Last weekend we finally got a chance to take Guild Wars 2 for a spin and in turn talk about it! We love when near-to-release games drop the NDA because we finally are able to get our hands on the game and then discuss it with the community at large. Guild Wars 2 is not like any MMORPG released on the market. Sure you have fireballs, swords, and dragons, but the way you play the game is entirely different. You are no longer competing against other players for quest objectives. No longer are you strung out going from quest hub to quest hub doing a laundry list of inane things.
In Guild Wars 2, you are no longer playing a meta game of quests, you begin living in the world. Arenanet has created a game that moves. No matter where you are, the game could be doing something entirely different each time you visit the same place. With all that being said, let’s take a dive into what we loved about Guild Wars 2.
The game starts off which a special tutorial instance that gets the player off and running. Each race begins their personal story and Guild Wars 2 tosses you into action right away. If you’re curious what the Human Ranger goes through, take a look at our first installment of Rangers in Queensdale that we released earlier in the week. We’ve got a full video of the beginning and end of that experience while we go over some of the basics of GW2.
We won’t go on and explain how skills work, or what to do when your health reaches zero since we’ve covered that already. Instead, lets take a dive into what you see as soon as you finish the tutorial and get into the open world.
We started off at the entrance of our racial capitol facing a vista of a small village. Down the path we immediately see a player with a Telescope icon above his head. These NPCs, once you talk to them, tell you the story and what’s going on in the nearby area. You’ll be shown a map that will slowly reveal key nearby areas where you can go and find objectives to complete for experience and coin.
These areas are represented by yellow Hearts on your map. Hearts are static objectives that you can complete only once similar to Warhammer’s Public Quests and each map has a ton of them. Hearts are a way for Arenanet provide players objectives and goals so that you never feel lost or without something to do. They provide a good source of experience and money. If you’re strictly going to level via PVE, it’ll be necessary to hit all of them up as you progress through a map.
So after talking to the Telescope guy, we notice that our personal story is telling us to assist some of the farmers in the area. We immediately head off and begin our journey. Running down the road we come across a Waypoint. In Guild Wars 2, waypoints are littered throughout the world allowing you to fast travel to them instantly, once you’ve unlocked them, for a small fee.
This is one of the newer conveniences given to us in Guild Wars 2. Finished with an Event and you want to head back to town? Click a waypoint on your map and you’re there. Want to meet up with friends on the other side of the world? Bam, you’re there. Stuck at the bottom of a deep cavern and want to get back to the surface? No problem at all. Waypoints also serve as a graveyard. If you happen to die, you can select any waypoint to be resurrected at. You will never have to summer long travel times anymore.
Also, just to point out, each of the racial cities are connected to each other via Asura Portals. You can quickly meet up with friends if you’re both starting off as different races.
Walking across a bridge, the vista of Queensdale opens before our eyes and we see our first Heart just a short distance away. As we arrived to assist the farmer, we noticed that there are waves of bandits raiding the farm! Our first event! As you’ve already heard, GW2 has dynamic events that spawn throughout the world, and this is one of them. The objective was to defeat waves of bandits. The great thing about the event is that by completing the event we also gain credit with the Heart’s objectives. Once we finished the event, it turns out that we killed two birds with one stone. We collect a ton of experience, kharma, and money and the first leg of our personal story was complete.
It’s hard to really explain how awesome it is to just stumble onto an event and team up with a bunch of other players to complete it. You can get a feel for this in the video above. It really feels like an impromptu raid and the best thing is that they scale to the number of people in the area. One issue we came across is that the scaling is a bit unbalanced. Sometimes there are just too many NPCs and it’s impossible to defend yourself as they swarm around you.
Once you complete the first part of the personal story, it asked us to visit an inn all the way to the northern portion of the main city. One of the biggest complaints we had read was that they were forced to walk all the way back to town, then through a giant city to get to the next leg of the plotline. Remember those Waypoints? Use them! Waypoints are already unlocked in the city. No walking here buddy!
A good pro-tip here would be to stop by a weapon vendor and pick up some additional weapons. Our suggestion is to pick up a Greatsword if your profession allows it. Early on (as you can see in our video), the Greatsword does amazing damage and really helps tackle events faster.
The story elements are all located in their own personal instances. In ours, we had to defeat some nasty bandits that were laid up in the Inn. You are able to complete them solo, but nothing is preventing you from bring your friends with you.
You can watch us run through the next three Hearts and explore the rest of Queensdale in our video above. We fight Drakes, Elementals and some devious spiders. In Part 3 we’ll show you the rest of the initial story quest line and watch an Escort Event gone wrong as a lady in white turns on us in the end!