Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Excited for: Guild Wars 2

I am not going to bother create a huge write up where I rehash, recycle, and restate what you already know: Guild Wars 2 is coming and it is worth being excited about.  I will, however, state a few impressions I had from the last open beta test:

Not Worried About:

  • Graphics:  I knew from the concept art that this was going to be a good looking game, and there was no disappointment at all.  The sheer amount of action the game is capable of comfortably displaying on the screen as background really helps to make for an immersive experience.

    The opening human area really had me begging for some peace and quiet after its kinetic masterpiece of an invasion bombarded my screen with centaurs, explosions, and storms.
  • Character Creation: While a few more options or a little better explanation of how the story might play out would be appreciated, I loved the character creation.  For each race, I was able to make characters that seemed unique enough but also reflected my own aesthetic ideals.
  • Character Customization: I spent a great deal of time in the player-versus-player trying to get a feel for a variety of builds on a variety of classes (mostly necromancer and warrior).  It was an absolute blast to feel like the character fit my playstyle through my choices rather than I fitting the playstyle of the character because a lack of other options.

Worried About:

  • Cooldowns: I get it.  Cooldowns are the backbone of strategy in almost every MMO.  However, in Guild Wars 2, with so few overall abilities, which I feel is a good thing as far as maintaining serious lines between how each weapon plays, many cooldowns felt a little long.

    As the game currently stands, I felt forced to switch weapons just to access another set of cooldowns to spam off, which seems to defeat the strategy of a weapon swap in the first place.  Of course, that could just be my bad play, but then I would argue that the game is actively promoting bad play as the natural first strategy via its lengthy cooldowns.
  • Public Quests: Sure, I will take most anything over the quest grinds that the World of Warcraft design philosophy has forced down our throats.  I would even return to a straight camp and combat grind.  But what Guild Wars 2 does, while a definite improvement, doesn't feel as revolutionary as was billed.

    I did like their system, especially when it came to not promoting same-side players to cruelly steal kills from one another, but it all felt a little too mechanical.  With the objectives so clearly noted on your UI, it just felt like they slimmed down the Quest Grind and gave it a face-lift, rather than completely replacing it.

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