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Guild Wars 2 Diary Episode 3: Understanding the World

29. September, 2012Tags: Guild Wars 2 Diary, MMO Blog

Guild Wars 2 Diary Episode 3 In last week’s Guild Wars 2 review diary episode #2, I spoke at length about how well the instanced areas were put together. Comparing the single player portions to something on the scale of Fable, I said that ArenaNet had finally found a way of successfully delivering a decent story in an MMO. I still stand by that completely, the instanced areas are fantastic – the first time round. There are still a few issues though, and that’s partly what we’re going to look at today. We’re also going to take a quick jaunt into the Player Vs Player mode, because when your part in the story gets too much for you, it’s fun to go and smash stuff.

 

Last week we left the game after using a Mesmer’s power to go undercover with Two-blade Pete’s gang. The goal was to perform a few simple tasks to ingrain ourselves and discover exactly what Pete was planning to do with the vast amount of poison he’d stolen from the apothecary.

Instanced Annoyance

If only it was as simple as that though, although these things rarely are. After recording last week’s video, I left the game to polish it up and upload it to our servers. One thing led to another, and I ended up closing the game mid-instance. I came back to find myself in the middle of a stupidly hard battle, although thankfully there were other players there to help me escape. I’d been booted from the instance, my progress unsaved.

It’s understandable, I suppose, although I find it hard to believe that there’s no way around it. An annoyance, but one that’s easily rectified – I went through the whole thing again. Going Undercover involves fighting River Drakes, fighting a deadly monster called Skale (although why the whole gang of level 9 bandits couldn’t manage that is beyond me), finding a plant amongst a group of highly dangerous, highly poisonous Grubs and then a brief conversation in which you must announce your intentions to overthrow the Queen and destroy any position of authority.

Guild Wars 2 Review Screenshot

I got to the Grubs, around which there is a large green circle indicating that the plant is somewhere there. There’s also a great big red area, indicating that that part of the map is out of bounds for this particular instance. During my second play through I ventured into the red area while running away from the Grubs and was met with a message warning me that if I didn’t head back into the instance, I was going to be kicked from it. Then I was kicked from it. If you paused at the full stop separating those two events, that’s about the time I had to react. Yes, I had to do it all again and, no, the experience reward really wasn’t worth it in the end.

Start-up Glitch

While we’re on the topic of minor annoyances, this one is a little annoying. As I write this diary, I tend to be in and out of the game quite frequently. Whether checking video, writing up the latest part of the story while it’s still fresh in my mind or just being distracted by the day to day things every self-respecting writer has to go through (procrastination…), I’ll logout and take five minutes. After my break, I’ll try and run the game from the launcher and I’ll be met with – nothing: a black screen and the “hand” pointer of doom. It’s never on the first attempt at getting in the game, always on the second. If you’ve suffered the evils of having to reload the launcher again (we could start a support group) or if you know a solution, feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

Guild Wars 2 Quests

Moving On…

It felt pretty good to get the details of the poison attack, if only because I’d yet to actually see anything new this week and I’d been so close twice before. My first objective was to return to the law and tell them about the attack. After that, perhaps we can manage something to prevent the mass murder Two-blade Pete has planned.

The Greater Good

You’re then faced with a very difficult decision. Quinn – your old friend and the person you’ve spent much of this quest line defending – is in real danger. Pete thinks Quinn told everybody about the attack on the apothecary and he thinks that’s the reason things didn’t go well. If Pete’s men get to Quinn before you do, he’s dead. But it’s more complicated than that: if you choose to go and rescue Quinn, the poison will be let into the water supply and too many people could die. The decision is yours: your friend or countless victims. Although the game lets you choose (and it leads to two separate missions), there’s only one choice really. I chose to save the city, to stop the water from being poisoned. It’s the sort of decision I’m not used to making in an MMO. You can’t just reload a save if you’re unhappy with what you’ve done – this decision is going to stick.

Guild Wars 2 PvP Screenshot

Going onwards through the story would have meant doing some levelling up, so I decided not to go into the instance right away. Instead I took to the mists - the PvP portion of the game – and tried my hand there.

Player Vs Player

I had wanted to go into World Vs World, but the length of time you have to wait to get in there is ridiculous. Four servers, a couple of thousand people on each and they’re all full. I’m not surprised, I’m not even disappointed – the opposite in fact, I can’t wait to get into a full game – but for today I thought it would make more sense to take a look at a smaller, 16 Vs 16 game. Let me tell you, it’s completely overwhelming. Everybody is levelled up to 80 so that there aren’t any disadvantages of level and then they’re told to get at one another. It’d be fantastic if I knew what I was doing.

Guild Wars 2 map

You’ll see in this week's Guild Wars 2 gameplay video (don’t forget to subscribe after watching!), things start off quite well and then our entire team is made to look pretty terrible. If you know your character well enough – and our enemy obviously did – you can obliterate the enemy without very much effort. It was pretty embarrassing really, and given our similarity in levels I was surprised by just how quickly I ended up dying. I wasn’t the first to drop though, although that was mainly down to me being completely and utterly lost.

Conclusion

This has been a mixed week. First I was given a mission for which I hardly received any experience (killing story-related animals netted like 7exp, no matter how difficult they were). Then I was told I wasn’t a high enough level to continue. Then I was zipped up to level 80 in order to fight other players, and I still managed to be blown away. It’s going to take more time and effort to fully understand the world of Guild Wars 2 – but it’s been a pleasure so far and I’m perfectly willing to stick in a few more hours, if that’s what it’ll take to write weekly reviews of Guild Wars 2.

For the previous episodes of Guild Wars 2 Diary: click here->

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