Guild Wars 2 Beta: Initial Impressions

Meet Tove, my Norn Ranger. Isn’t she awesome?  She’s pretty awesome. Also, the character creator is addicting, guys, you have no idea. I have sliders to play with, weeeeeee. There could be some more variety in the faces (for those of us who are bad at sliders), but after 7 years of WoW character creation I’m just not going to bitch that much. There’s a height slider (more wee!) and while there’s no body sliders, you do have a selection of frames to choose from, and that’s something.

I didn’t level as high as some of my friends did–the sense of BUT I HAVE TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN AT RELEASE was definitely there, holding me back. Getting Tove to 10 was enough for me to know I wanted to play a ranger. I also poked around with a Guardian and an Elementalist and liked those. Warrior and Thief didn’t instantly appeal, but I also only leveled them to like…2, so.

Combat was fun, although for both Ranger and Elem I did a lot of OMG RUN AROUND IN CIRCLES KITE KITE KITE.  Ranger pets could use with being made of a little less tissue paper.  One really nice thing I noticed, though, was that individual pets within a family mattered.  My snow leopard was not the same as any other cat–each type has their own special ability. I also noticed some slight differences in cat models, although I failed to get a good screen shot. My norn ranger’s cat seemed to have a thicker tail (as befits a snow leopard) than my friend’s human ranger’s jaguar.

We tried PvP. We were bad at it, but we enjoyed being bad. Wait. No, we enjoyed PvP despite being bad. It feels somewhat like old AV, in the sense that it’s a huge map with points you want to capture. Only…with a larger map. And supply routes and caravans to defend and things. And no mounts. Yeah. Don’t get me wrong though, we really DID enjoy ourselves! We were just also terrible.

It was also interesting to note that you don’t see the names of your opponents–they are simply labeled by team color.

This is a Charr. A female Charr, in case you were wondering (and I couldn’t blame you if you were). I had fun making mine resemble a snow leopard. The four ears and two horns are a leeeeettle weird, but actually, I rather like this race.  See MMO people, not all females of every race have to be pretty. I can rock FIERCE and be glad. Although I wish her claws were a little smaller–those just seem impractical!

Awesome random notes: you can only have two professions active at a time, but you can switch without losing progress. You can TURN OFF YOUR SHOULDER GRAPHICS. There’s armor and then there’s town clothes, which are also awesome. Oh, and dying clothes works SO much better in GW2 than it did in RIFT, seeing as how RIFT like to leave swathes of the garment undyed and thus looking awful. Replacing gear also automatically dyes it to match the rest, until you change your dye scheme in the hero panel.  Squee!

The game is fucking pretty. SO fucking pretty. The cities feel like cities. There’s fascinating nooks and crannies, interesting NPCs, and breath taking background views.

RP is a little awkward. For one thing, there’s no official RP server, although Tarnished Coast has been declared the unofficial one, and I did indeed see RP in various cities as I traveled around. There’s no /say though, and the emote range is expansive…so you basically spam the zone with your emotes and talk in the local channel. That’s the most significant issue we have to see addressed. I’d also really like to sit in chairs.

Some people complain about a lack of chat bubbles, but I don’t see the point–I’ve always kept an eye on my chat log. The only time I rely on chat bubbles is in spammy, tavern type events…but, I think I could live without them. Chat bubbles pop up next to players in the party interface, so there’s always that as an option.

But I want to sit in the chairs, damn it!

So. That is my rambling overview of the GW2 beta. I will indeed be playing, and at this point in time there’s vague plans for an RP guild build around a core of my RP friends from Earthen Ring. Look for Tove in future beta events if you want to say hi!

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  1. #1 by Somnar on April 30, 2012 - 10:11 am

    I’ve got to admit that I was extremely impressed with the state of the game so far, like you I didn’t make it very far in the leveling process but ended up trying all of the classes except for the necromancer. My first roll was on a Norn Hunter, and I’m going to have to revisist the hunter class, I think I disliked it because I didn’t have a good grasp on the questing or the mechanics of the game. I got my Elementalist and Warrior both to level 8 and I’m honestly torn on which class to play there are just so much fun.

    Questing isn’t as painful as I find WoW to be now, and the storyboards in the quests didn’t feel as akward as I found SWToR to be. I had noticed the lack of say in the game, and I’d honestly love to see it happen, but I wonder if it’s more of a constraint to keep other realms from being able to spy since all of the races are allied with each other and it’s server versus server in the PVP realm. Hopefully they can limit it to being able to not talk during PVP, but we shall see, and it certainly won’t discourage me from playing.

    All in all, I came away glad that I haven’t pre-ordered MoP.

  2. #2 by Sunnier on April 30, 2012 - 4:13 pm

    Wait, you can turn helm and shoulders off?! I looked everywhere for this but couldn’t find it. Where is it (if you can remember)?

  3. #3 by ILikeBubbles on April 30, 2012 - 4:26 pm

    @Sunnier – If you bring up your hero pane and right click on the helm and shoulders, there’s an “Unhide/Hide” option. :)

  4. #4 by Algorython/Howlinwolf on May 1, 2012 - 4:53 pm

    That can’t be a female of some imaginary race. It doesn’t have two enormous, gravity-defying human-ish breasts.

  5. #5 by Thys on May 2, 2012 - 12:27 am

    I played a female norn ranger as well, lots of fun. They reaaaaaaaaally do need to add a /say though, its going to be a pain for RP otherwise. And more betas D: Only 3 days ftl.
    If Tarnished Coast is where the ER people are hanging out nowadays, I might just skulk around there as well. I left Earthen Ring in favor for Argent Dawn so I can’t say I’m part of that community anymore, but it would be nice to see some RP. I hope they will add a proper RP server for launch though.

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