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Not So Big and Bad

David North Posted:
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ArenaNet has given players a massive world to conquer and explore.  Last weekend we were shown that this world in Guild Wars 2 will continue to expand over time, as new threats crawl out of the cracks.  Some threats in the world of Tyria are just animals found in the wild and small in size.  Others are mighty warrior centaurs and other opposing factions.  But the really exciting enemies are the big ones.  The giants and the dragons being the largest.  Well, one should get excited from fighting them anyways.

As I grew up I spent a ton of my time playing video games.  Defeating goombas and slaying ninjas became an everyday activity.  But I lived for the boss fights!  It doesn’t matter what genre of game of you play, the big boss is always waiting around the corner  to put your skills to the ultimate tests.  With ArenaNet throwing dragons into Guild Wars 2, you will fight against one of the most powerful creatures in fantasy.  For me, the larger the enemy is, the more rewarding it is to bring them down.  

See?! Bosses always hide around corners!

The first time I faced off against a dragon it was an exciting experience, but when I ventured off to slay the other dragons they didn’t seem so tough.  Here I was fighting a dragon that could alter the very ground I stood on just be flying above it.  Why was this dragon standing on the ground so much?  Why was I able to stay alive so easily during the fight?  I’m fighting a great beats called the Shatterer!  My character should /wetpants whenever the dragon looks in its general direction! 

Who wouldn’t be scared if this beast was looking down on you?!

I’m not saying the fight is disappointing with any of the dragons.  I just feel the dragons should act more aggressively.  The game with the best dragon combat, for me, was Skyrim.  I know it’s not an MMO, and I know that its combat is very different.  But when a dragon takes to the skies and bombards me with fire and ice, I feel threatened.  While playing during the first press betas, I talked with some of the developers who also enjoyed Skyrim.  I’m not saying they need to do exactly what they saw there, but maybe expand upon those ideas. 

The main reason I feel that this is an issue, is that ArenaNet has done a lot to make their MMO feel more like an action game.  The fights against lesser opponents have that action like feel with dodging.   But fighting against a dragon feels more like a more traditional MMO.  It breaks the flow the rest of the game tries to establish. 

Now Dragons aren’t the only ones with this problem.  I feel giants also suffer.  A giant can take out half a group of people with one mighty blow, so I feel they translated its strength properly, but it follows a pattern with its attacks.  Giants also have a very limited number of attacks, so memorizing all of them is actually pretty easy.  I would love for the Giants to be revisited, and maybe gain a few more attacks.  I think it would be awesome to see a giant swing a dead tree round, or maybe picking up players and throwing them!

I loved the Karka from The Lost Shores event.  They looked like living chunks of coral reef, and had some awesome and unique attacks.  The best part is that they were big!  I felt ArenaNet did a great job with these enemies.  They moved around a lot, and could pose a threat to a group of players.  Well, except the Ancient Karka.  I think a champion was tougher to take down, and made for a more exciting battle.   Oh well, you can’t get everything you want.  At least not yet.

Dragons are an adventurer's worst nightmare.

If ArenaNet takes a look at what they did with the Karka, they can make the giants and dragons of Guild Wars 2 more exciting to fight.  I’m not saying they are a dull fight right now, but I’m more likely to die from fighting seven Risen by myself than joining a dragon slayer group.  That seems backwards to me.   A large enemy not only needs to instill fear, but also inflict lots of pain.  If they can balance things out, the action style gameplay of the game will shine even more.   Who knows, they may already be looking into this. 


David North