Guild Wars 2 The First Hour: a NPE Reflection

The use of level-gating for some activities doesn’t seem to follow a logical pattern. The use of level-ups to discuss features available from character creation makes gw2 gold, though I wouldn’t be surprised if a user experience study provided evidence of overload if the elements were all introduced at once upon tutorial completion. In any case, there are aspects of this that I think reveal the good intentions behind the new system’s implementation, but it falls short of being a powerful tool for learning the game. Control of character progression is taken away from the players — rather than a player progressing a character at his or her own pace, engendering an environment of exploration and evolution, the game arbitrarily decides when he or she is ready to advance, imposing a more draconian, static leveling path (worse if a player prefers WvW and wishes to level up in that area).

Ultimately, awareness of what the game mechanics are and how the UI operates are probably the primary goals in helping new players. To that end, I would encourage continuing to work this system into one that adopts the characteristics of the Mists introductory area and explicit tutorials. Instead of hiding the downstate and its skills behind later and later levels, for example, have the players enter combat and get downed in a controlled way. Direct players to a resource node as one of their first activities in the open world, perhaps with a temporary harvesting item, to get a feel for gathering (and this can be used as a natural segue into crafting AND the bank!!). Use more than some red circles on the ground to encourage the use of dodges — start with a single strike, chain it into two with pop-up text to note the endurance meter and its recharging nature and speed. Doing these things un-muddies the UI and eases players into the game world. I know, this game hates the idea of quests, but that’s what hearts are, so it shouldn’t be the end of the world if a couple brief introductory activities like these are introduced.

As I couldn’t divorce myself from my dislike of this new system as a returning player, I also remain very eager to see how much of this will NOT apply to veteran accounts (which I think has been mentioned a few times by ANET folks). Ideally, none of this would apply to my alts, but I suspect the skill slot, weapon swapping, and profession-unique skill unlocks are here to stay for everyone. This on top of the awful trait system (level 30, really? Almost halfway through the game we finally get to experiment and customize builds? And we have to go to specific areas of Tyria to unlock them?) does not encourage alt creation and leveling, and I can only offer my condolences to new players.

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