Between a lot of school works to do and a lot of Phantasy Star Online 2 to play, I’m surprised to find myself spend much time on the third and final Beta Weekend Event of Guild Wars 2… even after finding out (the hard way) that a wipe has taken place right before this BWE. No official reason was given from on the wipe, but there aren’t many possibilities. Opening up Sylvari and Asura playable races and racial areas, then decreased total number of servers–it looks like the devs wanted to the new content to be stress tested before the game goes on shelf.
Being a good beta tester I am, it was exactly what I did. I rolled a new character: Asura Necromancer, did some generic PvE, more exploration, and took another look at crafting.
Asura was the race I scheduled to play after the game goes live. This arrangement was made a long time ago, and of course, BWE 1 being my first time hands on the game, Asura race was unplayable. On the other hand, shall my Charr Engineer was not deleted, I can almost be certain that a Charr will be my first character to make on August 25.
So, I have to pause and reflect on how exactly I’m coming up the race that I want to play. The major quality I look for: how interesting is the race’s back story, how rich is its lore, and how compelling is its current development. Unfortunately (for my decision making, but fortunately for the game), all five races score similarly high in these areas.
Anyway, for this BWE, the choice was really between Asura and Sylvari. The final decision was made mostly an aesthetic one: although both new races lack the the rich template palettes seen from Human and Norn character creation, I found all the Sylvari face models for Necromancers (or is it not related to profession?) are utterly unacceptable. And since I really wanted to make a Necro, this is what I proceeded to do.
That is My Story. Like the one with Charr storyline quest chain, this one ended at lv20. Comparing to my previous experience with Charr’s story, I find my the story with Asura is slightly less interesting. Maybe is just the major Asura NPC’s voice acting are not as immersive, or the historical location for Charr story invokes too much nostalgia to me; something just didn’t tick.
What impressed me about Asura is the magnificence of their home city: Rata Sum. Although Rata Sum is the only racial city of today that existed back in the time of Guild Wars 1, the new capital city looks infinitely more grandiose than its historical self of 250 years ago. The entire city, like other racial cities, is the embodiment of its resident culture. A geometric marvel, the signature fusion of arcane magic and pseudo-sciences, golems… everything that has made the Asura race likeable in GW1 was amplified in this genius architectural creation.
I suppose I can go on and write verses about every other cities as they are similarly splendid, Rata Sum is my favorite. Sadly I don’t have any screenshot to share… don’t worry, it’ll be fixed in a month
One last thing. After having much fun as an Asura now, the reason of rolling the same race again upon game launch has a lot to do with my love of Asura golems. All Asura racial elite skills are summoning golems! Unfortunatley, not enough time to get lv30 in merely one weekend to unlock any of those skills…
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the Engineer profession regardless of its flaws in the previous two BWE. However, it’s a lot easier to figure stuff out once I started playing Necro. The profession has one thing I desperately wanted when I played Engineer: mobile meat shields in PvE. Necromancer minions, like in the original Guild Wars but now in less quantity, are excellent cannon fodders to mitigate damage from my own character so I can focus on pumping out damages. Engineer’s turrets are more or less the same deal, except that they are much harder to use at peak efficiency. Also, I feel it is much easier to manage the raw damage vs conditional damage spectrum as a Necro.
Yet setting eyes in structured PvP, the current metagame–which will no doubt change over time, especially the next month or two–has dictated the profession to play as a “Conditionmancer”. Necromancer has a rich collection of skills dedicated to inflicting and transmitting conditions to enemies (from self and allies, sometimes), though it still doesn’t change the fact that I just like raw damage more. To my observation, not enough hostile conditions to mitigate in general PvE to worth building my character progression around it, (while it is always possible to change traits and skill bars freely in sPvP). Lastly, since I am also interested in spending time in WvW, maybe I’ll spend a bit more theory crafting with build calculators and hope by the time it is still relevant.
In my previous posts, I was not impressed with Guild Wars 2’s crafting. Maybe partly because I was never into crafting for all MMOs I’ve played, partly the suspicion that I was doing something wrong. I did Huntsman and Leatherworker on my Engineer, hoping at least making myself some weapons and armors to wear. That plan didn’t go well. As a different approach, I picked Jeweler and Cook this time.
Unlike other equipments, jewelery is needed by all professions. Two earrings, two rings, and one necklace, given a few popular stats that other players want on the items, I can see the market is much more forgiving. Although I’m still skeptical of making them for a profit… items resulted from the same recipe has same stats, and they are not consumable in anyway: they don’t have durability, much less it being degradable; there is no enchanting that would destroy items in process, etc… Despite the odds in market supply and demand, I certainly enjoyed discovering new recipes for the Jeweler discipline, and I didn’t have to empty my entire wallet to get myself a full set of accessories stacked in Power, my favorite stat. Yay.
Cooking on the other hand, is still costly. The end product is simply not useful enough to justify the money spent on ingredients and the time spent on leveling the discipline. Also, it doesn’t help with discovering recipes for cooking is much less regular than other crafts, as it relies more on–wait for it–common sense in real-life cooking. Not sure whether how I should look at it, because my real life self stocks on frozen food and instant noodles, with a M.I.C.R.O.W.A.V.E. (stands for “Magical Instantaneous Cooking Range of Witful Asura Verified Excogitation) to make them edible.
The current plan for release is: definitely keep Jeweler discipline, and drop Cook for maybe Tailor for making my own light armors.
Improvement made between BWE 2 and 3 is upholding my confidence of a smooth launch and continued devotion of fixing things afterwards. Few much wanted feature, such as crafting tables now function as banks, have been implemented. Of course, the game has still much imbalances to tweak, and many bugs to squish between now and The Day. Meanwhile, I’m quite happy in what I call a “state of post-release-date-annoucement serenity”, good enough to endure a month of no Guild Wars 2.