We recently logged back into Guild Wars 2 for the first time since February just to have a poke around. The game is very familiar still but the User Interface had changed in subtle but jarring ways (it’s been nine months since we last played).
I started the sessions on my Norn guardian and just ran around re-learning controls and doing some general content – hearts, events and gathering. Then I swapped to my Asura mesmer to play with my partner’s elementalist. We had to spend time sorting our messy, full-up inventory, I think last time we played these characters we’d just done some big living story fights so our bags were full of random treasure and long-forgotten event currencies.
Afterwards we determined to give the latest living story chapter a go, the ‘quest’ for this was in the mail so off we trotted towards the new zone of the Silverwastes. Getting almost immediately caught up in a sprawling battle with bandits in Brisban Wildlands en-route we were quickly reminded just how frantic public events can get for the unprepared Asura. The changes brought in by season 1 of the Living Story included the enhanced scaling of fights so that large numbers of players will cause tougher elite monsters to spawn. We re-learned quickly that squishy cloth-wearing casters should avoid grabbing their attention!
Moving on into the new zone, we had barely arrived at the first base and snagged the vista before a caravan escort event triggered and we were off with a small zerg of characters into the unknown heartland. The fighting seems to be pretty constant and frenetic, we’re perhaps not as used to active combat as we were when playing regularly. Compared to the combat in the Secret World it is both more responsive but also requires a lot more movement (disclaimer: I can’t comment on Secret World’s end-game combat).
This brings home one of the main reason why we stopped playing, for my tastes the combat is tuned slightly too far towards ‘total action’, with no trinity and limited healing; movement is essential and the default tactic for almost any situation. The ability build system and combos are well designed and enjoyable to tinker with but I do find the combat a bit tiring nonetheless.
We haven’t got any other chapters of Season 2 unlocked since we didn’t think to login earlier so we’re a bit in at the deep end regarding what’s actually happening. I also found the story seems to be suffering now from too many NPCs sharing the limelight in the story dialogues. We started the new zone and were sent from one huddle of NPCs to another and they all seemed to be taking turns to say one or two lines. Is this a Tyrian actor’s guild requirement? Are all these characters really that important to the current story?
I wanted some good screenshots from the game for another post I’m writing and it was good to be back on my mesmer however briefly. But given these and other issues I think I’m not feeling drawn to return to the game, better to wait for the rumoured expansion to arrive as a better time to give the game a fresh look.