Before I begin, allow me to give a little background information about myself. I have been playing since the first beta weekend. My main character is a guardian, and I have a total of six level 80 characters on my account. I have participated to some degree in every single release. Now, without further ado, my review:
I decided that since so many people were whining on forums about the New Player Experience.I’d see what all the fuss was about. I decided to roll a guardian since it is the class I find most enjoyable, I have the most experience with, and it’s the class I would pick for my first character. As of this writing, I have finished the second story arc with said character. I did not withdraw anything from my bank or buy anything (save a single basic salvage kit). Be warned that some of the following will contain minor spoilers.
In all honesty, I found the tutorial to be really, really boring. Personally, I find the mace to be a very boring weapon already, and being forced to auto-attack for what seemed to be ten forevers and a day, while whoever was ahead of me took their sweet time killing the earth elemental. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they also only had access to their auto-attack as well. As it is now, there is no reason to kill any extra centaurs.
I presume the accelerated leveling was due to the lack of personal story involvement. This was always a great source for low level experience. The item rewards at level up were a nice touch, particularly the aqua breathers. I would suggest a different weapon as a reward for the first level up if for nothing else, just for the sake of variety. I was not fond of being completely powerless underwater until level 8, especially since I seem to be one of the few people who actually enjoys underwater combat to some extent due to the z-axis. I did notice a few attacks with more noticeable telegraphs. I consider that to be a good thing that should lead to an earlier focus on dodging. To be honest, the little arrow pointing at my recharging Shelter wasn’t any help. Being unable to use all of my weapon skills, my virtues, or even a single utility skill seemed like an unnecessary handicap. Being unable to even do a skill challenge seems crippling and causes unneeded backtracking…I’m looking at you Carnie Jeb.
Level 10 Arc:
It was nice doing the entire Arc together for a change, even though I did miss the early experience I had always gotten before. Finishing this arc got me to level 13 and provided a few decent gear upgrades. The Black Lion Chest RNG still seems to hate me though…
The lack of skills really becomes apparent here with the advent of more enemies, conditions, etc. The lack of skills even killed me once. “Things are looking a bit rough, time to use skill 8…oh right…” I was glad when level 15 came and I could finally use my second weapon set. The stat and skill point dumps didn’t really make me feel stronger. I was just relieved that I finally had access to them, instead of steadily growing stronger. In my opinion, a set number of levels difference should be a decent indicator of strength regardless of level. To me, the old trait system’s minor and major traits achieved the feeling mentioned in the blog post. “Only 2 more levels and I can get gw2 gold here.” At this level range, I also finished mapping Queensdale.
Level 20 Arc:
My opinions are pretty much the same as with the previous arc, save the Black Lion thing. Although the experience wasn’t as useful. The gear was nicer though.
Post Level 20 Arc:
I ended up getting to level 21. It was quite frustrating not even getting my Virtue of Courage. In addition to the things I mentioned above, there are a few things I feel would help the New Player Experience™. One of the things I would always recommend to new players who wanted more experience was to go to the other races’ newb areas. Even with the first map partially unexplored, this would help new players get to a strength where they can better manage things. With the exception of the arrow that misled some players (which I disabled within minutes of installing the patch), I didn’t notice anything encouraging exploration or cooperation. I think increasing access to the wiki would assist with the lack of information new players often have. Think of the wiki links in GW1. Personally, I’d like to see the ability to click on something pinged in chat and being taken directly the wiki page. I’ve also noticed that the /wiki command seems to be almost completely unknown, even by more experienced players. The GW2 community is the most helpful I have seen in any mmo. It seems a waste to rely on a highly flawed system, rather than to make full use of one of the best resources the game has to offer.