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Change is a Good Thing, Right?

David North Posted:
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For an MMO to be successful, it needs to constantly evolve in order to keep the interest of the players. ArenaNet has been changing Guild Wars 2 since its launch, but none of that will compare to the changes we’re about to witness! April seems to focus on players having an easier time playing the game, which I'm always for, but I still have a few concerns.

To be honest, I'm not too surprised by the updates coming next month. I'm particularly excited to see the new trait system.  But still ArenaNet, it you're reading this, bring us more skills!  Anyways, traits are getting a huge overhaul, and I think that it's for the better, for the most part.

It's awesome that new traits are being added, but you won’t get to use any of them till level 30! That's nearly half way to the max level. So how do they plan to keep building characters interesting for the first 29 levels with limited skill options? We may not see any answer to this for awhile. It isn't uncommon to see a developer throw in a feature, with plans to round it out in a later update.  Still, this may stop me from creating more characters in the future. 

Death is an interesting thing when it comes to game design. You want to punish the player for their actions, but more so hide it as a lesson so that they stop repeating the same mistake. If you just go and punish your players, they may just rage quit. Guild Wars 2 originally broke your armor, which required a few coins to repair. Then there is the whole issue of getting back to where you were before you died, which results in you paying a small waypoint fee. A new system will come into place where you still need to repair your armor, but now it’s free. So the only punishment is taking a few seconds to get a free armor repair, and then pay 3 silver, or so, to get back to where you were. That won't even feel like a slap on the wrist.

I understand you don't want to punish your players to much by death taxing them to poverty. For me, the old system wasn't actually that big of a deal. I always felt that the punishment needed to be more, as players tend to die, then just go berserk and rush back into the situation that killed them in the first place, only to die again. Players aren't learning a lesson, and taking away part of the death penalty will probably make things even worse. Now there is a good side, as new players will have a better chance to actually get some gold into their wallets early on in the game. But will those new players ever learn to respect death?

I know it’s a game, but death really isn’t that big of a deal.

I love messing around with the look of my characters. Really, I think we all love doing it.  To see some changes to this system is very welcoming. The old system worked, but made looking for the perfect look a bit more of a hassle than it needed to be. In April this will all change with item skins and dyes now unlocking account wide, and finally they will let players wear their costumes into battle.

I always felt it was right to have costumes that were wearable into combat, just like they were in the original games. But those games didn't have WvW. A heavy armored Warrior can now mix into a crowd while wearing very lightweight looking clothes, stopping him from being the target. Then there’s the Mesmer that is messing my team up that looks like all the other Asuran females wearing an elaborate dress! How are we suppose to know who we are fighting?!

For some, this won't be an issue at all, because they will most likely be using low graphic settings for the big fights. It is cool to be able to charge into battle as the Mad King, I get that. But I think this will make fighting other groups of players a bit tougher, as you only have the weapons they carry to guess what they could be. If you guess wrong, it could be too late. But maybe that's what ArenaNet wants, another layer to combat where you have to learn to assess the battlefield more efficiently.

The new look for Thieves.

No matter how you look at all these changes, they will be worth it in the end. These changes will make things easier to control, which means we will spend more time actually playing the game. Sure I have some concerns, but I think we need to let these changes happen. It's hard to actually see the big picture until you actually get the chance to experience things first hand. Let's see what happens, it could be awesome.

How do you feel about the changes coming in the April Feature Pack?  Do you feel that anything is missing?  Let us know in the comments below. 

David North / David North is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com.  David loves to play and makes games, but now he writes about them!  If you want to creep on him and make fun of his ability to draw, follow him over on twitter @David_the_North.

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David North