Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yak's Bend, Here We Come!: GW2

Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend. Twenty-four hours to go. We've picked Yak's Bend for our temporary home, because reaching it was such a highpoint of the original campaign I still remember it clearly seven years on. It's A U.S. server so with a bit of luck it might be something less than insanely busy at the times we'll be playing.

I've been reading a lot of blog commentary as everyone gets themselves pumped up. The focus on PvP surprises me a tad. World vs World vs World PvP, that is (already being pared down to WvW, thank the lord). I've not heard a single person claiming to be excited about the eSport. Is that even in yet?

Guild Wars is an odd brand. The original was heavily trailed as a PvP game before launch, to the point that almost no-one I knew playing Everquest back then had the slightest interest in trying it. Mrs Bhagpuss and I gave it a shot and had a lot of fun for a few weeks. I think I tried PvP maybe three times. It was so insanely fast  I couldn't even work out what was going on, far less participate.

As I remember it, that view was widespread. I seem to recall ArenaNet confirming that the majority of players were spending most of their time in the PvE instances. Certainly most of the development of the game over the following seven years and four expansions has added PvE content rather than PvP.

For a long time all the news we got on the successor game was about the PvE. The dynamic content, the eighty levels, the massive open world, the races, the classes, the ambient audio, the crafting, the dress design...the PR department seemed determined to hammer home the point that this was a true virtual world MMO. PvP information seemed very sparse in comparison.

Eventually we got the skinny on both the eSport arena ladder PvP, similar to GW1 (as far as I can tell from an extremely superficial glance) and the very much more interesting World vs World vs World. Ah, a three-way! That's why the excitement. There seem to be a lot of Dark Age of Camelot fans manque out there in blog comment land. Warhammer didn't so much drop the ball on the New DAOC front, more stuck a dagger through the ball and hoicked it into the privy. Prime sorry, Dominus isn't anywhere near ready. Looks like WvW got tagged it, at least for now.

I'm up for a bit of turf-holding, keep-taking, supply-disrupting, three-way PvP. As a side dish, though, not a main course. I'm interested in Tyria for its VW cred. I'm hoping for a solid, well-crafted, extensive, immersive fantasy world to explore. One that will occupy my attention for a good long while, years maybe. I wasn't really planning on paying much attention to the Homeworld thing. So we get some buffs or we don't. Is that going to matter?

It can't, can it? Surely the perks of winning can't be so significant that players on the losing worlds feel sufficiently disadvantaged to be annoyed. Because if one thing's been apparent in MMOs for more than a decade it's that while lots of players like to dabble in PvP not all that many like to make it the main thrust of their gaming time.

The set-up doesn't allow for total opt-outs, which is interesting in itself. There won't be any pure PvE worlds that don't participate in WvW. There will be plenty of players who opt out entirely, though. There was an enormous amount of that in Rift, where arguments would frequently break out between players who'd flagged for PvP and those who hadn't and didn't intend to. In Rift, even on the PvE servers, the PvP often came to you, whether you wanted it or not. In GW2 it will be safely parked in a conveniently separate world. Making it very easy to ignore.

I'm open-minded. I'm hoping the PvE will be so good I won't need the WvW to pique my jading interest. I'll settle for just for the occasional pinch of WvW spice late on a Friday or Saturday night. On the other hand, if WvW turns out to be the Wonder-PvP MMOs have been striving for since, well, since always then I won't be turning up my nose.

Either way, I'm not expecting to find out this weekend. I'm expecting to be overwhelmed, confused and quite possibly exhausted. Anything less will be a let-down.


  1. A very good point; it's interesting to see how public interest in GW2 has shifted so majorly to WvW, when ANet struggled for a long time marketing their sequel as a PVE game to attract the mainstream. but then, the promised epic scale of these battles just sounds juicy to pvp veterans as much as sworn pvers alike, I could imagine.

    I share your hope - to me, the things I look forward the most is the exploration of a new world, the beautiful setting and art style and the music. I'm definitely also going to hit WvW, but my main reason for GW2 is the look and feel of the world and the overall dissimilarities to WoW (especially where grouping and combat are concerned).

  2. The Yogscast, GW@Guru, ZAM and GameTrailers people will all be playing on Yak's Bend. You have chosen the most insane of servers. :)

  3. Interesting point on the PVP focus, I guess it's filling a long-neglected gap in the market. Doesn't bother me either way, I'm sure the PVE content will be great.

    Have fun in Yak's Bend, great choice! For me it's the first location where you realise just how big the world is beyond Ascalon :-)

    I look forward to reading about it when I'm back from a week away.

  4. @Ardwulf Lol! I was completely unaware of that when I chose YB. Well, we have our free Gems for a server transfer if it turns out to be too crazy.


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