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Author Topic: First Impressions  (Read 55798 times)
Nevermore
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on: April 28, 2012, 12:23:15 AM

So I get the game downloaded and I successfully log in.  I'm presented with a list of servers and I have to choose one to be my permanent home server.  The server I want to pick is full, and I cannot select it.  Since this is a permanent choice and I'll only get 5 character slots on just that one server ever, I apparently have to not play with my friends or leave and come back some other time.  This is not good.

So since I want to actually try out the game I pick a server that wasn't my first choice, thereby ensuring I'll never be able to play with my friends.  I go to character creation.  Looks like some nice choices with how you can make your character look.  Pretty much like GW1 but with some more options.  Based on how she dresses, my Necromancer's day job is apparently turning tricks as a hooker but whatever.  Then I'm presented with a number of questions about my character.  I haven't the foggiest idea on how the answers to these questions will impact my character, but I'm forced to answer them now anyway.  Woe be to me if it turns out my Necromancer should have been charismatic instead of fierce, I guess.  Personally, I think I should be made aware of what the impact of these choices are before they're set in stone.

For the most part I haven't been running into the framerate or lag problems other people have been reporting, but a few times my screen blacked out for a couple seconds and once the game stopped responding.  I don't know if that's an issue with the game or my computer though, which in the past has been flakey.

So I start to play.  Voice acting isn't bad, but it's not up to SWTOR standards.  For all the mocking TOR takes, the voice acting is very good and while I wouldn't say most of the voice acting here is bad or anything, the difference is still noticeable.  I'm apparently sent to a tutorial area, but it teaches me very little about the game.  I seem to slowly unlock my second and third skills by using the first one.  Unlocking other skills will take skill points.  I get to second level but I still don't have a skill point to use to unlock another skill.  How do I get more skill points?  Who knows?

I'm doing ok killing centaurs but then I'm supposed to defend some gate.  I stand there waiting, as people kill centaurs on the other side of the bridge.  No centaurs are making it across to where I am, which is by the gate I'm supposed to 'defend'.  Do I wait here?  Do i go back and try to find some centaurs to kill?  Who knows?  The only thing the quest text says is 'defend the gate'.  Eventually I successfully 'defend' it but I have no idea how.

I go inside the keep and kill some more centaurs that are coming in the other side (why did they leave *that* gate open?).  Things are happening fast, I apparently finish another quest that I never even saw that I got, and now I'm supposed to go out and kill some giant elemental thing.  Ok, I try to get close enough to use my axe.  I'm pretty careful, making sure I'm only close enough for the numbers on my skills to turn white instead of red, because in my experience in MMOs it's generally not a good idea to stand too close to something 20x your size.  I die in about 5 seconds from... something.  I have no idea from what.  The game is now telling me to 'FIGHT FOR MY LIFE!' and there's a couple of bars and four skills of some kind.  One bar is filling up on its own.  The other I guess I'm supposed to fill up somehow.  The game isn't telling me how.  The buttons don't seem to actually do anything when I press them.  They go on cooldown, there just doesn't seem to be any effect from any of them.  After about 10 seconds everything fades out and I end up at some hospital in the zone after the tutorial zone.  Did someone kill the elemental?  Did I fail?  Who knows?

After I leave the hospital, I'm told I'm supposed to help some people around the village.  I see on the map an icon that says 'Earn skill point'.  Ok, I want to go there since getting to second level didn't get me a skill point and so far the game hasn't told me what does earn skill points.  I head that way but an NPC warns me I should 'train more' or something.  Gee thanks, give me a skill point and I would!  Going back the way I came, a quest pops up that I'm supposed to catch some rabbits.  I go into the field and look for rabbits to catch.  There are no rabbits.  There are watermelons, but I can't seem to do anything to them.  The next field has some kind of other crops and some chickens, but no fucking rabbits.  Eventually, after wandering around the rabbit-free fields, the quest removes itself even though I didn't see any kind of visible timer.  I guess whoever wanted the rabbits caught eventually realized there were no fucking rabbits to catch.

At this point I realized I wasn't having any fun at all with my rabbit hunting axe-wielding hooker.  Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.  Maybe.  I'm far from an MMO novice and I can pick up most games really fast, but so far this one seems very user unfriendly to people trying it for the first time.

Over and out.
Sjofn
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Reply #1 on: April 28, 2012, 12:35:29 AM

Booooo, hookerwear. Booooooo.

Sorry you had a bad first time out, perhaps it will pick up on your next try!

God Save the Horn Players
Phred
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Reply #2 on: April 28, 2012, 01:45:46 AM

I have to say most of the instructions/quest text seems to be written by someone with very poor communication skills. I found the same vagueness frustrating me today too.
Falconeer
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Reply #3 on: April 28, 2012, 02:26:56 AM

I am under the impression that this game is trying more little new things that many here are ready to swallow at first try. That's what I read between the lines of Nevermore's post, and what I felt myself in the initial 30 minutes of my beta experience.
Needless to say, I told myself to stop trying to box the game into all the bad habits the last 10 years of MMORPGs taught me and try to approach this as if I was an almost completely new player, and slowly got the hang of it, and totally loved it.

I feel I could write A LOT about this game but that would be boring and stupid, considering I've only seen the first 3 hours of the whole thing. I'll just bullet point a few of the things I loved the most so far.

- Little personal story bits at character creation. Generic, maybe totally useless in the long run, but definitely nice.
- Long character names with spaces in it. Sure it was in GW1, and yay it's here too. I LOVE that.
- Combat system, allowing me to swing my skills whenever I want wherever I wan, and the whole soft targeting system. It's really good and I hope every single game will develop on this from now on. Sure it was already in Age of Conan, great to see it here.
- Quest system. Public, open, with multiple ways to complete it. If it is "kill ten rats" it certainly feels a lot less like it.
- "Fight for your life" when you reach zero life is just a great, great idea. I love it!
- For pretty much the same reason I absolutely love the "Finish them" mechanics in PvP. Awesome.
- The map is gorgeous and useful. The little trail you leave behind you is so convenient.
- PvP feels "right" so far. But it's just a hunch, nothing I can put my fingers on yet and I definitely don't have enough elements to give it a proper review.

There is so much more that I like, and of course a few things I am not so fond of too, but this sums up my "first impressions", the things that stuck with me as soon as I logged out.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 02:29:52 AM by Falconeer »

Zetor
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Reply #4 on: April 28, 2012, 03:21:29 AM

Yep, I played to level 11ish and I'm very satisfied with the game overall (even as a beta I'm enjoying it more than many other mmos at launch). However, I do agree with Nevermore that a lot of systems aren't explained adequately (like skills, traits, etc). Just add an introductory breadcrumb quest like in [insert favorite diku] and done.

Really liking the dynamic quests - in particular, the ones that the player can trigger by reviving an NPC / doing the equivalent of pushing the "do not press this button" button / etc.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 03:23:30 AM by Zetor »

Tmon
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Reply #5 on: April 28, 2012, 04:25:13 AM

I'm liking it.  It is pretty confusing at the start, especially since there's a lot of stuff to take in and a fair number of new mechanics to get used to.  One thing I was surprised to actually like was underwater movement and combat.  Not only do you start with weapons for both terrestrial and aquatic combat but the game automatically switches between them.   If you are a ranger it will automatically switch to an amphibious pet if you have one, and there is no breath holding bull shit as far as I can see.  The best part is that thanks to the weapon skill progression system (you learn a weapon's skills by using it) I now have a gun that shoots PIRANHAS!
Lantyssa
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Reply #6 on: April 28, 2012, 05:44:11 AM

Needless to say, I told myself to stop trying to box the game into all the bad habits the last 10 years of MMORPGs taught me and try to approach this as if I was an almost completely new player, and slowly got the hang of it, and totally loved it.
This is very good advice, but very hard for experienced MMO players to break.  It took me quite some time to relax and take things slowly and figure out what the hell was going on.  I was really confused at first.

Events also need some serious tuning for the early rush.

Hahahaha!  I'm really good at this!
Modern Angel
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Reply #7 on: April 28, 2012, 05:51:23 AM

Events also need some serious tuning for the early rush.

Which is why the critical mass of players is so important. The events scale based on number of people locally. I'd be shocked if there were a tenth of the people in right now on the closed test side of things.
Nightblade
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Reply #8 on: April 28, 2012, 06:00:45 AM

The world feels alive, there are some things I don't understand yet but for this MMO I actually feel interested in finding more about the systems and the world around me. I never really felt hugely lost honestly.

After getting killed repeatedly by the flame shaman, someone revives me and I go to run back to town to repair my equipment. Then an NPC runs up to me and says to me something like "YOU THERE! HOLD IT! We have a flame shaman at the river!" and I'm "~_~" and go back to fight some more. Im not sure how this iwll sustain itself after the launch rush, however.

People playing together, helping each other, TALKING, its nice to see a new MMORPG actually facilitate these behaviors. It hasnt been unusual to see a giant group form at one group quest and continue forward to many others, groups form, grow, shrink, grow again, you can stay with the mob however long you want or break off into smaller groups and tackle quests.
Tmon
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Reply #9 on: April 28, 2012, 06:18:45 AM

The ad hoc grouping is pretty cool, I'm also enjoying the complete lack of a quest log.  The little hearts on the map basically function like one, but they somehow aren't as annoying as having a to do list staring you in the face every time you log in.  Also, so far at least everything seems fairly local in scope, farmer brown may need rats killed but they are the ones on his farm and not some random farm 4 zones away.
Modern Angel
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Reply #10 on: April 28, 2012, 06:27:53 AM

If you see a heart, pretend that there's a big circle around it. You won't ever go outside of that circle.

Game really does need some better tutorials. It rethinks a lot of base assumptions of the diku. It comes to the same conclusions already reached in some places, mind you, but there are so many little differences which can throw people off.
Numtini
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Reply #11 on: April 28, 2012, 06:32:30 AM

Random thoughts after getting in this morning when the lag wasn't as bad.

It's a load of fun when it works, but I'm still surprised at how raw some bits are.

It seems to be very open about what you're supposed to do. Not as many breadcrumbs, a lot more exploration. That comes across as a lack of direction and polish because there are some directions.

Melee seems to be in a tough spot because things die before you get to them. Combat is extremely fast and its easy to die while spamming the heal button because some other abilities is still in the middle of executing.

The overflow thing needs to die a quick death. If you are going to instance people, you need to be able to swap instances to join your friends.

Looting is irritating, is there a setting for autoloot or something? This also becomes an issue at a large event because the event respawns before you can get through looting the last one.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
Modern Angel
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Reply #12 on: April 28, 2012, 06:36:55 AM

Yeah. Check your options. Turn on autoloot. Looting's also bound to F, just like most interactions, so  you just run across a big fucking pile of corpses spamming F and pick up everything.

Tyrnan
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Reply #13 on: April 28, 2012, 06:52:10 AM

Events also need some serious tuning for the early rush.
I read somewhere that the early events don't scale up beyond 10 people. I don't know if this will change or not but I can kinda see why they might have difficulty scaling it up further given the limited abilities and health pools of low-level characters. Plus I assume they want them to be completed pretty quickly to get people moving through the area as fast as possible.
Threash
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Reply #14 on: April 28, 2012, 06:53:33 AM

Uh, no the alternative to the overflow thing is sticking you in a queue.  It is one of the best ideas the game has.

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Numtini
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Reply #15 on: April 28, 2012, 07:02:27 AM

Uh, no the alternative to the overflow thing is sticking you in a queue.  It is one of the best ideas the game has.

All they need to do is let you swap instances or dump the entire party into the same instance or allow people to go to the same instance as someone in their party.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
Threash
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Reply #16 on: April 28, 2012, 07:03:27 AM

You are missing the point.  If you get put into overflow is because that other instance was full, when it isn't a notice pops up to let you in.  The alternative to that is a queue.

I am the .00000001428%
Zetor
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Reply #17 on: April 28, 2012, 07:07:04 AM

I thought it was possible to 'play as a guest' on any other server you wanted for all non-WvW activities -- and if you were temporarily put on another server due to overflow you'd get the option to return to your originally chosen server once it cleared up enough.

Those are probably not working in this beta though...

Modern Angel
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Reply #18 on: April 28, 2012, 07:08:31 AM

I clicked on the guest thing and it said it wasn't in quite yet.

Doesn't matter because WvW *is all that fucking matters.*
Numtini
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Reply #19 on: April 28, 2012, 07:21:36 AM

I thought it was possible to 'play as a guest' on any other server you wanted for all non-WvW activities -- and if you were temporarily put on another server due to overflow you'd get the option to return to your originally chosen server once it cleared up enough.

Those are probably not working in this beta though...

I don't think this is a different server, it's a series of overflow instances. You can even be in a party with people and chat with them. But you can't switch so you're all on the same instance. If the instance is full, when a new party member joins offer to send the entire party to the overflow. Whatever. Lots of games manage this just fine.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
kildorn
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Reply #20 on: April 28, 2012, 08:11:23 AM

Server transfers are free today, if anyone picked the wrong one. I believe they're re-evaluating the not letting you re-home when you delete every character though.

I've managed to play for 10 minutes of the norn area before hitting another insta crash bug, whee. I enjoy it, but the level 1 experience seems.. bland? Mostly because you have one ability, and level to 2 quickly enough that you don't get anything else. And they need a tutorial for people on How U Dodge, and How U Gain Skills (via leveling, but mostly via the skill-icon'd quests)

They're trying to do something far more expore-y with the main maps, and need to hand hold you through that concept via an actual tutorial. The idea is they don't hand out man breadcrumb quests, and instead your map says how many of N you have to do on that map and try to make your achievement hunter instincts level you. I liked it, for all of the 10 minutes I could play it ;)
Modern Angel
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Reply #21 on: April 28, 2012, 08:12:19 AM

Nope, fairly certain they are clusters of people from different servers.

Performance is wildly different between specs. Fair number of people are convinced it's way more CPU dependent than anything else.

Norn starting area is the blandest, in my experience.
Numtini
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Reply #22 on: April 28, 2012, 08:45:49 AM

I have a very vague memory of a dev saying something hadn't been moved to the GPU yet and it was more CPU intensive at the moment. It could have been another game, but I'm really not following anything else so I think it was GW2.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
Falconeer
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Reply #23 on: April 28, 2012, 08:50:00 AM

Is it me or the Auction House has something really cool going on? No idea if this was in GW1 too or what, but you can "backorder" stuff that isn't being sold by anyone at the moment? Colour me impressed.

Modern Angel
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Reply #24 on: April 28, 2012, 08:57:24 AM

GW1 had no auction house but, yes, the GW2 one (slow loading aside) is fucking nuts.
Falconeer
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Reply #25 on: April 28, 2012, 09:15:36 AM

Just noticed, the "Outmanned" buff in the borderlands (WvW PvP), giving 33% buff to XP and loot to your party when severely outnumbered, is another awesome touch. Dammit, this game is good.

kildorn
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Reply #26 on: April 28, 2012, 09:35:57 AM

Nope, fairly certain they are clusters of people from different servers.

Performance is wildly different between specs. Fair number of people are convinced it's way more CPU dependent than anything else.

Norn starting area is the blandest, in my experience.

There's a known issue thread on the forums that states it's currently horribly CPU bound, and the beefiest machines will randomly get crushed by it.
Kageru
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Reply #27 on: April 28, 2012, 09:42:41 AM

Played for an entire day (Aussie guild filled up two guilds since they cap at 100 accounts). My card is not quite up to it because it is only medium spec-'d and I have a big screen (too poor to buy something with enough grunt atm) but bump the sliders down and it was fine and looked good. No crashes in pretty much a whole day.

It's a noble successor to city of heroes in that you can just get into a big group and pound mobs. With everything being shared, the zones littered with public events and the group dynamics very free-form you can just go to town. Plus with PvP giving you access to all skills immediately (which makes the PvP lobby a great place to mess with skills you haven't earned) and high level characters getting scaled down to the level of the zone you have a wide variety of places to explore (plus no power-levelers taking over zones).

That said it also loses a lot from trying to be different. The events can be sudden death if you are solo and a crazed zerg-fest if they are being over-run (the default for today) and in general the challenge level is all over the place. Of course it is beta and they still have some time to balance (they seem to work reliably) but it's more or less an inherent problem of the design. And the human mind is still excellent at seeing through them even though they've done their best to make them varied. The dream of a world with realistic dynamic events is still to be realised. Still, it's probably the first viable improvement over "do this quest, then do that quest".

With skills being tied to weapons there's less satisfaction or meaning to gaining a level. But I think this will grow on me. There's not really that much variety in terms of "builds" though. And I really worry about the role of melee. Playing a rogue was awesome in terms of animation and style, but being a melee in PvE and PvP is a very risky endeavour I suspect. It still has the guild wars fascination with conditions meaning some of the powers are quite complex, and some of them are "cluster" powers which over-write your skill bar. Having dedicated underwater powers is interesting, and thankfully no drowning.

A Guild wars game where you can jump and submerge, the shock.

The weakening of party synergies is great for "pick up and go" gaming, and not being dependent on building the trinity. It's not without cost though. It's going to be a substantial balancing act to avoid some classes being seen as lame ducks since there is no role segregation. And the group dynamics does have an inherent tendency towards zerg and rez-rushing. It's possible that in time the player base will fully integrate the subtle synergies that do exist while enjoying the greater independence but they still have to balance progression to the "average" gamer and they're the reason the trinity is made so obvious.

I also still hate the starting tutorial idea approach which lets you fight some awesome epic monster that has been gift-wrapped before dropping you back to reality... just feels like a silly bait and switch. The new CoH tutorial and lots of others did this and it bugs me.

Ultimately it looks like it will be fun, and quite expandable. With the lack of sub-fee being a really strong argument for its value.

(Edit)

The cities seem unnecessarily huge. The over-flow stuff works pretty well (and queuing is given as an option).
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 10:09:06 AM by Kageru »

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Kageru
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Reply #28 on: April 28, 2012, 09:50:02 AM

So I start to play.  Voice acting isn't bad, but it's not up to SWTOR standards.  For all the mocking TOR takes, the voice acting is very good and while I wouldn't say most of the voice acting here is bad or anything, the difference is still noticeable.  I'm apparently sent to a tutorial area, but it teaches me very little about the game.  I seem to slowly unlock my second and third skills by using the first one.  Unlocking other skills will take skill points.  I get to second level but I still don't have a skill point to use to unlock another skill.  How do I get more skill points?  Who knows?

The mocking is for SWTOR spending an insane amount of money on high quality voice over and set-piece cinematics when most of it has marginal game-play value. The GW2 ones are more than good enough to explain the game-play attached to them.

The map has icons with "gain a skill point here" and "skill point gained" when you've done them. But you also get some for levelling (plus unlocking the slots).

Is a man not entitled to the hurf of his durf?
- Simond
Nevermore
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Reply #29 on: April 28, 2012, 10:23:18 AM

Nope, fairly certain they are clusters of people from different servers.

Performance is wildly different between specs. Fair number of people are convinced it's way more CPU dependent than anything else.

Norn starting area is the blandest, in my experience.

There's a known issue thread on the forums that states it's currently horribly CPU bound, and the beefiest machines will randomly get crushed by it.

Ok, maybe that's why I started to randomly get black screen flashes, then the game would stop responding.  It's not the same as the problem I had with other games, where my whole system would freeze up sometimes, so in this case the game might be the problem instead of my system?  Hard to tell, since I don't know for sure why my system can be flakey sometimes.

Over and out.
Nevermore
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Reply #30 on: April 28, 2012, 10:27:51 AM

So I start to play.  Voice acting isn't bad, but it's not up to SWTOR standards.  For all the mocking TOR takes, the voice acting is very good and while I wouldn't say most of the voice acting here is bad or anything, the difference is still noticeable.  I'm apparently sent to a tutorial area, but it teaches me very little about the game.  I seem to slowly unlock my second and third skills by using the first one.  Unlocking other skills will take skill points.  I get to second level but I still don't have a skill point to use to unlock another skill.  How do I get more skill points?  Who knows?

The mocking is for SWTOR spending an insane amount of money on high quality voice over and set-piece cinematics when most of it has marginal game-play value. The GW2 ones are more than good enough to explain the game-play attached to them.

Marginal for you perhaps, but I can definitely tell the difference in quality and I much prefer the illusion of choice I'm presented with in SWTOR instead of being told how my character behaves in GW2.

Quote
The map has icons with "gain a skill point here" and "skill point gained" when you've done them. But you also get some for levelling (plus unlocking the slots).

Which the game itself never tells me.

Over and out.
Lantyssa
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Reply #31 on: April 28, 2012, 10:33:48 AM

I read somewhere that the early events don't scale up beyond 10 people. I don't know if this will change or not but I can kinda see why they might have difficulty scaling it up further given the limited abilities and health pools of low-level characters. Plus I assume they want them to be completed pretty quickly to get people moving through the area as fast as possible.
I mean that I'm a Necromancer and get steam-rollered by a spawn because I tried to get close enough to use an ability.  Then while I'm down they all kill me in about one second.

Buffing the group up to match the number of people is fine, they just need to not focus fire on newbies.

Hahahaha!  I'm really good at this!
kildorn
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Reply #32 on: April 28, 2012, 10:40:20 AM

The game needs a tutorial section, with "how skills unlock for weapons", "how you gain skillpoints", some basic dodging, how combo fields work, what world events are(and why they're far more of the content than story quests) and what the various buffs and debuffs do.

It seems like that's what the intro area is supposed to do, it just has no content yet. Instead I got a quest to go kill a large mob, turn that in and kill another large mob. And then fade to black and zone into the real game.
Nevermore
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Reply #33 on: April 28, 2012, 10:42:01 AM

In GW1 I loved my Necromancer.  I could put together different skillset and be able to play a variety of radically different ways.  A melee with lifetaps, a ranged nuker or minion master.  Curses, conditions, whatever.  So far in GW2 all I can do with my Necromancer is be in either melee or at best medium (?) range wearing nothing but negligee and I'm dying constantly.  Apparently I as wrong earlier as there's only one bar to 'FIGHT FOR MY LIFE' but I still have no idea how you fill it to actually get back up again.

I'm really not liking the skill system at all.  It seems to be press 1 for your autoattack and watch your character fight by itself, while occasionally pressing another button if you've 'unlocked' the skill on that weapon while running around like a madwoman as the mobs eat your face off.  Of course, most of the other skills seem to have a cast time (in melee range? really?) so you can't run to keep mobs off you.  Clearly I'm terrible at this game but it's not exactly giving me much opportunity to learn how to play.  Aggro seems as obtuse as it was in GW1.

Also, last night I logged out apparently in the middle of a 'personal story' or something because now I have to start that chain all over again from the beginning.  That sucks.

Over and out.
AcidCat
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Reply #34 on: April 28, 2012, 10:55:57 AM

 I die in about 5 seconds from... something.  I have no idea from what.  The game is now telling me to 'FIGHT FOR MY LIFE!' and there's a couple of bars and four skills of some kind.  One bar is filling up on its own.  The other I guess I'm supposed to fill up somehow.  The game isn't telling me how.  The buttons don't seem to actually do anything when I press them.  They go on cooldown, there just doesn't seem to be any effect from any of them.  After about 10 seconds everything fades out and I end up at some hospital in the zone after the tutorial zone.  Did someone kill the elemental?  Did I fail?  Who knows?

The beginning of the game is frankly a mess. A bunch of shit happens and you're just kind of along for the ride, making the player immediately confused is no way to start an mmo. Your description of the confusion upon seeing those four choices when in downed state is emblematic of a lot of the problem - a bunch of options that are not explained well and the player is not given time to gradually understand. You are down, you know its a crisis situation, and you're presented with four choices with no explanation which is better, or why. So you just end up spamming keys. And I don't care for having my main combat skills tied to weapons, it's too much choice at the very start of a game. Should I spend time getting each weapon, then leveling it just to see what these skills are? How will I decide what's better? Am I gimping myself by using this weapon? Combat is so hectic, often with other players hitting the same mob, and with the jerky framerate, its sometimes even impossible to tell how effective you are in combat.

Overall much of the time, there was just too much shit going on to get a grasp on what was really happening on a mechanics level. The game needs to slow the fuck down and gradually ramp up to that kind of chaos as the player progresses.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 10:58:10 AM by AcidCat »
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