ArenaNet announced for the second Beta Weekend Event, several features that they have made to the game since the last time players entered the world of Tyria.
One of the items that stands out to me is Improved Overflow Servers. In the first Beta Weekend Event, there were significant problems getting together with friends. According to ArenaNet, they’ve implemented a new party UI that notifies you when party members are in different overflow worlds. This is a great start, doesn’t fully rectify the problem of having people separated to begin with.
However, the folks over at ArenaNet have taken it a step further, by also allowing party members the ability to fast travel to overflow worlds where other party members are located. I’m extremely happy to see ArenaNet address the issue while the game is in beta, as the social aspect is the main reason a lot of gamers enjoy MMORPG’s.
In the first Beta Weekend Event, grouping together and zoning into the same location often times didn’t get people together. It appeared that the game just didn’t have the code in place to care about getting players together with their groupmates. It appears though, that ArenaNet has added this to the game, as they indicated that it is now easier to keep party members together when moving between maps.
These changes were practically required for the game. As I touched on earlier, the social aspect is why a lot of us enjoy this particular genre. While I certainly don’t feel that the exclusion of these features would have been a death sentence for the game, I’m extremely happy to have them around to help facilitate improved group play.
Another item that stands out to me from the list of added features is the New Key-Binding Feature. The main gripe from the original system stems from a lack of modifier keys, meaning that there was no way to map Shift-1, Alt-1, or Ctrl-1 to 3 different abilities. ArenaNet admits that this was one of the most requested features, and thankfully they have listened to the masses.
It’s no secret that Guild Wars 2 is a PvP-centric game, and as such, people are going to be even more finicky over this game’s controls than they normally are. In fact, I heard several players blaming the controls for their own poor performance in Conquest maps. Regardless of whether or not that was the cause, it’s evident that this game requires characters to be on the move and aware during combat. However, that is difficult if a player is unable to keep their hands on their movement keys.
I have fairly decent sized hands, but my hands are not large enough to reach from the WASD movement keys all the way over to the 7, 8, 9, and 0 keys to activate some skills, unless I move my hand off the movement keys. I did re-bind some skills, but there just weren’t enough easy to reach buttons on the left side of my keyboard. Not only did I find this reaching off of my movement keys to be cumbersome and uncomfortable while playing, I also felt like it took away from my skills as a player.
Overall, the list of features added to the game from Beta Weekend 1 to 2 is extremely impressive. While each of the changes made may not necessarily turn out to be improvements in the eyes of all the players, ArenaNet’s willingness to continually add items to the game as they step closer to launch is laudable, and for that, I’m extremely grateful.