Demolition Derby

August 15, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 18 Comments
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The Arenanet blog just posted an outline of everything that they’ve changed since the last demo. It’s a surprising amount of changes, some good, some questionable. All interesting.

    Potions – Gone. I’d like to make fun of Arenanet for caving, or players for whining like crazy, but I can’t really complain that energy (and therefore energy potions) have been removed. It is an old mechanic, one I wouldn’t mind using, but at the same time I’m not sad to see it go. I am at a complete loss, for the moment, as to what mechanic they would replace energy with. However they did say “We have a new long-term replacement for the other benefits that energy potions provided”.
    1. Skill Trainers – Also gone. The first half of your 10 slot skill bar will be learned by actually using your weapons. The second half of your bar will be a return to skill capping (or dynamic event rewards?) apparently, similar to Guild Wars. Not sure how I feel about this. Depends on how its implemented but it could be fun. They’ve mentioned having to seek out specialized foes to gain specific traits, so I’m assuming skills may fall along the same lines. Using weapons to gain skills sounds an awful lot like grind but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
    1. New Races – Both sylvari and asura will be playable at gamescom for the first time. After the big response to the sylvari redesign there should be a lot of people playing them in demo videos. Also seems like a good sign that we’re moving towards a beta right?
    1. New Zones – We’ll get to see the charr starting area and a mid to high level area for sylvari and asura. For me this kind of sucks. I want to see all the new stuff and blog about it but I also don’t want so much of the game to be spoiled before I ever play it. I’m so conflicted!
    1. Character Customization – Previously in the demo your character was mostly randomized and limited. The majority of character customization is now unlocked, so we should get to see just how fat, tall, warped, and goofy looking the Aion character creator can be within the confines of Guild Wars 2.
    1. Destructible Environments – We’ve known about some destructible environments previously. In one trailer you can just barely see a building collapse, and in the first ever trailer there was a bridge being destroyed. Apparently in the PvP demo we will see siege weapons and destructible environments. The featured map will be called Battle of Kyhlo, which is an obscure reference to official Guild Wars fiction called The Battle for Kyhlo. The story recounts a battle in Ascalon, so the setting will most likely be in charr territory.

    Some of these changes break with traditional MMO mechanics. I mean no skill trainers? No energy mechanic? These are bold moves Arenanet. You’re out there plowing headlong into old ideas not knowing if they’ll give or not until you try them. Respect.

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    18 Comments

    1. Just being honest… the Jon Peters blog entry was unnerving and unsettling to me…

      I was hopeful that we might see a beta test before the end of the year, and a game release sometime in the spring or summer of 2012. The sprawling vagueness of Peters’ “headsup” for the gamescon demo was not at all reassuring.

      It seemed like ANet had most of the major systems in place and were systematically and steadily adding to those… now we’re informed that, not just one or two, but several major systems are being scrapped and re-worked, and that process is in early enough stages that they can’t even drop a hint as to the exact nature of the replacements?

      I really wish a PR person had gone over that blog entry before it was posted… that was an awful lot of “scrap this and trash that but, we can’t even talk about the replacement we’re working on… but, hey… just wanted to keep you guys in the loop.”

      For the record; I don’t feel like I’ve been kept in the loop… I feel like I’ve just been run over, and I’m hoping there are witnesses for the trial.

      My confidence is shaken a bit but, I’m trying to maintain faith… fingers crossed that SIGNIFICANTLY more substantial, hard information will be forthcoming… and sooner rather than later. Leave the kind of turd that Peters dropped hanging out there on it’s own for too long and it could do actual harm.

      Because I know there are folks who are going to say I’m over-reacting to this blog entry, let me just clarify something ahead of time… “We are scrapping the system for using skills… and for acquiring skills… and, oh ya, btw, our whole game is based on acquiring and using skills… but we can’t tell you what we’re going with now… wink, wink… just wanted to keep you all informed.” Gee… thanx a bunch Jon… now F*** off and get someone posting ACTUAL information before the entire internet explodes with screams of “Vaporware!”

      • Well, I empathize with the “wtf-ness” of your response, but coming at it from another angle it really depends on how long they’ve been working on this alternate system in parallel with the one we’ve been encountering all this time. It could really be as simple as they had a system that works “okay, not excellent” in their eyes, and they’ve been toying with this other one that has been doing pretty well in testing, so they are brute-forcing it at the con (both PvP-ers to try to break it, plus seeing how intuitive it is for all these players, even demo vets, who have now never seen the new systems in place).

        Now, in this alternative universe where what I have speculated is even remotely like the truth, this could be all the confirmation ANet needs to know whether to push on with the new design and wrap things up, or pick up where they left off with the old one (and also wrap things up), and if so, the game hasn’t exactly suffered a 6-month-to-a-year setback.

        Or, ANet has 6 other design iterations waiting in the wings to spring on us over the course of interminable conventions. Or something in between…… 🙂

        • To me talking about what they changed and why is just more evidence that the game is moving closer to wrapping up. As if they would have told us anything like this last year.

      • I think the overall picture may be harder to see, if you’re just concentrating on that blog post. They’re releasing more and more into the demo as it becomes ready, and now we’re about to see PvP as well. That tells me the game is coming closer and closer to completion. The fact that they changed potions and skills, is in the larger picture, irrelevant.

        The game consists of far more than just an energy mechanic and skill acquisition.

    2. Hate to break it to you, bud, but this is how good game development works. If a system is not working, you create a new one. If you have a better idea, you implement that. No need to write panicked prose about changes that sound like significant improvements. Energy for skills always annoyed me, and I’m glad that it’s now exclusively for dodging. It’s good to know that giant boss fights have been revamped, I honestly didn’t think they were going to get any better. Learning skills from fighting with weapons sounds awesome, although I hope that after reaching the requisite level you don’t need to use each weapon forever to get them. Pretty much everything else was “We’ve got this feature ready for you to see”, so I don’t know what above was complaining about. The game is steadily aproaching Beta time. simmer.

      • @Calvar
        Just to clarify; I’m not complaining about energy use being removed from skills… I AM complaining about the total F***ing lack of anything even remotely resembling an explanation of the “new” system they are going with instead.
        @Randmessa
        I appreaciate your response, and really, really want your more optimistic speculation to be spot on accurate… however, if it were the case that they had been developing the alternative systems “in tandem/parallel” with the now “scrapped” systems then I’d think they could do better than “we can’t talk about that yet.”
        Is it possible that Peters was simply so clueless that he didn’t realize what kind of a reaction he would get to “scrap the old… no explanation on the new?”
        Rampant WTFery!

      • Yeah i’m surprised they said big boss battles would be more impressive. I was fairly impressed to begin with.

        Flannum said that learning weapon skills by using weapons takes at first only a few (10) foes before gaining a new skill. On the one hand I’d like more freedom but on the other it doesn’t sound like grind and it certainly seems like a better way to teach people to use skills than just having them buy them off a dude.

    3. Well, I want bet test it..

      • we all want to beta test it.

    4. I’m interested to see what camera changes they have made. That has always been a problem with fighting large bosses, let alone massive ones like The Shatterer. When you get very close to them you end up looking at a leg or other body part unless you can really zoom back out, and most game cameras don’t have enough zoomoutness (my new made up word of the day) to really back out and see the boss in all its glory, especially for the melee fighters. Or maybe it will be an on the fly Field Of View adjustment? That would probably be pretty easy to implement.

      Also, I didn’t realize The Shatterer (or The Shatner if you prefer, heh) is a title, not an actual dragon name, according to the GW2 wiki. Neat! That dragon in the charr area from the earlier demo probably had a real name like Bob, or maybe Ralph. Yeah… okay, probably not. 😉

      I’d agree that the fact ArenaNet feels comfortable enough to talk about some game changes means their game system and engine are pretty flexible and they are entering the final testing phases before release. I’d much rather see a company heavily improving their game (even core systems) as release nears than to just freeze stuff and then make sudden changes (usually bad changes or over reacting) right at release. I expect them to keep refining things not only up to release, but after as well. That is a good thing.

      • I’m interested to find out just what they could change about big boss fights to make them more epic? some of them looked pretty damn cool.

        Oh yeah I had forgotten that the shatterer is a rank name rather than an actual name. Like lieutenant rather than William or Kirk.

        I’m glad someone agrees that these changes are a good sign rather than not.

    5. New Skill Acquisition system for GW2:
      Swing a sword, and then hey, swing a sword again.
      Somebody needs to watch their own F***ing manifesto video… and then watch it again.

      • “Nobody likes that… nobody finds it fun…” – Colin Johanson
        *sigh*
        CORRECT!

        • It seems to be more about the number of foes, example given, 10. So you learn to use your skills on ten foes, and if we go by the human demo for instance, you’ll have the next skill before you beat the earth elemental. Not particularly grindy. I’m not a huge fan of it myself but it sounds more interesting than buying it from a vendor.

    6. @ArcherAvatar
      Do you really need the new system explained to you? It’s the old system, but with no energy. Simple. Skills will still have recharge and cast time. By saying that skills no longer cost energy, they explained the new system.

      • That’s a fantastic ASSUMPTION, and I hope you are correct. However, it IS just an assumption until that has been shown/stated by the DEVs… how difficult would it have been for Peters to clearly state exactly that in the post?
        If it’s all just a misunderstanding that still stems from poor communication in the form of that VERY uninformative “information” post.
        So… “yes” … I do really need the new system explained to me… thanx. (And is that honestly so much to ask?)

        • The idea that they might be doing something else never crossed my mind at all. Looking around guru, I have heard rumors that there is a new system in place. But seriously, I don’t understand why not being told what that might be instantly after being told the other system is gone freaks you out so much. They obviously want to show us through the demo what changes they’ve made. If you’re worried that they don’t have any ideas or plans yet, then you should really not be. They were hinting that they had drastically changed a lot of things months ago. I’m sore if I come off as rude, I just haven’t been let down by Anet on this sort of thing yet, and I find it weird to assume that this will be the time for something that’s kinda actually really easy to implement.

          • Personally, I don’t find what you’re saying rude at all… it sounds very reasonable and mature as a matter of fact.
            (I’m certain I don’t appear nearly as reasonable to most folks reading this conversation… and I’m ok with that since I’m not feeling particularly reasonable atm.)
            I want to believe that you are correct. I want to feel chagrined for reacting negatively to something that ultimately turns out to be nothing at all, or even a very good thing.
            How easy would it have been for ANet to provide even just a little bit of solid information in that blog entry on the replacement mechanics so that misunderstandings and confusion weren’t even possible?
            Is having the 24hr cycle immediately prior to the opening of GamesCon filled with questioning (even by folks who aren’t as upset about it as I am) a good thing?
            It could have been handled better… It SHOULD have been handled better.
            I’m looking forward to being proven dead-wrong and reactionary… until then, I’m still fuming over the “flippant” way this (lack of) information was handled.


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