Community Beta Review – Page 4

Issues, difficulty and wishes


Most of the community reviewers had very little to say when asked what issues hindered them the most. So if you came here looking for reasons to not play the game, then you came to the wrong place. Many games release with quite a few serious bugs, but this will not be the case with Guild Wars 2. It certainly has bugs, but between the first and third beta weekend event, many have been squashed. However, a good review is an honest review so we can’t pretend the game was %100 perfect.

One complaint was the respawn rate of NPCs in PvE. Imagine fighting to get to the back of a small cave, and when you get there, you turn around only to find all of the enemies you killed back alive and angrier than ever. The map crowding in the beta may have contributed to this. I expect that the combination of players spreading out and ArenaNet tweaking thing, this will not be as much of a problem a week after release.

Performance greatly increased by the time the game reached its third beta phase. However it still left room for improvement on mid-range to high end computers. A stress test that happened after the last beta proved that optimizations are still ongoing between then and launch. It ran better than the beta with shadows turned on.

The biggest issue  I personally had was with sound during the first and second beta weekend. There is a background effect for cicadas and crickets in Queensdale that played at night. A small number of people on the forums complained about it being irritating and causing headaches, and that was enough for ArenaNet to patch it up. Sure enough, when the third beta weekend came, the sound had already been edited.

The most common complaint among the community reviewers was server based. Over the course of three beta weekends and several short stress test, the servers only dropped for a few hours total. It was a really low amount of downtime compared to what we have seen in so many other games recently. So, surprisingly, the complaints did not have to do with downtime. They actually had to do with one of the features that helps keep the servers up. When a map gets too full the game bumps all newcomers to an “Overflow Shard” which allows you to play in a separate instance of the map while you wait in line to get in the main shard. It had a nasty side effect in the first beta. It split up parties.

The problem has already been addressed. You can right click on anyone in your party and click “Join in” to connect to their shard and play alongside of them.

Difficulty vs server crowd

In the community outside of the respondents to this review, I have seen mixed views on this. Some felt the game was too easy, others felt it was too hard. In the betas we lacked access to the higher level areas so, for the most part, we only had access to the game’s tutorial. However, the game is designed with replayability in mind. So it makes sense that the starter areas will have some battles that are easy enough for new players and some that are challenging enough for returning higher level characters.

All of the respondents seemed to feel the game’s difficulty was pretty much on the mark. The scaling of dynamic events worked very well. The starter areas were easy enough for new players, but they still had challenges that were difficult to solo. The dungeon was quite difficult so we can expect that sort of “end-game” challenge many people crave.

On the subject of crowds, two respondents mentioned difficulty playing in crowded events, especially as melee characters. It becomes very hard to pick targets, watch for deadly attacks and aim the right direction when covered by heaps of effects. People have reported that Beta Weekend Event Three helped alleviate this issue. Personally I think that’s because the third event introduced the sylvari and asura as playable races, which reduced the ratio of huge races from two-to-one to two-to-three. Optimizations in performance and spell effects most likely contributed the most.

Keep in mind that crowding small events should happen less as the community spreads after release. Bigger events are better designed for large crowds. There is a large boss battle in Queensdale that zooms the camera way out when it spawns. Also every class is given range options so no one is shut down in anti-melee scenarios.

Another reviewer brought up the subject of previous experience affecting the game’s difficulty. Most MMOs don’t even come close to the level of activity Guild Wars 2 has in its combat and the game can be rather unforgiving to players who try to play like they used to in other games. Movement and dodging is super important, and so far there has not even been a hint of a build or profession that would remove those two from the equation.

SIDE NOTE: Controls – So far action MMOs like Vindictus have been relatively simple to control. I have seen a lot of complaints that Guild Wars 2 feels “clunky” compared to the combat in such games, but I really think it is the result of higher complexity and difficulty. The game combines a robust skill system with an active playstyle. There is so much movement everywhere and it is very daunting to keep up with. Try to imagine controlling your movement, your enemy’s movement, ten skills, dodging, weapon swapping and profession abilities all at the same time. It really takes practice.

I know the game felt MUCH better for me when I set my 10 button mouse up to do skills so I could dedicate my left hand to movement. If you are a skill clicker or just not proficient in the finger magic of WASD plus number keys, then controlling the game will be very tough on default settings. It is well worth it to master the keyboard or buy an MMO mouse though, because this is a great game that refuses to sacrifice depth for a more streamlined combat system. ArenaNet has done a great job of cutting other control difficulties out so you may focus on honing your skills rather than finding the right button.

What we want to see at launch

Most fans have very high expectations for this game, so if you are joining the game for the first time on launch, please take this into consideration: Even if the game is every bit as great as it sounds, you will not feel it all at once. You may find yourself overwhelmed or even disappointed on your first day, but I urge you to keep playing. Give the game an honest try. Think of longevity, it is an MMO after all. It isn’t some singleplayer 3-9 hour thrill ride, it’s an investment.

Really, the game doesn’t need any help being awesome, but you still need to go in with the right mindset. Some gamers these days scare way too easily and quickly. Also remember it does not need to be the absolute best at everything. There will always be games out there that specialize in certain aspects, yet it is unlikely they will be the full package deal like Guild Wars 2. For example: I really love the combat in Freelancer, but that didn’t stop me from playing EVE Online.

Much of the community would be happy to see the game launch in the state it was in during the last beta weekend event, however, here are some additions the community reviewers and I would like to see anyway:

1. Better gem store options

  • Character makeovers – So we can correct mistakes we made in the character creation screen
    NOTE: If there is an ingame version of this not tied to the cash shop, that would be even more awesome
  • All of the regular NPC town clothes – I think ArenaNet already has this planned though
  • Steam/LOTRO style sales – 20% off is kind of nice, but 60-90% off has been proven to magically drain wallets
  • Replace out-of-place items – At least two of us want to buy and see GW2 related stuff, not modern era related stuff
  • More mystic keys for the price of one – My personal request

2. Stable servers

  • There were some long lines to get into WvW in the last beta weekend
  • No game this popular has had a really smooth launch, but if anyone can do it, ArenaNet can

3. More character creation options

  • The creator is a very nice system, but why not make it better?
  • Not enough older human faces (older meaning as low as 20+ sometimes)
  • Swaping eyebrows/makeup would be cool


4. Alliances

  • We loved them in the original Guild Wars and want to see them in the sequel

5. More content variation

  • We already know the last zone will break the pattern by relying more on large dynamic event chains instead of renown hearts
  • We want to see some of the zones and dungeons in between mix it up a bit
  • However we also want to see…

6. More of the same!

  • Because what we have already played was fantastic!

The community reviewers also hope to see more tweaks to optimization, UI and pet controls.

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