I just picked up the game at the end of July. I’d been planning to pick it up since its release, but D3, TL2, and GW2 all came out around the same time and this one was lowest on my list.
My experience as a new player has been great in that the game is quite fun; I barely touched hearthstone (which had been the drug of choice for the past year) in August, and I haven’t even logged in to HS yet this month. I also haven’t even thought about trying out D3 patch 2.1 (D2 patch 1.10 is what got me to drop GW1).
Right now I’ve got an 80 mesmer and an 80 thief. I just hit 80 with the thief yesterday, and I’m probably going to role around on it for a few days before I start another alt. I dropped $100 on gems, and I’ve spent 3/4 of it so far, and will probably buy more when I run out. I don’t plan on converting gems to gold because when I start doing things like that, games tend to become less fun. So yeah, clearly their new player experience couldn’t have beentoo bad, at least not at targeting people like me.
My thief was already in its late 20s when the September feature pack was released so I can’t comment on the very new player experience that the feature pack addressed, but it doesn’t sound like they did anything too horrible with it… there is a lot of stuff to do in this game, and slowing down the rate at which a new player has to learn everything seems like a reasonable idea. Especially so long as account unlocks are used rather than character unlocks.
But here are the actual corners that I’ve bumped into so far, that A.net might consider addressing:
1) I’m pretty consistently out leveling heart vendors by the time they’re unlocked, making part of the reward on them (access to their karma gear) less rewarding. I suppose that’s what I get for being a completionist, but it is something they could think about addressing.
2) I just found out about the concept of ‘unique’ after purchasing a second copy of the same ascended ring. Due to the time gated nature of laurels, that’s a rather harsh lesson. I’d be more frustrated if I didn’t have two characters that can use said ring right now. They should probably pop up a ’don’t show this again’ warning when you’re about to purchase a second copy of a unique or something like that.
3) It seems like my mesmer, who leveled wearing the profane set, got to keep the profane look 1-80 despite never reskinning anything it not being an outfit? I was kind of expecting the flamewalker skins to work that way on my thief, so I used them on my early leveling gear. Apparently that was a mistake. The wording on the skins is reasonably clear, so I don’t think anyone who didn’t have a digital deluxe version would make the same mistake, but it still bugged me so I’m mentioning it.
4) Gathering tools should be introduced earlier, not later. I cringe when I think about the handful of nodes I missed on my mesmer before I got around to figuring out where to buy them.I similarly cringe when I think about the handful of nodes I ruined before I noticed why I need to upgrade said tools. A tip when gathering from a too-high-level node for the first time wouldn’t hurt, I don’t think.
5) Failing content for better rewards seems like terrible design.
6) Profession trainers probably shouldn’t sell me books when I’m not going to be able to use the trait for another 20 levels. Maybe that information is hidden behind a green arrow (I don’t know if it is… I click on some green arrows, but not all of them), but a tip might be the better place.
7) The crafting system seems needlessly busy. I dunno, maybe people like crafting 5 different items to get one pair of low level blue boots, but not me. If it must be that busy, it could probably use a better introduction (possibly just highlighting all the stuff I’m going to need to make in order to make said boots + a tip or two).
8) I’ve never liked systems where crafting doesn’t come close to keeping up with the level of the drops. I do appreciate that such systems create a market for low level materials, but IMHO that’s less important than making it feel worthwhile to level crafting as you go. I know this design choice isn’t unique to GW2, but still going to complain about it here.
9) It was quite annoying to see home portal stone go on sale literally two days after I decided to purchase it… I’m not complaining about the missed sale; I knew they happened, because that pesky gemstore had been tempting me for quite some time, and I knew I might miss a sale. But if there was a ~2 week buffer where I could claim the sale price and get the extra gems back, I’d probably spend gw2 gold on toys even faster.
And just in case readers have forgotten – the new player experience was great for me. I just felt like I should point out the places that I think it could be improved even more.