You always remember your first time.
My first Guild Wars experience was in late 2004, about six months before the game’s launch, when I received a special press tour for an article I was working on. The devs and press team led me through Lion’s Arch and one or two missions before handily trouncing me in PvP.
Back then, MMOs – not to mention dev-guided tours of MMOs – were still new to me, I only saw a very small part of the game, and I wasn’t very critical of my experience.
This weekend, when I get into Guild Wars 2 for the first time, it’ll be different.
Here are five things I’m most looking forward to in Guild Wars 2 this weekend:
Didn’t think I’d start with this one, did you? Yes, I’m one of those. It could be worse – I could be an RP-er.
We’ve seen a little bit of GW2‘s crafting system, but I can’t wait to dive into it myself and see if, like most everything else in the game, it’s been scrutinized and optimized so as not to appear just like every other game out there.
To wit, most crafting systems are a combination of inventory management – do I have X number of Y ingredients? – and monotony – gee, if I craft 283 normal pieces of armor, I’ll finally have enough proficiency to craft the one piece I really want.
The system of discovering new recipes looks intriguing, but it still seems like it could still run afoul of “Ijustneed” crafting: “I’ve got eight billion of the normal materials, but “Ijustneed” that one rare material that never drops.”
Or, more punchy: “I’ve got 99 cloth bits but a swatch ain’t one.”
At least I won’t be staring at a progress bar for hours while my character crafts those 283 items. But will I be able to craft a level 15 item at – crazy idea here – level 15? One that’s significantly better than what I can get in the world and justifies the time and effort spent crafting?
That would certainly be different.
Sure, sure, I’ll check these out, too. I guess. I mean, it’s only the core of the game and all…
On my first playthrough, I’m just going to see how the events flow, if they feel as “natural” as they’ve been described and as I’ve seen in videos. Will they appear spontaneous and conveniently arranged? Or will I spend too much time going from place to place, wondering where all the excitement is?
Also, how will the numbers game work? How well will events scale, in both directions? There should be plenty of people online during prime time evening hours, so how will an event go when there are several dozen people in the area?
Similarly, how will they work when there are only two or three people handling an event? I’ll spend some time Sunday morning, a traditionally “dead” time, finding out if… well, if size really isn’t everything.
On my second playthrough – with a character of the same race – I will be paying attention to what pops up and where. With no traditional endgame, one of the strengths discussed about the game has been how every leveling experience will be different, making alts more enjoyable to level.
Sounds great in theory, but how is it in practice?
Personal story aside, will my human elementalist be doing vastly different things from my human ranger? Will the dynamic events be at a suitably different part of their “chains” on different characters? Or will they gravitate toward a similar state too quickly and seem repetitive?
PvP/WvW. Assuming I can tear myself away from testing dynamic events with those alts, I’ll find some – OK, maybe plenty – of time to give PvP a shot. I wish there were more arenas available, but we’ll have to make do.
Only having five members per team worries me a little bit. I know I’ll be awesome, of course, but having such small teams makes it easy for a single bad player to torpedo the whole team. I’ve played enough League of Legends to know that much.
Then there’s WvW, which I’m going to hold off on a little bit, just because I’m not sure I’ll be able to leave once I go in, and I’m probably not going to review it critically, planning instead to just run around, kill stuff, and have fun. You know what they say: Once you go rocket cart, you never go back.
I’ve heard great things and seen the videos, but the one thing I’m most looking forward to, that’s not strictly gameplay-related, is exploring the capital cities.
I’ve got mixed feelings on what makes a city “good.” It can be too small or too symmetrical, which makes it seem artificial. On the other hand, when it’s too large or random, it becomes too annoying to find your way around. Hopefully, the cities in GW2 will strike a happy medium.
Having not had the chance to visit any city, I’m not as overtly thrilled about visiting Lion’s Arch as other people are, so maybe I’ll save that for my next beta experience.
I got enough of it in that 2004 tour anyway.