Monday, April 30, 2012

Guild Wars 2 Beta Impressions

Disclaimer:  The following are my personal thoughts and opinions.  I am not being compensated by N.C. Soft for this.

This  past weekend was the long awaited Guild Wars 2 open beta weekend and all I can say is WOW!  The graphics are even more spectacular then the original it really is mind blowing.  Beta being an open beta the game is well polished.  Very few bugs or problems from what I experienced.  Now for the details.

Character creation is fairly standard.  Pick a race, gender, tweak the character looks, etc, however, there is one slight difference. When creating your character you also create some back story for him/her.  It's nothing in depth just some basics like being from the nobility or commoner.  The game developers then take this elements and then interweave them into the overall storyline for the PvE portion of the game.  I find this approach refreshing plus it gives a uniqueness to your character.  Granted there will be countless others that make the same background choices as you but it won't be everyone. After signing the bio it's off to the tutorial and some story introduction.

Whenever I participate in a new beta the tutorial always flies by with me remembering very little.  From just ogling at the graphics to being swept away by the rest of the players the whole entire point of the tutorial goes by the way side.  What I do remember of it is the big bad baddie at the end that sends you off to the infirmary for some much need rest.  It's the first hint that there is something evil lurking in the world. 

When you wake-up from your little nap you are sent to the city of Divinity's Reach.  OMG!!!!  This is what I've always imagined a MMO city to be.  Huge, Massive, and Gorgeous!  I explored every square inch of the place and was amazed at every turn.  I also had to find all the exploration points and waypoints. (Exploration points are just that places to go find.  Waypoints are points for quick travel.  They do cost a little to use but it beats walking half way across the map.) You are sent into the main city to start on the overall storyline and of course to familiarize yourself with the city.  After finishing the story arc parts in the city it is time to go explore the region outside, Queensdale.  This is where you Guild Wars 2 differs from Guild Wars. There are people all over the place in contested areas.  No longer is it instances where the only time you see another soul is when you hit a town, outpost, city, etc.  Quests are also a little different.  No longer will they clutter a quest journal but instead will activate when you are in the area of the quest objectives and the rewards all come to you in the mail.  Now there is nothing earth shattering new in the quest variety just the stuff you all know and love.  Also something new this time around is the world events.  If you've played Rift these would be the equivalent of rifts or if you have played Everquest 2 these would be the equivalent of public quests.  The objectives for them range from kill, kill, kill, to escort and protect.  I found them to be delightfully fun especially the ones they mark as "group".  I did find that the objectives for the world event will scale depending on the number of players in the area. 

One note on the overall quest arc.  You get to make choices!  Granted in the end everyone will get to the same point but you get to decide on the next step on occasion, such as going to a party or searching a home.  This will bring some re-playability with additional characters since the next time around you can make the opposite choices.

Since I was concentrating on just the one area I really didn't venture past Queensdale.  I did take the portal to Lion's Arch and it most assuredly was no the Lion's Arch of my youth! 

All in all I can't wait for the this to go live!  I look forward to everything I didn't get to see.

Just WOW!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And So It Begins

Yes, I am still alive!  Last few months has been dealing with sickness and a work schedule that has me working more hours.  Oh what fun!

And so it begins....

Great words when embarking on some grand adventure, project, scheme, etc.  It really sets the tone that something memorable will happen.  In this case it is referring to this years SOE Live (formally Fan Faire) cloak project.  I have been attending the event for the last several years and have always been impressed with the ingenuity and craftiness of those that decide to try their hands at costumes.  Last year I took my first stab at one.  I decided to recreate one of the cloaks found in game for Everquest 2.  It wasn't my original choice but with only 3 months to work with I went with option 2.  I chose a cloak entitled "The Cloak of Clockwork Dreams".  It was an experience to make and personally I think it came out looking gorgeous.  I didn't enter the contest with it.  It was just the cloak and really had no clothing to truly make it shine.  (Truth was I was too chicken to enter. :P)

This year I am creating the cloak I wanted to do last year.  This time around I have 6 months to finish it and an outfit to go with it. Even with the required procrastination time there should be enough time to accomplish everything.  This years cloak is entitled "The Cloak of the Harvester".  To obtain it requires a somewhat lengthy quest line where you go around harvesting a variety of fauna, rocks, and animals to get specimens for a delightful young boy named Qho, who is the quest giver.  (By the end every player is looking for an opportunity to have him take a long walk off a short pier.)

This years project:

To tackle something like this requires a great deal of reverse engineering with some creative liberties.  I don't believe game artist think "wonder if this can be recreated in reality" when designing clothing, armor, weapons, houses, etc.   Stay tuned for regular updates and whining!

"And so it begins..."
Babylon 5, Season 1, Episode "Chrysalis"  

Everquest 2 is the trademark and copyright of Sony Online Entertainment. In no way is it my original work.