Recap: 50 reasons to be excited about GW2 – still?

Guild Wars 2 is coming. Only, not nearly soon enough! We’ll be counting down the days of this blasted August and never did we wish more for summer to already be over, so we can lean deep into our chairs all snuggled up in pillows and blankets (with pizza), completely not feeling guilty for letting the sunny evenings pass, somewhere out there while we are immersed, hopefully, in Tyria. And I remember what I said about Vorfreude, but….scratch that, I wanna play GW2 already!!!

Headstart FTW!

I actually feel with the non-believers too; those of you out there who still don’t feel it, who can’t join in the hype or at least the shared excitement and anticipation. There’s a GW2 blogstorm at our doorsteps and it sucks to feel somehow left out, to not feel part of the “movement” whatever that even is. That feeling will pass, but then I’ll say in all honesty that I don’t know what other MMO I’d likely play any time soon, after GW2….what is there, anyway? There’s no knowing that now, but one thing is for certain: we want GW2 to succeed. We need GW2 to succeed….!

Anyway, what better moment in time to review our initial sentiments about this MMO? Three public beta weekends later and one month to go, I am asking myself the same question – what is it that excites me about this upcoming title? And now that I know better, did things change in any particular way?

50 reasons to be excited about GW2 – or not?

For direct comparison, I will go with the list of 50 reasons I presented this April 2012 with no first-hand gameplay experience whatsoever. I expect to see few changes but not to get ahead of myself, let’s rather examine each point once more. Formatting goes as follows: things I didn’t actually experience or notice much, things I enjoyed / loved, things that disappointed or bothered me.

  1. The side-kicking feature
  2. Flat leveling curve
  3. Lots of dyes!
  4. Personal character story and personality
  5. Extensive character customization
  6. No holy trinity
  7. No potions
  8. Small UI / minimal actionbar
  9. The downed state
  10. Dynamic/scaling events and quests
  11. Massive WvWvW battles
  12. PvP from level 1
  13. Gear equalization for group PvP
  14. The home instance / player housing
  15. Linked home cities
  16. Mini-games (bar brawls! snow balls!)
  17. Audio dialogue
  18. Flat highlvl gear progression
  19. Cosmetic items
  20. The Mesmer, the Engineer and pretty much all classes
  21. Large scale maps
  22. No flying mounts
  23. Original soundtrack by Jeremy Soule
  24. Beautiful 2D background artworks
  25. The Norn, Asura and Charr
  26. Underwater combat
  27. The weapon/-skill system
  28. Cross-profession combos
  29. Small HP bar
  30. More area spells and effects
  31. Dedicated self-utility / self-healing
  32. 5man content all the way
  33. No raids
  34. Individual trait lines
  35. Inclusive crafting system
  36. Multi-guild system
  37. Adventure modes for dungeons
  38. Outdoor bosses
  39. Easy server switching
  40. Transmutation stone for gear
  41. No abilities directly target allies
  42. Active combat; dodge, block
  43. Interactive environment
  44. Mostly universal attributes system
  45. Most abilities and skills usable while moving
  46. No language/coop barrier between factions
  47. Over-flow server while in queue
  48. Public FFA events and quests with scaling loot
  49. More frequent day/night-cycle (non-realtime)
  50. Guild halls announced for later

The first thing I notice after reviewing is that there are plenty of aspects of GW2 I haven’t even brushed yet: I didn’t PvP or experience an actual WvW in progress, mostly due to technical hiccups. I didn’t look into crafting. I haven’t run dungeons in any mode. I didn’t follow my personal story much or transmute my gear. I didn’t play any mini-games, join a guild or experience the home instance feature. So from that point of view, I feel there’s plenty to do and see in GW2, for a long while to come. That doesn’t yet include the time I will spend purely exploring or questing!

What I enjoyed the most and felt most confirmed in, is the overall feel of the game: the atmosphere, the large scale world, the music and art, and of course the classes and races which I find, for the most part (humans), very accomplished and fun to play. I love the design of GW2 and being me that is a core argument. I need to be able to explore a world that feels alive and looks brilliant, with a character I can relate to. I’m also happy about the questing and events, more active combat and automated cooperation. That said, I have yet to experience group combat and there are definitely concerns that need looking into, such as the balance between melee and ranged combat, overall controls or traits viability. These are longterm concerns to work on though, just as content longevity or depth are.

Few things I admit didn’t blow me away in retrospective: while my waypoint worries proved to be needless, I do not care at all for the repair system or the downed state. Frankly, I find the downed state boring or annoyingly superfluous. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but it added nothing to my gameplay experience, certainly no thrill because half of the time I couldn’t actually contribute much to preventing my death. Oh well. 

I whined about the overflow servers before although to be fair that was partly fixed. Another thing that left me wanting after the beta were cross-profession combos. I believe I spotted two that I initiated myself, but they were hard to keep track of and even harder to actively coordinate. That said, my final verdict here must wait until I actually run 5mans.

…I could nag about a few more details, instead I will leave it at that. In general my attitude and expectations for GW2 haven’t changed and they’re certainly very the positive still. And so I wonder about other players out there – did the beta weekends disappoint you in any particular way or are you more excited to play this upcoming AAA+ MMO than ever?


  1. Aaaarrrrgggghhhhh can’t bloody wait!

    Reading that big ol’ list has me mega excited 🙂

    The only thing I didn’t like was having so little time to play and explore. I’ve been mega geeked before for games but this time it actually feels like it will live up to my expectations in the long run.

    Umm did I mention I can’t wait?!

    1. Haha, oh yesss! ^^ August will be a drag to say the least.

      and be glad we didn’t get any more BWEs – rather feel pumped for moar than already having seen too much!

  2. Hmmm… I don’t think there is anything that disappointed me so far in Guild Wars 2. Ok. Perhaps the jumping puzzles but just because I am extremely terrible at jumping in any game. Besides that my experiences so far have been far better than I expected.

    I will disagree about the combos though. I don’t think they will be that hard to coordinate based on my experiences in the betas. For instance during BWE2 when I was playing with my ranger and saw a fire wall, I always tried to shoot through it because I remembered reading in a blog post by ArenaNet that would generate a combo. During BWE3 as I tested the engineer and got my flamethrower I had a skill that allowed me to create a firewall so I tried to setup it always between ranged classes and the mobs.

    With my thief I accidentally found a combo involving that fire wall and a skill whose name I forgot (I think it was with the pistol and dagger) where the character dashes toward the enemy. If the thief does the dash through the firewall they get a fire bubble for extra damage I believe. Another one I found by accident with the thief is with dual pistols. They have a skill where they throw powder in the ground, forming a circle, that can blind the enemy. Apparently if any ranged attack goes through it then it will generate a combo that gives the blind effect to enemies. So after that I tried to setup it in a way that people would be shooting through it.

    Granted, you could argue that wasn’t coordination since the other people might not even have noticed that there was a combo going on, much less what I was trying to do. Specially since it was usually in Dynamic Events and those can be pretty hectic. Still I think as people get more experience with the game, more knowledgeable about its mechanics I think they will just naturally try to setup things in a way to generate combos during combat. In other words, I wouldn’t say coordination is much of a necessity as people just paying attention to what is going on around them and taking the initiative to create a a situation for combos.

    Out of curiosity though on your list it seems you didn’t enjoy underwater combat much. Could you elaborate more on that?

    1. I hate jumping puzzles – but then I don’t consider them important. 😛

      I admit I didn’t give the combos enough time; and it’s also greatly depending on well, how you group up with others obviously. I did explore a lot and hence I didn’t focus on combat with others nearly as much in the betas. I’m looking forward to learn more about the combos I can create with other classes. once the all the “new” isn’t quite as overwhelming anymore, they should be easier to spot too.

      About underwater: I haven’t tested it to death, but to me it felt slow and not particularly intriguing once I actually found opportunities. maybe I expected too much, but thus far I only saw a couple of underwater quests which were very similar to few ones in WoW, which are basically a gimmick and little else. that said I loved Vashj’ir, imo that was a real step up and improvement of the underwater concept (also in terms of movement) – so I’m just wondering a little what the “point” in GW2 will be. I hope it’s not just about an extra set of skills and swapping to a large trident once every few levels….
      Has there actually been word of a persistent underwater “zone” for GW2?

    2. *nods* I am only considering them important because of my completist side and that there might be some good stuff at the end of it. >_< Ah, I see. Well, since I didn’t group with anybody nor I am too worried about it at this moment I didn’t give it as much thought in that kind of situation. I think it might be tricky if you are in a dungeon with a group of random people with very different skill levels and knowledge about the game. With friends that you group regularly with however I think you just naturally develop strategies over time and just start using combos without having to coordinate it. Kinda like you already know what the other person is thinking before any of you do anything. 🙂 Hm. I didn’t feel it particularly slow or at least as bad as other games usually do it. So I don’t consider it a bad gimmick nor do I find it the most exciting thing ever. I am neutral towards it, you could say. And I haven’t heard about any persistent underwater “zone” for Guild Wars 2. But perhaps it is in their plans to eventually tackle it.

    3. I’ll be rolling a Mesmer at start, just so I can help people with jumping puzzles. (also, they look really interesting.) Give me a call if you want. My account is ID is:

      Ian Smith.5638

      That’s for anyone wanting or needing help. 😀

  3. I haven’t had the opportunity to play any BWE so I am looking forward to get into the game at all.
    I usally spend lots of time in character creation, even with only few options. GW2 will have me for hours there before a new character enter the world, very excited.
    I am a little hesitant about what server to join though. It will be a fresh start without knowing any people, most wow-friends from back then are not looking forward to start yet another mmo while I feel afreshed in that sense after being away for more than a year.

    1. The CC Is cool, although I will say there are differences among the races imo; I generally thought the choices for both Norn and humans were poorer than the ones for Asura or Sylvari for example – but then, I think we haven’t really seen the complete CC that we’ll get at launch, anyway.

      Picking servers is one of the things that scare and irritate me a little….it seems to be a huge deal, also in terms of WvW and I feel I have no first clue what to look for. hopefully friends will have a better idea than myself.

  4. Too bad you’re not close enough, Syl, or I’d suggest a trip to Gen Con in mid-August would take your mind off of GW2. Well, if you’re into RPGs, boardgames, and assorted other games, that is.

    1. There are SO many cons I wish I could visit / lived close to, you have no idea! :(((

      Afaik the only close option for me is Gamescom in Cologne sometime, or if I’m REALLY desperate get to the UK and attend some stuff there. Oh well…still got probabtion time at the new job in August, so I guess I should focus on that….a bit. 😉

  5. IMHO, you are analysing the downed state from the wrong perspective. A player actually contribute much few to preventing death at downed state, but…

    at downed state you give a lot of chances to other players try to save you. And that is what really is important, to see other players trying to save you while you are at downed state and vice-versa.

    Downed state builds comunity and it is genial for it. I am sure asura created it…

    1. lol – maybe they did 🙂

      and I see your point, it does create ‘some’ opportunity for others to jump in; however, this is only really a valid argument if you actually have people around. and then there’s already the same option for rezzing – so personally I simply don’t think the downed state adds so much to this.

    2. From what I saw at all 3 BW:
      1- yes, there are people around when you are doing hearts and DE;
      2- if other player kill teh mob taht put you at downed stage, you get up;
      3- people normally stop for try rez a player at downed state.

      Syl, it is a lot good when you are at downed state and someone appear for save your life…

  6. I’m pretty excited about this, more so than SWTOR in fact. It’ll be the first game for a while that will reunite me with my three best friends in the same game. Much nicer not to have to juggle multiple games to play with everyone!

    Typically I’m on a big research trip till Sept 3rd so I’ll miss launch :-/
    Still I’ll follow blogs while I’m away and can be ready for playing when I get back!

    1. It’s one of the big things for me too – getting together with some old pals from WoW! who knows how long everyone will play, but already meeting up for this and having some casual fun together for a couple of weeks or even months is something I greatly look forward to. 🙂

  7. I really liked the underwater stuff. There are certainly proper underwater “quests” in the Charr areas and the underwater art of Lion’s Arch is breathtaking. Combat underwater seems fluid (no pun intended!). Then, I really like underwater content in all MMOs that have it and it annoys me when it’s left out, so I’m an easy sell on that feature.

    I’ll be happy when GW2 gets here and I can get stuck in, but I wouldn’t say I expect it to wipe out all the other MMOs I’m enjoying or anticipating. It’s good but I didn’t think it was *that* good. There are certainly things about The Secret World that impressed me more, although I don’t think they compare in scale. Going to be a very tough market for smaller MMOs running up to Christmas, what with GW2, MoP and now SW:ToR going F2P. I guess TSW got in sufficiently under the wire to establish itself but I’m not sure FFXIV picked the best time to relaunch…

    1. I think it may also depend on the starter locations; there are not particularly many great underwater combat opportunities when you roll Norn. I like the idea as a whole, just like underwater zones and instances can be awesome, but I need to give it some more time in GW2 methinks. 😉

      Hopefully GW2 will be a solid success – but yes, it is not the big revolution. then, what is or can be in this genre and for how much longer will it exist in its current form, anyway? am not suggesting the online or multiplayer era is over or anything, but the classic AAA+ MMO formula won’t last much longer I don’t think.

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