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Author Topic: Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend: ask me stuff  (Read 3137 times)
« on: May 30, 2012, 11:44:35 AM »

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Raf_Cian
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 1
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Arena Net has announced the date for the next Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event: June 8th

Iíve tried doing at some discussion asking for things to test during the press test, and the interest from the crowd was... well of those present only Draykin was interested. Any interest is better than none, but even if it turns out only me and Draykin will be playing Guild Wars 2, having a thread to memorialize things down will keep me from repeating myself.

It also gives me the benefit of allowing more than just the people who happen to be on in the chat at that particular moment to respond. So go ahead and ask me questions of things to check out, or ask questions about what I have already checked out.

List of what I have already checked out followed by what Iím planning to check out are as follows:

Professions
Guardian: I have a level 20+ charr guardian. Needless to say I LIKE this profession, and while the melee issues need to be corrected, new BWE means a new build meaning corrections may have been made.
Necromancer: Got to level ten, and enjoyed it. New build may mean things have changed, but I they would have to turn on a dim to make things less fun. Since Guild Wars 2 practices iterative deisgn, this may have changed.
Mesmer: Created and have deleted a Mesmer. Created it because I planned on playing it, deleted it because between my own confusion about certain issues with the pet AI made things less fun than it should be. Will need to come back to this class when the pet AI issue is finally fixed.
Elementalist: I played one during the short eightish hour stress test, partly looking for a replacement for the Mesmer and partly at Draykinís recommendation. Certainly more fun than the Mesmer, but didnít unlock enough skills to have a proper opinion on it. They wonít be deleting the old characters for the next BWE, so I will be continuing to test the Mesmer this weekend.

Engineer: Both me and Draykin(based on the stress test questioning) want this to be my next profession to check, so I will be rolling a level one engineer during this weekend once I have a good idea of how the Elementalist plays.
Other Professions: While I plan to play a Ranger, Iím withholding testing one till the pet AI is fixed. I donít have a big desire to play the Warrior and Thief, but I will test them eventually. Based on the previous BWE I will have time to test three professions, and unless I check the forums to find out the pet AI is fixed Saturday would be the time to test Warrior or Thief.

PvE
We have know we have Human, Charr, and Norn starting areas plus their associated explorable zones up till level 25. We do not know yet what they will be adding in the new build for the BWE. Theyíve had the area north of Lionís Arch in previous demos so it would be easy(ish) for them to drop that in if they didnít already I and just didnít notice, but its level 25-35 so Iíd need to level my charr a bit before exploring that.

Otherwise... there was a PC magazine exclusive on the asuran starting area last month that makes it encouraging that they are almost ready to give us that starting area, but we have no clue if it will be coming now or not. They have a week and a half to tease us with new information, and they will be taking advantage of every tease they can get.

PvP
I havenít PvPed and donít plan to, sorry. If you have questions I can answer them based on keeping track of the academic information released to the public and reported on by other people.

Screenshoting
Requests open. My computer is not 1337 enough to do video captures but I plan on print screening as often as I can think of it. If there is a certain aspect of the game you want explored, ask for it and Iíll try to satisfy.
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 11:55:22 AM »

Pyro
"I want to be a tree."
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Geary
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I plan on playing Guild Wars 2 if the combat is engaging, but, I do have to ask, is the combat any different from the original Guild Wars? Also, how exactly does the Necromancer play in this game? Would a build based around life steal spells, assuming they're present, be viable?
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Geary: That means you get a companion for four levels, then it gets an upgrade.
Draykin: A very PAINFUL upgrade.
* Digital_Vulpine eeps, since the rules don't specify that I'm exempt from the psychic link that Wizards have with their familiars. o_o;
Geary: GET YOUR PET DRUNK.
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 02:19:20 PM »

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Raf_Cian
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 1
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@ Geary concerning combat

Combat in Guild Wars 2 is more engaging then Guild Wars (1). It isnítí a full action game like Terra or Vindictus, but you can use many skills while on the move and without targeting the enemy in question. Things like line of sights, whether you are in range, and ďhey those red circles on the ground are where enemy AoEs are about to landĒ are all important to your survival.

All this currently makes ranged more viable than melee at the moment since melee must be in the enemies face to get things done; enemies will telegraph big attacks it isnít that easy to see that the giant is raising his arms for a power stomp when all you can him from the hips down. The fact that Guild Wars 2 will grind your face in hard for Ďunsmart gameplayí doesnít help, but due to the rally system tasting the dirt every once in awhile is just part of the learning curve.

The viability of melee against the maximum side of the curve of the dynamic event scaling is something that is being looked into. How much progress theyíve made on this issue is something that is being looked into. There are other issue like pet AI that is being worked on (they tend to just stand around for a good few seconds when combat is either started or they are first summoned; minor issue with ranger pets and necromancer minions but major issue with mesmer clones and guardian spirit weapons), but once again this is a clear up front issue they are working on. These BWE are real betas that should help with a very polished game on release.

An important thing to note on the combat: a profession will play very differently across its different weapon sets. Pick them up and try them out till you find the ones that you enjoy using. Be familiar with all of them in case there is a situation where you want one in particular, but experiment to find your personal sweat spot. Youíll know it when you find it. For me it was sword and focus for the guardian with axe and focus on the necromancer; it will most likely be different for you.

@Geary concerning the necromancer

Two important things to note.

One, Arena Net uses an iterative design process, meaning they are not afraid to toss things out. They did some major revamps on the Necromancer coming into last BWE in an effort to make the weapons each feel like they had a special role, but just because they did all that work doesnít mean theyíll wonít change things again for the BWE coming next week. The staff, for instance, was very fun with every mark (their standard targetable AoE skill) placed on it, but there is a chance it was too fun. Their goal is to find what works.

Two, no class can do everything but all profession can do many different things... just not all at once. Theyíre working on making sure all professions have some form of damage, support, and control available to them. Necromancers in a very quick rundown can spread a wide array of conditions, summon minions with utility skills and traits, mark the ground with well and marks to hex enemies and buff allies, and yes they can lifedrain.

The most important part of any profession is their feature, and the feature of the Necromancer is their death shroud. Death shroud is basically a secondary forum where you have a second degenerating healthbar called lifeforce and new set of four skills to play around with. You have to learn these skills like your weapon skills, meaning going into death shroud and killing enemies. Overall, death shroud can be a big damage spike if you choose to speck it that way with traits but by default it mostly makes you more durable than other casters since you have a second lifebar you can switch too if you sense a lot of stuff is about to come your way.

As for a focus on lifedrain... itís possible but not as much right out of the gate. Right out of the gate youíll have the option of main hand daggerís second skill that can be used every twelve seconds. Skills in Guild Wars no longer cost energy, so itís all managed by cool downs now. Now the dagger is a very close range weapon currently, so youíll be taking some risk with a life drain spec out the gate but it becomes more viable as you unlock more skills. Youíre first utility skill will open up the option of signet of locusts, which passively increases speed and on use triggers an AoE lifedrain. Greater traits are where most of the life draining is at though; focus your trait points into Blood Magic and youíll open up your first greater trait choice for Blood Magic by level twenty. When you hit level forty youíll be able to buy your master trait book allowing you to invest up to twenty points in a trait line, meaning youíll probably want to use that free respect to get the fifteen point blood magic minor trait Vampiric which in last build allowed life drain with every hit no matter the weapon skill.

Guild Wars 2 likes to encourage diversity and intensity across the game. Diversity comes into how much you can do at one time. Yes, you can only start seriously life draining at level forty, but youíll never be only lifedraining; at level seven, forty, or eighty the importance is on using everything you got rather than just one overwhelming focus. Intensity comes from the game not starting only at endgame; rather endgame is first game. Stuff may be more forgiving in the level 1-15 level zones, but there are challenges in there that are just as thrilling as the bosses you fight at the end of your tutorial zones. And while you gain more power as you level up, you get scaled down in statistical power to a level appropriate for the content youíre fighting. Meaning while keep your epic late game life stealing abilities, fighting in a low level area doesnít trivialize the content.

But yeah... if you want to get an idea on how to play the necromancer, just stare at the wiki skill page and itís talent page to get an idea on what is available. All is likely to change come the BWE.
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2012, 09:24:49 PM »

Pyro
"I want to be a tree."
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Geary
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 3
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Ah, so Necromancer in Guild Wars 2 tends to be more of either a close-range assassin type character or a minion master? Either way, definitely going to give the former a shot on the next stress test or when the game is released.
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Geary: That means you get a companion for four levels, then it gets an upgrade.
Draykin: A very PAINFUL upgrade.
* Digital_Vulpine eeps, since the rules don't specify that I'm exempt from the psychic link that Wizards have with their familiars. o_o;
Geary: GET YOUR PET DRUNK.
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2012, 09:42:30 PM »

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Raf_Cian
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 1
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@Geary

...right, from the top.
With a main hand dagger they are a close range lifestealer. With utility skills they can summon an army of minions regardless of weapon set. Different weapon sets and different utility skills produce different results. Main hand axe is about spiking one target for damage from a distance, main hand scepter is about inflicting a steady streams of bleeding and poison, and the two handed staff is about area of attacks. Utility skill don't just have minions but corruptions skills that inflict conditions on you along with their standard effects (which works will with Consume Condition and Plague Signet), while well are a mix of defensive and offensive area of effects. A necromancer will (once you reach level seven) always have two weapon sets, three utility skills not counting healing and elite, and their profession feature Death Shroud.

Honestly, you really need to spend some time behind the wheel and try things out. When you get in game your equipped with a one handed weapon, which supplemented by an off hand once you leave the tutorial. You mind find whatever combo your wielding to be the bomb, but you also might hate it. You have to remember that that is only one weapon set; you need to run the gambit of all the weapon skills a profession can use before you pass judgement on the class as a whole.

@Any whom it may concern...
Concerning the BWE 2
Spent a lot more time on my Guardian that I original intended. After being left with the same character from last BWE, I decided I owed it to myself to push him up to the upper tiered content to be ready for any other tiers of content they unlock next BWE. Still got a decent amount of progress on testing out other professions.

The Guardian:
Aside from being a better guardian player at the end of the weekend than I was at the start, I mostly have to say that improvements made to the scepter was definitely good for PvE. There are some PvP people who say that is isn't enough in World versus World, but I just hope they don't break it by trying to fix it more.

The Elementalist
Unlocked all it's skills and got a decent feel for the profession. It's certainly playable, though it's better when everything is unlocked and you have full range of your power. Trying to use the skills in nonideal situations just so I can level them was... less than fun. Fire tends to be offensive in a group, Water support in a group, Air offensive solo, and Earth Defensive solo. All the weapons but main hand dagger had some appeal to me, including off hand dagger.

The Warrior
A big surprise: this was fun. I knew certain weapon sets appealed to me from pondering the class before, but once again trial was the acid test for daydreaming. I always thought it would be warhorn off hand with any mainhand I thought passable, rifle as the other weapon set. Now I'm thinking duel weilding maces with either the rifle or longbow depending on if I'm expecting trash mobs or expecting a big boss.

The Engineer
I unlocked all the weapon set skills on this guy, but that isn't enough for the engineer. Their utility skills are more important due to their profession feature Tool Belt taking advantage of them. Still, even with just the weapon sets this class was fun. I'll just need to add on some levels next time I play so I can get a handle on all those utility skill slots.

The Thief
I didn't complete unlocking this profession's weapon skills, but I was still pleasantly surprised. Most people make the thief look like a paper flamethrower, but by this point I'm at least a junior adept at the Guild Wars 2 combat system. You're control conditions are important to maintaining a strong defense, and the thief control condition of choice is blind just like the guardian. I'll definitely want to get to know this profession more during the upcoming stress test.

The New Traits and Skill System
...I like it. Things are cheaper overall and forcing people to have more skills means they'll have a selection to figure out what does or does not work for them, just like weapon sets. It annoys some meta gamers who think they know everything but overall it will help more people enjoy the game and competitive PvP has everything unlocked anyway.

Moving Forward
There is a stress test coming next Wednesday. I'm going to be spending it on the thief since that is what I'll have time for in just a sort four hours. For the next BWE (and we expect there to be at least one more) I will have hoped that they would have fixed pet AI so I can check the Ranger and recheck the Mesmer. Either way I also need to spend more time leveling an engineer to see how easily I can handle the tool belt.

We might be wrong on all this retention being a lasting thing, though. There is heavy suspicion that the remaining races will be in the next BWE simply because we expect for them to spend some time testing them before launch. It is theoretically possible that they are taking the lessons learned from the existing race's area and apply them to the jungle, but that still falls short of actual testing. Overall we'll simply have to wait and see. At least they appear on the ball with the new stress test.
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2012, 12:31:18 PM »

eater of souls. devourer of worlds.
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LoCk
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When is the next beta weekend? I really want to play again :(
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is that the sound of a geiger counter or my lifespan counting down? its both! here at black mesa when we say half life we mean it in more ways than one.
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2012, 05:01:18 PM »

Pyro
"I want to be a tree."
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Geary
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 3
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Next beta weekend hasn't been announced, but they are having a stress test (unlike SOME games released recently) on the 27th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PDT (GMT-7).
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Geary: That means you get a companion for four levels, then it gets an upgrade.
Draykin: A very PAINFUL upgrade.
* Digital_Vulpine eeps, since the rules don't specify that I'm exempt from the psychic link that Wizards have with their familiars. o_o;
Geary: GET YOUR PET DRUNK.
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2012, 04:36:05 PM »

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Raf_Cian
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 1
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2nd Stress Test is done. Aside from some the occasional problem loading an instance or connecting to the public server when leaving an instances it was very non-stressful. Spent three hours on the thief and fifty minutes on the engineer... could have added ten more, but I would have just been poking around trying to find interesting NPCs to talk to. The important point is that I unlocked their skills and then took them on the ultimate challenge of the usability of a skill set by taking them through the personal story a bit. Onto the game play reactions...

Thief
The more offense you bring to the party the more glass cannon you are: there is no question now, the reason why a lot of people keeping on crumpling on the thief in videos is because they just don't pack for the long haul. Guild Wars 2 is not a game where you can spike down mobs and stealth isn't an defensive answer when you're soloing. Main hand dagger and off hand pistol provides the defense I need to stay in melee, and the longbow is a much more versatile that the more popular double pistols. End answer is that I could definitely play a thief.

Engineer
Actually had some educational learning experience here. Nothing teaches you how to play more than getting your [censored] handed to you once or twice... at least in Guild Wars 2. Pistols and shield appears to be stable ground for me, while the as expect it takes a lot of training to remember that the utility skills matter... at least after abusing signets on my Guardian for so long. It will be more fun in a group than solo, but I can still see myself playing an Engineer still.

Going Forward
...just waiting for the announcement about the next BWE. I still feel like I need to give the Ranger and Mesmer a chance, but at the moment I feel that I am capable of going into the game without them since I am on some level able to handle myself in all of the non-pet professions. It would still be nice if they fixed the pet AI. Oh well, we shall see what comes...
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2012, 08:31:07 PM »

Pyro
"I want to be a tree."
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Geary
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You forgot to talk about the event that happened near the end of the stress test. ;3
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Geary: That means you get a companion for four levels, then it gets an upgrade.
Draykin: A very PAINFUL upgrade.
* Digital_Vulpine eeps, since the rules don't specify that I'm exempt from the psychic link that Wizards have with their familiars. o_o;
Geary: GET YOUR PET DRUNK.
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2012, 12:44:42 PM »

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Raf_Cian
Mage of Caerreyn, Level 1
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My player wasn't in that event Geary. That particular stress test was so short he literally spent all his time just playing what needed to be tested.

Anyway, onto the BWE 3... which involved my player playing as me, so feigning schizophrenia on the internet is now on!

Ranger
Giving the ANet team as long as humanly possible to fix the Pet AI appears to have worked wonders. Mind you their AI isn't smart enough to constantly disengage and reengage the enemy, so their going to be dieing a lot. But you'll be surprised how durable they are if you just do a simple thing like popping your heal skill to heal your pet as well as yourself. My player's rating of the ranger is much improved, actually putting it in a tie with the warrior briefly for fifth place on the profession order. Ultimately it was a prestige armor that made up his mind for him, but more on that later...

Mesmer
This was a lot better than before. Part of it was learning how to play better than BWE 1, and part of it was the super amazing root skill the sylvari have that will hopefully not be nerfed. But mostly there where just a lot of little improvements. Not enough for PvE, but still enough that the PvP crowd are cheering. A lot of their power is wasted on short fights or less useful on larger groups, and you need both to rock things up in PvE. So better the Mesmer still sits at eighth place for my player.

The Asura Race
These guys used to be my player's least favorite race. Now he has four favorite races and one that is somewhat decent... and the decent one is the norn. Seriously, what made him think that he wouldn't love a race of little mad scientists? My personal story was wonderful, and the aesthetics of their monolithic architecture in the middle of a jungle might be the most beautiful things in all of Guild Wars.

The Sylvari Race
My player came into the game liking this race so much that I really almost nothing to say about them. As said before, their tier one utility skill Grasping Vines is very useful on a mesmer. Mind you, certain racial skills will be more powerful to certain professions based on what mechanics they're lacking, and a powerful root... definitely not a mesmer thing. In contrast the sylvari also have a lot of plant turrets that are inferior to an engineer's turrets but situationally useful on other professions. Otherwise... same going in as out: I love how they look after their redesign and type of character I was able to produce in character creation.

Unexpected Additions: Cultural Armor and Preview System
Yes, we can now preview armor on our characters in Guild Wars 2. Which went well with trying out all the racial armors for sale in in the racial capitals. Not all the vendors where correctly labeled, but that is mostly a busy work thing that the team will correct fairly close to launch. The point is that each race has three tiers of armor for each of the different grades of armor. That makes nine sets of racial armor. My player had a lot of fun trying things out, to the point he blew on hour on Sunday just making a few characters just to try out armor on them. It was fun, and as said before it was the appearance of the Sylvari heavy armor that made him decide on warrior over ranger: rough touch and barky, just like my player's Sylvari Fimnai.

That's Tier 3 Heavy Sylvari armor, previewed on my level ten sylvari mesmer, so as it currently stands you can preview armor across profession armor restrictions. Not sure if that will remain at launch, but it was certainly fun and productive.

Jumping Puzzels
Love Vistas, Accept Skillpoints, Hate Treasure Chests. Basic summary of my player's opinion of jumping puzzles. My player's guild had a field day going to all the known jumping puzzles, and it was pure madness. The one in the fields of shemoor was timid enough, but everything else across all the other starter zone's where brutal. Also, when lava kills me slower than a firetrap, mother nature needs to pay the heating bills. But yeah, I won't be touching these outside of group events because they are no fun unless there is someone there laughing at how terrible you are.

In an odd bit of peculiarity, I might touch the dungeons on my own time. At the end of the lava jumping puzzle there was an insane asura inventor who went into trap boss mode on us... that was fun. Almost fun enough to make the lava jumping worth it, but no... I'd rather just have the rewarding boss fight without the my player loosing any more hair.

Raf Cian
Yep, and now for some screenshots of me. My player wanted to get a real handle on how the engineered played, so he rolled me as one and saved his ranger testing on another charr incarnation of Ryan. So, without further delay: me straight out of the character creator. I know, it's a little lacking. I would have preferred if those splotches where a shade more gold, but one has to work within the color pallet presented to you. I do rather like how my player choose short ears rather than one you can spot from orbit.

But yeah... not much else to share. As said before my personal story will kick all kinds of posterior. By the end of the beta I managed to upgrade to my level 25 rawhide and of course my player preplanned my endgame armor. That's mostly tier two asuran medium armor, with the substitution of the tier three shoulder pads and my profession starting headgear. So much of the asuran head gear insisted on covering up the hair.

So for the most part I'm now as thrilled to get in there and start rocking Guild Wars 2 as much as my player. Ryan better watch out, because I'm planning to muscle in on his screen time now.

The End of BWE3 Event
In a nutshell... parody of the hunger games. Guild Wars 1 loved a lot of shout outs, and Guild Wars 2 is no different. As long as it can be fit into game without completely breaking immersion, they'll name drop their own mother if you let them. Basically a four team shoot-em-up for half an hour. 7 or so minutes to practice your skills. 15 minutes of no death penalty. And then the remaining fifeteen minutes floating around as a 'helper bot' after you die. The whole parody bit comes around with the 'hunger' mechanic of health degenerating once the match officially begins, and the fact that the right side of your skill bar requires power up to be used at all, including the rations for your health.

It was a lot of fun even for someone who just doesn't play PvP out of principles. One of the funniest moments was when someone starting shooting the large group of helper bots for the ammo we where carrying, I managed to kill him with my reflective shielding. I guess none of the other helper bots had played a guardian before because they spent the whole time trying to guess what had killed him. Aside from that it was just a bit of a lark. A lark where everyone looked completely awesome but still just a lark.

And that's my report. I'm still accepting questions, but otherwise... me and my player can't wait for the early release on August 25th. Now if you'll excuse me I have another Guild Wars 2 thread to post to in this forum.
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