Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Next Beta Weekend Announced

Yes! ArenaNet's Blog has announced the next GW2 Beta Weekend is Friday, June 8th at noon PDT (GMT -7) to Sunday, June 10th at 11:59 PDT.
Chris Whiteside, lead producer of GW2, also says that "existing beta characters have not been deleted" so that we can pick up where we left off. Plus they're opening up the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon for players over level 35. Pretty cool.
I actually take beta testing more seriously than some other players, I think. I actually test stuff! At this point I'm not in the game to play it and level my toon; I'm in it to do things I'd normally do and see if they actually work. So for me, that's stuff like climbing tall mountains and seeing if I get stuck, and messing with different costume pieces and watching for annoying clipping, and getting a feel for how smooth and intuitive the controls are. I actually use the "ladybug" button quite a bit.
I also send positive feedback and congratulations to the devs. I'm a big believer in that. It's nice to hear about something you did right every now and then, isn't it?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

You Can Call Me Schmexy

Arena Net published a very important article on their blog today regarding reservation of character names in GW2.
In essence, there are three points.
1. Any Guild Wars 1 players who want to reserve their name for Guild Wars 2 need to log into GW1 before a yet-undisclosed date to keep their name reserved. So go do that now, basically.
2. In GW2 you will be allowed to have a one-word name, something that was not available in GW1. People can create toons on Headstart Day with one-word names. First come, first serve.
3. Your name is yours across all worlds and servers. Wow, cool!

Spiral's full name in GW1 was Spiral Madheart, because I had to choose a last name and that's basically what sprung to mind. It's kinda stuck now. But I would really prefer to be just Spiral. (Jazz hands here!)
So I guess on Headstart Day I'll attempt to create a toon with the one-word name, Spiral. I doubt I'll get it. Why? Cuz there's no way I'm going to be able to create a Spiral before someone else does. I just take too damn long in the character creation screen! I'm too picky with all the face sliders and colours and hair options, et cetera. Vanity FTW.  :)

Spiral Madheart is a fine name anyway, and it's kinda cute to be called Ms. Madheart as well. (Hello Pen from Rift, if you're reading!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Norn Ice Sculptures

Wolf Lodge in Hoelbrak
So I posted a bit yesterday about the beauty of Tyria. This is just one screenshot I took on my travels, but I feel it really shows how dedicated the GW2 artists were to making Tyria feel like a real place, and a place that's amazing.
This is Vixyn, Norn Hunter, and her pet crow, Coalwings, outside of Wolf Lodge in the main Norn city of Hoelbrak. I mean, honestly. Ice sculptures?? How cool is that? (Err, no pun intended.) Look at them! Lit up by torches, glistening and reflecting, yet still menacing in their frozen wolfiness. Just freaking awesome.
And each lodge, Bear, Raven and Snow Leopard, has their own statues outside. And inside they have very unique architectures that represent their animal. Like the Raven lodge is shaped like wings and their fireplace has raven's heads carved in metal on it. Or the Bear Lodge goes back into a cave. It's just insane how intricate and individualized this world has been made. Wait, I take that back. It doesn't feel like it's been "made". It feels like it just IS.
Of course, on top of all this visual stimulation you add a glorious soundtrack and complex background noises too. Standing outside of Wolf Lodge you can hear birds twittering in the trees, the scrunch of gritty snow underfoot, and the swoosh of wind as it brings up the goosebumps on your arms. (Vixyn, seriously, where is your coat, girl?) Behind you are Norns chatting around a large fire, talking about the latest Moot, or how proud they are their grandchild lifted his first sword.

I think the word I'm searching for here is immersive. I've always been an explorer-type in MMOs, going places I shouldn't and paying the death-debt price for it, and I can tell already that GW2 is not going to help me with my curious cat tendencies. I barely even looked at the map as I traveled, I just ran over the next hill, or around the corner, or went to see what was over the river and past those trees, just a little further...oh crap, mobs, big nasty mobs...and I'm dead.  :)
Lucky for me, rezzing is cheap, easy and relatively pain-free. More on that in another post. For now, it's back to twiddling my thumbs until the next beta event.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Graphics Resolution in GW2 (beta)

I went in the second open beta test yesterday, a stress test, and had a blast touring around in the Norn area on my ranger, Vixyn.
I have tons to post about but I thought I'd start with something that a lot of people seem to be wondering about: What does the game look like?
Well, it's FREAKING GORGEOUS. Yeah. That deserves caps!
I'm not the only one who thinks so. I read some great comments in local chat yesterday:
"Hello again, GW2. Nice to see you looking so beautiful."
"I want to make love this game."
"Gosh darnnit, this game is so freaking purdy."

So to give you a technical view of the game, I took a few screenshots at various levels of graphics resolutions. These are just for you to compare the different settings. The actual glorious awesomeness of the artwork in the game can be seen, well, basically anywhere you go. I could post millions of screenshots showing that! But I won't spoil it for you. All I'm gonna say is get in the damn game already and see for yourself!

Performance resolution setting, the lowest pre-set

Balanced resolution setting
Best resolution setting, the highest pre-set
This kinda feels like one of those "find what's different" games! In-game I noted the shadows, lighting and textures the most when switching between resolutions.
Of course, there are customizable settings for resolutions as well. These are just the three pre-sets. And actully, the pre-sets are on a slider bar, and I believe there are settings between these three as well.

For my personal computer specs, to those who care:
Intel Pentium E5700 Dual-Core CPU
Mobo Intel G41M-P26
Radeon HD 4350 512 MB

Obviously not the greatest setup, but I'm taking donations for upgrades.  Kidding!  :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Respecting and Disrespecting the Dead

Spiral doing some light reading
Arena Net blog posted a round up of reviews of the first GW2 Beta Weekend. It was nice to read some other people's perspectives on the weekend, and a great playback of the fun I had in-game.
I was reminded by Justin Olivetti over at Massively about one of my favourite discoveries in my explorations of Tyria. I found a graveyard and every single tombstone had an epitath. And there were quite a few; it was no small graveyard! I clicked on a bunch and was highly amused and impressed. Justin did the same and posted his Top 10 Favorites here.
As for me, I only read a small sampling, but this one made me smile enough to warrant a screenshot.

I'm wondering who thought of the names on these tombstones,
and perhaps if they are in some way connected to the names of GW2 developers.

There's just something awesome about a gaming company that remembers to have fun, even if it is at the expense of the dearly deceased.