Friday, August 20, 2010

GW2 - Ok I'm Satisfied

My reactions to the details emerging from gamescom and the playable demo of GW2 have mostly consisted of oohs and aahs, a few hmmms and an oh! The game looks great and can't wait to actually play it.

Before the convention, an article (in german) emerged that had a few interesting tidbits about levels. Confirmation that a player's level would be boosted as well as lowered depending on the zone they are in. With higher level player lowered to above optimum and low level player boosted to below optimum. It's a nice way to do it, it does diminish worries about keeping levels in the game, it now just a number to keep track of what a player has done and not an arbitrary measure to lock a player out of content. Some consternation about this was expected, but the only negative I can think of is spoilers and that is completely in the control of the player themselves. Besides it was already in GW1 when characters less than level 20 went to EotN.

Something else mentioned that could be really fun for a dedicated group is that if players follow the same story then one player can make a choice that will count for the entire group. The RP potential in that is huge, whether players take it by turn, randomly or vote on the choices, it should create a group story rather than a personal story.

Then a leaked video caused a whole load of concern, an asura asking for harpy glands appearing as one of the events. There were two issues: the player is clearly seen talking to the asura and agreeing to collect them, also it's a traditional collecting quest something that a lot of people were not expecting. However the player does not have to talk to the asura to take part in the event, he can just start killing harpies and collecting. Talking to the asura seems to do two things create an obvious notification about the event and say how many players are already taking part. There are also "scouts" that will direct people to where events are happening by highlighting areas on the world map. The thing is, both are entirely optional and a player can choose to ignore them, and hopefully there is a way to turn off all such notifications for people like me who'd like some sense of discovery.

The second issue about the dullness of the task, what can I say except hope there aren't too many of them. I don't think there is too much wrong with collecting stuff, but would probably skip this one. On the other hand there are loads to make this kind of tasks interesting. The love potion may be required to start another event, and I'm hoping this forms the basis for increasingly complex chains, use an item, gain an item, swap it for another item and so on (loved those trading sequences in Zelda games). There's the possibility that the asura needs to be escorted to that point, that he needs protection from the harpies while he sets up, or while he prepares the potion. Anyways probably a lot of people will skip it especially when all the other events that I've seen so far in videos have looked a lot more fun. For example they've mentioned the broodmother event a few times, seeing it in action (about 2.30 in video) was a lot more entertaining than reading about it.

If the only upshot of that event is a vendor, that will sell the potions for more harpy bits, or for money, that is certainly a little on the staid side, but what if there was the option for brute personalities to threaten the asura for the potion? So a brute character can skip the collecting part and come back later to strong-arm the asura? Yeah don't even want to contemplate the outrage such a design would create, but it's an interesting dynamic.

In the community two of the big concerns with the demo shown: were the existence of potions and that the elite skills had such a long recharge time. For now potions don't really bother me, it's either that or create an 11th skill slot dedicated to energy management. But the long recharge times (12 mins) of some elites is probably the only bum note of all the info I've seen so far.

Anyways, I've my name already picked for my charr necromancer, problem is what to do while I wait for the actual game...

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