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Guild Wars 2


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#1 NeuralClone

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 10:09 AM

So...the fateful day has finally arrived! Guild Wars 2 is officially launching for those that pre-purchased tonight at midnight Pacific time (3 AM EDT/8 AM BST). Unofficially, the servers may go live up to 3 hours early to ensure everything is ready. For everyone else, the game will be launching on Tuesday, August 28th.

There's a TON of information available on the GW2 official site. So I won't try to reiterate all of the important stuff here. Instead, check out the GW2 yourself and read up about the game, how to link your GW account to your GW2 account, reserving character names, etc.:

http://www.guildwars2.com/

Some important info:

- NO monthly subscription fee
- Guild Wars 2 is a full-fledged MMO with a persistent world
- 8 classes and 5 races at launch
- No mounts at launch (may be added in future expansions but ArenaNet wants this game to be different)
- PvP and PvE will be balanced separately (PvP is optional and not required to advance)
- Max level is 80
- Full crafting system
- Dynamic events instead of the typical MMO questing (e.g., "kill 10 boars for me, return, and then go kill 8 bears, etc.")
- Gem store that lets you buy vanity items with real money (a few account upgrade options as well). NOT pay to win items. The store features a currency exchange that allows you to convert game gold to gems and vice versa.
- Guesting system that lets you play with friends on other servers (after server populations stabilize)
- And far too many other things to list

Bottom line: this is a completely different game from the first one and if you like MMOs or RPGs, this is worth a look. The betas were loads of fun and based on recent stress tests, the game is in extremely good shape.

If anyone is looking for a guild to join, you are more than welcome to join my guild: Fading Twilight [dusk]. We're a small, friendly, and enthusiastic guild that loves meeting new players. We're primarily PvE but hope to branch out into World vs. World and structured PvP as well (new website is a work in progress). Just drop me a PM with your character name and I'll take care of the rest! Oh, and I should mention that we're going to be based on the US server Henge of Denravi. I'm not sure how regions will impact guilds but I suspect that you will need to play on the same server to join the guild. I'm not 100% certain of this, however.

Hope to see you in game! :D

Edited by NeuralClone, 24 August 2012 - 01:55 PM.

"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#2 NeuralClone

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 03:01 AM

After playing Guild Wars 2 excessively for the past 4 days, I think I can safely write a bit about the released version of the game. As with all MMOs immediately after launch, the game is in a state of flux. Some features are glitchy due to the extreme server load. Others are clearly not worked as intended. In fact, some features that were working beautifully in the betas seem to be completely broken at launch. It's rather odd. Presumably many of these issues are related to the server load. They did numerous stress tests but those can only be so helpful.

My list of pros and cons will be evolving as the game evolves. So the following reflects what the game is like as of this post. ArenaNet has been releasing several patches every day since launch and has been working steadily to improve player experiences.

Pros:

- The graphics. If you max everything and have the hardware to support it, this is one very beautiful game. It isn't as nice looking as a  DirectX 11 game, but the art style, scenery, special effects, etc. are all highly stylized and fit the game perfectly.

- The combat system may not be extremely revolutionary, but it's a LOT of fun and is quite flexible. Each class has a limited pool of weapons and skills to choose from. While some may find this disconcerting and simplistic, the way you can combine these skills/weapons with other players' skills/weapons is rather impressive. Standard MMO combat this is not. I'm really not sure why some players are making claims that GW2 rips off World of Warcraft's combat system. The combat systems are very different. Every class can change roles in mid-combat simply by swapping weapon sets or changing how you use your skills. It's clear that a lot of time and energy was spent on the combat system because it's fast paced, very fluid, and is extremely responsive (server latency issues notwithstanding), You can easily retrain all of your trait points simply by paying an NPC 40 copper to refund your trait points. This cost doesn't change.

- The classes, races, and lore are extremely well-thought out. The concept of dragons being godlike beings isn't exactly an original idea but so far the execution has been fairly good. And ultimately MMOs aren't typically known for their great stories. ArenaNet is trying to incorporate a single player RPG story into an MMO. The story is certainly better executed than the first game and is already much more engaging.

- World vs. World (WvW) and structured PvP (sPvP) are both fantastic. The way they're completely separated from PvE is also especially good.

- The crafting system. Like in many MMOs, each character can learn two crafting professions. Unlike any other MMO I can think of, you can swap these out when seeing an appropriate trainer without losing progress in your professions. Basic resource gathering such as mining, herb gathering, and chopping wood doesn't require any particular specialized profession either. You also don't need to compete for resources with other players. All resource nodes are player-specific.

- The mail system. You can send and receive mail anywhere in the game without having to pay for postage or any other sort of fee. It's fast, direct, and very easy to use. It's such a useful system that it completely replaces any sort of player-to-player trade system.

- The gem store. Originally I wasn't too happy about GW2 having an item shop but the execution is quite good. You have two options for getting gems to buy items: real money or in-game gold. If you use the latter, you exchange gems based on an current exchange rate. Rather than being a set value chosen by ArenaNet, this exchange rate is directly tied to the in-game economy. This means that if you really want that cool new costume but don't want to pay real money for it, you can save up your gold in-game and buy it that way.


Cons:

- As of this post, the party system is completely broken. I love ArenaNet and I think what they're doing with this game is very ambitious. However, this is a MAJOR strike against it at the moment. The game uses "overflow" servers when an area is overcrowded. While this is a good idea, for some reason parties don't transition from overflow server to non-overflow server together. So you end up in situations where you can be in the same party, are standing in exactly the same place, and you can't see or play with each other. Additionally, party invites can be hit or miss. The game doesn't inform you when the player is already in a party. What's especially odd with this is that this feature was actually working in the beta events. Once in a party, you'd always end up on the same server as them when moving from zone to zone. Everything about party control was in much better shape before launch. They've already said they're working on this issue but as of now it makes playing with friends rather difficult.

- Due to the above problems with parties, it's completely up to chance whether your party ends up in the same dungeon instance or not. My friends and I tried to play through Ascalon Catacombs tonight and after about 10 attempts, we couldn't end up in the dungeon instance. It just refused to work. Granted, today was the official launch day but this is still troubling and extremely frustrating.

- As far as I know, there isn't currently a way to summon your party to your current location. With waypoints and asura gates this kind of feature would probably be redundant. And it's possible they don't want players to jump past areas to get high end equipment. However, it'd be nice if you could at least choose to bring your entire party with you when you change zones.

- The Trading Post has been offline for the past 2 days. This means the game economy is off to a non-existent start. Hopefully this will be back online soon. It came back online temporarily but is offline again.

- Your account storage is extremely limited. You only start with 30 bank slots. If you want additional tabs, you need to buy them through the gem store (double-click the little lock icon when accessing your storage). I think this is my only real complaint about the gem store. Everything else doesn't have a huge impact on gameplay and is mostly cosmetic or for fun.

- No trade system. As great as the in-game mail system is, the inability to directly trade with other players is a strange oversight, especially since the first game had such a thing. It isn't a huge deal but it'd be nice to be able to directly trade with a specific player without sending mail.


Compared to many MMO launches, Guild Wars 2's has been fairly smooth. But the game is certainly going through MMO launch woes of its own. This is a fantastic game, though. If you've been on the fence about buying it, then I can't recommend it strongly enough. However, the game has its issues at the moment and unless you have a lot of patience for MMO launches, you may want to wait a week or two before jumping into it. For the most part everything is working as it should and most people playing seem to be having a lot of fun despite these things.

Edited by NeuralClone, 29 August 2012 - 05:27 AM.

"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#3 Thia The Muse

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 12:48 PM

I am, of course, in love with this game. I'll post picks of my chars when I get a chance.
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#4 NeuralClone

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 01:25 PM

Here's the character I'm focusing on the most at the moment (level 32 human guardian):

gw440.jpg

And my asuran elementalist (level 2):

gw300.jpg
"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#5 NeuralClone

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 04:12 PM

Apparently people are already stealing accounts. My brother just had his stolen and he hadn't even clicked any suspicious links, doesn't have any keyloggers on his system, etc. :(
"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#6 Balthamos

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 04:36 PM

That doesn't surprise me. Before I even started playing somebody hacked my hotmail and changed my Guild Wars passwords. Fortunately Microsoft recovery helped me get it back.

#7 NeuralClone

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 10:05 PM

The same exact thing happened to my brother. Someone hacked into his Hotmail account, which was connected to Guild Wars 2, and changed his password on him. Thankfully, they didn't seem to know about the NCsoft master account. My brother logged into that and took control back. The moron that stole his account moved him to a European server too. It's a good thing it's free to change servers this week...

Here's an update from Mike O'Brien from ArenaNet on the issues they're currently facing/working on:

http://www.reddit.co...sday_august_29/
"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#8 Zanthra

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 04:37 PM

Well my Azuran Necromancer is level 28 now.  Before I start I should note that I *do* like the game, but i tend to be a critic.

The good:

Right now the "questing" system works great.  There are a lot of people around, and usually at least one or two people out there doing an event, sometimes 10-20 are there.  It's great to just jump in and get experience as a group, perhaps because it is easy.  As the starting rush dies down, and people get higher level, I am not sure what to expect.  The starting zones are going to get less and less populated as people move to the higher level ones, and you won't see as many peopole around.  Server consolidation, and zone consolidation between servers might help this, but we shall see how they handle it.

You gain experience from exploration/event/missioning anywhere no matter what level it is.  They make sure it's not entirely trivial by lowering your level to a cap for each area, which means that if you have a friend, there is no reason not to join them in lower level zones.  This is very nicely done, because it's not just your friends, you can run around and explore any level zone, and have fun, AND gain experience.

Onto the bad (again I am a critic, but I still like it):

Skills.  The skills are not nearly as varied as Guild Wars, and they feel a lot less powerful.  For example Necromancer summons have a long cooldown after the creature summoned dies, and you can only have one per skill (2 for Bone Minions).  This is in contrast to Guild Wars where you could have an army of summons.  The non weapon skills seem overly balanced, and sometimes it's just too much work to actually use any of them for how little they sometimes seem to affect the fight (weapons skills seem far more powerfuul in general due to low cooldowns and high damage).

Grindyness.  While crafting and questing and killing monsters are grant experience, none of it seems like a lot.  With 80 levels, it feels very grindy.  It seems that as i go through, my thought is "Go out and explore and kill stuff until I am at the level for my main quest, do it, and go back to grinding until I get to level again."  The combat is fun right now, the exploration is fun right now, but I don't know if it always will be, and then it becomes quite a job to level a character.

Leveling Crafting takes a lot of resources, and right now there isn't much you can do with the product when you are done (with the traders down for maintinence all the time).  I figure with the experience gain from crafting though, and the nescessity to level it up to get better gear, like most MMOs, you will have more supply of the lower level products than you will have demand.

Still it does not cost a montly fee, so I consider that a good thing.

#9 NeuralClone

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:48 PM

Regarding the grind, I agree that it has a little bit of that feel. But compared to games like World of Warcraft, I think it's pretty minimal. At least there's a large variety of things to do and the events consist of more than "Kill 10 wild boars and return to me and I'll ask you to do it again!" ;) However, you can start leveling REALLY fast once you gain access to dungeons and the mid-level events. You get about 12,000 experience for completing a single run through the first dungeon (Ascalon Catacombs) and events start giving a lot more experience too. Enemies seem to give almost 4 times as much experience as early on. So far in my experience, events, exploration, dungeons, and getting 100% for an area are the best ways to gain experience quickly. Crafting and daily challenges can provide a ton of experience too if you work on those as you get closer to 100% in an area. I'm already level 40 using the above methods and I only just started doing dungeons.

The skills are certainly MUCH more focused than in the first game. I found that there were a lot of fairly useless or highly conditional skills in the first game, which made it tough to bring them along when other more versatile skills could be used instead. The skills in GW2 seem to be designed with weapon swapping and combos with other classes in mind. Moving around while using them can alter their effects too. So on one hand I agree that they feel less varied. But on the other I think the skills that do exist are more useful and versatile. All things considered, I think it's a fair tradeoff. It'll make it a lot easier for them to keep the classes balanced too.

I think crafting will eventually pay off once the trading post is back up and we can craft high level items. It's usually those items that sell really well in MMOs. But time will tell I guess. Speaking of crafting, I really need to go mine copper... :hehe:
"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#10 Thia The Muse

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:20 PM

So, I'm pretty pleased that I got all the names that I wanted and even got my old Guild up and running! However, I am suffering for altitis...My highest level champ is only lvl 21, and my crafting has fallen a bit behind. Though, to be fair, this is the first game I've played when I've had to level crafting like this, so I'm working out the kinks.
My champs:
Norn Ranger
Charr Warrior
Asuran Engineer
Sylvari Theif
Human Mesmer
"Things are rarely just crazy enough to work, but they're frequently just crazy enough to fail hilariously."
~xkcd, "The Race: Part 4"
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#11 NeuralClone

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:57 PM

This game... :love:
"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#12 Balthamos

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:45 AM

Agreed, I love exploring. I love being rewarded for exploring. I am scared because I have explored to areas passed my level and now my weapons are insufficient *hides*.

#13 Thia The Muse

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 09:26 AM

Who else is having a blast with the Halloween event?
"Things are rarely just crazy enough to work, but they're frequently just crazy enough to fail hilariously."
~xkcd, "The Race: Part 4"
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#14 NeuralClone

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 12:08 PM

*raises hand* This guy! :D

gw019.jpg
gw020.jpg
gw028.jpg
gw043.jpg
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Edited by NeuralClone, 29 October 2012 - 12:10 PM.

"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#15 Balthamos

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 01:05 PM

I haven't touched the Halloween event. I've just finished getting round one of the most major game flaws I've found - the fact that the WvWvW areas count towards your exploration and you have to explore the three which are essentially identical individually. It was a matter of luck for me to explore the castle in the middle of the eternal battlegrounds because my server is ALWAYS loosing.

#16 NeuralClone

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 01:03 PM

The Mad King's Clock Tower jumping puzzle is going to be the death of me.


"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#17 NeuralClone

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:00 PM

Regarding getting 100% world completion, ArenaNet made World vs. World part of that to make it harder to craft legendary weapons. To craft those, you have to do some of everything in the game. Or rather, a lot of everything in the game. You receive 2 Gifts of Exploration after getting 100%, which are needed in all legendary items (1 Gift of Exploration per legendary item). If your server isn't doing well in WvW (such as my server, Henge of Denravi), my suggestion is to switch to a server that's doing well for a week and then transfer back to your home server. You will still be able to guest on your original server for the week that you're on the other server.

You can also continue representing your guild since guilds are game-wide. Your guild's influence is unique to each server, however. So you any influence you earn while away from  your guild's home world won't count toward the total on your old server. You can still purchase guild upgrades that will be applied to your guild regardless of server. At the moment, world transfers are still free. The only restriction is that you can only change worlds once every 7 days to prevent WvW exploits/cheating since those battles reset every week.

Speaking of World vs. World, I absolutely LOVE it. It's challenging and really helps ease you into PvP. Structured PvP is fun as well but it's much harder as it's always 5 vs. 5. 100 vs. 100 or whatever it ends  up being in WvW is just awesome. My only gripe is my server went from being #1 to being absolute crap due to a 17 guild alliance abandoning us and moving to Sea of Sorrows. Our server morale is really low as a result but we're slowly trying to make a come back. At the very least we're hanging onto our borderland.

Edited by NeuralClone, 05 November 2012 - 02:05 PM.

"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#18 Thia The Muse

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:50 AM

Woot! My ranger is now lvl 80!
"Things are rarely just crazy enough to work, but they're frequently just crazy enough to fail hilariously."
~xkcd, "The Race: Part 4"
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#19 NeuralClone

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:41 PM

Nice! Congrats! :D Is that your first level 80 or is this simply one in a long (or short) line? ;)

Edited by NeuralClone, 10 November 2012 - 05:41 PM.

"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#20 Thia The Muse

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:52 PM

First, because, like an idiot, I've been playing 5 characters at once. I consider them all my mains. However, with the November patch coming, I figured i should have someone in the neighborhood.
"Things are rarely just crazy enough to work, but they're frequently just crazy enough to fail hilariously."
~xkcd, "The Race: Part 4"
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