Beta Weekend Level Up

June 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 11 Comments
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Arenanet dropped a blog post today detailed the many varied things they’ve changed since the first Beta Weekend Event. I’m sure we’ve all read the post or heard about some of the new features over the past week so I’ll just take note of a few things.

I guess I’m most curious of the Mystic Forge.

On a less dangerous note, the Mystic Forge has arrived in Lion’s Arch. This strange forge actually holds the imprisoned djinn Zommoros, who hails from distant Elona. If you offer the Mystic Forge gifts (like unneeded items and weapons), you will receive a gift in return. Got a pair of pistols that you don’t need? Drop them in the Mystic Forge and see what Zommoros gives you in exchange!

And here are a couple of screenshots of it.

Arenanet really seems to like the word mystic.

The user interface.

I don’t know what this is, what you get out of it, or the price you need to pay (though “a pair of pistols” seems inaccurate since the very screenshot above suggests you need 4 things) but from a game design perspective the Mystic Forge appears to be a fun little gambling passtime and more specifically an item sink. I’m starting to see sinks everywhere I look.

What is more confusing is that some items seem lit up in the screenshot while others aren’t. So I guess you can’t throw in random items.

Access to the catacombs dungeon will be interesting. We’ll finally start getting a much better idea of just how different a story mode dungeon is from an explorable mode dungeon.

They’ve improved overflow servers as was expected. I’ll just be happy to shut up the loudest of those who called the system “terrible”. Short-sighted nonsense.

They even comment on the skill tier system.

“The tier system gives players both a sense of progression and accomplishment,” says Lead Designer Eric Flannum. “It encourages them to experiment with different skills as they increase in power, and it avoids overwhelming new players with a huge list of skills to choose from.”

“Plus,” Flannum adds, “the tier system is more scalable and expandable. We can more easily add new skills in the future with this system.”

Right, because a lot of choice is bad. I remember all the times I’ve said to myself “God this game is so complicated, I wish I had less choice”. As for it being scalable, expandable, and easier to add new skills, I disagree. I don’t see how the old system was any less useful. It was certainly more straight-forward.

And the only other thing I’m planning on getting into is the WvW jumping puzzles and new mini-dungeon. I want to check that out.

Aside from that I’ve commented on virtually everything else recently. New map, an explanation for the new gem store icon, Gendarran Fields, keeping our characters, blah blah blah, go read it yourself already.



  1. “(…) the very screenshot above suggests you need 4 things. What is more confusing is that some items seem lit up in the screenshot while others aren’t. ”
    Just like with any of the crafting windows, I think that means the largest number of items you can use there is four, but some combinations can require less elements. Also, the crafting system automatically dims down items you cannot combine with those currently selected. All items there probably can be dragged, they just don’t work with those specific items.

    On the tier system for skills, I’ll hold my final judgment until I play with the game this next weekend, but I kinda disagree with you. Too much choice can be overwhelming, specially for those, unlike us, don’t spend most of their waking hours reading and studying the game. The tiered skills let them worry about just a few skills at a time, instead of stopping for 20 minutes every time they get new skill points to decide which skill to buy, afraid they might spend on the wrong ones.

    If this system will actually help with that instead of excessively limit player freedom, that’s something to figure out while playing.

    • Strangely I haven’t crafted anything that required 4 things yet, and in the screenshot you can see someone crafting 4 things at the mystic forge. Can’t wait to experiment.

      As for skill choice, I don’t like having my hand held and being told its too overwhelming for me. Perhaps it is for some players, the newest of the new, but I’m not sure the majority of players should be held back artificially for their sake. But good points.

      And yes, plenty of things to figure out while playing.

      • I confess that I would prefer something along the lines of the skill *selection* system on Diablo 3. By default it limits certain skills only to specific hotkeys to keep things simple for new players, so when you get a new skill, you need to switch with another one attached to, for instance, the 1st button. However, it only takes one trip to the options screen to unlock this and allow players to pick any skill and attach it to any hotkey.

        A system that works as tiered by default, but lets players switch to free selection by toggling an option would achieve both results more efficiently.

  2. Well they talked about it making easier to add skills with expansions so I’m guessing they specifically mean more powerful skills they don’t want players to have access to, too soon? And they can’t just make them so expensive that people can’t afford them until later because established characters may not be able to afford them at all assuming we spent all our previous points prior to the expansion…unless they just increased the amount of points we were awarded after a certain level. But they never really talked about balance being a concern. And it seems like level restrictions rather than tiering seems like a better approach to this issue. That way, you don’t get a certain skill until they want you to, but you aren’t wasting any points in the mean time.

    Otherwise their explanation made more sense for traits than for skills, and it sounds like we won’t see the trait tiers in beta…or maybe it was an oversight and left out of the write-up by mistake.

    • I guess that all depends on how their expansions work. Do we get more trait points, are expansion skills more powerful than normal skills? If so then expandable tiers makes sense but if not, my arguments stand I think. All speculative I guess.

  3. Amazing – they seem to be trying to do expansions before they’ve actually released the game :). Can’t really tell whether that means we’re close to release or they’re going to go on adding new stuff until the end of the year (former I hope and guess). Anyway it’s a very different situation to other MMO releases, where they struggle to even get the basic functionality half functional 6 months after the announced release date.

    • I’m sure in some form some members of arenanet are already working on it, particularly concept artists, writers, that sort of thing.

  4. Bottom line:
    The skill systems discourage the creation of alts. It’s a matter of degree… it discourages everyone, but the tolerance level of some folks is higher than others. Some folks will still persevere with the creation of multiple characters, but everyone is discouraged from doing so to some degree.
    They seem to be suggesting (not unlike every other developer out there) that they are tuning to the lowest common denominator. Some folks are so hopelessly inhibited and/or stupid that they are feeling “overwhelmed” by so much choice and creativity, so we’re introducing the tiered structure to reduce the choice and creativity available so that these retards will feel a bit more comfortable. Gee… thanx for that…
    “It encourages them to experiment with different skills as they increase in power…”
    It encourages players to race to max level as quickly as possible in the stereotypical speedleveling/ignoreimmersion&content/gettolevelcapRIGHTNOW fashion so they can by pass your ridiculous restrictions on their ability to build the type of character THEY want to play – as opposed to the type of character YOU think they should be trying/experimenting with.
    It saddens me that I even have to say something like this, but I really still like this game. The art direction, character archetypes, structure of PvE and PvP styles of play, and many, many other facets of the game are what I’ve been craving from an MMO for a very long time.
    However, the design choices they are making with their skill systems are depressingly piss-poor and are simultaneously stunting both creativity and replayability in the game.
    Of course everyone will adapt to this… eventually, given enough time, folks can adjust their expectations to almost anything, no matter how unpleasant or disappointing it is. However, I will personally never forget that at one point in time, this part of the game was on a much better course, enabling and encouraging creativity, and steering away from the stereotypical race to level cap.
    It’s 2+2=4 folks…
    If you lock options and player choices behind higher/max levels in a game, then players WILL race to those max levels in the fastest ways possible… and in the process, much of the beautiful content you’ve designed will simply be missed, a casualty of this hideously stupid design choice.

    • I agree for the most part. I don’t think it’ll effect my playing negatively beyond a slight irritation but the design choice seems like needless cluttering of the UI and meddling in skill choice. Trait tiers make more sense to me but its like they’re trying to stop people from choosing 30/10/10/10 builds by forcing them to use 30/20/20 builds. I mean what is the difference? Easier to balance I suppose but whatever.

      • Information from the Reddit AMA indicates that the trait tiers will be broken down as follows;
        Each trait line will have roughly 12 major traits total to choose from.
        1st tier (10 pts assigned) will unlock access to 6 major traits.
        2nd tier (20 pts assigned) will unlock access to 4 additional major traits.
        3rd tier (30 pts assigned) will unlock access to the final 2 major traits.
        It should also be noted that the character level restrictions appear to have remained in place, so you will not even be allowed to assign more than 10 pts to a single trait line until you reach level 40 as a character, and level 60 will be required before being allowed to assign more than 20 pts to a trait line.
        (Essentially, all characters below level 40 are restricted to HALF of the total major traits for their class… anyone who believes this will not encourage the speed leveling mentality is so myopic they should not be allowed to drive legally.)
        What remains unknown (to me at least) at this point in time is whether or not a player is free to select any of these major traits once the requisite number of pts are assigned to the trait line.
        One of the stated goals (stated by the DEVs in the AMA) was to prevent players from accessing the most powerful trait from each line by simply putting 10 pts into each.
        That CAN be accomplished without needless further restriction…
        If a player who has assigned 20 pts to a line (thus unlocking access to a total of 10 out of the 12 major traits associated with that line) is then free to choose ANY of those 10 traits for BOTH of the major trait slots they have, then this system is merely preventing early access to certain (presumably more powerful) traits, but is STILL ALLOWING players the freedom to creatively mix and match various traits and experiment with various synergies.
        The problem (as I see it) of encouraging the “race to level cap” mentality would still be present, but at the very least, once players jump through that hoop, they would still be able to creatively explore MOST of the different combinations of traits, at least within a single trait line.
        HOWEVER, if the system’s restrictions extend so far that even after a player assigns 20 pts to a trait line and unlocks access to a total of 10 of the major traits, they are STILL PREVENTED from assigning one of the 4 major traits unlocked at the 20 pt tier to both of the major trait slots they have at that stage – essentially restricting the first major trait slot to one of 6 traits regardless of how many other traits the player has unlocked with further investment into the trait line – then the censure of player choice and creativity is extreme. This is a worst case scenario imo, and if true, reflects a total failure on the part of the DEVs to design balanced and useful traits.
        If the traits you’ve designed are so horrendously out of balance to one another that you feel compelled to cut off access to HALF the traits for ONE THIRD of the available slots then WTF is the point of having them?
        Also, if this second and worst case scenario is in fact the case, don’t you dare ever talk about giving players “the freedom to play their way” because that is clearly a statement in as much conflict with this trait system as “I swung a sword… I swung a sword again” is in conflict with the weapons skills acquisition system.

  5. […] Hunter’s Insight — Beta Weekend Level Up. “Arenanet dropped a blog post today detailed the many varied things they’ve changed since the first Beta Weekend Event. I’m sure we’ve all read the post or heard about some of the new features over the past week so I’ll just take note of a few things.” […]

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