And The Rest

Let’s go ahead and wrap up the rest of my Guild Wars 2 impressions.

Point 10: Making Bank

Guild Wars 2 has, by far, the best inventory management system I have seen in a videogame. And it was a feature I only discovered accidentally in my final few hours of playtime.

This needs to be in all games, ASAP.

It is called the Collectible Tab and it is to my eternal shame that I did not take a screenshot.

Essentially, the Collectible Tab is hundreds of organized, square silhouettes that represents all of the trade and crafting goods in Guild Wars 2 (and maybe more besides). Instead of you needing to waste precious bank space with your stacks of Jute scraps (e.g. Linen Cloth), you merely drag it to the Collectible tab and it automatically gets sorted and contained in its own little square. Or, you know, you can simply right-click the item and select the “Deposit Collectible” option. From anywhere. And by “anywhere” I mean, literally, anywhere you can open the Inventory screen. Farming bandits and find your bags are overflowing with the pilfered trophies from corpses of men you murdered in cold blood? Two clicks and you are done.

I did not think to check whether there is an upper-limit to the stack size of items stored in the Collectible Tab. All I know is that I no longer will need to do my OCD WoW bank routine wherein I manually alphabetize herbs by expansion, rarity, and the aesthetic qualities of the icon. Simply put, the banking system in Guild Wars 2 is built out of win.

Point 11: The AH on the other hand…

There is a very specific thing that happened to the AH, for a very specific reason, and it has soured my experience with it somewhat. What happened was this:

Oh, RMT. Is there ever a bridge too far?

Basically, ArenaNet took the ability of players to retrieve their successful auctions from anywhere, limited it to the Trading Post NPCs, and then are selling consumables in the cash shop to allow you to pick up your items anywhere… for 5 minutes. Considering you can teleport to within 30 yards of the Trading Post NPCs at any time from any where, this might come across as a tad… nitpicky. Entitled, even.

But let us be clear what is going on here. You can sell, buy, and browse the AH from anywhere in the game world at any time. And during the first beta weekend, you could also pick up your successful auctions (money and items both) from anywhere as well. Now you cannot, and there is consumable cash shop item that temporarily restores the functionality. Granted, the Trading Post NPCs did not have much of a purpose before, but that is a design problem with an easy solution, e.g. remove them. Or leave them as reminders to those who forgot you can access the AH from anywhere by pressing “O.”

I can recognize the cognitive dissonance between my accepting as intuitive the fact that you cannot withdraw from your bank from anywhere, and the obviously analogous Trading Post situation. Maybe this is only an issue with my seeing the monetizing team in action – had this been in the first beta weekend, it might be that I wouldn’t have thought any different. Nevertheless, I seen what they did last summer, and I had/have a problem with this change.

Everything else about the AH is fantastic, although I must admit that Buy/Sell orders somewhat diminishes the thoroughly soothing gameplay I find in searching for AH bargains.

Point 12: Guilded

I did not actually join a guild, but I thought this was a good idea:

Kinda like a Background Check.

When you click on a Guild invitation, it takes you to a screen that allows you to actually look at said Guild’s roster before joining. This is another of those common sense features that you wonder why are not in more games. The only thing missing is a Cover Letter and perhaps a list of three things the Guild is bad at.

Point 13: Minecrafting

This is 100% a personal preference thing, but I’m not a huge fan of the crafting system in Guild Wars 2. There are a number of surprisingly complicated base recipes – when was the last time you saw a game that requires you to construct a wristguard strap and wristguard padding before combining the both with a 3rd ingredient to make a pair of gloves? – but the vast majority of recipes comes from the “Discovery” system, aka the Trial & Error system.

Oh, good.

Or, perhaps most likely, the “Just look at the damn Wiki” system.

The bow in the above picture is a lame example, of course, but I otherwise find zero entertainment in such “just try it!” crafting systems. My brain simply doesn’t work that way; I am too damn methodical. Do you know the first thing I did when I built a crafting table in Minecraft? I put a piece of wood in the first empty square. Then I put another piece of wood in another square beside the first. And then I moved the second piece of wood over one square. And then moved it again, in sequence, around the remaining empty squares. Then I added a third piece of wood, and repeated the process. If you asked me to crack the combination code to a briefcase, I would start with 0-0-1 and end with 9-9-9, X number of hours later… if I did not simply throw the briefcase out the window beforehand.

Don’t get me started on Word Finds, or that Doodle God app.

I saw the following quote during the first beta, but I forgot to specifically notate it:

Originally posted by Linsey Murdock

Cooking is considered our advanced craft. It will cost you more money, karma, and time traveling the world than any other crafting discipline.

Pro Tip: Every cooking recipe in Guild Wars 2 is a real recipe for real food in real life (or a basic approximation). If you think you are close to figuring out one of the combinations, google a recipe for the food you suspect it might be, and odds are, you can find a bunch of recipes for things like that to try out.

If you like this sort of thing, you will like Guild Wars 2 crafting quite a bit. If you don’t, you will probably be Alt-Tabbing to the Wiki like myself.

Incidentally, this is also true of the crafting system:

Originally posted by Linsey Murdock

The way leveling XP gain works in crafting is this: For leveling a discipline from 0-400, you will gain 10 levels along the way. By maxing out all 8 disciplines, you will gain 80 levels. That means you could dedicate a character to crafting, feed it all the mats you get on other characters and level it all the way to 80 without ever needing to kill a thing. As hardcore crafters, we think that is pretty cool.

__________

Conclusion

That about sums up my impressions of this second beta weekend. If/when the third beta weekend comes along, my tentative goals will be the following:

  1. Test the Norn/Charr areas more thoroughly to see if I run into the same pacing issues I experienced in Queensdale.
  2. Verify whether it was user-error in Queensdale after all.
  3. Level a character high enough to see how the “trinity-less” dungeons work.
  4. Sell my gems on the AH so I’ll have more than 10 silver to rub together.
  5. Continue being angry at puppies, rainbows, and the laughter of small children.

So look forward to that. I know I am.

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Posted on June 14, 2012, in Guild Wars 2 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Here is a video about the collectibles tab: http://www.guildwars2guru.com/videos/view-120-azys-guide-to-extra-bank-tab-for-collectibles-or-why-azy-is-dumb/ (requires Flash)

    Suffice to say, I missed out on finding that functionality, but I had no trouble with bag space either: I just bought 4 slot bags (and later made 8 with my tailor, saving the 4 slotters for my alt), and once I figured it out it was possible I simply sold the materials I could not use which gave me some small yet nice profits. I fulfilled buy orders to quickly get rid of them for a quick buck, and this system is heaven for the casual user. There will still be ways to play with the AH, in fact I saw some people try very cheap buy orders on rare items, as well as common ones. As always with AH: use brain, don’t play it when drunk. Speaking about bag space the game also has a “sell all crap” button which sells your grey items. Something SWTOR has too, and WoW as well with add-on (even some which do it automagically with blacklist for e.g. blood elf mask).

    I was thoroughly impressed by the other 2 features you mentioned. My complaint about being able to access the TP (trading post; AH) from anywhere is that it is unrealistic. Yes, indeed. It is unrealistic, but is this a problem? Is it worth it? My other complaint is that it is not safe to access it. You need to go to a safe spot to access it or you will pull something by accident by just standing there, or someone actually kites something towards you (happened to me in the little town right under divinity’s reach). Otherwise, it is a convenience heaven. Just looted a crafting mat for a profession you don’t use? Right click, bam it is sold already. Next time you visit a TP vendor you get your money (a minor inconvenience).

    The profession feature works fine because you actually need to apply logic to find the right combination. Instead of just learning whatever you can from trainer, you learn what you need/want. You’re glancing over your gear and notice you need better boots. OK, so what do you need for that. Sandals, of course. Not one, two! What else? You look at the ingredients you can already make and decide. You also see the ingredients you can combine when you are trying to combine (to speak in WoW terminology as a tailor you won’t see you’re able to combine those leather scraps to make a new item because that item is for leatherworking only) For the lazy, uninspired, or impatient there is always info available on the internet as shortcut but I liked the “lab” approach. Also, since it gave me XP, it was just a form of leveling. Leveling takes time, effort, so it was OK for me.

    Another thing to mention is that you can have 2 active professions at one time, but you can make one inactive and then learn a new one. I don’t know if there are costs involved here, but it theoretically allows one to learn all professions on their main. Imagine that in WoW. Even a min-maxing hardcore raider would love this because they don’t have to spend time and 5k to lvl up the next best profession for their character. Don’t forget to mention also that everyone is a gatherer. It just requires the user to equip the correct gathering equipment which is for sale at every merchant and has 100 uses when pristine.

  2. I liked reading your impression posts a lot. I covered my thoughts a little on my blog, but your point by point covered things that I missed.

    I wanted to let you know that I ended up playing a Charr character to level 12 and ran into the same pacing issues with the personal storyline that you did.

    I’ve basically agreed with all of your points on the game so far and I can’t wait to read more.

  3. Good things about the inventory front. It’s high time that we get rid of MMOs which are more about inventory management than game (hello Ryzom :) ).

    The next question is: why not go to the extreme of a single inventory, server-shared among all characters? Before you scream “it’ll be a mess”, there are ways to provide filters so that you can only see a specific kind of armor with some stats, etc.
    Maybe it’s a bit too extreme? At the same time, the “world vs. game” divide would probably be better solved by having different games altogether…..