I think I’ve played Guild Wars 2 long enough to review it with pretty good depth. I don’t feel that is necessary. The blogosphere and real journalist reviews seem to resoundingly agree that for $60 and no subscription fee Guild Wars 2 is a great buy. People unused to Guild Wars 1 festivals are going to be in for a treat this Halloween, which only adds to the value. There are flaws, like any game. Some might be fixed (LFG), and some might not (FOV). Regardless, it is a great MMO. I plan on playing it for a long time.
I think there is a single point to take away from Guild Wars 2 that I hope worms its way in to all future MMOs. Okay, there are actually tons of good things, but for me, this is the one that matters most.
To be blunt and crude, I am going to call this point “F-yeah, let’s do this”.
The so-called effect occurs when I happen upon another player in PvE (not including dungeons, for the sake of this post). Often times we run merrily on our own paths, but the PvE systems are set up to provide action and content. Mostly there is something that needs to be dead, gathered, or conquered lying around. Our gravity shifts with the slightest of degrees towards each other, as if Turing true-positives created a bond between us.
I’ve hammered and hammered non-verbal communication being one of the greatest abilities in an MMO, especially prevalent in Guild Wars 2. It happens a lot with jumping puzzles, finding hidden entrances to caves, roads to skill points, etc. That’s fine, and it occurs in many other multiplayer games too.
It doesn’t get exciting until that moment. That one moment where I know the other player is thinking what I am thinking. That moment where I know we click together. F-yeah, let’s do this.
It’s such a great moment, like a vignette. There’s the scene were we see each other. It’s abrupt as if we hadn’t noticed each other before. Only now are our minds acknowledging one another as more than background noise. It’s followed by that moment of hesitation where all the training from all the other MMOs taught us, conditioned us that the other is an adversary of the worst ilk. This being is competition for my time, a resource far too valuable. Click. But, that’s not it. We are allies, and with our power combined we will mow down the mobs like a pack of wolves descending on sheep.
This moment is exciting, and addicting. It is why exploring low-level zones with low-level loot still gives great moments in gameplay. It is stronger in Orr where players that do click together can start to overrun portions that are semi-challenging to a solo player. It is the PvE analogue of that moment where I gleefully gib a pack of players in PvP. There was a connection, only that moment was centered around my win versus the other’s loss. Instead, this moment is harmonious.
I want this, more than any other thing in Guild Wars 2, to be the yardstick for future MMOs. Can you, developers, have this moment in your game? Or does every hidden rule in the system prevent this? Will players’ eyes glaze over at the ignorable movements of other players? Already some are responding, such as Lord of the Rings Online changing things in small chunks with Riders of Rohan. I hope the momentum continues.