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Opinions from a Long Time Fan

David North Posted:
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It’s really nice to have taken part in the past 2 Guild Wars 2 beta events.   First off, it has made for some very fun weekends, and helped ease the pain from waiting so long for the release.  The best part though, is having a chance to see the progress of the game and really give some Feedback for ArenaNet to look at.  I think all members of the press would agree with me on that one.  So that’s exactly what I would like to do, give some of my feedback on some smaller features that often get over looked by others.

A few months ago we talked about some things that were in the original game that I was hoping to see come back for Guild Wars 2.  One feature was very small, but made a huge impact.  I’m talking about the ability to draw on the mini map.  Why would something so simple be so important?  This feature was in the first game and I used it so much when adventuring in a group or with my guild.  Sure we had voice chat available, but it was nice to draw out the battle plans as we discussed strategy with each other.  It made sure we were all on the same page.  I am very glad to see that this feature is brought back for Guild Wars 2, as well as the ability to ping locations by simply double clicking the map.  Upon telling my guild the feature would be returning, they cheered!

Another small over looked feature goes with the controls.  In the original Guild Wars games, you could press and hold the CTRL and Alt buttons to have the names of all allies or enemies in the area show up on your screen.  This was great to help make sense of things.  If you saw a lot of enemies in the distance, and they were too far to recognize by appearance, you could then see what the enemy mob consisted of.  This feature went really well with the map draw ability, as it all came down to assisting with planning our attack.  It was also really useful in towns, as it lets you see who’s a normal NPC, a merchant, or quest giver.  Once again, awesome job on ArenaNet’s part and for looking for even the smallest of things to actually help keep playing the game simple.

While I’m on the topic of the controls, I would like to say something that may make some of you look at me like a clown in his underwear sitting at a business meeting.  I would like to see controller support for Guild Wars 2.  Now hear me out on this folks, Guild Wars 2 doesn’t play like your traditional MMO at all.  You can’t just stand still and swing your weapon over and over again until something dies.  You have to move around, dodge, charge, jump, everything!  It plays more like an action game, and let me say this, during the beta I saw players try to play like it was a normal MMO, and they died pretty quick.  I played like it was a 3rd person action game and a few times my fingers ran into each other.  It got better as the hours and fights went by, but half the time I was wishing I had a controller. 

ArenaNet saw that it wasn’t much fun to just stand in front of each other and take swing after swing at each other. It even looks silly, or is that cause I drew Asurans?

Using a keyboard didn’t ruin the game for me, but I feel like it did make me think about controlling my character, and what you really want is a control scheme that flows.  You want to make your movements and actions as though they were second nature.  Offering this alternative control scheme may also allow players to view it as more than just another MMO, as 3rd person action games are associated with fluid game pad controls.  I know it would be hard to come up with a control scheme that would be perfect, but I bet ArenaNet can do it. 

I would like to mention one more thing before I wrap this up.  In the original Guild Wars our party was all shown in one window grouped together.  The player’s names were each present on a bar, as well as a brief description of their profession.  To give an example, W/Mo would mean warrior monk.  The bar represented their health, and by it changing color, it showed any conditions, and other info needed to keep track of your team’s status.  I loved the way this was laid out, as it didn’t take up much space and still gave you the info you wanted, and needed, quickly. 

Now it’s more like what you see in a traditional MMO.  You see a portrait of the player’s character, with health bar and other info to the right of the portrait. The party is viewed on the upper left hand corner.  This is really the only thing I can honestly say I dislike in the entire game.  It takes up too much space, and is harder to find the info on my teammates by just taking a quick look.  I much prefer the original design.

The original party window was comparable to the size of the mini map. Such a small thing, yet it offered a wealth of information.

Overall I’m really impressed with Guild Wars 2.  The game has gone beyond my expectation as a long-time fan of the original series.  AenaNet has not forgotten the little things, and with the game still incomplete there’s no telling what changes they will make.  All I can say is, I can’t wait to see how they handle development over the next few months.


David North