Guild Wars 2 Post-mortem?

Brian Green gives his first impressions of ArenaNet's title as a game developer

There's been no shortage of commentary on Guild Wars 2. Since its release in Augest, the good, bad and ugly have come from all angles. As a matter of fact, our very own Gazimoff recently posted his impressions of The Lost Shores event weekend. But rarely if ever has a professional game developer chimed in with his thoughts - until today.

Brian Green, more affectionately known as Psycholchild, is a long-time game developer, author and speaker, perhaps most notable for working on one of the earliest MMORPGs, Meridian 59. Green took to his blog today to render some of his first impressions after receiving Guild Wars 2 as a gift.

For the most part, Green states that he is having fun, and breaks down his commentary into two general categories; the good and the bad.

The Good

  • Art Style & World Design
  • Jumping Puzzles
  • Non-combat Elements
  • Social Elements

Jumping puzzles rated high on Green's list, even with acknowledging the awkward and unfogivig platforming mechanics as presented in an MMO engine:

"Of course, there are a few frustrations, even though I enjoy these puzzles. Combat slows you down, making it harder to make the jumps; therefore, it's extra infuriating if you get stuck in combat for some reason as some monster is still trying to track you from half the area away. Also, invisible walls and deceptive jumps feel more like "gotchas" than legitimate puzzles sometimes. It really sucks to line up a jump only to run into a wall, or to break down and look up a walkthrough only to find out that the jump you could have taken was right in front of you."

Of course, Green also had to present the other side of the coin.

The Bad

  • Achiever Over-Focus
  • Story
  • Character Abilities
  • Servers

Green is a big proponent of story in MMOs, and in fact is one of the developers behind Storybricks. He's not a fan of stories that are spoon-fed, and that don't really belong to the player. He felt this was one of the major flaws of Guild Wars 2 as well, feeling no connection to his characters:

"Ultimately, these aren't my stories. This is the story that unfolds while I'm around. The words coming out of my character's mouth aren't mine, but what has been pre-scripted and pre-recorded. I want my own stories. I've had my own stories in other games, but having a cutscene-based story diminishes the importance of the stories I want to experience."

For the most part, Green's lists match my own. I am in love with the world that ArenaNet has created, and wish there was a way to spend more time there without the constant go-go combat. I also tend to agree with the negatives, finding the character classes and abilities very mundane and limited, especially when combined with the condition system and its random elements. There really doesn't seem to be any depth to character progression, which is one of the gaps ArenaNet stated they wish to fill with the recently introduced Ascended tier of gear.

There is much more that Green has to say on the topic over on his blog. Well worth a read if you're a Guild Wars 2 fan and just enjoy a good sparring match once in a while!

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# Nov 24 2012 at 11:20 AM Rating: Decent
2 posts
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