Guild Wars 2 head start weekend report

Seriously, people, if I ever, ever say that I’m going to get up in the middle of the night to play a video game, I give you full permission to castigate me for it.  Castigate, not castrate, mind you.  My sleep schedule got so messed up that I spent most of yesterday in a haze.  And while it was certainly cool to be right in Guild Wars 2 in the beginning hours, name-grabbing-wise, it was a bust.  Most of the cool names I wanted were already grabbed — seriously, just about every one-word name is taken at this point.  So I spent a couple hours and went back to bed.

Anyway.  Guild Wars 2.  Is incredible.

Playing it live feels so much different than beta, and I’m so glad I have a character to actually invest in.  But even more than that, this is just a game that exists to wow you left and right.  I’m sure that there are those who have become immune to in-game beauty and details, and only see the numbers and min-maxing, but that’s missing the point here.  It’s a game where I felt fully justified to spend the first hour just gawking around like a tourist instead of killing things, and I’m forever going off the beaten track to explore.  Did you know that Rata Sum has a giant aquarium?  Now I do.

My Asura Engineer, Syp, is a perfect match.  The animations on that race are endlessly entertaining — I love how she flails her arms while jumping — and the humor and attitude keeps making me laugh.  Plus, I’ve got a character who can shoot pistols, rifles, flamethrowers, and toss grenades.  I don’t know why everyone doesn’t roll one.  It’s like playing a heavily armed version of Stitch.

It’s really freeing just to surrender myself to the whims of the game’s event system instead of trying to impose an agenda, too.  Sure, I loosely follow the hearts and points of interest around, but the second I see an event, I’m there.  I’ve read some accounts of people who don’t see how the events are an iteration of what’s come before with public quests, but I’d suggest that those people stick around for a bit.  In one of the first events I did, I helped an Asura gather up fire opals in a cavern to power up his golem.  Lots of people ran around doing this, and pretty soon the event succeeded and that was that.  Most of those people left.

Except I stuck around.  I followed the guy and his golem as they walked over to a fighting ring, and an entire scripted fight took place between two golems.  It was pretty cool, and it reminded me that the story is just as much of a reward as karma points.

It wasn’t a perfect weekend, of course.  There were plenty of server hiccups, although I personally didn’t have problems getting on to play when I wanted to.  I’d say my two biggest complaints were the lack of Asura haircuts and the inability to do a guild search.  What, GW2 doesn’t have a /who command?  How are we supposed to hook up with our guild mates unless we rely on out-of-game tools?

I’m sure we’ll be talking more about GW2 this week as the official launch happens and things settle a bit.  In the meanwhile, here are a couple more Ellivena screenshots sent in by reader Kaeru (click to enlarge):

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8 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2 head start weekend report

  1. battlechicken August 26, 2012 / 8:16 am

    My husband told me he was setting the alarm for midnight but he was “just going to get up and play for a few minutes and reserve my names.” The next morning I ask if he got up and played, and he said, “Yeah…I played until 3.” >.< Somehow he managed to make it through most of yesterday with just a little nap. lol

    During his nap I was able to play, though; and I'm really enjoying it so far. My warrior is awesome; exactly what I wanted.

  2. Skron August 26, 2012 / 9:31 am

    I didn’t get to sleep for 35 hours because of Guild Wars 2. I’ve been awake since 1 PM Friday and didn’t get to bed until 11:30 PM last night. Now, I’m at work, and I will be running on Coffee the entire twelve hours.

    But I had a blast playing the game. Seriously, this is the best MMO launch I’ve ever had.

  3. Chris August 26, 2012 / 4:17 pm

    Funnily enough, I was also dismayed at the lack of /who. There is a search bar in one of the social panels — I think it’s guild but it could also be the friends list window — that provides that functionality.

    Before headstart, I was in blackout mode for the game. I wanted to go in fresh. Let me just say, this game is STUNNING from a fresh set of eyes. It’s also so grand. Zones are huge and incredibly detailed, not to mention feature some of the best graphics in gaming period; not even just MMOs. I was also shocked that, even being so pretty and so new, it ran smooth as butter. This is the kind of scale and polish I’ve been wanting to see for a long time. Big kudos to ANet for delivering in such great form.

    Also, it’s great to see a game whose landscape backdrops aren’t just painted onto the sky like Aion. Playing a human outside Divinity’s Reach, it was awesome to look back and see this city that actually existed in the game world. I walked away really impressed.

  4. Rivalyn Crimson August 27, 2012 / 1:25 am

    Because of a flaw in the Catalyst 12.8 drivers, the game won’t run for me in the native render space – I have to use sub or supersample, both of which work but Supersample is choppy during actual gameplay. Cities and story scenes are really really nice looking.

    Nevertheless, I bravely pushed on even with supersample – the choppiness makes dodging some attacks extremely hard. This game is also the first game that made PvP feel enjoyable.

  5. Attic Lion August 27, 2012 / 12:03 pm

    It’s certainly fun at the moment, even though I was terribly disappointed to find that they yanked the guesting system at some point and my guildies and I kept having massive issues with getting into the same overflow server on occasion. I’m also very, very annoyed with the premium on inventory/bank space and the inability to mail items to everyone except yourself from the field. $7.50 for a second bank tab? Really? And there’s nothing to tell me how many slots this tab has. They don’t even give you a discount for buying gems in bulk. I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t wait a few months and see if ANet plans to do any gem sales.

    But I’m reserving my opinion for now. Until It becomes clear whether the game has the ability to back up all those promises ANets been making; or if it is destined to be yet another reason to go play more Borderlands.

  6. Fuzzy August 29, 2012 / 10:01 am

    Did you run around the Asura starting zone following DEL-X99 the messenger robot? Best invention ever. *whrrrrr*

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