Initials Impressions of PVP in Guild Wars 2


The Beta weekend event finished 24 hours ago, and I’ve never felt so mentally drained by playing a new game!

GW2 has the steepest learning curve of any PVP game that I’ve played. Some folks believe that the curve feels steep because you get to see endgame PVP immediately, but it goes beyond that.

Here are the driving factors for the complexity of GW2:

  1. There is an incredible range of specs / builds for a given class. You can customize the following:
    • Your weapon set(s), which determine your abilities on the 1-5 keys
    • Your healing ability on the 6 key (3-4 to choose from)
    • Your 3 utility abilities on the 7-9 keys (18 to choose from)
    • Your elite ability on the 0 (3 to choose from for PVP)
    • Your traits (70 points to invest in 5 trees, which means you’ll have 7 talents to choose from among 60)
    • Your amulet, which is a key lever for your desired stats
    • The socket in each of the 6 armor pieces (many dozens of “gems” to choose from)
    • The socket in each of the 5 jewelry pieces (about 10 gems to choose from)
    • The socket in each weapon (several dozen gems to choose from)
  2. Positioning and movement are critical. When attacking, you have to maintain the appropriate range and line-of-sight (and for some abilities character facing) to ensure that a given attack has the possibility of landing – otherwise you are simply wasting your cooldowns and the global cooldown. While there has been a lot of talk about the action combat system for TERA, which launched over the week, in my opinion GW2 has nailed action combat. The dodge-roll functionality makes combat feel very fluid – you evade attacks when you take evasive action.

The implications of the two points above are:

  1. Players and the community are going to spend countless hours researching and experimenting with various specs for each class
  2. The game has a very high learning curve
  3. The game has a very high skill cap

Aside from the above game mechanics, the PVP content was impressive.

The WvW 3-faction system rocked (as expected). It made me realize how much I’ve missed open world PVP with fortress fights, which I haven’t meaningfully experienced since Warhammer Online. GW2 WvW is Warhammer Online RVR on steroids. The 4-map design and scale are awesome. I streamed several hours of WvW action on Friday night, check out the replay.

I also enjoyed the design of the battleground maps for the Battle of Khylo and Forest of Niflhel – the terrain was very complex.

So my first impression: thumbs up.

The game takes a lot of time to get used to, which was frustrating at times. But the more you start to wrap your noodle around the combat mechanics and viable specs for a given class, the more enjoyable it becomes.

As I write this article, I’m uploading an Elementalist PVP video to YouTube. I’ll be working on a Warrior PVP video and other general videos to help players through the learning curve for GW2, so stay tuned. I played Guardian and a little bit of Thief this weekend, but I don’t have footage for those classes so that will have to wait until another Beta event.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the game, so please share them!

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Posted in Guild Wars 2, PVP
71 comments on “Initials Impressions of PVP in Guild Wars 2
  1. Crular says:

    Have to agree here, the game looks extremely promising. Of course there is still quite some optimizing to do for ANet, but I am very confident, that they will pull it off.

    I didn’t have so much fun doing open PvP since playing DAoC and I totally dig the warrior in this game, though I would love to have him a third weapon set to switch to. I think they should give all classes having two sets a third one and the others a second. Maybe unlocking the additional one through traits. Would open up some amazing possibilities, but raising the learning bar too.

    The potential for amazing WvW is there, but will surely take some months after release to develop strategies and refrain from zerging around. I expect the beginning to be a zerg fest, until some capable commanders show up and small group pvp starts to begin. But I am pretty sure, that this will happen. I also hope they will implement some WvW ranks, accompanied by some resource (WvW points or something similar) to buy more skills (only usable in WvW) or equipment.

    Totally looking forward to the next BWE and the release of course. And also looking forward to see some nice vids of you playing various classes in this game. Keep up the good work.

    • taugrim says:

      Crular :

      I didn’t have so much fun doing open PvP since playing DAoC and I totally dig the warrior in this game, though I would love to have him a third weapon set to switch to. I think they should give all classes having two sets a third one and the others a second. Maybe unlocking the additional one through traits. Would open up some amazing possibilities, but raising the learning bar too.

      I initially thought having 10 weapon abilities was too few, but I don’t feel that way after playing over the weekend.

      The main reason is that the combat requires so much attention to positioning and distance.

      Crular :

      The potential for amazing WvW is there, but will surely take some months after release to develop strategies and refrain from zerging around. I expect the beginning to be a zerg fest, until some capable commanders show up and small group pvp starts to begin. But I am pretty sure, that this will happen. I also hope they will implement some WvW ranks, accompanied by some resource (WvW points or something similar) to buy more skills (only usable in WvW) or equipment.

      I think the smaller objectives (towers, supply depots) will be takeable by smaller groups. That will help to alleviate domination by the zerg. But certainly the more active and larger faction will enjoy an advantage.

      • Edon says:

        Personally, I really like the idea of being part of the smaller faction and banding with some people to take the secondary objectives. That sense of being a thorn in the side of the enemy intrigues me :). I would love The Old Republic to implement a deeper form of world pvp akin to this. And on that note: when you capture points, is there some mechanic in place that prevents the other faction from recapturing them right away? On Ilum, it was a little annoying when the factions just kept switching possession of fronts continuously. I think a potentially rewarding system would be one where, for instance, you have a relatively brief window to skirmish and recapture a point if it’s taken; if you miss that opportunity, then the other faction receives some small ‘bonus’, and the objective cannot be fought over for X hours…that’s just something off the top of my head. Wow, what a tangent.

  2. Tommythepower says:

    Only thing about PvP i enjoyed in this beta weekend was the WvWvW.
    And i played many hours of PvP. The warzones were just not good.Same old take a flag fight over it.Nothing new really. But the open world pvp in eternal battlegrounds i belive it was called was fun yes.

    Other then that there was not much in the game that i liked,char creator was good and loved the background music.Game was very immersive and some of the pets and quests vere fun.But the lack of trinity was to be honest not good.And i do enjoy raids something this game will not have because everyone can battle rez and no trinity.

    Movememts was sometimes a little of when dodging in pvp.Skills worked well enough
    and alot of the skills were fun to look at.Some classes were just bad in pvp like the engineer i tried.That healing turret did not do it’s job.Way way better then other classes who had a real heal they could use.Because of this a dual could go on for quite some time.

    As i said a fub game but sadly i dont think that game will do good in any other way then maybe pvp arenas for players who enjoy a gaming experience with no trinity.

    • Crular says:

      I think this game doesn’t cater to the players loving the theme park route like SWTOR or WoW are taking. For my part, I am sick and done with that kind of MMORPGs and so glad that finally a company goes back to the roots and “steals” a lot from DAoC. People who are into raiding and doing lots of PvE probably won’t like GW2. You can’t please them all. I am happy that after so many years there is a game at the horizon which suits my style.

      • conwolv says:

        I love GW2 so far. After seeing some of the dynamic event bosses that are basically raid bosses, I hope they change their minds about putting in raids into the as something for guilds to do as a group, but not make it a gear grind but more a skill grind.

        As for the PVP, I didn’t get to do any of it since I was engrossed in the PVE part and playing with the different professions. Really enjoyed the Guardian and think they’re going to be a lot of fun in PVP.

        For that matter, I don’t even know where to go to get into the PVP in the game yet.

        • taugrim says:

          conwolv :

          As for the PVP, I didn’t get to do any of it since I was engrossed in the PVE part and playing with the different professions. Really enjoyed the Guardian and think they’re going to be a lot of fun in PVP.

          For that matter, I don’t even know where to go to get into the PVP in the game yet.

          The learning curve is very steep for the PVP content in the game. I plan on publishing some videos to help explain the basics.

  3. Valkyriez says:

    I played the whole BWE aswell and agree, the skill curve is a little daunting to be honest. At surface value, you go into PvP with the standard build given to you when you go to the mists and see how you go. Its not until you start really poking around in the PvP bank chest, the weapons vendor and in your skills department that you realize…… the complexity in here is huge!. I played a warrior, and it was so much fun to be able to actually switch to a viable ranged build (Rifle or Bow) and use your surroundings to advantage then get up and personal with a greatsword.

    The instanced PvP was great. Destroyable terrain, hidey holes everywhere, no crappy clicking on nodes and rez points in the right place. The only disappointment for me is the direction ArenaNet seem to be going with it. GW1 is famous for it’s balanced Arena deathmatch PvP. It seems Anet is moving away from that to conquest style PvP. I like conquest, but why not have both? Hopefully something they look at for thier tournament mode.

    Oh, and getting to play a different class without having to re-roll for weeks with a gear grind? Awesome. The skill level is so high per class though that you can’t expect to make a mesmer for example then start pwning straight away, much practice to be had.

    The variety in builds will be staggering. Have they gotten rid of the FOTM aspect? It’s too early to tell but I think there is a build for every situation and different team structures will be the FOTM. Dodge mechanics with a tab targetting system is fantastic, so is the “Downed state” imo, it just adds more complexity.

    • taugrim says:

      Valkyriez :

      I played the whole BWE aswell and agree, the skill curve is a little daunting to be honest. At surface value, you go into PvP with the standard build given to you when you go to the mists and see how you go. Its not until you start really poking around in the PvP bank chest, the weapons vendor and in your skills department that you realize…… the complexity in here is huge!. I played a warrior, and it was so much fun to be able to actually switch to a viable ranged build (Rifle or Bow) and use your surroundings to advantage then get up and personal with a greatsword.

      Exactly. I’m being very honest when I say I found it overwhelming at times.

      But the richness in terms of customization is there, especially with the trait and gear system.

      Valkyriez :

      Oh, and getting to play a different class without having to re-roll for weeks with a gear grind? Awesome. The skill level is so high per class though that you can’t expect to make a mesmer for example then start pwning straight away, much practice to be had.

      I was actually a bit surprised that the instanced PVP provides no XP. I get why AN did that, they have a level playing field with gear / trait points parity.

      Leveling in PVE seems noticeably faster than in WvW, which is a bit disappointing.

      • poisonman says:

        really Taug? I didn’t feel that at all, as long as there was action and you were capturing stuff it seemed like the leveling was faster in WvW. I was getting 1,500 to 2,100 XP everytime we captured a keep or tower on top of the kills and other bonuses.

        • taugrim says:

          poisonman :

          really Taug? I didn’t feel that at all, as long as there was action and you were capturing stuff it seemed like the leveling was faster in WvW. I was getting 1,500 to 2,100 XP everytime we captured a keep or tower on top of the kills and other bonuses.

          You are describing a particular context – your side is winning.

          The XP is variable then. If your side is losing, the XP probably looks very different.

          • poisonman says:

            Nah we were far from winning if your talking about the total score, we had times during the weekend where we were holding the most objectives and gaining the most points per “Tick” so to speak, but we were far from winning on any of the 3 match ups over the weekend.

            On Saturday / Sunday Match ups we were in 2nd place, that Friday Match up I think we ended up 3rd, not really sure, didn’t do a whole lot of PvP the first day while learning the game.

            I was on Moledune server, on Friday we were against Darkhaven and I can’t remember the other server’s name, and Darkhaven owned practically everything and had over 100K points.

            On Saturday we were against Crystal Desert (Team Legacy, etc) & some other server I can’t think of the name either who had over 100k points.

            Then Sunday we were against Sorrow’s Furnace & Anvil Rock, this was the best match up, the point totals between the 3 servers were a lot closer.
            (we had more people out in WvW Sunday for our server than we did both previous days combined it seemed, to me at least *shrug*)

            So we were outnumbered all 3 days, but capturing the objectives like I said gave 1,500 – 2,100 XP by themselves not counting any killing or other things going on around you.

            But like I said that all depends on how much action is going on out in WvW and if your actually able to successfully Siege and Capture stuff I guess. So YMMV depending on your server, what day your playing, and what time of day your playing at.

            Thanks for the article as always Taug.

            • taugrim says:

              poisonman :

              So we were outnumbered all 3 days, but capturing the objectives like I said gave 1,500 – 2,100 XP by themselves not counting any killing or other things going on around you.

              But like I said that all depends on how much action is going on out in WvW and if your actually able to successfully Siege and Capture stuff I guess. So YMMV depending on your server, what day your playing, and what time of day your playing at.

              OK good feedback.

              I certainly hope the XP for WvW is solid, as it’s a very entertaining way to level :)

  4. Astynox says:

    Ed Park aka Taugrim,

    Awesome article, I look forward to seeing those class videos on YouTube as I need some schooling in GW2 PvP because I didn’t take part in it over the weekend (I do regret it, slightly).

    I leveled a Norn Warrior to level 11 – then pulled a Jewel Daab (not to mean anything offensive) – and decided to reroll a Human Warrior creating a character called Babydôll that looked similar to Babydoll from the movie Sucker Punch for fun; which I got to level 17 by the end of the beta (wielding a 2h Greatsword & a Longbow). I was going to try Guardian & Thief but I didn’t feel I had enough time to do much with them in PvE (you aren’t boosted to max level there).

    Most of my time was spent, lollygagging, just wondering around, exploring the world, participating in any zone events that would occur such as the Champion Svanir High Shaman, Champion Svanir Marauder, some skill point challenges, and the smaller events that come before hand. PvE in a nutshell. I waited about an hour or so for the Shadow Behemoth to no avail, but it’s okay, plenty of others have the footage, and I even jumped onto a server where he was frozen like a statue so I got a look at him; not attacking, not able to be attacked. I also took part in the finale which was pretty fun, confusing at first, but fun in the end, and then really sad when I found myself at the login screen.

    Similar to Gary Gannon’s press beta experience, I couldn’t help but just wonder around, look at all the stuff, because even in beta, the graphics were mesmerizing. Scenery was so beautiful, I just wanted to explore it all, record videos and take screenshots. The swamp was appropriately ugly, everything was so well done! I did find a single square hole on the top of a wall at a monestary in Queensdale though while holding a keg of ale, lol.

    Apart from the servers being down for about 2 hours Saturday afternoon, any other errors or bugs were far and few between. A lot of the stuff seemed like “oh we forgot about that, quick fix” or “oh that’s just not included in the beta” or just small nitpicky stuff. Some bugs/things they forgot everyone knows about: Scaling of event bosses is bugged (50/50), you can’t keybind Alt, Ctrl, or Shift + (button) at the moment [I wanted to keybind my Adrenaline ultimates to Shift + 1-4 since I use a Razer Naga but I bound the first one to E and my weapon switch to Q to improvise], no choice of Districts (overflow servers), the typical jumping while asleep/sitting emote glitches, etc. (Again, nitpicky things that are more than likely already in their full game in development)

    In response to what you wrote, all I have to say is, a lot of that (concerning positioning and movement & obviously #1 also) goes for PvE as well. With alot of the meta event monsters having deadly AoEs, a good amount of the melee were forced to choose stay back and really think about how they were going to melee and dodge away or if they were just going to relax, stand back, and shoot their pistol, rifle, or bow to deal damage without risk.

    This was honestly the best beta event I’ve ever attended, the most engaging as well. Well, I might be a little biased since I’ve been waiting for this game since they first announced it, but I really believed they delivered. World of Warcraft, Star Wars The Old Republic (I know you like it), RIFT, and TERA Online are going to have to try a lot harder to justify their $15 a month subscription now that the world has seen Guild Wars 2…Just from the beta. They’re really setting a whole new standard here, and I think about how in the full game, we’re going to have an overwhelming amount of stuff that we can do while leveling. All the extra meta events, zones, story line quests, random quests, the festivals they update the game with, rankings in PvP, RP events players or guilds put together, and so much more…People have to realize it’s not all about going from lvl 1 to 80…It’s about the journey in between. Guild Wars 2 is going to be a game where you should want to do everything you can at every single level because due to the sidekick system and the booster, you can do anything at any time anyways so why not take your time and enjoy yourself. Again, it’s not all about the end game like traditional MMORPGs, it’s about everything in between and after that, basically from beginning to eternity (whenever the servers go down years from now; the only thing that will kill Guild Wars 2, is Arena Net. I just feel like there’s something for everyone here…And if there wasn’t in the beta, there definitely will be in the full release, no doubt in my mind.

    Curled up in a ball rocking back and forth until the next BWE,

    Jared Meyer aka Astynox

    • taugrim says:

      Astynox :

      Apart from the servers being down for about 2 hours Saturday afternoon, any other errors or bugs were far and few between. A lot of the stuff seemed like “oh we forgot about that, quick fix” or “oh that’s just not included in the beta” or just small nitpicky stuff. Some bugs/things they forgot everyone knows about: Scaling of event bosses is bugged (50/50), you can’t keybind Alt, Ctrl, or Shift + (button) at the moment [I wanted to keybind my Adrenaline ultimates to Shift + 1-4 since I use a Razer Naga but I bound the first one to E and my weapon switch to Q to improvise], no choice of Districts (overflow servers), the typical jumping while asleep/sitting emote glitches, etc. (Again, nitpicky things that are more than likely already in their full game in development)

      Yea the lack of modifiers for keybinding is annoying.

      Astynox :

      In response to what you wrote, all I have to say is, a lot of that (concerning positioning and movement & obviously #1 also) goes for PvE as well. With alot of the meta event monsters having deadly AoEs, a good amount of the melee were forced to choose stay back and really think about how they were going to melee and dodge away or if they were just going to relax, stand back, and shoot their pistol, rifle, or bow to deal damage without risk.

      That’s good to hear. I only PVE leveled to maybe level 5 and then hit WvW to 9 on my first character (Elementalist).

  5. dryiggles says:

    I totally agree on all points and I actually played the elementalist. I must say it was quite an overwhelming class and look forward to your thoughts in your video on the elementalist.

    I am also very excited to see a game that has a higher skill cap. It will make playing a lot more fun and satisfing especially in the reward for having achieved what you may have personal goals for. To overcome obstacles against other players and the unique feeling of not always knowing what the other player is going to do with such a vast array of abilities between the different professions.

    I did end up playing a necromancer towards the end and loved playing that profession a lot and may go further into that class. I, myself do love to and always challenged myself in playing a higher skilled class in every game I’ve played, but I felt a lot more overwhelmed then I was used to as an elementalist than to the necromancer.

    Thanks for your article it is refreshing to hear that others had the same experience I had felt when playing this weekend.

    ~ dryiggles

    • taugrim says:

      dryiggles :

      I did end up playing a necromancer towards the end and loved playing that profession a lot and may go further into that class. I, myself do love to and always challenged myself in playing a higher skilled class in every game I’ve played, but I felt a lot more overwhelmed then I was used to as an elementalist than to the necromancer.

      Thanks for your article it is refreshing to hear that others had the same experience I had felt when playing this weekend.

      ~ dryiggles

      Since you played both classes, what are your pros / cons for Elementalist and Necromancer, aside from having double the number of weapon skills to manage?

      • dryiggles says:

        I found mobility and getting away a lot easier as an elementalist, but I found that necromancer to have a less glass canon feel to it as you had seen.

        I would say in terms of skill play that elementalist has a higher gap to a necromancer. After seeing your video though I might try elementalist again. I feel like I was just not using the right weapon sets and traits that created a balance.

        I think both classes are great. I think I just felt overwhelmed having to switch elements a lot more as an elementalist then as a necromancer switching weapon sets. I didn’t really get to test necro as much as elementalist, but from what I had gathered those are the things I noticed differently.

        I spent most of my time playing elementalist and only spent about a half a day on the Necro.

        Pros: Elementalist high mobility
        Cons: too squishy / glass canon to the max

        Pros: great damage / survivability
        Cons: less mobility

        I also don’t know if it is good or bad depending on your playstyle, but I felt like Necro had too few abilities and Ele had too many abilities.

        I think that overall though once you find something that works for you elementalist can really be fun, but it definitely is a lot more work and trial and error than when I felt playing a Necro.

        • taugrim says:

          dryiggles :

          I would say in terms of skill play that elementalist has a higher gap to a necromancer. After seeing your video though I might try elementalist again. I feel like I was just not using the right weapon sets and traits that created a balance.

          FWIW, I didn’t have my Elementalist spec’d and geared correctly either. We’ve been theorycrafting since BWE and there are multiple things I would change to make my Sceptre/Dagger Elementalist a very strong kiter with good 1v1 DoT capability and functional off-healing.

          Thanks for the sharing your take on Necro and Elementalist. The Necro class design isn’t typically my thing, so I’m not sure when I’ll try it. It’s really durable if built and played correctly though.

          • dryiggles says:

            I totally agree. And quite honestly I think I just need to get used to the trait system and test a lot more. I think I felt too locked into wanting to spec a certain way and really thinking outside the box.

            But that could also just be a bad habit I need to break coming from the typical MMO where there is only a few setups and the typical 3 “talent trees” whereas GW2 has many that can fit each playstyle.

            Thanks for the responses. I will definitely try to do more testing and figure out what works.

            • dryiggles says:

              I meant “…not really thinking outside the box.”

              Sorry couldn’t edit my last post.

  6. INKS says:

    Hey Taugrim,
    Great write up man as always. I was waiting for your insights into the PVP and am happy you are enjoying it so. I only did about 15 matches or so and I can tell that while I was getting progressivly better over that short amount of time that there was so much more I am going to learn.

    As a PVPer this excites me to no end. I spend several hours in WvW and had a blast, can not wait to get on a vent with players and really talk and communicate it all out.

    I did a long winded write up on my impressions if you have some time wouldnt mind you taking a look. I realize your busy and dont really expect you to get around to it as it is a long read but thought I would take a chance and throw it out there.

    Thanks for your thoughts and commentary as usual.
    Inks
    http://forum.gamebreaker.tv/viewtopic.php?id=4702

    • taugrim says:

      INKS :

      I did a long winded write up on my impressions if you have some time wouldnt mind you taking a look. I realize your busy and dont really expect you to get around to it as it is a long read but thought I would take a chance and throw it out there.

      Thanks for your thoughts and commentary as usual.
      Inks
      http://forum.gamebreaker.tv/viewtopic.php?id=4702

      Thanks for sharing the link to your detailed take :)

  7. Chaz says:

    Taug, thanks for streaming on friday I hope you can show us some Thief gameplay on the next beta weekend.

    Is your guild planing to move over to GW2 when it comes out?

    • conwolv says:

      I played the thief for a while on Saturday. It was fun but I feel like I’d only enjoy them in PVP because of the high burst damage from initiative. Though if you blow all of it, you need to GTFO to be safe.

    • taugrim says:

      Chaz :

      Is your guild planing to move over to GW2 when it comes out?

      I expect that most of our guild members will pick up GW2 at launch.

      Some of us will continue to play SWTOR. TBD.

  8. wasikaboom says:

    I am glad that you liked it, I did too. After leaving the mess that was SWTOR, now i have more reasons to come back to this site more often for the GW articles. So: Yay!

  9. Bombay says:

    I totally agree with you, it’s hard, but when you get used to GW2 it’s a lot of fun too.
    The hardest thing i had to face is keybinding, i tried to rebind my keys different times but never found something really comfortable, what do you suggest? Will you make a video or a post about it (like the RIFT one, which completely changed my performance)?

    • taugrim says:

      Bombay :

      I totally agree with you, it’s hard, but when you get used to GW2 it’s a lot of fun too.
      The hardest thing i had to face is keybinding, i tried to rebind my keys different times but never found something really comfortable, what do you suggest? Will you make a video or a post about it (like the RIFT one, which completely changed my performance)?

      I plan on discussing the keybinding in a future video. But the next one will be for Warrior PVP.

  10. BossFi says:

    World vs World was so addictive that my plans to try other parts of the game went out the window. Cant wait to do WvW with an organised guild. Mesmer is so cool. Everytime someone tried to take me down I just spawned a clone while going into stealth then got away to heal. One guy was running towards me so I spawned 2 clones so it looked like there was 3 of us so then he ran off lol. This game is gonna be awesome!!

    • taugrim says:

      BossFi :

      Mesmer is so cool. Everytime someone tried to take me down I just spawned a clone while going into stealth then got away to heal. One guy was running towards me so I spawned 2 clones so it looked like there was 3 of us so then he ran off lol. This game is gonna be awesome!!

      Mesmer is so freaking annoying to fight. LOL.

      The ability to spawn clones and swap places with the most recent one is very powerful in PVP.

  11. Brytag says:

    hey man

    the game is nothing short of fabulous. its funny though cuz i started out playing friday afternoon actually disliking the game. i hated the combat at first. i couldnt dodge properly, i was getting owned in pve by the mobs, in pvp i had no idea what to do and getting crushed. but once i got the hang of combat, i was having the time of my life. by the time sunday came i was hooked. i couldnt stop playing and was depressed when the beta ended. i cant even log onto ToR anymore. I tried playing it last night and was “fuck i cant play this garbage now after GW2” lol

    not saying ToR is a bad game but GW2 just seemed to get so much stuff right and it was fun and refreshing. like u said, the WvWvW was fun as hell. i spent hours out there and didnt realize it. it will be even more fun when all the siege comes into play.

    i thought i was going to main either warrior or ele. i played them both over the weekend and loved their animations and combat mechanics. but sunday night, around 11pm before beta ended, i tried thief for the hell of it, omg it was awesome. its how thief/rogue needs to be in other MMOs. i usually never play those archtypes cuz i hate having stealth to rely on and only doing my big damage from stealth and after i blow my opener, i feel weak. not in GW2, u are squishy, but u weave in and out of combat and u do incredible damage. only defensive build guardians gave me trouble (as they should) or a well played necro (they never die).

    the other thing i loved (and this ties into ur “horizontal” video) is i can reroll a new class and INSTANTLY get involved in pvp and joining friends in WvWvW or structured pvp. I dont have to lvl all the way to 50 or 60 or 80 and then gear out to be able to play competitively. i can also make a new class and instantly be able to see how they are end game. i can say “let me try necro” and instantly be lvl 80 with all the gear available and all the traits / utilities unlocked and see how i like the class.

    I loved the amount of customization u can do for ur class. want to be a battle / tank elementalist? sure thing, set up ur runes / sigil accordingly. want to me a pistol rogue? no problem. want to me a glass cannon? that can be done as well. options are the spice of life and always good for gamers.

    so the TL:DR version:
    pros – loved the combat and the higher skill cap it has, loved the customization, loved being able to instantly get involved in pvp without having to “level to end game”, WvWvW is awesome (as u said i miss world pvp). frame rates were surprisingly good for WvWvW despite 100 people around. i have only an average comp.

    cons – didnt like i couldnt move around my ability icons. as a sword/shield warrior, 2 was charge and i like charge to be R, however when i switch over to mace, 2 is a spam attack i think which i want as my 2 key.
    the default keys they do are kinda bad (f1-f4) and u couldnt use shift/ctrl/alt modifiers. but u can remod the f1-f4 so this isnt so bad.

    looking forward to the next beta. keep up the good work

    • taugrim says:

      Brytag :

      the game is nothing short of fabulous. its funny though cuz i started out playing friday afternoon actually disliking the game. i hated the combat at first. i couldnt dodge properly, i was getting owned in pve by the mobs, in pvp i had no idea what to do and getting crushed. but once i got the hang of combat, i was having the time of my life. by the time sunday came i was hooked.

      The combat definitely takes time to adjust to. There was a lot of frustration on our guild vent, but it gradually subsided by EOD Sunday.

      Brytag :

      i thought i was going to main either warrior or ele. i played them both over the weekend and loved their animations and combat mechanics. but sunday night, around 11pm before beta ended, i tried thief for the hell of it, omg it was awesome. its how thief/rogue needs to be in other MMOs. i usually never play those archtypes cuz i hate having stealth to rely on and only doing my big damage from stealth and after i blow my opener, i feel weak. not in GW2, u are squishy, but u weave in and out of combat and u do incredible damage. only defensive build guardians gave me trouble (as they should) or a well played necro (they never die).

      That’s exactly how Rogues should be designed. I came to the same realization months ago, before I knew how GW2 was implementing Thief:
      https://taugrim.com/2012/02/03/taugrim-daily-3-my-solution-for-making-rogues-viable-for-sustained-pvp-combat/

      Brytag :

      the other thing i loved (and this ties into ur “horizontal” video) is i can reroll a new class and INSTANTLY get involved in pvp and joining friends in WvWvW or structured pvp. I dont have to lvl all the way to 50 or 60 or 80 and then gear out to be able to play competitively. i can also make a new class and instantly be able to see how they are end game. i can say “let me try necro” and instantly be lvl 80 with all the gear available and all the traits / utilities unlocked and see how i like the class.

      I like how you are leveled to max in structured PVP, but you still have to grind out the levels for WvW PVP.

      Brytag :

      cons – didnt like i couldnt move around my ability icons. as a sword/shield warrior, 2 was charge and i like charge to be R, however when i switch over to mace, 2 is a spam attack i think which i want as my 2 key.
      the default keys they do are kinda bad (f1-f4) and u couldnt use shift/ctrl/alt modifiers. but u can remod the f1-f4 so this isnt so bad.

      Agree with all of the above.

      The game forces you to learn their setup but doesn’t allow you to specify thematic keybinding.

  12. […] https://taugrim.com/2012/04/30/first-impressions-of-guild-wars-2/ Share this:FacebookTwitterDiggStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  13. TORMongo says:

    I mostly played a warrior (horn/sword/rifle) and had a blast. I played it support style keeping speed and shouts up as much as possible.

    For me I felt like range weapons were a
    must to be affective. I didn’t notice any healing being done, are there any single target heals other than self?

    Most complaints were on traveling times, I didn’t feel it bc used my horn abilitie and my sword leap.

    I will play this game for the PvP only, after TOR no story or VO will compare.

    • conwolv says:

      Healing: I didn’t see any heals that directly targeted a friendly. The guardian has a lot of AOE heals and shields that help mitigate damage, but the big heals were all self done.

      This makes the unstoppable healer class a thing of the past in PVP and thus ending the vicious cycle of nerfing and buffing heals every other patch (Rift and SWTOR were both bad about this).

    • taugrim says:

      TORMongo :

      I mostly played a warrior (horn/sword/rifle) and had a blast. I played it support style keeping speed and shouts up as much as possible.

      For me I felt like range weapons were a
      must to be affective. I didn’t notice any healing being done, are there any single target heals other than self?

      Most complaints were on traveling times, I didn’t feel it bc used my horn abilitie and my sword leap.

      I will play this game for the PvP only, after TOR no story or VO will compare.

      You can still PVP with 2 weapon sets as a melee, but there will be times (e.g. z-axis) where you can’t fight back, and it does suck.

  14. conwolv says:

    There’s a lot of talk of “Hype” around this game. While there is a good bit of people talking really highly of this game, it’s more a word of mouth thing than say Hype like SWTOR’s marketing blitz.

    People are talking about this game and it’s getting other people excited to try it. This is exactly what happened to Rift in the beginning.

    It’s my personal belief that this game will change MMOs forever.

  15. Nvrdie says:

    Hi Ed,

    I’m so pleased that you finally got in game time with GW2. I was actually disappointed that you never got Beta access earlier. but hey, we all got there in the end.

    The quality and attention to detail is obvious in GW2, but the thing that really shines for me is how ANet have gone back to basics and re-imagined how an MMo could work. I think this game has so much potential considering how well it played this early in the Beta cycle.

    I agree with all that you have said in your first impressions blog and enjoyed watching your BWE stream. I look forward to all the content you will be making in regards to GW2, I think that it will be a game which will be played avidly by people who like High Skill Cap PvP centric games for a long time to come.

    Oh and next BWE PLAY THIEF… (we all know your gonna hear that a lot for the next month)

    • Nvrdie says:

      P.S

      Why play Thief?

      There is a feeling amongst the GW2 community that Melee < Ranged, Jon Peters has recently responded to concerns in the GW2 forums. He said that there are some issues but that the problem is also one of having to learn to play Melee better.

      Would be great to get your opinion on this.

      • taugrim says:

        Nvrdie :

        P.S

        Why play Thief?

        There is a feeling amongst the GW2 community that Melee < Ranged, Jon Peters has recently responded to concerns in the GW2 forums. He said that there are some issues but that the problem is also one of having to learn to play Melee better.

        Would be great to get your opinion on this.

        This game is hard for melee, because of the dodge-roll and range mechanics. You have to manage your range, the game client won’t prevent you from firing an ability that won’t hit the target.

  16. EuchridEucrow says:

    It’s old but a very good example of someone(one of the devs) that really knows how to play an elementalist in pvp. Good view.

    • taugrim says:

      EuchridEucrow :

      It’s old but a very good example of someone(one of the devs) that really knows how to play an elementalist in pvp. Good view.

      WTB German translator!

      Going to have to watch the whole thing.

      • EuchridEucrow says:

        There is an english speaking dev that does commentary too. I marked the places where both matches begin in the comment section of the youtube page.

  17. Mazzic says:

    I only got to try the beta out for about a thirty hour period in total, but I think it has some real promise. Nothing really new, but some great innovations on established concepts and mechanics that should change things up a bit. I found the evasion mechanics extremely easy to pick up, as I had spent a lot of time playing console games that used the same concept. My only worry is will it appeal to the masses? Let’s face it, when it comes to sites like this, or open discussion on any game, we’re the minority, the majority is rarely heard from.

    I also have concerns about whether the game will truly be free to play or more I guess you call it freemium (meaning you have to pay for certain features like say LOTRO).

    Bottom line, I think it looks extremely promising, but they still have a lot of work to do. Great ideas alone aren’t enough to make a great game, it’s about execution and how you deliver them. We’ll have to wait and see.

    • conwolv says:

      The “Freemium” aspect we saw in the game already. Some cosmetic items (costumes and transmorg type effects for keeping the looks of items you like) and then some XP boosting abilities from killing monsters (considering the lack of large XP from killing monsters, this isn’t a big deal to me).

      The things that will make a difference in the game that you purchase will be the 3 additional character slots (alt-a-holics) and extra bag slots.

      Hopefully they’ll keep it this way, but who knows what the future will bring.

  18. EuchridEucrow says:

    I am not too happy about the bank space thing atm. You share bank space for all characters on your account, cool right? Well not so cool when the stuff starts to accumulate across alts and your shared bank space evaporates. I tried to mail items to myself but you aren’t allowed to do that so you can’t circumvent the system that way. I suppose you could coordinate with another player you trust so that you can mail him something and he just returns it to you for temp storage but that is an awkward and potentially dangerous situation. I looked but couldn’t see ANY way to increase bank space except through gems which means extra real life expense for a basic neccesity of mmo’s. Not happy about that but I am hoping that they will have an in game way of increasing bank space other than making a one man guild and eventually earning enough influence to build a guild bank(with the ability to be in multiple guilds this can be a feasible if amazingly roundabout way to get more “bank” space without spending real money).

    That was the only real complaint I had about my experience in the weekend beta. Well, I don’t like the inability to mouse turn a character’s direction without moving forward either. That was a head-scratching choice on Arena-Net’s part but a really minor gripe on my part.

    • conwolv says:

      Bank slots can be purchased with gems. You can get gems by spending gold or real cash. It’s one of the methods to get some post-purchase revenue sans a monthly subscription. Not too bad of an idea. Buy what you need when you need it. Extra bag, bank and character slots are all something you dont need right away but might later.

  19. Thanks for the first impressions! I didn’t get a chance to play much and didn’t even get to PVP, but I will next time around. I found the skill setup to be too simple. I’m glad to see there are so many possibilities.

  20. […] Thanks to my guildee Top for helping me ramp up on GW2 mechanics and the Elementalist class. As I blogged earlier, the learning curve for GW2 is rather steep! […]

  21. Irishbrewed says:

    It’s the MMO I’ve been waiting on since this genre took off. The complex pvp made it feel zergy at first but as the w/e went on it became less and less chaotic. The positioning as u stated takes time to get use to but it’s deffinately a great new addition to mmo pvp.

    I played every class at max level. That ONE reason is why GW2 “gets it” !

    • EuchridEucrow says:

      Yeah after a while of playing GW2 a weird osmosis takes place and all the chaos starts to make sense. You don’t think you can filter though the partical spam and make enough sense of it to make strategic decisions but there comes a point where that ability kind of “switches on” and you can. It only happens if you “play” it for a while(watching it won’t get this to happen) which is why a lot of people seem to “hate it” at first and then after a while they fall in love with it.

  22. Freddo says:

    Great to see you getting into this game. I didn’t have much time to try the beta but I absolutely love what i saw. It looks good and the gameplay feels fresh. I’m so happy this game won’t be a grindfest for pvp gear once you hit lvl cap, there’s not even a stress to hit lvl cap! Am i right? Bring the skill not the gear, that’s how I interpret GW2. I’m looking forward to play this game in my own pace and to read your thoughts about the game and it’s pvp.

  23. Zarovich says:

    For anyone that has tried the War Zones, Battlegrounds in GW2. How do they compare to the ones in SWTOR? Are they more enjoyable or are they about on the same level? I only pretty much play SWTOR for PVP(War Zones) and I would like an unbiased opinion on this.

    • EuchridEucrow says:

      Battlegrounds have extra elements to them that warzones don’t. There are destructible objects for instance and in map mechanics that can turn a battle around if you effectively take advantage of it like the trebutchet which can win games for you if you use it well on the Kyolo(sp?) map.

      • Zendokun says:

        Nice to see you play the Beta Taugrim. It’s always nice to read and listen to your stuff on PvP of MMO’s. The WvW was very confusing and I would love if it if you made a detailed guide on what to do and certain basic noob strats on how to enter the mists and what to do when you get there. You know, how to enter the WvW map and once you’re in the map where to go or what options you have to help your server etc. I didn’t get to make an arrow cart and still don’t know how to make one. I didn’t know how to use the 10 supply that I randomly got by clicking on some structure that my server had occupied not really knowing it’s purpose back then. Oh and only when I read the forums did I even know that a commander thing existed in which you could practically make an op group and rally people within the WvW. Cheers man! Hope to see you still blogging and streaming.

    • taugrim says:

      Zarovich :

      For anyone that has tried the War Zones, Battlegrounds in GW2. How do they compare to the ones in SWTOR? Are they more enjoyable or are they about on the same level? I only pretty much play SWTOR for PVP(War Zones) and I would like an unbiased opinion on this.

      The 2 battlegrounds in GW2 are well designed.

      Terrain is very complex – lots of chokepoints, z-axis, rocks, etc to create LoS obstructions.

    • Orkela says:

      Right now they all seem to be Domination type games. Hopefully they’ll include some variety in the maps later on. I thought it was cool that you queue into a game and they just continually run back to back. It’s like joining a server on battlefield 3 where the maps just play back to back. They keep going until you choose to leave the game. One annoyance though was that it would break me up from my guildies and force me to play against them. Not sure if it’s intended to be that way or not.

      Also, if you’re familiar with League of Legends. I know one of the maps had a creature you could down for I believe extra points (maybe a buff too, I’m not certain).

  24. Raygun Gothiq says:

    “GW2 has the steepest learning curve of any PVP game that I’ve played.”

    Never played EVE Online, I see. Are we really going to do this again though? I mean SWTOR was bad enough, now we gotta ride this hype train all over again.

    • conwolv says:

      What hype train? People are talking about the game that they’ve gotten to play and talking about what they liked about it. There isn’t a huge marketing blitz like SWTOR nor is there the Bioware/Starwars fanboys trying to make it bigger than it is.

      This reminds me more of how Rift got it’s numbers. It was a surprisingly good game that people talked about to their friends who were convinced to try it as well. That’s not hype. That’s word of mouth, which is a hundred times better than any kind of artificial hype that SWTOR had.

    • EuchridEucrow says:

      I’ve played Eve and it isn’t difficult to play. The famous cliff-like steepness of the “learning curve” is in the massive information overload that you get from your first exposure to it coupled with the rather obtuse and inelegant U.I., and the eye-strainingly tiny text that you still can’t modify in game to this very day. The difficulty of the play mechanics (i.e. movement, combat, quick judgements on the fly) just isn’t there because the pace of the game is fairly glacial. Combat-wise I found Eve to be unmitigatingly dull but the rest of the game(economic, crafting, politics, etc.) was fairly engaging.

      PLEASE NOTE that I said the “play mechanics” aren’t difficult i.e. the slow point and click combat, travel, etc. I’m not talking about the machinations inheirant in the rest of the game(exploration, ratting, mining, wardecs, ship design, etc.)

  25. Jiritsu says:

    Really nice to hear your thoughts. Glad to hear it was positive overall.

    I enjoyed the BWE by playing PvP & PvE with ranger, necromancer and guardian and some PvE only with thief and mesmer because I didn’t have the time to jump in to The Mists with ’em.

    My experience was quite a test of patience cause of all the errors, crashes and bugs I encountered, but I’m glad those have been found out and will be ironed out in the future surely.

    I feel that the learning curve didn’t step on my toes initially as I was very familiar and informed about the system to begin with, but it hit like a brick wall (in a good way ;P) when I started to encounter better players in the structured PvP matches and started to notice the finer details of how some classes engage others in fights. As an example the mesmers, necromancers and guardians were insanely durable (which I didn’t expect from mesmers at all) and could stand against any other class and easily wear them out if the other party was not able to get a firm grip of the situation with interrupts and/or movement control. I’m pleased to see that, like in GW1, the knowledge of your enemies weapons and utilities was one of the best weapons against ’em and played very big role in some of the fights.

    I can’t really personally agree with the thing Nvrdie brought up that melee seems inferior to ranged in many peoples eyes, cause I have the absolute opposite view of it. I played melee focused ranger & guardian and really felt like I was running through people with those and saw the exactly same thing done to me and others when I tried to play ranged. My discussions with my brother regarding warriors had exactly the same tone: they just smack people with no regard of what happens around ’em.. with the exception of those who didn’t catch up with the mechanics yet.

    As some thoughts about the classes there where few things that really stuck with me from the PvP.
    Rangers pets are essential to be kept alive. It is not a hard thing to do, but it took some time to adjust to managing and keeping eye on it’s position on the field. Just simply switching the pet out heals it to full health and pops the other one close to the ranger and the switches cooldown stays quick if the pet was not downed. But if the pet was downed the cooldown jumps from approx. 12-15sec to 45sec (if I recall correctly). The other method to keep it alive is to calling it back from dangerous situations by stance change from aggressive to avoid combat which would make the pet run towards the ranger. The pets offer good supporting damage, various powerful skills and can be a great asset when chasing down and pressuring enemies or even shredding the clones and phantasms down while the ranger can focus on the mesmer (same with necromancers and minions). As a ranger the playstyle had to be very aggressive to be effective. The traps and spirits can help a lot to change the course of standoffs or ambushes, but all the time the ranger needs to put serious pressure on the foe while evading damage or it will have easy time to disengage or withstand the damage and last longer in a fight.
    Guardians force field and blocking abilities were the key point. Deploying a shelter on ally under focus fire, blocking off enemies retreat with a screen or throwing the whole enemy team off from a capture point with the bubble felt awesome and really made the difference in many situations. It almost felt cheap how strong those abilities were. Luring a guardian to fire off one of those abilities to waste or interrupting them will be one darn hard task. Not to forget the support elite which could out heal focus fired allies for a quite awhile.
    I can sum up Necromancers with one short sentence: I don’t get it. Other players seemed to get a good grasp how to play with it, but I really couldn’t make it work.
    I could speculate on the other classes, but I feel that I didn’t get enough time with ’em to really comment more.

    • taugrim says:

      Jiritsu :

      I feel that the learning curve didn’t step on my toes initially as I was very familiar and informed about the system to begin with, but it hit like a brick wall (in a good way ;P) when I started to encounter better players in the structured PvP matches and started to notice the finer details of how some classes engage others in fights. As an example the mesmers, necromancers and guardians were insanely durable (which I didn’t expect from mesmers at all) and could stand against any other class and easily wear them out if the other party was not able to get a firm grip of the situation with interrupts and/or movement control. I’m pleased to see that, like in GW1, the knowledge of your enemies weapons and utilities was one of the best weapons against ‘em and played very big role in some of the fights.

      Necromancer durability surprised me the most. Mesmers can be hard to pin down because of the clones / switching places and stealth.

      Guardians I was expecting to be durable, and they are, but they seem to lack the offensive capability that Necros and Mesmers have.

      Jiritsu :

      I can’t really personally agree with the thing Nvrdie brought up that melee seems inferior to ranged in many peoples eyes, cause I have the absolute opposite view of it. I played melee focused ranger & guardian and really felt like I was running through people with those and saw the exactly same thing done to me and others when I tried to play ranged. My discussions with my brother regarding warriors had exactly the same tone: they just smack people with no regard of what happens around ‘em.. with the exception of those who didn’t catch up with the mechanics yet.

      I wouldn’t say that melee in GW2 are inferior – they are just harder to play compared to your typical MMO because of the mechanics for range and landing strikes.

      Jiritsu :

      Guardians force field and blocking abilities were the key point. Deploying a shelter on ally under focus fire, blocking off enemies retreat with a screen or throwing the whole enemy team off from a capture point with the bubble felt awesome and really made the difference in many situations. It almost felt cheap how strong those abilities were. Luring a guardian to fire off one of those abilities to waste or interrupting them will be one darn hard task. Not to forget the support elite which could out heal focus fired allies for a quite awhile.

      There was a Guardian in one of our Structured PVP games that was a brick wall. Did no damage, but he was incredible at holding nodes.

  26. EuchridEucrow says:

    taugrim :

    There is an english speaking dev doing commentarty too but I went and marked the beginnings of both matches in the comment section.

    EuchridEucrow :
    It’s old but a very good example of someone(one of the devs) that really knows how to play an elementalist in pvp. Good view.

    WTB German translator!
    Going to have to watch the whole thing.

  27. bunnymittens says:

    It worries me that YOU are saying the learning curve is steep O_O

    I play mmo’s alot because I enjoy it, but Im still a ~meh~ gamer that became a semi-competent one only after going through your blog, taking notes, following your videos over, and over, and over, and over, buying a razer naga, nostromo, installing autohotkey, making macros out the ying-yang, and just about any edge i can get just to get up to average level playing :p

    So if this game is giving YOU a hard time, then I may as well throw in the towel and start roleplaying, or stick to crafting bags X_x

    Looking forward to watching your gw2 videos with my pens and notepads, ready to take notes :9 Thanks for all the details in your commentaries, It really helped me alot in rift and swtor.

    -mittens-

    • taugrim says:

      bunnymittens :

      It worries me that YOU are saying the learning curve is steep O_O

      So if this game is giving YOU a hard time, then I may as well throw in the towel and start roleplaying, or stick to crafting bags X_x

      Looking forward to watching your gw2 videos with my pens and notepads, ready to take notes :9 Thanks for all the details in your commentaries, It really helped me alot in rift and swtor.

      -mittens-

      It’s a lot of information to process in one weekend if you hope into the PVP Lobby (the Mists) and then do the Structured PVP, since you are 80 and have the full suite of skills, traits, and gear upgrades to work with.

      Now that I’ve played the game the GW2 Wiki information makes a lot more sense.

      You’ll get up-to-speed, just takes time.

  28. Ozmosis says:

    I’ve not seen anyone ask, but how was the tab targeting system in GW2? I wouldn’t think it would be a question to ask but after seeing how terrible SWTOR made their tab targeting system I have to ask. Coming from WOW I’m constantly frustrated in TOR trying to target the person right in front of me and it won’t give it to me.

    • taugrim says:

      Ozmosis :

      I’ve not seen anyone ask, but how was the tab targeting system in GW2? I wouldn’t think it would be a question to ask but after seeing how terrible SWTOR made their tab targeting system I have to ask. Coming from WOW I’m constantly frustrated in TOR trying to target the person right in front of me and it won’t give it to me.

      Tab targeting works fine in GW2.

  29. Nightbird says:

    Do you foresee any type of keep trading or anything similar to what hurt Warhammer? It seems like the WvW is more about actually winning the 2 week match than building up glory/rp/valor. I really don’t want to leave TOR but it’s complete lack of objective based world PvP and large scale fights has me really bummed out. This game seems like it could be the game to finally fill the void DAoC left me with.

  30. Yhumar says:

    The game looks like it’s 10 years old. I usually don’t complain about graphics for an mmo but this is a bit too much. I’m gonna skip this one out.

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