In anticipation of next week’s Guild Wars 2 Public Beta

I’ve had high hopes for GW2 even before it was announced, and finally I’ll get a chance to try it out personally! Needless to say, I’m getting fairly exited here.

Or that would be the case had I not seen videos of previous closed beta. I’m having serious doubts on the fact they removed Energy from the game. That means that for most of the classes there is only a single resource to manage(recharge). Without firsthand playing experience I am having huge difficulties believing that recharge and timing alone give as much of a challenge and joy as they did in Guild Wars 1 which also had Energy.

And what I have gathered from videos and other sources, I feel that Guild Wars 2 has been dumbed down in other areas, too. Take the Mesmers, for example. They’ve been hugely shown in the media, but I haven’t seen them doing much shutdowning. Ok, Izzy mentioned that interrupts for example were given a much smaller role than in GW1 due to latency issues, but.. They worked just fine in GW1, don’t change that. They add depth to the game and encourage varying casting order and positioning away from the interrupter. On the other hand they allow skilled players to really dominate their enemies if they know what they are doing, rewarding expertise.

But that gets us to another key aspect: positioning. The dev team has been pretty exited about it’s importance and told that it would have a huge impact on battles. I’m not sure if they have been making it an even bigger mechanic as time has passed, but earlier they were very careful not to introduce [cheap] skills that affect position or movement, but recently I’ve seen more skills doing just that. It will be interesting to see what is the reality here.

Moving on to bigger stuff: the first M in MMO. Guild Wars 1 can be said to be only a MO, but now that Guild Wars 2 is here it gets Massive. The devs have faced an enormous challenge in transforming GW1 to a massively playable state. I have played some tiny amounts of WoW, and was quite pleased with the massive aspect in it, world felt like a much more lively place when another player could be seen doing the same things as you were etc etc. The massive aspect is one of the biggest things I am looking forward to experiencing, but GW1 mechanics might have difficulty directly translating  to a scale like this. There lies the danger of dumbing everything down to a point where old players start to feel uncomfortable about the core mechanics. Widest possible audience is sometimes not what you want.

But will Guild Wars 2 be Guild Wars 2, or just a MMO set in Guild Wars universe? If you ask me, the game mechanics are almost as important as story and setting. Next week will answer so many questions.

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