A Look Inside the Guild Wars 2 Beta

My first hour or so of Guild Wars 2′s beta weekend is complete. Here’s what I think so far.

  • This is a deep game. So was Guild Wars 1, but at a glance this seems at least as deep.
  • The pace of the gameplay is very fast, and Guild Wars 2 wastes no time in getting you into the thick of it. To progress in this game is to explore, and you’re shoved out that door almost immediately.
  • Game performance is horrific. And because the game is so fast paced but the controls are so sluggish, this is a real and large problem. I see two reasons: one is that the client isn’t yet graphically optimized so it’s basically running all on your CPU with no help from the graphics card, and the other is that there are a huge number of players in game canvassing everything. Also, 100% of the players are channeled into 60% of the starter areas, which can’t be helping. I expect this to improve, possibly even in the context of this weekend.
  • Even so, it is sensually appealing, from the character models to the scenery to the music to the animations. Everything looks and sounds great.
  • Dynamic events seem to work and are not trivial — unless you drift in at the very end it will take a while to complete a stage.
  • The map is terrific and tracks your progress inside the zone.
  • I am currently taking a break while the hour-plus of video I took renders and uploads. Expect this latter part of the process to take several hours, but when I have working links I will post them.
  • The first video, of character creation, ran into some problems and did not take, so I scrapped it. I’ll try to get another character creation video in.
  • I’m playing a Warrior on the Tarnished Coast server named Ardwulf Hrenson. Currently level 3. Keep an eye out for me if you’re around.

I’ll be playing more throughout the weekend. There will probably be more video but given the performance issue I’m disinclined to dabble in PvP at least today. There will be time for that later.

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One response to “A Look Inside the Guild Wars 2 Beta

  1. So interesting how experiences differ. GW2 is running like an absolute dream for me. Not a hint of frame rate lag even with scores of people right on top of me, virtually no latency except when it seems the server is about to fail, which happened just twice in four hours.

    On the other hand, I think the map is close to the worst I’ve ever seen. I asked Mrs Bhagpuss how she was faring and she was pretty happy except “the map is awful”. It’s ugly, unintuitive, cluttered and has spoilers.

    Other than that, it’s about what I expected. It’s not a step-change, paradigm shift or any of that hype. It’s a solid AAA MMO which is what I wanted.

    Off to play for another half hour then get some sleep so i can play all day tomorrow.