[GW2] Wandering, Geographically and Mechanically

I really enjoyed my evening with Guild Wars 2: Beta Week Event 2. (In case other people on your RSS feed are talking about GW2 BWE2, that’s what it stands for. You’re welcome. We love you, too.) I was moving through settled territory, so it was not exactly testing the cutting edge, but it was nice to see how some items had changed since BWE1; “Dat Effin’ Shaman” was retooled, although “Dat Effin’ Effigy” was carving a path through the soloers until it reached a concentration of players.

I was not playing with anyone, but I was rarely alone. I participated in at least a dozen events and hearts over the course of a couple of hours, just wandering around the Plains of Ashford. I may start using Wandering as a term for the low-key version of Exploring. Doot dee doo, there’s a piece of the map I haven’t explored, a heart I haven’t filled. Let’s go over there. Oh, there’s a monster type I haven’t killed this weekend, let’s get one of those. Hey, event, why not? I completed perhaps a third of the zone and gained a few levels. I noticed that my effective level changed as I moved about, which could be a bit more visible, but you just operate on the principle that the content will always be relevant-level instead of ROFLstomp.

For those not playing, you may have read that your skills are weapon-based. Change weapons, and you change skills (for your first five). I was playing an elementalist, so I could wield a staff (2h), scepter (main hand), focus (off hand), and/or dagger (either or both hands). That gives me five combinations of fifteen skills, plus another five using a trident underwater. You unlock them through use, so kill X things with weapon Y to open all your options. But wait, there’s more! The elementalist’s special feature is having four elements, so you can swap between them. Each element has its own set of skills, so the elementalist has 80 skills rather than 20. You can see how you can spend an evening just flipping between weapons, unlocking skills, experimenting, and occasionally making intelligent use of the ones you like. Event with 10 people around? Hello AE skills!

There have been quite a few improvements to the game’s functionality, and one or more of us will post about those in the coming days.

: Zubon

16 thoughts on “[GW2] Wandering, Geographically and Mechanically”

  1. My favourite change (and the one that made me bother with all the elementalist unlocking) was the on-screen indicator for cross-profession combos. Now I can easily see how much help my firewall is having or what effects by comboable moves are picking up in other peoples areas. The previous small text of “Combo” wasn’t informative enough, now I know whether it is worth standing here in this other classes AOE while getting smacked on if it is granted a useful effect, or whether I should move away because the effect isn’t so great at the time (remove conditions I’m looking at you.)

  2. BWE2 is awesome so far, with a lot of improvements, but I’m running into some disconcerting problems with progression in Diessa Plateau. It rather explicitly discourages the kind of blissful wandering you’re talking about, because if you go anywhere far past the entrance as a level 15, you’re going to die. Over. And over. And over. I don’t know if Anet intended to balance the game where one event = one level or what, but it’s very strange right now. After filling the hearts I can get to without being ganked, am I supposed to level up in a different zone? Or am I supposed to grind the looping events?

    1. Having the same issue here. I have lvl 23 ele, but don’t see any realistic way to get to lvl 30 so I can see the inside of a dungeon this weekend without finding a grind.

      There isn’t any good way to grind looping events however because you get auto-nerfed down in level to the locale, so it remains difficult no matter what. If you’re not with a group, you’re going to get stomped over and over again until you run out of cash and can’t afford to repair your gear. Very frustrating for semi-solo players. It will encourage guilds because players have no other choice, but then you run into problems with coordinating who is going where with what characters etc.

      Grouping and servers works much better this time, but load times have greatly increased. There’s also something missing now, a sense of urgency perhaps? The dialogues remain stilted and slow-paced with longish pauses as the speaking character switches over and there’s nothing else really driving things forward. They have given us a giant sandbox with acres and acres of sand but only a small seive to try to find the fun which comes in small bits and pieces.

      I think it is a combination of frustrations: you can’t waypoint travel because it’s seriously expensive, you can’t run because it’s seriously far, you can’t go somewhere and stomp some squishies for cash to cure these problems, you can’t switch builds easily to deal with different types of enemies and I don’t remember the last time I saw any decent loot drop from any kinds of enemies anyway.

      Unless you’re zerging the events, it’s actually kind of a drag. It hurts a little to say that, but that’s the truth. They’ve turned GW into a series of small grinds. Grind to open weapon stuff, grind to get cash to repair, to travel, to buy, to upgrade, to craft, etc, etc, etc.

      Seriously, Anet, giving out a bit more reward doesn’t actually cost you anything and would alleviate a lot of the annoyance factor. Nobody takes a vow of poverty at the same time they set out on a journey of great adventure. If we wanted to live on bread and gruel, we’d already be in monastaries.

      “I saved the entire town of XXX and barely got enough copper to buy this lousy t-shirt.”

      1. Are you harvesting crafting materials as you go? Last BWE I wasn’t and found I was seriously strapped for cash. This time round I just take the few seconds to mine somewhere when I see it (and the xp you get from that is comparable to any seconds spend doing anything else) and with the ability to sell to market right away I’ve found myself wandering around with enough cash to supply a siege force or two. I’m even crafting with some of the stuff I’m harvesting. 55copper to warp to lion’s arch, or free if you don’t mind 30 seconds of hopping through the pvp lobby and you can get where you need to go.

        I do agree that events seem a bit sparse for levelling in each area, but being able to get to any of the zones in less than 2 minutes I believe you are meant to mingle in the other races play areas.

        1. Not to mention… where you play seems to have little to no impact on how much XP you get. I just got from 19.5 to 20 capturing and then defending from counterattack a level ~10 area (two events in a chain). You don’t get rewarded for trying to play ‘above your level’, nor penalized for playing below it. Play where it’s fun and reap the rewards!

      2. There are several key points in making money.

        1. Whenever you finish a heart you receive a message in your mailbox which contains copper, be sure to take it.

        2. Make good use of the trading post, gathered material and salvaged crafting material make good money andd you can sell it from anywhere. Just have to stop by the trading post every now and then to pick-up the cash.

        3. As said before make sure you gather, copper made 20-30 per ore and you often get like 3 ores from a node, that’s 60-90 copper in a matter of seconds.

        Just following the three tips above will keep your cash flow at a comfortable level.

        If you you are a hard core trader like me, you can even get filthy rich.

        Regards,

        Lohrian

  3. There are a lot of ways to gain levels. Your personal story, getting skill points, exploring areas completely for all the way-points and points of interest, crafting and gathering. Don’t forget you can always go to other starting areas for the hearts and exploration there. Lion’s Arch exploration will also add some nice XP. WvW gives XP as well. I find new things to do and events I missed just going back to the starting areas, plus lots of hidden mini-bosses and such.

  4. In terms of unlocking weapons, elementalist is by far the worst: ele>warrior>other profs>engineer. Was going to leave an elementalist til last because of that daunting task and then having to do it all again on release, but couldn’t resist rolling one up today. Heading straight to WvW after the tutorial, because I don’t want to spoil too much, which probably isn’t the smarest idea…

  5. Did you like the Elementalist design with the 4 elements?

    It seemed a bit bloated to me. I unlocked a couple of the skills and found them to not be very useful/different.

    1. I think the problem is that among the 20 skills you have access to I would stick largely with 1 element and then maybe use 1 or 2 skills from each of the other elements. So I’m still using over half of the skills total but I definitely feel that for some weapon sets the differences between your main “attack” skills isn’t great enough between the elements.

    2. Yeah, it’s A LOT to unlock. In a multi-year time frame, it will wash out, but in this beta range, it’s excessively painful, especially if you want to unlock the 5th skill for each underwater element.

  6. “Wandering” as you describe it sums up my entire playstyle for the last dozen years. I’ve always called it “pottering”. In my opinion facilitating it is why MMOs exist.

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