Saturday, September 8, 2012

The War of the Dragon IV

So I lied. Well maybe not lied as much as I spoke too soon. I still haven’t picked my main character yet. Guild Wars 2 gives you five character slots for free with each new slot costing you ten dollars. Since the game is free after initial sale and the slots are more than enough for most people, its fair. I like making new characters though. I probably deleted a hundred hours of playtime in three or four months of playing The Old Republic simply because I would delete characters. There’s something that’s so bright and shiny about making new characters, as if all the mistakes that you’ve made can be learned from and made better. It likely says something about me but at the end of the day, all that matters is that it takes me a while to find my rhythm with a new game.

I don’t have a class, a favorite discipline in MMO’s. At times I’ve played the Tank, the Healer, the Damage Dealer, and even the Support class. If I have a favorite though, it’s a damage dealer with a decent amount of survivability. I’ve played the Warrior, Death Knight and Paladin in World of Warcraft to the level cap and I’ve played the Samurai in Final Fantasy XI to cap as well. The thing is I tend to take one aspect of the classes and then take it all the way; I don’t do well with change. Guild Wars 2 is all about change though. A boss fight might mean that an erstwhile melee class suddenly has to become a ranged class or a magic class has to come in close and duke it out. It is one game that is never keen on letting you settle into complacency.

It’s a marked change from most MMO’s who have well defined categories for each class and one that is likely to be fraught with difficulties. After all no matter how innovate ArenaNet is at the end of the day the public has to be accepting enough of it to try and succeed in the new way. If every player throws a tantrum at the ‘dungeons are too hard’ then change will come down. In much the way of the Dungeon Finder in The Old Republic, player sentiment at times must trump developer sensibilities. The MMO genre is constantly in flux, ever changing. A few years ago when World of Warcraft got its own dungeon finder there was outcry and outrage that the old ways were dying. People felt that the comradery of dungeons would be lost to soulless, faceless gear grinding. These days, if Secret World is any clue, no MMO will be able to launch without one.

The times they are changing and as the MMO market expands and contracts as it will, each new MMO will try to break new ground in any way imaginable to make itself appeal to the consumer and to distinguish itself from the pack. Developers are going to be throwing everything and the kitchen sink to see what works and what doesn’t. They’re going to need an impassioned, well written dialogue about why something does or doesn’t work rather than ‘I don’t like it, so it must be broken’. The times are changing and as such gamers need to change with them. I hope we do.

No comments:

Post a Comment