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What I did on my GW2 Beta trip part 2

At the end of my last report on my experiences over the GW2 beta I’d just helped to defeat the the mighty wurm, Issormir, earning me respect from my fellow Norn hunters; and it now appears to be the day after, or possibly longer after drinking all that ale, since the Great Hunt.

After a quick cinematic conversation, congratulating me on a successful hunt, I’m asked to go do the rounds and give a helping hand to people. So that I have an idea where I’m heading to, the map is pulled up and several points are circled, with a brief explanation of what’s troubling the people at those points.

On the map these are marked as golden hearts and indicate to the player that these are GW2’s equivalent of quests. Rather than talking to a quest giver, in my case they were the shamans of each of the animal spirits–once you’re within the quest area, you’re notified on what you can to do help. One very useful addition to the map is the location of NPC’s called ‘Scouts’. Much like their name suggests, they inform the player of these gold heart quest zones along with revealing the whole area when revisited.

Not knowing who needed help or where I could find them, I set off towards my first stop, the Raven Shrine. Before I reached the true shrine, I saw lots of Skelk running around, attacking raven nests and raven acolytes. Being the inquisitive fellow I am, I went to investigate and had my quest list, which currently had my goals for my personal story, update itself now that I was within the Raven Shrine’s quest zone. A quick look told me that my objectives were to rebuild raven nests, save raven eggs that the Skelk had stolen, destroy Skelk nests and help the raven acolytes. Not only was I contributing and getting rewarded for that contribution, but others around me were also helping to complete the goal. Already the game has more in-depth player co-operation than any other MMO I’ve played.

This multi-task method of completing the quest zone and everyone in the zone contributes to its completion. This is something I personally have been waiting for in an MMO, especially in the starting areas. Too many times I’ve been put off creating a character as a certain race because I found the starter quest far too grindy for my liking. If I just want to kill things I can, but at the same time if I just want to go egg collecting, or revive fallen acolytes, then I can still complete the quest zone.

After finishing up the Raven Shrine and getting my cash reward in the post from the thankful shaman, I headed over the shallow river to grawl territory, mostly because I hadn’t encountered the new GW2 grawl yet. This is where I experienced my first true dynamic event.

By the entrance to this grawl cave, there was a Norn lass who grabbed my attention, like the very first quest giver, by calling to me. After having a quick chat I learnt that she wanted someone (namely me and anyone else in the area) to grab food sacks from the cave. Seemed a simple enough request so off I went, along with a few other people doing the same, killed a few grawl and grabbed the food sacks. Once there was a sizeable pile, she thanked us and for the most part I would have considered that to be job done in a lot of games.

But not in GW2.

The grawl were somewhat understandably annoyed at having their food pinched by the likes of us, so moments later wave upon wave of grawl started to pour out of the cave in an attempt to reclaim their food. It was here that the whole ad-hoc grouping of players in dynamic events was really made clear to me. Those who were playing melee characters moved up to the cave entrance in an effort to stop the grawl from getting any further, while us ranged characters picked off grawl and used our group boon skills to help bolster the line. We made our way back into the depth of the cave to discover the grawl shaman was summoning up some unholy beasties and riling up the grawl to charge us. We held our ground, though, and swiftly defeated the remaining grawl, but not before the shaman had completed his summoning and brought forth an enraged winged horror. With the number of people there the battle was over fairly quickly but it was a good taster of how these dynamic events progress. I can’t wait until I can start getting involved with the higher end event chains, where I’ve got access to my full skill bar.

After recovering from this seemingly random dynamic event (not so random as I found out a short while later when it started again), I set off to help the other shrines so I could move onto my first personal story instance.

The personal storyline is fairly new concept for the MMO world, stepping back from the traditional “You’re a small cog in the machine that is your race/faction’s story” that a lot of MMOs have taken over the years. I now have a drive to play my character because there’s a storyline to follow, rather than a seemingly endless grind to reach the end game content. This is something that I’ve missed in MMOs because it makes me care more about my character as the hero they’re supposed to be, rather just another faceless solider for your race/faction to throw against their enemies.

I’m not going to describe what happened in the instance, because I don’t want to spoil things for you. Suffice it to say that you’ll find yourself wanting to get to the next one, but don’t go too mad as you’ll find yourself at too low a level to complete them. Do a couple then sit back and explore your surroundings before carrying on. This is, after all, your story.

Mal.