This post is a continuation from Gamescom 2011: Saturday’s dash of culture. You may also wish to read Gamescom 2011: Friday and the thief.
To Sunday then and our last day in Cologne. Our flights weren’t until early evening so we all left our hotel and headed back to gamescom to tidy up any loose ends and pass the time. On Friday I’d gotten hands on time with Guild Wars 2 and the thief and had a few questions that wanted answering. Somnium and Jareth wanted to watch the final of the DotA 2 competition and others wanted to play various other games so we all split up.
Heading to the NCSoft stand with Zeflakey, our first port of call was to find Katya and Zerk who were queuing up to have a go on the game. After saying hello and having a quick chat I went looking for Ree, which wasn’t hard as she was only a few paces behind us. I introduced myself and started by asking her about Aleem’s Penance and who Aleem was.
“You know I’m not sure, but you’re right the name does sound familiar.” She paused. “I really don’t know if I can answer that one. Eric Flannum named the areas in Sparkfly Fen.” Smiling she added, “our fans come up with the best questions. One of them asked me earlier how many fingers asura have. There’s 4 on the drawing up there but I thought there were only 3 in game.” Turns out there are only 3 fingers on the in game models. And male asura wear the cutest boxers with little carrots on them.
I asked her why dungeons were being limited to 5 players and started explaining why that was tough as a guild leader wanting to take my guild through dungeons. Ree shook her head. “Don’t do dungeons,” she replied. “Do the big world bosses instead. Some of them take 4 to 5 dynamic events to be completed before they’ll spawn and having numbers will help you a lot. The reason we don’t allow more than 5 in a dungeon is because any more than that and the performance of the game starts to suffer with all the animations. But in the open world we deal with it slightly differently and can cope with the numbers.” That’s laid to rest any possibility of scaling dungeons, but I am quite disappointed with dynamic events (even epic ones) being the only thing to do for large parties of near max level players. With a finite number of bosses I fear the options will get old fast. Enough of that for now though, I have a piece on guilds in Guild Wars 2 coming up in the next few weeks.
Finally I asked her why there’s so much time between the Guild Wars 2 novels being released in the US and Europe. “We don’t have anything to do with that. Its all the publisher. I send them the manuscript and in a few weeks it appears in the book store – we don’t have any more control over it than that. Maybe you can preorder?” she asked.
“Its still a 3-5 week wait for it to be shipped. The first book I was able to buy electronically on Amazon but for the second book they’d blocked UK buyers from the US store.” Ree looked shocked at my reply. “In the end I did order it to be shipped from the States, but it meant I pretty much had to stay off all fansites in the meantime.”
She looked apologetic. “Well I can’t promise anything, like I said its out of my hands but I can bring it up at the next meeting.” I thanked her for her effort on this and the rest of the world she’s helping to make, wished her a good convention and safe trip home.
Entry for the case modding competition
Zeflakey and I wandered around for a while before meeting up with the others for lunch, after which we went to check out the case modding competition. There were some amazing entries; a 1u chassis that had been burnt that housed a computer, a pc that had water pouring over it, buildings and a stunning perspex case that had been etched all over. Jareth had a go on Sonic Generations which actually looks like a surprisingly good game (you can toggle 3d and 2d views), and a few of the others played Zombies Must Die, a party game where players must make their way out of the town while mowing down zombies as best as possible. Check it out – its a perfect game for when you have mates over.
Minecraft house on the fridge
Sadly that was our time up at gamescom. On the way out we stopped by one of the merchandise stalls to get some t-shirts & other bits and bobs. Somnium and I picked up the last pack of Minecraft fridge magnets from the stall. There was one more foam pick axe there which a lady next to us wanted to buy, but the merchant wouldn’t sell, saying they were going to be auctioning off later in the day. She was distraught at the news saying she really wanted to get the pick axe so she could get it signed by Simon and Lewis of the Yogscast who were at the convention. We’d looked for them lots and hadn’t found them, or gotten one of the cardboard hats that were being given out. Thinking she had an impossible task ahead of us we headed to the airport.
As we were going through border control to get on the airport, Somnium tapped me on the arm and whispered to me, “Hun, you see those guys in front of us, isn’t that Simon and Lewis?” I looked and sure enough it was. After following them through passport control we saw that yup they were getting on the same flight as us.
I managed to control myself until we got to passport control in the UK when someone in the party noticed that Lewis had his bag open. The inner fangurl couldn’t be contained any longer and blurted out “Um Lewis your bag is open.” Creepy stalker or excited fan? There’s a fine line. Maybe I crossed it but we all have our heroes and I’ll probably never get another chance to meet them.
So the verdict of the entire trip? Gamescom may have gotten too big to be enjoyable. The length of the queues for the big games is too much for anyone to consider going in unless you have all week or that is the only thing you want to play. As for Guild Wars 2 itself, I’m very impressed with the improvements in PvE, pleasantly surprised at how fluid the thief is compared to my less than awesome experience with the ranger last year.
My concerns for the game have mostly boiled down to the lack of observer mode or replays for pvp, what guilds are going to do as a group and what will the ranger be like once all the tinkering is done.
Bring on Eurogamer Expo!