The sylvari fangirl report – BWE3 roundup!

Eirlyss at the end of the weekend.

The third and final beta weekend event for Guild Wars 2 has come and gone. We just have over a month left until release now.

This is going to be a long month.

As should be surprising to no one, I spent the vast majority of my time in the sylvari areas. My main of choice for this BWE was Eirlyss, a sylvari Guardian. I did create several other characters (Katte, an asura Warrior, Dairina, a sylvari Elementalist, and Riannah, a sylvari Thief…yeah, I like sylvari!), but I spent the vast majority of the time on Eirlyss. I did play all the way through the personal story available for the beta, having chosen having a vision of the White Stag and finding “Where life goes, so shall you” as the most important of Ventari’s teachings as my personal story choices. I have so, so, so many thoughts on the sylvari storyline that I saw that just…wow. If you’re a Guild Wars lore buff? The sylvari storyline will likely be your favorite. In the beta, a few questions were answered, and more brought up.

And it certainly did a damn good job of getting me extremely patient for launch to see where this storyline goes. A small hint – remember seeds that Ronan found and planted one of, that grew into the Pale Tree? We find out a bit more about that.

I also noticed that the sylvari storyline seems to be the widest and the most concerned with the outside world. Yes, the story is still about you, but what I played of the other storylines (completed human, made a bit into the other three), they remain heavily involved with just you. The sylvari storyline is…definitely less so, and I like this. For example, in the White Stag storyline, I was trying to stop the Nightmare Court from corrupting the White Stag, a creature of the Dream that is a manifestation of hope, to despair and letting it loose back into the Dream to try and corrupt future sylvari. I defended the Grove from an attack from the Court. The “where life goes, so shall you” storyline I don’t want to go to into at the moment (I’ll likely dedicate a future post solely to that) involved trying to keep the Nightmare Court from getting what they referred to as the Harbinger, something or someone they wanted to use against the Grove and the Pale Tree. The sylvari storyline also has the earliest mention of the Elder Dragons that I noticed, with the Pale Tree herself telling her that she believed that you and Caithe would be the ones to face Zhaitan, and that you would be victorious.

Talking with the Pale Tree

So, essentially, I really, really enjoyed the sylvari storyline thus far.

The sylvari themselves are, essentially, perfect. I love how beautiful they are, while remaining something that’s very obviously not human. They have this air of elegance and nobility to them…but if you watch their idle animations, you get to see another side, one of a very young race that is intensely curious, and that is full of innocence. It’s just so absolutely perfect – it looks as though they’re humming something in their head, and sort of idly swaying along with it, along with stopping to look to the side as though they just spotted something interesting, as well as the occasional happy grin.

The Grove is definitely, as far as the capital cities go, the smallest of the five. This, however, is definitely understandable, I think. It’s built in several levels, being more of a vertical city than a horizontal one, which makes sense as it’s built into the bottom of the Pale Tree. It’s also the newest of the cities, housing the newest of the races, which logically speaking is also going to be the smallest in population. It shouldn’t be a massive, sprawling city like the others are.

During the weekend I reached level 25, and got 100% map completion on the Grove, Caledon Forest, Metrica Province, and Brisban Wildlands. If there’s one thing I can say, it’s that I wish that the asura and sylvari each had another zone that’s just solely theirs – they share Brisban, which is a level 15-25 zone. I can understand why – the Maguuma Jungle and Tarnished Coast are only so large, after all – but the other races had a 15-25 zone of their own! Not fair, says I.

I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed playing Guardian. I tried it briefly during BWE1 and thought it was okay, but I wanted to give it another go. I was undecided between that and Elementalist, and decided last moment that Guardian would be the winner. I actually really, really liked it. Yes, it’s definitely the most support-based profession, and normally I don’t like support. But it’s also a very flexible profession, and I enjoyed being able to swap roles quickly and easily depending on the situation. And my ability to provide support was given the ultimate test during an event in Metrica Province.

Being led to our deaths by Mr. Matthew Medina, aka @barefootmatthew. Whoops :P

Ahh, yes. The Fire Elemental in Metrica. It spawns at the end of an event chain if the previous one is failed and…well. “Overpowered” is an understatement. The first time I tried it I had to map out to a waypoint after dying and reset my skills and bust out my staff so I could lend some heavy support. I then spent the entire fight healing people, setting up walls to block projectiles, and ressing everyone as they died. We did manage to succeed at the fight…however, as I spent the entire fight lending support instead of attacking, I got no credit for the fight. No gold, no karma, no experience, nothing. I certainly more than participated – of everyone on that bridge I probably spent the most time alive and actually doing things – but as I did not directly attack the elemental it didn’t count? I was a bit annoyed.

The main issue with that fight is, I think, just a variety of elements coming together and working off of each other to wind up being far stronger than intended. The leadup to the room where the fight is is a narrow bridge, which creates a massive chokepoint. The boss does massive AoE attacks, as well as spawning Embers which also attack.

I wound up getting killed by the elemental another time on Sunday evening – a note of warning, partying up with an ANet dev will likely cause in you dying. I almost feel bad for the random people who spotted the ANet logo as we ran past and followed along only to be led to their deaths…but on the other hand, I think that attempt was one of the highlights of my weekend. Plus now they know exactly how overpowered that event is, always a plus!

The finale, the Hunger Royale (Hunger Games and Battle Royale combined) was certainly entertaining, but I felt like it was hindered by the size of the map. Metrica was just too large for something like that – we spent the most time just running before we’d come across anyone else. Still, I got to send Dak flying as we wound up on opposite teams, so that was entertaining.

I never did get to climb to the top of the Pale Tree, but I did go up into the Omphalos Chamber and found the highest spot in there I could get to, so I guess that wins!

As far as new additions…I love vistas. Some could be quite the puzzle to figure out how to reach, but as I’m a veteran of games like Prince of Persia and Assassin’s Creed (and oh how heavily did vistas remind me of syncing viewpoints in AC!), usually just a moment or two of studying the area gave me a path up. They’re also amazing for taking lovely screenshots of the area, something which I took great advantage of.

Now, if only it were August 25th…

26 thoughts on “The sylvari fangirl report – BWE3 roundup!

  1. Awesome blog entry once again. I’m so so jealous of your armour. How did you manage as a level 25 to get the level 35 armour? Also how did you make so much money to afford it? xD 1 month/4 weeks, 4 days to go. Should hopefully pass quickly like the wait from June 28th to July 20th. :P

    • I used transmutation stones to apply the skin to my current armor…which I’ll totally have to do at launch to get pretty armor right away.

      As far as how I afforded it – map completions pay very well. I also had bought gems so I could get dye packs, but wound up only using some of them, so I converted the rest to gold so I could get my armor.

      • Aha! Very clever. :P I only managed to complete The Grove and Caladon Forest in this beta. I kept going back to character creator to make more sylvari and swapping characters a lot. xD My thief ended up at about 24 in the end. The WvW exp is actually really nice if you manage to achieve stuff there and not just get owned. xD

  2. Vistas were incredible and sometimes quite challenging. I also loved the sentries they added to WvW, I got to pretend I was going behind enemy lines all slick and solo style to get to them. Fun times.

    I was skeptical about Sylvari at first but I loved playing with the creator to make them. So varied and awesome in their options. Arrrrgh why is the game not released?!?!?

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  5. Hopefully they will address the fact that you basically get screwed if you are a support toon. Not only for events but for pvp as well. Pvp seems largely based on your number of kills and not much else.

    • Well, you aren’t supposed to do nothing but support, that was the problem. If the fight hadn’t been over tuned to the point of forcing this article’s writer to do such a thing in the first place, they would have gotten credit just fine. If you aren’t doing some sort of balance between support and attacking things, either you’re doing something wrong or the specific encounter is faulty in some way. Maybe both, I can’t say since I wasn’t there.

      • *nods* I agree, Glomoro. I think it’s a matter of players taking time to realise there is, and adjust to, the new style of play (i.e. not the holy trinity) rather than there being any ‘unbalancing’, ‘overpowering’ or ‘screwing’ of rewards going on.

        Personally; if you don’t struggle the first time you come up against a significant encounter/monster I believe it’s highly likely it’s underpowered. Nothing worthwhile comes easily.

  6. I’m really concerned about the lack of rewards for support as well. I always gravitate to support or heals on a first character in any game. I am either going to be an elementalist or a guardian as my first character, and both have heavy support aspects. The game is supposed to be about playing together, so I thought support would be a valid playstyle. Here’s hoping they fix that before launch.

  7. the lack of reward was evident in your case: staying on the bridge is even contra-productive, because not only all those smaller elementals spawn inside and most of them stay inside but it also makes more of them spawn and giving the big elemental even many more healthpoints. (the scaling system at it’s worst: you rezzing them made the event staying upscaled, making the job of those players fighting inside and dodging everything a die-fest. the only thing what the people inside could do was circle-straving the big elemental, trying to avoid all traps and smaller elementals while nuking and staying alive…)

    i encountered the big elemental about 4 times, and it was always a mess, except one time, when there where no people at the bridge and just about 8 people in the inside of that big fighting area. the elementals were not too many, so we could take care of them and we could bring the big boss down in a decent amount of time (if the people on the bridge would’ve fought inside it would’ve been the same way, just because they aren’t able to dodge well enough…)

    the big elemental doesn’t do much damage if you know what to look at: there is a “fire” crawling in a decent time from the elemental to the outside, you can easily dodge that. if you get hit as a guardian, you loose about 3/4 of your health, but you are still alive. the other “firefields” you have noticed for sure are only partly caused by the big elemental. the ones by the big elemental are usually easy to dodge too, the problem are the fields from the smaller elementals. if you attack the smaller ones, they don’t cast those fields, in fact they die pretty easily. but if you fail to do so, they will use the same kind of attack that the big elemental is using, just that there are so many more, and they are simultaneously.

    and another thing: i also played as a sylvari guardian (so i know what i am saying), and you don’t even have enough support skills to be only supporting, so between using them you have plenty of time to do some damage. even some support skills do direct damage, the wall of reflection can cause more damage than any greatswordattack could do.

    when you finally get the medal for participating, there is an invisible chest to open, about more in the top-left corner (when you come from the bridge, in the area where the boss was). but the most interesting fact was, that this event was a part of a hidden event! ( you can learn more about that in that video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKNzICBUzOs )

    • The embers spawned inside but most certainly did not stay inside; they were all coming out onto the bridge to attack constantly, and that’s on top of the AoE from the boss and the stuff spawning in the room before the bridge that was also attacking.

      No one was even able to get past the bridge until I swapped over to staff and started throwing up Wall of Reflection constantly. There was no one IN the room the elemental was in because no one could get off the bridge without dying. I think one or two people made it to the stairs and that’s it. Wall made it so that we could get enough people ressed without dying in the process to make it past the bridge finally.

      ANet has even admitted that that fight was not meant to be that way, so yeah.

      • it’s no wonder that you get nuked on the bridge if you don’t know how to get in. the boss’ addons are kind of patrolling the inner place and also come close to the bridge, but the bridge is just a single dying place -> never fight enemies with heavy aoe-dmg in a narrow place. you can get in by waiting for the simultaneous aoe-attacks from the addons and immediately dash in. when you also use the block-skill on the focus you can’t really die…

        the aoe from the boss can’t even hit you at most parts of the bridge, just at the beginning of the bridge -> the rest are the attacks of the smaller addons. when you fight inside for several minutes and avoiding all kinds of attacks you can easily distinguish between attacks from the big elementals and the ones from his addons. the only ridiculous part was that you immediately die when you don’t manage to get out of even just one red circle, but there are so many when you don’t manage to kill off the addons. trying to rezz is also in vain, so you have to respawn and run back. (when you are inside and people on the bridge made the event scale up too much, you just cannot kill the addons fast enough, so the only solution is to avoid everything and keep nuking the boss)

        the event wasn’t the way it was supposed to be, but it was manageable if most of the players knew what to do. the more players on the bridge -> the harder it got. people also didn’t get it that it’s better to respawn if the time to get rezzed is higher or when it’s too dangerous to even start rezzing.

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  9. I dont know why you found that event with the fire elemental overpowered . It was just about skill and it only gets harder as more players join the fight . I killed it solo with a level 23 elemntalist . Gotta admit though i died 40+ times , mostly because other players joined the fight and forced the spawn of embers . And by killing it myself i did not get any rewards other than some gold , some karma and xp , the normal amount you would get for any event at that level. But no loot , no nothing .

    I was expecting some gold weapons/armor level 20+ but unfortunately it gave nothing . Still the event was preety easy and all you have to do is jump when the circles appear , kill embers fast and watch out for that slow fire mooving thing .

    As an elementalist it is easy to combat any chalenge . Killing champions is even easyer , unless they use ranged attacks.

    So indeed some classes are better at fulfilling some roles better than others but that doesnt mean the event is to hard . That is the beauty of guild wars , that you can takle an event in more ways . And i also learned that most players playing this game are dumb :)

      • I believe: When some people think something is ‘overpowered’ whilst others think it is not; that is often as good a sign as any that such is fairly balanced. On the other hand, when almost everyone thinks something is too hard/easy over a period of time, then there’s likely an issue to be addressed.

  10. I’d been excitedly anticipating rolling a Sylvari since I first heard about them months ago, before I had even seen any footage of the game, much less before prepurchases were available. I wasn’t sure if I’d want to roll one during BWE3, or save the experience for release, but I caved, and I have to say, I had a ridiculously higher amount of fun during that weekend than either of the other two BWEs. It’s just… where I belong, haha.

    I have to say, too, there was a point during the weekend where I had hit a lull in questing and adventuring, and was just running around The Grove, keeping my hands occupied while I chatted on Vent with a few other friends who were playing elsewhere. I ended up on the bottom floor, outside the player home, during in-game night, and was suddenly struck by how beautiful it was down there. It’s so serene and calming. I absolutely love it.

    I did play a bit of Asura, just to see what they’re like, and I enjoyed them, but there’s just that something special about the Sylvari for me. The Asura are cool, and apply well to the high-tech, sci-fi-loving part of me, AND they are hilarious, but the RPer hidden inside me kept wanting to switch back to my Sylvari character, and get back to running around, amazed by the world.

    It definitely helps that, as you mentioned, the Sylvari are incredibly-well crafted. Their personality and identity as a race are so well-connected with everything they say and do. It blew my mind. Also, seeing the Pale Tree’s small incarnation was the best.

    The level of hype that’s been running through me since then refuses to let me wait patiently for 8/25, and it is terrible.

    Sincerely, a Sylvari fanboy.

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  12. FYI: The key to the Fire Elemental boss fight is to NOT stay on the bridge. That’s the killzone. No, in order to kill him effectively, everyone must be mobile and fully alert. You need to run around him, circling him while making sure to never stop and dodge any projectiles while attacking him. I was a bridge-hugger in the beginning too, but my elementalist quickly learned the real fight was up close to him.

      • Ah, well I’m surprised how long I lasted against the Fire Elemental, as my ping was somewhere over 600 and I kept blinking around the battlefield (I was on a very, VERY slow wifi connection at a Mexican resort that weekend). Still, I’m sure it’ll be adjusted, just like all the other problems that were noted in the BWE3. As for why you did not receive credit for helping in the fight when you acted as a healer: that was because you were acting like a dedicated healer. If you recall, the game is designed so that is not only hard, but also not encouraged; everyone needs to be directly involved in the fight. I don’t mean to say you were doing anything wrong or bad, I’m just explaining why the system didn’t reward you.

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