Whether Weather

August 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 1 Comment
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One of the things I have enjoyed most about the new zone, Dry Top, is the weather effects. Sandstorms are immersive and beautiful. Overcoming creatures in MMOs is part of the adventure but rarely do we get to overcome our environment. When we do encounter terrain that fights back, it is usually over small areas, undead arms and tendrils coming out of the ground, short-term AoE effects that knock you down or light you on fire, debuffs in small areas you can avoid. Sandstorms are huge and less about being physically imposing and more about being visually stunning, mentally wondrous.

Overall Dry Top is now one of my favourite zones in the game. I couldn’t help but wish there had been more effects like the sandstorms in the game from the start. One of the first reactions I think everyone had was, now that we have sandstorms, lets have snowstorms! Which is a great idea, and one that I encourage, but can’t we do better? Just slapping a new skin on sandstorms doesn’t really prod me creatively. I’d like to have snowstorms (they already exist in the Snowblind fractal) rainstorms, and everything that comes with those weather events, but I want to go further.

So I tried brainstorming a few ideas.

The first thing I came up with was fog. Not exactly as harrowing as a storm, but ominous and potentially creepy. What if we made it so thick that it was much like one of the dark rooms in the game, or varied between a light fog and a thick bank of it. But just making things dark wouldn’t be any good, so we have lights, giant fog lights that are lit up by events. I’d love for this fog zone to take place in a very wet, very maritime setting, with fog horns, and rain gear. And are there consequences for letting things get too foggy? Is the terrain hard to navigate in the dark, do creatures come out only in the fog? If we force all the fog back to its source, what spawns?

Another environment might be blistering heat where the only escape is into the shade. I think of this as being kind of like the floor is lava, jumping from one shaded area to the next. Creatures might have pulls that drag you into the sun, or some other continual heat source.

I guess this one is shooting for the moon but in a scenario where we have rainstorms with thunder, lightning, and blinding rain, why not have floods as well? Probably impossible to implement but Guild Wars 2 does have an extensive underwater mechanic (that I personally like despite the opinionis of many) that could play well in this environment. A landscape that is normally dry is hit with a rainstorm effect, and then filled with water and completely different objectives and events?

The quicksand river in Dry Top is interesting and I’d like to see more done with it aside from a simple barrier that you have to cross. Maybe a jumping puzzle that concentrates less on dying from height and more from dying in quicksand. Or an event in a wide-spread area that gives immunity to the quicksand as long as you can maintain a buff or complete events. And aside from quicksand you could apply a similar mechanic to white water rapids.

Most of all I think I’d like to see these ideas, and the sandstorms, blizzards, and hurricanes in the context of a world boss. Imagine light pushing fog back into a specific area until it is a concentrated mass of… something. Or dust and sand so thick you can barely see to fight.

I think weather has a lot of potential in MMOs that is hardly ever touched on in a meaningful way. Light rain that you barely notice, snow falling as if it’s barely there. Back in my day we had to trudge through 2 feet of snow in temperatures 20 below 0 uphill both ways! How come MMOs are easier than that?

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1 Comment

  1. […] Hunter’s Insight — Whether Weather. “One of the things I have enjoyed most about the new zone, Dry Top, is the weather effects. Sandstorms are immersive and beautiful. Overcoming creatures in MMOs is part of the adventure but rarely do we get to overcome our environment. When we do encounter terrain that fights back, it is usually over small areas, undead arms and tendrils coming out of the ground, short-term AoE effects that knock you down or light you on fire, debuffs in small areas you can avoid. Sandstorms are huge and less about being physically imposing and more about being visually stunning, mentally wondrous.” […]


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