Saturday, September 1, 2012
Guild Wars 2 Overload
So what have I been up to? Saving Lion's Arch in my personal story, getting to level 60 and finally accessing tier 3 traits, completing Ascalonian Catacombs, Caudecus Manor, and Twilight Arbor on story mode, switching servers, jumping into structured PvP, and playing with friends.
I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned is that grouping with friends matters in Guild Wars 2. This of course is excluding all of the complex social benefits, you level significantly faster. If you want to level fast, start doing renowns and events with a friend or two. I leveled from 1-40 almost entirely solo, and it was a slow but steady progression. There's nothing wrong with that either. I took my time to stop and smell many of the beautiful roses Guild Wars 2 has to offer, but it's nice that there's also a very painless, more efficient way of leveling. The social aspect of GW2 is by far one of it's best features.
As I've increased my level and moved into higher-end areas, I've definitely noticed a significant increase in glitches/bugs. Two of my friends have experienced glitches in their personal story, one with enough impact to halt any further progress in his storyline. Most of them are random events, but I found one that may be of particular interest. My friends and I were escorting an NPC, when all of a sudden a group of Flame Legion enemies begin to assault us. As we take them down we notice one particular enemy that is immune. I scroll over his name to notice that ArenaNet placed him as "Annoying Flame Legion Engineer (or some profession)". It's like they new the NPC was glitched but they hadn't had time to fix him, so they simply changed his name. While the enemy completely halted the event indefinitely (the buff making him immune lasted 3 days), it was kind of an interesting sight.
Speaking of interesting sights, I'm still continually amazed as I explore the various zones. I just can't find any of the "copy-and-paste" that so many other games do with their buildings, caves, and towns. Every area is completely individual and hand-crafted in a way that makes me blown away by ArenaNet's art team. There are also so many hidden gems that only an explorer will find tucked away in the darkest of places. I am dying to take the time and find these places over the next few months.
The dungeons have been overall pretty good. I have already talked about Ascalonian Catacombs in a previous article, but the other two I just completed today. Caudecus Manor was rather short, but some of the mobs had an interesting mechanic that managed to kill me numerous times much to the dismay of my friends. It was a mechanic that allowed the enemies to do more damage to you if you were moving, and as a thief I've always been moving. It was extremely strange to feel planted to the ground. Twilight Arbor on the other hand was rather long, and the last boss was pretty tough. It took several tries and a little online searching to find a good enough strategy to succeed. Let's just say we were a little shell-shocked when we initially saw Faolian come down and rezz the NPC we had just downed.
On the structured PvP side of things, things are an interesting state of flux. Tournaments were reactivated today, but I have yet to try them out. In the pick up groups that I was in, thieves seemed a step ahead of most professions. And that really was the stand out problem of my friends and my experience, thieves are too strong for how simple they can be. If you've played sPvP over the last couple of days you probably know what I mean. Heartseeker-spam or leaping death blossom-spam thieves are pretty common, and is particularly potent by small groups of thieves. Every other profession seemed pretty reasonable, and none really stuck out as "weak" or "overpowered", but decently balanced.
Switching servers is also a pretty interesting feature of the game at the moment. I was tired of the 2-4 hour queues on my previous realm, so I switched to a new realm that is probably a "middle-tier" realm. In every fight we are second, so we aren't terrible, we just are nothing to write home about. What's also pretty nice is that we have instant-to-ten minute queues even during peak hours, which is absolutely fantastic from what I was coming from.
Overall, my experience has been great. There have definitely been a few hiccups here and there, specifically in some of the higher level content. However, the good has far outweighed the bad, and I am currently trying to ward off my compulsion to play Guild Wars 2.