April 30, 2012

Guild Wars 2 beta, smells like home cookin'

There was a time when I said I couldn't cook and I'd hear from all kinds of people “Oh cooking's easy, anybody can cook!” It's true, anybody can boil water, preheat an oven, and add various meat & vegetables to make something edible. But is it wonderful? I suppose what I meant when I said I couldn't cook was that my heart wasn't in it, therefore the food I made was nothing to write home about.

Guild Wars 2 is soul food. Every character, landscape, interface page, piece of dialog and sea creature that is found within the game, bears with it the love & passion of it's creators. The game is beaming with the type of innovation that can only come from free minds. Minds driven to give birth to a reflection of everything that's made them who they are, blessed in the opportunity to do so.

My praise may seem like a little much to some, but I believe anything that inspires good will deserves such praise. ArenaNet is not simply making a game, they're creating a healthy community. Such directive was evident in the company's blogs and Twitter post, but became a natural state of being when playing the game. People helped people, we fought together, we overcame obstacles and we lost some battles. Looking back I realize I wasn't playing the game, but experiencing it.

Like in the way that frozen food will never compare to Mom's lasagna, ArenaNet has given us a taste of something you can't get anywhere else.


A special thanks goes out to ArenaNet for making such an amazing game, their community team for their resilience, and my wife for putting up with my 3 day “absence” during beta. :)

April 18, 2012

Clear your schedule, it's time to take this dragon for a test fly.

Well we have a date for the first Beta Weekend Event and it's April 27-29. I will be playing the entire time, getting as many pictures (and hopefully video) as I can. Going to stock up on easy make food, caffeine, and let my wife know that while I may be here in person, my mind is on vacation.

I love this. Nothing makes me feel like a kid again quite like when I lose myself to the excitement of a new game. It doesn't happen that often for me, as I try not to buy many new games, and honestly, few games do anything overwhelmingly new to warrant the excitement. But Guild Wars 2 sure is doing it for me.

There was a twitter post by MK saying they'd let us know what content will be available for testing soon. I wonder if we'll be extremely limited in the first test, then given more room in future beta weekends. Whatever the case, as soon as I know what's available, I'm going to set a game plan for coverage and post it here. If there's anything you'd like to know about the game, let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to cover it.

As far as what I'd like to see? Well I'm very interested in the Sylvari race, being the nature loving guy that I am. It would be nice to at least get to experience character creation for all the classes so that I'm not spending an hour on each race till I find the perfect look. And trust me, I will. Hopefully I can create a guild in the beta and familiarize myself with the guild tools. I'd like to focus on the top 3 professions that interest me: Warrior, Elementalist, Warlock within the first 2 days, then on the last day, I'd like to just explore, try out all the other classes and answer any questions presented to me.

So yeah, I'm very excited to finally play the game and looking forward to enjoying the childlike experience of a shiny new toy. I'm turning 30 in May, but until then, this guy is reverting back to 12. :)

April 7, 2012

Squad leader, we got a man down. ...Squad leader? You there?..

Hey you, come join the squad I'm leading, but while you follow my instructions, STFU. ArenaNet just posted a blog about their Squad system in Guild Wars 2. Jordan Massey is a gameplay programmer who is working directly with the WvW system and he shed some light on what Squads are and how they'll benefit teams. While most of it was in consideration of the WvW, it also applies for groups who want to take on big PvE content, such as world bosses.

Click the link to view the article by Jordan Massey 

The article is worth reading, but to sum it up, squads can be made up of many people, and have 1 person leading. People can join on the fly, however, squad commanders are the only ones able to speak in the chat designated for that particular squad. So leave behind the banter & interruptions when it's time to focus on the task at hand. Still, it seems a little odd for a game that's so focused on being social.

Personally, I like this a lot. While I value what my friends and guildies have to say, you're likely to have all kinds of people outside your circle who will be joining the fight. There's nothing worse than people arguing or spouting off obscenities while the rest of the group is trying to focus. And it's not like you won't have communication with the people you'd actually like feedback from. Just share it in guild chat, private tells, vent/mumble etc.

The blog mostly spoke about the iteration of squads in WvW, but Jordan said it can also be used for big encounters in PvE. Since the closest thing they have to raiding that we've seen so far are non-instanced boss encounters, that require a large group to take down and allow for anyone to join the fight at any time. Basically, you can walk in on a fight, click on someone who's in a squad, and select the option to join that squad.

I can see certain squad leaders becoming sort of like heroes in the game. The ones who know the content very well and are able to rally players to success. Their names you'll get to know, you'll want to join their groups whenever you see them, and they will bring the community together. That sort of virtual glory should be enough to drive squad leaders to do their best.

With 3 days left before pre-purchase, I'm overly excited to get into the next beta. I'll be sure to leave my impressions here and hopefully get some videos since there won't be an NDA. Till then, let me know what you think of the Squad feature.