Hello and welcome everyone! BigCat72 here with a new article on something that has been a recent subject of much hype and circumstance; underwater combat. Underwater combat in Guild Wars 2 has been a selling point for the Game Breaker TV crew and after having watched a Gamespot video featuring Jon Peters showing off with a Necromancer, I am BLOWN away by the way this has been implemented into the game. So for this article, I will be going over my thoughts on the video and small things I’ve noticed. For reference the video is linked here and it appears that the level of gameplay is only in the 30’s.
Jon Peters is a Game Designer for Guild Wars 2 and in the video, he is showing off the underwater combat for the Necromancer but a lot of my general questions are answered here as well. For me, I have only read about the underwater combat system but reading is not nearly the same as seeing it take place (even if it’s a YouTube video). I have played games in the past that had “underwater combat” capabilities but it was clunky and the skills you used didn’t interact with the environment at all. You also you had to pay attention to how much breath you have left as well. So in reality you really didn’t have an underwater combat system, you just had a land based combat system that applied itself in water. When you enter water you are bogged down in movement speed to that of walking, not to mention the breath timer forcing you to keep near the surface so that you can’t fully explore the underwater areas.
Take for example World of Warcraft. I played WoW since vanilla off and on where you have a combat system that works very well on land, but jump in a small stream and you hardly move at all. Skills that use fire don’t get extinguished and lighting doesn’t zap everyone around you. It’s like you aren’t even in water except for the massive move speed decrease and the nice breath timer bar that indicate where you are. And the shoddy swimming animation that has you flailing around like a dog, moving at the speed of a snail. Underwater combat has never been enjoyable in any game that I have played, not just World of Warcraft.
Guild Wars 2’s version of underwater combat is really well thought out, with a breathing mask, new skill bar and weapons that can be switched just like they can on land to give you a different skill bar, changing the way you fight. A major drawback for me, that may not be finalized, is that you have no skills while you’re swimming across the top of the water… Now I’m not sure why this is implemented the way it is and maybe there is a good reason behind it. What that is we don’t know yet. I will wait on giving too much thought into it until the game is released and I am able to explore the reason for myself.
Depending on your profession, when you dive under the surface you are presented with skills that can poison your foes, sink them, entomb them in ice, toss spears (thanks paragon influence), and more; that’s not even half of the skills available. You also have the ability to customize your skills for while you are underwater so that you can maximize your chances of survival or damage output.
Along with showing off the underwater combat system, you also get to see in action the still frames seen by so many of us with the giant mouthed Gulper fish and the newly introduced underwater race called the Quaggan. The Quaggan appear to be a lot smaller than I thought they were, which makes me even more interested to find out what is so special about them. In a blog posted by ArenaNet (The Mostly Harmless Quaggan) it is said that if you upset them, you won’t like them when they are angry! Turning into a hulked out, fang bearing, roid raging monster! The best part about the Quaggan is they are so polite that after they get done hulk smashing, they will apologize immediately for harming you, a million times over. Almost forces you to smack one around a bit until they hulk out and you run off screaming like a little girl.
(picture used from the blog post linked above by ArenaNet)
Ok got a little off topic there, so back on track. The combat system seems very seamless, transitioning from land to water via your character’s animations and skills. Creatures that are also amphibious, like drakes, interact with the environment differently such as not using a flame attack but a twisting stun attack and trying to bite your head off. The scenery, of course, is spectacular. I feel almost spoiled seeing everything so artistically created just for our enjoyment, but I am also greedy and every little bit I get to see only makes me want more! It’s a like a whole other game when you peek under the waves. Like everyone else, I am so thrilled for the game to come out, having waited the 5 years since its first announcement. Guild Wars 2 is nearing the stages of completion and I couldn’t be more excited about it. For now I will enjoy the content videos, sneak peeks and community fervor of the game so many are waiting to get their hands on.
Thank you so very much for your time and as always, take it easy.
To the readers: With all the recent information regarding underwater combat, what are your thoughts? Like it or hate it? Unimpressed? What are your favorite aspects or current concerns regarding the system?