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[GW2] Beta Weekend DebriefFollow

#1 May 03 2012 at 5:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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You people are making me sad. y u no make threads about GW2 beta weekend? Are no Alla peeps playing it? The beta forums are closed and I have no GW2 stuff to read. It's almost like you guys aren't revolving your lives around me at all.

So who did the beta? What did you think?

I shall start with my official review, which I posted in my guild forums, in order of my personal hierarchy of the most important MMO features:

Hairstyles and outfits: frankly, I was disappointed in the hair. None of the styles were great. And no barber shop? I cannot work under these conditions. However, the outfits are nice, although some tend too far into skimpy. Best part: they can be dyed at any time, from anywhere, for free.


World immersion: some people don't care about the RPG aspect, but for me it's really important. The setting has to have a certain almost indefinable pull, and I have to care about my character. This is why I left Rift even though I like the gameplay mechanics, and why I keep coming back to WoW even though I'm sick of it. The winning game is the one that can actually make me feel something when I give Sara Ladimore her father's ring, or Sylvanas her necklace. Okay, so maybe it's not indefinable, maybe it just needs to involve jewelry. Either way, GW2 is not there yet, and it's what I think they need to work on the most, but I can see great potential.


Combat: Very movement based, which I love. I am not sure I found any spells that required me to stand still while casting them. Dodging is taking some getting used to for me.

My favorite feature: of the classes I played, only 2 had a resource pool of any kind. And neither was a caster. No mana! Everything is cooldown based instead. I found this fun and not as unchallenging as you'd think.

You have a limited number of abilities on your toolbar at any given time, and these are dependent on what weapon you have equipped. I like this a lot, and not just because I'm getting too old for the time-honored Remember The Uses, Placement, and Bindings of Forty Different Things system. Having your weapon choice be this meaningful is a fun twist.

The pace of combat is good and a lot of the animations are fun. Despite all this talk of cross-profession combos, I don't think I ever saw one actually happen.


General Gameplay: I did not do any PVP or dungeons, but the game has some nice features that make leveling and running around solo fun, and that help a lot with replayability. Questing is made more interesting by the personal story, which is your own questline, more similar to a single player RPG than an MMO. This adds some variety to the the Kill X and Gather Y hamster wheel.

The lack of dedicated quest hubs encourages exploration, which is nice.

Dynamic events happen often and there's no need to party/group up/get organized, you all just pile in there and everyone gets xp and rewards according to their contribution. Sometimes the dynamic events merge into one another, which can result in total chaos and a lot of fun.


Classes. No. Wait. Professions:

My goal for the beta weekend was to try different classes and settle on one to be my main at release. I was not successful. I still can't decide.

Mesmer - This is the first class I'll play the next BWE. I love the idea of it, and that it's unlike the other classes I've played in other games. I had fun trying it out but it seemed complicated and frankly, I feared I was too bad to play it effectively. We shall see.

Guardian - Can breathe fire. 'Nuff said.

Elementalist - Fun idea, essentially a hybrid mage who can switch elements (kind of like stances) to suit the needs of the situation, be they single target, AOE, control, or defense. But damage/survivability ratios seemed like they needed tweaking.

Warrior, Thief, and Ranger - I tried all three bow-wielding classes because Skyrim got me into archers (insert your arrow-to-the-knee joke here, if you dare). The archery in general seemed clunky. None of these classes particularly excited me. The ranger was least fun. The thief was most. But none of them seemed to be doing anything all that different from other warriors, thieves, or rangers that I've met in other games.

Engineer and Necromancer - Did not try.


Review in a nutshell:
I really enjoyed this game. It did not play nice with my graphics card, which concerns me. But I will definitely play at release and during BWE's prior to that.



edited typos

Edited, May 3rd 2012 7:58am by teacake
#2 May 03 2012 at 7:03 AM Rating: Good
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I didn't even know there was a beta weekend until Monday, lol. I'm guessing it was only for pre-orders? Would have loved to try it out, the game looks extremely fun.

I thought it looked great when they announced it, but I didn't really look into it yesterday, when I started to read everything on the website. I still have like seven tabs open to dev and lore articles, lol.

My favorite part is that your race, profession, and weapon set all contribute to give you a different set of abilities, so you and another of <insert class> can actually be truly distinct. I also like that they've implemented ability and cross-profession interactions, destroying the ability to create cookie-cutter builds. There are just way too many options to be picking out just one or four as the ideal sets.

Because abilities can interact with one another, or with the environment itself, you can't just say "This is the best for situations like Y". Yeah, maybe skill Z has the best damage, but will it have the best damage when you pair another skill with a Fire AoE? Maybe skill A has high damage, but an unfortunately small area. Doesn't matter if a Warrior with a Greatsword can spin in the center and spread it out, so it hits all the mobs. Etc.

So, yeah, happy about that.

I also like the promise of an actually dynamic world--I hope they pull it off. It would be nice to actually PUSH BACK enemy armies, for once. Having a distinct personal story will be nice too--it's one of my favorite aspects of TOR.

Plus, the game is gorgeous in all the images I've seen. Add a distinct lack of subscription fee, making it no sacrifice to play it alongside TOR (which I have no intention of quitting until I've played all the classes through).

Sandbox style dungeons sound like a lot of fun.

Don't have the money to pre-order, or I'd be in the beta.
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#3 May 03 2012 at 8:00 AM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I didn't even know there was a beta weekend until Monday, lol. I'm guessing it was only for pre-orders?


Pre-purchase, so yeah, you have to spend the whole shebang up front. But since there's no subscription I decided it was worth the risk, since it seemed likely I'd play it for enough months to make it worthwhile. I'm canceling my WoW sub again when it expires next month anyway. Haven't logged in in weeks.

idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I also like that they've implemented ability and cross-profession interactions, destroying the ability to create cookie-cutter builds. There are just way too many options to be picking out just one or four as the ideal sets.


Another thing I think will help a lot with cookie cutters is that there is no tank/healer/DPS trinity, so nobody can expect you to be maxed out for pure DPS all the time, or to have the One True Tanking Build. I didn't get high enough level for traits to have a big impact, but it seems to me that how you spend your points is going to be less important than knowing your class.

Also you can have two active weapon sets that you can swap between while in combat, which of course also changes your skills. Each weapon generally has its own situational use - AOE, defensive, etc. - so you have flexibility on how you play even within the same fight.

idiggory, King of Bards wrote:

I also like the promise of an actually dynamic world--I hope they pull it off. It would be nice to actually PUSH BACK enemy armies, for once.


Dynamic events will remind you of Rift a bit, but with more variety. DE's are a more active part of the world than they are in Rift as well - one may be an escort, and while you're moving across the map you may run into another to kill a huge rampaging boss, so they interact with one another.

I didn't see any armies to push back. But I hear great things about the WvWvW PVP. I haven't had a chance to try it yet. From the description, it sounds kind of like a massive Tol Barad on steroids that goes on for weeks.
#4 May 03 2012 at 8:21 AM Rating: Good
I'm playing Tera atm which is pretty fun but I'm sure I'll pick up GW2 in a couple months.
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#5 May 03 2012 at 9:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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I pre-ordered the CE so I jumped into the last beta weekend. Here's my random thoughts:

Huge world, amazing cities, fun classes and gameplay. The potential world immersion is there but a lot of the dialogue is cheesy and weak. A lot, but not all. I didn't level any characters up too high as I'd prefer to just sample the various classes so the highest level reached was 5. Favorite race is the Norn but didn't mind the humans so much (human city is stunning).

I didn't think I'd like the Charr but decided to try an Engineer out. Gotta say, the Charr impressed me as did the Engineer class. If the starting area wasn't buggy (kept folks from proceeding to the bigger world) when I was playing the Charr, I would have probably ignored the rest of the classes/races for the rest of the weekend. Looking forward to when I can try the Asura and Sylvarii (maybe when the game is released).

Combat is a blast - keep moving or die (somewhat like a lot of raid boss fights in other mmos). I'm primarily a melee player but I did enjoy trying out ranger and thief. I probably died most playing my warrior but that was before I understood the need for movement and blocking. My thief kicked serious butt. Ranger was decent but again, I didn't level any one class up past five so I'll be sure to focus on one class to level up a bit further during the next beta weekend.

The dynamic events were pretty cool. Some of it kind of reminded me of moments in the Dragon Age games, which is not a bad thing at all. I didn't participate in any PVP action but will next beta weekend. Still not sure which class I'll end up playing the most but pretty much a toss up between Warrior and Guardian.

I was impressed with the organic nature of questing. This is a game for exploring enthusiasts. You don't have to be everyone's errand boy like in WoW or Rift. I'm currently playing Rift again and while it is a fun game, I get exhausted by all the quest givers, granted they aren't mandatory. I do quests to experience some of the story of the game world so I've been hesitant to just blow off the quests and do nothing but Rift's dynamic events instead. Anyhoo, it's not an issue in GW2.

There is a bit of customization (body height and build included) but yeah, not crazy about all the hair/beard style choices.

While I get what they are going for with not having the holy trinity requirement, I think I miss the healer role. Maybe you can be one with the right build, I'm not sure yet.

Overall, it's a huge improvement and new direction from the first Guild Wars game. No subscription for such a cool game is a huge plus, too.



Edited, May 3rd 2012 7:57pm by Snorre
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#6 May 03 2012 at 11:22 AM Rating: Good
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If you read their article on their trinity, they say they found that what healers generally liked was the feeling of being the savior for their group. But healing is a reactive strategy--it means waiting for things to go wrong, which is why that role is now support.

You'll be able to spec your character primarily to help your party with things like damage shields, snares, etc. if that's what you want. You can get some group heals and such, but those are your oh-sh*t buttons, not the standard. Your goal as support is to: A. keep your group from taking damage, if possible, N. minimize whatever damage they do take, and/or C. help your group take down the enemy faster.

I imagine anyone who wants to take on a full support role will be focusing on support abilities, with some control thrown in.

I really like the idea. It kinda makes Bards the new White Mages. And I remember some awesome parties in FFXI where we didn't need a healer at all, because Bards made the other 5 characters so powerful (and the enemies so much weaker). So I definitely see where the devs are coming from.
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#7 May 03 2012 at 12:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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Snorre wrote:

I was impressed with is the organic nature of questing. This is a game for exploring enthusiasts.


Seconded.

Regarding the healing discussion, something I enjoy a lot is that it is not possible to target a friendly player and cast a spell on them. There's no such thing as a targeted heal, buff, or other friendly spell (except to self). So while you can build a support character to do AOE heals/buffs/protection if that's your thing, you will never ever have to spend another play session staring at bars.

It seems to me from my brief experience though that everyone is sort of a hybrid. There's no such thing as aggro, NPCs can hit anyone at any time. So combat sort of happens in waves of people using their damage abilities, their support abilities, running away and letting someone else take the heat, in sync with one another. I imagine an organized party could actually time cooldowns to choreograph this, but even when you're with strangers in a dynamic event it sort of happens naturally.

Also anyone can rez anyone at any time, and that combined with no ninja-ing or kill stealing (everyone gets xp from any fight they contribute to) does make for a very cooperative environment.



Edited, May 3rd 2012 3:37pm by teacake
#8 May 03 2012 at 1:33 PM Rating: Excellent
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Absolutely agree (and I should have mentioned) about the cooperative environment. I think it's one of the biggest attractions of the game for me.
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'Lo, there do I see, the line of my people, back to the beginning, 'lo do they call to me, they bid me take my place among them, in the halls of Valhalla, where the brave...may live...forever.

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#9 May 03 2012 at 3:28 PM Rating: Decent
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I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the next beta weekend. My only major complaint was that Fraps did not like the GW2 client at all, but I did manage to get some footage. If you've found yourself wondering how the crafting system works, you can check out my latest youtube creation...

Complete GW2 Crafting Guide for Beginners
#10 May 03 2012 at 3:33 PM Rating: Good
Played it, and I have to say, a melee mesmer is hella fun.

Things I liked:
- Combat was a lot of fun. You had to pay attention and make sure you blocked or dodged at the right times.
- PvP was leagues better than WoW PvP, I found. It was almost impossible to "burst" someone down. You had to make sure that you were hitting them with your abilities, and actively avoiding theirs. There was a lot going on at once, and I liked that.
- WvWvW was massive, and provided tangible rewards.
- Character creation was awesome and way more in depth than previous MMOs I've played.
- The questing system was awesome. One of my favorite parts was when centaurs attacked a fort. We were supposed to defend it, and we failed. Centaurs then occupied that fort, and a new mission that popped up shortly was to re-take that fort. After we succeeded, a new mission to pursue the centaurs and attack their base popped up. It all felt very organic, and you level qucikly enough to pass them before you have to repeat.

Things I didn't like:
- WvWvW tended to boil down into an Alterac Valley-style "Let's all get into a giant horde and go from castle to castle, mindlessly tearing stuff down." I don't know how they would really do it any other way, but I'll probably stick to smaller, structured PvP.
- The game was quiet. There were people everywhere, of course, but I don't know that I ever really said a word to them. The chat system needed work, which was probably the cause (no text bubbles? No /say?), so that can easily be fixed by launch.
- The lag was intense at times, but that's to be expected for the first beta weekend. Not something I'd worry about.

All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I really look forward to it come launch (hell, even just the next beta weekend).

ALSO. The world bosses are absolutely epic. Here's my favorite, and the story leading up to it (Minor zone spoilers, I guess, but HOLY SH*T):

The story goes that this swamp is the place where the very last prayer ever granted by the gods happened. There was a temple built there (now sunken and in ruins), and adventurers used to go there to travel to the Underworld and do adventure-y crap. Well, so much travel between worlds in an already mystic location weakened the barrier between the worlds enough that demons from the Underworld are now able to open portals at the swamp. When you first arrive, there's an archeologist studying the area, and asks for your help in closing some portals and killing some demons. Standard stuff. You do that, collect your reward, continue on.

Later on, however, you get a message that the "swamp has awakened" or something, and more portals are opening up, outside the swamp. It's an invasion. So groups of players go to various locations, shutting down the portals that have opened up and killing the demons that are terrorizing the townsfolk. Once that's done, everyone heads back to the swamp to shut down some more portals that have opened up there and stopping the invasion.

Once the last of the portals are closed, it seems like everything's done. Until the ground starts shaking.

This monstrosity lurches out of the ground, and it was awesome. Players were literally typing "Oh sh*t" and "Holy crap!" all around me. This felt like the final boss of some other video game, it was so epic. Anyways, the fight was pretty intense. The boss dropped AoEs everywhere, and you had to dodge roll out of them before you got nailed. Every once in a while, the boss's face would come down and the melee would be able to reach it (by the way, all characters have ranged equipment open to them).

Eventually the boss died, and we got loot. But that was seriously the highlight of the 30+ hours I crammed into that weekend.


If you can see in that screenshot, I was level 17 when this happened. This is not end-game material. This kind of stuff is apparently happening all over the place.

Edited, May 3rd 2012 7:33pm by IDrownFish
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#11 May 03 2012 at 3:38 PM Rating: Good
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teacake wrote:
You people are making me sad. y u no make threads about GW2 beta weekend? Are no Alla peeps playing it? The beta forums are closed and I have no GW2 stuff to read. It's almost like you guys aren't revolving your lives around me at all.

So who did the beta? What did you think?

I shall start with my official review, which I posted in my guild forums, in order of my personal hierarchy of the most important MMO features:

Hairstyles and outfits: frankly, I was disappointed in the hair. None of the styles were great. And no barber shop? I cannot work under these conditions. However, the outfits are nice, although some tend too far into skimpy. Best part: they can be dyed at any time, from anywhere, for free.


World immersion: some people don't care about the RPG aspect, but for me it's really important. The setting has to have a certain almost indefinable pull, and I have to care about my character. This is why I left Rift even though I like the gameplay mechanics, and why I keep coming back to WoW even though I'm sick of it. The winning game is the one that can actually make me feel something when I give Sara Ladimore her father's ring, or Sylvanas her necklace. Okay, so maybe it's not indefinable, maybe it just needs to involve jewelry. Either way, GW2 is not there yet, and it's what I think they need to work on the most, but I can see great potential.


Combat: Very movement based, which I love. I am not sure I found any spells that required me to stand still while casting them. Dodging is taking some getting used to for me.

My favorite feature: of the classes I played, only 2 had a resource pool of any kind. And neither was a caster. No mana! Everything is cooldown based instead. I found this fun and not as unchallenging as you'd think.

You have a limited number of abilities on your toolbar at any given time, and these are dependent on what weapon you have equipped. I like this a lot, and not just because I'm getting too old for the time-honored Remember The Uses, Placement, and Bindings of Forty Different Things system. Having your weapon choice be this meaningful is a fun twist.

The pace of combat is good and a lot of the animations are fun. Despite all this talk of cross-profession combos, I don't think I ever saw one actually happen.


General Gameplay: I did not do any PVP or dungeons, but the game has some nice features that make leveling and running around solo fun, and that help a lot with replayability. Questing is made more interesting by the personal story, which is your own questline, more similar to a single player RPG than an MMO. This adds some variety to the the Kill X and Gather Y hamster wheel.

The lack of dedicated quest hubs encourages exploration, which is nice.

Dynamic events happen often and there's no need to party/group up/get organized, you all just pile in there and everyone gets xp and rewards according to their contribution. Sometimes the dynamic events merge into one another, which can result in total chaos and a lot of fun.


Classes. No. Wait. Professions:

My goal for the beta weekend was to try different classes and settle on one to be my main at release. I was not successful. I still can't decide.

Mesmer - This is the first class I'll play the next BWE. I love the idea of it, and that it's unlike the other classes I've played in other games. I had fun trying it out but it seemed complicated and frankly, I feared I was too bad to play it effectively. We shall see.

Guardian - Can breathe fire. 'Nuff said.

Elementalist - Fun idea, essentially a hybrid mage who can switch elements (kind of like stances) to suit the needs of the situation, be they single target, AOE, control, or defense. But damage/survivability ratios seemed like they needed tweaking.

Warrior, Thief, and Ranger - I tried all three bow-wielding classes because Skyrim got me into archers (insert your arrow-to-the-knee joke here, if you dare). The archery in general seemed clunky. None of these classes particularly excited me. The ranger was least fun. The thief was most. But none of them seemed to be doing anything all that different from other warriors, thieves, or rangers that I've met in other games.

Engineer and Necromancer - Did not try.


Review in a nutshell:
I really enjoyed this game. It did not play nice with my graphics card, which concerns me. But I will definitely play at release and during BWE's prior to that.



edited typos

Edited, May 3rd 2012 7:58am by teacake


Just wanted you to know, the game didn't play nice with just about anyone's computer. The beta client was not optimized and was only using one core of your processor and hardly any of your GPU. It's something Arena.net knows about and is working to fix.

I greatly enjoyed the BWE. Played thief and engineer. So many things this game does right. Here's some things that stick out to me:

1.) Crafting is great. No grindy feel too it, but items don't come too quick. You don't have to fight over nodes with anyone, and you can harvest any kind of node regardless of what craft you are. Node tracking is automatic. I was making items for my characters from the start that were useful and powerful.
2.) Trading Post (AH). Wonderful. Had a few bugs, but you can list and buy anything from anywhere. You have to go to an NPC to pick stuff up, but still it's leaps and bounds ahead of anything I've seen in another MMO.
3.) Storage. You can deposit items in your inventory, pretty sure mostly just crafting mats, into your bank from anywhere. No travel required. Bank storage is account shared.
4.) Combat is awesome and engaging. Don't dodge, you die. If you spam keys, you'll die b/c you don't have the ability off CD you need at the right time. Even though you usually have access to about 10 skills or so early on, each skill is meaningful and has a use.
5.) Dynamic Events need a little tuning, but it is wonderful to see everyone working together. Feels nice to not have to worry about someone stealing my kills. With the way dynamic events work, and the world is, it is so easy to get lost in everything. It's awesome to just run around and explore. Instead of worrying about lvling up ASAP, I was wanting to see as much content as possible.
6.) Underwater combat! I want to explore more underwater next BWE.

This game is FUN. It's going to change MMOs.


Edited, May 3rd 2012 4:40pm by NeithanTheWronged
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#12 May 03 2012 at 3:43 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah but can you jump in this one?
#13 May 03 2012 at 3:46 PM Rating: Good
Yes.

Yes you can.
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#14 May 03 2012 at 3:55 PM Rating: Good
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Count me in then.
#15 May 03 2012 at 5:20 PM Rating: Excellent
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IDrownFish of the Seven Seas wrote:
Played it, and I have to say, a melee mesmer is hella fun.


Oh, excellent. Tell me then, in your experience, is mesmer too hard for me? Smiley: grin I really want to be a cool mesmer but it seems like you'd need, like, reflexes. And skills. And stuff. Harder than just dropping a lightwell and healing yourself while running around a pillar until the DK chasing you dies from your SW:P. Smiley: wink

NeithanTheWronged wrote:

Just wanted you to know, the game didn't play nice with just about anyone's computer. The beta client was not optimized and was only using one core of your processor and hardly any of your GPU. It's something Arena.net knows about and is working to fix.


Thank you for this, it makes me feel better. My computer is three years old but it was high end when I bought it and it plays everything else on max settings fine. My display kept failing (fade to black). Usually when this happens - only a handful of times in 3 years - it immediately recovers, but with this game, it wouldn't recover and my monitor would no longer recognize that my computer was on, until I turned the PC off and cold booted it. I ended up playing with my computer open for cooling purposes, since back when I used laptops, graphics card failures like that would mean it was overheating, until eventually it fried the machine. So I'm concerned I may need to get a new graphics card to play this.
#16 May 04 2012 at 7:00 AM Rating: Good
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What kind of graphics card do you have? The minimum reqs are pretty low for GW2 (at the moment). There are some widgets or gadgets you can download to monitor internal temperatures. I use CoreTemp and this one for Windows 7: GPU Meter.

If you think stuff is overheating, maybe try cleaning things or moving stuff around in your case so it's not as cramped to improve air flow. Also, extra fans are pretty cheap. If you have room in your case buying one or more might be a good option.

EDIT: Now that I think about it more, and I'm finishing my first cup of coffee, it might be your monitor. Well, it could be your monitor if it's doing this at other times, too.

Edited, May 4th 2012 8:02am by NeithanTheWronged
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Aggieland -> "From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. From the inside out, you can't explain it."

Final Fantasy XIV: Neithan Turambar, Cactuar Server
Guild Wars 2: Level 80 Guardian Neithan Turambar Jade Quarry Server
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FFXI: Lvl 75 Dark Knight Neithan (retired many years ago)
LotRO: Lvl 30 Maethros (retired)
#17 May 04 2012 at 7:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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Copied and pasted from my system spec: NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 285 1GB

It's only happened like this with GW2. There's been maybe five times over three years with other games that it's gone black, come right back immediately, and I'll get a message pop up over the tray that says my display failed but recovered. Over the beta weekend it happened with GW2 three times, though, and never recovered. Driver is up to date.

I (and by "I" of course I mean, "my husband") did open it up and clean it out, but we (and by "we" of course I mean, "he") does this fairly regularly so it wasn't that bad or anything.

I'll look into the extra fan idea. And thanks very much for the tips, as you can tell I'm a bit clueless about hardware.
#18 May 04 2012 at 2:34 PM Rating: Good
Honestly teacake, I would be surprised if problems like those don't clear themselves up before release.

The issue is that they haven't optimized the game for most people's graphics hardware yet. It's a bit like plopping someone who's never driven before behind the wheel of a car. You can tell them what to do, and they can figure out the basics, but they're by no means going to be perfect.

Once the optimize it, it'll be like the game's gone through driving school. Things will run better, and you'll have less chance of flying screaming into a ditch at 80 miles an hour and seeing your life flash before your eyes.

Wait. That metaphor didn't work out like I thought it would.
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#19 May 15 2012 at 12:44 AM Rating: Good
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There is, actually, a lot of different stuff going on with GW2.

One of the big things that no one has mentioned is the Profession Mechanics and the Character Builds.
Anyone who played GW1 knows about builds. They are a very big thing with ArenaNet. In GW2, they took the whole build process and made it a bit more interesting. Playing a character to level 5, or even level 10, doesn't realy tell you much about the Profession. That's just getting started. By the time you reach level 10 you should hopefully have a grasp of the dodge and movement issues of your profession, and hopefully a bit of an understanding of the basics of the Mechanics.
Level 11, however, is where the really interesting stuff gets started. Traits. Traits interact with all the choices you've made up to this point and especially with the profession mechanics, the mechanics that are different for every profession.

If you want to play a Mesmer, you should take time to learn how to use the shatter mechanics that basically turn your illusions into bombs.
If you want to play a Ranger, you should take time to learn how to use the 4 different F Key commands, especially the ability to quickly change your pet.
If you want to play an elementalist, you should take time to learn just how all the different elemental versions of the skills for your weapon set interract.

Once you understand all of that, you begin the process of playing with the Traits. There is a Profession specific trait, usualy tied somewho with the professions mechanic, and then several other traits. How you set these up will differentiate one character from another. Even with keeping the same point spread, two characters can be worlds apart as the Major Trait skills stear your build in whatever direction you like. They can help make you a master at support, causing your boons and conditions to last longer, they can help you do more damage by giving you special bonuses for different weapons or different skills, they can help you to focus on one element or another, bringing out what you want most for your character.

Of course, you have to get to lvl 80 to really be able to play around with all of that and get a hang of how it all works. Unless, of course, you go....Into the Mists. This is the preview area for the PvP sections. Even if you don't want to play PvP...give this area a try so that you can see how an end build for your character could look like and get a feel for what you could do with it. As soon as you enter the PvP you instantly get buffed up to lvl 80 with everything for your character unlocked. All those bonuses and unlocks go away again when you return to PvE, but you can gain them in PvE as you play, know where you want to head thanks to your quick little romp into the mists.

There is tons of stuff to read out there, and I think that is one of the biggest drawbacks to the game. There is just so much info, and it is disseminated so poorly. Then again, I'm playing it before release thanks to my pre-purchase, so....I guess I'll just take my time and figure it all out as I go.

GGSagen
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