OTOH: GW2, Part 2

A few days after logging out last time, I crack my knuckles and get ready to head back into… Tyria? Whatever the Guild Wars 2 world is called.

I am feeling so spunky, in fact, that I take a Waypoint directly from the Asura Borg Cube I use as a home-base back to Sparkfly Fen. Nearly two whole silver? I am living on the edge, man. Can’t stop me now. I spot a large blank area on the map, and decide to tackle that first.

YEAH, I SAID “YOU CAN’T STOP ME NOW.”

Nightmare Court mobs in a dark tunnel? I can eat these guys for breakfast. /attack

Pictured: Getting stopped.

I am not going to lie: I almost logged off right then.

In the four minutes between zoning and death, I killed two of packs of two Nightmare mobs. The next group was three linked together, which did not seem insurmountable at first. Unfortunately, one of them was a Necromancer who proceeded to ramp up ranged damage to some ludicrous degree before I noticed. Perhaps I could have squeaked out a victory had I blown ALL the cooldowns, but the certain knowledge that I died within 20 feet of the entrance, the down-leveling mechanic ensuring that trying to explore this tunnel solo would lead to inevitable death, and getting double death taxed¹ on top of it all – within four minutes of logging on – punched through the paper-job I have hitherto made over the cavernous enthusiasm gap that is GW2 combat.

That was a long sentence. Let’s take a breath together.

Last week, I made a somewhat controversial remark that GW2′s combat was not as responsive as WoW’s. “Responsive” was not the right adjective to use, and my follow-up explanation in the comments felt unsatisfying even to myself. The mobility does feel fun. There is a sort of sponginess to the button-presses –> attack result, but even that is not the precise issue. And while my next instinct was to say it feels shallow, it is pretty clear that there is a lot that can go on simultaneously (especially in PvP).

The combat simply feels… insubstantial.

I fully admit this could just be an Elementalist problem. I do not actually enjoy the Attunement swapping mechanic in general, even though I engage in it quite a bit. But I do not think it is just an issue with the class I am playing; I got the same general feeling from my level ~20 alts as well. I can quite literally run circles around most of the mobs I face, avoiding 100% of their attacks without even needing to Dodge. Then you start facing Risen, who comically run around at 300% speed and basically make your mobility moot – I stand and cast in their faces, lest my directional-attacks miss while they continuously readjust. With the ranged Risen and the Nightmare Necromancer that sealed my fate earlier, often it feels like my HP pool just fills or empties randomly with little input or feedback from me.

All that may not even be an adequate explanation of the feeling GW2 combat evokes, but there it is.

Instead of calling it quits, I rez at a Waypoint way the hell away from there.

Largest Heart description ever?

Heading North along the West side of the map, the Shadowform tooltip most verbose Renown description I have ever seen pops up. Apparently another frog-dude (Costi Atl) wants me to feed him, this time by shooting termite mounds with a cannon, grabbing the grub by the tail, killing it in normal combat, picking up the shiny thing it leaves behind, aiming that at the campfire, and then clicking on the fire afterwards. Or you can talk to and then fight with the frog-dudes. Or, I think, kill spiders.

A bit north of there was an Event-camp overrun by Risen.

I don’t know why they even bother having Wooden Planks lying around as weapons past level 10.

This little Event really drove home the insubstantialness feeling I had earlier. Those Speedy Risen may as well be DoTs and my attacks against them a Recount DPS meter. The perma-snared tough ones are more like normal enemies, but again, fighting and killing them brought no satisfaction. While clearing the camp, I starting thinking back to all the skelks, spiders, fireflies, Nightmare Court/Inquest/Bandits/etc etc etc I have killed in the past 65 levels, and how much of a pain in the ass the Kill 15 Enemy Types daily is. Most games have recycled and color-swapped mobs, of course. But, Jesus, it feels like there isn’t a lot of variety in mob types/abilities, and I am heading into even deeper into Risen territory.

Oh. Looks like I died at some point.

After rezzing and coming back and clearing the camp, I switch from Dagger/Dagger to Scepter/Dagger. I leveled 1-20 with staff, 20-40 with S/D, and 40 onward as D/D, so I am pretty familiar with all of them. It is my hope that getting back to a more combo-oriented and sort of wind-up gameplay will make things more interesting again.

The camp Event turns into an escort Event, followed by another escort Event. Two people show up near the start of the 2nd Escort, and it’s nice. Then the Event turns into a Champion fight, and then the two strangers leave without even attempting to engage the Champion. I do likewise. There is never really a sense for how strong a Champion is versus another Champion – some can probably be 2-manned, while others usually need a full zerg. The risk simply isn’t worth the ~2s reward most of the time, especially when so many don’t have chests at the end. Considering this entire Event chain revolved around blowing up this Lich’s tower and then killing him, simply leaving felt incredibly anti-climatic.

I do some more Renown Hearts, fight some more dumb Risen, then log off.

Day 3

At this point, I have read the comments to Part 1, and realize that a lot of people are suggesting that the zones/enemies/storylines get dumber the farther South you go. Good to know. But then I realize I am two Hearts and a handful of other things away from 100% map completion. We get a warning that the servers will be down for maintenance in 60 minutes, but I figure I will be done by then anyway. I zone back into Sparkfly Fen, and head SW.

Pictured: Chekhov’s Bigass Gun

This area looks promising.

In the comments to Part 1′s post, I mentioned the reason why I dislike the concept of timed Events. Inevitably, timed Events break down as follows:

  1. You arrive just in time.
  2. You wait around for it to start.
  3. You miss it entirely.

In this specific instance, I landed squarely into A). No sooner than I talked to Kamma and picked up my quest gun to kill Risen with, an Event popped up to… kill Risen. I do so, completing the Heart in the process. Before I even have a chance to finish looking over the Karma rewards, Tequatl the Sunless shows up without preamble. I do my civic duty in letting Map Chat know the dragon is up.

At first, I head over to the turrets and try shooting a few times. I do not see very many people, and begin to get worried. A bunch of Risen show up and kill the turret and nearly me along with it. I see only a few people at other turrets, and then I see no one at all. A mob of Veteran Risen surround every turret, and then I get one-shot by an exploding Risen while trying to rez some of the NPCs near the big Asura cannon thing.

I rez at a nearby Waypoint, look at the dragon and… wait. Was that a Fireball? There are people down there? I run past all the Risen mobs and destroyed turrets and Asura superweapons and… see a bunch of people whacking on dragon feet. Okay, then. Let’s roll.

At some point, I see extra-large Risen spawn, and I mouse-over – apparently they explode, and also explode on death. Good to know. DPSDPSDPS. I notice someone 20 feet away eat an explosion and go to the downed state. Immediately afterwards, a pile of poison gas settles over them and they die. I run over and try to rez from the edge of the poison cloud. I get a 1-2 seconds of rezzing in before I start taking 2k damage per second from the poison. I back away and start attacking the dragon again, knowing that this person can rez themselves at the Waypoint and be back in half the time anyway. Then this exchange happens:

/facepalm

Do you know when you encounter those people who say things like “Get the government out of my MediCare?” Words fail me to describe how stupid this exchange was. Which was perhaps appropriate for this dragon encounter, as it felt about as difficult as those Prologue events were in the Beta Weekends, back when bosses could 1-shot you.

A minute or so later, dragon dies.

I hardly knew ya.

Somehow, 1.53 silver and 8k XP don’t seem to cut it. There was a big treasure chest, of course, filled with 4-5 blues too… about half as many items as I got in the Risen Event immediately before this one. But perhaps it is an appropriate reward for killing a dragon I never knew existed, nor know what role it played in anything up to this point. Surely, the dragons were talked about somewhere, right?

Between the impending server shutdown and that run-in with the dumbass, I lose all motivation to continue onward and log off.

_____

As you might infer from the tone, I feel the experiment is at its logical end. While I cannot discount the possibility that my enthusiasm was hamstrung from the start (due to endgame concerns), these play-sessions very clearly brought out the perhaps hitherto repressed feelings of… blah when it comes to the combat system. I might enjoy the game more with the Warrior or Thief, or maybe even the Necromancer, but I find myself unwilling to throw away 40+ levels of progress.

My current plan is to simply level up the rest of the way to 80 via Crafting, knock out the all the Story missions, and maybe try to hit all the dungeons. Indeed, dungeons were the one bright spot when it came to enjoying playing my character, even if the specific dungeons I have played thus far have been fairly bad; Caudecus’s Manor in particular is the worst designed dungeon in any MMO I have ever played.

Once complete, I’ll set GW2 aside and move on to other things. I am trying to imagine what would bring me back after that point, but am kinda drawing a blank. Maybe an Elementalist class redesign, or if ArenaNet fixes a majority of those 100+ Necromancer bugs. I dunno.

We’ll see.

¹ The double-death tax being your gear taking damage plus the cost of reviving at a Waypoint.

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Posted on October 5, 2012, in Guild Wars 2 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. The number of Necromancer bugs is appalling: it seems that every single ability has problems.
    And don’t even start talking about minions AI…

  2. I can empathize with your plight. What you’re describing sounds almost exactly like what most of my alts feel like: not only do certain mobs and certain unavoidable situations just completely screw you over with what feels like no recourse, but the ones that don’t feel cheesy like that give almost zero satisfaction.

    Many events are similar. They’re either zerged into the ground within seconds by a swarm of players and your challenge is tagging as many as you can for drops and exp OR you’re solo and can expect to either spend several minutes kiting in large circles while slowly killing 15 mobs or get annihilated by some of the aforementioned problem mobs.

    Class choice seems to play a very large part in this. My warrior was my first character and while I still encountered these issues they weren’t nearly as big an issue as they were for my engineer, necromancer, elementalist, thief, and mesmer. The first 3 eventually felt so awful and terribly squishy that I just parked them, naked, in Bloodtide Coast to farm gold ore because that’s all they’re good for (all 3 of them have gotten over 2 levels of exp doing that too). And for the mesmer I bit the bullet and spent the gold to craft from level 29 to 40, the point where most people seem to agree that the class becomes something other than slow and plodding.

    Meanwhile, my memories of leveling the warrior mostly consist of:
    Step 1: Spin or charge at enemy.
    Step 2: Use Hundred Blades.
    Step 3: Autoattack until HB is off cd.
    Step 4: Grumble about how annoying it is to have to walk all the way over to the next loot pinata.
    Step 5: Goto Step 1.

    It’s all very vexing.

    • Not to mention the Warrior’s 100% signet, 50%+ crit build. The difference between that and what passes for a viable Elementalist build/gameplay is simply ridiculous.

  3. My staff elem has been 80 for a bit, and I leveled him mostly with staff as well, fire spec. The dps is silly, but yea, it’s all kiting solo and then aoe spam in events. Works well, sure, but its zzzz in terms of fun.

    The Orr zones are the worst in the game IMO. Overcrowded in terms of both mobs and players, depressing in terms of design, and rather than the somewhat hyped ‘better’ events, its all the same escort/smash stuff, just with more bugs.

    Have fun finishing the story and running the final story dungeon. Great last impression! /sarcasm

    • No doubt. The Personal Story was awful, and the last dungeon is an unmitigated disaster. Azuriel, given how much you clearly dislike this game, I honestly wouldn’t bother finishing.

      I haven’t logged back into GW2 since finishing the Personal Story and Arah. I’m not sure I will other than to tool around in some sPvP.

      Next Tuesday brings XCom: Enemy Unknown – that’s where I’ll be spending all my gaming time for awhile, i suspect.

  4. After reading these tales, I can’t help but wonder how much worse things would have been if at any point you had tried to do some events involving Risen UNDERWATER. Oh my god.

  5. I have to second XCom: Enemy Unknown, it’s an easy decision to stay away from MMOs until then. Only a few LoL games and maybe watch the finals…

  6. Well, like I said in the other post, it may simply be a matter of different tastes.

    However, Id like to say this – solo is dead boring. Just last night we had a similar run with 8 guildies (2 groups, running next to eachother), no dragon and stuff but highlevel area. Obviously people rarely die, if they go down they are up within seconds and should we really wipe (didnt happen), we all have a good laugh on TS about it.
    When I play solo I find it a lot more boring…just like in any other MMO I played before.

    The dragon fights themselves? I found them dull, even my very first one. They are great to watch from a distance but given that the majority of them is zerged (on my server I expect to see 50-100 people jump on them the moment someone yells “dragon is up”), you don’t really do much but use 1-2 skills…at least I dont anyway. Chest reward is extremely random and most of the time not worth it…then again, given the above, killing dragons is a cakewalk anyway that you can do underlevelled with your auto-attack alone, I suppose rewards shouldnt be higher :/