Editorials

Raphia’s Headstart Journal: Day One

Along with untold thousands, I sat waiting for the servers to open for the headstart period. Patiently waiting. Okay, I lie: incredibly impatiently waiting is more like it. My guild was planning to meet up on Darkhaven, but something seemed to happen to Dolby Axon late on Thursday night, so our chat channel was in doubt. It was something odd on the server side, as it referred to something introduced over a year ago as “new”.

Approaching midnight local time and the Twitter and Facebook pages were alive with people: you’d think there was some reason why they were hanging around…

Charge!

The servers went live shortly after midnight Eastern time, and the adventure began. But because I’d spent the previous 16 hours updating This week in Guild Wars 2, I didn’t have enough energy to stay in-game for long. I created my character (Raphia Naon’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson, Raphia Naon), and wandered around Queensdale for a couple of hours.

Scathac the Lion (aka GuildMag‘s guild spotlight writer Leander) established our guild, the Royal Tyrian Highlanders [RTH] and sent out invitations to our guildmates and interested others. Around 2am, I realized I was slipping into zombie mode, so I said goodnight to my guildies and logged off.

Retreat!

Around 8am, I was (somewhat) rested, refreshed, and ready to continue… but Guild Wars 2 was not: I was getting an error message saying “Connection error(s) detected. Retrying...” Twitter and Facebook posts assured me that it wasn’t just me unable to get in. ArenaNet had taken the servers down to fix something big.

Once the game servers came back online, it was back to Queensdale with my ranger.

(Re-)Touring Queensdale

I didn’t notice anything significantly new in Queensdale since my most recent visit during the stress tests, and I eventually got the reward chest for completing the area. The reward chests are a nice touch: even if you’re not really into exploring, it provides a welcome reward for going a bit further and discovering that last waypoint or point of interest.

Vista vantage point

With some very welcome assistance from Natural Lie (who’s been mentioned more than once in my journal entries), I also finished the vistas in Divinity’s Reach. Jumping puzzles are so not my thing, but Natural was kind enough to demonstrate exactly where I was going wrong and also polite enough not to poke too much fun at me for my sub-epic fails during the attempt.

Prepping for the craft show

On my ranger, I selected the crafting lines that would be of most immediate help: leatherworker and huntsman. I didn’t do too much with my leatherwork: just enough to craft a set of 8-slot leather bags (I’m already running out of inventory space and the game’s just been live for 24 hours). There’s also the fact that (especially after Tuesday’s release to the general public) there will always be a good market for bags.

Later in the day, I started doing some work at the huntsman station. I had a fair selection of raw materials (I harvest everything I pass, unless it’s guarded by huge mobs of hostile creatures … and sometimes even then). After going through each of the basic designs (longbow, shortbow, pistol, rifle, torch, warhorn, harpoon gun, etc.), I’d levelled up to 25 as a huntsman. I discovered a few new items, which were a nice XP boost, and were in some cases better than the best weapons I’d found as loot (I ended up replacing my longbow, shortbow, and harpoon gun with items I’d crafted).

I wasn’t doing it particularly scientifically, but I filled my inventory with rather useful weapons and finished up at level 48 in crafting. I didn’t have much room left in my bank (packrat syndrome strikes again), so I thought I’d just put all of them up for sale at the Black Lion Trading Post…

For you, is no trading

Unfortunately, the trading post was one of the areas suffering from connectivity woes. Sometimes, the dialog box wouldn’t allow me to complete a transaction, sometimes it wouldn’t populate, and eventually it was showing a consistent 502 error. I ended up having to sell my excess crafted weapons to the merchant just to clear space in my inventory. It was getting fairly late and few of my guildmates were still online by this point. And, as it was also getting late (and I was approaching zombie-status), it didn’t even occur to me to send them off to my guildies as mail attachments. DOH!

Party on, dudes

Another problem we encountered is the party mechanism is still not quite right. I teamed up with four of my guildmates to work together. We met in Lion’s Arch and decided to visit Queensdale (two of us had already completed it, but the other three hadn’t been there much or at all). So the five of us, three humans, a battle cow and a walking cabbage attempted to go to the same place at the same time. All of us went through the asuran gate to Divinity’s Reach, but only four of us arrived in the same spot: we’d lost the battle cow somewhere. We then walked out into Queensdale and every one of us was in a separate overflow server.

By going back into Divinity’s Reach and then back to Queensdale, we eventually got four into the same instance, but we were still short by one battle cow. The “Join In” right-click option didn’t seem to work at all. After about twenty minutes of faffing about, our battle cow was able to find us and we went off to cut a swathe through the flora and fauna of Queensdale.

I know ArenaNet is aware of this problem: at least it’s better than it had been during the beta weekends, but this is a big problem when you’re trying to encourage teamwork and community spirit. I hope it gets fixed very soon.

Guild issues

Another area with some problems seems to be the guild mechanism. While Scathac was able to create our guild with no major issues, many of the players we invited were unable to accept their invitations. I was invited into two other guilds (one for GuildMag folks and another for our Guild Wars alliance), but I couldn’t accept either one of them.

While this isn’t really a bit problem for me, it does need to get fixed before too long: pretty much everyone playing during the headstart has a good grounding in the basics of Guild Wars 2, but on Tuesday, we’re going to be joined by untold hordes of folks who haven’t played in the beta and will be eager to find helpful guilds to get them started properly. If they can’t accept guild invitations, they’ll miss out on a lot of that help when they most need it.

Update: Day Two is here.

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