Monday, July 23, 2012

Objectives and Achievements: BWE 3 Overview

I want to first apologize for not being as active as I have been in the past over this beta weekend.   This final beta weekend was really quite fun, and there were just so many highlights.  I had set out to achieve several objectives, and for the most part succeeded in some surprising ways.

1. I wanted to finalize my profession, and I needed to explore other classes this time around. I had previously spent 99% of in-game time as my Thief, and this time around I tried out the Mesmer and Elementalist. Both had interested me at some point or another, and it was such a strange experience. I loved the dagger/dagger aspect of the Elementalist, but I just couldn’t enjoy the staff or scepter. Cast times (imagine that…mages have cast times) were my biggest obstacle to overcome. I also tried the Mesmer again, and jumped into structured PvP right out of the tutorial. I had previously done this in the first beta, and I remember getting absolutely destroyed. Instead of trying to create a build of a profession, I knew very little about, I just tried the default build given to the profession and used greatsword/staff. I had a great time, and clones seemed to be extremely effective at confusing opponents.

Eventually though, I settled on playing my usual profession, my beloved Thief. I must confess, I had a moment of crisis in the middle of the weekend. When I tried structured PvP with my usual thief build, I began to struggle. Some of the utilities had been changed, and my old style of play was severely nerfed. Forced to adapt, I tried and failed to create any successful builds.

So, I switched back to WvW, and over a couple of hours experimented with several utilities.  To my surprise, shadowstep was an amazing addition to my build.  I adapted this skill to my mobile-shortbow style and went back to structured PvP.  There was such a fundamental change in my approach.  I no longer was trying to resurrect a previous build that was just not going to work, and instead I started working with the tools given to me by the developers.  Needless to say, I immediately began to play very well, and began to win 90% of my 1v1’s from then on.  My previous concerns were briefly extinguished, and I know now what I am playing at launch.

 2. Finalizing race choice. With two new races, I was ready to tackle both the Asura and Sylvari, in hopes of finding my one true love. After the weekend, I can say I failed in this respect.

Why? Well I’m down to three races. I love the Sylvari, well the lore behind them. They are quite cool looking, but the end of the day I can’t help shaking the feeling I’m a plant.

…still reading? I know, I know, I’m saying the obvious, but for all their coolness, I don’t think I can be a plant.

Originally the Asura weren’t even on my list. They are creepy (especially the one’s with sharp teeth) their arrogance annoys me, and I’m not a huge fan of the voice actors.

However, then I actually made one I fell in love immediately.  My Asura was the most adorable little creature I may have ever laid eyes upon.  And the animations…oh my God the animations.  Fricken fantastic.  The way I lose balance while jumping and landing, the bobbing of my ears back and forth, the dog-like paddling of their feet while swimming.  And most importantly, the way they shoot bows.  You have to see it, just take my word for it.

Human are my third option, and they are tried and true.  I’m worried that with the Asura, I will not be able to see my armor, and I may just play human to counter this.  I also just really love the tone of humans, and the desperation felt by the race in their zones.  The human race in Guild Wars 2 is on its last breath, and the tone is quite nice to see in MMOs.

3. I tried out Keg Brawl to see what all this hub-bub was about. A mini-game can’t be that much fun, can it? I was so wrong. Keg Brawl was amazing. I spent far too much time kicking and punching my way to victory, and God was it hilarious. This one member of the opposing team took the keg and jumped over the fence and just started running away from the entire field of play. We all just stopped and began laughing.

4. Experiencing the final beta event. I was so ready for another PvP –styled event on my thief, and was mixed with quite a bit of shock and awe at the event. Hunger Games/Battle Royale meets Guild Wars 2. While not implemented perfectly, this was entirely too amazing. I think the ration layout on the map needs to be re-looked at…(seriously why did all of the food spawn in swamps), but even though I died of hunger, watching others die was quite hilarious. The community really added to the experience. Watching my beloved Lula succumb to hunger was the most painful thing to watch. By the way I have no idea who the hell Lula is, but I felt her pain searching for food as her health slowly drained away. ArenaNet please include this as a holiday. I beg thee.

5. Playing with my friends. This was quite a mixed bag of joy and frustration. One was completely new to MMOs and seemed to flounder quite a bit, while the other from a WoW-heavy background fell in love immediately. He picked up the necromancer profession and was able to become quite proficient in both PvE and sPvP by the end of his first weekend. It was quite enjoyable to see him convert from a full blown “WoW is the only MMO” mentality, to a knowledgeable Guild Wars 2 fan.

At first, I believe I smothered both of them.  I wanted to be with them as they performed events, and I was dying to see their impressions of the game.  However, they really took the events at their own pace, where as I wanted to see more and more of the game.  I would rush them to try to get to the next event, dying to see what was around the next hill, whereas they were slowly processing the fundamental designs behind basic mechanics in the game.  By the third day of the weekend, I realized to just leave them alone, and enjoy a skype call every now and then to answer some questions. 

The MMO virgin thoroughly enjoyed the game by the end of it all.  He had never played games on a PC and has been almost exclusively a console gamer.  He struggled mastering the controls and taking control of his character initially.  I have upcoming article detailing his experience from his point of view, so I won’t dwell, but let’s say he was very much out of his comfort zone, at least initially.

In conclusion, my objectives were met with mixed success.  At launch, I know I will play a (something…still undecided on race choice) thief, at my own pace.  In these beta events, I have pulled roughly 30 hours of game play into 2 and a half days, and have wracked up around 85 hours of game time.  I’ve realized rushing through the game (to see more of the game) is really not the best way to have fun.  I plan to just play and enjoy the scenery and story along the way.  The way, I think, ArenaNet has intended the game to be played since Guild Wars 2’s inception.


  1. Have you tried asura + thief?

    Dagger/dagger, they're like little Yodas flying around (not that I'm big into Star Wars, especially the prequels but fighting Yoda was kind of cool.)

    I'm so torn. I was always going to have a human mesmer and human thief, but I also want a ranger and an ele, and I want a norn, a charr and now an asura (two professions left, three races.) Obviously I'll be repeating a profession, most likely mesmer but I find so many different possible combinations appealing.

  2. Yeah, my main this beta was an Asura (is Asuran the adjective form?) thief. And I completely agree using dagger/dagger was hilarious. You should also check out their shortbow animation, it's just so adorable.

    And I've never been much of an alt person, but there are just so many compelling combinations that I want to try out eventually.

  3. I agree with all of this :D (Even the plant part...). I finally decided on Asura Ranger for my main, with an engy on the side for some SPvP.

    I had the same problem as you with new builds though. I swapped out my Ranged build for a completely new one, with new weapons and everything. I think I spent more time over the BWE reading skills and thinking of new trait combos, rather than actually playing.

    I'm really excited for the meta game of GW2. I think that makes me a huge nerd. Which I'm ok with.