on August 28, 2012
My MMO history: WoW for 5 years, SWTOR for about 9-10 months, GW2 for 3 days.
I started playing GW2 Saturday night during pre-release. At this time I have only played one race and one profession: Sylvari Elementalist. I have her up to level 22.
I expect this MMO to do well for several reasons: 1) GW1 has been online for a while now, which makes me feel more confident in the ongoing care the developers will give GW2. 2) It's not a "grinder." 3) No monthly subscription fee.
I have not played arena PVP yet. I have played WvWvW once. It's a great idea, but I didn't have fun in it, despite everyone else's glowing reviews. Reasons being: 1) huge maps = lots of running around to find a fight, 2) my PC had performance issues when more than 25 people were on screen, effectively ruining the gameplay for me. I love PVP, so I will definitely be giving W3 several more chances.
- This is not a WoW clone like SWTOR was. Mind you I LOVE WoW and enjoyed SWTOR, but when I buy a new game, I don't expect nor want it to be a clone of the last game I played. I am looking for a new experience, which GW2 has in spades.
- The achievement system offers XP in a way that equates it with daily quests in WoW. This is awesome because almost everything you do gives you XP or counts towards an achievement. The result is a sense that whatever you choose to do in your playtime truly will advance your character. In my opinion, this is extremely refreshing after doing repetitive dailies in WoW for so long.
- The Dynamic Events and Area Quests lend to a feeling of openness of world and promote exploration. I haven't had a feeling like that since my first days of vanilla WoW.
- I've heard mixed reviews on the use of Waypoints instead of mounts/flight paths. I actually love the Waypoints. Does teleporting around ruin some of the immersion? Yes. You what else ruins immersion for me? Taking a 4 minute+ flight path. The Waypoints are many and often and have no cooldown. Personally, the use of Waypoints gives me more inclination to keep exploring, since I don't have to worry about how long it might take me to get back to my main quest.
- No load times. No travel times (flight paths). In WoW, I would browse the internet during flight paths. In SWTOR, I would browse during FP's and the frequent loading screens. So far in GW2, I haven't had one boring moment which inspired me to browse the internet.
- Simplified spell bar. At first I was stunned and upset that there are only 10 hot-keyed spells, but the more I play around, the more I realize that choosing your weapons, active spells, and (in the case of an Elementalist) stance gives you a lot of personalized control over your play style.
- No mana/rage/energy management. No holy trinity. This is just so different that I find it intriguing. I can't say more until I get higher level.
- No ninja's. If you help with the kill, you get XP and loot rights. Gathering resources are available for all, so you're not constantly feeling the need to rush to resources when spotted. Having many other players in your questing area is always a good thing and never upsets your personal experience.
- No opposing factions on server. I can talk to anyone I want and don't need to worry that my friends or family chose Allies over Horde, Imperial over Republic, etc.
- No monthly fee and no endgame raiding gives me an incentive to play at my own pace. It's nice to be reminded that MMO's should be fun, and not just a rush to endgame so you can be the first on server to down a boss or clear a dungeon. I've been through all that. It was fun for a time, but it was also WORK and very time consuming.
- You can dye your gear at any time, for no charge.
- You cannot have characters on multiple servers.
o I don't expect this to be changed/fixed.
- The movement could be smoother. I can't put my finger on it, but the movement seems less accurate in this game than in WOW or SWTOR. I find myself headed the wrong direction more often than I ever did in other games. Already I am getting accustomed to the movement and don't find it such a hindrance anymore, but still, it could use improvement.
o I don't expect this to be changed/fixed.
- Grouping with friends isn't a fun experience. My husband and I attempted to play this game in a group, but gave up after about 10 levels. Because of the overflow instancing that is being used right now, we were often in different instances and therefore could not quest together. Also, there is no auto-follow and the dot that represents your party members on the mini-map and map are hard to see. Not being able to effectively group didn't ruin our gaming experience, but did squash our idea of calling our playtime "quality time together" LOL. Now, if we weren't in the same room playing, but instead across the state or across the country from each other, this would have been a much bigger gripe for me.
o I do expect this to be changed/fixed.
- Only 5 default character slots, but 8 total professions!
o I understand that at some point I will be able to purchase additional slots, either through real money or in-game currency.
It's almost like the devs for this game really considered the most common BIG gripes in MMO's and took measures to correct those situations. GW2 fixed the below issues:
1. It takes too long to grind gear. If I don't have 10+ hours a week to play, I will never be on par with the more hardcore gamers and their gear.
a. All players are equalized in PVP so it is more skill based than gear based.
2. Other players ruin my experience by tagging all the mobs, stealing loot, or ganking me when I am questing.
a. No opposing factions. Equalized levels depending on the questing area. Shared kill credit and loot availability.
3. I'm tired of always dragging a tank or healer for my group.
a. GW2 removes the holy trinity (tank, heal, dps) and replaces it with professions that all have their own ability to do some tanking, healing, or dps.
4. I don't like paying a monthly fee.
a. No problem - FREE TO PLAY!
5. I want to play with my friend, regardless of level, story/quest progression, or faction.
a. Can do! Players are automatically leveled down to the appropriate level for the area they are in. Quests are dynamic events so you can almost always bet you will be on the same step of the quest. There are no warring factions on server.
6. There is no incentive to visit or revisit low level quest areas, effectively quarantining endgame to max level areas.
a. Because of the leveling down I explained above, one could quest in low level areas and still get rewards and a challenging experience. In fact, you will need to do this in order to reach appropriate levels to complete your class quests.
The "join" group feature is now working as expected and we have been able to successfully group as needed!