Better Down Where It’s Wetter: Guild Wars 2

By Andrew Smee on June 28th, 2011 at 1:35 pm.

Would that rifle even work underwater? No realism with these games.

Are you going to the beach this summer? The weather looks like it’ll hold up, though personally I’ve always enjoyed a walk in the rain along a stormy beach front, as long as I don’t have to deal with scuba diving wolf men battling with lizard spike beasts.

The forthcoming Guild Wars 2 made a splash with the reveal of some interesting looking underwater areas covered in this previous developer walkthrough, and now two rather stylish trailers would like your attention as well. Are you going to take the plunge? Let’s dive in.

First up is a fancy-pants story cinematic with Mr Lip-Sync here, detailing the fortunes of a city that can be safely described as Not The Luckiest:

Then here’s an 8 minute combat trailer showcasing some lovely looking spell effects. The actual swimming has a peek in at 7:10:

Those ghost people can sure take a good beating for a bunch of wimpy looking wraiths, hey. And blimey, what’s that skeletal worm thing that pops out of the ground at 2m20? That had better be a creature summon – I want to summon a nightmare worm to eat my enemies. Oh, and again at 6m40! No, alright, they’re definitely killing it and then it explodes. Oh well.

All in all it’s looking like the battles are going to be a right royal dust up with the mates – much more dynamic than the staid affair MMO combat usually resembles. Will the water combat have free Y axis movement, I wonder?

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56 Comments »

  1. gwathdring says:

    Guess what’s stuck in my head now?

  2. Creeping Death says:

    “Are you going to the beach this summer? The weather looks like it’ll hold up”

    Ha! Hahahahaha! You should come down to charming Surrey, we’re getting ripped apart by an amazing thunder storm at the minute :P

  3. RenegadeRed says:

    The combat in the second video just looks like a giant clusterhug.

    • Faceless says:

      So does Team Fortress 2, or any other game that emphasises virtual feedback. The screen appears flooded with effects, but once you’re in the game proper, everything translates to digestible information.

    • Nick says:

      plus you’ll most likely be able to filter out as much as you want.

  4. mlaskus says:

    The combat looks just as bad as any other MMO. Chipping away at a health bar for a few minutes.

  5. skyturnedred says:

    MMO combat always look boring in these kind of trailers, because you have no idea what’s going on. I assume the underlying mechanics are better than most MMOs, but without actually playing the game yourself, it’s rather impossible to get a clear picture of how the game plays.

    • Kdansky says:

      Combat in MMOs doesn’t usually just look boring. It really is. You cycle your four or so abilities in an always identical rotation, reducing the enemy’s HP faster than it reduces yours, then use some sort of healing ability if necessary. Repeat.

      There being so little movement in these trailers makes me *very* sceptical. I hoped for combat more akin to Bloodline Champions with a ton of very important movement going on, not just the “get behind it once very two minutes, stand there and press 123 123 4 123 4 (5 on proc)”.

      Let’s draw it into the abstract: You manage some resources, and most of those are boring: Mana/HP/Cooldowns/combopoints (or some such). Dynamic “resources” (positional advantage? status? mental focus? card deck?) are usually under-represented. Compare WoW to D&D 4E. Positioning in WoW doesn’t matter (much).

      I fear GW2 will follow the identical formula once more.

    • Urthman says:

      I’m already bored of watching Wolf Man swing his ghostly sword over and over and over.

    • Betamax says:

      @Urthman: I think you’ll find the Charr are more like big cats with horns than wolves. /pedantic. And to be fair some of the Guardian abilities looked quite interesting other than the swing swing swinging of his big ghostly sword.

    • Beren says:

      @Kdansky –

      Agreed. The combat looks very very mmo bad.

      I also didn’t see anyone missing any shots or even make a blocking motion.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I join the chorus. I too found it rather bland and repetitive. The water aspect is novel.. but that’s just a different backdrop for more of the same (albeit with different skills/weapons).

    • notjasonlee says:

      yay, sensible people! hello!

  6. Kaira- says:

    Gill Wars 2

    Thank you, I’ll be here all week!

  7. captnknot says:

    Did I see a Thundercats reference at 0:50?
    Thundercats hoooo!

    Edit: in the cinematic trailer.

  8. Recidivist says:

    MMO combat doesn’t translate well into videos. I require a beta.

  9. qeloqoo says:

    “And blimey, what’s that skeletal worm thing that pops out of the ground at 2m20? That had better be a creature summon – I want to summon a nightmare worm to eat my enemies.”

    http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Summon_Flesh_Wurm
    Your skeletal worm, sir. Putrid and decaying.

  10. Daiv says:

    So it’s like regular MMO combat but with enough particle effects to burn a hole in my monitor?

    • Jake says:

      I’ve got to admit those were my thoughts too. The problem with everyone having amazing spell effects is that in a big group it’s just technicolour chaos, at 4.20 it becomes impossible to see what is happening. WoW had the same problem. Less is more if you ask me, I don’t see why everything has to explode into a million glittery rainbows. Plus it does look like each hero is really just repeating the same 2-3 attack animations, and most of them stand quite still – especially the ranged classes like the flamethrower guys – again similar to WoW.

    • gwathdring says:

      Fair enough. But it doesn’t have a subscription.

    • John P says:

      I think the point of all the visual effects is to clearly show what’s happening in combat without having to peer at debuff bars all the time. That’s a pretty big part of MMO combat in most games: watching the UI instead of what’s happening. They’ve made a big deal about GW2 getting players to watch the actual characters, enemies, landscape, etc, instead of playing the UI. Which is good, considering abstracting things seems to be a crappy trend in a lot of genres.

      Hopefully it also addresses one of the problems I had with GW1, that being the lack of feedback in combat. I found it hard to know exactly what was happening, so if more effects make things clearer that’ll be good.

  11. Jumwa says:

    ““Are you going to the beach this summer? The weather looks like it’ll hold up.”

    We haven’t seen a sliver of sunlight in a full month. : |

    We got excited yesterday when we got a glimpse of a narrow bit of greyish-blue through the clouds for a few minutes.

  12. johnpeat says:

    Were NCSoft replaced by Blizzard when I wasn’t looking – e.g. are they planning a release this decade or are they going to continue what must amount to a YEAR of previews and shit…

    It looked amazing when they first showed it – I think we might not have realised it was 2+ years off tho (and apparently still is!!)

    • John P says:

      The most they’ve said about a release date is that they’re planning to go into alpha and beta testing later this year. So I’m expecting it to be released in the first half of next year. It’s not 2 years off.

      And the thing is, they’ve actually had playable builds available for people to play (fans, that is, not just journalists) for some time now. Pretty much every event they go to, they have the game in a playable form, so plenty of people have played it. That’s where the huge amount of gameplay footage on YouTube comes from.

    • Chalky says:

      Yeah, you’re probably looking at a release date at the start of next year.

      I expect beta dates to be announced during this summer’s convention season for the last quarter of the year.

  13. McDan says:

    Clearly a harpoon gun mr smee! And I like the look of this underwater combat, even though it is the usual mmo combat but underwater, but I liked that anyway!

    Also that charr at the beginning of the first trailer is totally grunt from mass effect 2 I’m sure.

  14. PoulWrist says:

    Looks pretty standard. Maybe I’m just ignorant, but how does this differentiate itself from Rift, which managed to differentiate itself from WoW by virtue of the rifts and world event system?

    WoW and Rift both have underwater combat, so that’s not special.

  15. ScubaMonster says:

    I’m not sure why people were expecting some amazingly innovative awesome combat. Guild Wars 1 pretty much worked the same way.

    • DK says:

      Cause it actually is different combat. You’ve got manual dodging, projectiles that actually need to hit to do damage, melee attacks that actually need to hit, etc.
      The underwater stuff has none of the dodging, so none of the dynamics of the overland combat. It’s quite simply a horrible idea from what they’ve shown and told.

    • Nick says:

      Well, the projectile stuff was in GW1 as well.

  16. Rii says:

    Group dynamics and the dynamics of combat within groups have been two areas of concern for me with GW2 and alas this gameplay footage does nothing to allay them.

    • Chalky says:

      The dungeon “gameplay” footage is barely gameplay footage really. Fly-bys of staged choreographed combat. The underwater footage is pretty much exactly what you’d get from a developer attempting to talk about the game while avoiding pulling the same mobs over and over (ie, lots of fighting the same mobs over and over).

      It certainly would be nice to see some group combat being played by the developers, from the point of view of a player. I’m not sure this is something we’ve seen anywhere yet :(

    • John P says:

      The example usually given is that you can shoot arrows through a wall of fire, but I hope there’s more to it than that. It sounds like a number of skills will act on party members, but they aren’t targeted specifically at them. There was some interesting stuff in some recent previews about guardians putting down buffs, like a bubble that would absorb damage. The good thing is it’s placed on the ground rather than targeted to party members, so every person is responsible for being in the right place. I hate when someone whinges that they weren’t getting enough heals, and this puts on the onus back on every individual to stop playing stupidly.

      Those recent writeups also suggested the claim that any makeup of classes can complete content (like story mode dungeons) is genuinely true, but it doesn’t make things overly easy. Of course, whether you need certain makeups to complete the very hardest content is another question.

    • mwoody says:

      On first read, I loved the idea of firing arrows through firewalls to light them on fire. Meanwhile, Diablo 3 was doing something similar, with the zombie dogs being ignite-able.

      What worries me, though, is that Blizzard eventually dumped the idea, with a good explanation: it turns out that when you have a combo like that, it ends up being a pain in the ass. It’s just another thing to spam, only now you have to coordinate with another person to pull it off.

  17. Tei says:

    :-O

    Combat is normally the thing that look worse in MMOS (see TOR), but this thing looks smooth on so many levels…. even levels that are new to me, and I don’t even know exist. From the particles, the character animation, …everything. I don’t knot if this will be fun to play, but surelly looks good, very good, raise the bar of combat look & feel in MMOS (bar, maybe… some blade action in Age of Conan, that is also full of real feedback).

  18. Ian says:

    For all that we’ve been told that the combat will be like the best action scenes from a movie multiplied by orgasms and topped with cherries it still seems to feature a lot of standing about.

  19. wallnuss says:

    Will the water combat have free Y axis movement, I wonder?

    There was a developer video don’t know where I have seen it, but there was definitly free y-axis movment. Once he even went out of the water the amphibic mob followed him and he dived back in. I’m really looking forward to the under water part of the game.

  20. Betamax says:

    I liked the animation for the whirlwind attack that axe bearing female warrior was using. Spinny! But yeah, whilst we like to big up the improvements and changes GW2 is making to the genre I don’t think it has ever hid the fact it is still to some degree in the same mould. Just hopefully a much more fresh and fun to play mould.

    But then judging by the way people talk about TOR thesedays hating on MMO combat is the done thing now?

    Gods I hope I get into the GW2 beta or something.

    Gotta admit the underwater sections are a little underwhelming as it stands, I think they would benefit from less mob density than on land, really push the exploration under the sea to go with how they are prettifying it. Frankly I think having mob dense areas everywhere in games like this is overrated. A lot of people seem to expect it judging by the reaction to TOR’s Tatooine, but I have no problem with some areas being sparse of life personally. In the case of Tatooine and GW2 underwater I think it would be a plus for a number of reasons.

  21. Jharakn says:

    I would have been nice to see them make a little more use of the dodge mechanics that they’ve got in there with the mobs doing deliberate heavy attacks that should be dodged forcing the play to move about a little more, that video just made everything look a little… static.

    All that being said it still looks fun and I’m still very excited to try it out.

  22. Wulf says:

    Whee. Still digging this, and yay charr!

    Also… Mr. Smee, has anyone told you that it’s impossible to be exposed to your name and not have random Peter Pan flashbacks? It’s bizarre. I’m going to have to refrain from making piratey jokes in articles you post.

    I’m almost certain that such restraint will not be easy.

    • Wulf says:

      One other thing… how did anyone get ‘wolf’ out of this with tails like that? It’s like not being able to tell the difference between a dwarf and a human, despite, you know, the beard, the stature, the stockiness of one, and so on. That’s a feline tail, stature, and gait, not canine. Not seeing that is kind of o_O to me. Does no one have pet cats?

    • skyturnedred says:

      Fanboy alert!

    • Vinraith says:

      I played GW1 for quite awhile before getting that Charr were supposed to be cat people. It really wasn’t until I saw one with leopard spots that I made the connection. For the most part, big furry anthropomorphic beastguys are big furry anthropomorphic beastguys. They don’t resemble any real animal all that closely.

  23. Wulf says:

    Also! Just found out via the forums that the dungeon was being run by, quite literally, a bunch of completely new players who’d never been introduced to Guild Wars 2 before. It was their first session, and it was a dungeon run, and as such it was toned down for them so that they didn’t spend all their time dying.

    If ArenaNet had had their own people playing it, it likely would’ve been more interesting.

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