Koltrane's E3 For Everyone Diary (page 6)
Addendum - May 15, 2004
So, after all was said and done, there are a few questions that need asking and answering:
Is Guild Wars a good game? Well, it's hard to definitively say after a one week demo, but gauging the reaction of the players I dealt with coupled with my experience, I'd say it is well on its way to being a fantastic release. There are areas that need work to be sure, but we all knew that going in. Many people have made Diablo references and I think they are accurate. Guild Wars is very much like Diablo in a persistent world (for lack of a better term) format. That being said, GW is not shaping up to be a true blue MMORPG. It is not nearly as rich or as deep as games like EverQuest or Dark Age of Camelot, so purists may grumble about it being lumped in the MMORPG category. However, Guild Wars doesn't seem to be aiming for that demographic directly. I imagine Arena is hoping to attract those players, but I expect they are shooting more for the Diablo fans. So I guess it all depends on how one defines "good game." If you want a follow on to EQ or DAoC, look at WoW or EQ2. If you want a less complex, more accessible title which focuses more on pure combat and competition, GW may well be your cup of tea.
Was the "E3 fo Everyone" concept a success? Absolutely. Arena did so many things right with the event it's hard to know where to start. First, they showed confidence in their title by allowing the whole world to jump in and be seen at the largest gaming convention in America. They made gamers feel a part of E3 by allowing them to play with people who were actually in attendance. By giving players a taste of what is to come, they generated a tremendous amount of buzz. Even requiring players to use their e-mail address to play was a stroke of genius, as it gives Arena a ready-made mailing list to send out feedback questionnaires, send release announcements, and so on. As I said in an earlier entry, I think you will see numerous other companies follow Arena's lead at next year's conference, and some may even try before then.
Based upon the demo, will I be playing Guild Wars? Not that anyone really cares what games I play, but since this is my blog, I'll tell ya anyway. I will most likely be buying Guild Wars when it is released later this year. The question should really be will I be actively buying the new content each period? I know that play will be free and that players won't be required to buy additional content, but I imagine that players who just buy the game and a single add on pack will find themselves at a disadvantage to those players who can get new weapons, armor, items, etc from the add-ons. Also, old original zones may become less populated as the dedicated players move to the add-on zones. I frankly don't see myself actively buying new modules every month, but that's just my style. Arena's business model is rather brash and not a little risky, but it may end up turning the MMORPG genre on its ear. I will buy the initial game and probably the first expansion, but unless the game changes dramatically in some ways (specifically building the zones with fewer strict paths and more open areas as well as having a team hunting area that is neither mission nor PVP based), I can't see myself sticking with it. As much as I love the full blown MMORPG genre, I don't see Guild Wars stealing my heart away.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed the week-long peek at Guild Wars and hope to get another chance to play it before it goes live. The game is certain to make a big splash when it comes out. Be looking for it in the 2nd half of 2004. I hope this was helpful to those of you that followed it. Be good.
Sincerely, Reed "Koltrane" Hubbard, MMORPG.com Staff