Returning to Tyria… Again
Re-Returning to Tyria… Another month, another Press Beta.This weekend I dipped my toes back into the familiar but still shiny new lands of Tyria, 250 years in the future. I wasn’t as starstruck as last time, so I was able to hunt out certain things or watch certain things play out. Not to say I wasn’t a wide-eyed deer in the headlights, there was still plenty to see and do and a whole world out there I’d yet to uncover.
I’ve been paying attention to “What do you want the press to cover” threads on various forums, message boards and other social media outlets so plan on incorporating this into what I want to talk about over the next couple of days.
Since the last Press Beta, we’ve been given news on minimum specs but no recommended specs just yet, probably because there’s still a lot to be optimised. Within the first hour of the game being available this weekend there was a build update, and with it many of us noticed our FPS had increased significantly. Also over the course of the event, the FPS seemed to change without rhyme nor reason ranging from anywhere from 15 FPS to 50 FPS for myself. I’ve upgraded my system since the last beta too, a new shiny graphics card which has improved other games significantly, so I would recommend people watch this space to see how the people of ANet are going to handle this optimisation over the upcoming months.
There is a new build available!
Thought this was worth mentioning. Along with notification of the build update there was a build timer when we were going to be kicked out. The one I noticed was around 5 minutes warning. I was in an instance at the time for my Personal Story and wanted to see what happened. When the timer clocked down, the game automatically closed and returned to the much familiar update screen, grabbed the download then shunted me back to the log-in screen, it was all very seamless and smooth. Though I would imagine this would upset people who like to stay in old builds for whatever reason (Have done this myself!)
Playing with Guild features
I got to play with the Guild features a little this time, making use of our Influence but not being able to see the fruits of our labour. Our small guild got enough Influence to put research into Politics Level 1, but as this would take 16 hours to complete and we only started researching during the middle of Sunday, we weren’t around to then buy an actual upgrade. Oh well.
I also had a play around with the Guild member levels. You can add a series of levels to your guild, other than just Leader, Officer, and Member, and best of all, you can assign multiple leaders! But you can invent custom ranks. So if you have a very structured guild hierarchy, you can have a “trial members” group if you wanted and not give them access to the Guild’s storage, or even not allow them to put things in there. Or if you don’t want your trial members wearing your Guild’s emblem, you can change this! There’s a lot of options to be had with your guild member’s levels if you want. Or you can quite happily give everyone free access to everything if that’s your sort of guild structure!
Return to PvP
Last Press Beta I spent a whole lot of time in Conquest PvP so this time wanted to focus on some more PvE stuff, but that didn’t mean I’d neglect Conquest again. Again I played as a Greatsword Ranger (still fun) and noticed a few tweaks to the UI and map, but other than that, everything still more or less the same. Great fun maps, great mechanics in terms of the matches themselves: Drop in a match, drop out of a match, the game auto-resizes party sizes if one gets too big or too small.
On your adventures you’ll come across Heart-Quests and Dynamic Events, but don’t just skip off once you’ve completed the event, some things lead on to bigger things! One of my favourite Dynamic Events over the weekend was a chain where I had to stop some Dredge from building a tower, either by killing off the Dredge or by sabotaging the statue itself. Once this was over we went on an escort quest, again, keeping the NPCs alive (though most could be resurrected. LOVE IT), and fighting off more Dredge. Then finally we came to the big bad. Up until this point the Dynamic Event had been something we could have done alone, it wasn’t until fighting the big bad that it became a Group Event. All in all, there was about 20 or so players, who had just come together in the middle of this cave and together we all unleashed hell on this boss. Poor thing never stood a chance.
After felling the evil Dredge taskmaster in a flurry of particle effects we all cheered in local chat with whooping and cheering! Then we resurrected the dead and went on our merry way.
Fluid, fast, fun. My gaming history includes both Guild Wars and your Generic-MMO, slash WoW – slash WoW clone, slash WoW-but-different! games. And there’s a lot of new aspects to learn regardless of which side of the fence you sit. Last Press Beta there was a lot of feedback from the community that no one knew how to dodge! The concept was still new for many a player where they come from a tank and spank background. You find your target, you mash your buttons, the healer keeps you on your feet, the monster dies and off you go! This time around I made a much more conscious effort into dodging (once I re-mapped it to a more accessible place) and it made a world of difference. Bigger groups could be encountered, you could take on higher level foes and run circles around them, both by dodging and also just by playing smart. My favourite thing was to hit a foe backwards with Point Blank Shot and then unleash a torrent of arrows from Barrage. By the time the foe got back to me I could dodge out of his way, get a few more shots in then Point Blank Shot was ready to go all over again. These two skills provided hours of entertainment.
The only thing I didn’t like with my Ranger playing was my Pet. A snow leopard I had with me since I created my mighty Norn, I must have spent a third of my time rezzing poor Blinkie the Snow Leopard, and another third of the time waiting for it to do something. Pet controls are minimal, but they are there. I’m hoping that over time the pet AI is tweaked so that it becomes a little more responsive at attacking things even when “Attack my target” is selected. I had a lot of fun with my Ranger, but was left feeling rather underwhelmed with what the pet could offer.
That being said though, the times I took Biffo, my bear into Conquest PvP, he certainly stood his ground and was a worthy companion. Just levelling them up was definitely like trying to level up wet tissue paper with the attention span of a butterfly.
But being able to fluidly fling yourself across the area while dodging and shooting is definitely a very free and exhilarating experience. There’s definitely going to be new things learned by all players.
Old places, old people
Coming across statues of Jora, or the Balthazar statue where Master Ranger Nente lived in post-Searing and you turn around to look at one of the crystal clusters and it’s still there! But the scenery is all green and lush once more. Gwen’s iris flowers hadn’t returned but life had, it’s a shame that the only humans around to enjoy it were angry ghosts hell-bent on destroying me. Poor humans…
I had a little adventure into Kryta, down into Kessex to look for a certain Wizard’s Tower. My, how it’s changed! There’s so much to find from the old world, and see how it’s changed either through time or intervention through people. I took great joy in taking a little recorded tour through Ascalon and Kessex, so keep an eye out for those videos, or even keep an eye out for them when you’re in game yourself. I could have quite happily spent the whole weekend hunting out old places, but alas, there was a whole game out there waiting to be explored, so I had to ration my time into hunting down Guild Wars places.
Oh well… Maybe next beta weekend …… (if I’m lucky enough)…
As always, questions and comments welcome. I would recommend joining the discussion in the GWOnline Forums – GW 2 General Discussion area! I love this game to itty bitty pieces and could talk about it all day, so ask away!