This is a strange post for me to write. I focus on my first impression with the last BWE for GW2. And, sadly, only the first several hours of the event. I enjoy the community behind the game and the developers are definitely top notch, but something is lacking. Something about the game that had me checking, reading, and hyping daily… just doesn’t deliver. I’ll do my best to recapitulate what I experienced on Day 1 of the third BWE and why I uninstalled on the same day.
I was lucky enough to snag a beta key last week from curse and excitedly downloaded the client to prepare any patches and so-forth. I waited in anticipation for the 20th of July to roll around the corner. I had purposely denied myself GW2 information since late May, in the hope that my expectations would return to a normal level. I have had my own lofty expectations ruin first impressions for games, especially MMOs, in the past. Let’s skip ahead to today. I start up the game around noon/noon-thirty (PST) and love the color scheme, painterly aesthetics, and music. I’m starting to get drawn in. I select my first race, Norn of course, and start dabbling in the character creator. First thing that disappointed me was the overall flatness of the character models. Everything just felt very… blocky.
I decide to try a different race. Switch to Human and am sadly delivered a similar impression. I’ll pass on that as well. Leap for joy to Sylvari. I had some great fun creating my character from this point. I ended up with a tree bark, branches with leaves, semi-ME3 Garrus look. I was happy. Continuing down the creation tree, I was an engineer by the way, the personal choices were interesting and birthed questions in me about their outcome (this is good). Then the cinematic introduction in the unique GW2 style. I’m completely drawn in. The voice felt right, the story was interesting, the colors were a feast for my eyes. Then the starting/tutorial zone…
The intense color of everything in the Sylvari dream-world was almost dizzying. I worked my way through the short, very short, story to a very large shadow dragon, tree, thing. I was thinking it was time to fight some awesome dragon thing that was tainting the Sylvari’s dreams. I get ready for the fight, but then it’s over. I maybe shot the thing 3 or 4 times. That was it. I was rather disappointed, but I let it slide and continued on. The color palette in the real world was more vibrant than I’d like. I decided to work my way over to the human lands for a change of environment.
Skip to a few hours later. I had done a number of activities for various NPC’s outside of Divinity’s Reach. However, the whole experience was rather mundane. I felt like I was charging into never ending Public Quests (WAR). I wanted to experience a little more of the Engineer so I decided to hop into the Mists and level 80. I test out the various weapons and utilities in the area and come away feeling very unimpressed. I don’t know what it is that I didn’t like about the whole experience, I wish I did. I thought it might just be the profession. Perhaps it didn’t fit my tastes. I make an Asura elementalist and give that a go. I skip the Dynamic Events this time and fly back to the Mists. I dabble with all the skills and weapons and utilities, but again I felt like something was missing. It was all interesting to finally see first hand and use on whatever ways I could think up, but… still.
I wasn’t having fun. I was playing the classes that interested me most, joined a few Structured matches, and even ran around WvW. Yet, I had more fun playing Dungeon Fighter Online, TERA, FFXIV, and even Warhammer Online than I did with my short experience in GW2. I shocked myself when I came to the thought.
It must just be me. I can say with certainty that I will not be buying GW2. Sorry Arenanet. You put some strong effort into your game, but it’s just not for me.
Please, don’t take this as a review of the game in any sense. If you enjoy the game keep playing. This was simply the impression left on me by my experience.