Guild Wars 2 The First Hour: a NPE Reflection

At this point, dyes and the wardrobe are shown to me. I’m guessing this wasn’t an actual unlock so much as it was just pointed out to me explicitly? I honestly did not attempt to use dyes or the wardrobe before. Given that, it might be good that these elements are directly noted for the player — character customization is a big draw in GW2. I also had seen that I could already use the BLTC, which is why I assume that these were not “unlocked” here but are just mentioned. (since BLTC is a “reward” for level 8 ).This was not introduced with the September patch, but I did note here that I really, really like how the heart system was updated from a mail message to a direct UI notification to deliver some cash as a reward, the NPC’s thanks, and explicitly noting the vendor unlock. That was a good change, in my opinion, and a good example of the UI clearly pairing with game activity.

Level 7

I took the greatsword that was offered as a level-up reward and swapped to it. Suddenly the center of the screen filled with notifications about skills 2-4 of the greatsword being unlocked, to bring it up to par with the weapon set I had and the unlocks appropriate for level 7. So that’s 3 new skills (4 if you count the first skill, which all weapons start with unlocked) that I might have no clue about that I have access to immediately. This presents an interesting trade-off: there is no learning-via-use anymore that encourages exploration and learning of new weapons via use, but at the same time there’s no need to go through a slow process of fighting with multiple weapons to ensure that all skills get unlocked. I can see arguments for either. However I still feel that the former system awarded player-driven character progression while the new one promotes game-dictated progression.

Harvesting nodes have been all over on the map and in the world, but I have had no direction about them at all. This is not new, but why are the skillpoints and vistas hidden from new players while these remain wholly visible and available for interaction? This appears to be more arbitrary execution of what is presented.

Level 8

Sweet, underwater gear. There’s underwater combat in this game? I actually had forgotten that we wouldn’t have been able to do anything underwater before. Fortunately Caledon is laid out in such a way that it’s easy to get gw2 gold before hitting any of the water-heavy areas of the map. I wonder what new players in Metrica Province’s southern areas or who go poking around in the lake in Wayfarer Foothills think about this level requirement. Perhaps there should be a means of introducing water mechanics, and maybe this unlock/gear reward is a first step — a bad first step, but a first step in the right direction nonetheless.

I noted that I was told about the BLTC here, but I had already used it on this character. So this is an example of how this system doesn’t always “lock” elements behind levels, but it hides them or doesn’t mention them until later. I don’t get this mentality, though I think it’s silly to quibble about it — all it does is ensure new players are made aware of things at a slower pace and has no ill effects on veteran players. HOWEVER I can’t help but wish the skill slots and things like weapon swapping and skill point challenges were likewise just mentioned at level-ups rather than truly unlocked.

I see that it tells me Level 9 will bring about banking and gathering. I can already see nodes on the map and interact with them, as I noted, so why the wait until level 9 to even mention them to a new player? ESPECIALLY considering that, at this point, new players haven’t been able to do any story and have been forced to wander around their starting area map to level, likely coming across various resource nodes already. This is an illogical hesitation on introducing a game feature accessible from the beginning. Gathering is even a great activity to encourage, as it awards XP to a character and highlights how GW2 does not treat resources on a first-come-first-serve basis, a fantastic fact about how the game world operates.

I still can’t even access the story. Those visions I had sure seemed important, and Caithe mentioned that there was a lot to do to safeguard the lands. But I guess wandering around the forest is a lot more important for now. If I progress on this character to continue exploring the NPE, I am apprehensive about the personal story’s pacing and its logic, especially given how later elements have been re-ordered (with some content even cut, based on what I’ve read here on the forum).

I shudder to think what would have happened in this hour if I had taken this guardian into WvW. Would I have been able to do anything other than spam 1 for a while? I doubt it.

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