Ground Target This, Guild Wars 2 Devs

Feel good? Is it working for you? No? It isn’t working for me either, darlings. It was just yesterday that I lamented seeing the dreaded ground-targeting blob skanking sneakily through the Secret World video that I linked. Now Jon Peters blogs about the Guild Wars 2 combat system and I cringe again.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Everyone gets a heal. Fine. Sounds just like the Old Republic. I’ll tentatively buy the idea of better and more epic solo play that way.

Everyone gets a rez. Interesting. Weird, but predictable. After all, is there any way left to make defeat in an MMO even more trivial?

Shared boon system. I liked the boons in GW1. I just liked the word “boon”. This is the most interesting system revealed here. The complexity should get very interesting. Of course, since everyone can do every role, it will take a lot of communication and organization to set up who is doing what boons, which is a drag for PUG’s. “More social”? Maybe. More dynamic? More like chaotic for Joe and Jane player.

No allied targeting. Right away this seems inaccurate. So everyone’s combat rezzes are ground-targeted area-effect? Really? I’m sure that I’m going to struggle with having no skills that will target allies, just as much as I’m going to dislike clicking a skill, moving an area effect graphic around, clicking again, waiting for the animation to go off, and then hoping I did some good on a battlefield that is already different than when I wanted to cast the area effect in the first place. I hate it in Age of Conan. It works fine in Dragon age. You can pause the game. Again, I think I’ve been spoiled by LotRO.

Diversity. Rotating roles and covering for other players. I feel the devs are greatly focused on their PvP endgame experience here. Diversity to me just means uniformity. Everyone can do the same things, so no one is special or feels like they are particularly important to the group. This is actually the stated design in the list of goals at the end of the blog post–everyone in the group is expendable.

Mobility. This is good. It’s the one area where LotRO combat can be really weak. So often one gnashes the incisors when attempting to strafe an Epic Conclusion.

As for the analogy of an FPS. I can’t help but note that in LotRO, parties usually don’t call out for “need sniper rifle!” (Hunter), “need shotgun!” (Champ) “need a flame thrower!” (Rune-keeper). They call out for DPS. If they want a Champ, it’s usually a combination of things.

I end up feeling like the GW2 devs are designing a combat system for advanced PvP, based on a much different set of priorities than an average mostly-solo player like me. This is proved by Jon’s comment that points of death become strategic places in the battle. In other words, in a scattered PvP battle with other objectives, namely the GW1 arenas.

I’m guessing the GW2 devs are building a game off of the platform of the most advanced play activity in the original GW, which was the PVP. They are trying to top themselves and make something epic, but I’m concerned that they are neglecting the everyday player who would prefer to keep it simple, stupid.

I don’t see diversity in everyone being able to do the same things as everyone else. I see uniformity. We’ll see. The original GW offered a lot of wild skirmish-type situations even outside of pro PvP. This combat system could end up working well enough for everyone.

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