Guild Wars 2 diary: Dungeons of dragons

Ozzie's Sylvari Mesmer hits level 30 and explores the dungeon and world v. world aspects of Guild Wars 2

With my Sylvari Mesmer finally at level 30, it was time to begin exploring the Guild Wars 2 dungeon scene. A level 30 dungeon known as the Ascalonian Catacombs was located in the middle of the Plains of Ashford, home of the Charr race. Getting together with my experienced guide, a level 35 Human Elementalist named Ziva no Najwa, we threw out an open call for a party of five to begin what would undoubtedly be an arduous quest. A helpful Charr named Rogg Ironlight, a Norn named Sabnir Stonepaw, and a human named Kookielea soon joined our ragtag group and we walked through the front gate. The Ascalonian Catacombs were filled with restless spirits of Ascalonian soldiers that were killed by the Charr. Rytlock Brimstone, the Story Mode's Charr representative, would act as our NPC guide and provide backstory in various areas. The dungeon started off with a rallying point and a designated armor-repair area, for when our armor inevitably endured wear and tear. The first thing I noticed was that the enemies were tough as nails, made more difficult by the fact that everyone was scaled down to level 30. Starting with the opening Gate Guardian, we all had to exercise teamwork to eliminate foes one at a time. We had to be careful not to wander recklessly, otherwise we would disturb multiple spirits and find ourselves overwhelmed. Each of the spirits represented one of the game's many professions, with Ascalonian Monks giving us the most trouble, thanks to their self-healing abilities.

My group battles at the entrance to the Ascalonian Catacombs

After defeating an Ascalonian Lieutenant, I learned that dungeon raiding would not be a quick affair. A cutscene revealed the ghost of King Adelbern, the human king from the original Guild Wars. Adelbern had gone mad since the events of the first GW and vowed vengeance against Rytlock and our party. To draw out Adelbern, we had to take out all of his lieutenants in three separate boss fights. Rogg Ironlight offered strategy against the first of these bosses, Master Nente. Nente needed to be attacked from a distance, but we also had to avoid his summoned pets and teleportation attacks. While some of our party fell throughout the fight, they could respawn at the dungeon entrance and rejoin the battle at any time. Nente was soon defeated, but our party would meet our end at the next boss fight. The fallen lovers, Ralena and Vassar, proved incredibly difficult. Vassar's maelstrom would draw us closer to him, where he would make short work of anyone nearby. I tried to stay far away and attack with clones, but Ralena hit a lot harder than I did and dispatched me in two hits. Clones were of little help, as the lovers sliced through them like a hot knife through butter. Our strategy ultimately proved clumsy and uncoordinated, so when one of our party members dropped out, the rest of us quickly followed suit. The Ascalonian Catacombs would remain unconquered -- for now. With my dungeon raid an utter failure, I decided to explore a different aspect of the Guild Wars 2 experience -- World vs. World. While Player vs. Player has always been a popular part of the original GW, World vs. World has become incredibly popular to the point that queues would last hours. To get an idea of what I was in for, I hit the Eternal Battlegrounds and Crystal Isle Borderlands, where I learned that the overall idea of WvW was to control territories. Everyone was scaled to level 80, which should have theoretically put me on an even playing field with everyone. Unfortunately, lackluster weaponry and armor meant I was vulnerable to powerful attacks. I stuck to large groups and followed them around. We headed out to a contested battle zone, where we were met by opposing players (identified by their server name and the label "Invader") all rushing in, guns blazing. Battle proved intense and became more intense when NPC wildlife also decided to jump into the fray, indiscriminately attacking random players. Although I died more easily here, I came out of WvW wondering why I didn't jump into this game mode sooner. Many aspects of the main Player vs. Environment game mode remained in place, like the exploration elements and the harvesting areas. Successful kills also rewarded far more XP here than in normal PvE play, making WvW an ideal grinding spot. As much as I've enjoyed GW2, I realize that I've only scratched the surface of what Guild Wars 2 has to offer. I look forward to seeing what new experiences this game has to offer in the future.
Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
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    September 11, 2012 6:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Guild Wars 2 diary: Dungeons of dragons.

    Ozzie's Sylvari Mesmer hits level 30 and explores the dungeon and world v. world aspects of Guild Wars 2

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      September 12, 2012 12:56 PM

      I'll have to say this is one of the more generic mmorpgs i've played for a while. On one hand they took a lot of the typical MMORPG repetitive tasks out, but it doesnt really add anything new. Its very.... very easy to level in the game... went from 60-62 in an hour or so yesterday but the combat, controls feel clunky.. and the tasks/quests are pretty much all copied 2-3 times over once you get past level 30.. the PVP mode (where you're lvl 80 and get precanned pvp gear) is ok.. but its just typical control point fare..
      The world vs world combat is neat.. but nothing new compared to Dark Age of Camelot which came out a very long time ago.

      I'd give this game a 7/10. Nothing new here,

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        September 12, 2012 12:59 PM

        On a side note, PVP unfortunately is very spammy and there are some terrible line of sight/hit detection issues. For example strafing will cause you to miss all of your attacks even if the enemy is in front of you.

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        September 12, 2012 1:30 PM

        7/10 seems like a way more positive score then what you've described.

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          September 12, 2012 1:33 PM

          It's not a bad game.. but from someone that's played almost every mmorpg from ultima online it's not really bringing anything new to the table in my opinion.

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            September 12, 2012 4:52 PM

            The only "new" thing is that they took apart the Tank-DD-Healer trinity (In GW2 basically everyone is a DD with a self heal and shielding capability), which is quite confusing at times - there is no aggro system and bosses (seemingly)randomly attack players which sometimes results in a chance for others to do massive damage but also makes the timing of CDs and self-heals annoying. On top of that its not always clear which target the mob is attacking and your target sometimes switches without any reason, which imo makes group combat extremely chaotic.

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        September 12, 2012 2:16 PM

        100% agree with everything you said. Concise and correct. I also am enjoying the game, but yeah, it's standard fair and definitely not innovative.

        The hit detection stuff is so annoying. I have a feeling that a lot of this is lag induced (.1 second of horizontal movement can make a big difference) but randomly being obstructed or having skills not even fire off and going into the 3 second "you suck" cooldown when it clearly should have hit is getting a bit absurd at this point. The screenshot in the article above is a fantastic example of being "obstructed" while the dude is clearly in plain line of site!

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          September 13, 2012 12:58 AM

          So what would u consider not generic? From what I've played so far its about as different as it gets for an mmo, with the movement mechanics, no dedicated classes etc, kind of feels a bit like an fps, which i like. There are aspects of an mmo which define the genre, like leveling and questing of some sort just to name a few. If you take away these things I'm pretty sure its no longer an mmo...

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            September 13, 2012 1:01 AM

            This was in reply to rythex's post mostly, replied to wrong person.

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        September 12, 2012 3:26 PM

        I don't really play MMOs in general but I really am not getting into this sequel. I've tried numerous classes and numerous races but it already seems a grind in the starter areas. I'll keep trying :(

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      September 12, 2012 2:45 PM

      I ran Ac last night in story mode took 2 and half hours. Group died about 25-30 times. Was a blast though. 6-8 blues and i got a rare hat at the end and a level and half xp.

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