A bit of Guild Wars 2 design
I had the pleasure of playing Guild Wars 2 few days after it got released. I’ve played it since the open beta from which I was really disappointed but said “wtf it’s one time pay only”, and since some of my friends bought it, I followed.
One of the first things I learnt is that the “one time pay only” is a catch. The game and the following expansions will have the value of numerous monthly subscriptions. It’s a risky marketing trick but it seems that it works to attract customers. Overall the game is well furnished. From beta to release there were many improvements. Even after the release the patches were huge, and the gameplay was really fun. Unfortunately I didn’t play with my friends but that didn’t have much impact in the fun.
The game walks you from the main quest to the areas that you can visit. The map itself has labels for its areas stating the levels that can farm to level up. I found it much more convenient than WoW were I got lost. More like an updated version from Warhammer Online which highlighted the areas that you could complete quests, which in turn were the best areas to farm.
In-game events were also Warhammer-like. They happened a lot in the nearby areas, and attracted many people for some killing spree. Day by day achievements made you feel that you did something awesome, followed by monthly achievements and so on. Events weren’t always so easy, in many of them I’ve died. Some were huge with lots of players idle/shooting at a great mob, others were small that could be even beaten from one player. They also award you with a medal for your contribution, but I didn’t get the meaning of this. I always got a gold, thought it was very easy, or the other players were more noob than me.
You can join as much clans as you like, but you can represent only one. This is a way of finding companies for big events, and raids. Pretty handy :)
One (very) bad thing I found was the lack of crafting tutorial. I had no idea if I could craft, and the only thing kept me to searching was the fact that I didn’t believe they didn’t have implemented a crafting mechanism. At last I found, that crafting could be done in certain areas. The game gives experience for crafting, actually it gives experience for everything you do!
Today I had an interesting chat with a colleague. We compared other MMOs with GW2, and I said to him that once I’ve played WoW and wend up to level 20. His response was that I’ve seen nothing of the game if I didn’t join raids and so on. The point is that in GW2 you didn’t need to be high level to join in clan wars, raids, and sieges! I’m level 20 and I’ve seen a lot of the game’s arenas. In GW2 wherever you go the systems levels you up/down according to the lowest or highest acceptable level of each area, so every event is a challenge. If you are even higher level the difference comes from your equipment and your skills so you still feel big-ass when you go to low-level areas. Also I’ve joined sieges, the so called World vs World battles, and they are awesome. You instantly go up to level 80, and compete with everyone else. You can even join up as a clan, where you can coordinate better your actions against other servers.
Just that and only that is an awesome game design. I wish other games too had a way of taking part to all the functions of the game without being in the cap level.
PS: I just won free Guns of Icarus Online :P