Even before the event started, I knew I had to do a few things right at the start. The first item was to finally remember to open a bank account! I may or may not do any serious crafting during this event, but it is a good idea to have the extra storage space for the raw materials I’ve been schlepping around the landscape during BWE1 and the stress test. It’s kinda hard to do any crafting without the components.
The second thing I needed to do was to send out a lot of guild invitations to folks in the SPQT alliance so we can reform as a temporary guild during the beta events and perhaps do some WvW as a guild. (Fortunately for me, Scathac had already started to do that, so I didn’t need to.) We tried co-ordinating for BWE1, but our chosen server hit maximum capacity too quickly, so more than half the folks we knew were taking part in the event couldn’t get on to Sorrow’s Furnace and were scattered over all the other servers instead. With the party mechanic bugs we encountered, it pretty much meant that guildies and allies just played alone or with pick-up groups on their initial servers (as was probably true for most guilds/alliances in BWE1).
Shortly after logging in, we started to hear from guild members on other servers that they still couldn’t transfer over to Sorrow’s Furnace because it was at capacity. After some discussion both in-game on our Facebook page, we decided to move to Cavalon instead. It was a low-population server so we had a good chance of everyone being able to get in before the free transfer deadline expired. I noticed this morning that ArenaNet has an announcement up in the Beta Forums that they’ve expanded the world population limits now, but we’ve already consolidated on a less-popular server (a quick look at the WvW standings showed us with less than half the points of the leading server in our match).
The servers were once again open a while before the official start, so I logged in on my Ranger and tried to figure out where I was when I logged off early in the stress test. Somewhere in Charr lands, obviously. However, I needed to get the bank sorted out first … only to discover that I hadn’t mapped any waypoints in Lion’s Arch. A quick back-track to the Black Citadel, then the Asuran gate, and then I’m in LA. Now to find the dratted banker…
An unfortunate discovery is that the connection to the server seems to be more fragile than I’d found it in the earlier sessions. I had two disconnects within five minutes of one another, one of which happened with me just standing around in Shaemoor, fiddling with my inventory. After that, however, everything seemed to settle down and remained stable.
One thing that seemed worse in the opening stages of BWE2 is the time it takes to load into Divinity’s Reach, Lion’s Arch, and The Black Citadel (haven’t been to Hoelbrak yet, but I suspect it’s the same). Once I loaded in, most of the lag issues from BWE1 seemed to have been dealt with, but the loading times were measured in minutes not seconds.
Another issue that I encountered out in Queensdale was the too-rapid repopulation of certain mobs: it’s no exaggeration to say that in one party, we fought about a dozen centaurs and they were popping back to life before we could search for the loot of the first encounter. And we were in a small party (four of us) not a zerg.
Although I wanted to visit the new area near the Black Citadel, I figured that could wait until later in the event. Instead I started a new character: a female mesmer. I got her up to level 9 before I logged off, and she had all her weapon skills (see, I can learn eventually). So far, I’m using the greatsword more than any other weapon or combination: it seems to work best for my playing style right now.
It was an amusing thing, the first time I opened the Trading Post on my new mesmer, to see all the items identified by their German names, even though I was playing on a North American server. Whatever it was (and I did report it), it was fixed a few hours later when I went back to the Trading Post UI.
The next day’s entry is here.