Guild Wars 2 BWE Roundtable Impressions

Updated Fri, May 04, 2012 by Sardu

GW2 Roundtable Impressions

Following the first GW2 beta weekend event, we decided to utilize a slightly different format for our impressions than the norm. Rather than simply offer up a singular perspective, Ten Ton Hammer staff members got together for a brief roundtable discussion.

Barlow, resident news editor on, served as our moderator, and posed a number of questions about our overall beta experiences. It was an excellent discussion overall, and offers MMO gamers a much deeper and more interesting take on a beta weekend impressions piece than a single author could hope to provide.

But don’t take our word for it -- continue reading our Guild Wars 2 BWE Roundtable Impressions below!

Barlow: A lot of people have been claiming that Guild Wars 2 will be a “game changer” for the MMO industry. Based on your BWE experiences, do you feel this will be the case?

Jeff “Ethec” Woleslagle: Insofar as we can tell anything from the first 20 levels; we’ve seen a couple of MMOs come out in the past that have had an awesome 20 or 25 levels, and have ended up being duds after the fact. As I say that I’m thinking back to the fact that they have showed us higher level content at events and stuff.

It’s definitely a game changer. I don’t really see any way around that. The production values of the game are just off the charts. It ran well on my desktop which is pretty powerful, and I ran it on my laptop which is not so powerful – it ran well on both. Just across the board I think it’s got huge potential.

Lewis "Lewis B" Burnell: I think for me it is, but I think it’s only as much of a game changer as the community and the buyers are willing to actually buy into the changes they’re implementing. Something as small as the ability to revive everyone has clearly, at some stage, been lost in translation.

I think ArenaNet has very much been trying to push through to its player base what you can and can’t do, and what they recon you should do. That was really evident to me in this phase rather than the last when people were really willing to work together, cooperate, and actually embrace something new. I encountered almost no resistance to any of the changes.

A couple of things surprised me this weekend, such as people’s comments that the first couple of levels were incredibly spammy; that you chewed through your skill combinations and rinsed, repeated. I thought that was quite ironic considering that in the rest of the genre, that’s actually considerably worse.

But going back to the original question of is it a game changer, I think that’s a question based on what they’ve implemented, the production values, the polish, and the fact that the game has got so much content in it for launch is a bit of a benchmark for the industry as well.

Reuben "Sardu" Waters: I’ve been babbling out my thoughts on the topic for a really long time now, so I’ll be a bit brief here.

In general, I sort of see The Old Republic as capping the end of an era. It neatly bookends what began with EverQuest, through WoW’s dominant period, and ends with The Old Republic in the sense of the traditional MMO featuring auto-attack combat, and the gameplay building blocks people have begun to associate with the genre.

While the original Guild Wars did try to do something completely different, it didn’t really stick to the degree I think Guild Wars 2 is going to. I think Guild Wars 2 is going to lead us into that next era for the industry, and it’s going to be the game that a lot of other developers start really looking at for inspiration.

I’ve already seen that to a limited extent at PAX East this year. There’s an in-development game I played called RaiderZ that has already lifted entire systems directly out of GW2, and I expect we’re going to start seeing a lot more of that moving forward.

So in that sense I definitely think GW2 is going to be a game changer in terms of not only the way future games are developed, but also the public perception of what’s considered a standard MMO concept or mechanic.

Karen “Shayalyn” Hertzberg: I have to agree with the rest of you--we’re seeing things done in Guild Wars 2 that we haven’t seen done in other MMOs to date.

That said, we’ve noticed comments on Ten Ton Hammer and other sites from gamers saying that Guild Wars 2 is over-hyped. For instance, I hear lots of people saying, “ArenaNet claims that combat isn’t the same old tab-to-target, whack-a-mole sort of combat we’re used to, but it totally is!” Or they’ll claim that questing is actually more linear than ArenaNet lets on.

So, there are people out there who, if they want to find reasons to hate on the game, probably will find them. But on the whole, I think we’re only hearing that sort of dissent from people who have had no hands-on experience with the game. And really, for all but the most hardcore haters, I feel like all it would take was one beta weekend with Guild Wars 2 to dispel those notions.

Hopefully, we can actually be together on the same server on the next beta. I really do think that GW2 is going to be the next big thing and will lead to changes in the industry. I can't wait. And yes, sword rangers are awesome!

i think the best way of accomplishing this is to have a training camp. for humans after you wake up after the fight with the elemental. Logan Thackeray comes up to you and say "hey, new recruit, we go a great training camp just over the hill for new blood like you." "you should go check it out, here let me mark it on your map." it would be completely optional and would walk you through a lot of the core mechanics. for char you could have a sparing partner. for Norn maybe you are at a mead hall and have to revive drunk Nords and get in a bar fight or 2 and learn how to doge and how to spot enemy attacks.

As was mentioned "hints" in the early stages would have helped confidence without spoiling the glorious exploration aspect of the game. Self discovery ( I actually found the answer to my thief's deaths by using bow -range- then dagger victory!) needs to be balanced to avoid frustration through inability to see a clear way to an answer. Soloing I found rewarding but maybe because old age brings silly infirmities when I found myself in an event ( so often chaotic fun) could not work out how to chat for help or to help - got local on screen but my comments seemed invisible and presumably any replies. I could not whisper messages except only clicking on nearby player. Bet I appear totally stupid but a manual/examples albeit brief and simple would bring some confidence to allow greater social interaction and input by player. Adored the magical Divinity Reach - spent much time as a wide eyed open mouthed tourist

I think the biggest issue I had with the Beta is the overflow servers. I was playing with a friend and anytime we would leave a zone or log in, we could never get on teh same place to play with eachother. It was so confusing, and not having the ability to switch manually left us logging in and out over and over again.

GW2 is clearly a step forward in the right direction. It's doing almost everything right.

But, a game-changer it is not.

A G.C. would be a game so broad, so deep, you could get lost doing only a small part of it. Say, a game with encompassing the best MMO style gameplay, but also FPS and RTS and social media etc etc. "But then it wouldn't be an MMO," you'd say.

No. It'd be a game for absolutely everyone. THAT would be a game-changer.

Re GW2: PvP seems awesome, and deep (no gear advantage, kudos to that). The game is beautiful, smooth, engaging. Public Qs are obviously the way to go. BUT, and I can promise you this: after you've escorted an NPC for the umpteenth time (and yet again with no challenge because it isn't scaling well enough), and defended whatever from an attack for the umpteenth time, you'll recognize these scripted events for what they are. I'm not saying you'll go back to WoW, just that GW2 PvE isn't the second coming of Christ.

Now Titan, that may be a game-changer...

It is time to party in Guild Wars 2 with ArenaNet today as they release their new Living World update “Festival of the Found Winds”.
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