Deep Blue SeaJune 25, 2011 at 4:09 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 14 Comments
Tags: Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
A lot of games have flight and air travel. For good reason too, even in the most mundane games the views can be wonderful, and the feeling of flight is something most people are fascinated by.
Some games have underwater areas but they’re rarely in depth pieces of work. They are bare of life or quests or any reason to visit them.
Most games never really do anything with these extra spaces. Vast amounts of space with nothing to do but fly or swim through it.
I think Arenanet is just the studio to change that. If anyone is going to fully utilize a major environment like underwater areas in an MMO, it’s them.
Guild Wars 2 just gave us our first real underwater information dump in the form of this blog.
In the blog we learn that underwater combat immediately becomes an interesting strategic challenge.
When you’re underwater, you don’t need to worry about breathing until your health goes to zero. When this happens you go into a drowning state, which functions like the downed state you experience when above water except with some small ability to move. When you are drowning, you have three ways to recover:
You kill an opponent, which will cause you to rally.
An ally can revive you, just as they can above water.
You reach the surface of the water, where you will stop drowning and regain health. When your health bar fills all the way you’ll be revived.
First of all, kudos on making changes to the standard way underwater areas in other games are presented. Maybe some changes don’t seem like much, like removing the air meter until you’re health is zero, but I believe this is a fundamentally interesting change. It is the first step to treating underwater areas as something more than just another environment.
Oh and lets face it, having to stop what you’re doing to swim to the surface for air every couple minutes isn’t a strategic plus so much as a pain in the ass minus.
Just the downed system alone is a great addition to Guild Wars 2, but the fact that it works differently underwater is great. Swimming to the surface to revive yourself is a great little detail that adds just the slightest hint of awesome.
In most MMOs swimming to the surface is a chore, in Guild Wars 2 it’s a matter of survival.
I haven’t even touched on the fact that, if you haven’t been paying attention, Guild Wars 2 has separate underwater weaponry. It doesn’t really make sense to have the exact same abilities underwater as above, so half your skillbar changes while you’re underwater giving you new abilities.
In fairness I’m not entirely impressed that there seem to be only 3 underwater weapons for 8 professions, but I have faith that Arenanet can diversify what those skills do in each professions hands, and since your non-weapon related skills change to suit the underwater environment, I’m willing to feel it out.
Heck Izari described a particularly awesome sounding skill I can’t wait to see.
Engineers can sink people underwater by attaching weights..
That kind of innovative thinking is far beyond the ritualistic static of other games. The most interesting thing I saw underwater in rift was a single foothold. It was just like a regular foothold, only underwater.
That’s not the approach Arenanet is taking and I’m glad. As they say in the blog, they could have just grafted their land based combat into the water and stopped. They could have left their underwater landscapes indistinct and nondescript.
They could have been lazy, they weren’t.
There are times when I think Arenanet is being rude because they just plain make other game studios look bad.
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