Things Gamescom Makes Me Want To Talk About

August 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 20 Comments
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While gamescom is over, I’m still pouring over what there is to see from Guild Wars 2. A lot of information came out and I’m still digesting much of it. Here are the things I’m still mulling over.

Guild Versus Guild

I’m both surprised and not at all that there aren’t going to be any GvG formats. In an interview, many moons ago, I recall noticing that they seemed to be dancing around the issue of guild teams in PvP. I mentioned it in a post, but, I now have over 750 posts and it’s impossible to find things. Found it.

This seems on the surface to be unreasonable. The name of the game is Guild Wars, and I’ve always felt more heed should be paid to the name. Their explanation is that they want guilds to be more about social networking and less about the competitive aspects. So while PvP teams can form within guilds and register for competitive PvP, there will be little official acknowledgement of their guild status.

As they note at the tail end of this interview, teams will likely still be in the same guild and known for which guild they belong to.

I guess I’m of two minds on the subject. There are a few plus and minuses here. On the one hand smaller teams of 5v5 make it much easier to field full guild teams, while the 8v8 structure (of the original Guild Wars) seems to be one of their main reasons for doing away with it. On the other hand teams of 5 certainly exclude large numbers of people in a single guild from participating in Guild versus Guild battles, particularly if rankings and ladders are important. One doesn’t want their ranking affected by the less experienced GvGers in a competitive guild.

Does this broaden the glory of a guild, or lessen it? One of the best parts of being in a guild in an MMO is guild pride. The number one raiding guild on a server, the number one PvP guild, the most hated guild or the most benevolent. If you’ve got PvP teams inside your guild but nobody associates them with you, it kinda takes the hot air of the balloon.

PvP Formats

In one of Arenanets updates on the Guild Wars 2 website, the following phrasing caused a lot of upset.

Guild Wars 2 PvP features different maps that all dramatically alter a single game type called Conquest.

What Conquest is exactly can be found elsewhere, the thing that upset people was the use of the word ‘single’. Even though it has been generally acknowledged that there would be multiple formats of PvP, many took the wording and ran with it. Immediately there were long threads and shouts of discontent that there would only be one type of PvP.

Regina Buenaobra responded with the following.

Just to clarify: Conquest is not the only PvP game type. We have other formats that we are not ready to talk about, so for gamescom we are focusing our information releases on formats that we are ready to talk about. We’ll talk more about other PvP game types in the future.

Look I don’t know how many PvP formats Guild Wars 2 will have, but one thing I do know is freaking out about it before we do know is not exactly productive. We already know about World Vs World and Conquest, so anyone with reading comprehension skills should have been able to see that the use of the word ‘single’ did not refer to Conquest being the only format. Reading internet forums too often can lead you down a path of over-reaction and dramatic flair. So lets just relax and wait for more PvP format information, something I suspect could come as early as PAX Prime.

Guild Membership

In this interview from GCOM.com we get a brief description of guild membership from Mike Zadorojny around the 2:30 mark.

It’s a little bit different for Guild Wars 2, you can actually be associated with multiple guilds, you can choose which kind of guild you’re displaying at a particular time, beyond that we really haven’t talked about it.

Pow! This is exactly the kind of thing I’ve long been waiting for in an MMO. If MMOs are about socializing and interacting with real people, we shouldn’t be shoe-horned into one guild at at time only. Great innovation if this turns out to be implemented right. Can’t wait to see guild information for Guild Wars 2. Also makes choices like no GvG make a bit more sense.

Skill Use Unlocks Skills

They’ve updated the skill mechanic so that as you play you unlock skills. For each monster you kill you move closer to the next skill in line on your skill bar. The demo videos show that your progress is measured right on your skill bar. It doesn’t appear to take very long but I haven’t seen any videos where the later skills are unlocked.

Again I’m of two minds. While purchasing skills from a vendor really breaks immersion, (I mean lets face facts it’s really quite odd) I also find it quite convenient. I’m not the best video game player in the world but I think I’ve learned enough over the years to skip most basic tutorials and that essentially is what Arenanet has come up with for weapon skills.

On the other hand it is a much more natural learning curve. As long as the grind is taken out of it I don’t think it will be too much of a hassle.

Anyway these are the weapon skills, the left half of your skill bar. They seem to be saying the right half, the utility/racial/elite skills will come from personal story rewards, monster drops, or other acquisition methods.

Character Slots

In an interview with programmer Braeden Shosa, they quickly touch upon character slots.

What will be the max number of characters on an account?
5 character slots will be available but as with guild wars you will be able to buy more slots.

Now of course Arenanet was quick to quash this on the Guru Forums.

We have not yet finalized the number of character slots that will be available on release of Gw2. This is something we’ll reveal when we get closer to the final release of the game after our BETA process has been completed.

My guess would be that currently in the alpha you have this number of slots or in discussions about the number of slots, the number 5 was discussed. If they’re adamant this isn’t finalized then I have no reason to disbelieve them, but this isn’t far off from my own speculation.

Energy Potions

The complete removal of energy potions was a surprise to me, I didn’t think Arenanet would bother to bend. How will it effect gameplay? It’s hard to say. I haven’t seen any major problems from demo videos because of the change, but knowing they’re still working on mechanics to augment the loss of energy as a resource means this discussion is practically moot.

It is innovative to take energy out of an MMO though. No denying that.

Anywho

That’s all the things I’m personally interested in talking about. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about PvP, customization, and other topics in the coming days, but some of those topics might require stand alone posts.

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20 Comments

  1. Since I can’t be bothered to poke my head into every dark corner of the internet, I appreciate you doing posts like this.

    Parsing the first quote above, I suspect ArenaNet was trying to say “Look at all this work that we’re putting into Conquest. And we’re going to do it for every mode.” Of course, counting on people to understand that kind of subtext on the internet is problematic at best.

    • Exactly, they’re just trying to say, this is conquest and we can mess with it just by changing the map a bit. And panic ensued.

  2. I was also worried about the new skill-unlock-system, but looking at a number of vids I can say I’m satisfied with the general time it seems to take.(It might be to good since it seems to be something I will put all my focus on when trying to do it)

    • It doesn’t seem particularly loathsome but I’d have to play it to be sure.

  3. I just watched the PvP exhibition match…that was intense! You can break windows to gain access to buildings, you can dodge attacks, the elementalist actually went head to head with a warrior or guardian. She even set fire to the wagon by the “blue” entry area toward the end of the of the 2nd match. The tornado was amazing! I was so pumped up I called my bro and interrupted Monday night football to tell him. He’s checking it out at half time. This beats fighting on a big open field where we target, attack, wait for the homing frostbolt to hit you, trinket, yell, “Where’s my heals!” and wish we had better gear. We’ll done Arena Net, well done.

    • It’s definitely very different from most MMO PvP. And certainly a vast leap above guild wars PvP, which could be strategic but often seemed so stationary.

  4. I’ve always thought it was a bit strange that the game is called Guild Wars, yet according to both the lore posted on the wiki, and what proto-Devona said in the original CGI trailer (a bit younger and using swords instead of a hammer, and fighting alongside Cynn and Aidan), the actual guild wars (or at least the last one) actually ends with The Searing. I guess one could look at guild PvP as practice for possible future conflicts. But when I bought the game and first started playing I was a bit surprised, as from the game’s name I was expecting guild PvP to have some type of major impact upon the rest of the game. I mean, the game is called ‘Guild Wars’ after all. And now with GW2 guilds will, perhaps, be even less a part of the lore? I’m not complaining, just tossing this in as a bit of weirdness. I expect it has more to do with the game’s original leaning towards being a competitive PvP game after players “finished” the PvE part, perhaps.

    • I agree. I’ve always been frustrated with the name as well. Yes, it makes sense that “The Guild Wars” are a part of history, but it has little relevance to the game itself other than lore. GvG covered that a bit more in GW1, but I’m not sure what to think about GW2. I’m sure GvG will exist in some form or fashion, but I really think this needs a bit of attention.

      I would suggest having GvG with 5v5 for ladder standings and maybe even a non-competitive GvG that is a mini WvW where level is irrelevant and the number of participants is maxed closer to the max number of guild members–just for fun. The competitive aspect of GvG (and PvP in general) is what turns me off to it because I’m not very good at it and I don’t want people relying on me. WvW and my suggested non-competitive GvG are casual styles of PvP that allow for people to have fun but not be committed to PvP. It is a casual place for people to try out PvP with friends and get a taste for it. You can always join a ladder group or tournament later when you’ve gotten your feet wet.

      Also, the non-competitive GvG thing fixes the problem of the game’s name. “Whaddya mean it’s called Guild Wars and there are no guild wars? We’ve got all kinds of GvG going on!”

      Still, the name thing is a bit thin, especially with the focus now on the Elder Dragons. Guilds they are a changing (since the first info we got about guilds…2 years ago? talked about guilds including all races) so maybe they play a larger lore role in GW2 and ANet’s hesitant to talk about it due to spoilers. Who knows?

      • Maybe they look at the vigil, priory and whispers as being guilds, or maybe guilds going to war against dragons is enough to never really concern yourself with the name Guild Wars not being entirely accurate.

        Non competitive gvg could be a nice fix.

    • And if the lack of actual guild wars aside from gvg matches bothered you, it was the lack of guild features or the lack of lore concerning guilds in game.

      I guess in the end its just a name that serves no other purpose, which is fine, I didn’t buy it for the name.

      • Yeah. I’d like more guild features, name or not. I thought it might be more of a priority since it’s in the name, but I wholly agree with you: I didn’t buy it for the name either.

  5. Yeah so Guild vs Guild, for me I am still happy to wait for their stuff. I am sure its going to come a bit later. I expect to have a ranked team, perhaps ranks within my guild. PVP guilds are obviously going to be able to have their own comps.
    I am surprised they don’t think that WvWvW isnt going to be a Guild peen sort of thing.

    PvP Formats, I did think that (only the one – conquest) and frankly I was happy with that, its a new game with a million things to learn. I would have been happy with one game type at the start! anyway.

    The game demos were fine but if they want to get up there with starcraft in terms of watchability they really need to improve. I don’t need some ele walking backwards and forwards making me sick while nothing is actually happening on screen. SC2 has commentary controls absolutely down pat. They may be doing awesome for MMO sort of stuff but SC2 is what to look for in Esports as far as I am concerned and they are lightyears behind in this area. I also found, as usual for an MMO that the action was confusing as hell, watching it was nothing but coloured lights. Not sure if they can do anything about that here though.

    The PVP itself is awesome looking, and I do like the game browser, I am not sure the games are that toss-away (like FPS games), making them hot joinable seems a litle possitive on anets part. unless they are limitting the number of games available to join at once, which is the main reason I recall joining a loosing side Unless I was feeling like I could turn the tides, doubt there’s going to be that much difference between a bad and awesome player in an MMO though.

    As a side note I was surprised Team BOON took the loss so badly, I guess thats competition for you. I was expecting a thankyou for letting us play, not an excuse.

    On Energy potions, they add a mechanic that lets you spike your play (heals/dps) at that crucial moment. I feel its important to have that mechanic in there, but potions is such a crapness way of adding it that I am glad to see it go. I dont mind the weapon swapping that was in GW1, though I know it had other uses (which was what made the weapon swap more awesome).

    Unlocking skills to me sounds like dumbness, and is obviously a grind. Happy with it perhaps for the first char, second char I don’t want it. How does Anet look at it as being fun? Tutorial, yeah yeah boring bit. swing my sword till i get another skill swing my sword again.

    • WvW will have keeps you can take as a guild and you’ll receive some sort of acknowledgement.

      All I need from gw2 as far as guilds is the same amount of features that other games have.

      • What features are you referring to Hunter? GW is the only “MMO” I’ve played so I don’t know what I’m missing.

        • more customizable ranks and punishments aside from guild kicking. guild skills, guild perks like a bank or customizable hall, more extensive guild status updates or announcements.

          • Ditto what Hunter said on guild features he’d like to see. One of the things I miss from Runes of Magic was gathering items to help build the guild, level by level, from normal materials to guild runes and such. It was pretty basic but was fun to contribute with something other than gold. I guess EQ2 has even more features with impressive guild halls that can be decorated, so it would be nice to have something similar in GW2. Aion guilds (called Legions) have 5 levels of size with up to 150 members, 5 levels of membership, huge legion storage, legion vendor for special items such as the legion uniform (kind of a hooded cloak). Stuff like that really adds to being part of a guild and I hope ArenaNet will be putting in some robust guild features for GW2.

            • I just want more ways to show membership I’m tired of cloaks, I want scarfs, kilts, weapon skins maybe.

  6. Five character slots always seemed logical to me. It’s about the same ratio as GW1 (four of six professions). It’s enough for one of each race. Plus, they plan to make more money on the in game store.

    People will whine till it gets raised though so I’m thinking we get six in the end. They should not said anything. Or said four and then wait until the backlash settled and said then five. They people would cheer. Just like when I raised the taxes in sim city (normally because my city was failing). If I wanted to raise the taxes up five, they would ‘boo’ when I raised it up six clicks and then cheer when I lowered it one click. Gotta love early nineties technology.

    • 5 is kind of logical, but I always hope for a bit more generosity than that. not being able to play 3 of the professions unless i plunk down money is kind of a pain but then I have no interest in playing some anyway.

  7. […] waiting to play the sequel. Hunter wrote something that I agree with completely on the subject on a different post. He said: “I guess in the end its just a name that serves no other purpose, which is fine, I […]


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