9/9/12: Looking into Crafting
Another live stream here. Accidentally removed
9/4/12: Trying more class/race combos
Live stream Replay here. Accidentally removed
9/1/12: Looking into the World vs. World mode.
I was going to retire from reviewing MMOs after TERA and I had that awful breakup, but here I am again, reviewing Guild Wars 2. I plan on doing this review in phases, so check back often. For Guild Wars 2 videos, be sure to check out GW2Videos.com.
Getting Started with a Boom
My first avatar is a human engineer named BudBoom. After a decently exciting intro sequence I was dropped into the world proper outside of my race’s city, Divinity’s Reach. The game sends me on my first quest which is to help someone. That’s… not really a quest. In fact, quests proper are few in my experience. There are quests associated with my personal story (laid out from the choices I made during my avatar’s creation) but other then that, you just pick up things to do as you wander around. I walked near a fishery and got a notice that I could kill river drakes to help out. I felt less required to kill them then if the game told me to slay 10 river drakes to move on, so I just killed a few as I passed through, and more as I came back later, eventually getting rewarded. Helping someone turns them into a karma vendor (karma is one of the many currencies) where you can buy things related to that character. I bought up some salvage kits to break down the gear I couldn’t use, which is another nice touch. Two inventory changes I like include being able to send crafting goods to a collections page from anywhere rather then having them fill up your bags until you got to town, and having a dedicated ‘sell junk’ button at vendors.
The event system is my favorite feature so far. It reminds me allot of Rift in that it sets a goal on your map and rewards everyone that pitches in for helping complete it. Unlike Rift’s rifts, these vary greatly in size, scope, and the activities involved. Sometimes you gather apples, other times you’re protecting water pipes from saboteurs. There are apparently larger ones later in the game so I’m interested in seeing those.
Daily achievements are really nice in that they give you a series of straightforward goals – kill X monsters, kill X varieties of monsters, gather X goods – that you’ll complete anyway as you play and they reward you with XP for doing so. It’s a nice, unobtrusive way to coax you into playing daily.
So far I’m level 7 so I’m just starting out. I’ll update this as I get further into the game.
BudBoom vs. the World
Today was my first foray into World vs. World, the open-world player versus player mode in Guild Wars 2. I took BudBoom, now level 9, to my server’s main base/island/continent thing. GW2 auto-levels you to level 80 so everyone’s on the same even playing field (level-wise, anyway) so even low level players like myself can play and contribute. After exploring the base fort and listening to tutorials from the mode’s instructor I left the fort to look for a scrap. It didn’t take long before I found one.
It also didn’t take long before I got slaughtered. I got attacked by what I assumed were NPCs, labeled Tarnished Coast Invader. It seems that the game names all opposing servers’ players after their server and colors them to match. I got my first WvW kill while dead – don’t ask me how – before an Asura revived me. After that I didn’t die over the next hour of playtime. My server, which is getting killed at WvW in general, fought off Tarnished Coast Invaders from a small fort and eventually pushed them back to their base before getting beaten back again. Over said hour of playtime, neither side made any lasting progress.
The combat was crazy-hectic and it was nearly impossible for me to tell who was where and who was attacking who. My engineer turret was a nice touch for holding a spot and giving folks somewhere to heal up. What I didn’t like was after we pushed the invaders back, I had to walk back to the fort where I left my turret since there was no way to detonate it or disable it remotely.
Since I was such a huge fan of World of WarCraft’s Lake Wintergrasp I’m not surprised I enjoyed World vs. World. I think this may be a big success, so long as the population stays up. I’m interested to see how lower pop counts affect the fun to be had here. Wintergrasp was worlds less fun when going 10 on 10 instead of 40 on 40.
Over the next few updates I want to touch on crafting and the world in general.
Around the World
I’ve been trying out the some of the other race/class combos and some are more to my liking then others. For one, the Asura are annoying little jerks. I couldn’t play my Asura Elementalist much because of their smug attitude. Their starting zone, however was very fun, as was the Elementalist class. I began as a fire specialist but quickly learned to control water magic. Between you and me, I think fire beats water, hands down. At least in Guild Wars 2.
I’ve not read of one writer online playing as the Sylvari. While they’re not the popular choice, they are the poplar choice. (get it?) This race of plant folk have a very unexciting starting zone and are a little too nature-is-your-friend for me. My Sylvari Necromancer and his blood fiend would struggle to make any progress, between limited damage dealing, being turned into plant-dog and the blood fiend getting killed at the drop of a hat. Not my favorite combo either.
Next I rolled a Charr Warrior. He was fun, what with his constant whirling of steel laying waste to enemies in bunches, but the race’s starting zone, again, was not my speed. There was nothing technically wrong with it so if being a cat-orc appeals to you, you’re good.
Finally, I wanted to try a Guardian. They sounded allot like my kind of class, reminding me allot of my time as Gavelier, a human paladin in World of WarCraft. I intended for my Guardian to be a Norn, the last race I had not tried, but… I wanted to remake Gavelier. It was in my head and there was no removing it.
Therefore my latest avatar another human and a remake of my old avatar. Gavelier lives again! The Guardian class, with it’s damage-dealing and healing combinations makes for a natural paladin. I had already done most of the Queensdale quests – certainly all of the low-level ones – as BudBoom but this time it will be with a different biography for my character. It will be interesting to see how that affects my story line.
I also did a live stream of BudBoom for an hours last night and may do so again tonight. You can see last night’s video here.
Discipline in Crafting
The various crafting disciplines are more or less standard for MMOs with leatherworking, armorsmithing, tailoring and the like. In my early experience as a huntsman (playing BudBoom) I haven’t seen many real upgrades I’ve been able to make for myself. I can make rifles, handguns and spearguns but none of them have been an upgrade to what I’ve found in the world.
When you find crafting goods, called collectables, you can send them from your inventory to your collections panel. This is very convenient while questing but it was a hassle while crafting, because you had to pull each item you wanted to craft with out of the collectible panel one by one. Notice I used past tense – as of yesterday, Sept. 8th, the game has been patched to allow you to craft straight from your bank and collectible panels. This is a huge improvement and makes leveling your crafting discipline much easier.
You can use the discovery pane to learn new crafting recipes, though in my experience it’s mostly good for cooking and not much more. I’ve yet to discover anything as a huntsmen, leatherworker or weaponsmith. You place various crafting materials in the boxes on the right side of the screen, hoping to strike upon a combination that works. My success here has been middling.
The biggest reason to craft, besides the occasional piece of useful equipment or a steady supply of stat-boosting food is the experience you get. You can get a good amount of XP through the crafting system which is just another way that the game seems to reward you for just about everything.
Next time I hope to either wrap this up or have ready a finished review.