Brinkmanship

May 31, 2015 at 2:23 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | Comments Off on Brinkmanship
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gw001

I was invited to the beta and have spent the past couple days knocking things around in my head. I find a lot of criticism after a beta is pretty unjustified. I mean it’s a beta, yet some of the biggest complaints I saw were about how events didn’t work or scale properly. No shit guys. Way to contribute helpful information.

Okay so, my biggest complaints are that events didn’t work right and didn’t scale properly. I joke, but these were two issues I did run into. The event in the Itzel chain where you drop eggs to draw the attention of the wyverns in the Zintl camp (the camp could use some fleshing out, such a flat and sparse area with only a few signs of habitation on the sides, made it feel empty) stalled out twice for me, once on the southeast and once on the southwest. There were a lot of people there but at some point the event just stopped registering that we had dropped enough eggs. As a result that chain stopped moving and as far as I know that was how you unlocked the wyvern boss fight so I didn’t get to it during the beta.

That was a disappointment, but, I did enjoy myself greatly.

As usual Arenanet has produced a very beautiful map. There is always something to look at, something to slow down and just stare at. And with the addition of gliding I’m not doing that from all new angles. I can’t wait to be in the air for longer periods just for staring. I think the first thing I did when gliding was finally unlocked was to go grab the mastery points near where you zone in to Verdant Brink. I jumped off and glided along and immediately forgot what I was doing, landing nowhere near where I had intended. I circled back and got to the mastery point pictured below.

gw2demo

I’m not sure if you’re supposed to land higher than I did or if the commune just isn’t situated correctly, but I saw at least a dozen people getting this skill point in an unorthodox way. You had to jump up close enough to get the menu option, hit F for the split second it was available, then choose the option to commune. I don’t think I saw anyone land directly on top of the point to be able to commune normally.

But those are technical problems that will be fixed at some point I’m sure.

If I had any other real problems it was probably a lack of flavour. No NPCs explaining what is what. No lore to speak of, just place names. When you did run into NPCs they almost seemed out of place and had nothing to say, but there were large areas where it seemed like nothing was really going on. I’m sure Arenanet has plans to fill that all in, NPCs with information on adventures, random Pact members telling their story, events that fill in the gaps. But as of right now there is little to no flavour.

I like the events in Verdant Brink, there was a nice breadth to them, more diverse use of the event style, but I also felt they were too linear. One event begins, takes place, which leads to the next. Event chains are nothing new, but as far as the beta went the 2 daytime event chains and the night events were the only things going on. If there was an event in an area, it was the only event within quite a distance, and everyone in the area would be there. They had remarkably good directions on the mini-map for getting people around but it didn’t feel like I had any other option but to follow those directions.

I did one series of events near the Itzel village and it did not go well. We were supposed to protect 3 hunter NPCs that go out for food. At first this is fine but then champions start spawning and DINOSAURS(!) start spawning and the dinos do this charge thing that would one hit kill the NPCs. After they die you get another shot at it, just in another location, and then another shot when that fails, and another. I guess the problem was scaling, as in the NPCs didn’t.

That was probably the most annoying thing that happened during the whole beta, and that includes not figuring out the mastery UI for ages, not getting to the wyvern world boss, jumping off a cliff once I thought I had gliding unlocked (I didn’t) and other assorted scaling issues like trying to save pact soldiers in the jungle (at night soldiers spawn all over the map and you escort them back to camp) from the same 3 overpowered mobs that were always attacking them. Although I suppose on that last one it was better with a group, but alone I couldn’t do a thing to save Pact soldiers.

I really liked the jumping puzzle adventure, which was unfortunately only available either during the night or the day, I can’t remember. It’s not a huge puzzle or anything, it’s all available right in front of you in a compact location, but collecting 15 bugs requires some pretty delicate jumping at times so it was definitely looking like a challenge. I didn’t want to spend too much of my limited time on it so I didn’t complete it but I can’t wait to take a real crack at it.

The other adventures I didn’t like as much, well, Lethal Vantage wasn’t even available for some reason. The other was in a pit in the south of Brink, you’d enter through a door collect some salvage, which wasn’t hard, and return it through the door. I don’t think I grasped the full measure of the adventure, why it was supposed to be hard or what the full challenge was supposed to be. I tried it a couple times and stopped. Celeste from Guild Wars Reporter said she found it addictive, but that was not my impression.

As for the revenant. I found myself settling in to the weapon skills pretty well, especially the mace/axe combo. Really like the blast finisher and the constant area swiftness I was putting down. I mean I’d like it more if I had a mount rather than going out of my way to put swiftness on myself every 10 seconds but whatever. If there’s something I don’t like about revenant it’s probably how I didn’t like how I had to switch my Legend in order to deal with certain things. It’s probably just down to a lack of options but I didn’t like Mallyx and I didn’t like my heals or my options for condition removal. Because you can switch over your legend and essentially get two heals, both heals end up feeling pretty crappy. I’d rather just have one decent heal, but that’s me.

Speaking of mounts. There were numerous encounters with people riding beatles. So if beatle riding isn’t a mastery I’m going to be pissed.

In the end it was beautiful and fun, and typical Arenanet design, but I did have one major quibble. The pathing is very directed. In the rest of the game you come to a mountain and you have a few choices. You can go through the mountain, over the mountain, south to go around, north to go around. Here there is a lot less of that. The cliffs mean instant deaths, there’s no coming back, for the most part, if you fall of the side. The paths go in one direction and you can’t leave them as much. It’s different, so I’m okay with this for Verdant Brink but I hope this isn’t going to be the same way with every map.

And I hope all this talk Arenanet had of the floor of the jungle, the canopy and whatever the other biome was comes a bit more to fruition because I’m not really impressed so far.

But it’s early days. Speculation has HoT coming out in Q3. I’m sure Arenanet can do a lot in a short amount of time, look at what the Living World team was putting together with only around 20 people. I wish the entire zone had been available to play, with more merchants, vendors, flavour, events, but hey it’s a beta and they were probably just testing out the event chains.

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