GW2 BWE1 Comes To A Close
The first Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event has come to a close, and with it an overall feeling of enjoyment and excitement from players. Stockholders seem to be pleased too with share prices increasing to 293,000KWN (30th April), jumping from 280,000 on April 26th.
So what did the game offer? Pretty much everything according to most players. There were some hiccups, mostly focused with lag and FPS, however the game is still in beta and considering this was the first time the servers were stress tested by such a large crowd, the overall results are impressive. No doubt the second BWE will offer a lot of new fixes, class balances, and changes given the feedback of the community if the original Guild Wars BWEs are anything to go by.
It seems PvE combat is more difficult than in GW1, with groups usually required to clear most areas, however given that players only had a few days to experiment with builds, there’s no doubt that magic “55 Smite Monk” type builds will exist in the future making the mass solo of PvE possible. The one thing that stands out here as being drastically different however is the way classes work. All classes have the ability to perform the core functions of another, for example even a Warrior has the ability to heal. What is more important than classes are the “roles” that players play. These roles are determined by the builds and skills, as well as the weapons and items of the player, rather than just their primary profession. You will also be hard pressed finding a traditional MMO DPS/Tank/Healer combination, as GW2 is more focused on bringing different builds together in unique, innovative ways. This is intentional and all part of ArenaNet’s plan to move away from a class based and traditional role system, which I have to admit makes the game incredibly refreshing and fun.
World PvP is another huge plus in the game’s favor. Players have the choice between Structured PvP or WvWvW (World vs World vs World). Here the game diverges from its predecessor and reminds me more of something along the lines of Battlefield 3, with vast battlefields, castles, defenses, and groups of 30+ players on your team, WvWvW will immerse you in a real feeling of war, something GW1 never did (even with Factions). Keeping in tradition with GW1, players have their level scaled in such PvP battles, allowing those only interested in PvP to once again jump straight into the fray without any need to grind.
In my opinion GW2 has brought the world of GW1 and games like WoW and Rift together extremely well, and innovated with its new combat and skill based system bringing something entirely new to the gaming scene.
The game seems to be attracting attention from both the hardcore and casual crowds, and seems to offer ways for both crowds to remain competitive and spend their time well. Players can earn armor and items by doing what they love most, eliminating any tedious grind. Spending your time in PvP, PvE, or even crafting all open separate pathways to acquire unique items and armor. Most of the game still remains to be explored, and the crafting system seems hardly to have been dabbed into by most players yet. There will definitely be some revolutionary and exciting insights as this game nears release.
Whilst there’s no doubt some classes seemed to underperform in certain events and need some reworking (the Engineer for example), and that players were reporting the odd CTD and lag (which seems to have really effected some), the overall feeling from the gaming community is extremely positive. As ArenaNet fixes the bugs, irons out the lag, and balances the skills, and as players become more accustomed to the unique classes and their roles, GW2 is set to become a smash-hit success and will undoubtedly become the next big MMO experience. As it plays now, it feels almost ready. I can’t wait to see how BWE2 plays out. It reminds me a lot of GW1 before its release, with gamers waiting patiently for Friday to tick over and for Arena to open their servers. I certainly feel like a kid in the candy store again.
One word summarizes GW2 so far: Exciting.