Guild Wars 2 PAX Prime Report: Frenzy + Healing Signet

Day 1

Another PAX Prime has come and gone from our city of Seattle. Fortunately we managed to avoid the H1Nerd1 outbreak like we had a few years ago but as always, PAX can be a very draining experience. Just like Frenzy + Healing Signet: it’s awesome and hilarious, and probably will leave you wiped. There’s so much to see and so much excitement in the air! NCSoft has always had a large presence at PAX, typically having a large space with huge murals of the games on display along with tons of demo stations. While they did just announce their new MMO Wildstar, GW2 was really the star of the show; so much in fact that it had 3 different locations dedicated to it (Alienware and Logitech). Even with more floor space than probably any other single game aside from Halo, the Guild Wars 2 stations and booths were always completely packed for all three days, literally from opening to closing.

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#GW2PAX Day 2

I’m having a hard time balancing how very full and exhaustingly interesting the second day of PAX was against how incredibly quickly it seemed to fly by.

I was incredibly lucky enough to not be bucking for a shirt or a party pass by the time day 2 rolled around, which meant that while I was far from the first person to the booth (I’m guessing it was closer to number 200 or so), I was one of the first people to the demo stations themselves. This means my day started off right off the bat with a spin through the high-level asura engineer.

It’s been mentioned that some classes, like the guardian and the engineer, can take a bit more finesse and mastery to play to their fullest extent than other, possibly more straight-forward, classes.  From my experience, and the experience of a few other fans I spoke with, that’s very much the case.  I enjoyed the engineer, but I was never expecting it to be my favored class anyway, and I think it’d take a while longer playing the game to get really comfortable with the profession.  That said, I did very much enjoy my time in the land of flamethrowers and equipment packs.

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#GW2Pax Day 1

The first day of the Penny Arcade Expo is winding down, and what a day it has been! ArenaNet and Guild Wars 2 are a major presence at this convention – between the panels that seem to be constantly running in room 2B, the massively popular PvP matches at the Alienware booth, the Guild Wars 2 booth itself, and the advertisements and t-shirts everywhere, it seems like one can hardly turn around without being reminded that Seattle is Arenanet’s ‘hood.

My day started at the Guild Wars 2 booth, waiting in line for the demo.  I didn’t have any particular fire to get out of bed at 6 to get in line in time to be part of the first massive wave into the expo hall, but with only three people in front of me, I felt pretty good about my wait for my turn with the newest demo build.  While in line I ran into a couple folks from the Guild Wars twitter community (big thanks to BigCat72 for holding my spot while I ran a couple errands!) and got to chat with a few devs.  It was a really neat experience, personally, coming back to the second year of PAX and seeing devs again: PAX is such a bizarre little universe unto itself, there was an odd sense of continuity that really messed with my sense of time.  Wasn’t it just a while ago that I was here, talking to these devs, wasn’t it just weeks ago that the first GW2 trailer was released?  Aren’t these the same lines I waited in just a while ago?

The demo quickly debunked me of that notion: time has passed, and the ANet staff have been busy in that time!

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Guilds and Alliance Wishlist for Guild Wars 2

Authority Figure

One of our writers, Distilled, wrote a great blog post* on the state (or lack thereof) of guild information for GW2. That reminded me that I had this one sitting in pending for months.

In a game called Guild Wars, one would expect that the “guild” would play an large role within its world. Certainly, GW puts a big emphasis on the importance of this classic MMO brotherhood by offering halls with purchasable upgrades, a large selection of environments, and a few PvP options such as GvG tournaments and alliance battles only accessible through your hall. Unlike other MMOs, it’s very rare you find an unguilded player in GW.

When the Factions campaign came out, ANet gave us alliances; a unique feature which allows up to ten guilds to officially band together. Mechanical perks include visiting each other’s halls for free, an alliance chat, the ability to collectively own an outpost, and group up for gvg. The system gives power to smaller guilds by offering a larger community option without having to abandon the sometimes preferred tight-knit clan.

Even so, the guild and alliance features are surprisingly limited in control, which is one of the few major flaws I would attribute to the game. Ranks are limited to 3: leader, officer, and member. There are no real permissions offered; officers can invite and kick and that’s all. The leader is the only one who can purchase upgrades, change the hall, or update capes, and there is no way to deligate these tasks to an officer. And the alliance function has one major drawback: switching leaders basically requires a full disband and re-invitation.

Going forward to Guild Wars 2, I feel it’s safe to expect a much more polished and advanced system for guilds. There’s a lot to live up to, due to newer MMOs like Rift and even older ones,like WoW boasting some advanced and OCD worthy features and controls. But what exactly would be the bees knees for Guild Wars 2? What do we want and need to be able to do and have at our disposal?

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Is ArenaNet doing enough?

This is actually a reaction post to episode 55 of TWIMMO where Gary talks about the GW2 panel at SDCC with Pokket and Mike B.

Yeah, I know this post is very late but I do hope you’ll read it anyway.

So you guys must be wondering, what has this got to do with whether ArenaNet is doing enough, and enough of what? These are good and valid questions and I’ll address those at the end. But for now, join me as I walk through possibly the most painful 25 minutes of my life as a GW2 fan.

I want to clarify beforehand that as much as I’m a GW2 fan, I don’t think I can be considered very hardcore because I tend to forget the source of my information and I only vaguely remember so-and-so saying such-and-such in some interview. I can’t compare to veterans like Izzie or Rubi from GuildCast where they have photographic memory where GW2 is concerned.

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GamesCom 2011 – Day 3

Karasu and MeWulf travel to GamesCom for TalkTyria in an attempt to play GW2, get swag, interrogate the minds behind GW2 and share their experiences with the fans at home.

Today we bring you more gameplay footage from both the PvE and PvP demo.

PvE: Pleasure your ears and eyes, for glory.
Given an early headstart we were able to place our beloved cameraman MeWulf and his camera behind one of the stations. Because of this we’re proud to present a full playsession of the Norn starter area in 1080p direct-audio, this time without the sound distortion:

(Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

In part5@3:44 and onward you can see the start of an interesting event which involves Raven statues that each give you a riddle to answer, written by Ree Soesbee.

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GamesCom 2011 – Day 2

Karasu and MeWulf travel to GamesCom for TalkTyria in an attempt to play GW2, get swag, interrogate the minds behind GW2 and share their experiences with the fans at home.

As promised we’ve got a PvP oriented update for you today!

GuildWars too PeeVeePee Factomentae

At the PvP booth were ten pc’s set up against each other to get right into the action. One side played the red team the others the blue team. The Battle of Kyhlo is a sizable capture point map which does a great job at displaying the effect of the Z-axis. While you wait for the match to start you can walk around and fight-for-fun or just explore the whole map. =D The goal of the map is to reach 500 points. Points are gained by holding a capture site or by defeating enemies (10 pts). Currently all capture points provide the same amount of points and take the same amount of time to capture. Neutralizing a point is much faster than capturing it.

GuildWars2 PvP has a very deep pool of tactics available. For example if someone is in a downed state you can either leave them there to disable them for a while, or “Finish Them!” to ensure the other team is a player short for until respawn. It is possible to switch skills and equipment during the match, as long as you’re not in combat. This way the whole game can still change and isn’t determined by the initial skill setup. There is no enemy targeting, map pinging (except on the minimap), spectator mode or other UI tools for party communication in the demo.

If you haven’t seen it yet you should check out our PvP gameplay footage (direct audio) from Day 1.

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