Archive for July 2012
Fresh off of the final beta weekend for Guild Wars 2 I have felt the need to mention some things that have bothered me.
Previously I had written a rather lengthy first impressions article (in a review style) for Guild Wars 2, where I generally stated how impressed I was by the game and its new direction.
However, whilst I did mention a couple of issues that I had with the game, I didn’t really elaborate on them as strongly as I should have done – and with the game coming out in roughly a month’s time, it’s unlikely that these will be altered for its official release.
Let me start off by saying that these are just my opinions and I do in fact see some counter-arguments to these issues.
Personal gripe number 1 – the skill system:
Having played Guild Wars 1, I have been spoilt by being granted the ability to hand-customise my entire 8-skill ability tray with whatever I want, regardless of what weapon I was using (outside of the Warrior-class). This allowed a lot of creativity, whether you wanted to go 100% offensive, 100% support/defensive, or what I generally preferred – being as offensive as possible whilst having a decent amount of sustain (both health-wise and mana-wise). Basically, you could create some skill-sets that synchronised far more impressively than the developers could have anticipated.
In Guild Wars 2, you have a 10-skill ability tray. The first slot is worthless and is just your simple basic attack with whatever weapon you are using, so you have 9 slots to customise, right? Wrong.
The following 4 slots are usually offensive-based and are determined by whatever weapons you are using. You CANNOT change these 4 slots unless you completely change weapons, possibly to something that you don’t want to use. Oh yeah, each weapon (one per hand) only has 2 skills per character class!
The final 5 slots are unlocked via skill points and are player-selectable – however they’re pretty much limited to healing, sustain or utility – no skills truly seem offense-based or even aware of what your weapon of choice is. So basically, out of 10-skill slots, you only truly have input on what 5 of them are – and even those seem severely limited in terms of offensive options and generally don’t seem to synchronise very well.
However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel – some people have mentioned that the developers plan to add more skill options for each weapon set. Whilst this doesn’t exactly fix my concerns with the last 5 skill slots, it definitely does help.
Personal gripe number 2 – the lack of a mana/energy system:
As previously mentioned, Guild Wars 1 had an energy system in place.
In Guild Wars 2, from what I can tell, the only “resource” that must be worked around is the cool-down period on each skill after they have been used. Due to this, the game simply promotes spamming all of your moves once they come off of their cool-downs without any regard for how long the battle is likely to last or possibly other factors that escape my mind at the moment. This dumbs down the skill-based gameplay by some amount.
Nit-picking – the F-key skills:
Those that have played Guild Wars 2 may have already begun yelling at me for forgetting about the existence of the F-key skills that are available in the game, and they’d be correct in doing so. For me, it’s hard to remember their inclusion (despite mentioning them in my previous blog post) as they just don’t seem that potent or even interesting. Granted I could have played classes (Guardian and Mesmer) that didn’t utilise them very often at lower levels. Speaking of which, the F-key skills are actually pretty unviable in general for the Mesmer class from what I can tell, as illusions rarely “survive” long enough to be detonated, or are better off being “alive” if given the option anyway. The Guardian class had some survivability skills here, along with the odd condition-giving one.
At any rate, whilst I am definitely no expert on these skills, I don’t believe that you can customise them as they are simply awarded/unlocked as you level up.
These combined issues equals a rather shallow combat experience with regards to skill usage, and is only made deeper by the new (and somewhat interesting) movement options. I also hope that the developers truly do have plans to add more skill variety/options.
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and SteadiestShark Gaming, 2012
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