Guild Wars 2 Thoughts
So here we are finally, and Guild Wars 2 seems to be coming over the horizon in the foreseeable future finally. Everyone seems to be speculating on how Guild Wars 2 might shake out and what it means to them, so I guess I'll lay down my thoughts on the table.
I have to say after being in a virtual MMO retirement for the last year or so, I finally see an MMO that looks like it might be worth playing. For me this is a big deal since I've made no bones about my distaste for a lot of the stuff that's passed through here promising to be some sort of game changer for the genre. At this point I can safely say the TOR train is flying over the cliff as we speak considering most people finally figured out that scripted story can't be produced fast enough to keep people entertained for more than a month or so. Tera looks a bit interesting to me, but despite their new take on combat, I can't just help but shake that feeling that the rest of the game is going to end up being generic. Guild Wars 2 looks like it "might" finally be something that might take hold around here. It's not a sandbox or an open world game, but at the same time it doesn't seem to be stepping in the footprints of the other "next-big-thing" MMOs lately that lead to that cliff overlooking the bargin bin over there.
I find it kind of ironic that for a game that looks like it might be raising the bar for a non-sandbox game, the bar to be considered a major success is actually quite low. I've been digesting a lot of the press beta event articles and videos, and the one common thread mentioned by almost everyone who was in there is a reference to Dark Age of Camelot. To see this mentioned so consistently across all media, and recalling the GW2 devs mentioning DAOC as influence, I'm thinking we might be on to something. What does Guild Wars 2 need to do to be a success? It's actually quite simple. GW2 simply needs to recreate or recapture the DAOC PvP / RvR experience that a lot of us veterans cherish.
From the the information we have right now, it looks like they are on the right track. Ironically, Mythic who invented the DAOC experience, has completely fumbled and botched their attempts to do just this. It's sad and hilarious that they forgot the important parts of what made DAOC so successful, while Arenanet seems to better understand it. Finally someone realized that 3-sided PvP should be in an MMO that's based on PvP. Yes, based on PvP, not tacked on there as some sort of afterthought. Thats 2 steps in the right direction. Centralized PvP area with massive keeps and a relic type object. No subscription fee to boot, now you have my attention.
As much as I want to drink this kool-aid I have to remember everything we've seen happen. My optimism is a cautious optimism. We can't discount the fact that somehow someone will find a way to screw this thing up, because the other companies always do this either right on the drawing board or how they manage it once it goes live. There are some aspects I can see people taking issue with. I was disappointed by the fact that the WvWvW area seems to have a cloned layout to the outter areas. I think it would have made for a much more interesting dynamic to have them different, but at the same time I can understand the reasoning behind it. One layout being favored or unfavored can lead to some epic whining and rage as people graps for reason why they lost or how it wasn't fair. Such cries always exist in PvP games from those who have been beaten.
Also while the game may look a lot like DAOC, let's not forget one of the things that made DAOC what it was was the fact that it had so many classes, all of which were specific to the teams. Obviously that's not the case nor would it make any sense in GW2, but I suppose it will make for better or easier balancing. Finally let's hope for the love of all that is holy, that one thing they do not take from DAOC is the Mythic pattened excessive amount of crowd control. Warhammer Online's 140+ cc abilities or whatever it turned out to be was horrid, and DAOC area of effect insta-cast mez / sleep was horrific for watching your group mates get assist trained down one by one would you stood there unable to react. Ultimately while the games differ a lot, there is an opportunity for GW2 to actually improve from the DAOC experience.
The other thing nagging on my mind is what happens to the genre if this game turns out to really be the "next big thing"? If Guild Wars 2 offers everything the other MMOs do, or do it better if their innovations end up working out (remains to be seen yet), why would anyone pay a monthly fee to another non-sandbox MMO? I think of it in terms of the MOBA genre where League of Legends offered a similar game experience for free that others made you pay for, the others ended up having to go free to compete. As long as GW2 doesn't mishandle the microtransaction aspect of the game by letting people buy some form of power, they could not only shake the genre up dramatically, but also nail the coffin lid shut on a lot of the clones out there still charging a fee.
I guess we'll see how this all shakes out, but right now I have cautious optimism. I'm looking forward to getting into the beta, and I know the staff here as well as myself will be livestreaming the ever-loving balls off this thing once we get our hands on it and are allowed to do so. I hope you'll join us when that happens.
Co-Leader of Inquisition