Saturday, May 19, 2012

So Sue Me! Another GW2 Post.

Yes, I know what I said. Didn't know there was going to be a stress test then, did I?

The Stress

I was able to log in at the appointed second. Literally. I had the radio on and as the last pip of the GMT time signal for 7pm sounded the game began to load. That's some impressive precision.

Yak's Bend is supposedly one of the busiest of the U.S. servers. I was playing there from the U.K. during an event meant to test the infrastructure. We'd been warned to expect connection issues and lag. In five and a half hours I had one single lag spike that lasted maybe five seconds. I'd say they passed.

Leveling Speed

I still think it's fast, compared at least to the old-school pace I can't shake as some kind of subconscious benchmark, but I'm no longer convinced it's too fast.

Look at me! I'm flying!
I was a shade under level 19 when I logged in at 7pm. When I logged out at half past midnight I'd just dinged 21. I did a good deal of stuff that had nothing much to do with gaining xp so each level took a couple of hours. If the level curve really is flat, that's 160 hours to max level.

Allow for general pottering and you're looking at a couple of months for someone not bent on burning through, even if they play every day. Mix in five intriguing races, each with its own extensive starting area, eight classes offering significant variations in playstyle, glissando content so it stays relevant at any level and long-term replayability doesn't look like much of a problem any more, even if the levels do tick through quickly.

Combat Difficulty - At Level

No, you go in and I'll stay outside and keep watch

Honestly, it was even easier than last time!

Mind that oil lamp!
After all the commentary and debate about how some people found GW2 solo combat different, difficult, unforgiving, challenging or plain not much fun, I thought I'd go out of my way to push the limits to see what I could get away with.

The biggest gap I managed was five levels. At 20th there were level 25 mobs I could kill. Not all of them, I had to look for soft targets. Grubs were good. Drop back a level to 24 and I could pretty much take my pick. Two at once was rarely a problem.

On anything from even-con to three levels above me there was never much doubt who'd win, even if I got adds. In one very satisfying battle I downed a stream of something like a dozen fast-spawning level 22 and 23 Skales, fighting them in twos and threes without respite for several minutes before they finally overwhelmed me with their endless respawns.

Combat Difficulty - Autotuned

Might need some tweaks.

I think we got Elementals again
When going back through areas ten levels below me, autotuned by the game to the right level, it didn't feel all that different to being mentored down in EQ2. Nothing offered anything like the same challenge it had when I'd met it coming up and I was very clearly much more powerful than at-level characters fighting alongside me. Level 12 mobs went down in a couple of shots. My pet ripped through everything, taking almost no damage at all.

I liked it, but then I like being overgeared for content. Heaven knows what it would be like if I was really level 80.

Stuff That Fights With Other Stuff 

Alert for it this time, I spotted plenty of mob-on-mob violence. All of it seemed to make welcome ecological sense, too.

Throw another prawn...
Skale do not share territory willingly with Tar Elementals.  Since Tar Elementals are an environmental disaster, filling freshwater lakes with black goo that sporadically erupts in gouts of flame and Skale look to be fish-eating amphibeous predators, driving them off would seem entirely rational, if you're a Skale. Or a Charr, come to that. We're cats. We like fish!

Ascalonian Separatists fight with black bears. I didn't see who started this one. Maybe the separatists were hunting, maybe the bears were being bears. Works either way.

Whimsy Alert!

Dredge are moles. Did you know that? I didn't. I do now because I found an event where you pick up a very large hammer and try to whack Dredge as they pop up out of the ground. Ring any bells?

I also found out where they live. Moldavia.

Anyway, I have my whimsy-proof craft-knitted cardigan and fluffy slippers ready so I'm not scared. Do your worst, ArenaNet! Roll on BWE2 and roll on launch!



  1. These short tidbits of GW2-playtime are killing me. Every time someone on a forum speculates that the game won't be out until fall, I die a little inside; I haven't' felt this antsy to get back into a game in years!

  2. Tell me about it!

    I'm in The Secret World beta right now. I had no plans on even trying it but I just can't settle to anything.

    I'm not expecting GW2 until September at the earliest. Going to be a loooong summer.


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