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:
- 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)
- 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:
- Players and the community are going to spend countless hours researching and experimenting with various specs for each class
- The game has a very high learning curve
- 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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