EDIT: It appears the critter hunt and attempt at the White Bunny was planned by dev. Someone in our group must have been a ringer or had been tipped off to lead us in that direction. :-)
I spent what time I could in the first GW2 Beta Weekend Event. I wasn't alone in being sad when it was time for the event to end. I had a great time overall. Initial server instability was the only large hiccup over the course of the event. By late afternoon on Saturday, things stabilized and I didn’t experience any issues accessing or playing the game beyond minor bugs here and there.
My biggest challenge was deciding which profession I liked most. I want to start the game knowing what I’ll be playing as my main character. However, the versatility of the classes I tried combined with how the play style changes based on the equipped weapon(s) made it a very tough call. What I thought would be near the top of my list, Necromancer, was quickly removed as a candidate. While the Guardian, something I hadn’t even considered until until recently, ended up at the top of the list. Thanks to GBTV's Editor for showing us the way of the Guardian in his personal story videos. Okay, he rarely remembers to dodge out of the fire but we'll forgive him that faux pas. The Elementalist and Mesmer are neck-n-neck for second and no matter how many times I flipped between them, trying this and that, I'm still undecided.
- Too many fun classes to choose from for someone who has a rule of not rolling alts until there's a main at max level. Grrr.
- Narrow selection of abilities based on equipped weapons didn’t feel as restrictive as it may sound. Perhaps we don’t need to have a zillion skills crammed on their accompanying hotbars filling up the screen. I never felt as if I lacked options once I unlocked the 1st 5 skills per weapon.
- I played the game by looking at the actual game. Go figure. Except when learning the new skills, I really didn't have to stare at the hotbar to play and there's no skill resource to manage like mana or rage.
- The world feels alive everywhere I go. The villages and cities feel as though they have a life of their own being played out. I can’t wait to do my personal story for real. I intentionally limited myself to avoid seeing too much of it.
- The playable content is dense. I've only scratched the content from 1 to 10. There's is plenty that will be new to me when the games launches.
- Combat is fast-paced and stylish. There’s a visceral feel to it. But please decrease the animations and particle effects. They are cool with 2 or 3 combatants but a nightmare in small groups and above.
- The game has absolutely stunning art design and graphics. You’d better have a decent graphics card.
- Variety of quests - err, things to do to level your character.
My biggest concern is that the lack of linear quest progression, means little to no introduction to the game mechanics. The first day of playing felt very OVERWHELMING. I actually only enjoyed it “okay” because it was a bit confusing to get going. While I don’t need my hand held to complete content, GW2 introduces new mechanics that aren’t explained anywhere as far as I could tell.
This is fine if GW2 is only targeting seasoned players who read blogs, research games on the internet, use wikis and read forums. For those who don’t, I think the first few hours will feel a bit daunting and not much fun. If WOW’s on rails theme park style loses most of their trial players before level 10, something they quoted a long time ago, I can’t imagine new gamers hanging until level 10 in GW2. My son, also a seasoned player and raider, felt much the same. He ended the weekend with a less than favorable impression.
ON UNTIL DAWN
All is not lost, however. GW2 could add introductory elements into the personal story line and make it something veteran players can elect to skip. I’d really encourage the personal story starting with more basic mechanics BEFORE the story elements. Story ISN'T everything. Game mechanics are core elements that impact a player's gaming experience. Other than being confused the first several levels, I had a blast and was reluctant to leave. In fact, I stayed until Crystal Desert went offline at 3:04 AM ET.
THE WHITE BUNNY MUST DIE!
I followed a crowd of players gathered in Lion’s Arch. They were determined to make their own BWE closure event. Someone decided we should go raze Wayfarer Foothills in Hoelbrak and off we went. No animal was safe between there and our target, the Legendary White Bunny. As we cavorted across the landscape we did a Nessingwary on all living creatures in targeting distance.
It was a harrowing run for the players below level 10. We resurrected our fallen brethren as we went. Then it was all out war, lag and hilarity zerging the White Bunny. Since the mobs scale to the combatants in GW2, killing even level 8 mobs proved treacherous when multiple players were engaged. The poor bunny didn’t go down fast but she sure as hell went down. Good times. I’m looking forward to trying out the crafting professions during the next event.
A big MWAH to all the Casualties of War guild members
I ran into in game and on Mumble.