A few weeks ago we went on a little family outing to McDonalds. On the way inside, an elderly couple stopped us to ask for directions on how to get to the nearest service station. I eagerly explained the easiest way to get there, only to be greeted by blank stares. At this point, Disconcur jumped in and gave them directions which apparently made much more sense than mine. Luckily for you, my lovely readers, I will not be giving you any directions to the locations that my little Sylvari Warrior discovered during the Guild Wars 2 stress test earlier today. Thankfully, the in-game map does a fabulous job of taking you on a breathtaking tour of the zone you’re in without the need for a Neri-Will-Get-You-Hopelessly-Lost explanation!
I’m the Maaaaaaaaap!
In what is a pretty stock-standard MMO shortcut, M on your keyboard will bring up the in-game map. The very first thing you’ll notice is the cool little symbols scattered across the zone. These are all important, and they all mean different things. The Guild Wars 2 Wiki has a great breakdown of what each of these icons mean. As an avid explorer, you’ll be especially interested in Points of Interest, Vistas and Skill challenges.
|Points of interest are locations that can be discovered through exploration. Windows on the left indicate how many have been discovered in the world and in the current region, and how many exist in total.|
|Vistas are interactive objects located in the world which triggers an associated cinematic. It appears as a column of light with a map of Tyria floating near the ground. A jumping puzzle is usually required to reach vistas.|
|Skill challenges are locations where challenges can be completed to earn skill points. Windows on the left indicate how many skill challenges have been completed in the world and the current region, and how many exist in total.|
Points of interest are pretty darned easy to locate, so much so that even I could manage to find most of them! Vistas are a bit more challenging, but definitely worth the effort. As the quote above says, you usually have to defeat a jumping puzzle to reach your destination and this makes the short cinematic you’ll be treated to once there all the more delicous. My first jumping puzzle involved me using toadstools growing out of the wall of a building to reach the roof. Needless to say, queen clutz totally fell off more than a few times!
I absolutely love these skill challenges! The first one I encountered was Sylvari Tower — a giant jumping puzzle that puts any Vistas I had seen previously to shame. These mini-games are so epic that they actually award Skill Points for completing them. Sadly I kept getting mysteriously killed about half way up and I still cannot figure out why. At first I thought that perhaps the floating rocks that were bouncing around were somehow crushing me without me seeing, but then it started happening to me further down as well in places where there were no floating rocks. Since it was drawing to the end of the stress test and the lag was insane, I decided to call it a day. I’m fairly confident that defeating this puzzle will be one of the first things I do once this game goes live at the end of the month. I imagine the view is going to blow my mind! Also, I don’t like being defeated by puzzles.
Similar to exploration in World of Warcraft, my mini adventures paid off with a nice little experience boost whenever I discovered a new location. Exploration isn’t going to be your fast track to level cap, though. There were a few places that proved particularly challenging to discover, and thus time consuming, but the rich detail makes up for it. I haven’t felt this in awe of a starting area since I rolled my very first Night Elf seven years ago, and it’s something I’ve sorely missed in my MMO experiences. There are plenty of things about Guild Wars 2 that makes it an exciting game, but for nooby little me, looks are definitely the first thing I noticed.
Bring on August 28!