Jan 3, 2012

Back to Basics

We’ve had some great info come out of Anet recently, but now with the new year upon us, I think it’s time we get back down to the basics. What are those little things that are going to help Guild Wars 2 stand out from the other mundane MMO’s? In this blog post, I’ll go over some of the key factors which help support Anet’s innovative mind set. 

 Unique & Customized!

 In Guild Wars 2, your character matters, to you and to the game. When you create your character you’ll be asked a series of questions about them to help the game tailor a specific personal story (a series of special quests) just for you. The game also has a deep character creation, with a good number of options and sliders to really help dial in your toon. You may ask why this is important when all you’ll see is the back of your characters head in game. Well, the answer to that are the beautiful cinematic cut scenes that happen throughout the game and your personal story. Your toon is shown talking to other npc’s and it is quite captivating. You really start to notice your own character and how much they start to develop their own personality and identity.  On top of that, to make your character even more unique, Guild Wars 2 has an immense dye system in place to help give your clothes and armor that much needed flair. Each piece of armor has two or three sections that can be dyed any number of colors. You’re even able to dye your starting gear at character creation. So right off the bat, as soon as you load in the game for the first time, your character will already have his or her own identity.

Trinity What?

 Let’s start with a major one, and maybe I can help clear it up as well. No more ‘Holy Trinity’, at least not in the sense we’re used to. Anet has more so changed the terms to ‘Control’, ‘Support’, and ‘Damage’. Meaning that a player wont have to wait around looking to recruit a specific profession in order to enter a dungeon or play in a Dynamic Event. Instead each player, though weapon swapping or through utility skills, can jump into any of those roles when they need to. Basically, it’s completely plausible to enter a dungeon with a five person group of all Elementalists and still be competent enough to succeed. Each player will just need to know his or her role in the group and know when to or be willing to switch that role when the need arises. This in its self will help the game play flow much quicker and thus the player base will be able to enjoy themselves longer and more often. No more literally wasting valuable play time sitting in a city spamming chat waiting for a specific character type. 

Down But Not Out!

 Guild Wars 2 wants less down time and more game play, this is seen even in death. When your health drops down to zero, you don’t die, you actually go into a downed state and you get a new set of five skills. What’s the point of that you may ask, well, it gives your allies or friends time to come over and get you back on your feet.  Or if you’re actually able to kill a mob while in downed state, you’ll be able to rally yourself back up. Now I mentioned others coming over to rally you, and you heard right. Anyone and everyone is able to bring another play back from a downed state. However the more times you are downed, the longer it takes for you to get back up, so be wary.
Alas, if you are unable to kill an enemy while in downed state or nobody comes and rallies you, after a certain time you will basically bleed out and officially be dead. At this point not all is lost! You’ll be able to bring up your map and fast travel to any map point you’ve found and unlocked, and just like that you can quickly run and get back into the fight. You know the best part though, there is no death penalty! Seriously! Anet wants your time in the game to be productive, they don’t want to punish you for making a mistake, they want you to learn from it, and you will.

A New Spin!

 It’s always been in the MMO norm that when you see an explanation point over an npc’s head, that he needed your help. But does he really? Anet said it best themselves in their Manifesto video. When you talk to that npc, he prompts you with a dialog box explaining his issue and what you can do to help. However, more times than not, what he says is going on really is not. His farm in not getting attack, and the only crime those trolls are committing would just be loitering! While this could be an offence, one would think it would be a job for the local guard, not a brave and fearless adventurer like yourself! Sadly, even if you do decide to do the npc a solid and help him out, five or ten minutes later those damn baddies are back and the npc really doesn’t want to associate with you anymore. That’s no way for an adventurer to be treated.

Anet on the other hand, has done away with the pesky ! and ? finally. There are no more quests per say, but rather grand events, dynamic some would even say. A true adventurer roams and explores until his or her assistance is needed, and that is what Guild Wars 2 holds true. You could be wandering or traveling for point A to point B and suddenly an npc might run up to you (Yes! They’ll actually run up to you!) and ask for your help. They’ll use voice dialog to convey their emotion and deep desire for you to assist them.  If you decide to, you will physically see what is happening. From Centaurs actually destroying a village and setting it on fire, to witnessing a pirate invasion where they’re taking prisoners. Everything that is happening is really happening and every single player in the area is witnessing the exact same thing. That right there will bring a sense of community to the game

Dungeon Runner!

Guild Wars 2 also does its own spin on the Dungeon run. The first time you go through a dungeon it will be done through a story mode. You’ll have certain objectives and may even get assistance from npc’s. Once you’ve finished a dungeon for the first time, it unlocks exploreable mode. This opens up the dungeon even further allowing for different paths to take and different outcomes. Also, random events may happen while in the exploreable mode, of example, a monster may break through a wall and grab one of your party members! This not only gives you a new objective, but thanks to the monster, has opened up a new part of the dungeon. Each dungeon will also have its own style of gear, and all loot will be tailored to your style of profession. So no more getting worthless light armor boots on your Warrior, or heavy two handed swords for your Necromancer. The loot you get will be loot you can use.

Multiplayer back in MMO…
One thing I have to give Anet a sincere pat on the back for is their go at making an MMO have more of a player community through game play. They do this in a number of ways. One way is they’ve done away with steal killing. All baddies will give any player who fights it full xp and their own share of loot. Now when you see another player fighting in an area, you don’t feel compelled to find another spot away from them, instead you feel more compelled to run over and help that player kill his enemy quicker and for once that player will more times than not be grateful! After a time of playing you’ll see these groups of players start running around together just because they all decided to be helpful to each other. On top of that, they may never have even formed an official group either. The only real benefit to actually grouping up is just so you can see one another on the map. New alliances are forged and new friendships are made. I don’t know of any other MMO out there that has this positive effect on players. 

Oh Node They Didn’t!

To stay relatively on track with the whole community aspect, Anet has even brought this mentality to crafting. You remember those days roaming whatever world you were in, and saw that shiny harvest node. You run/fly over to it, get ready to harvest it, then BAM! Another player appears out of no where and takes all the goodies. You’re shocked, disappointed, angry, and jealous. That was your node, you were going to get it, you saw it first… but… that other player is just as entitled to it as well. Well, Guild Wars 2 has that covered. Similar to enemies in the word, crafting nodes are shared by all players. That node will stay there till you tap it and take your share. It’ll stay around for anyone else who wants to take a pull from it. So now if you see a node, but are in the middle of a battle, you can go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you can take your time in battle and that node will still be there waiting for you when you’re ready to use it.

That’s Crafty!

On the same point, Guild Wars 2 has taken a nice turn in direction in crafting as well. Usually most games will let you learn two crafting professions out of a list of many. You choose the two that you like and that is it, unless you want to completely waste all the time you put in to abandon it and choose a different one.  Have no fear because Anet has a good system in place. You can still only choose two crafting professions, but… if you want to change you’re not penalized for it. You can switch crafting professions but the best part is you’re able to go back to a previous profession and you’ll be at the progress where you left it at. So just because you changed your mind a few times, you won’t have to start from scratch each time.

They're Just Warming Up…

This is just the base of the flame as it were. Anet and Guild Wars 2 have so much more to offer and to look forward to. So stay tuned, check them out, and tell your friends! Guild Wars 2 is a new breed of MMO and it’s looking good right now… looking really good in fact.

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