Scratch ‘Rage’, I meant ‘Love’, honest!
I actually don’t hate ArenaNet, despite what certain articles may imply. I love them, to near-death. They managed to create a game that satiated a lot of my gaming needs, and I admit, I do disagree with some of their later updates to the 6-year old game, but it’s time to put that all behind us now because on the horizon is Guild Wars 2.
“But, Connor! Didn’t you write from 5 years in the future warning us about the follies of Guild Wars 2?” Well, yeah, but that was jumbled randomness mixed with irrational fears (except the alchemist bit, that’s still true…maybe). So, what do I want to talk about now for Guild Wars 2? Well, read on.
First off, let’s look at a super-cool video I made for a video contest ArenaNet is hosting. I want to talk about a few things about the video and why it’s the way it is first before I get into RANT mode (Ramblings About Nothing Trivial).
So, the video is 1 second shy of a minute, which is fine, but I spent a little more than half of it doing references instead of talking about, you know, Guild Wars 2 stuff. Why would I be so silly as do something that…silly? Well, I’ll answer that question with a question; Do you really think a minute would do justice to any game, let alone Guild Wars 2? Short answer is, “No.” Long answer, “Noooooooooooo, that would be silly.” I opted to be myself, which has been, and always will be, that of a Gamer first and everything else is second. If I didn’t get in at least one game reference I might have actually won, and that just won’t fly around here! So, the finished product has a BioShock reference with a side of Zork for good measure before I do my tiny shpeel about Guild Wars 2. That’s fine, because now I get to go into further details about what will make Guild Wars 2 stand out from the crowd. Are you ready? I sure hope so.
In this generation of MMO gaming, well, there’s still not many Dynamic Event systems, at least in the sense of Guild Wars 2-esque type events. Sure, there was base capturing in Tabula Rasa (RIP), but that was flat and the point was to capture or defend, and it never went beyond that. Rift has…rifts, but those are just just as flat, but there are also invasions where players must complete a set of objectives, but those are rare and only deal in killing everything. I guess Dynamic Events are still being worked on, but in Guild Wars 2, ANet seems to have a pretty good thing going. On the surface it might just look like a multiple capture/defend base setup, but actually playing through some and even helping design one, there are some events in the game that’ll be simple capture/defend, but others (hopefully the majority) have you fighting across half a zone completing all sort of different objectives. Anything from ‘Kill such-and-such noobs’ to ‘Heal some noob townfolks’ to ‘Launch the cattlepult towards the BBQ sauce’ to ‘Escort some other noobs to a dining area serving barbecue hamburgers’ to whatever else ArenaNet may have planned is fair game. Now I’m hungry.
One of the best aspects of Guild Wars was that you only had 8 skills. This made you think long and hard about what skills you could use with other skills you brought for sweet, delicious synergy. Though Factions kind of ruined it all with duplicate skills, and Nightfall didn’t help (PvE skills sure as hell didn’t help). You still could only bring 8 skills, PvE or PvP, so you had to have actual skill to use your skills properly, and it still holds up even today. Now, in Guild Wars 2, you have two more slots but it’s an entirely different setup. I talked about this before, but in case you forgot or don’t know…5 slots are dependent on your weapon choice. The next 3 slots are of personal choosing, and the last 2 are for an elite skill and a self-heal skill. Now, you might think this would have a greater limit on skill choice that in Guild Wars, but you would be WRONG! How does it feel, being wrong? Don’t worry, let me explain. There are more weapon types in Guild Wars 2 than Guild Wars. This allows for a larger array of Main-hand/Off-hand combinations which, in turn, leads to way more skills for your first 5 weapon skills. Oh, and you have a 2nd equip slot, so those skill numbers just doubled, in a sense. And then you have 3 slots for ANet-only-knows how many other skills based on your profession. Oh, and traits. So, we’re in the ball-park of a bazillion skill combinations. Okay, maybe not THAT many, but still, a lot. Did ArenaNet just blow your mind?
A Hero’s Journey
Finally, I want to touch up on probably the most important aspect of Guild Wars 2. The player’s story. YOUR story. ArenaNet is looking to put the ‘RPG’ back into MMORPG with personalized stories that follow you from the beginning of the game until the end of time, or your death. Along with the main story that every player will follow, when you create your character, you start off by answering a few, simple questions (On a clear day you chance upon a strange animal…oh, sorry, wrong game) and after that, you will find yourself following a personal story based on those beginning choices. But it doesn’t end with that, as there will be even more choices to branch off into as you delve deeper into your story. I can not possibly stress enough how big this will be come Guild Wars 2′s release, but referencing Morrowind should be a big hint (Hint about the hint: It’s pretty freaking huge!)
I should have talked about this sooner, but there’s not much to say, so here it goes. The community that has built up around Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and ArenaNet is the best I have ever been apart of (Save for Tabula Rasa’s beta community) and Guild Wars 2 is sure to grab old and new players of Guild Wars as well as new players of the MMO genre, and it’s because of the awesome and strong-bonded community we are a part of. Stay awesome, guys and gals, you are what makes the game truly great.
Stay lazy, my Tyrian friends..