Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written something. Sorry for that. But that doesn’t mean I forgot about Guild Wars 2. Actually, I never stopped thinking about it. 6 profession revealed, 2 more to go. But yet, so many features to be revealed. The redesigned Sylvari, PvP, the remaining race weeks, and now apparently also the, what I call ‘foe’ weeks. But let’s focus on that later. Now, I’d like to focus on something that’s about all of this. Something that brings all of this together in some ways.
I’m talking about the PAX East demo.
I admit, it’s been a while since PAX East, and this review does come late. But on the other side, all of this time has been time to relax, take a step back, get over the new material and look at it from a good angle.
Now, what new things have we seen?
For me, the most important things we got to see are: the guardian, the thief, the air attunement and the new areas. There are other things like new weapons, new foes, a little bit of crafting; but I think it’s a bit too early to talk about these things. We don’t know all the specifics, so I can’t really say what I think about it. But still, I will tell you what I thought of it when seeing the videos of the demo.
The oakhearts were really something. They are bulky, they are tough, they knock you back. They are hard. When you engage one of these, you will do it prepared. These are not the kind of foes that you just bump into and say: o, why not. The thief will have trouble defeating these huge things, before they can even attack these things, they will be knocked back or even stuck in there grasping roots, unable to do anything at all. But one thing bothered me about the foes is turning around. Some attacks, like ‘backstab’ and ‘concussion shot’, are more effective when attacked from behind. But when looking at the demo, I saw a problem. One moment, you’re behind the foe and than suddenly, in one frame, he turned around and and you are in front of it. For me, it seems impossible that foes like oakhearts to turn around in frame. They should have an animation or something to show them turning around. Otherwise, these backside attack won’t be very fun to use. Maybe this is something that ArenaNet is still working on, and for a game that wants to be as realistic as possible, I sure hope they are.
The crafting part of the game that we saw in the demo wasn’t really that extensive, so I’m not going to talk about it yet.
There were some new weapons in the game too, but I saw a lot of videos and didn’t see something new in that area. Maybe I’m just not that into warriors and rangers. But, as a starting reviewer, I try to study them as much as possible and notice that I’m beginning to show an interest in them. Not to play them, but to play in a team with them.
Now, what I thought was important in the demo.
First of all: the thief. The thief strikes me as the assassin that got perfected. No cooldown, which makes you able to spam your attacks in a short, heavy burst, the evasiveness, and most of all: the durability. Also, the third skill that is determined by the two weapons the thief is using is something that makes me realize how much time, thought and details ArenaNet is putting into this game. It’s the perfect thing for the thief. The thief, in real life, would put a lot of thought in its weapons and how he could combine them. Also, it immediately seemed to me that this profession does not have high health. Before you knew it, your enemy was laying dead on the ground, bleeding all over the place, or you were. Of course, there also weren’t a lot of players who played very well. Instead of rolling back and healing, they just ran away, being slower and not healing at all. They also didn’t quite get the hang of the spam-spam-spam use of the profession. The thief is apparently for a stressful person: attack while you go crazy and the scream and realize that your almost dead or out of Initiative, and then roll back and heal to go crazy again and begin attacking once more.
The guardian seemed to me as the warrior that had extra, magical, shields. They attacked a group, which they could easily handle, and began dropping symbols on the ground, spreading their virtues, burning their enemies and shielding themselves and allies, while attacking their foes with magical melee attacks. The guardian is just as I thought he would be: the warrior with magic. While attacking his foes, he is healing his allies.
The air attunement. Something I wanted to see for a very long time. Air attunement is definitely what it always was supposed to be: a way of attacking a single foe with heavy damage. It seems to me that air attunement puts a part of a thief in the elementalist. He shock, damages and blinds enemies at a fast rate, but instead of backing off, he can also blast his foes back or trap them in a static field. Definitely something to fight an oakheart with.
The new areas also blew me away. The glimpse of Lion’s Arch made me go crazy. And the pirate island not far from it made me do that too. I wanted to be there, to play there, to defend the towns from the pirates and hold back the centaurs. I loved almost every part of it. Until I saw the Vigils Keep. Disappointment. A bulky, middle-aged, fortress with no gates. It looked like it could be taken by enemies in no time. And so lifeless. I always imagined the Keep to be full of life, races from all over the world joining to discuss and fighting the elder dragons. Spies, running in, telling about how they manage to escape just in time with just the right information. A cozy fortress, with couches, cheering rooms full of different races becoming friends and running soldiers. All they did in the demo was stand there, being useless. I seriously hope that ArenaNet wasn’t ready with this zone, because I don’t really like it. But the fortress is probably going to stay that way, so I’ll need to start living with it and start seeing the bright side of life.
The starting area of the norn was even better. I loved how it just screamed ‘adventure’. And the way their story starts. It just how I imagined the norn starting an adventure. With a big boss, being fought by a group of norn, to kick of the start of many more battles. Also, the mysterious forest, together with the mist, was just the finishing touch.
The visual feedback on the skill bar was something I liked too. But I only noticed something for the guardian. The blue flames indicating when your attack is going to cause burning is something that is going to distract you just enough for you to make sure you put it to good use.
And now something big, which was actually a small part. Lions Arch. In Guild Wars, I couldn’t orientate myself in this city. In fact, I still can’t. What we saw of Lions Arch, which was only the entrance, was fantastic. It really is going to be a city build out of ship wrecks. And it’s going to be one big city. The entrance alone was probably as big as the Lions Arch we saw in the original Guild Wars. After reading an interview, I also learned that all the races are going to meet each other here for the first time. This is going to be the place where the races story come together, something that Lions Arch was made for. I can already see it, character from all the different races coming in and out of the city gate together. It just fascinates me.
And with this, I conclude this post. And with a message: see you in Lions Arch.