Wednesday, April 18, 2012

That Special Snowflake Feeling

Good morning!  So, when explaining Guild Wars 2 to other people coming from other MMOs, they are always shocked by the fact that classes like the thief can fulfill every role, or that to get through a dungeon (I will be talking about these later) you can have 5 of the same class.  Everyone feels that by allowing every class to heal, support, control, and do damage somehow either all of the classes are homogenized or that those within a class are homogenized. Let's look at the facts to see if the latter is true, and lets compare this to WoW, the most actively used MMO out there.

-In vanilla to Cataclysm WoW, each class was assigned 3 specs that you would respectively put points in.  For some classes like the paladin, this meant that you could be a tank, dps, or healer, at any moment and all that was required was a simple spec switch. Note: You could only have 2 specs at one time.  While great for a paladin, for a class like the mage or rogue, all three were dps specs.  A mage could never tank a boss, and never try to heal allies.  They needed a healer, and they needed a tank.  Changing your spec, was really the main way to differentiate between those within your class.  And almost every spec had 1-2 cookie cutter specs, with very small 1-3 pts that you could change for special snowflake feelingness.  (Yes, I know that isn't a word) If you were in the same spec, everyone generally had the exact same moves at their disposal, no matter what weapon you were wearing.

-In GW2, each class have a range of weapon-sets to equip.  Unlike WoW or many other MMOs, changing your weapon changes your first 5 moves.  Most classes can have two active weapons at one time, and actively switch them during combat. For a example, a thief can have a double dagger set up for melee, and a shortbow for range.  Each weapon set has a distinctive feel to them.  The only exceptions to this rule are elementalists and engineers, which receive various other ways to make themselves feel special with attunements and a tool belt. This means that each thief can have two different weapon sets for various reasons and specialize in various things.

-In GW2, you then have your utilities. These are 5 moves that are class restricted and for each move you have a choice of several other options.  Out of the 5 moves, 1 of the 5 is a heal skill, in which there are three heal skills to choose from.  1 has to be an elite skill, a relatively, long cool-down move that overflows with coolness. An elementalist for example can turn into a tornado for a short period of time.  Then there are 3 strict utility moves to choose from a choice of (I think) 20 possible options. You can see where I'm going with this.

-In GW2, there is a talent system called traits.  At 80, you will have 70 points, each that can be put into 5 trees. A total of 30 points can be put into any one tree, and you receive a minor trait at 5, 15, 25 points, and a major at 10, 20, 30 points.  You may not choose a minor trait, but you can choose the major trait from a choice of (again I think, will have to check later) 15 traits.

In GW2, the options in gameplay are nearly overwhelming.  The choices are nearly endless (no I am not calculating that number), and seem to have far more options than the usual MMO.  There may be some issues of balancing, but only time will tell.  ArenaNet has used a system in which you can have a large choice of options, but each with-in their own respective grouping.  A( topic, I will probably discuss later)

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