Those were pretty much the words I had in my mind as I read through the blog post by Jon Peters on what the new demo at Gamescom/PAX will encompass.
Instantly, he starts off with: As a company, we like to say that we iterate on our game—a lot.
And I was thinking of 2 things. First, this is going to be exciting. Little did I know how right I would be on so many levels. And second, ArenaNet, I love you guys, I really do, but you have to stop telling us in every single blog post that you guys “iterate and reiterate”. Seriously, it’s in almost every blog post. And frankly, I’m getting slightly annoyed.
As I was absorbing every bit of detail that Jon drops in the post (which is a lot considering the new demo is on a whole different level), it dawned on me how much reaction this was going to get from the fans. To be honest, I’m kind of on the fence a little. My reaction isn’t as aggressive/extreme as others – which really isn’t all that surprising if you’ve read my previous post – but there are still some parts that are slightly iffy for me.
And yeah, there have been a dozen blog posts that have already talked about these changes but hopefully I’ll be able to give a lighter perspective on things. I love GW2, god knows I keep pestering my friends to read up on their news, but I’m not one of those fans who gets all worked up and fervently defends GW2 whenever criticisms arise. So hopefully things might be slightly different here. Maybe.
Are you ready, guys and girls? Grab an energy pot (before it runs out) and let’s talk GW2.
Basically, skills no longer cost energy. The only thing that does is dodge – which now comes with its own little button – and this dodge energy regenerates over time.
I wasn’t completely on board with this. My instant reaction (pardon my language) was WTF? Unlike many energy naysayers who cheered fervently (I swear I heard a roar or two in the cab) I never thought the energy/energy potion mechanic should be removed. Frankly, I didn’t even understand their side of the story. And I know people have been like, “It’s not big deal. Hell, in the demos, the skills don’t even consume that much energy. It’s dodging that drains the energy.” But that’s not what I was shocked about.
What caught me offguard was the idea that my spellcasters won’t be using energy as a resource for their spells.
And it really baffled me because spellcasters and energy are a happy marriage that has been in place in many, many games since time immemorial. I mean they’re casting spells, hello, what are they going to use? And I couldn’t help but wonder if they’re going to go down the WoW route and use adrenaline (rage) for the warrior and initiative (focus) for the thief, ranger and engineer.
I’m sure I’m going to be impressed by what ArenaNet comes up with – like duh, we always do – but it’ll still be a sore issue for me. I’m a huge fan of what GW2 is doing; changing the land of the MMOs and all, but I feel like there are always some classic mechanics that we should and can keep.
To quote Malchior, “I swung a sword, I swung a sword again. Hey, I gained a new skill!”
That basically sums it up.
Before Eric’s clarification, I couldn’t imagine a scenario where it wasn’t grindy. What I gathered from the post that there was going to be a weapon mastery mechanic a la WoW. I was a WoW player and I swear I’m not trying to define GW2 by WoW mechanics but it seems like ANet is going down that route! Mercy.
And so basically when you hit like 75 points, you’d get a skill. Then again at 150, 275, 350 and 475.
After Eric’s clarification, it still seemed like a grind to me. No matter how much you intend to make the “grinding” fun, it’s still grinding at the fundamental level. I still have to kill 10 mobs to get a skill. And 20 for the next. And 30, and so on and so forth. I don’t see how it’s supposed to teach us how to use our weapons when all we’re doing is standing there and spamming 1 and 2 and 3, until we can press all 5 buttons.
To rephrase the quote, “I pressed 1. I pressed 1 again. I pressed 1 again. And again… Hey, I can press 2 now! That’s great!”
I do agree it’s going to be more active than just going to the trainer and giving him a couple of hard-earned silver coins just so he can teach you how to hit 3 mobs concurrently with a charged axe attack but I don’t fancy killing 500 mobs to unlock all my weapon skills across all my 5 weapons.
I may be a bit judgy here but this is going against ANet’s design philosophy – which I vehemently defended against Pokket in my previous post – so yeah, I have the right to be judgy.
Finally, we get to play all the races, albeit sylvari and asura are only playable at high levels, but nevertheless we get to explore the charr starter area and see their personal story cinematic. And there’s a new high level area with a new big bad. Literally speaking. So I’m sure we’re all in agreement that yes, we’re looking forward to this. Moving along…
All my Hail Marys went answered! We finally get to see the character customization to a limited extent. But I’m happy enough. That screenshot of the sylvari customization had me sold! I had already decided on a sylvari Mesmer (make me happy ANet!) as my main and I really had no issues with the initial design. Then the long awaited redesign came along and I started to hesitate for a moment because they looked more like plant aliens and I wanted them to look more humanoid.
But that screenshot just sealed the deal. I am in love with the hair, I’m so going to get that hairstyle for my female sylvari; with purple leaves with a hint of dark red near the tip, if that’s even possible.
And to those who’re complaining about the hair-that-looks-like-a-wig, I have this to say.
Shut up and suck it up. Seriously. You whined about the initial design, and they had a redesign which everyone was pretty impressed with and now you’re bitching again? Seriously? Gosh… If you don’t like it, choose a different style or a different race. Stop being a kid.
I’m going to try my hand at this and since I don’t know how the gaming industry works where MMOs are concerned, I do ask that you be forgiving if it seems like I’m don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m just looking at it from a logical perspective.
I had my hopes up for a Nov/Dec release date basically because I was hoping for a 2011 release and people were commented on how releasing a game during the holiday period will up the sales.
But ever since ANet confirmed the existence of closed beta tests in 2011, I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s what they’re aiming for. Closed beta by 2011.
During Comic-Con, when they announced their upcoming plans, the forum was buzzing with speculation that the hype train is picking up speed and ANet might reveal a release date soon. But what we didn’t know was that there would be major mechanic changes.
I’m not saying they’re at the “drawing on a napkin” stage but certain aspects of the game have been fundamentally changed. I wouldn’t put it past ANet to push back their planned release date.
And I’m also getting really tired of is the “when it’s ready” mantra. I got really hyped up last year when they first had a public demo of GW2 and then I lost my momentum when they went silent for 6 months before the Guardian reveal. And honestly, nothing got me excited since then than the sylvari reveal.
I’m not losing interest per se, I’m just tired of getting all excited about new stuff only to wait like 6 months again for more new stuff. I’d rather they had kept silent for the past year and started their reveals this year so they could showcase their content more consistently and kept the hype train going, especially if they’re probably aiming for a 2012 release date.
In retrospect, maybe I’m not as “on the fence” as I thought I was, but mostly I’m disappointed because these changes bring about so many questions that need answering and I just hope the devs don’t give us their staple: “We’re not ready to talk about it yet”.
Really. You can’t throw us many bones and not give us an explanation. Depending on what they do at Gamescom, it may or may not leave a bad taste in my mouth.
So what do you think, readers? Are you guys happy with the changes or do you think it was good just the way it was? What are you most excited to see? Or are you suffering from the “post GW2 hype” syndrome like me and find that you’re no longer excited about content reveals as you once were? Sound off in the comments below and let me know!
– Written By Damagedself