Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Monuments Men Review

Here are my notes in chronological orderish:

A film about art that is not artistic.

Dry acting. Typical "talking actors" we pay to hear them talk. The same act of
George Clooney and Matt D. That I just saw on a coffee commercial. SIGH.

All the stereo typic WW2 points and "glory" music to try and pull us in. I would love to have actually
learned about something less heard off in the history than the same old "Look at the Euro map. The Nazis are coming in from here here and here".

They try and take cheap political stabs by showing a doctor coughing while smoking a ciagerette, as he is listening to the lungs of a recruit, who is also smoking. It would have been
funny if it was like a fast scene, but they drag it out to a creepy length like: "YEah, it was like that, see how hypocritical doctors are". Kind of detracting from the humor of it.
So far, we will learn nothing new and get a spoonful of typical politico hollywood preference jumbo.

WOw, dat homosexual reference: One scene Damion and Georgy are talking to a superior, superior asks: "How is that wife of yours doing?" "Fine" says Dman, "She wants to send you a kiss which I am not about to deliver"
"That is ok" in reply, "I will just shake it", "Like you usually do" and he takes Dmans hand...Are we talking hands or hand jobs, ohhhohhhhh.
  Then in the same scene, they hop into a jeep and before leaving and the most bizzare conversation:
"Where you from?" "north side of Germany" "how are the troops making out?" "Like the lesbians"...
Whaaaa???? 2 gay jokes in one conversation at the 12:30 min mark. How cute...So we going to talk about art or war soon???

False historical information dialog 1: The team assembled they start talking about the plan. They say the team is to protect sites that have rich pieces of art hidden. The leader says "The French hide it, the germans find it". And there is a french guy that says,
"That is why Hitler did not bomb Paris". "Yes we know, but he bombed London"..."I know" snaps the french man and looks away... 2 major problems. A) This is NOT why Hitler did not bomb Paris. He did bomb PAris, and but he did it around the frontier points becuase he wanted control of the region.
Which he got. He stationed a commander there that held Paris until the Americans started coming in. And at this time, Hitler ordered all bridgers, statues, anything that had cultural heritage to be destoryed, the TnT was in place, all it took was the commander in Paris to say fire. He did not. He betrayed
Hitler because he was "found of Paris and it's people". And he saw Hitler desperatly losing the war. So...yeah.... B) They just totaly stereo typed the French the guy and took "be sympathetic to the British" route.
(Oops, wrong war film. Vietnam is stage right)

Clowny's role is sad. He points to the map in the most general non stratigic way. The dialog, one of the recruits: "Can we kill somebody?" And they are off to France.

Matt D Dog is used in a humor spot where he purposly speaks bad French, and his friend tells him "You speak bad French". But it was an awkward attempt at comedy, because unless you knew what Matt D. was saying, or if it had any relevence to the plot, then it would have been funny, otherwise, it just was still a
comical attempt to be like "French words, funny. ahahahah".
 Around all the bad humor and bad historical facts, we are learning nothing more of the plot 45 min in, in fact, the "save art" theme is so dead, they had to inject a second running plot that is sort of killing the momentum of the film. Some secretary of a German general has a brother in the resistance and he could be captured, and she is mad
and quiet honostly it is distracting plot line, cuts in and out in odd times, and has no place in the film. Taking to big of a complex plot bite for this director.

Now, to pull us in in case teh scene and cheesy humor pulled you away, we have a prep rally talk by Georgy clown. German bashing, of course. The old, "Allies against the bad guys". Don't go deeper than that. And now everyone is drinking and giving toasts...now we speak to Matty D. We pose the same dialog we posed to Georgey clown at the start of the film:
"You have children?" This is like the typical WW2 movie question: "You have kids? REady to die?" Like, "HEy, you sure you are here to really help and die along side or just here to take the gold?" We get it. Got it. Good. Can we get back to the main plot line pleaasseeee!

Oh god. So, Matt D. Tries to speak to the French secretary...He tries to speak French again. The camera angle has him in the door way gesturing like a monkey. The secretary says: "You speak bad French." And MAtty says: "I can speak German if you want" and she says "NONO!" and they speak Ebglish...
Director. We get it. Matt speaks bad French. The French are snoody. But in the end, we all hate the Germans. Seriously... This script also. Repetitive. What Hollywood mafia got invstors to make this? Some one pulled on Clownt and MAtty D's leashes to get the investment in no doubt. Script alone: catasrophe.

I think the worst part of this film is the rythm. It tries to take itself wayyy to seriously. But by doing so through camera angels, those "you have kids" conversations under candle light environments. etc.. And then on the other hand there is this more light attempts at comedy through forced stero types. NO wonder this film only has 2 stars out of 5 on a free priated site. Not even the freeloaders like this P.O.S.

50 min. in more general prep rally speech; "The Madona is as much as mine as it was Napoléons" *face palm*.

Another rythme breaking scene. When one soldier writes and talks all proper for prep rallies, and then talks all "redneckish" when on the field.
 Speaking of rythm breaking, the secretary pops back up and shows Clowny a stockage of items in a building: Secretary: "Here are people lives" "What are these things"? asks clowny looking at the dishes, clothes, etc.."There are peoples things." "What people"? asks Clowny? "Jews" she says. And the scene ends....
Ok, We go from homosexual jokes, German bashing, sterotyping the French, A small resistance insertion (that never gets picked back up), and a secretary that now shows us "this is a war to save Jews"... Oh, and by the way, the art to save???so far... ZERO! Nothing at the 60min mark is at all about art. Just a group of odd actors doing nothing. Oh, and Matt Damion...no where to be seen. I think he charged the director for "guest appearences" Like Russel Crow in Superman. "For 3 million, I will show up randomly in your film when you need to insert odd plot holes".

One hour in nothing is happening, and the scenes and dialog are repetitive, so we have allot of scene changes between the secretary, clowns men, and other odd and end turns, to give the film a sense of "movement", but it slows down realll slow when you spend more than 5min on the film. A little past the 1 hour mark we have this horrible introduction of the "Russians". Damion somehow gets tipped off that the RUssians are taking "trophies" or art pieces. So he radios Clowny, and they get all "upset". So, it would have been nice to see how MAtty D found all that out...
Next scene, Russians loading up art, and Matty dealing more uesless dialog: Matty to Secretary: "You know what these means? If Hitler loses all art gets burned! where are they taking the art?! We are here to help"! Why he says that is odd, since it is clear, and she already accepted his help... but oh well, we need conflict, so she says: "Germany"! Well is that a surprise! The Germans are stealing the art to Germany! WoWWww Is the US audience seriously this dumb or is Hollywood really this shitty? I side with the people and blame Hollywood.

64:16 in the film and I am pretty sure they just replaced "emotional WW2 music" with "Carnaval music". And again...We are now at a diner table in a new village talking about "how long where you in Paris?" and family conversation.
I just realized Bill Murray is in this film... He makes a great comedian. Dressed as an old man in a military suit is odd. And he just has a depressed looked on his face the entire time. I seriously think he is bummed he is not the lead man in the Wess Anderson film.

And then it happened. Clowny is wearing Vietnam era glasses. WRong film Cloony...oh what does it matter. 5 min in was false historical information. Give the clown some shades.

All this time in and no art saved, nothing. So action at least? A little 5 min piece where one guy from the team gets shot while in a field. CUT SCENE! No give a prep rally speech Clowny! And insert a bunch of random images and fade in and outs and scene over, back to the boring dialog and re talk about the "saving art plan"...71 Min in.

And of course we can not have a film without one of the boys not seducing a girl. MAtty D dog, in a random cut in scene, suddenly starts forming a relationship with the secretary. Odd because she is cold the entire role, and POOF, she wants the D suddenly...the Matty D.

86 min in, there is this odd scene the crew find a hidden art and gold stash. They invite one of the young guys in who apparently is on the team because he has EU family painters, one of the one of the greats. Clowney tells him to "come here" and they look at the piece "tell your granparents hello"...The kid stares at it like it is a relic...Ok, odd thing is, this film is about to end. They have show a total of abot 2 pieces. And all of them are mini sized in modern frames...Let me say that again. All the art are mini pieces in modern framse. Most of the art they are trying to save, are large pieces that take up half a wall. At smallest, usually medium large.
I can not believe I am seeing this. I guess this is a way to market to Americans "you do not need large pieces". But since this film has nothing to do with art, war, or anything so far...it does not matter.

Dialog still dry and empty. Allot of "come over here, I found something". POsing stupid questions like when one guy opens a box and finds a box of gold: "IS that gold?" "Where are the Germans going?" "To germany"...SImple things for complex situations = this entire film feels shallow. Then, on one scene, now 92 min in. No combat, no nothing...the box of gold is gold teeth. They all look pissed off and take a "mad smoke break" outside the barn. As if they are pissed the Germans took all those teeth. Wait... so you jsut feel "sentimental" all of a sudden? No one has seen combat or knows teh conflict, it is just an "automatic response" you should be programmed to have: "Germans bad. Mercins good".
Because last group of artifact hunters I met, usually dig throughbones, teeth, and are ready to find grousome remains. It is the job, they are acting like first time green backs in some scenes, then emotional battle hardened turds in the other. WHAT HILL IT BE??? IT leaves the film forcing stupid emotions on you that it cannot conjure normally and this also gives it a "preachy" tone to it. There are films, that due the scenes, those emotions come naturally. When we find private Ryan, and Tom Hanks is shot, you feel "oh shit, no, it can't be! he came all this way". 100 min into this film, if Clowny is shot and killed, I would feel 'Thank god I can now leave the theater!"

Funny scene, trying to be funny. Clowny explaining to a German prisoner about the life of New York. And says "When I am there, I Will never have to think of your stupid face"...And then there is a zoom in to Clowny's face, which is equally as stupid looking...lol! Taking itself to serious = humerous in this film.

Oh god, dat ending. So clown and gang sneak into a russian occupied area in the north and take a statue. They have enemies coming in and and the group tells clown; "Hurry hurry". But they see the statue he is trying to haul out and say "oh shit" and they all slowly help him take it out of this cave. The scene cuts. What enemy was coming? How did they escape? I was thinking " they will have a shoot out behind the articaft and it will magically be saved". But nope, they show NOTHING! Just a cut scene back to the scene from the begening of Clowny giving a speech. Oh wait now, he says "as a prep rally speech: hitler has no right to steal what was not his. Oh, and we gave the Russians something" and they show the Russians looking at a US lag hung over the cave...

Ahh, so then they try and tie in Veteran sympathy as Clownys final speech provokes a guy to ask: "Do you think 30 years from now anyone will remember these mens sacrafice to save this art?" And then cut scene to an old Cloony and his kid at a grave site ina cathedral...where? I Do not know, the film cuts out and it is over. So did Clowny move to France or are they visiting because US does not have Cathedrals...

Final rating; This movie is not an action movie. This movie is not a historical movie. This movie is not interesting. This movie is not educational. This movie does not have anything to do with art, monuments, or the war. This movie is about 3 known actors in the same film to push a directors budget through. Sadly, you will watch it since there are no other WW2 films out right now. A guaranteed reimbursement on their film. Give them shit, and they will eat it up.
Avoid this film if you can. OR watch it...but prepare yourself, your brain will kick you in your skull plates for your 15 dollar movie ticket.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February Post 2 - Guild Wars 2 Review Levels 11 - 20

DING! No...wait, there is no fancy dinging or glowing when you level up in Guild Wars 2. It is just a flash on the exp bar and some sparkles around the last segment of the bar and poof! Your number rises. And today folks I am level 20...Actually 21, but this is my evolving review for levels 11 - 20. In my last review I wrote about how Guild Wars levels 1-10 ended with a score of 2/5. It did not have a great cinematic effects. It lacked in armor models. Feel of a true combat system. Lack of direction and solid quest lines. And although it trumped in unique environment look, it's PvP felt very dislodged from the game experience...and it's menu systems were messy. But I am a young pup in the world! There is a lot to learn...or is there. The first impressions are important since most core game mechanics rest the same through end game. So let us press on to the next chapter. Here are my notes in Chronological order starting with PvE:
(Random NPC...not sure where his race came from. Was just hanging out.)

PvE:

Sometimes npcs act smart with enemies. Especially the first level, the guards attack the enemies and rez you if dead on ground. As if the developers just gave up coding, allot of territory now for level 15+, I can drag a train of enemies into the camp and the guards just sit there...Static..ughh. - This was a bit of a disappointment, in a long line of many. In the first levels of game play, you had this very "alive" feel of the world. The tower guards would fight mobs of centaurs. You fight along side, and sometimes you find yourself badly beaten down. When beaten down, NPC guards attempt to run to your aid, and you run to theirs. It was not exploited, it was actually done VERY well to give it a live feel...After this...it just ends. It feels silly, especially when you have certain NPC's standing there saying: "YEah, lets fight!" and the enemy walks up and they just stand there...What happened? Did the developers just GIVE UP the dynamic world? To make up for this obvious little flaw, they just super animated the voices and left interactions between NPCs take place. This is a little important since the mobs in level one, are the same copy and paste well down into the level 20's, so it is like seeing the same enemy do the same thing, but the NPCs and villages get dumber...that is, if you are playing with your brain on. If not. Just turn brain off and ignore it...

Because the game does not have guided quests to push you from one area to another. They get you to move around through 3 methods: 

1) The mob method. Mobs can act like the barriers between pathways. If you wanted to explore out on your own in other areas, YOU WILL be blocked. The world has botleneck maps. It seems like a large open world but if you really try to sneak your way past certain parts, it won't happen. They turned the agro level to an insane range, so you will be spotted and attack from long distance.
More than once my exploring out of my level range was cut short when the path bottlenecked to a linear path between two large mountains. I was forced to kill at least 2 enemies at the same time. If I was two levels higher, I Could (and would) do it. Since I am not. I get killed, and am forced to forever stick it out in my level range. The rule of thumb, quest where the mobs are 1 to 2 levels higher than you, or do events 
in these areas. One of my new leveling up methods is to just sit and farm the "invasion" events. Where enemies come in waves. 
I keep seeing these fan boy rants: "There is so much to do! This game is so different!" I even just saw an article over at massively.com saying this game has "so much to do" and lists "helping farmers and killing bandits". This is a mask for exceptionally shallow and dead PvE. Let me explain. Level 1-5, I was on a farm helping dig up giant worms in the cow pin. You kill them (kililng X mob quest masked as a "task" quest). I go well beyond the noob farm range into a village at level 17. There is a farmer growing beer hops. He asks to take care of the bug problem...I go in...It is the same animation, same mob used here as in level 1!!! ...I move on, there is another farm level 19, it is a corn field. He has a wasp and yes...you guessed it, worm problem with the same level 1 worms....
It is the same mob type and same task... So although you are not "killing 10 rats" and turning it in. You are killing 10 worms, on every farm, and turning it in (automatically). The thing here, is that it is super hubbed. You can not go far to kill 10 rats, you have to stay on the farm..
Ladies and gentleman. I would like to introduce you to: THE SUPER QUEST HUB game design. It is more than a quest hub, it is a SUPER QUEST HUB! Quest hubs are, in most mmorpgs, made to bring you in, collect quests, and push out a good distance in the area. This game brings you in. Offers you repeat graphics, story, and content. And the only real reason to ever want to push out is for "exploring". Again, you are dangled a little box in front of your nose as a "collection" point. The fact is, you can skip it. The real exp comes from farming world boss or events. It is like you are in a giant bubble. Boy in the bubble, and they did not want people to quest with a huge hand holding. "It is to scary out there, just stay here
and farm worms until you can OP the mobs"... This detracts from story: Nothing you will ever do in the real world will ever tie into the story. Hell, even closed down games I have played knew that holding certain cities meant you got resources etc..that aide in the over all world and story line. (This is actually done in PvP side of GW2). It is odd, because you would think they would tie in the same elements in PvE, that will be familiar in PvP, and in the over all story arch. NOPE! PvE is a sad excuse to just move around and look at what they designed. This brings us to point 2:
2) Boredom. Let's say you are the guy that likes to collect every little "achievment", and reveal spot. Even if the games "look" seduced you stay in one place...sooner or later you will have to progress, and or, the BOREDOM sets in. You will be so bored of doing the LIMITED farm tasks, and killing the 2 to 3 varietyof mobs in one area
that you will be forced to test your limits and push on to the next map area.

3) Main Story arch. If step 1 and 2 do not get you moving out, the main story arch will. The story arch, not surprisingly, really has nothing to do with anything you do in the open world. The huge disconnect makes the entire PvE process feel shallow and just an excuse to power level to the next story line..This is also why all story lines are instanced. They also guide you to certain level caps. The first noob story starts of course in the noob area. This pushes the typical mmorpg player, like me, to follow the story and not the stupid "finish in 5 min" farm stuff. I followed it until I hit point (1 The Mob Method), mob placement. I literally could not continue my story because the next part was in a land that was to high for me. This made me hunt out a farm that was 1 or 2 levels higher than me so I could farm exp (or just camp world bosses until I was high enough level to get back to the story)...see the pattern yet? DISCONNECT. Back to story. DISCONNECT. Try some pvp...wait I have not talked about PvP...Shall we?
(From the very top level 1 to the bottom here in level 20. The same copy and paste content. Same farm enemies. Same bulls to escort. Same Centaur waves to push back. I can name, falt out, 5 other F2P titles that have much deeper player insertion and mob variety starting from level 1)
Actually, before getting into PvP, a few more small points in PvE. That map. The teleports are one of the most silly ideas I have ever seen in an mmorp. The great paradox is that, although they created a large world to "explore" it is very RAILED and linear. But very well masked. One obvious feature of this is the teleports and the reasons they can never insert mounts or flying mounts. To understand this, we have to look at games that do this right. Let us look at Perfect World to start. The land is MASSIVE and persistent! There are key teleports between key towns, and although it is a treat and a game experience to walk on foot, a flying mount changes this. Now, when you take to flight, it does not exploit it or make it easier! In fact, the enture "upper world" now has a new perspective of how the world looks and how to get around. Giving the designers a very creative edge. It also introduces new dangers as there are enemies above. Imagine, if you will, if the stupid Guild Wars 2 map teleporters were removed (except key village ones), and you could use cool flying machines, that could be attacked by NPC flying machines! You could risk a parachute or a falling death! They could have done something dynamic. They have the tools (the PvP turrets, etc)! They just did not have the vision or fore sight (plus it would ruin their linear game design). 
Even mounted pets would be an amazing touch, but since there are teleporters, there is no need. This is odd since most enemies you fight are hooved. Also you have pack animals all over the map to escort. I understand "keep it humans on foot feel". But see my firest review about how they stray away from humanoind character creations, and mix in the fact, that after 20 levels of zipping around teleporters, the game loses it's "alive feel" without human companions, notably mounts. It just feels: "We are cheap designers. And we know our baby boo bop Buy to win crowd that needs showered in easy mode". It is a turn off for me and I have no desire to "discover" the linear mysteries of teleport hopping in later levels. Some games, the unknown map parts are worth leveling up to visit, USUALLY DUE TO THE LOW LEVEL experience. The only feeling I am experience is "Can I get my money back for this game?"


Vendors are stupidly worthless. Cater to crafting. Every town I discover there are icons of armor, weapon, and repair vendors. In most mmorpgs this is the "YES I MADE IT!" part that rewards you for coming out so far with a special vendor that sells special regional items...Not Guild Wars 2. Nope. Every single vendor sells the same stupid stuff that scales to level. The two armor and weapon vendors sell inferior weapons. The "MErchant" always sells the same collecting gear (scythe, axe, etc..). The only one sort of interesting is a repait vendor. IF you are lucky, he or she, can sell you a possible upgrade. This happened on 1...ONE out of many I came across. And it is was under my character level. Meaning the real upgrades come from the auction house.

Auction house is mildly broken. Text not readable and strange click lag. - I will say, I love the auction house set up. You can "Demand" an item and when people throw it in the auction house, it funnels down to you. So, it serves like a Ebay order and shipping service. OF all the things they tried so hard to "change", the auction house is the only idea that did not really break....BUT, and there is always a "BUT" in GW2, it is kind of broken. I have mass lag accessing the Auction house. Sometimes in trying to sell an item I click, nothing happens, I have to click off, then back on, then back off, then back on...And grace of god it works and I can sell it. NOt smooth at ALL! Also, the text is broken. I can barely read the auction house text. They use very thin broken white text. And when you use a drop down box the words blend and break. I had to guess where I was clicking half the time. But it is managable. Just one of those ugly "under the hood" things you find playing Guild Wars 2. Makes you scratch your head thinking: "All that money to make it. All that franchise reputation. All those fan bois. And this is the broken result?"

I am now 20 levels in the game and have the same look since Level 2, despite the fact I have had over 10 different armor choices...and no, dyes do not fix this problem. Game design fixes this. SIGH. Not allot to say folks. I have passed 20 levels. I have physically changed my armor over 10 armor sets...my look never changed. Although my armor has new name, new green and blue rarity, and new stats...It all has the same model since level 2...YUP! "Oh go farm dyes" was the response from last weeks article...That is solving a problem with a problem: 1) "Go farm..." STOP! No...one should not pay a box price to farm colors of a owned pieces. 2) Coloring armor does not solve the armor problem. You realize this is like saying: "The car engine is broken...just paint the car blue and the problem goes away"...GW2 fan boi logic..

(This is their idea of "fun". Not being able to jump something I should be able to jump up. The camera and motion physics are not at all meant for jumping. I will,if possible, avoid all jumping puzzles in this game. Just a joke.)

Ok, Noob PvP time!


Not allot changed since levels 1-10, I do find that very disappointing. - The entire scenery changes, but the game experience stays relatively the same... This caters to the "give me the shiny" gamer mentality. Showered in rewards and hand outs with very little work for it. So I decided to get beat up on. Before hopping into level 17 PvP I opened up the PvP menus. WOW! LOTS AND LOTS of useless information and confusing menus! An entire menu about player stats...players I do not care for. I will never meet this other guy, so why do I have 1 entire page of in game menu of player stats? Guild stats, wins, losses, territory control, etc..I learned that once in a guild, you are sort of put in a faction, and I think it is server based. This means, on the battle field, all guildsthat are in your faction will be considered friendly.
The entire let down is that this has a HUGE disconnect in PvE, there is nothing at all that coincides with this design choice in the real PvE world nor anywhere else. Hence, proving my point correct. They failed to create factions (like Aliance and Horde) at start of the game and left with a very "do it only in PvP, it is to late to rethink PvE" sort of fail design. Any ways, Confused how to really go from the PvE map to PvP...I found it by accident.
Most games you talk to a PvP NPC, or click an icon and que up as the game populates a map to get the battle field balanced...Kiss all that good bye.
I accidentally pressed "B", and that opened up a menu screen (sigh), and it said WvW, ok, let's go right to it! I had choices of maps, I clicked on one, and was instantly teleported in. The map choices in WvW are the territory regions. There are points to control etc..basic territory control features.
Ok, wow, that was easy. IS this really a match? Yup! You start on a large PvE looking map with lots of the same PvE icons. There are look out points to capture. Herbs and plans to farm. Achievement points, and this time more PvP icons, like supply bull, castle, resource node, etc...so, it seems fairly strategic...but I know my fail design companies. There is a logic behind this. And that logic is"ZERG to the important stuff, ignore the rest". Am I right? I will find out: YES!
I have not started the battle. I talked to an NPC guide, he told me how to play quickly as he did a fly by of the map. After I am still standing in the huge space...wow it feels empty..This sort of freedom, I was not used to since PvE is such a linear crap fest.So I walked out, scared of the big world...I have no idea who is the enemy. I just see some npcs, and some castle door...And a little blue triangle moving around in a non npc fashion. I followed it and yes it was a commander of my "faction"...
How to be commander? I do not know how that works but he never spoke, just jumped around and seemed to know where to go. Togther we ran around taking over little spots on the map. Burning down small farms, retaking little villages. Then more people showed up on our side. Oh yeah, by the way, they boost your stats to level 80 so the game is "equal"... There is no tiered PvP. It is all like the armor design: "Make everyone one look good so it is 'equal'". This ends up feeling shallow and fake...It also does not work this way in PvE, so why gimp PvP? but whatever, let's try to have fun... 
With our group of 5 (very low population for a "World vs world") we went to go take over a castle. We bashed a door for 20 min...Then it opened, nothing but NPC archers, we run past them all and right up to a tower to take out the NPC commander. The castle is ours...And yes, that just confirmed, SCREW the details (killing archers, taking A before B) just ZERG your ass to the good stuff and GO!
(PVE mob fail.)

then it happened - we were heading a little deeper down the path, we had about 10 people now... then a giant zerg of red named players burst out of a cave...knowing we had no chance, we all stopped, looked, they looked at us, and we all ran different ways. They ran north, we ran south...we ran for our lives, they ran to the most important thing; A castle. They really could care less about PvPing us. It was about resource and land capture. This should instigate enough of us to kill each other at one point..but usually it just makes us sneak around capping territory. Let me emphasis this for. This game is so zerged out, even when rival enemies see each other, they just ignore the pvp, and zerg right on down to the destrucable terrain...Watching two massive enemies groups just run by each other and do nothing but zerg NPC camps = the lamest WvW I ever played... You can not even be that sneaky solo guy that goes to provoke one side. You have to zerg or GTFO. 
Oh the IRONY! They tried so hard to make a game that makes you all "equal". Since it is about ZERGING. There is no equality (SO MUCH FOR THAT EQUAL ATTEMP GW2!) Fear the ZERG! One servers population will determine the winner. It sucks. I was bored 30 min once that was apparent. No one is here to engage, we are here to troll the property and zerg your offense and defense. SIGH. Regrouped at distance, knowing we cant take the zerg, we just walk on to the next NPC castle. As soon as we got to the front door, a mass of NPCS poured out, and cannons poured fire on us: My entire pc lagged and we died. I quit PvP and went back to the super hub Pve. I do want to go back to PvP in this state. Seems like most people are into the new gear grind than pvp. *shrug* Which sucks because of the 3 territory groups, if Server A is PvP based server (fans) and group B is PvE based server (fans), Group A will have the zerg advantage when B decides to try it out. Never a fun time.
That said, I only tested WvW, I will be now testing other PvP options: Arena and Player vs Player.
So I tried regular PvP, - You teleport into a sort of noob area, where you learn to do everything you do as a level 1 in PVE, except this time you are boosted to level 80, given 80 gear set and spells if you are low level. You help aid NPC off the ground. You hold a little zone. And you kill enemy npcs. Then you are off to the next part. A sort of instanced PVP base. It is super confusing, but it is basically the base where you buy and sell PvP related things. Why this is not just in the town castle like a logical game does?WHO KNOWS! (bad design), so I am now off to talk to a master PvP npc who sill yes...OPEN yet another menu,
and have you instance into yet..another map of PvP...*facepalm* - Now I have the choice to Arena solo or in a group. Or filter some lobby and join instant action. Never have I witnessed such PvP fail design as this..
(This is me close to level 20. In PvP maps you get "MAGICALLY" transformed into a level 80. That "level 1" on the exp bar is your "PvP" level (not the same as your character level)...This is what I call the "band aide effect". It is as if the developers hit a problem late design they had to band aide all this together so it "works"...what a mess. In the chat widow, my level 80 guild even agrees. I ask: "The armor in PvP is only usable in PvP?" they reply: "Sadly, yes". They wish it was not this way.)

More about being boosted to level 80 I am given a weapon and armor set that boosts me. I have 2 pistols. I have never played duel pistols, I am pistol and dagger? What is a player not level 80 supposed to do with this? Thankfully there is a vendor that GIVES AWAY FOR FREE LEVEL 80 WEAPONS AND ARMOR! So I changed back to my preferred build. But wow...I seriously was just handed the goods (that mentality).
Also, they unlock all your spell bars and give you spells. I am only level 19! I have not unlocked this many spells. It is ok, this game is pretty easy, so I learned fast. I learned that my last spell on the far right makes clones appear, I have a heal, and some smoke, and basic 4 attacks, ok...Great! Now to be "useful". I see a conflict. I enter it...Everyone just slides and skates around each other. And guess who wins...THE ZERG! Combat feels just "run around and spam". IF you ever played a FPS you know the term: "Spray and pray". That is the 
heart of PvP. This is the most up right fail design I have ever played. In fact...I think I prefer World PvP because at least I can run around and distract people. In PvP, it is smaller map = mass zerg to one area and just jump in the cluster of close combat....Ok GW2, this is how it is done. This is how you do PvP RIGHT:

1) YOU HOLD PVP BATTLES BASED ON TIERED LEVELS! Levels 1-5 pvp rounds with map specific spots that have unique rewards. This means if I was level 80 and wanted a weapon skin or reward coin of level 1-5, I "SCALE DOWN" to a level 5. This gets everyone equally involved. But you do not go the other direction. A level 1 does not hop into level 80 battles, this makes unlocks to much in advance and unprepares the player. It also gives us sets we do not want and gimps the group all together. When it works high to low, it improves the groups...SIGH. This is Pvp 101, how did they fail so bad?


2) The map is uselss. seriously. With how much we float and skate around the map, allt hose highs, lows,bridges, control points serve as nothing but ways to get us to ZERG. Look at WoW! MAP ration vs in game ration = every piece of land is stratigec. The biggest fail here is that you can not HIDE. So why try and make these elaborate maps. In the end, we are just all on top of each other like a football pile. If you ever played WoW PvP, you would see two sides face off, and one side slowly starts to poke and prod the other, and people form strategic teams to sneak unseen around mountains and drop in, and ....LAND = STRATEGY!
This game just creates land, terrain to say: "Isn't it pretty??? look at all the FLASHY! Now go climb that bridge because we put it there, and to win, you have to cross it and take the tower. Oh and by the way, may the best ZERG win...*FACE PALM*
SEriously guys...I knew my levels 1-10 PvE were dissapointing. And I was hoping GW2 redeemed itself for what it was designed to do...PvP. But this early level PvP is by far one of the worst PvP designs ever! 
Who does it benefit? The kids that like shiny and insta rewards. There is no real "skill". Get in the group, zerg. And lose or win you get rewards. SIGH. I mean, I was a low level noob boosted to 80 and I just joined the ZERG and WON every match XD. 
I have one hold out...perhaps, as I progress in levels and get to keep my weapon load out, I will enjoy it a little more as I use familiar spells to troll the enemy. PErhaps...We shall see, but all in all. BIG WORD of advice...DO NOT DO PVP AS A EARLY LEVEL CHARACTER! Wait for end game. You will thank me.
I suggest, at least, join a WvW PvP as a noob, because it is more open and you can get resources etc. I could not help but look around and wonder who else is a noob like me that is running around gimping the group and whos is supporting it. By logical rations that means, if lost are gimped noobs boosted to 80, just a select hadnfull
over geared level 80 are pulling the entire PvP zerg. Seriously...This makes RIFTS 30 man vs 30 run around spam fest look good... Well my friends. We will try again level 30.


3) PVP armor ONLY?? Seriously?? Now I get it. Here is one of the corner stones of the "oops, we messed up the design" in the PvP. They have to make it Instanced and seperate because once you instance in a pvp map, there is PVP ONLY ARMOR! And guess what, they screwed up so bad, that they are vendors giving away all the pieces you need to start FOR FREE!
So what is carried outside can not be brought inside and vice versa...This game has ZERO cohesion. IS is so disconnected from itself it is like WHAAAA??? Nothing you exploit in PvE will ever carry over now into PvP. and vice versa! I seriously want to stop playing right now -.-.
The Normal PvP also has it's own Leveling system. You start as a level 80 of course, but you have a new EXP bar starting at level 1, or Rabbit rank. As much as you pvp the higher this bar goes up. You have your own currency to gain to but new items etc.. But again, 100% detached from everything you do outside of it. Since no real EXP is given in normal PvP, it is all very skippable until later. The solution: PvE coinsides with PvP sets, and you keep a second "load out" tab of armor to mix and match with the best PvP build gears. Not "magically be wearing them when I enter PvP instances".

(THIS IS HILLARIOUS! Ok, look at the char. I am in a French EU server. So we pair up with other EU countries in PvP. We have German, etc.. Some guy, right after a WvW match, was so mad at the fail PvP design he yelled in english: "Try to learn how to play, seems that you only play wvw zerg..." Sadly, this is NOT THE PLAYERS FAULT. You can not blame a player for using the game how it was DESIGNED to be. Sorry folks, I am not sure how much proof you need to see the fail: Have you ever been so mad you started yelling in english?)

4)*Knocks on Arenet's head* hello! You know what would have been smart? Open World PvP in the PvE areas! it is like they almost wanted too. They installed "contested areas" by NPCS. Basically ALL the results of open world PvP, like in WoW, are there. You wipe out the bad NPCS, hold a spot, and the good NPC come, the teleporters open, etc...So the RESULT of BUILD of open world PvP is there, but they blocked it out and just put NPC (and the same copy and paste ones) in place...How do GW2 fans not see the fail?
That is like me zoning in to a PvP arena, and fighting nothing but NPC waves... it is an Arena...An ARena for PvP. A contested area and held points are PvP ELEMENTS! NOT NPC! *pulls hair out*. And to make matters worse, to admit the screwed up, they give you mass exp to do these "events" they call them. But is basically...IMAGINE this my GW2 friends, You have normal quests, and and can quest in parts of the map PvP safe...then, certain parts open up to PvP wars, like the teleporters, key farms and vendors etc. And they reset to neutral after your presence leaves. Wouldn't that be AWESOME??? That is called EPIC PVP based game. That would be awesome because 1) the teleportes should not even be there.
They are a CONVENIENCE, and a cheap PRIVELAGE (and an excuse to remove mounts). So holding them is just a convenient way of making you play like normal MMORPGS and WALK! This makes sense ESPECIALLY since there are no mounts. Teleproters are an AMAZING incentive to instigate you into PVP battles! What other way to piss off a faction side than cap their Teleporter. They won't break the game since you can just walk around and to your destination, but yeah, it is a luxary worth fighting for. See! GW2 has POTENTIAL! And shoud have been made smart. IT honestly feels like thay had to many teams working on to many elements and ended up with a fail flap jack of a game.


There is no sense of accomplishment in PvP. I can be an undergeared noob that zerged my way to victory. Showere in shiny and rewards and I leave feeling empty (caters to this kind of PvPer). Perfect World PvP still triumphs over this. Working hard in PvE to get gears, then taking battle on the same terrain you PvE'd on to fight for territory and reputation = SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. AION did this right. WoW is a champion at this. Not here in GW2...where there is not even...guilds that war each other...That is like creating a game called "Dragons Prophet" and not having Dragons...The power of delusion.


All that said. My experience so far DROPS this Guild Wars 2 score, as of levels 11 - 20 to a 1/5. The game has been 20 levels of disappointment. I will try my hardest to put my 40 bucks to full use and push on to levels 21-30. See you in my next review where the score could: RISE - REMAIN - ot FALL! Until next time my friends! 




(This was a silly quest. Some cave guy turns me into a pig so I can dig up mushrooms while avoiding getting 2 shotted by gian trolls...ahhh GW2. When you run out of ideas by level 20 that you start turning us into pigs)

February Post 1 - Review of Guild Wars Levels 1 - 10

Several months back I wrote up a Guild Wars 2 weekend free trial review which can be found here:http://my.mmosite.com/4069628/blog/item/nanbos_guild_wars_2_free_trial_experience.html

As I sit around waiting for some new mmorpgs to open up (and sadly waiting for others to drop the sub model), I decided to relook Guild Wars 2 and give it some more attention since my visit was so short as a trial review. Now that I actually have paid for the entry fee, I have unlimited access and would like to do an evolving review with you all. If you are not familiar with my evolving reviews, I take a game to end game and give it a score based on each review tier, and at level cap, an over all final score. So let us start Guild Wars with levels 1 -10.
(Pretty sexy for a level 1 human)

Character Creation and signing in:
I will start with the sign in process, it is very user friendly allowing us to sign up on the website. From there you can download the client and manage your account. You can not actually enter the game of course, but you can easily pay and activate your account all in a smooth transaction. The only thing that sort of put me off was that the log in nickname really does not work. You need the Email as the sign in name and then the password. Also, they track your log in name with an added digital number at the end so I am, for example, Nanbo.245.
I am guessing this is for internal processing stuff, but it did pop up random areas, where as in other areas it does not pop up...and then the most annoying is how it will pop up in game attached to your in game ID as it appears on a friends list...make an even further mess to the already confusing and messy UI...but I am getting way ahead of myself. Let is get past signing in and right into character creation.

Character creation was exactly how I left it from my free trial impressions. It is very disappointing. We can start with the factionless approach. There are great discussions and fact based articles and videos out there proving the best pvp, expecially realm and World, comes from having FACTIONS! This adds story elements. A deeper and richer PvE experience. The ability to actually include epic updates that evolve around factions etc. Some of you may have remembered the pride and side taking epicness of Vanilla wow's Alliance Vs. Horde. Oh the politics, oh the drama, and oh man that PvP. You pushed so hard, and took it very personal knowing an entire digital world was counting on you and your faction to create a reputation for yourself... Games that do not create like this throw out a "why should I care" element and add you into lobby room like ques to go out and end up fighting random groups of other players. Even if they come from other servers it just does not feel as epic if they were to come from specific factions. Any ways, where Guild Wars fails to draw the unique faction lines, it does give you a very open class selection. Problem is, a little too open.

With no real class definition, your race is just cosmetic. Your race is just an animation used to execute moves based on your class choice. So that big burly tank looking beast, can be a robe wearing healer. And that is ok, but again, withut factions or any other signification of identity, it is all just eye candy. The actual classes, are nicely defined. Rogue (thief), Sword users, magic users, etc.. But each one of those can play out like every other class, but never AS GOOD as a pure class. For example, my rogue can build, as I Go, into more defense boosts and skills (tankish), DPS (crit rogue or damage over time rogue with poison), Vitality and damage (warrior), Blind (magic), etc..But they never really excel as a tank, mage, etc..You will play as a rogue, but for me, the fact they tried so hard to be "different", and avoid a "purist" or "holy trinity" leaves classes feel "missing that special something". As a rogue, I wish they would drop all those extra "branch out into other roles" approach and just give me bad ass moves. more rolls, wicked use of knives, etc... but no, they water em down just enough to prove a point that does not need proving. It reminds me of the logic the Secret World used to market it's title: "Oh look, we do not use skill trees, come play here in this unique Mmorpg". The fact was, they do have skill trees, they just took a tree from the square window, we all use in most mmorpgs, and made it a ROUND window....ooooohhhh, big difference there chief. The fact is, you had to build certain ways exactly following the same logic behind a standard skill tree, they just changed the window to make you think you were doing something different. 

Any ways, on to creating the character. I was let down again on the choices. It is the most generous serving of medium you can get. Everything is a pre-made pallet for you. It is not really lacking in choice, but it is not getting creative nor generous in model options. You are given very straight forward forms, and shapes. You can tweak them very slightly. They have an "advanced" slider bar only on some parts of the body and they do not do drastic changes or really customize to stand out. I had several templates I switched back and forth on thinking "what is changing!!!???" as no matter how I rotated my body, when I switched between 4 different models, nothing really changed...The character flashed a little like something just "loaded" onto my model, but nothing changed. In the end you get a very stock like product. Not ugly or bad, just not at all the level some entirely F2P games offer, like Perfect World, Aion, TERA, DCUO. I mean, really... 40 dollars strong into the box purchase and a mass budget from the success of an entire franchise and that is what trickled out? 

You then design the colors of your clothing. So from now on, every piece of armor you pick up will be automatically colored to the selection you chose here. This is sooo lazy! I love picking up new armor and mix and matching the looks and unique colors. That even gives the player the growing stage where they are changing out of noob armor so much they end up looking funny. Like leather pants, chain shirt, and feather hat..All mis matched because we are gathering and changing as we level up. But no. This game predetermines your colors and they are basic. Even Star Trek Online has more customizable pieces. I was very sad and the bland color choices. Once in game, I noticed higher levels wearing some modified gear. And it just was not all that. It reminded me of my RIFT experience where I would look at the end gamers in town and think "Wow, that end game armor is not at all exciting.". I also was given, as a new player, a transfer kit. So I can take the look of my current gift set and glue it to another armor set. I also changed 3 armor sets already thought level 10 and 2 of them were identical! Very big let down for a game that is not F2P. You would think there would be more love. They made a point to go as FAR away as guild wars as possible, yet to take the lazy cheap design route, they try to stick to the "single player" Guild Wars model of "one class, one uniform". Look. Disappointing. But all in all, I like the looks better than RIFT. So I can put up with it.
(Like what you see? Don't get to excited. You can't climb anything or explore anything that is not meant to be DIRECTLY explored. I am talking about the environment...not me...perverts XD)

I also do not like the character design section. Please look at the direction Guild wars has ALWAYS gone in. A more human combatant feel and look of their characters. One of favorites being Nightfall, where to be different, they used a mystical approach and played on the human form. In the MMORPG that is Guild Wars 2, they have ONE humanoid class. One silly looking elfish class and the rest are abominations. It is kind of silly, because again, they are trying to change something that is not broke. They try to replace gnomes with some ugly small Asura class. "Intellectual giants" the website calls them...wait, I remember a race of small people being super smart...World of Warcrafts gnomes. So to make these gnomes "different" they just copy and pasted the faces of the other race they made, the Sylvari. IT looks like a deformed cat and humanish face. Then mix in the other beast like races and it just goes into cartoony land and loses all sense of "humanoid" game all the other series brought. This also kills a human element and the need to communicate with each other and feels very slap stick when you see groups running around, no factions, no guild wars, and no real reason to be doing anything together except that we are on our way to level.

Lastly, this character design also does something that has plagued this mmorpg since launch, the need to find satisfying content. Because there are no factions and unique character design, they have to create MASSIVE story arc content, otherwise, anything else would make no sense or have to cater to class design (leading to crys from other classes that it is not balanced). IF you take WoW as an example of how to do it right. The content possibilities for pvp territories, land, and each races and classes story are rich in the world and each update effects one side very specially. In GW2 they kind of ended up, because of cheap design measures and lack of "doing their homework", in a bind to please every one. Hence, they rolled out some cheesy 8 bit play ground, jump puzzles, and now the entire story arc has to be so general and distracted from the actual world, because it has to awkwardly apply to ALL races directly without any special lore added to why it matters. Just group up, get the loot, and enjoy the story, regardless if it has nothing really that concerns your race.

But we are getting into gameplay now, so lets start that.

Game play:
In my trial experience I started out saving the castle from invading centaurs and some strange power force thing just outside the gates. Again, the same thing happened on my newly paid character. Unlike last time, I start with new player gear package. A nice little cosmetic touch to help me drop my noob gear and get a little stat boost. The camera still felt a little wonkey and was cumbersome to turn during certain combatscenes, like how this giant boss thing was basically so smashed up against the camera I really did not need to apy attention to what I was doing, just spam attack. That worked. 

Like last time, there are not traditional quest that pile up in the quest log...well they do, but it is not as evident. They went for a more "enter zone and experience the game" feel. But this falls flat on it's face. You can not really wonder off where you want, you are still pigeon holed in very very specific areas. Just because you do not PHYSICALLY add a list of quests to do in order to move on, they are still there, when you are around the right zone, the quest randomly pops up. Like, "kill bugs, help milk cows, or kill mobs in the area". Now, there is an experience bar that fills up for each task. But guess what, the heart of this means: "Kill X things to finish quest". Again, they TRIED SO HARD to change things and to be "unique" that ruined the game. In the end, you still are killing X number of monsters or other tasks to get exp and move on. They also cut their own throats when using this model, you cut out all possibility to create any dynamic quest elements. Because instead of scripting the quest lines and creating dynamic events around your progress, they now have to script the enemies to react and hope you are in the right area. So, what this leads too is less story and more silly mob grouping. To compensate they just added a handful of things to interact with, like "Centaur clothes line" and you can destory the clothes line....
Here is an example of a good quest system: You are given a quest to infiltrate the camp with a disguise, plant a bomb, escpae. When you escpae there is a cut scene showing you lose your disguise and suddenly you have to fight a few guards to get out. You feel accomplished, epic, and you like how the quest was composed. 
In Guild Wars, they can not do this without creating an instance (for your main story arc). Because the entire WORLD has to move with the mobs. So, no story catered to the hero, just "Pump up this place with mobs, make some good npcs run around like it is a "living world", and have the player need to kill "X" of them. To make it feel "unique" just remove the quest from the list if "out of range". 99% of game play is about how to sneak in and over power the enemies or pull them just right. Otherwise there is no reward for going deep in enemey territory except to find mob grouping, and perhaps a named and "discovery". Which means just look around at the scenery. But that adds NOTHING to your personal development or story line. It is just "look what we made! A den with mobs in it". Thank you Guild Wars. Thank you. That is a nice cave...but I think I will skip it since it has NO IMPORTANCE. Knowing this, they tey to get you enticed to push youself by putting achievment marks inside like "View point" 1/10. They even have the nerve to call these collectable areas: "Places of importance" on the map. Little square boxes that are filled in and counted towards your "collection of places visited". But it does ZERO for your character and has ZERO to do with the story. It is just a little thing to prick your interest. Like: "Well, your are here...and this makes no sense...but it looks good...so go on in and check it out.".

(GW2 lesson 1. Turn off player name tags. Lesson 2. Do not quest. They are useless. Just farm world bosses...all the cool kids are doing it Lesson 3. Hate your hotbar. It is ugly and slot 1 is a waste)

Proof this system fails is the player behavior in game. In my server, on my level 1-17 map. The players say "Bus." in general chat. this means mass group of players moving together at a place to camp world bosses. Then "Pumba (the fat pig boss). Wasp, troll, or Wood" There are the walking pinatas....er low level world bosses. To hard to take on with 5 people, but great mass group gank fest. Since you get the rewards of kills for just touching it and not working for it, everyone just follows the OP players and touch the enemy once. This then gives every one goods and exp. No one is questing. No one is exploring. Everyone just jumps the boss bus. Because there is not need or interest to "quest". I really really find this a very stupid feature in Guild Wars 2 and it is a pity they try to re-invent the wheel.

That said, the tasks that you take the time to do are down to basic escort, gather, or kill. The escort missions are GREAT! You can revive dead npcs, the npcs serve as henchmen that battle beside you. And the scenery and sense of danger "around the corner" is there. It is a good challenge but does not really break any mold as far as "new game play". The mob placement is horrible it balances on "Mobs you can kill that give no real good exp" to " Mobs to high and will gank you". They are very grouped together so that almost all battles are a group of mobs on you. Thankfully some npcs help or passing players. I just wish the social aspect was better. It is not as easy to communicate as other games and I think this has to do with the mass disconnection to player and character (non humanoid models) and the ease to level by not helping anyone.

The UI, in my trial experience, I noted was ugly. It still is. It looks very blockish and sort of last thought added in last minute. No beautiful details on the borders, no nice presentations etc.. It has a very very clunky hot bar system. The first general attack options are 1-4, and then the other important "assistant" skills are on the far right as 5-9. The problem, is that the finger acrobats to press necessary skills. In my case, a roll back to avoid an attack is number 8...I often just take damage and do not roll back since I do not want to throw my finger to number 8 in deep battle. I guess I need to redesign my entire button schematic. Kind of lame. And it is forced. I can not switch any order of my skills. The only thing you can do is swap skill type, but it HAS to be planted in that slot. Meaning my number 5-9 skills can never be moved to 1-4....
Also, there is an energy meter that burns energy by rolling. Sadly, only forward or back, not strafe roll side to side. This is more of a combat discussion but, I Thought I would mention it now as gameplay because of the next point...You can not run! It would feel so natural if we could run a little by holding SHIFT. In fact, several times it felt so natural I would hit the button..and look at my energy expecting it to go down as I sprint a little...no...not even once. So lame. Again, it just felt half planned out and they just added enough to feel "different". 

The story line is very well done as far as getting me engaged to know what happens next. But, again, because of no real quest progression, it feels a little fake in the rhythm of the game. For example, you start the story line, then can not progress because you need some new levels, so you go out, explore, bash bugs and peoples brains in, help save three farms from trouble, then return back to the large city to do the quest...which then picks up where you left off...which feels a little forgoten and out of step with the progress you were just doing out on the farm. Then you finish the story line up to a point and then back to the basic running around doing whatever. No coherence = no real sense of belonging or needing to do anything for any sense of urgence except one thing: Loot and power. But it looked good. And that is where GW2 shines. It looks good.

Majority of the game is all looks. Like Aura Kingdom there are ALLOT of 3D nice things to look at, but once you get close to it, you just slide off or bounce off it. It is all just decoration. Like a fake water painting on the wall you can not touch. This feels stupid and detached for 2 major reasons: 1) The jumping. You can jump. and with such an open world and emphasis on exploring, you would think jumping would be able to do cool things. For example, in WoW, RIFT, and AION, I would explore some areas by using the jump. I am not sure if the designers intended it, but we would find amazing points to get around danger, or just discover short cuts or unknown areas. Sometimes you think you are "exploiting" a spot, and then you will see a little temple or something from the developers, a sort of "haha you made it this far, check this out". In Guild Wars 2, I often tried to do this. I tried jumping up wood planked wall that looks 3D and possible to jump up, only to slide right off...Mountain sides, slide right off. It feels plastic and cheap. They only want you to walk where they designed, and jump where they want you to jump. A very controlled simple land, despite it's size (or illusion of) it is really a small linear world. Most people not opening their eye's, or who have not experienced the joy of a true open world, will not understand or catch on.
2) The details in the cities are extensive. But the reality is, you are just walking past fancy wall paper. All that detail for nothing! I have tried climbing a high stair case, taking in all the beauty, then thinking, "I should jump off into that fountain". Nope. Invisible barriers. I have to walk al the way down this pretty stair case and get back to railed walk ways...but beautiful railed walk ways. It just made me miss the freedom I had in other games. Also, all the nooks and corners and tents and spaces to put fake commercants that we just pass by and do NOT care for...yet they do not have centers of business for things like the MAILBOX! REALLY??? Any one in gW2 play WoW??? The most socially interactive game in a city center is the mailbox because we are all there to get our goods, write to our friends and check out other peoples gear...here, no, mail on the go. This is odd, because they took the time to give you different color sacs to make you have that unique feel. But they do not place a center for mail in the city. They even have a center for a bank...but not mail. This leads to the next major problem:

That horrible UI. The menu system is a mess. AGAIN (*shakes fist*) WHY try to change the normal! I loved opening my bag, and opening my character slot, and then draging or clicking the item onto my character. Not in this game. This game you can open and double click and drag, but once you hit H button, it opens to the character model, and all the items to equip are listed on the top left, the character on the right, so wtf is the use the bag if it is just replaced by a menu list in the character window??? Also, under one window the other things are listed like skills, but it took a little to adapt. It is using the same traditional method of all mmorpgs! Unlock, add points, put in hot bar. But to "BE DIFFERENT" they have to divide out to the skills in their proper hot bar slot since the bar is locked. For example, you have one tier of spells that apply only to slots 1-4, to see the other skills you have to drop down a menu....In addition, Tiers of other spells CANNOT BE READ! How can I plan what I want to spend points in if I Can not read what my next spells do??? For example, I have 3 locked hot bar slots. I will unlock them at level 8, and when that happens I can now drop new skills in that are locked. But before that, I have points to spend or save. So, should I get some of the cool skills at level 5 (as it is pressing me to do), or wait for level 8 when it unlocks? In other mmorpgs, you hover the mouse over and read what the next spell does. This game, when hovered over, just tells you "Spell unlocked at level 8"...What? It looks and feels cheap. I am not sure if this was to force us out to the forums to study? OR force us to build blind, then redo our skills? I am not sure, but it is messy...
Also that friends list. Friends on my list, you can not see what level they are always, they have their account number attached: "Nanbo.556" which is odd. They do not properly tell where the character may be at. This gets BAD once in a guild. The GUILD LIST CAN NOT BE SORTED BY PLAYER NAME, RANK, and worse: "ONLINE OR OFFLINE". If it is possible, I am sorry if I judged, but I tried pressing on buttons all around the list screen and it was not working. I also notice some people in a PvP group called Jade Ocean...But in a guild called "Killer Kats"...so there are a sort of pvp faction thing??? I am not sure, but I also heard in a rumor you can join several guilds at once...I honostly can not fathom that menu night mare. And all they had to do to make it good was NOT BREAK THE MMORPG SYSTEM! Just strop trying to "look" different! So much effort for so much fail.

(Lag and loading graphics. This NEVER HAPPENED during my Free Trial. I am now afraid to participate in PvP. I can image it is horrible. And of course, this is like this AFTER I buy the game...Check out my original trial review, this never was an issue)

Chat is a pain. So much guild chatter runs over the important world chatter, affind another tab means I have to switch tabs as much as I cast spells and my fingers are tired of it. Also, the chat stays the same. So when I click WORLD chat, and chat, I hop over to Guild, and type in a phrase thinking the chat changed to guild...nope, I am still in world, and I just spammed the wrong people...It takes getting used to, but one word to explain GW2 menu systems: UN NATURAL.
In my trial, I had no lag or graphical problems. After I purchased this game...I am having major lag spikes and some slow loading graphics. This can not be my computer since I ran the same game perfectly in the trial...I think they just are neglegting the server service. One thing I REALLY HATED was that I have no idea what server I am on. You just sign in and go. No realy direction or idea how many people are in the world. Kind of surprising for a game called guild wars that encourages PvP. You would think they want to represent your server etc...Exactly like GW1 and World of Warcraft...

COMBAT
It is broke. 50 / 50 = broke right down the middle. This is the most backwards badly designed combat I have played. Now, before you get mad, let me explain. The combat is smooth. and the animations are nice. It has that for it. But it can not decide whether it is an open combat action oriented game or a tab target game...no this is not talking only about how you target enemies, but how your attacks execute. For example. I press 1 to do a normal attack. I swing in the wide open at nothing. So it is a free range action combat move. You just stab in the air. If an enemy is close, it hits it. So ok, I like that. Then, if I run, back turned to the enemy, and press 1, I just attack in front of me in the air, normal! But if I press 2 ( a spin attack), I auto lock on to the enemy, and I shoot towards the enemy. This took me by surprise! What happened to the Open action combat??? Why did I lock on and fly at impossible angle at the enemy? This almost got me killed once making this mistake. It is like SOME SKILLS are open action, and should be adapted to as such. The other skills are tab target lock on, cant miss spells...which feel different and be careful because it could get you killed. The brokeness of "locking on" tab vs. open world also made me fall off cliffs more than once. If I am fighting a mob by a cliff or bridge, and I hit my 2 spin attack, I launch my body in the air at the enemy, which stops EXACTLY at the enemy, but if the enemy dies, and I hit the same attack thinking he has a little HP left, I go flying off target on out into the air and off the mountain side. The problem is, in mass mob areas, I hit TAB often to get to next targer, then hit 2, thinking I will auto spin around...which happens 50% of the time, the 50% the TAB target search really does not connect, and I go flying off the mountain....I have never played such a brainless design. I have time in TERA, where it is equally open, and you have to time those hits just right, but the entire world and camerea angle is designed around this action combat...I have played tab targeters where TAB search gets you in the action fast...GW2 takes both of these, trys to force them together, and slaps on beautiful animations...And voilĂ  a half cooked system.
Another think. Because the hot bar is locked, SLOT 1 is just "basic attack". THIS SUCKS! It burns an entire slot. In most mmorpgs, we take out the basic attack and drop it for a more important number 1 skill because double clicking the target will auto attack for us. Even TERA knew how to get this right...GW2...nope. Basic attack slot 1 for life you gangster.

Encounters are not dynamic. In TERA, the combat means allot of epic encounters. In GW2 it is "if it is your level, just close your eyes and spam skills. If there are beasts a little higher, you might need to get combo fingers going. But in the end combat is level guided. This may be why most progression requires you to escort NPCs to areas levels higher than you. To give you a real sense of danger, because if you stayed in your level, it just gets "normal" really fast. And from what I hear, end game just consists of OP mob grind. Again, I blame this on the relation between bad quest systems and bad combat systems. 
I do enjoy the shooting physics. If an arrow is off mark, it will miss, you can dodge the incoming elements, or hide behind trees. But again, that is on it's open action elements, and does not break you as a target. One thing, as a rogue, that we love inmmorpgs, is when some one has you TAB targeted, you cloack and drop physical target. In GW2. NOPE, you just drop agro for a little. But pick it right back up on visibility.

(That is me. Level 10. Next to me. A level 80. Not allot changes...Except she gets sparkles...I saw a level 80 with a bright purple jacket. meh. The "everyone wins and looks good at all levels" approach to gaming is LACK LUSTER!  BUT better than RIFT's gear, so I can handle this)


Music and sounds: Very enjoyable. I like it and can not complain. I wish they had a VOIP in game program to speak to each other. Otherwise the nature sounds and the echoes of npcs make it feel "alive". The battle noises...ehhh...DO not really match the epicness of what is going on. I expected a little more crunch n punch. But over all GW2 has a great sound track.

(My armor upgrade. Uglier than my level 1 armor and stays the same color I chose at character creation. SIGH)
Conclusion:
It is hard to really change from my free trial experience. And to be honest, I am being held down and buying into this game by the "living" story content in the end. So many games I have end characters in, the game just sort of ends end game or is not interesting. To know this game has content that has been pumped in and for free, has me invested. And I would like to see how this games evolves. Perhaps these early game imperfections get better...but since they are core game elements that would require entire game rebuild, I doubt it. There are allot of silly gimmicks like showing my talents and hot bars locked, and the price of somethings are silly...I am in a B2P Guild Wars game, you really think my things will be locked? Stop trying to make it look like a F2P game. You really think the repair bill is menacing or the need of money is important? This is a B2P game, you BETTER give me what I paid for ehehe! I did notice my early game armor in the auction house had decent prices. So the economy seem good. I was tired of looking at games that require I grind or open my wallet. So that is a nice breath of fresh air. Porblem, is, what it is offering is not really amazing. Leaving me wondering if I should have just put my 40 dollar box price in a F2P cash shop game of my choice.... 
I give the game at levels 1-10 a solid 2/5. Very standard. Very dull and out right "broken" in allot of ways. The over all feeling of "Wow! A AAA quality game with a huge franchise! This has to be the wow killer" only to be given a mediocre experience in a laggy world left me sad. 

On that note, some things that bothered my from trial to full purchase. I did lag more in the full version. I never had lag or graphic loading issues during the trial. Now that I have paid full price I get these problems? I just keep my depressed head hung and keep pushing on. Perhaps things will pick up and pump me with a sense of epicness! See you next time in Review levels 11-20, where the score could rise, fall, or I throw my computer out of the window in frustrations and end this!
(NO one is questing...we just farm the boss...SIGH. TO think I have to log in now to hit level 20...motivation level 0)