I had a very good and more varied session of Guild Wars 2 last night. Up front I’ll state that the daily system is better than in WoW, it’s an account level achievement, so you can play multiple characters in one day and get the achievement. Also it’s a nice mix of activities (sadly the monthly meta achievement requires PVP so I’ll never do that), but there is one flaw I can see. The achievement is perhaps more of an end-game style activity even in GW2. It’s possible to do it without realising. But if you’re on limited time it can be a rush to find the events – so late at night isn’t a good time to do this (at least for me as it messes with my sleep). Unlike in Rift, GW2 has no longer range or zone-wide telegraphing of event starts – so you literally have to waypoint around randomly or wait for a telltale message in map chat.
Anyway, I did more than just the achievement race last night; including a nice fat chunk of crafting on my artificer main. I really am enjoying the crafting system. For most professions ‘discovery’ is a bit of a no-brainer as the tiers use very similar fine quality ingredients (the claws, the blood etc) to select the stat bonuses. However to me it’s more like a lego-building mini-game. You’re fitting pieces together to make the larger item – great fun and just absorbing enough to make it a worthwhile activity. The crafting from bank is a great feature (SWTOR also added this after launch), and of course the extremely generous gatherables bank storage space is a huge bonus compared to every other MMO (GW1 had this). Cooking is actually a real game of discovery as there are more recipes using more unique combinations of ingredients *and* other cooking items (Ravious of Kill Ten Rats has a great post on cooking). I love cooking in MMOs but my necromancer is falling down the priority list as I get into playing a ranger with some relatives so he’s stuck on buff food production duty for now.
After crafting we headed out into the world to work on finishing our current zone: Brisban Wildlands.
Several blogs have talked about the lack of story in GW2, well I’d say that it’s just optional. If you want to know why you are doing what you are doing, then simply talk to the heart vendor before you start or at least before you finish the heart. They always have a story to tell and hints at what you could do to help. I learned this lesson from Rift: lore can be self-service in MMOs, hidden gems for those who are interested without being forced on those who couldn’t care less.
Towards the end of the zone we stumbled on an asura base with lots of asura gate portals and some maths puzzles, each one different. Very nice little brain teasers for the local heart, some harder than others. A nice change from ‘kill X baddies’!
Towards the end of the session we found our way up to a vista above an event boss (a *really* nasty hylek priestess which flattened us every time we tried to kill her). This offered a stunning view of the sinkhole complete with high waterfall and pool at the bottom with hylek ruins. A really masterfully designed little set-piece. Guild Wars 2 makes superbly effective use of the third dimension. Climbing, sliding, falling, diving, vertigo-inducing drops or cliffs, asura pyramids of exreme sizes – the use of scale is very effective even in the starter zones.