In a moment of clarity, the obviousness of the connection apparent for years to most, I saw that Guild Wars 2 vistas must have been a nod to Assassin’s Creed’s viewpoints. In both games there is a player-initiated cutscene to showcase the environment. Cue panoramic music. Cue widescreen format. Except… there’s a difference, and it actually took me until Assassin’s Creed 3 to notice.
In Assassin’s Creed 3 the viewpoint scene gets a little more dramatic with a quick-pan/slow-pan combo angling around Connor (the player) who is standing dramatically above the earth, defiantly against the landscape. In Guild Wars 2, I was lucky to find my player in most of the vistas. I remember one of my favorites that I did a doubletake on to get a proper screenshot was where my character was clearly in small view on a fort in Fields of Ruin. Looking back, I am surprised to find that this was such a rare occurrence.
In 2014, I want Guild Wars 2 to have a little more player-oriented focus. I want my characters to have more screen time, and I want other players to have more screen time.
Going back to vistas, my gut says that we will get a new map in 2014. ArenaNet needs some headline news to fight against all the new MMOs coming out, and “New Zone to Explore” is a huge one. I would love vistas to return. I am sad that Southsun Cove, and more importantly, Labyrinthine Cliffs didn’t have vistas. I understand that ArenaNet didn’t want any more “map completion”, which like hearts seems to have been a player-guidance facility unnecessary for the end game. However, vistas should return because they can be used to enable more player focus. Don’t just make it a picturesque moment of the beautiful scenery/landscape; make it about the player conquering that portion of the land.
Another picture-perfect moment should be taken straight from Team Fortress 2. I want a player-killer camera. Since I’ve been playing sPvP nightly now, I find that the personality is missing. I think I am good enough to identify the players as we team up next match (“thank Eru I’m not fighting that guy again”) or butting heads again (“see if I can avoid the tricks this time”), but Team Fortress 2 takes it to a whole new level with an instant screenshot maker. Yes, it is not about my player, but it is about a player who I should have strong feelings for. It would add more personality to Guild Wars 2. (Suggestion: add a variable timer after the kill so that the screenshot is not always the finisher.)
Since I don’t think we’ll be seeing our characters in the cinematics anymore, another cool thing could be a cinematic screen shot taker. Heck, I’d just take a buggy first-person camera. Still it’d be neat to run through a tripwire down a hallway where a hidden camera took my character’s picture from an angle that’s hard to get. Or in the middle of a boss fight at a critical moment. At least with cinematic moments ArenaNet has proponents for making sure players are a part of the in-game sequences.
Another place is just the Living Story, obviously. Now with the last bit ArenaNet made sure to make us the hero because the two NPCs plan to continually pump antitoxin in to the heart of the tower just wasn’t working. Players crack the DNA of the tower by beating a few puzzles in a manner of the player’s choosing. Brute force or elegance. It is a great instance in player control, and player focus. I admit that it feels a bit cheesy how we came up and fixed it since it wasn’t our plan or anything. Still it could have been way different. More of us being the one to hit that lynch pin is a better move, and I hope this continues.
Horizontal and vertical progression are being discussed right now in the official forums for the collaborative development topic. While player focus is not really part of the progression topic it can be used as a tool to reinforce horizontal progression. The person that is going to care most about my dyes, my skins, my hair, etc. is me, and the more the game shows that off to me the more importance is mirrored back. If I spend gems getting a Black Lion skin I want, and most of the time it only appears as a small fraction of my screen as it gets lost in the action, that bit of horizontal progression diminishes in value.
“look at this… so pretty” –female sylvari