The BWE is now over. I thought I’d record some of my thoughts (good and bad) from my play through this weekend. Overall I played ~25 hours split over two characters, a level 14 char Elementalist and a level 21 Norn Guardian.
Note: I’ve been following GW2 for a while now, and while getting hyped up, I still knew what to expect for the most part.. With that, I had high hopes and I think they were almost all met.
Being in Australia the latency wasn’t great. Not horrible, but there was a delay on using all my abilities that made the game feel a little sluggish. I got used to it in PvE, but it might affect PvP a lot more.
Graphical the game looked great, and for a GW player getting to see familiar places was pretty awesome (e.g. Temple of Ages, and the Wizards tower off the coast of the Kessex Hills).
Performance was pretty poor on my system (laptop with a GTX-485), but this is widely reported and being worked on.
I’m still not 100% sold on skills being tied to weapons. Some combinations seem very situational and others seem very balanced with no real need to weapon swap at all (e.g. Greatsword with the Guardian). I wonder if getting rid of the auto-attack for another skill would help even out some of the weapon sets (while moving the auto-attack to an innate ability). The Elementalist however was great with it’s wide selection of skills regardless of weapon.
I was surprised at the personal stories, I was expecting a separate story for each race will little flavour quests based on your character questions, but while levelling with another Norn we had completely different stories through out the BWE (last quest was level 18).
However, the pacing of the personal stories seemed a little odd, it was very hard to keep up in level if you just stayed in your races zones (even if you did ever heart/event/POI/etc). Going to another zone for a while was a simple solution but not really intuitive. I wonder if it would be better if their personal quests made you explore (or at least travel) to other zones?
I enjoyed most hearts and events (the swamp event was pretty damn awesome). Though with many people they turned into zergs, I think 3-6 people was the most enjoyable.
Overflow… Overflow and parties… I’m told it will be fixed by release. I certainly hope so.
In general I thought the UI was OK. It wasn’t very intuitive but it was functional. I would like to see a better skill selection system, an explanation to exactly what the core stats do, and a guild panel that makes sense (I’m still not sure if you invite a character or an account).
Not sold on the Gem store either. Most things in there I didn’t mind, but some of the boosts and things like bag slots irked me a little. Maybe with the Gold → Gem conversion is won’t be that bad.
Crafting was way too complicated, I can see what they were going for, but there’s just too many intermediate items and crafting materials.
That’s it for now, I’m sure I’ll update as more things come to mind.