Monthly Archives: October 2012

Guild Wars 2 – Dungeons

So now that I’ve spent time talking about some things that Guild Wars 2 does well (although certainly not everything it does well), I think it would be appropriate to talk about the main, glaring flaw in the game – dungeons. Every MMO in the past decade has had some form of instanced group challenge, and every single one of them has done it better than Guild Wars 2.

The screenshots in this post will show your our futile attempts to complete this event. We were supposed to defend these “crystals”, although I strongly suspect they were really made of glass and paper.

In very general terms, a dungeon should be a fairly linear environment filled with obstacles, usually a mix of groups of weak normal monsters and intermittent bosses. There might be environmental hazards or timed goals, and the players should need to work as a team (if they don’t massively outlevel the dungeon). World of Warcraft and all its clones have this down to a fine art. You get in, you get your fill of plot and lore (or skip them), you murder all the things, and you get loot. It’s not the most elegant system, and one could argue that it isn’t fulfilling if there’s not enough challenge involved, but overall I think players would rather do something that is easy to moderately difficult, rather than bang their heads against a wall for say, 4 hours.

This is just the start, with only one burrow and a couple gravelings. My clones are pretty useless, even now.

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Guild Wars 2

It’s fun. Guild Wars 2 is fun in a way that I have not seen from a game in a while. It is an entirely new experience for someone who is used to the “WoW” style of MMOs. I played World of Warcraft for 7 years, and Guild Wars 2 is still surprising me by how hard it tries to eschew that much-copied approach to online gaming. Let me tell you about some parts of the game that I find refreshing and enjoyable.

This is my main character, Hoffenbachager. I made him at the end of a long day of making extremely poor decisions. I like to be colorful, and the dye system obliges.

Characters creation is just one of the ways Guild Wars 2 tries to involve the player in something new and different. When you make a character, you make some decisions about his/her motivations in life, their background, and in what ways they are skilled. As you can see, I made a giant Norn character, and then gave him the role of Mesmer, which is a job that is mostly about making illusions and spewing magic made of pink butterflies. All of the classes are entertaining, and any race can be any class. If you’re looking to try several classes to see which one you like, it barely takes any time to learn the abilities you will be using the majority of the time. Abilities are linked to the weapon you use, and can be earned very quickly. I appreciate this attempt to make classes simple yet complex, and to allow new players a quick glimpse at the future abilities of a class.

This character is level 10, but she already knows all of her abilities on all of her weapons. The only things left to unlock are the abilities on the right bar, and those will be used far less often.

Exploration is a huge part of Guild Wars 2. As you may or may not be able to tell from my low-quality screenshots, this game is aggressively pretty and almost offensively scenic. In fact, one of the ways to gain experience is to go to places called “vistas” and use them to view the surrounding area. They are usually in high places, and often there is a small jumping puzzle to get to them. However, you don’t need a vista just to see things that look nice, because in this game, you can look almost anywhere and get that. Read the rest of this entry