This week we begin our weekly game column on Guild Wars 2. Each week we will look at different aspects of the game and try to analyze how Guild Wars 2 continues to present new ideas into the MMO genre as well as keep players posted on the latest updates and features of the game. So this week we are taking a close look at the Downed Mode Skills that Guild Wars 2 revealed in its healing and death feature.
The idea of Downed Skills that you can use before completely going under as a character is definitely exciting. How many times have you button mashed your final seconds away before seeing your bar go blank in other MMOs? The idea of downed skills lets you think about what you can do and have an option to come back. In terms of excitement, the idea seems to make combat much more exciting and allow for players to rally. Using specific abilities when your character is downed, you can possibly heal yourself back up and rejoin the fight. Not only do you have this option on your own, but other players can rally to your cause as well.
The few abilities talked about so far are the Warrior’s “I will avenge you” skill or the ability to throw a rock to stun an opponent just before going down for good. These abilities sound okay from a melee perspective, the question is hwo do they interface with the other skills? How much of a revival will a character get from different actions? Will they bounce back to full health able to pull off their top moves? Or will they rally to about 1/3 of their life and have to generate skills through more combat? These are just a few questions facing the team working on downed skills. These questions do present the development team with some serious strategy options in combat. If the combat videos we have seen for Guild Wars 2 are any indicator, things will move fast and furious. Having the downed skills as a further option will create some great choices for players.
In terms of game play and having fun, many players enjoy rallying back to win a fight. Usually with the common MMO design the healer has to orchestrate this for his or her group. It seems like having a system in place to allow all characters to rally keeps the game moving faster. The idea of warriors killing an opponenet to bring you back to your feet is definitely fun. I equate this concept to Dodge Ball. Yes, Dodge Ball, the game where one person can be left on a team and by catching the ball, they can actually rebuild and bring their entire team back in. The idea of a come back is great in any game, sport, or story, implementing it into a full on game play tactic is a refreshing breath for action MMOs.
As Guild Wars 2 continues its development hopefully we will see a full list of downed skills for each class. This will give players a chance to start thinking about how they will play and what options they have in a fight. In the end, you can still be sent to the Waypoint, but giving a player the fighting chance to come back before they go is a great option. In other MMOs the idea of it being too late to do anything when you are dead is often frustrating, with Guild Wars 2 it seems like developers are putting in systems to not only help players, but make the game more exciting on a strategic level.
This is one game design system that is proof Guild Wars 2 continues to define the next generation MMO. I cannot wait to try this system and see how often I can pull through in a fight. Everyone likes a comeback, especially in MMOs.