Prepurchase In and the Guild Wars Last Chance Run Continues

I prepurchasd Guild Wars 2 this past week. As others have pointed out, the whole “prepurchase” thing is a dangerous precedent. I personally justify supporting it because I really don’t buy all that many new games anymore, a trend that I see continuing. This year I’m buying GW2 and last year I bought Skyrim. The last brand-new title I bought before that was Warhammer Online in 2008. So much for staying atop the curve, but I did play both Rift and SWTOR in beta.

Almost all of us in the MMORPG blog space have by now seen the guts of Guild Wars 2 in broad outline, whether via the myriad videos now showing on YouTube or directly in one of the various beta trails happening. I’ve watched a lot of videos but have not been in any of the events. Having committed to buying it makes me hope that it’s less damnably frustrating than the first game.

GW2 is sure to improve on the original in a number of ways, even without considering the actual innovations which are, to my mind, still untested in a live environment. Once a game goes live the dynamic changes, and what you have a couple of weeks in is very different from what you saw in beta. Warhammer Online was the perfect example of a game that was terrific until it launched, where the dynamic that worked so well with a limited number of fairly serious players completely disintegrated when the launch tides rolled in.

Considering that GW2 is doubtless several months away from release, we actually know quite a lot about it considering where we are in the process. That two of the five starting areas and races aren’t yet in test is a bit worrying, as is the fact that anything over level 30 is still under NDA. But we are still some way out yet. For me the big question is whether I’ll find it as goddamn frustrating as I am finding the original. Hopefully not, and I think I won’t.

GW2 will fully abandon GW’s greatest crimes against MMO-dom: its linearity, its lack of free movement, and its instanced, non-persistent world. Right now I’m most worried about how well the controls handle, and that’s something that each player will decide for themselves. I won’t know until I actually get to play it. GW1’s controls are, to me, very imprecise, much more like those of an Asian game than of a traditional western MMO. The tab-targeting is also very irregular. I can handle both MMO controls and shooter controls readily, and hybrids like DDO or AoC, but I have a real problem with MOBA and Diablo style controls. My failure to make GW’s interface second nature is likely part of the reason I find it aggravating.

Speaking of GW, I am progressing through its content, although the irritation level really hasn’t decreased. I hopped back over to my old main (a Prophecies Warrior,) tried to run him through the mission he’d been stuck on, promptly got stuck again, and instead of pissing around with it anymore took the Eye of the North starter quest from Lion’s Arch and headed up there. It’s still frustrating — I feel like I’m playing the whole game at the -60% max death debuff. Getting rid of it entails going back to an outpost, and you never know whether doing that will reset already-completed objectives — sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. I get rezzed in the middle of mobs and die again instantly and no combination of tactics or NPCs seems to improve survivability all that much, and my Warrior build is kind of gimped because up in the North you fight a lot of stuff that doesn’t bleed. I have changed that build, but doing so involved going back to the Prophecies area because of the special buff you get in EotN while you’re below 20.

On the upside, EotN content is less linear than that of the older campaigns, because the zones are considerably more open and there are multiple paths through at least parts of the main storyline, and because everything is intended for level 20s so there are a profusion of side quests. My Warrior is now level 18 and I intend to at least complete the Ebon Vanguard arc, which is the one I’ve been following. It would be nice to at least reach the level cap before I throw the goddamn things across the room in frustration. And at least I have gotten to see some of the EotN content.

GW2’s races are (expect for the Charr,) introduced in Eye of the North. I have not seen Sylvari yet (I’m told they actually come into existence during the storyline,) but there are Norns right away, and I’m being pleasantly surprised by what I have seen of the Asura, a race I saw as something out of Final Fantasy and which I was prepared to despise. They’re actually kind of cool from what I’m seeing so far, although I’m not yet following their storyline.

The main EotN story is kind of flat in its conception — you’re up against “Destroyers” that are pretty vaguely defined up to the point I’m at — but excellent in its detail-to-detail execution. The intro quest that takes you from whatever old zone to the North is very simple but has a nice tense atmosphere going on. Do you race the clock to the means of escape (and there’s not a lot of time to fart around,) or do you risk a look back at the pursuing Destroyers? It’s like Halls of Reflection but better.

Right now I’m still playing. It’s a lot farther that I’ve gotten in Guild Wars in the past.

3 responses to “Prepurchase In and the Guild Wars Last Chance Run Continues

  1. Gamestop is still sticking to their GW2 6/26 ship date ::shrug:: I’m more concerned about the possibility of too many good MMOs coming out this year. TSW – huge question mark. Tera, same. But both show potential and could be surprisingly good.

  2. I played through the first three campaigns in GW, years ago with many different characters. My favorite part of the game is still pre-searing, it felt so much more open. These days when I try to play a new character I just can’t get past the feeling of being stifled and don’t end up sticking with it for too long. I’m a little excited about GW2, I’m sure it will be decent. G’luck, you have more patience than I😉

  3. Sounds like you’re having the classic problems some players have getting into GW1. When I first started playing (warrior in Prophecies) I ended up much like you, frustrated in places, what seemed a near constant death penatly, and a build that never seemed to really work. While I eventually did do most of Prophecies with just henchmen, I was doing it wrong.🙂
    .
    If you play GW1 like a Diablo style game or typical MMORPG style, you will have problems. If playing solo (with heroes and henchmen, H/H), you need to use the Call Target feature (“T” and bind some of the hero skills so you can spike damage on a single target. For instance, I have a single keystroke set to fire off the first skill slot of 3 heroes, each skill being an elite with big damage and/or conditions. Use the target next select (TAB key) to cycle between the enemy group members BEFORE attacking and see if they have a healer. That is usually a good target to take out first, calling it as the target and then spiking the damage to take them out right away. Any mesmer is a good second target. If there is a boss in the group, leave it until last, take out the supporting mobs first.
    .
    Flagging the heroes/henchies so they aren’t in a clump can also make a huge difference. Get your character a longbow or flatbow. Flag your H/H into good positions, switch to the bow and pull the group to you, then switch back to your regular weapon. Get Olias (he is the easist necromancer hero to obtain) and set him up as a minion master (see wiki) and you’ll have plenty of meat shields to block the enemy and draw their attacks away from you and your H/H.
    .
    Skills! It is all about the builds. Getting a good mix of skills for your character and heroes makes all the difference. I enjoy making my own builds and that was what attracted me to the game in the first place. But if you aren’t happy with what you’re coming up with, check out a GW1 builds site like http://www.gwpvx.com and look through some of the general PvE builds to get some good ideas. See which skills you can buy or capture easily (wiki to the rescue again) and go from there. Don’t forget to outfit you and your heroes with good runes and insignia, not to mention a decent weapon. And as you have access to EotN, you can get items to buff you, as well as summoning stones. EotN also lets you get PvE only skills (norn, vanguard, asuran, etc) which grow in power as you rank that title up. Nicholas the Traveler (see wiki) also provides some nice buff items if you can access the area he is in each week.
    .
    Of course playing with people, especially people you like, makes the game much easier and a lot more fun. Even just 2 to 4 humans can make most content fairly easy to do, moreso if they’ve done it before. 8 humans is a blast! As others have said, find a good guild and seek out their advice on builds, get help with missions, etc. Just avoid being run through any content, that is no fun at all. Heck even the occasional PUG can be fun, as long as you expect the worst… but I’ve had some great times with random players, especially when they have been good or just entertaining.