The last wait outside the gate

It happened again! We were there

Server open after weekend

Review of the beta events

The first thing I would like to go over is how the game has changed over the course of three beta weekends. The first beta weekend was pretty rough at times, but in the end, the fans could not wait to come back for more. As the first chance for most of us dedicated fans to play, Beta Weekend Event One had to stand up against our high expectations and the mixed emotions we felt after waiting more than five years for the chance to play. The beta also had to compete with the heavy Guild Wars experience a lot of us had.

I know I was a little thrown off course by how much the skill system differed in the sequel. In general I suffered from a dizziness I call “false disappointment” (others would call it “reality”) during the first day of a beta weekend. Most games these days are instant gratification and extremely front-loaded, however Guild Wars 2 is not. I consider this a very good thing, I like knowing that the game changes and gets better as I spend more time with it.  However, it does leave me having to seek fun rather than having the game throw fun at me as I sit around doing practically nothing. So for me the first day of a beta weekend usually consisted of, “What am I supposed to do to make this game as fun as I expected?” or “How do I have as much fun as I did in the last beta weekend?”

For this reason I would consider Beta Weekend Event Two my favorite event. Instead of having to start a new quest for joy, I could pick up where I left off. My level 32 character remained and I could continue exploring with my full skill bar and a handful of traits. I also took some time that weekend to try out two more professions, ranger and elementalist. Improved optimizations raised my framerate around heavy crowds so the second event did not involve fleeing from the big player mobs as much as the first.

I asked the community which of the beta events were their favorites, and so far the spread has been pretty equal. Some recognized the first weekend as the best as it was their first chance to play the game and they had a great time. Some agree with me that continuing into the higher levels made the second beta the best. Finally, Beta Weekend Event Three was the most polished of them all and included the much awaited asura and sylvari races.

The end events for each beta played an important role in creating many memories, stories, screenshots and videos. The first beta ended with a bunch of rather large and dangerous black birds and an erroneous score counted that did nothing. Despite the overall uselessness of that finale, I found it immensely enjoyable. The second weekend’s finale involved players become corrupted and turning against the remaining uncorrupted players. The finale to the last beta was sort of like a playable version of The Hunger Games, players had to collect and eat rations to stay alive while either eliminating the enemy teams or surviving until all of their foes starved to death.

We can be sure that ArenaNet has some pretty epic tricks up its sleeve for holiday events later this year.

Density of content

Heavy armors suffered the common MMO lack of variety.
9,800 karma sword.

None of the betas allowed us to play the full game, the content was locked down to roughly level 35. We could level our characters all the way up to 80 if we wanted to, and the cities had NPCs offering dungeon and karma rewards that helped us preview what to expect after passing our beta progress after release. However, several features including dance emotes and most of the mini-games were locked out as well. So at this point it is impossible to see exactly how much more “full” the game will become on release, but we probably have a pretty good idea.

Every response I have gotten from the community on the subject of content density has been exceedingly positive. There is always something to find or do while out exploring in Tyria. Guild Wars 2 rewards you for playing whether you have an objective or not. As of now there is no set strategy to maximizing your PvE experience. Just get out there and check every corner and mess with everything you find. Several responses mentioned how the world design really complements the density of the game’s content. Almost every gap that is missing a dynamic event, treasure chest, jumping puzzle or map objective has at least something interesting to look at, whether it be gorgeous cliff side views, interesting architecture or strange relics.

Dungeons are packed with content as one run is not enough to see it all. Each time you go through a dungeon you could run across a different path than you previously experienced, and the end rewards each time can be traded to an NPC for special armors and weapons. From what we have seen, we have plenty of awesome armors to look forward to, but the betas were not the best representatives of that. I and a number of others from the community felt it was difficult to find much variation in armor appearance during the beta. However, we had only experienced low level content and one dungeon.

Overall the game’s content is very dense. If you try to brush through 100% of the low level content with a fine comb before moving up to a higher level area, you will definitely hit level 80 before you even enter a level 40 zone. However, I advise not taking the such a ground-up approach as lower level zones become an absolute delight if you take a break from them and return to them later.

Cash shop – trading post

Did use EXP boosts to reach goals in betas.
Too slow to facilitate convenient trade.

I find Guild Wars 2’s cash shop to be one of its most exciting features, but also the most potentially devastating. I am a big fan of the decision to add gems to the game (a currency which allows you to trade in-game gold for cash shop items). I have always felt that earning vanity items really helps extend the experience, while the instant gratification of buying vanity items only serves to shorten the experience. Much like using cheat codes during the first playthrough of an old game. I have already put some real money into gems to support ArenaNet, but I am looking forward to earning the rest of my gems in-game.

Now I have to admit, so far there is nothing in the cash shop that I want to buy. If anything, there are items in the cash shop that I would prefer if others DID NOT buy. The community seems to split on this argument, but I personally feel that aviator sunglasses and big red boxing gloves do not belong in Guild Wars 2. Replace them with some some sort of asuran shades and original looking norn boxing gloves and everything becomes alright.

During the betas the cash shop was pretty slim. Most of it must have been hidden away, because otherwise the game has a dedicated town clothes feature for three to four outfits. Normally this would excite me as cash shops and I are mortal enemies, but the addition of gems completely reverses that. I really can’t wait to see more in the shop. My biggest hope is to see a character makeover feature added to the shop, because I always find flaws on my characters during play that I miss in the character creator screen.

The trading post is bound to the same UI as the cash shop, but it has a full section to itself. The economy during the beta weekend events was nothing to write home about, but I expect it to get very good after the game has been out for a month or so. Guild Wars 2’s trading post is very simple. When buying you can either meet the lowest seller and buy the item instantly, or enter your preferred buying price and wait for a seller to sell it to you. The same can be done the other way around. If you have played EVE, then you are familiar with this system. It is much less of a hassle than managing auctions and shifts in the market can be felt more quickly.

A few of my reviewers from the community pointed out how the game has so many more convenience features tied to item management than most games. There is no need to hold on to items to sell later, you can post them right to the trading post from your inventory. You still need to visit a trading post NPC to pick up your gains, but at least you have cleared that inventory slot up.

Review of all professions

+ + WarriorThe warrior is proof that combat in Guild Wars 2 is very different from other MMOs or even action RPGs. It is essentially the game’s most basic class, but it still requires so much more activity and thought than most MMOs we’re used to. One of the respondents mentioned that playing a warrior made him “feel like a badass.” A lot of warriors, myself included, greatly enjoyed using a greatsword and rifle in combination, but the class has so many other weapons to choose from. If weapons or weapon skills are your favorite part of combat, the warrior will likely be your favorite class as it has the most weapons.

+ + + + + + + GuardianThe guardian is the only other heavy armor class in the game. It’s a great class for looking out for yourself, but it’s also a REALLY great class for looking out for others. With the guardian you can heal, buff and even take a few hits. In many cases a guardian can out-tank a warrior. This is really unique because most games have squishy healers that the rest needs to protect at all costs unless they want to die. The guardian is the one doing the protecting in this case. No more standing behind the front line, get in front of it instead. The best way to keep your allies alive is to keep them from getting hit by either distracting or destroying your enemies.

For players used to playing a dedicated healer class, the guardian’s heal will feel pretty weak. However, staying alive is largely the responsibility of individual players in Guild Wars 2. If your healing prevents an ally’s death and he is able to get away to recuperate, then you have done your job. If that ally does not attempt to recuperate and dies even after receiving your heal, he is the one at fault for not looking after himself. Healing in Guild Wars 2 is not about keeping your team’s health bars at 100%, it is simply about saving their butts. You are an asset, not a requirement.

– – – + + + + Ranger This was the most controversial classes amongst the community reviewers. I and a few others absolutely loved it, but I also received several reports from people who weren’t that thrilled with it. To me playing as a ranger felt much more similar to my experience in previous Guild Wars campaigns despite the fact that I could not get rid of my pet this time. Maybe it has something to do with that the first Guild Wars always stuck players in teams with either AI or other players. In Guild Wars 2, a ranger is never alone because of pets.

Many rangers were annoyed by their pets, they just let them die and never resurrected them. Now the game doesn’t want people to be able to just abandon their pets’ corpses and go play without them, so the animals still follow the ranger around, but with a defeated symbol over their heads. I found pets to be the greatest thing for solo play. While circle strafing to keep enemies from hitting you is a decent strategy,  letting your pet keep your enemies away is better.

I highly advise sticking with tank pets to start out.

– – – – ThiefOf all of the classes the thief received the least amount of praise, but one of our guild members is considering it as a main. I would attribute that to the fact that very few of the respondents got past level 15 and none of them did it on the thief. It is a very advanced class with a limited arsenal, and since weapon skills and a few utilities are all you can do until level 11 it can seem kind of lame compared to the other professions. Add to that the fact that thieves are the only class that can’t just spam their one through five skills, thief really isn’t a great introductory class.

A thief’s weapon skills have “initiative” rather than cool down. It’s sort of a recharging energy system similar to classes played in Guild Wars, but not Guild Wars 2.

If you plan on rolling a thief, my advice to you is just to stick with it. Don’t go deleting your character or rolling a new one, because things will get way better for you as you gain traits.

– – – + + + + EngineerLike the ranger, the engineer got very mixed reviews. It is the only class in the game that has pretty much no melee options, but it also has exclusive rights to some pretty nifty gadgets. An engineer likely relies more on utility skills than any other class. However, what they make up in utilities and gadgets they lose in weapons.

Rifle, pistol and shield. Those are the only weapons you can equip as an engineer and you never gain the ability to swap between weapon sets in combat like most of the other professions. However, if you like turrets, grenades, mines or dropping useful items for your team, this is the class for you.

+ ElementalistThe elementalist received a few minor positive mentions from the respondents, but for me it was the most noteworthy class in the game. I loved it in PvE, loved it in PvP and I can’t wait to try it out in WvW. The elementalist has the highest number of weapon skills and essentially the highest number of swaps. While they can not actually swap weapons in combat, they can swap between four attunements: fire,  water, earth and air. Each weapon has a completely different set of skills for every attunement so combat style can change drastically in many ways.

As with the Guardian I found healing incredibly fun, and I plan to focus my traits on water magic at first. I will definently be making an elementalist at launch.

– – + Mesmer –  This is another class for advanced players. I found it tough to get into at the lower levels, but several of the respondents disagree. The mesmer is not for lazy players. You need to not only read the skill descriptions, but also comprehend their significance and how they chain with other skills. Not a good class for people who want to start out button mashing and save thinking for later.

At the early levels I found that even when I tried my hardest, I still got the lowest participation credit in almost all of the events I helped in. Either I just wasn’t good enough, or ArenaNet needs to give mesmers a more powerful starting weapon.

NecromancerThe necromancer is a versatile class that excels at what it does. It can be a great debuffer, a competent damage dealer and an invaluable support class. Good players will have high survivability and their enemies will learn to hate them. I encountered several necromancers in sPvP who used fear to disable my team long enough for theirs to escape demise. They can also drop wells and summon minions to support their allies, or drop marks to hit enemies with deadly conditions.

If you are looking for a toolbox class with lots of neat tricks up its sleeve, or if you just like (un)dead things, necromancers are great for that.

Review of all starting areas

Queensdale – A favorite to a few of the community reviewers and myself. It seemed easy to get around, find events and level at the same rate as the zone. It is also home to a familiar Guild Wars location, Beetledun which has an entrance to a level 40 dungeon. It was really cool how much of the zone was in visual range of Divinity’s Reach.

It was the only area in the first and second beta with a really huge boss.

Wayfarer Foothills – This one is a little strange because it has a small green grassy area for really low level players, but the rest of the map is snow and ice. The way it connects, it often feels like two separate maps. Some people like it, some people don’t. The green area is a good place to get familiar with the norn spirits, you can do tasks for each of them.

To me it does not progress as naturally as Queensdale, but it does contain my favorite starting zone dynamic event chain. If you are ever using AoE weapons or skills, you definitely should keep an eye out for crowds and events at the cave near the renowned heart: Disrupt Grawl Worship.

Plains of Ashford – There are a lot of familiar sites here for Guild Wars fans. The opinions I got from the community were very mixed. One thought it was too orange and brown, two thought charr structures were awesome, one did not spend much time there because he hated the charr for what they did in the prequel and I loved the area but not the charr’s taste in architecture.

Plains of Ashford is the home to the only dungeon we could play in the betas, the second finale event and a large slumber party when the end event failed to trigger. It was also a good refuge for players trying to avoid the Queensdale lag in the first beta.

Metrica Province – The most favored starting area among the respondents. One mentioned, and I would have to agree, the asuran architecture compliments the environment so well. The province is a fairly open area and easy to navigate. I think many of the fans were pleasantly surprised by the asura themselves. They are still arrogant, but they aren’t nearly as cold as they seemed to be 250 years ago.

It really is a beautiful place and it is great hanging out with the asura.

Caledon Forest – Some loved it, some liked it but thought it was confusing. It was introduced in the third beta weekend along with a massive population increase and serious server decrease. Needless to say, this place was crowded. It had a cool jumping puzzle that leads to a challenging area that had a pretty rewarding looking treasure chest. Unfortunately I don’t know of anyone who managed to get to that chest. The forest is also home to the second huge boss fight available in a starter area and an equally rewarding event chain but with a smaller boss.

If it weren’t for this area I would not have been able to get my traditional plant wolf screenshot.

Review of all major cities

All of the cities in this game are huge. Unlike most games, the word “city” should not be taken lightly. These aren’t towns, these are cities.

Divinity’s Reach – This one was voted favorite the most by the respondents. Its huge! You would probably need 100 men standing on one another’s shoulders to reach the top of the front door. Just one segment of this city is about the size of full cities seen in past games. ArenaNet has certainly shown that the standard for size of cities in MMOs has gone up, and may have even set a new standard with this one. Every section is filled with things to look at and people to talk to. While most people will get 100% map completion on this area, very few will see every detail and hear every dialogue.

Lions Arch – This one is my personal favorite, and feel it is also the most likely to become the central social hub. It has a diving board, a little arena for minipet battles, the mystic forge, it is the only city other than Rata Sum that existed in the prequel and there is a serious of large targets on top of tall rocks lined across a large body of water. I have no clue what they are for, but I bet it is awesome.

The original Lions Arch from the prequel is there, but not out in the open. You will have to look for it.

The grove –  Pretty much everyone who mentioned it said it could get confusing. It has several vertical levels so looking at the map will not help very much. The best way to get used to it is to explore it yourself. It can be a little annoying at first, but I’m sure everyone will get used to it. There is a transport system that makes traversing the layers much quicker, but you have to know where it is.

Rata Sum – Second most favored city of the respondents. It is very amazing to look at, and like the other cities, quite huge. If you like staring at floating/flying buildings, you may never leave this place after you first arrive. It may just be one of MMOs’ most unique cities.

Black Citadel – Not a very popular choice among the respondents, but one did choose it as a favorite. The charr don’t waste time designing pretty cities. Practicality seems to be their main design motive, though I am not sure how they avoid tripping or stubbing a toe on all of those uneven walkways. It may be a way to weed out the clumsy charr, because tripping near any charr structure or contraption puts you at a serious risk of death. So many sharp pointy metal edges.

The Black Citadel really is an intimidating place. A great hang out for the more warlike players, or just those who fancy chains and metal contraptions. It has a pretty sweet crafting area too.

Hoelbrak – The norn like to make huge shrines and buildings, but they don’t mind walking to get to them. This is the most spacious city you can find in the game and it can be a relaxing contrast from the clutter in the rest of the cities. If you don’t like long walks you will find yourself using the waypoints a lot here. I have a friend who fell deeply in love with this city, but the community reviewers did not say much about it.

Review of other areas in beta (Level 15+ content)

Human 2 – Would be easy to map complete, racial orphans, huge gate on map
Asura-Sylvari – Fun to run with the Skritt

Very few of the respondents even leveled past the starting areas. The ones that did seemed to agree that the higher level zones felt more significant than the starter zones. I did play much of the Ascalon Catacombs, but two of the respondents did. They both had a great time there and agreed it was challenging.

In the first beta most of the crowd stayed in Queensdale so I stayed away from the human areas to avoid the lag, but I was able to return to my homeland to go to Kessex Hills, the level 15-25 zone, and I loved it. Sure it still had way too much to do with centaurs, but I found it fun and well paced. I actually was able to get 100% zone completion on it twice. Something happened to our characters between the first and second beta weekend that reverted some of our previously explored map points to incomplete so I was able to go back and do three or four of them to get the map completion award again.

I also completed Diessa Plateau, the second tier charr area, and it had a dynamic event where you play as a cow and a pretty nifty sort of mini-dungeon thing. You will hear a lot about “jumping puzzles” but jumping isn’t the only type of puzzle you will find. Entering the mini-dungeon is a reward for completing a dynamic event chain, but it is not an event or map point in itself. However, it does have a pretty rewarding chest at the end. Stay on the look out for neat explorable challenges and puzzles like this all over the map. You can easily miss them even if you get 100% map completion, so only true explorers are guaranteed to find them.

The norn area, Snowden Drifts, taught me a disturbing lesson about myself. I have no compassion for innocent animals. I attacked a wounded moa bird, and before I could stop to think about what I had just done, a flock of large angry moas came to its defense. I also got a lot of joy from slashing my greatsword across a rock in a cave and watching the black birds who sat on it plummet to their deaths.

In the second beta ArenaNet opened a level 25-35 zone called Gendarran fields. One of the respondents mentioned that it was more interesting and intense than the rest of the areas. It seemed somewhat lighter in map completion points, but I feel like its main attraction was locked out of the beta. It is the home to the Vigil Keep, a very significant story location. Unfortunately there wasn’t too much we could do there at our level of progress. One thing I found disappointing was the rather anti-climatic discovery of a map location that I have always dreamed about since I saw it on the map of Tyria after Guild Wars: Eye of the North came out:


Look at it! How did an epic gate to (the underworld, an alternate reality, heaven, ANYTHING) turn into a small norn arena that you only spend a few minutes at?

Review of level ranges (New character 1-5, gaining traits 11+, elite skill 30+)

I got two distinct responses here. Several players continued to roll alternate characters and did not climb very far up the level scale, while others did. Those who did, said the game got better as they leveled up higher. Guild Wars 2, while to a lesser extent than its prequel, is a very build based game. Here is a milestone list:

Level 1-4: You may unlock all of the weapon skills

Level 5: You can put one utility skill on your bar

Level 7: You can swap between two weapon sets in combat (Unless you are an elementalist or engineer)

Level 10: You unlock your second utility skill slot

Level 11+

Review of PvP

Most of the reviews I received stated that they did not even try PvP, but I found that the PvP was very accessible to PvEers. Anyone who did play either or both of the PvP modes likely has a few epic stories to share.

During the first beta weekend two fellow guildmates and I ventured into WvW. At the time one server wasfdgh

… we left the spawn and ventured out into the open world. Unfortunately the spawn was atop a large mountain and we didn’t want to go down the beaten path so we had to make quite a few jumps. Our last jump was the highest and we fell dozens of meters down flat on our faces. The falling damage removed roughly half of our health bars. To our surprise, a group of four enemy players was down there taking the path we had just fallen into. They were four, we were three and we only had half our health. I don’t even know what professions they were because in a panic we attacked them with desperate effort. We figured we would be lucky if we could take out one before they steamrolled us, but the fighting lasted longer than expected and we were winning. We took all four out without suffering a single casualty ourselves. I guess we were even more unexpected than they were. So take note: Three guys falling flat on their faces at your feet is the ultimate element of surprise.

After that we moved on to finish several small successful campaigns against minor enemy camps and sites. As we ran across other players they began to join us and our little group of three slowly snowballed into a mob of thirty. The winning server showed up in full force to take us out. They pushed us back to our nearest major fort and a long battle at the gate began. After a while they took it over, but at a great price. All of the effort they focused into our borderlands allowed the third server to close in behind them and take over pretty much everything else. At this point I was anxious to get back to PvE so I left WvW.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time in WvW. I am just a very PvE based player. Prior to Guild Wars 2, the prequel was the only non first person shooter where I enjoyed PvP almost as much as PvE. I believe that legacy will continue in Guild Wars 2 and possibly even more so. It seems it may sacrifice a slight bit of the competitive nature for fun, but that is more than OK with me. I know there are many others who would disagree, but I feel that the game will also be competitive enough for them if they keep an open mind. Either way, Guild Wars 2 is way more about adapting to the current situation than it is about executing the perfect builds and timings. We will have to see how that plays out a year from now, but as I always say, get into PvP early before the experienced pro-gamers nail down a strategy and narrow the success options as well as the fun options.

The first time I tried sPvP, I did not get to have as much fun as I did in WvW. It really boiled down to the fact that I wasn’t playing with friends. My team was absolutely HORRIBLE, *ahem* I mean inexperienced and I didn’t get to do anything except run away from enemies the whole time. Later I was able to group up with two friends and we had a great time. Even when we didn’t win, we could still burn enemies to the ground and slash their allies who tried to help them up. As an elementalist I found myself at the top of the scoreboard very often. I was unable to solo anyone in the time that I played, but my AoE damage, snaring and healing abilities were very helpful for controlling the battlefield. Also Burning and Chill together, while a bit of an oxymoron, are a brutal combination.

Originally the plan for sPvP was to have 5v5 battles, but I guess I didn’t get to it early enough. Every server I played on was 8v8, they must have made that a permanent change. I didn’t experience any overcrowding though, the number of players seemed just right to me. Now there is an area where much of the community and I disagree. Downed state. I have seen the removal of downed state from sPvP requested several times and backed by many. I personally liked it, I don’t think it ever annoyed me. I won’t support it too strongly though, I only have an hour or so of sPvP experience.


Spawn rates, couldn’t get to a vista
A few headache causers

If you came here looking for reasons to not play the game, then you came to the wrong place. Many games release flooded with 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, so many have been squashed. However, a good review is honest so we can’t pretend the game was perfect.

One of the most common complaint was the respawn rate of enemies in PvE. I was not uncommon to get trapped in a small cave by quick respawning enemies.

Performance greatly increased by the time the game reached its third beta phase. Much of the community with slower computers reported that Guild Wars 2 ran surprisingly well, while those with high end computers seemed to think the opposite. Keep in mind that high-end users are used to framerates of 60 or more in games while budget gamers may often play games as low as seven frames-per-second.

In my opinion, the game does some amazing things with CPUs and not so amazing with graphics cards. The use of graphics processing power is relatively new to the game’s optimization though, and there are still many improvements to come. I found myself amazed at how well the game ran with dozens of players on the screen, but surprised I could not max out the settings on a single 6870. There were some graphical settings that gave me headaches though.

The biggest issue 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 us 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.

There were downtimes and server issues during the betas, however they were surprisingly rare and quickly dealt with. Some may disagree, but the respondents did not. The longest downtime lasted two hours and that only happened once. There were several times where the game lagged out or booted players, however it was rarely over five minutes to log back in again. There never really was a case where you would have had to change your plans to play GW2 due to server troubles.

Difficulty vs server crowd

The game’s difficulty is a huge concern amongst the community. 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 introductory areas. 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 worked very well, none reported cases of individual players scaling an event beyond their own weight. 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.

On that subject I need to bring up 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 that really attributes to the complexity of the game. I don’t know if any game before has even been done with such a blend of action combat and a robust skill bar and battlefield. There is so much movement everywhere and it is very daunting to keep up with that, ten skills, dodging, weapon swapping and profession abilities all at the same time.

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 are not proficient in the finger magic of WASD plus number keys, then controlling the game will be very tough. 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. It is very doable though, 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

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 things 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 they already have 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 disconnect/downtime free 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 still want to see…

6. More of the same!

  • Because what we have already played was fantastic!

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



In addition to all of that, there are a few other things we can expect to see at launch

  1. The fourth day. For the first time ever, those of us who played the betas will be able to wake up after three days of GW2 and STILL have access to the game and our characters. YES!
  2. Dungeons. Sure we had access to one in the beta, but the majority of beta participants did not get to experience it.
  3. Our friends. You know those friends you begged to pre-purchase, but they ended up spending their last bit of money on Diablo III instead? Well guess what, it should be much easier to convince them once the game is out.
  4. Dragons!

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