Guild Wars 2, Log 4: 10 Lessons I Learned From My Adventures

In my weekly summaries of Guild Wars 2, I've looked at exploration, combat, and crafting. I've been chasing vistas, levelling slowly, and getting sucked into events as they pop up around me. I've even been cautiously exploring the big, boisterous, overwhelming experience that is world vs world PvP.

In total, I've learned a lot of things about Guild Wars 2. The full, formal review will be coming next week, so for this, my last log, I leave you with a list of all the miscellaneous things I've learned, experienced, and decided in Guild Wars 2 this week.

1.) There are several very kind players in the game who will wander by and resurrect you after you have fallen off a cliff.

1a.) Don't log out standing on the edge of a cliff. You'll pay for it when you log back in.

1b.) Also, if you happen to have a number of combat arts that involve "shadowstep" or other wide, leaping changes in position, don't use them next to a cliff either.

2.) There are jerks in the game who will train a half-dozen over-leveled mobs onto your sorry under-leveled self, and then will not only not help you fight them off, but will in fact stand right next to your corpse and not even toss a revive your way afterward. When this happens almost immediately after encountering kind souls at the bottom of a cliff you have unexpectedly and fatally traversed, the difference is rather jarring.

3.) There's just no good way to do underwater levels. Every game has them. And in every game, they're flawed. I do like that Guild Wars 2 allows players two switchable sets of underwater weapons in addition to two switchable sets of land-based weapons, but neither the spear nor the harpoon gun I have is as elegant and useful as the daggers and pistols I am accustomed to use. The harpoon gun also makes it easy to get in a lot of trouble with adds without meaning to.

Maybe it's just me. In theory I like the freedom of the Z axis but in practice I tend to find it cumbersome and awkward to navigate. And my thief swims so very, very slowly.

4.) I know it's called Lion's Arch, but I will forever call it Tortuga, at least in my head. Also it's my new favourite city. Like, ever. Anywhere. The whole thing is made of ships! Gorgeous ships! I want to live there. No, I don't care how structurally unsound it is.

4a.) There are PIRATES in Tortuga. Actual pirates. I would like all of their clothes now, please and thank you. Can I run away with them later (the pirates, not their clothes)? Oh, I hope so.

5.) It took a while for my character's personal story to get meaty. Now, I'm digging it, but that has a lot to do with the introduction of various world factions. And when given the chance to pick among scholars (the Durmand Priory), soldiers (the Vigil), and spies (the Order of Whispers), it turns out I will pick spies pretty much every time. Although should I ever get my Engineer alt high enough, I can see her as the Priory type.

6.) I only rarely get kicked to overflow now. Tortuga Lion's Arch is always busy, and whenever I hit the plaza with the Asura gates I can count on an overflow message. But aside from just once or twice at peak play times, I haven't gotten dropped in overflow while popping around the world. The combination of early-launch-rush on the player side and ArenaNet working out population loads on their side seems to have hit its balance point.

7.) The queues for World vs World, on the other hand, can be nuts. The first time I decided to go into the Mists, I had a five-minute wait. Tuesday night, I wanted to go in and the queue was so long that when I got the pop-up a half-hour later asking me if I was ready to travel, I had completely forgotten I ever signed up for the queue.

8.) The server-wide World vs World bonuses are really very nice. I am not particularly great at playing through the Borderlands zones; I find them overwhelming, if intriguing. But apparently folks on my server, in general, are. The bonuses applied to the characters I level have just been increasing for the last week, and now sit at the point where I am accustomed to getting four pulls from every harvesting node, and significant XP bonuses for every kill. Should our red and blue rivals (my server is green) sort themselves out anytime soon, I think I will notice the loss of the benefits rather sharply.

9.) The best way to get good screenshots in the Mists is to be dead. It's a surprisingly good vantage point.

I didn't spend very much time dead, honestly; I got fairly good at dodging attacks, and my teammates were lovely about quick revives. (I tried my best to provide the same service in kind.) Hitting F to finish off your opponent, meanwhile, is more satisfying than it probably should be. Sorry, red guys. I really did take joy in your demise. That wasn't very nice of me but, you know, war.

10.) Even the PvP zones need exploring. There are vistas in the Borderlands WvW zones. This means I need to explore them all. Thoroughly. I managed to branch off and grab a few already, but the ones in the heart of enemy territory are going to be... challenging.

Overall, I am not particularly driven to level quickly, even as more and more of my guild-mates get characters to 80. Guild Wars 2 is encouraging me to take a careful, thorough approach to my playing. I tend to want to bring a map to 100% before I move on to the next, though sometimes I do overlap. (I started exploring Gendarran Fields at level 21, because I like getting in trouble.)

In short, the world is too much fun for me to want to race through it. Sometimes you just need to stop and smell the roses. Or, better yet, go swimming.

Kotaku's MMO reviews are a multi-part process. Rather than deliver day one reviews based on beta gameplay, we play the game for four weeks before issuing our final verdict. Once a week, we deliver a log detailing when and how we played the game. We believe this gives readers a frame of reference for the final review. Since MMO titles support many different types of play, readers can compare our experiences to theirs to determine what the review means to them. Catch up with the previous logs: one, two, and three.


    The guy reviewing it isn't level 80 yet...?


    Not sure this will be a very accurate review, he's clearly not playing that much. Be surprised if he logged 100 hours.


        I my mind it is not about your level, it is about the game itself. That is what makes it so fun to me. I am not racing to 80, I am enjoying the game play in whatever zone I am in. The game is awesome, I am enjoying the story line , and that is what it should be about, in my mind. Just my thoughts

        What? Ive put in over 100 hours but none of my alts are @ lvl 80, and tbh Im completely fine with that. Note that this ISNT a review but a LOG/JOURNAL... This isnt a rush-to-max-level MMO

      considering the ideals and design behind the game. It's perfectly valid to review this game prior to 80. There is no big sudden change when you hit 80, you'll be doing the same thing you were doing on the way to 80. The enemies will be harder of course, things will cost more, you will have obtained more options, etc but no change in gameplay.

      That's why this game is so wonderful. If you love the journey to 80, you will still love the game at 80 since nothing will change. If you hated the low level gameplay, then you know nothing will change at 80 so you can leave before putting in a significant time investment.

      From Penny Arcade's Tycho today:
      "I have played it every spare moment I have, and I’m only level eighteen - I have no idea how reviewers got as far as they did, or what wedge of the game they managed to experience when they got there. I’m not saying that they’re bad people or that they didn’t do it, I’m just impressed. There are so many “games” present here, and you can choose one and play that to the exclusion of the others, in a game that will never be finished."

      This isn't so much a review as is it an ongoing experience. It even says "Log" in the title.

    I'm hoping the full review isn't just a look back at your weekly summaries. I've been enjoying these reads and hope to see a full-fledged (and brand-new) review soon.

    The game world is definitely too beautiful to just skimp through and romp your way to 80. Well, to me anyway. I've been trying to soak in as much GW2 as I can. It's been fantastical.

    And only being level 52, I have a lot more to see.

    "There’s just no good way to do underwater levels."

    I actually really like the thief underwater. The one I don't like is the elementalist. In fact, I like all of the underwater combat except for mesmer and elementalist.

    "The queues for World vs World, on the other hand, can be nuts. "

    This is annoying true, but it's a necessary price to pay for the long term health of the game.

    Engineer + Grenade Kit + Underwater = Hilarity

    Great article and thanks for doing it! I have to say though that I hate it when a review is all about the end game or the end of a game - to me that is the least enjoyable part of any MMO (or game for that matter) I love playing the game through and exploring and helping mates with lower level characters (usually Alts) get leveled up - even if I don't necessarily move much myself.
    It's about what you enjoy in the game and what makes it work for you. I'm not an end gamer but I love the journey.

    Yeh, underwater battles are a nightmare. The movement I don't mind too much, especially when I bound a button to swim down. The weapons feel disasterous though. I dunno if it's because they are just too weak or if they are just not as versatile and fun as land based weapons. Probably both.

    There is just so much in this game that I too am just drinking it all in atm and not worrying about lvl'ing. Having said that, I can see how power lvl'ing could also be a fun path to this game and I hope to give it a go with one of my chars.
    Enjoying the log/review so far Kate. Looking forward to a final review as big as the game itself (no scrimpng now, I want to see 10k words! lool).

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