No, I was not invited and for that I am sad. But I have watched a few hours of footage, read a novels worth of impressions and kept up with nearly all the various forum arguments. Through it all, I have continuously impressed by both Guild Wars 2 and ArenaNet. There has been some tremendous information that has come out in the last week and it almost has me frothing at the mouth. Below, in no particular order, are random impressions from the Press Beta.
The Guild System
One would expect that a game called Guild Wars 2 might have a pretty robust guild system but this one takes the cake. All the normal options are there; roster, ranks, guild messages etc. but they have also added a bit to the standard MMO guild interface. Influence can be gained by every member by doing almost anything in the game. PvE events, crafting, PvP and WvW all add influence to the guild the character is representing. And that is where it gets interesting….
Influence can be used to buy everything from PvE political influence, to Keep upgrades in WvW, to Guild banks and Guild armor. Each upgrade, once purchased, has a ‘build time’ of anywhere from a few days to a week or longer. This can be reduced further by another influence purchase.
All in all the guild system looks pretty involved and gives a Guild leader plenty of ways to administer and grow his or her guild. Check out this video for an in-depth look at the Guild system, courtesy of Guild Wars 2 Guru!
The best thing I can say about the classes after watching video from the press event is that I am at an even further loss as to what class I want to play. They all look very fun. Heck, I hate mage style classes and the elementalist even looks fun to me.
I think the clear winner coming out of the event was the Mesmer. It looks so fun and fresh. The abilities all have great animations and the stuff with the great sword is especially impressive. It looks like a very unique class. I think my favorite video I have seen with the mesmer is from mmogamer.es, which is a spanish language website. The video is supposed to showcase some instanced PvP but there are a couple of one on ones with a thief that are just awesome. Check it out and make sure to watch until the one vs. one starts!
There were a ton of other nice class videos out there and, after watching them all, I think I am still leaning toward the Ranger. Unfortunately, there were few really good ranger vids out there. I think the best was this one by Curse Network.
World vs. World
This is what I was most excited about by a long shot. Thankfully I was not let down. There was tons of video footage out there detailing WvW and most of it was fantastic. On paper GW2 is closer to Dark Age of Camelot than anything we have seen, including Warhammer Online. The maps are huge, the objectives are diverse and there is a lot of strategical depth to WvW. I love that the walls of Keeps can be knocked down and not just the gate. I love that the supply system adds some depth to sieges. I love that there are objectives all over the map and not just Keeps. I love that siege engines can be placed anywhere and not just on specified spots. I love the Relics masquerading as ‘Orbs of Power’. I love the look of the map. I love the trebuchets. I love the supply caravans. And I really, really love the siege Golems.
Of course, this is all on paper and reality will eventually rear its ugly head. Will lag be too bad? Will players ignore the intricacies of the supply system and just zerg? Will the instanced PvP content take precedence and make WvW an afterthought for players? Will players treat WvW like WAR players treated Keep sieges and only attack undefended Keeps?
All of the above are unfortunate possibilities but most of them are community problems and not real problems with the game. Hopefully the systems in WvW will allow us to skip most of the above unpleasantries.
The biggest worry I have is lag. There were a number of videos where lag was a major factor in WvW and nothing kills large-scale PvP like lag and performance issues. Luckily ArenaNet has said that they are still heavily optimizing the engine and we should see major improvements by the next beta event. Even with that fact, I did see some videos with a noticeable absence of lag. The best probably being the one below from Yogscast.
I am going to wrap this post up for the night. However, expect more from me tomorrow about Guild Wars 2 and focusing on PvE, Dynamic Events and the Tombs of Ascalon instance!