In addition to the Q and A we had with ArenaNet, those of us at the fanday had access to Aidan (UK Community Manager for NCSoft), Melanie (French Community Manager for NCSoft), Stephane (French Community Manager for ArenaNet) and Matthew Moore (QA Lead for ArenaNet). So while we each only got to answer one question at the Q and A, many of us got other questions answered, and had various conversations with, the representatives over the 2 days. I’d asked the community for questions and they didn’t disappoint. I had a few of my own of course, but here are the ones I’ve had answers to so far.
Firstly a disclaimer – the responses here are paraphrased. I didn’t have my dictaphone out and while the jist is accurate, the exact wording is not.
When do you expect we’ll be able to see the sylvari and asura areas?
This question was answered in the Q and A by Eric Flannum who said:
The different races, like the sylvari and the asura? We basically haven’t talked about what content we’ll have in future beta events. We do plan on expanding the content that’s available in future beta events. What we have to do is to sort of draw a line of revealing too much so that things are spoiled to people alongside trying to get more people testing various areas. We have some kind of a [team with] core testers that have access to the entire game so there’s a lot of testing going on for the game. And these beta events where we invited tons of people are more for stress testing and getting a lot of people on the areas. So we do want to keep things fresh and keep expanding the content that’s available on beta weekends, but at the same time we don’t want to get away too much, so I’m not sure exactly how we’re going to go with that. You may see additional races available, and you may not. I think there are lots of distinctions that have to be made, and we’ll be announcing those before each particular events, all the new things that are going to be available on these events, so you guys will have some warning if the sylvari and the asura become playable in the future.
Will there be an edition of the game (not necessarily prepurchase) that comes with a DVD of the game on it? If not, what advise do you have for those with slow connections or low bandwidth caps?
Aidan told me that the standard prepurchase edition does not come with any sort of DVD. The second of the Collectors Edition boxes (the one you get around launch with the statue and other bits in) does have a DVD, but the first one that will be purchasable on the 10th April does not. Pre-order and post release copies will. As for those with slow connections and low bandwidth, he said he’d had a lot of questions and feedback about that, and he was going to feed it up the chain to see what could be done.
Will the digital deluxe items be offered in the cash shop at a later date?
Stephane told me that this question will be answered at a later date.
Since the fan day though, it’s come out that if you purchase the standard edition of the game you’ll be able to upgrade to the digital deluxe at a later date.
We haven’t seen anything of activities in the demos. Are they still intending to be in the game at launch?
Stephane told me that as the world is alive, sometimes the activities are open and sometimes they’re closed but he wasn’t aware of them being disabled. There will be more information on them later.
Any news about the development of a spectator mode for Structured PvP?
Some of this was covered in the Q and A, but before that had happened I spoke to Matthew about this. He told me they’re looking at how best to approach observer mode – for example doing it live is a problem because of possible cheating. I made the case for downloadable games as a boon for shoutcasting and that was that.
A few other questions that popped up on twitter about my experiences playing…
How did you find the dodge mechanics in play? Easy to get to grips with? @WeekendJedi
The dodge mechanics were good and made sense in terms the combat but weren’t a free win. Some enemy aoe were too big to dodge roll once out of, you had to do it twice and quickly. In terms of double tapping, it was fairly natural. But my judgement on this has to be balanced with the fact I’ve played Guild Wars 2 twice before and was happily dodge rolling at gamescom 2011. Either way, if you remember that you can do it, it’s easy to get used to.
Did you feel any of the “skating” feeling when strafing with your characters? It was especially annoying in older builds. @AlexiousITA
None I noticed, but I wasn’t looking for it. I guess the fact I didn’t notice is good?
How do you feel about dynamic events scaling with many players around? Some have said that it tends to be too easy. @AlexiousITA
How was scaling with 26 people? @DistilledWill
All events seemed to cope well with naturally forming groups of 1-8 players. For the most part we were all fairly close together and more enemies spawned or the fight got tougher appropriately. Some events seem to be designed for more than one person (and aren’t marked as group events) and I think they will scale better upwards than those which are aimed at solo play. It’s fair to say the game isn’t 100% balanced or finalised. The group of 26 players beating on a single mob is an artificial scenario I don’t think will ever happen naturally amongst strangers in the game. As soon as the mob we’d been directed at fell, people headed in different directions looking for new challenges in smaller groups.
That said, it’s undeniable that the first couple of weeks in the game risk feeling like a cakewalk because of the number of new characters in the starter zones. However with ever server’s population divided into 5 and the presence of overflow shards, I think things will calm down very quickly into feeling quite natural. If people want to make groups of 15 or more players and zerg through the maps then that’s fair enough, but I don’t think those same people should complain about the content being easy. If you’re seeking a challenge, I’d suggest go for smaller groups (up to 6 or 7 is plenty) or mobs that are higher level than you. Sidekicking down only does so much as you will still have more utility skills and trait points later in the game.
How did you find the character builder? @WeekendJedi
It had come on a lot since I took the pictures for Tigerfeet last year. Eye colour was in (squee) and there were a lot of new faces and hair styles I hadn’t seen before. Because we only had limited time and this was a temporary server I didn’t focus on making my characters perfect, just removing the bits that would annoy me. My norn looked like a Barbie who’d been taking steroids and taken a trip to the tattoo parlour, my human had a slight resemblance to Emilia Clarke in her role as Daenerys Targaryen, and my charr was a sandy colour. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more options in the works, but what is there is adequate in terms of options by my standards and more realistically executed than many MMOs.
Before the first press beta weekend, I posted an entry outlining what I hoped to find out about Guild Wars 2 then. Some of the points never got addressed or were things I could never hope to know until I got my paws on the game. Now I’ve had a little time with the game some of the questions have been cleared up.
I’m excited to see that the mesmer isn’t an entirely pet centric profession in the manner that rangers and necromancers are. Illusions, clones and phantoms behave as you’d expect them to and will be a force to be reckoned with in PvP, while providing lots of options in PvE. Learning when and how to shatter them will be key to the success of the player, as will making the most of conditions.
I already loved the guild system, but seeing the option to customise ranks opens up even more doors. I hope people can be won over with the idea that not penalising guild hopping and not having a hard lock on guilds is not an awful thing. It’s an exciting time to be a guild leader.
As far as providing PvE-ers with things to do long into the game, dungeons are going to challenge on story mode and be excellently hard on explorable.
Having to wait weeks until I’m back in this version of Tyria. I tried to dodge roll in Guild Wars 1 the other day. Hmm.
Although it’s rather disappointing not to have been able to get any idea of the scale of WvW but with only 26 people on the server, there was little point going there. It’ll have to wait until the first pre purchase beta weekend.
The game is definitely still in a beta state. No surprise there. Norn voices need work as they’re comically butch for females. There may be a potential sticking point with the sizes of inventories of starting characters, as my mesmer had relatively few slots and was getting quite a few different items as drops. In the dungeon we got fewer drops but they were of higher quality (Tilion was nice enough to give me a shiny green staff he found too!). I think if you’re trying to collect everything for crafting you may have inventory issues, but it’s hard to judge on a really low level character and without visiting the bank.
It’d be nice to get some kind of feedback on skills as to which are usable under what situations ie what can be used in PvP and what can’t. And I’d rather like a real world time clock to stop alt tabbing. Oh and the use of modifiers in key binds. Please ArenaNet. Pretty please.
So there we go. That’s my as-honest-as-possible account of my time playing Guild Wars 2 and I hope you enjoyed it.
If you’re still unsure about the game, I’d suggest paying close attention to the prepurchase beta weekend where people can stream and post about the game to their heart’s content. And if you’re not convinced after that, wait for the free trials. Guild Wars 2 will not be a game for everyone, because no game is to everyone’s taste. Except maybe solitaire or tetris.
If you have further questions about the game, feel free to drop them in the comments below or tweet me.