Gamers without Remorse
In a surprise post after yesterday’s stress test, ArenaNet announced today that Guild Wars 2 would launch on 8-28-12.
This is sooner than I expected by about a month. The results of the last beta weekend and yesterday’s stress test must have been better than I had thought. With just one more beta weekend before launch, August is a welcome date for many of us waiting for this game. Now we’re just counting down the days until our game goes live!
Like thousands of players around the internet, I engulfed myself into the second beta weekend of Guild Wars 2. This time, I was accompanied by some more friends and my wife. They’ve heard me talking about GW2 for months and heard me raving about the game since the first event. Naturally, they wanted me to shut up, so they decided to try it in order to see what I’m talking about. They all loved it.
I started the weekend playing my Norn Guardian. I ported over to Lion’s Arch and took some time to take in the sights. I ended my Tour of LA by taking a dive off the Skydive.
I went to the Charr area and helped my Wife quest in her zone. I was quite happy with the ability to quest in lower level zones with friends and get decent XP. I was 15 and gained 3 levels before moving on. Not great, but certainly not worthless.
I spent some time on an Elementalist. The feel of the Profession is similar to other “Mages” from other games, but being able to switch to different elements put a nice twist on things. You can literally cast a spell that goes on cooldown, swap elements and hit them with something that synergies with the last spell, etc.
I played a Warrior until 14, and I think I’m in love. I love a good melee class, but the ability to have a viable (and powerful) ranged build was there as well. I was able to kill mobs quickly and effectively, allowing me to level quite fast. I’ll probably be playing this in the next BWE and live.
Some things that still need some love with the game:
All in all, I had a blast. I really can’t see this game launching any earlier than September. We have at least one more beta weekend for bug testing, then I’d think at least a stress test to ensure those bugs were fixed. Give it about a month between and some time to go to press and get boxes to retailers and that puts this somewhere around September.
My only problem now is.. what do I do until then? Play TERA? I could, but as great as the game has been, it just feels like a poor substitute for GW2. And Diablo 3 gets old fast. Guess I’ll figure it out.
Yesterday, reports around the net exploded with a potential release date of the much anticipated Guild Wars 2. According to the Fry’s retail advertisement, the game would be released by June 28th.
But how accurate is this information? If you ask me, it seems a little soon. While the game play and the environments seem polished from the Betas I have played personally, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done with the game engine. As of yesterday, the game engine was still not fully optimized. It still primarily ran on one core of your CPU for both game play and rendering and only a little on the GPU. Crossfire/SLI also not yet available.
These are not small fixes and will likely take more betas before we start to see real improvement. At the rate in which ArenaNet is going with their Beta Weekends, we should have one over Memorial Day Weekend (hopefully an extended weekend) and another just before the supposed release date. This leaves us with only two betas, maybe three if they squeeze one in right before the date (like TERA did with Open Beta). Hardly enough time to flesh out all the content and engine issues.
We have seen what releasing a game before it’s ready can do to a game with so much potential. A good example of this would be Age of Conan. The game was dubbed by Funcom and their fans, “The best MMO Ever created.” It released a whole 8 months ahead of schedule due to demand from it’s fans and criticism that it took too long on development. Within 2 months, the subscription numbers dropped to half, and PVP was largely the only thing that carried that game.
Even if I’m wary of the date, I can’t help but get excited about the prospect of playing this game every day in just over a month.
The Guild Wars 2 beta was everything I had hoped it would be. I played around with the Thief, Engineer, Guardian, Warrior and Ranger. So far, I am really liking my Guardian and Ranger.
The game plays like a traditional MMO (unlike GW1 which was only an MMO when in cities). The questing system was fun and felt dynamic. There were static quests for you to go and do on the map. Just walk within the quest range and the quest activates with instructions. Then there’s the dynamic events that happen from time to time.
The game is free to play after you buy the game. To fund the games servers and development there’s a Cash Shop. They offer things like costumes, the ability to keep the stats from one item and the look of another. There’s also some XP bonus items that provide XP bonuses from killing monsters. This SOUNDS like a big bonus, but when you see how little XP you get from killing things, it’s not a huge deal. You can also trade in gems for gold. This wasn’t active yet, so I don’t know the exchange rate, so this could be game breaking or it could be really expensive. With as much thought as ArenaNet put into the other parts of the game, I imagine they will experiment on this and find a nice balance.
Didn’t get to PVP much (too engrossed in the beginning areas for the 3 races available at start). Leveling was slow for me, but I also spent a lot of time trying out the different classes to see what I want to spend time playing next time around.
All in all, I’m very impressed with the game and I’m torn on where my time will be spent. But without end game raids I’m not sure what I’ll be doing when I hit 80.