Over a week into Guild Wars 2 play I’m just as impressed with the game as ever… possibly more. Although there are some niggling problems and the occasional bugged event, the biggest issues appear to have settled out, and with the Trading Post finally up and running an in-game economy is starting to take shape.
So far, though, good gear is dirt cheap while fine crafting materials (the ones you actually need to advance and can’t simply be harvested) are going for a pretty penny. And money seems dreadfully short; I’m level 34 and nowhere near being able to afford my level 20 mastery tome. Granted that I have blown some money on finally pushing crafting skills into the second tier, but still.
Otherwise, the game is going swimmingly. I’ve been largely untempted by alts, although I’ve been playing a few in the low-level zones just for the sake of getting more of the aforementioned crafting mats. None of these are above level 10 at this point, and I’m not likely (I think) to get past the starting zones with any of them. With my main, I am having a blast exploring the zones to their fullest and playing the zone completion minigame; I have seven or eight at this point and am at about 25% map completion.
One of the best things about Guild Wars 2 so far is that this content isn’t invalidated by leveling past it. I’ve been able to do full clears of three of the starter zones so far and intend to get my main as close to 100% map completion on my main as possible; right now I’m at 23% or so but have only done one of the second-stage zones. Right now pushing upward is a slightly higher priority than pushing laterally through even or lower leveled zones, just due to the money issue.
I’ve been moving along the personal storylines. These tend to come in discrete ten-level arcs as far as I have seen thus far, and are pretty variable in quality. The 1-10 and 10-20 Norn stories, for example, are pretty cheesy as hell, although they solidify after 20, and in any event the specific story path you get depends on the choices made during character creation. Others, like the human noble 1-10 story that I played through in beta, are quite enjoyable in my opinion. The 20-30 Norn story is pretty involving and contains some really quite tough encounters.
Due in part to the Trading Post being down so long, I was having a devil of a time leveling even one crafter out of the first tier of materials, becuase fine crafting materials are needed for discoveries, which are in turn needed for efficient leveling, and you just don’t get enough of them in the course of normal leveling. Once you start learning what mobs they drop from you can start farming them, though, and it really doesn’t take much to get a nice stock on them, enough to level a single tradeskill through the tier. But you can have two tradeskills and you need these mats for every crafting profession except for cooking.
Once the Trading Post came back up I was able to drop about 30 silver on various ingredients and power both of my skills (Hunstman and Leatherworker) to the 100-120 range, where I’m able to make relevant gear for myself again… although better gear than I can make can be found, typically for mere copper, on the Trading Post. That may settle out as crafters start to max out and stockpiles of mats start to build, however.
One of the benefits of getting Leatherworking up was larger bags. Inventory management in Guild Wars 2 is a struggle; some items don’t fit neatly in the bank’s collections section and the general vault is pretty small. You can allegedly buy more bank space, but I’ll be damned if I can find that in the store. You cna definitely buy at least one additional bank slot, but at 400 gems per slot on a single character that seems steep to me. But at some point I figure money will be more plentiful than it is right now, and it may not be much of a big deal for a level 80 to pick up the extra slot just by trading gold for gems. But a currency-rich economy may alter the exchange rate drastically, too, so we’ll see ow things develop as the game evolves.