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’t 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.