Guild Wars 2: A Few Days Later

I’ve been learning new things every day in Guild Wars 2. Here are a few things I’ve learned about over the last few days:

Gathering resources

Mining copper ore
Mining copper ore

Unlike World of Warcraft, you don’t have to fight over resources! If you and another player see a copper ore vein and start running to it at the same time, it doesn’t matter because both players will get the ore. There’s no more rush to drop what you’re doing to farm a resource before someone else gets to it. Another improvement over WoW is anyone can gather any kind of resource (provided you have the gathering tools).

Crafting

I haven’t spent a lot of time crafting yet, but one really nice thing about crafting is that most crafting components can be stored in a collection vault that is separate from your bank and, perhaps more importantly, you can add items to your collection instantly from anywhere in the world. That really helps conserve bag space when you’re out adventuring. Unfortunately, you can’t craft items straight out of your collection; you need to withdraw them first, which seems weird and unnecessary to me. Another crafting improvement is that crafting time really speeds up as you craft lots of the same type of item. So, if you want to make 100 copper ingots, you don’t have to sit there twiddling your thumbs while you wait for it to finish.

Crafting collection
Crafting collection
Crafting an item
Crafting an item
Side note: In my previous post about Guild Wars 2, I said I wished there were more than 21 armor dyeing colors to choose from. Apparently, there are hundreds of dyes and they can be acquired through cooking (and, rarely, as drops from gathering or mobs).

Pigeons

Pigeon mail delivery
Pigeon mail delivery

One thing about Guild Wars 2 that really amuses me is the mail delivery pigeons. Whenever you receive mail, a pigeon swoops by your character to deliver it. I haven’t tried it myself, but apparently pigeons are so determined to deliver mail that they will even dive underwater if you’re swimming (see video below). Awesome. 😛

Underwater fighting

Fighting underwater
Fighting underwater

Speaking of being underwater, fighting underwater is a bit different than I’m used to. Players have a completely different set of weapons and skills when they’re underwater. Thankfully, you can also breathe underwater. Once you get out of the water, your screen gets covered with water droplets, which is kind of neat.

Vistas

Scattered throughout the world are vistas, which are mini jumping puzzles. The goal is to find a way up to the floating map object at the vista location. Some are super easy, but others can be a bit challenging to figure out. Once you get to the top, there is a short cinematic that pans across the scenery in the area. It’s a nice way of showing off the environment.

At a vista
At a vista
Vista cinematic
Vista cinematic

Picking up items

Holding a rabbit
Holding a rabbit

There are various items in the world that players can pick up and interact with. You can lift rocks and throw them at opponents. You can grab fallen logs and whack your foes. Well, today I picked up a rabbit and was able to use it to temporarily run faster, lol!

Dying

When your character’s health drops below zero, you don’t necessarily die. Kinda weird. Instead, you enter a “downed” state, in which you fight to survive.

Fighting to survive
Fighting to survive

You’re given four skills you can use that let you continue fighting while you struggle to stay alive. I still don’t entirely understand how it works, but if you’re able to kill your enemy before your downed health bar reaches zero, you get to come back to life. If you die, you choose a waypoint to respawn at. You can also be brought back to life if another player revives you.

Guild Wars 2: Release Day

Standing on a hill (by nebse)
Standing on a hill (screenshot by nebse)

Nick and I started playing a new MMORPG: Guild Wars 2, which was just released yesterday. We hadn’t been planning on playing it; in fact, we knew nothing about it prior to Monday. My coworker casually mentioned that it was coming out and that evening, Nick happened to see a screenshot (on right) posted on Reddit that made him want to play the game. How cool is it that the character’s knee is bent while standing on a hill?! We looked into it a bit and once we found out that there was no monthly subscription fee and that there was even a gnome-like race (the asura), we decided to give it a try. A few clicks later, we were downloading the game.

Getting started

When we started the game, we had to pick which world server we wanted to play on. Unfortunately, you can only play on one server in GW2 (unlike World of Warcraft, where you can have characters on multiple servers). You can switch servers, but it’ll cost you. Apparently, you can still play with friends on other servers, but you won’t be able to participate in World vs. World PvP.

Character customization

There are 5 races to choose from: Asura (short and clever), Charr (aggressive and feline), Human (boring!), Norn (Nordic shape-shifters), and Sylvari (inquisitive plant-like humanoids). There aren’t factions in GW2, unlike WoW.

There are 8 professions (aka classes) as well: Elementalist, Engineer, Guardian, Mesmer, Necromancer, Ranger, Thief, and Warrior.

Character customization
Character customization

Character customization is pretty detailed, reminding me more of Skyrim than WoW. You can tweak all of your facial features, height, skin color, etc. AND you can dye your armor! I wish there were more colors to choose from when dyeing armor, but 21 colors isn’t bad.

After you’ve picked out your race and profession and customized your appearance, it asks you a few questions about your character to help create your character’s personal story. This affects your character’s personality and in-game storyline events. I think it’s really neat that the decisions you make have an effect on the game.

Playing the game

I have to say that our first hour or two of playing the game were a bit overwhelming. The controls and UI were pretty straight-forward, but figuring out where we had to go and what we had to do took a little getting used to, as can be expected when playing a new game. It probably didn’t help that we were trying to stick together in a party with a friend of ours instead of learning the game at our own individual paces. At one point, we became separated and couldn’t figure out how to get back to each other (it seems like the separation was probably due to server overflow).

Cinematic conversation
Cinematic conversation

One thing that impressed me right away was the cinematic conversations that take place in the game. The characters in the cinematic conversations move and do a pretty decent job lip-syncing the words. It’s a lot more interesting to watch and listen to these cutscenes than it is to click through a bunch of dialogue screens. And if you don’t care about the storyline, there’s a button that let’s you skip over it.

Dynamic world event
Dynamic world event

Another aspect of the game that I really like is the dynamic world events, a lot like rift events in Rift. When there’s an event nearby, it alerts you and everyone else in the area. Everyone who wants to participate can then work together to complete the task.

I’m still learning how combat works, so I’m not going to blog about that just yet. I really like how quickly health regenerates when out of combat, though. That was one of my complaints about WoW.

Overall Thoughts

It’s too early to say for sure, but it seems like Guild Wars 2 is going to be a pretty fun game. It doesn’t feel radically different from other games in the genre, but they’ve obviously learned a lot from other games about what works and what doesn’t and they’ve added some neat new features. I’m excited to see more of the game!