Guild Wars 2 – Press Beta Weekend – Second Impressions
Initial impressions aside which I spoke briefly about in the first report, this game is worth the hype, the years in waiting, everything. It’s beautifully made and polished and everything from the giant Dynamic Events to the rabbits hopping around in the lush, highly detailed grass. That being said, let’s get down to a bit of detail shall we…
The World, the lore and Tyria.
This world is massive. From the first village you encounter to the towering city of Divinity’s Reach you can see for miles and explore for miles. I’ve played a few games over the years where there’s expanses of land but you can travel for some time without seeing a single thing or having any objectives in an area, this isn’t the case here. Walking through a field will trigger at least one Dynamic Event, even walking down the road will quite often trigger a “Nearby Event” warning usually involving an escort quest which are actually fun! ArenaNet pulled it off, fun and interesting escort quests. While staving off an attack of centaurs (Again with the centaurs…) you also have to disable a few traps along the road. Thankfully, the NPC you’re protecting has a bit of armour and protection on them so isn’t made of soggy tissue paper, so things do get a little hectic your cargo will be perfectly safe unless you choose to run off into the wild blue yonder.
It’s impossible to get a true scale of the world because there’s so much. While trying to map out how long it took me to run from one side of an area to the other I must have got sidetracked by half a dozen events going on, and felt compelled to help. There was pie involved!
Lore is everywhere, from the sectors of Divinity’s Reach named after the Gods to the villagers who praise their God of choice after you save their homestead to the thugs doing shenanigans in the name of the White Mantle. Amusingly enough, my character said that she thought the White Mantle were boogie men stories they told to kids to scare them. Sound familiar, Bookah? And it’s not just continuation from Guild Wars, there’s so much more new information, stories relating to the Guild Wars novels too. I found a graveyard on my travels and each headstone has an inscription on it, I spent a good ten minutes looking for a name I may have recognised, even a surname but didn’t come across anything. I’m sure there’s bound to be one there somewhere!
Game functions and Mechanics
If you’re familiar with how Guild Wars plays, then it’s very much a continuation from that. The only major difference is that C-spacing doesn’t have the same effect as the spacebar is reserved for our much loved jump button. If you’ve never played an MMO before with jumping then pretty much all your travelling for at least a week is going to be accompanied by launching yourself in the air.
The skillbar UI is simple to figure out, spells relating to your weapon on the left; other skills / utility skills, self heal and Elite on the right. It was a little unsettling when I first swapped my weapon to something other than the starter wand, as I had completely forgotten about the new line of skills. So when equipping my staff I had to learn new skills. That was a bit jarring at first but within a couple of Dynamic Events my skillbar was back to being functional.
There’s one mechanic I’m not sure I like and that’s durability. There does need to be something in the game that punishes you for dying all the time (No more death penalty. Yay!), but durability is worrying me a little. Thankfully it only occurs on death and it’s not a huge gold sink, also repairing stuff is easy. The solution to not having to deal with repairs is to play smart and don’t die, so I guess it all evens out. I never got to the stage where any of my armour broke or went into the red danger area so it wasn’t too bad, but still, I shall continue to eye this aspect suspiciously.
I know one of the age old questions is “Can my PC run Guild Wars 2?” and we still don’t have a definitive answer on that. But I can tell you what I was running on and how it handled.
2 and a half year old PC that plays a lot of recent PC titles decently. Quad Core, 6GB RAM, Radeon HD 5750 graphics card. For pretty much all PvE and Conquest PvP I was sitting around 20-35 FPS, it would go a little higher when I was just having a wander around. The only thing that was unplayable was really busy parts of World vs World PvP. You could still make yourself useful in other ways on the map, just maybe not where the giant 60+ people zerg rush was happening.
I played around the middle on the graphics vs performance slider and could have made things lower or higher if I really wanted to.
I’m hoping we get a lot more info on various system specs over the next coming week so that everyone will know if their systems can handle this awesome game.
The next thing I want to cover is Guilds and the MM part of the MMO, so I’ll save that for my next write-up.
Hope you’re all having fun with this info-rama of a Monday!