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Archive for May, 2011

Earlier today I got a couple of comments from MMO Tomb regarding GW2, apparently from the perspective of someone who has not been following this game especially closely (at least that was my impression; my apologies if I have got it wrong). I was at work and not in a position to really closely address any of the concerns raised, but I promised to do so once I got home, since I relish the opportunity to present information to curious bystanders, so here I am and here it is, much too long to be lodged in the comments.

MMO Tomb says:

I have nothing against Guild Wars 2. But I’ve been following games and MMORPGs in particular for a long, long, long time. I believe I developed a skill that I can forsee things about games regarding if I (me, myself) will like it or not.

I didn’t follow GW2 but I just read about it in blogs and forums and how people praise it. But I have some concerns.

Fair enough! I only just recently have come to recognize the details that tell me whether or not I will like an MMO, so good on you for figuring it out yourself. Saves a lot of money that way.

Are there Roles for Players? Do the classes have specific jobs to do? or are they all the same? (Jack of all trades or just DPS with healing). If there are no “roles” then I know I will not like it and I’d bet that a lot of people who likes the idea will be disappointed. I’ve seen it done before, only very few dedicated fans will accept the “everyone can do everything” type of class system.

I’ll put it this way: there are “roles” for PLAYERS, but not CLASSES. ArenaNet has broken the traditional “trinity” of DPS/tanking/healing into damage/healing/support:

ArenaNet Blog: A New Way of Looking at Healing and Death

There will be specific ways in which a player can fulfill any of those roles at any given time given proper planning. For example, an Elementalist’s water spells can provide healing support, but so do an Engineer’s med kit elixirs, or a Guardian’s symbols can provide allies with extra damage prevention.

Your observation that there will be those who are attached to having a particular class fill a particular role is valid, but there is a whole other segment of the gaming audience (I disagree that it’s only a “few dedicated fans”) who will be pleased to be rid of the traditional class setup (yours truly included). There are plenty of gamers who don’t like to be forced to LFHealer/Tank/CC etc. before they can go about the business of running a dungeon, while this system still allows players to excel at any one of those roles within any class they desire.

Is there really no restrictive game play?

What do you mean by “restrictive game play?” If you are referring to an extremely sandbox-type world in which you can craft, wear, wield, interact with, and kill anything and anyone, then no, Guild Wars 2 does not fit that particular bill. However, there are fewer restrictions than in other themepark-style MMOs.

For example, players scale up or down in level based on the area in which they are adventuring: a level 80 player returning to a level 10 zone will be scaled down to the approximate power level of, say, level 12, to enable them to experience a reasonable challenge in the area while preventing them from trivializing content by one-shotting everything for miles around. Similarly, players will scale up when adventuring in a higher-level area; they may be under-equipped to deal with the monsters therein, but with skill they may be able to avoid being instantly killed simply because they are outleveled.

Player sidekicking is also available to allow friends of different levels to adventure together.

If that’s true, then GREAT I will encourage people to play GW2. But I am skeptical. Dynamic Events is another bullshit thrown at me and I know better not to even think it will be something to look forward to just like Rift’s “Rifts”. I don’t care for Public Quests, Dynamic Events or anything scripted/systematic/game-made. I believe if you want dynamic events, don’t do dynamic events. Just make the tools and let players be the drivers behind the “events”. So, I think Dynamic Events are going to get old and repeatetive too fast just like Battle Grounds or Public Quests.

Is it going to be Quest Driven? (a.k.a yellow exclamation marks?) is it going to be Quests on Rails? or am I going to be free to do what I want from the beginning? If it’s going to set me Free.. then I will buy it, play it, and enjoy it even the “Dynamic Events” won’t turn me off because I’m waiting for a game where hand holding is limited.

First, let me direct you to ArenaNet’s post about Dynamic Events, which provide examples that answer most of the above questions:

Dynamic Events Overview

So, to answer your second set of questions first, there are no quests in Guild Wars 2, and no yellow (or green, as in GW1) exclamation points. Yes, you will be “free” in the sense that you can pick a direction and wander, and merely interact with whatever is going on in the area at the time. Finally, you won’t have to talk to someone first before you put that fire out or kill those centaurs in order to get credit for it.

That said, all of the dynamic events are indeed scripted, with various branching outcomes based on several different win/lose scenarios, and, as I said in my previous post, they do not “reset/despawn”. There is a finite amount of content, but given that you will have to “win” some events (along multiple chains of events) in order to see others, and “lose” (again, along multiple chains of events) to see others still, and that some events are triggered by day/night cycles, weather, or even by player activities themselves, it may not be as simple to exhaust all of the possibilities as you might think. Of course, what ultimately happens when we are in-game remains to be officially seen.

Is the itemization the same as WoW? Easy to obtain? Artificially designed and perfectly balanced that it becomes too predticable and boring?

ArenaNet Blog: A Rewarding Experience (Loot)

As to the first question, no, itemization is not the same as WoW. Items will be able to be obtained by cashing in karma rewards (gained by participating in Dynamic Events) or with cash, or item drops from Dynamic Event bosses or via tokens obtained from dungeons. It is not the intent in GW2 to make people grind a dungeon dozens of times for the chance to obtain a particular item; as in Guild Wars 1, drops appear uniquely for each player, so there is no rolling on items.

As to your third question, I haven’t played WoW, so I don’t know how your words apply. I can say that there is a power plateau that is expected to be reached with Guild Wars 2 loot, such that you are not eternally increasing your armor or weapons by +1; ultimately GW2 is a game of skill and not the numbers you’re wearing. At the far end of the scale, prestige will be represented by unique looks of armor specific to difficult dungeons, rather than the bonuses they provide over all other sets.

But perhaps you can clarify.

Is there an Auction House? Or is there going to be more player-to-player trade interaction? Is the economy as shallow as WoW’s economy? (monsters poop coin everytime?) as in if you want to collect money you kill thousands of snakes which pull gold/coin from thin air? (which leads to inflation).

There is going to be a global Marketplace, not, for example, player shops such as those found in Aion or FFXI/FFXIV. As the game isn’t live yet, I’m not certain what the main method of making money will be, although you do receive gold rewards for participating in Dynamic Events and completing Personal Story items. There is also crafting in the game, which I assume will be a way to profit via selling crafting components as well as the finished results.

I don’t recall mobs dropping money so far in demo videos, though my memory could be faulty and those things could be subject to change at any time.

Is the combat twitchy? Am I going to play the “Action bar game” or is it more tactical which require more team work? because I’m sick of playing the Action Bar, I’d rather play Tetris.

Guild Wars 2 is a bit of a hybrid between the standard action bar and twitchy FPSes.

ArenaNet blog: Combat

There is indeed a skill bar, but no auto-attack, and players have the ability to actively dodge or block attacks. The results of evasion are not based on RNG, but actual player placement. Combat relies on tactical awareness and placement, and it is possible to combine the abilities of different classes, such as (this is the most common example) an Elementalist casting a fire wall, and a Ranger shooting arrows through it, igniting the arrows and thus causing fire damage to the foe on the other side. Projectiles can be physically blocked by terrain. There is no ability to target allies in Guild Wars 2, which means that anyone who wishes to support a teammate who is taking damage must be aware of their positions at all times, whether providing a healing rain on a specific ground target, or physically deflecting attacks with spells/blocks, or placing themselves between the ally and foe.

Am I going to be able to solo all the way?

Is there enough Group Content which start at early level?

Yes, and yes, although perhaps not in the way you’re familiar with in other MMOs. Guild Wars 2 does not require grouping except for dungeons, the first of which becomes available at level 30 (keep in mind that the leveling curve of GW2 is flatter than traditional MMOs), and then again every 10 levels thereafter. However, GW2 takes the Open/Public Group concept farther by granting credit to all players participating in a particular dynamic event, and by scaling events so that most events can be played either solo (if there are no players around) or grouped (if several players are around), as well as “playing alone together”. At higher levels, dynamic events can lead to open raid-like encounters that require dozens of players with varying coordinated objectives (see this demo video of a level 45 dynamic event that has been toned down in difficulty for demo purposes).

All these are questions that I ask myself everytime a new publisher announce an MMORPG. I am always disappointed that it ends up the SAME CORE GAME. Nothing changes. Same experience, same crap. Just one random new “feature” (dynamic events, yay!) but the rest of the game is nothing but…. same ol’ crap.

Allow me to be perfectly frank here: it is not my intent to convince you that you’ll like Guild Wars 2. I will go so far as to say that GW2 is changing more things than simply how quests are delivered; if you read the blog posts I linked throughout my response you’ll see that ArenaNet has challenged a lot of conventional MMO wisdom and examined it to see what works and what can be thrown out.

I see that you are looking forward to CCP’s World of Darkness, which (although we know little to nothing about it thus far) will likely be as different from fantasy combat-based MMOs as EVE is to Star Trek Online, so it may be that you crave something COMPLETELY different. Guild Wars 2 is more like half of the elements familiar to traditional MMOs, and half of the elements evaluated, ripped out, and rebuilt anew from scratch to fulfill a different purpose.

Hope this helps, and don’t be afraid to follow up in the comments.

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One thing that I haven’t seen get a lot of mention regarding Guild Wars 2′s newly-revealed Engineer profession (and which I myself forgot to mention while typing up my last post; such is the casualty of a reduction in free time these days) is the other Engineer profession I had a lot of fun with: my Lieutenant Commander in Star Trek Online, in the iconic Starfleet gold.

My fictional, fantasy self was born to engineer, baby!




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That doesn’t stop me from finding a way to be one in my gaming life. I greatly enjoyed my time as an Engineer and Magus in WAR, and first gravitated toward the Ritualist in GW (subsequently getting my beind whipped because I’m lousy at build creation — I got better!), and now I’m fairly certain that I will be bringing my non-skill to a new main character in GW2:

ArenaNet introduces the Engineer.

Now, with more walking!

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