Guild Wars 2 is here!

The reason this post is a day late is the same reason this post is being written: the Guild Wars 2 Head Start has begun.

For the first time ever, I got up before 2 AM to play a new game. My guild, so active and loud in Ventrilo the night before, were all in Vent… but dead silent. The servers had come online three hours before the announced hour, and everyone was in game.

Guild Wars 2 is, bar none, the best MMO I’ve ever played.

Jumping into the game, I decided against trying to claim a bunch of names, and instead created my main character – Kolbrandr Ulffson, the Norn Ranger – and logged in.

Since I played in the beta weekend events prior to this, I was ready to go and knew exactly what to do first. I went through the early part of my personal story, but after reaching a certain point in that (involving havrouns, if you’re familiar with the story), I left off and started exploring.

If nothing else, Guild Wars 2 is absolutely gorgeous. I fully explored the Norn starting area, and then the Norn city of Hoelbrak, getting the full-clear Achievement Chest for that area. Yes, you get boxes of awesome loot just for exploring and doing incidental side quests!

The weapon-based skill system works beautifully. In no time at all, I was happily switching on the fly between my axe+torch skills and my longbow skills, lighting things on fire, chopping them up, and most satisfyingly, knocking them backward several yards with a well-placed arrow.

Sadly, you can‚Äôt use the arrow knockback to send mobs off cliffs, but ah well. Can’t have everything, I guess.

The jumping puzzles (called “undiscovered vistas” in the game) are just hard enough to be a challenge without being frustrating. There was only one that I did where I fell four or five times before completing it.

I think the most striking thing about Guild Wars 2 is how the gameplay encourages strangers to work together. For most of my playtime yesterday, I was constantly running around with groups of people I didn’t know, cooperatively completing events and earning tons of experience, loot, and karma. It works wonderfully!

And on that note, I’m going to jump back into the game. See you next week, on Saturday as usual.

Anticipating Guild Wars 2

In two weeks from today, the head start for Guild Wars 2 begins.

My feelings right now are mixed. I have never been a very excitable person, and tend to just keep busy rather than think about an upcoming event. However, this time is different. I find myself waiting with baited breath as the days tick by, bringing us ever closer to launch. I can feel the anticipation building. My guild is humming with activity, and the energy is contagious.

As a way to greet the game that may become the greatest MMORPG I have ever played, I committed to drawing one Guild Wars 2-themed sketch per day and posting it to my guild’s forums. Each day’s sketch is unplanned, other than that I want to stick to the rough ink style I’ve been using lately. I may use deviantART’s Muro, or I might draw by hand. Either way, the drawing will be guided by listening to the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack (courtesy of YouTube).

I bought the Digital Deluxe edition rather than the Collector’s Edition, and I don’t regret that choice. I do wish I could get a copy of the soundtrack legitimately in MP3 form, though, and for that I hope to turn to one of the music services – Amazon, Zune, or Google Play.

Each of the posts to Dicejockey for the next few weeks is likely to be GW2-themed. If you’re here for Ingenium news, keep an eye on the Silver Gryphon Games website; that’s where I’ll be posting about 2nd Edition and Eiridia.