[GW2] Paws-on at Comic Con

Starting with some admissions:

1. I very very very very rarely actually watch any pre-release videos or trailers these days, am a bit strung out on hype for MMOs

2. I’m in a massive MMO rut at the moment due to extended periods of back pain and 8 weeks of physio when I was told not to sit upright for more than 30m, this has made me as disinterested in games as I’ve ever been (thus the lack of blogging)

3. Have never played or seen Guild Wars, know very little about it. Knew GW2 was upcoming and lots of my friends were starting to get excited about it, but have been far too lazy to read ANYTHING about it.

4. Of course, I still told people I’d go to the Comic Con Guild Wars 2 panel, but it clashed with a TV show one I /really/ wanted to see, so I bailed on that promise, and just read Spinks’ live-tweets of the panel. Sounded pretty good.

When Spinks joined me, after whatever I’d been doing and told me about her Guild Wars 2 hands-on, I was intrigued. I still didn’t know much about the graphics or background to the game, but it was enough to colour me intrigued. And though I was fairly sure I wouldn’t get a chance to spend 40m playing the game, I kind of wanted to for the first time. I think the fact they gave you 40m to play, and I’d had a 5m look over people’s shoulders the first day was what really caught my attention.

Bex Sat 061

And on the final day of Comic Con, when the queues for the panels we wanted to see were heinously long, we decided to revisit the Exhibit Hall. First to see how crazy the SWTOR lines were first thing, and secondly to see if I could play some Guild Wars 2. SWTOR had a 2h wait, so we dashed over to Guild Wars 2 – which was actually a LONG WAY away. While Spinks was looking over some shoulders, I, with ninja-reflexes honed on the London Underground, spotted a free demo computer and scuttled in – then yelled at Spinks to come join me (after I’d created my char, ofc).

So I made a female norn, for mostly the same reasons as she did. The humans and charr all started at higher levels and I wanted to see if the new player experience was as cool as she’d said. Yeah, sisters – we’re suspicious of one another until proven otherwise. I can’t remember all the bits I picked for my character, except it involved being drunk, losing things and then.. I made her a ranger. No idea why, I’m totally not a ranged dps kind of gal, but of the options available I figured it’d be easy to get to grips with. I didn’t fancy a warrior and I don’t generally like casters much, and as I knew Spinks had tried the engineer. And so Nim the Norn was born. Best initial bit, they asked what animal companion I wanted between bear, wolf, and snow leopard. As anyone who knows me will attest, this was NO-CHOICE. There was a large cat, and it got picked. This pleased me right away (though honestly, I like wolves and bears too!).

I think honestly, that Spinks probably has more of a sense of what I did than I did. Which actually bodes really well for the game for me, and also backs up some of her comments. I know I intended to pick up a bunch of quests at the first hub and go do them. This got immediately derailed when I was handing in my first quest and one of the next questgivers asked me to help him guard some booze which he was transporting on massive cow-like-thing to a nearby town. Guarding booze? Right up my alley, and one of the options was ‘I’m ready to leave now’.. so without thinking about my original plans, I just set off. We killed stuff, I marvelled at the giant cow-like-thing, and as I killed stuff some ‘events’ got updated (to kill x number of bad faction people – yes, deal with it, I remembered NO names), but I didn’t even feel like I needed to stay and do the event – I was far too focussed on delivering booze safely. Which we did. Heroism = booze delivery!

GW2

Then, I explored a little randomly as I got a bit turned around and lost trying to find something on my map. I left the demo zone a couple of times and got warned to turn back, so once I got the hang of directions, I headed firmly back into the zone. And that’s when things got super cute. I found a hill with a Shaman of Snow Leopard on it, asking me to honour Snow Leopard.. I was very much in the ‘blah blah, skim read, do stuff as quickly as possible’ mode when I realised one of the text options was ‘transform me into a snow leopard’. And there were snow leopard cubs around me. Oh yes, I found a quest to be turned into a snow leopard and perform tasks which would honour my totem; by cuddling cubs, killing wildlife, or reviving injured snow leopards. This wasn’t a ranger quest, but available to all. It gave a kind of faction bar, which I could increase by doing any of the tasks mentioned. I, of course, cuddled LOTS of cubs. Spinks said at this point I actually just grinned at the screen. But more sensibly, I was really impressed I could mix and match the tasks to fill the bar, and it didn’t take very long at all either.

After this excitement, I only had around 10m left and decided more random quests were in order, though I started off doing the next one I was given by the Shaman.. which triggered more events, and which I was idly doing just to test out my skills. My pet died a few times, but I blame it much more on my actual skills and not paying attention than anything else, since I actually had a self+pet heal ability! While exploring some caves for this event (another kill x thingies quest), I saw I was down to 5m and also found some water. Knowing only that underwater was a whole ‘cool’ thing about GW2, I readily dove in. Yes, I got a face mask immediately, which let me breath underwater. Loved it. Got new skills too, relevant to underwater, and a quest to pick some underwater flowers. Now, I’ve played a fair few MMOs, and I found the swimming very easy to get a hang of. I didn’t have anything to fight, so unfortunately didn’t get to test out any skills, but we did get to see some swimming at least, so I was quite proud of myself for that.

Overall, I came away with a kind of glowing feeling. The 40m sped by, and I’m excited that in a live game I’d have time to really build my character and learn a lot more about it and its skills. It’s a very pretty game and plays nicely, it felt extremely intuitive – which is what I need while in gaming doldrums. From being remotely interested in the game, it’s become a must-buy for me. Of course, there’s no guarantees I’ll love more than the low level game, but what the hell, I’ll take that right now. I know Spinks commented that for her it was like the WoW beta, for me I felt a twinge of Dark Age of Camelot. No idea why, but I guess that was the fierce loyalty I felt almost immediately and for no tangible reason.

The specs we played on, for reference:

Bex Sat 059

12 thoughts on “[GW2] Paws-on at Comic Con

  1. Ah well. I guess I would have taken a screenshot of the attributes of the norn wenches. You decided to cuddle cubs. :)

    Good to hear that you had fun and that despite your aching back! The snow leopard is strong within you. I am afraid it will take a year till we can cuddle it in the release version.

  2. Pretty much the same way I felt when I tried out GW 1 on release. 3 days into it, I logged out and has never felt the urge to log back into it.

    I am sure that there has been loads of improvements between the first two (like how the game felt more like a solo game, than diablo 1 or 2 did ), but I sure am going to be a bit weary before I fall for anything from arenanet again. You and Spinks’ hands on, has put the game on the map for me, but I don’t think i’ll be playing it on release, maybe down the road if reviews are good.

    • I never got into GW1 either, although I was never entirely sure why. This felt quite different to me – I think it’s drawn both from it’s GW heritage and from other MMOs rather than being a direct descendent of Guild Wars 1.

      • I started playing GW a year ago, not too late to start now, began with the Nightfall campaign and bought the rest after 2 weeks of play, so it must be high divisive going by the polar reactions that the game gets.

        Love the setting of Nightfall the best, so glad to have started there, post-searing Ascalon is depressing, but Istan is lush and scenic and has a better flow in storyline. That said I mostly play it solo, so it’s more like a single player game with other people around to buy my stuff than an MMO. Still I enjoy the combat and skills better than most MMOs, it’s always great for a break.

    • Having played a ton of GW1 and also having demoed GW2 at Comic Con I can say the two handle like quite different beasts, and GW2 is definitely not a solo kind of deal (I spotted another player doing the event arbitrary referred to about escorting the caravan and was able to dive right in to help out). This is, of course, outside of the personal story that is instanced, but that is only a part of the gameplay of GW2. You should check out the various systems at play in GW2 and demo videos of others who have tried it out to see for yourself.

      Still, skepticism is healthy and all that; can’t be disappointed that way.

  3. Thanks for these hands-on reviews. Very interesting indeed.

    GW2 is top of my most-anticipated list (well other than EQNext, but that’s years away). From much of what I read about it, it looks as though someone may at last have designed an MMO that’s intended to be played the way I already play MMOs, namely by wandering around and doing whatever you happen across as you happen across it, even if it completely derails whatever it was that you thought you were going to be doing.

  4. Pingback: [GW2] Paws-on at Comic Con « Welcome to Spinksville! | The League of Honor

  5. That sounds like more fun than I was anticipating. I hadn’t particularly been looking forward to GW2 – I played GW1 for a couple of weeks, then quit and never bothered with any of the expansions. Maybe I’ll actually get into this one?

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