On Track, For A Change

This week, I've managed to motivate myself to resume development in Unity, at least for half of my free time.  I bought the Rog Framework off the asset store, it wasn't quite as powerful as I wanted, but it was good to be able to dabble with a completed framework in Unity, quite educational seeing how it all fits together.

My main mission at the moment is to continue to reinforce the behavior of using Unity until it becomes habit, as it is a more productive use of my leisure time than just playing games.  If successful, perhaps I may yet see my aspiration to complete some games come to fruition before the reaper catches me.

That said, it's important for a gamer (or game developer) to play something, and sometimes I need to calm a mind excited by hard work on a project before bedtime.  To these ends, I currently find myself involved in Guild Wars 2, a MMORPG released in 2012 that still manages to be #2 on the MMORPG.com list of top-rated released MMORPGs.

My history with Guild Wars 2 is a strange one.
  • It's a game I certainly bought at release at 2012, acknowledged it had excellent features and was quite great, and then ultimately never made the time to play.  It seems to me that I have neglected other great games over the years, so perhaps I am just fickle?  Part of me thinks maybe I only seriously neglected Guild Wars 2, other games that fell by the wayside were not really worthy of my time, but the gravity of this one mistake was enough to make me doubt myself.
  • Later, I theorized that perhaps having a buddy who wanted to play with me but had different motivations in what he wanted to do soured the game for me.  I feel certain that's not completely wrong, I wanted to explore the game while he wanted to achieve in it, and I felt bad that was not able to make everyone happy.  However, I feel that is not the only reason I ended up not playing Guild Wars 2
  • Not long afterward, I concluded that my desire to make my own game was so great that my muse put me on "an artistic crusade of sorts" that prevented me from playing games in earnest.  It is possible... after all, only after I seemed to be making progress in Unity at all do I find myself willing to play Guild Wars 2.
  • Then along came the first X:COM remake and Guild Wars 2 fell off my radar...
  • ...until 2013, when some new 3D hardware caused me to give it another play.  Guild Wars 2 is probably has the best stereographic support of any PC game ever made.  However, the hook did not set upon this visit.
  • A few months later, I am looking for an MMORPG to play, and ask myself why not Guild Wars 2?  I was in the mood for "epic" and in MMORPG terms part of that involves a virtual world too hardcore to let you fast travel through it for pocket change, so Guild Wars 2 got a pass.
  • In 2014, I was more interested in WildStar, but I acknowledged that Guild Wars 2 innovated more and wondered why I was not playing it.  Currently, I find myself more enthralled by combat in Guild Wars 2 than I was of that game.
My first impression upon logging back into Guild Wars 2 (besides a passing feeling that the graphics felt dated) were that the combat was perhaps the closest thing to my dearly missed City of Heroes of any game around: all that great variety of status effects and foe knockbacks, many foes being fought at once, it's pretty great.

I found my old Engineer, my highest level character at about level 35, to be rather boring.  I switched over to my Mesmer and have been loving him because his move set seems potentially very powerful but it's quite difficult to master: exactly what I want the most in a character.  I should not dabble with switching characters too much, because I clearly recall inability to commit to a single character played a major part in my inability to get into the game at some point.  It's Mesmer or bust right now... though I am tempted to roll a human instead, this is just an example of how choice of character in Guild Wars 2 is largely cosmetic so I might as well just commit to what I have.

I guess it takes playing a lot of recent games, sorely dumbed down in mechanics, to really realize what I was missing from Guild Wars 2.  Clearly, Guild Wars 2 has stood the test of time better than most as an overwhelmingly worthy MMORPG to play, so it would be a shame if I got distracted from it yet again.


Vetarnias said…
I really tried to like this one - I really did, because my friends all appeared to enjoy it, to the extent it was the only online game they would play. First I created a paladin (or whatever they're called), and just got annoyed at the whole melee tactics, circling around the target and all that. I rerolled an engineer, which I successfully got to level 80, only to get bored.

The problem is that while I can admire MMORPGs, Guild Wars 2 isn't my kind of game. It's too fast-paced. It's too superficial. Stick around for two minutes and everything would respawn as it always had, and as it always will. The world is static. It's the usual level-based theme-park stuff. And that bores me now. I never had the impression I was discovering anything -- especially since my friends had started playing long before me and were now speed-running dungeons they knew from start to finish just for loot -- nor that anything out there was worth discovering.

Strange, because I quite liked Dungeons & Dragons Online, which is also a heavily instanced theme park game. But I think the difference there is that the real nucleus of the game is less the world itself than about the group you're with - an impression I never had with Guild Wars 2. DDO offered more of just the infrastructure of a virtual world than an actual virtual world; GW2 tried to create a compelling virtual world, but just failed by giving it no depth whatsoever.

At this point, I want virtual worlds over which players can have an impact. (Wurm Online, now that was a virtual world, in spite of all its flaws. Or Minecraft in multiplayer.) Crafting in GW2 was the same garbage system I'd seen in World of Warcraft, its obvious inspiration, where nothing you made really sold, and where you leveled up crafting just for the sake of leveling up crafting.

My friends still play this, but they play the expansion content, which I never bought. The last time I logged in, just before the expansion, the guild I was in was busy collecting materials for its headquarters. A disheartening grind. I took part for maybe two hours and I couldn't stand it anymore. I logged off; and I don't have the impression I'm missing anything.
geldonyetich said…
After a day or two of refamilarizing myself with GW2, I am getting the same feeling about how I wish my actions had a more permanent impact on the game world. Even though they went through the trouble of adding this elaborate web of interacting events, it STILL ends up being a theme park because of how quickly those events reset.

For example, I'm just wandering around the Caledon Forest for an hour and end up getting dragged into an event involving putting out a forest fire started by fire imps three time. Next time, I'm pretty much feeling apathetic, let the damn forest burn down, I didn't sign up to be the Caledon Forest's personal fire imp protector, I signed up for adventure! You never want the player to feel that kind of apathy.

At the moment, I'm thinking Guild Wars 2 is still worth a play just to exhaust the content, which is pretty high quality in many ways. But I'm with you on this aspect: I am THROUGH with theme parks. I want my virtual worlds to be worthy of the term.

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