Candidus:
snip

ok lets agree that the minimap needs dots. Agreed? ok good. I also believe that this whole thing could be fixed by adding an icon under the enemy's name that indicates what skill they are using. Not a use bar, just the icon. I feel like this would make competitive play infinitely better, especially since a lot of elite skills have no visual effect on the players. PvP needs a lot of work before it's ready to be an e-sport, and quite honestly I don't think Anet has it in them to pull it off. Now that doesn't mean it won't be awesome and fun though. Their PvE content is also amazing.

As for the tabbing, it DOES work exactly the same. However, it is not represented the same. It still goes to the next target based on distance, but there is no visual indication as to where it will go next. The mechanic itself is the same.

Maybe I should run over to the beta forums if they're still open and add this icon suggestion.....something to think about at least.

question. I know this game doesnt have a subscription structure so...how do they afford to keep servers running???

Are the standard sales of the game enough?

rbstewart7263:
question. I know this game doesnt have a subscription structure so...how do they afford to keep servers running???

Are the standard sales of the game enough?

PRetty much. I think there's a purely cosmetic cash shop, too, but yeah. The original stayed up with just game sales.

kyosai7:

rbstewart7263:
question. I know this game doesnt have a subscription structure so...how do they afford to keep servers running???

Are the standard sales of the game enough?

PRetty much. I think there's a purely cosmetic cash shop, too, but yeah. The original stayed up with just game sales.

wow.

I didn't care one bit about Guild Wars 2 a couple months ago. Now, especially after seeing this, I'm completely stoked. This is the kind of pvp experience I've been looking for, with both structured and WvW pvp.

Saviordd1:

the doom cannon:
-snip-

How about, and this is a crazy idea here, an MMO that actually relies on skill and aiming! (Oh god doesn't that idea just shake your britches)

I mean I've heard Vindictus had good combat, but I also heard that's basically just a RPG with mulitplayer zones.

The first MMO developer to actually have a good combat system with less grind and actual content would be king of the god damn world for years...yet no one can grow the brain cells to NOT copy WoW and its predecessors.

you want aimming go play tera its the game your looking for.

OT: i only got to play for a day and i can say without a doubt that this game is worth the money you spend on it. now this is my opinion but if you are a wow,rift,or tor player this game is worth checking out.

kyosai7:

rbstewart7263:
question. I know this game doesnt have a subscription structure so...how do they afford to keep servers running???

Are the standard sales of the game enough?

PRetty much. I think there's a purely cosmetic cash shop, too, but yeah. The original stayed up with just game sales.

Thing is, pretty much all cash shops claim to be purely cosmetic at first.

I have no doubt that if game sales turn out to be insufficient then Arenanet will turn to selling more... significant items. Here's hoping they don't have to, but the risk is there.

I can honestly say that ArenaNet has successfully created the best midget race in any mmo to have ever existed since the beginning of time. The Asura are amazing. It was also nice to play a non-Korean mmo. Less grinding, more actual playing.

There's also Dragon Nest, C9 and Tera you know. All 3 very interesting games, the PvP is the most fun I've had in an mmo.

Mr Cwtchy:

kyosai7:

rbstewart7263:
question. I know this game doesnt have a subscription structure so...how do they afford to keep servers running???

Are the standard sales of the game enough?

PRetty much. I think there's a purely cosmetic cash shop, too, but yeah. The original stayed up with just game sales.

Thing is, pretty much all cash shops claim to be purely cosmetic at first.

I have no doubt that if game sales turn out to be insufficient then Arenanet will turn to selling more... significant items. Here's hoping they don't have to, but the risk is there.

I seriously doubt they will go to that model. They will lose most of their player base if they do, and then the game will just die. Their whole mantra is that everything is available to everyone, and that just because someone beats the last dungeon in the game doesnt give them the best gear. So yea, I seriously doubt they will.

That being said, the cash shop does offer boosts and stuff, but since the stuff you get boosted wont affect your actual ability, it won't matter. Useable items in the cash shop can also be found in game.

I don't quite understand why people think subscriptions are the only way to keep an mmo going, especially since GW1 did so well without them. The subscription model to me is just a grab for money.

I found the GW2 beta incredibly fun and interesting. The fact that it has those extra exploration things it great because I love exploring the environments.

And was it just me or was that Asura npc in the cutscene voiced by Felicia Day?

tabriaswolfe:
I found the GW2 beta incredibly fun and interesting. The fact that it has those extra exploration things it great because I love exploring the environments.

And was it just me or was that Asura npc in the cutscene voiced by Felicia Day?

Yea that was her. Felicia Day voices Zojja

Slycne:
Guild Wars 2 Beta Preview

If Justin did this... why does the end credits say 'Written and narrated by Paul Goodman'? (Is he doing a really good impression of Justin?)

Oh... and Justin plays a stabby thief? Never saw it coming... ;)

IIRC, in the first GW the PvE became more popular than the PvP.

Mr Cwtchy:

kyosai7:

rbstewart7263:
question. I know this game doesnt have a subscription structure so...how do they afford to keep servers running???

Are the standard sales of the game enough?

PRetty much. I think there's a purely cosmetic cash shop, too, but yeah. The original stayed up with just game sales.

Thing is, pretty much all cash shops claim to be purely cosmetic at first.

I have no doubt that if game sales turn out to be insufficient then Arenanet will turn to selling more... significant items. Here's hoping they don't have to, but the risk is there.

I doubt this will happen, but even if it does, you can buy everything in the micro-transaction store with in-game gold. I am amazed at how many people don't know this, so I try to tell as many people as possible.

I felt the betas were pretty lackluster if I'm honest.
All of the "Dynamic events" seemed to be quests that you had to manually start, which I found to be a worse model then "Talk to dude, kill/gather x of y", it seemed to be "Find new area, have no clue what you're doing, pick up x, YAY PICK UP MORE x"
All this talk of aiming is also BS, yeah, you have to be looking at a guy for your melee abilities to hit, that's not aiming, aiming would involve cross-hairs for ranged abilites, which it did not have.
It felt like just another MMO that claimed to be innovative etc, whilst it was basically just like any other

Greets!

I've played in all BWEs and stress tests that Guild Wars 2 has had since it opened it's prepurchase phase. While I've only skimmed through this particular thread and havn't looked at the article linked in the OP, I think I can describe my experience to add to flavor.

First of all; Apologies to the OP, I do not mean to insult you by not reading your article, but I would like to not spoil myself further as I wait for launch.

I was originally skeptical of Guild Wars 2, all the hype and that I wasn't too interested in guild wars 1 didn't make for a convincing sell for me, so I made sure I got my hands on as many previews and videos as I could several months ago. I had saw some of the gameplay and features, but they were all geared to look better than they actually were. I've seen such marketing ploys myself in the past, but I knew A-Net liked to not make cookie cutter MMOs that mimic WoW is everything. That, coupled with my minor but not entirely unexpected disappointment of SWTOR, I thought I may as well prepurchase when the chance came. If I don't go putting money down, what right have I to complain eh? Hah, tell that to my wallet.

So, as the BWEs would come and go, I delved into the engineer and guardian classes, setting myself up as a healer. Guardian was cool looking with a greatsword and I kept on making people crap themselves as they saw my little human flying through the air at them with the greatest of ease. As good as it was, I didn't feel that guardian was as dynamic for me as it could be, so I delved into Engineer.

To properly describe what it was like for me to play engineer, I'll have to describe the setup i made for him and the differing experiences I had in both PvE and PvP.

In PvE, I was running about in human lands, so I was helping the Seraph wage their war against the centaurs. That was quite a fight, especially after getting out of queensdale, as I would have to push into enemy camps with friendly NPC seraph and players, all of us banding together to kick some ass and take some ground. Took ground we did too, as when we cleared out a camp, the seraph set up defenses, patrols and held ground, only for the taken ground to be rushed by centaurs not even ten minutes later. Long enough to move onto your next target, but short enough for you to find yourself on the retreat if the action in another camp got too hairy.

Skill use in PvE is largely a similar affair to what you see in other MMOs, since you can pull and kite enemies around as you wish.

PvP is another matter though, I exclusively played WvW with my character, which was very interesting indeed. Skill use is definately different and this is where I'd describe my particular setup. My engineer for WvW was set up with a rifle for long range, flamethrower for short range and elixer gun for support. Mines were also a part of my setup and it was very fun blowing people off bridges with hidden explosives.

To share an experience, the last beta event placed me at a place called Etheron, which is a large castle on the right of the map with an inner keep and outer walls. Control of this castle is important, as it can give you an alley of attack right into enemy flanks either side of the lake on the right, which makes it a high priority. Whiteside Ridge, my server, had just managed to take this castle and the main force had already moved onto the left of the map, leaving me and a few others there.

I was preparing to move across the river, when I saw activity crossing the bridge south of Etheron. Curious, I checked it out and found thirty real players charging for my position. Taking a stand on the walls, I called out on /team to get some help, of which there were only six responders. The six people that showed up with me, didn't get there in time for the enemy to bust through our south gate and I moved up to meet our paltry defense at the inner keep. Thankfully, our defenders had already set up siege weapons on the walls and manning them to fire.

The next four hours were spent fighting a ever rising tidal wave of red, half an hour saw 40 people banging on our inner keep, then an hour later, fifty people. They just kept coming, but we just kept killing. This entire time I was playing support with my elixer gun, spraying my allies with condition removing goo and lobbing super healing elixers to those who really needed to get onto their feet. I cannot even count how many people I got back on their feet from the downed position as our last stand would continue.

Then, four hours into the battle, the sky would quite literally start to rain with fire and arrows. Indeed, it was like it was blotting out the sun and I would realise what was going on when I looked at my minimap. My position had six little blue dots near me, fair enough, then the enemies at our door... fair enough, then I saw it, a massive blue sploge of allies surrounding the enemy. The fire raining from the sky? Those were siege engines set up on the outer walls by the allied assault force that took the castle earlier, they heard about our bust up and eighty, yes ~eighty~ people were now pushing into the enemy's backside.

Never did I see so many people panic to get away from the angry mob of badasses.

TL;DR I really enjoyed it.

I mostly did WvW and sPVP in the last beta and I loved both of them even though it seems my mesmer is a little gimped in the damage department. I also leveled up to 32 and did the level 30 dungeon. It was pretty fun.

P.S. Why on earth would you want collisions in an MMO?
P.S.S. I <3 Mesmer portals.

AnAutisticDog:

P.S. Why on earth would you want collisions in an MMO?

Because it works ... DC universe online does it pretty well, and in combat it's fine.

So it works except when it doesn't.

In a hub building (such as a nightclub where you pick up questlines and do vendor stuff), for instance, there were people who had large characters and they would stand in doorways, effectively griefing the entire server.
Sure, they got banned and what not, but the problem is still there.

Any game that has narrow corridors (read: jumping puzzles) is gonna get trolled if you can block other players.

On the subject of targeting, I would have to agree. The default targeting is ass.
Personally I found more success in binding nearest target and using that instead, and click-targeting stuff that isn't nearest.
Indirectly, that makes the small Asura empirically superior .. in PvP they're harder to target and in PvE they don't visually obstruct your allies.

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