This is my Blog, on it I simply write stuff that I feel like writing about. You'll find it heavily slanted towards tech, games, entertainment and the like. I write about other stuff too, and somethings I write about things. I also do photography, the link is on your right.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Guild Wars 2: First Impressions

So I just picked up Guild Wars 2 the other day, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on my experiences so far.  I’m doing this partly because I’m really digging this game, partly because I need to generate some content, and partly because I’m secretly hoping that someone from a big website happens across my blog and wants to hire me to scream barely coherent profanity at the internet.  Let’s get this abomination of a blog entry started shall we?

First up, I would have really preferred to buy this game, like I do all my games, via digital download.  I went to the site to buy it and lo and behold, they are sold out…of digital downloads.  Evidently they had temporarily stop generating CD keys as their servers were getting slammed with people trying to buy the game.   My only hope was to find a physical copy, which due to my keen insight, I managed to pick up at the first place I stopped.  Who would think to go to a drug store to buy a PC game? Me I guess.  I can’t even recall the last time I used this archaic method to buy a game, in fact, it’s been so long that my DVD-rom has been broken for well over a year, and I haven’t bothered to replace it, I never have any use for it.  So, after installing my new DVD-rom, I set about installing the game and I’m proud to report that installing and setting up an account went off without a hitch.

So now you might be wondering WTF is a Guild Wars 2?  Whelp, it’s a brand spanking new MMMMOORRPGGGggggggg……..that is Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing game.  There a few things that set this apart from others like WoW and what have you.  This biggest one is that it is completely free to play.  No micro-payments or subscription fees.  EFF AR E E, free.

After running the game for the first time, there was a 2 gig patch to download, which is not unusual for this kind of game.  Thankfully it went extremely fast.  Once that was done, you log on and you have to choose a server.  One thing I was disappointed to find out was that once you choose a server, you are stuck on it. You can’t make characters on a new server unless you pay a fee of some kind.  What the hell is the point of that?  After that, you get to make a character.  You have a choice between five different races, and eight classes.  Now, for some reason I’ve always enjoyed making a seemingly conflicted character, a “good” race with an “evil” class or vice versa.  So I decided to go with some sort of leafy plant person, who was a necromancer, and that’s when things started to go south on me.

As someone who is a veteran of countless MMORPG’s over the years, I think I have a pretty good handle on what to expect, but for some reason my first experience with this one was an extremely jarring one.  First off, the starting zone for the leafy people felt extremely alien and hard to navigate.  Secondly, my necromancer played and felt nothing like any necromancer in any other game I’ve played.  Instead of a spell caster with a mastery of the power over death, casting debilitating spells from afar while their minion attacks, I found myself smack in the middle of the melee.  Yes, necros in this game are pretty much high damage melee with light armour.  Squishy yet deadly.   The combat, although quite different from traditional MMO’s, is actually quite similar to The Secret World.  There is a heavy emphasis on fast paced, action oriented combat.  Just not quite so punishing as unforgiving as TSW.

I decided to take a step back and start from scratch after that initial foray.  I went back to the drawing board and made a human guardian class.  Basically a dude in armour with an emphasis on defensive combat.  Now partly because I knew what to expect, and having a more traditional class and starting area, I could really focus on enjoying the game.  The first thing that really struck me is that this game is truly drop dead gorgeous, and the developers know it.  You get experience points for just about everything in this game: completing quest, killing monsters, helping NPC’s, collecting trade materials, crafting items, tying your shoes correctly, tying your shoes incorrectly, and even from just wandering around and seeing the sights.  I went from level six to level seven simply by wandering around the starting city looking at all the beautiful scenery.

There’s really only one quest, and it spans the whole game.  It’s the story of your character, which is based off some questions the game asks you when you initially make him.  This story will change over time depending on the decisions you make as you play the game, so no two people playing the game will have the same story.  For example, in my story, I had to deicide whether to save countless people from being poisoned, or save my best friend from being carved up by a ruthless gang leader.  Depending on what you decide, the story changes.

As for the rest of the game, there is no quest log, or npc’s asking you to kill 35 sewer rats, or collect 18 lumps of moose poo.  Everything in the game just kind of happens as you wander around.  You’ll come across a caravan making it’s way from one town to another, and you can travel with it, protecting it from various perils.  When you get to your destination, you will get XP, money, and karma.  You may even discover that the village you just showed up at is under attack by rabid weasels or what have you.  Now you are in another event, protect the town.  That’s how the game plays out, it flows along very organically and really feels like you are just an adventurer wandering the world and….well adventuring.

So far, my noble hero guy is only level 11 out of a possible 85 levels, so I haven’t really seen enough to comment on grouping, character advancement, pvp, or high level content, but what I have seen so far has impressed me greatly.  I may make a second impression post at some point, maybe I won’t, I don’t know, where am I?  Who are you people?!  Get off my lawn!

Now if you will excuse me, I have some rabid, zombie, robot, giant, killer weasels to hunt down and defeat with my +4 dagger of nerdiness.  HUZZAH!


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