You have most definitely heard it all when it comes to Guild Wars 2. I will not rehash it, in actuality I have not experienced enough of the game to go through its finer points. From the little I have experienced this beta weekend I could tell immediately that this game was not for me.
Simply put, I am in the belief that this game is for a different generation of MMO gamer than whatever category I am in. Similar to the way that I am not a fan of music from the 1920’s I am not into this game. This is NOT to say it isn’t a good game, or even that anything is wrong with me personally, it’s just not my style.
World of Warcraft isn’t my style either and were it not for friends who got me into it, I would have avoided that cartoon-fest forever. There were elements of WOW that I enjoyed but, as with anything, you can always find the silver lining. I have even been attempting to play Rift recently and I find it a superior model to the WOW style, but again, it is not my ideal game.
The truth is, my ideal game hasn’t been invented yet, and the majority of elements I would like games to primarily focus on, I find lacking in all others. Well… The exception is Neverwinter Nights. It is my observation that quite a few of the things I would like to see in MMO’s reside in that game.
Guild Wars 2 seems to be the conversion of Unreal Tournament and Quake style gameplay into the land of MMO’s. Hacking and Slashing with special moves has now been partially ported into the massive multiplayer arena. The only problem is that I was never a huge fan of hacking and slashing or button mashing. I liked Zelda, especially Ocarina of Time but that wasn’t dependent on internet connection stability and had a much more organic feel to it, the way I remember it.
Picture Guild Wars 2, in design, then, picture Asheron’s Call. Obviously the complexity of gameplay had shifted. I wouldn’t say in this case that it was dumbed down exactly but, the focus has shifted from advanced strategic planning to instant “twitch play” mechanics. In Asheron’s Call you were forced to plan your character in advance and master your particular style of gameplay, you must even do this to a degree in Neverwinter Nights. In Guild Wars 2 as far as I’ve experienced it, it seems that it’s all about a sort of halfway console hack and slash combat style mixed with moments of adding your special moves in a fixed sequence depending on 2-4 variables. Variables being things such as:
Is your opponent is primarily ranged and you are melee, then; Advanced quickly with move X, slow movements with move Y, perform maximum combat sequence per enemy defenses & attempt to use “console dodge” tap button.
In a game such as Neverwinter Nights or Asheron’s Call there were more variables due to skillsets being unpredictable. There were sometimes visual cues, sometimes. Most times enemies would attempt to deceive you by using secondary skills and dressing contrary to their class / skills to initially throw you off, deception could be key often enough. Magic items also caused strategy to vary in such an unpredictable way that pre planned combat sequences were almost always guaranteed to change. This is also assuming you were in a position to attack first.
It may seem like I’m saying that previous games were more complex and maybe I am. I do think there is something to be said about players that have the affinity for extreme keyboard & mouse gaming combat but it is not the same as pre planned combat tactics. The action required in Guild Wars 2 is more reactionary, you must be willing to counter or seize upon your enemies mistakes in a more immediate way. I would say the comparison is like the difference between table tennis and chess or even chess and pool. Guild Wars 2 has brought a different combat style to the table, much more improved than a Vindictus, that’s almost all I know for sure.
That’s really all I want to say for now, I may make a few videos of some lowbies crap in GW2 but you’ve probably seen it all by now and I’m not into YouTube gameplay footage necromancy unless it’s Skyrim.
I hope orange is easier to read, I'll update it back to default if requested.