For an incredibly social game, where players are thrust together by events and shared interests, where strangers can become comrades in just a few moments of frenetic fighting, Guild Wars 2 does make it a bit of a faff to actually play with people you know in a party. Which is just about the only bit of faff left in the game, but it’s a pretty big one.
But it’s ok, because while it’s not working quite how ArenaNet want it to, there’s still a few things you can do to (eventually) get in the same instance as your friends. And once you do, the game slips up a few notches on the Fun-O-Meter.
The first thing to try when you find yourself stranded in a different Overflow server to your friend is to make sure they haven’t somehow managed to find themselves in the actual region server. If that’s the case neither of you can get to the other, so they’re going to have to exit the instance fully before coming back into it and getting thrown into an Overflow.
If, after that, they’re not in the same one as you, you can right click on one another’s portraits in the party menu and select ‘Join In’, which should move you into the same instance as them. The only thing is sometimes it doesn’t work. You click it and nothing happens. Which means you have to exit the instance and come back into it, again.
Of course, sometimes you might not even get that option. At which point you have to, yeah, exit the instance and come back into it. Rinse repeat until you get the option and it works.
Eventually, this is going to get you in the same instance, and you’ll be able to play together. Once you’re that far, it’s reasonably plain sailing; if the option to travel to the actual instance for the area comes up, you can hit ‘Travel’ in good faith, as it will ask everyone in your party at the same time, meaning you can move together as a group.
This isn’t ideal by any stretch, but bear in mind that this is in Launch Week, and the very fact that you’re not being slammed by thousands long queues, able instead to just log in immediately, is pretty amazing. I’ll take a few teething problems but being able to play over a few teething problems and not. There’s yet to be a smooth MMO launch yet, but GW2 is looking pretty calm so far.