"A video game comic and blog that would have been awesome and relevant 10 years ago. Maybe." -Famous Website
Felicia Day recently released an un-boxing video of the Guild Wars 2 Collector's Edition that I couldn't help but drooling over. Of course I intend to say I was agape at the amazing contents of said box, whatever that means. Felicia does have a certain charm, certainly on full display in her Do You Wanna Date My Avatar video that many would find quite alluring. It isn't any wonder why she has been donned a geek goddess because the girl knows how to flaunt what she's got.
With just about a week away from the actual launch of Guild Wars 2, Pie and I still have absolutely no idea what race and class we will be playing to start; I think that there have been enjoyable aspects of every class we have tested thus far. The only thing that is certain is that we will be playing on Ehmry Bay, under the guild name Aggro A Go Go [GoGo] unless one of our forumites proposes a cooler name. You can find our updated info here if interested in hanging out with us. Though Pie and I may be on sporadically, our community of players is quite friendly, so stop on by and say hi!
I found that I have also been in the mood to check out Mists of Pandaria as of late. I think it tickles my itch to explore new lands, and boy does Blizzard ever know how to make compelling environments. Seeing the screenshots from the beta-testing reaffirms just how amazing their sense of style is. I doubt I would play much after I reached level cap and excavated the treasures buried in the mists, but I would love to be proven wrong.
I have this particular gameplay that I am fervently seeking in an MMO, and I just can't seem to find it. Even ArenaNet dropped a discouraging Guild War 2 update to their skill and trait system, forcing players down gated paths. It isn't unusual in a game for the sake of balance, but it took a lot of fun out the system they had in the first open beta, where you could choose any available major trait once you got 10 points in. This allowed for really exciting possibilities to mix up your character by investing in multiple lines without feeling forced to go all the way down a line to reap its benefits. It also made the first major trait felt really impactful, allowing you to acquire cool skills very early in your progression.
The ArenaNet team claimed there were too few viable builds out of all the available ones and that it would prove to be too hard to balance. It was a heavy blow of conformity in essentially putting the most interesting or useful traits at the end of the tree. From a group of designers that had promoted such intricate customization even after the game went up for sale, I felt a lot of my excitement about character customization, and thus the game in general, was significantly dampened. I believe there must be some smart ways to work within their old system, but at the end of the day, it is their game and they will do what they think is best for it.
I'm really looking for a system that allows me to build a character with interesting stat and skill differences; I want a class that can play radically differently based on how you build them combined with the ability to make nonsensical , oddly built, or only situationally useful characters. I don't want to feel like I'm given the illusion of choice due to bland hemoginization and dumbed-down design. I want to see more developers include a wide array of interesting utility skills. I fully admit I am a Johnny type gamer, and I'm just not finding that perfect blend in an appealing MMO.
Finally, I wanted to link to another great Extra Credits episode, this time discussing perfect imbalance and how important it can be to allow players to experiment with play styles in a carefully crafted, imbalanced system. I have been feeling like balance is becoming a curse word in game design and the EC crew do a good job touching on what makes imbalance interesting.