Various and Sundry Things I Learned from the Guild Wars 2 Stress Test Beta

Guild Wars 2I’ve been a holdout on Guild Wars 2 for quite some time. I have yet to herald it as the “next big thing,” nor have I almost pooped myself in anticipation.

I know, I know. This makes me a bad MMO fan, and potentially a bad human being.

However, last week, one of my friends convinced me over lunch to pre-purchase it. Little did I know that I had done so at the perfect time: four days before the 7-hour Stress Test on May 14. After reading a few snippets and watching a few videos, I narrowed my profession choices down to either Necromancer or Mesmer.

With that being the only thing I had even pseudo-decided upon regarding the game, I logged into the Guild Wars 2 stress test beta and learned various and sundry things, a few of which I’ll outline here. In bullet form!

  • I need a new computer something awful. What I thought was bad lag in SWTOR is like watching live ballet to the way Guild Wars 2 manhandles my system. When the next update to the iMac drops this month or next, I’m investing in a 27-incher to Bootcamp Win7.
  • I play a healer. In Guild Wars 2, there are no healers. (For shame, ArenaNet!) Every class, however, gets numerous self and party heals/support skills. That’ll have to do.
  • I am torn between the Necromancer and the Mesmer. Both are fun, and both have their uses in PvP–which is where I’ll be spending most of my time. I’ll probably go Mesmer and use a staff at release, but we’ll see.
  • I hate loading screens. Hate them. The stress test really was at capacity–which is good. I was stuck at 95% on so many loading screens that I finally just called it a day and went for a ride on my bike. That’s what stress tests are for, after all.
  • Dynamic events are not dynamic at all. They’re just about identical to Warhammer Online‘s public quests, and that’s okay. WAR‘s PQs were the second-coolest thing about the game–the first being the phenomenal PvP no one would play with me.
  • You can PvP at max-level in structured PvP from the moment you log in. I don’t know what benefits/rankings/rewards you can reap from this, but I hope it’s worth doing because I can see myself avoiding the leveling game entirely for this.
  • I hate that I didn’t get a chance to try out WvW-style PvP. One of the loading-screen debacles kept me from moving forward too far. It happens. It’s a beta.
  • Charr = Worgen with horns. They even run like Worgen. I’m tempted to be a Charr Necro.
  • There’s a huge emphasis on story, with dialog cutscenes and everything. It’s neat, but I can’t say that I cared about it one iota. Maybe I will at release. The story’s likely really good, but Star Wars: The Old Republic, despite all its faults, has ruined me on other MMOs’ attempts at storytelling.
  • For a game without a subscription cost, it’s going to be worth every penny. Even in its beta form, it was polished enough to warrant paying the box price. I can’t say I’d stick with it at $15 a month, but I don’t have to make that call. From the few hours I played, it’s definitely worth snagging a copy, even if you’re just a tourist. This game is made for folks like us.

By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.

1 comment

  1. I posted on your Facebook, didn’t know if you seen it. But the low framerates is actually due to it being in beta and they just have not optimized for graphic cards yet. Most of the load is being handled by your CPU. My new PC is a quad core at 3.1ghz per core and my FPS still dropped in the teens and even under 10 much of the time. So don’t be getting a new PC because of that just yet.

    Also, I thought the same of the dynamic quests at first as well. They are just the PQs in Warhammer, not that there is anything wrong with that. I LOVE the PQs in WAR. But the more I played them, the more I found the dynamics in them. Completing the same quest, did not just mean doing the same motions as everyone else. And even then, the different actions people were doing had the “quest” end differently at different times. I was at an orchard killing spiders. I could have killed bats instead. Or I could have squished the spider eggs (and then killed spiders). But as I was killing spiders, so were others. Suddenly, the climax of the situation was a giant mama spider that we all had to fight because she was protecting her babies.

    “Sweet” I thought. So we all hunkered in, did what our class did best and knocked her out. Well, I really liked this area, so I kept killing bats, spiders, and whatever else I could in this orchard. Suddenly, we hit climax again (sexy, right?). This time though, it wasn’t a giant spider. Instead everyone was in a race to collect as many apples as they could from the trees and return them to the farmer to make apple pie. You could pick up a tree branch and hit a tree. Either apples or spiders would fall. Sometimes both. You had to kill the spiders before they killed you, which often meant someone else would take your apples while you were fighting, but for some reason, this was more fun, than irritating, because then you could stalk that person and take their apples… And come on, it’s just apples right? Once the race was over, I guess who ever collected the most got something special. Not sure, I was more caught up in how much fun the quests were.

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