The most recent Guild Wars 2 beta weekend has wound to a close (much to my dismay), but thankfully my time in Tyria has not been wasted. Oh, heavens no. I spent the majority of the weekend running around the war-torn borderlands and getting the everloving daylights stomped out of me in the game's world vs. world combat.
When I wasn't busy acquainting my face with the ground, however, I had plenty of time to meander about the battlefield of The Mists, storming keeps, cutting off supply caravans, and defending encampments, and now I finally get to share my impressions with all of you fine readers. So what did I think about GW2's WvW system (my total lack of PvP ability aside)? Rev up your siege engines and gird your proverbial loins, then follow past the cut to find out!
Let's get one thing out of the way for the people with short attention spans: I had a blast. For quite some time I have lamented the lack of meaningful player-vs-player combat in modern MMOs. I've gotten tired of PvP being relegated to self-contained battlegrounds and arenas that have no impact on the greater world, and most attempts at world PvP tend either to flounder out once the majority of the population have leveled past the zone in which the PvP objectives are located or to become dominated by max-level characters to the exclusion of all others.
Guild Wars 2's WvW solves this problem beautifully by taking the open-world feel of world PvP and placing it into an instanced location where players are all put on a more-or-less even playing field. Upon entering the Mists, each character's stats are boosted to those of a level 80 character (though gear and unlocked skills remain the same, so legitimately high-level characters do have something of an advantage), and each player is assigned a team (red, blue, or green) based on his or her server. "But Matt!" you might say, "I thought you said you wanted meaningful PvP, not self-contained drudgery!" I did say that, and I meant it. Victory in world vs. world grants a server-wide bonus called Power of the Mists, which -- depending on your server's WvW score -- provides a number of useful bonuses to health, crafting experience, combat experience, and more to every player on the team's home server. While this may not be exactly world-altering, it certainly does provide a good reason to fight.
I would have to say, however, that the absolute best part of my time in WvW was being involved in a fortress siege. Madness! Sweet, glorious havoc! Catapults fired everywhere while castle defenders rained hell from the battlements and the infantry of both sides duked it out in front of the keep's gates. It was one of the most intense, edge-of-my-seat experiences I've had in quite some time, and I absolutely can't wait to do it again.
But to be entirely honest with y'all, that's about the extent of my grievances, and when my only nitpick ultimately amounts to my own ignorance and/or stupidity, I'd say that's a pretty good sign. Of course, this is only one weekend's worth of experience (and of course, WvW wasn't the only thing I spent time doing), so there may be more nuanced issues that I've yet to pick up on. That said, I feel like WvW is shaping up incredibly. It provides the more competitive among us with a fun, exciting, and accessible way to make an impact on the entire server, and frankly, that excites the hell out of me. So that's all for now, ladies and gents. I hope to mercilessly slaughter... I mean, see you all in The Mists soon!
Even a Bookah like you knows that Guild Wars 2 is on the way, but it takes an Asura's intellect, a Human's charm, a Sylvari's wisdom, a Charr's passion, and a Norn's love of strong mead to dive into beta and make sense of a game this complex. Fortunately, we have all five on the Massively staff. Enjoy our previews, guides, and our weekly GW2 column, Flameseeker Chronicles!