Friday, September 7, 2012

Guild Wars 2 Impressions: Opie

Having never played the first Guild Wars, I went into this game with zero expectations. Playing during the Beta, I enjoyed most of my time in the game and had high hopes for it's release. After about 20 hours or play time, I'm not overly impressed with this game. The graphics are fantastic, the crafting is very cool and the world exploration elements are great, but that is where the fun ends for me. I know I'm not of the popular opinion on this, but hear me out...

What really annoys me about this game is it lacks or poorly performs basic functions. There are a lot of things in this game that have been done properly in many MMOs in the past that are just not done well in this game. Let me explain...

First, there is targeting. I never thought this could be an issue in any game, but the targeting in Guild Wars 2 is just terrible. I'm speaking specifically about targeting a player or monster without using Autotargeting (which is the default). With Autotargetting, I find to be useless unless you're a melee character. As a Ranger, I need to stay in the back and focus down one particular target, not automatically switch to the nearest character, hit them for a bit, then while I'm running switch to another character who just go within range or my original target moves out of view. So I switched of Autotargeting so now I'm simply using "tabbed targeting" like every other MMO that is out there. In the screenshot provided, I have 2 panthers in front of me, yet when I tab, I target the bandit way in the back. Why would the nearest monster not be targeted like in other games? Because of this, it's likely that I'll be wasting my cooldowns on a target far from me that is out of range or even worse, they're in range, I pull them unexpectedly and then I got a 2 panther-bandit one wants that. This is the first tab attempt too, I didn't cycle through the panthers and land on this bandit. I let my pet start a fight with the two panthers, I tabbed and it targeted the bandit...

Lets also talk about the RED target indicator that is right above the RED text, above the RED life bars with RED damage characters coming up (the bandit is even wearing a red mask in his portrait, neat).  What is the obsession with red in this game? It's all dark red and it's all the same shade of dark red so when I'm running around in a dark jungle, I can't see what I have targeted cause it's so dark! If you're in sPvP the names of players and the target indicator and the life bars blend in with the control point areas that are of course, dark red. Look at the screenshot to the left, there is an over abundance of dark red on that screen!  Who is my current target?! If it is the person in the back, why is it someone so far away after 1 tab?  Why does the "this guy is ready to be finished" cursor look almost exactly the same as my targeting cursor?  Even the portrait of the guy has a red hat! This was my first attempt at getting an example of this too this kind of thing happens all the time. I get it, they're the red team, but not all reds have to be the same. This is something that annoys the hell out of me in PvE.and World v World.

Speaking of World v World...let's talk spawn points. Why are there 3 spawn points on the whole map?  The map is gigantic, you have 3 spawns and you can usually only use at most 2 of them. This means, you have run 15 minutes to get to a location where there is combat and hope that you don't die on the way usually by running by a group of another team, running into a million random monsters or falling off a cliff. If you die, enjoy your run. The screenshot to the right shows my run to get the screenshot from earlier (green box). Currently, our team (team blue) controls almost all points on the map, yet I have to spawn WAAAAY back at our main spawn point (yellow box). If you're not with a large group of people in World v World, you're gonna have a bad time. Another thing is, it's really hard to tell where the action is actually happening when looking at the map. They give you orange crossed swords on the map and some crossed swords on the key locations (which are not that clearly marked as they're behind the landmark icons) but those come up even if it is a one on one fight. There is no way to tell where a major conflict is taking place.  Even if there was, by the time you get there it's already over anyway cause you have to run forever, but it would be nice if they could give you another icon if a major battle was taking place (if 20+ people were fighting maybe?) and they could even use a red icon! Also, how do you exit World v World?  Why is it not in the Wolrd v World window like the sPvP window? The process of exiting something in game should be simple and easy to figure out. I'm sure there is an option hidden somewhere in the interface or I can talk to an NPC at the base or something, but why is that necessary?  Why cannot I not just open the World v World window that I used to get in, to leave?

These are just a few of the things in this game that annoy me. I could go into how items don't automatically stack when you move them to your bank, how you have to pay 100 gold to be a commander in World v World, the piss poor dialogue, obnoxious sound effects (play a Necromancer and equip a staff ) or how the amount of money you get doesn't scale appropriately (at least through level 30), but I'll let them fix those things in up coming patches. These are basic things that are done much better in other free MMOs and it is disappointing to see a game like this littered with these minor issues.

Believe it or not, there are some things I like about this game. I love the graphics including all environments, character models and even the loading screen illustrations are great. The collecting of key points in a particular area is fun, the "Hearts", points of interests, viewpoints, etc... really make the mind numbing PvE questing less painful. I love the random events like boss fights or retrieval quests as well. It's cool seeing everyone group together to bring down a big boss or go around and help each other collect escaped test experiments. Also, crafting rocks!  The fact you have to discover some of the recipes is awesome. These things are all great, but I do not think they'll be enough to keep me interested till 80. I'll probably play the game for another month of so, then shelf it. Overall, it's a game that can be fun, it's not a monthly fee, so getting a month of play out of a 60 dollar game isn't to bad, but with so many frustrating little things happening in the game, I wouldn't recommend approaching it until at least the first major patch. 

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