Where are the Orcs in Guild Wars 2?

Just in time with my private life going back to normal (adjusting took a little longer than expected but hey, new apartment is shiny!), the NDA of the GW2 closed beta was lifted and so I’ve spent the past few days catching up on all the juicy details on what’s no doubt the most anticipated MMO of 2012. I was somewhat disappointed at the material on youtube, but some of the written reviews were able to bring back the proverbial ants in my pants! Facing such a flood of informational tidbits, it’s hard to decide on what news were the most exciting – to me it is probably the confirmation of many anticipated features that bloggers have already been discussing or hoping for for months now.

Let me say once more that I love love love the cross-profession combos, they sound every bit as cool as I hoped they would! Then, there is confirmation that using terrain will indeed affect the outcome of combat (for example you can use a boulder nearby to your advantage). Questing is supposedly a lot less grindy and yes, less kill-ten-rats than ever. I just want to believe that for now. There’s the intriguing “downed” combat state that appears to be a lot more fun in practice than it sounded on paper. There’s the way equipped weapons affect your key abilities which will greatly add to tactical gameplay.

Most of all though, there are finally firsthand experiences on the cooperative aspect of Guild Wars 2; I was very happy to find reviewers confirm that every class could self-heal easily enough and that grouping up is a non-issue for any group setup. Some people still doubt that GW2 will manage without any holy trinity, but I actually do – and if there’s ever going to be more “dedicated” healing or tanking going on in a specific encounter, it will probably be a situation in which everyone must take turns or decides on a random player. It won’t be that classes are associated with fixed roles though.

All in all, awesome news on the combat front for someone like me. I believe that longterm Guild Wars 2 will rise and fall over its battle for me personally, on mid- and end-level / PvP. This is really where I need to see big changes, the way classes and groups can play together dynamically, cooperate and find different solutions to the same challenge. ArenaNet has promised us a lot in this department, they really need to improve, innovate and hit the ball home. I can’t help but think back to their instructional pages on combat from long ago, where they first lit the spark and also took a not-so-subtle yet brilliant dig at the most popular MMORPG to date, namely World of Warcraft –

(click to enlarge)

Now, we all know that there are no Orcs in Guild Wars 2; we also know which popular concerns of WoW are being presented in each comic frame – the lack of role flexibility and heavy gear focus, the holy trinity, the lack of “world” and impact therein. ArenaNet intends to do better on all accounts and make the Orcs a symbol of days past – something not to be found in their upcoming MMORPG.

And yet, it all sounds a little too good to be true. I can’t help but worry, the closer we get to open betas and the long overdue launch; so much waiting has gone before GW2, so many genre lovers’ eyes worldwide are fixed on this blockbuster title. All the high expectations – it’s filling me with dread. Who can possibly fulfill that many big wishes? As more and more information will be released over the coming, unbearable weeks and months, the ultimate question will grow: where will GW2 fall short? Where will it disappoint and fail to deliver on its promises?

Where will be the “Orcs” in Guild Wars 2?

I’m curious about the prime concerns currently out there among all the antsy veterans. I admit that the beta reviews did not dispel all my doubts and that there were a couple of things I found concerning among the clips and summaries I’ve come across. But more on that in a follow-up post on my current GW2 concerns. If you’re already down with your own, now’s the time to share them!


  1. […] and if there’s ever going to be more “dedicated” healing or tanking going on in a specific encounter, it will probably be a situation in which everyone must take turns or decides on a random player.

    Ehh… I’ll believe it when I see it.

    I could see GW2 pulling that off if their content was so trivial that 5 Necros could zerg their way through everything. But in any sort of difficult content, someone specializing in damage absorption, someone else in healing, etc, etc, will effectively mimic the the trinity whether in principal or in fact. Nevermind how I imagine heavy armor classes would be better sorted for the former, cloth classes the latter.

    It’s definitely a step forward that every class is (supposedly) a hybrid class. That is a long way from killing the trinity though.

    Besides, would you really want the scenario you wrote above? That sounds like The Dance 2.0, which hasn’t exactly worked out in Cataclysm. I’d take rigid specialization over “We wiped because Bob was randomly chosen as the tank, and he panicked” any day. I barely trust PuGs to DPS, let alone anything more complicated.

  2. You mean, would I rather have groups share the responsibility of control or be flexible about it, rather than putting the entire responsibility and blame on just one person? of course I would. I think this is one big reason why WoW pugs were so horrible.

    combat that revolves around tanking and aggro, is different from combat that revolves about shared control and therefore needs less dedicated healing, too. tactically speaking it’s an interesting approach you can already find in many FPS online games where every player is carrying some type of rifle and team strategy, self-sufficiency, quick reactions and improvisation are where it’s at. okay, you can distrust the average MMO players currently out there to be any use at this type of cooperative game – a fair point, but not exactly a good argument against improving combat design. to ME the current combat is boring.

    and being a hybrid is not the solution just yet. as long as you have dedicated talent trees with dedicated gear and stats for every role, the game will boil down to WoW; Rift is an example of that.

    I believe GW2 will do this differently; sure there will always be preferences in playstyle and that’s okay. but if everyone is used to healing himself and controlling enemies, there won’t ever be a question of who is willing to do what in a fight and there won’t be gear/specs keeping you from grouping up or groups waiting on a healer for hours. and those are really the main issues associated with the holy trinity right now.

  3. I hope GW2’s version of combat without a hard trinity will work. It’ll suit me and my closest gaming friends perfectly. We have played static groups in many games but often face the problem that we don’t have exactly the right number of characters/players online or the right combination of the trinity to do group content when we want to.

    This idea of fluid combat, with people taking turns to CC or aggro while others recover sounds very exciting actually. Certainly it could be a nightmare for the traditional PUG gaming style, but I think that’s an abomination spawned from WoWs dungeon-finder and similar systems. Isn’t it right and positive that ArenaNet want to encourage better group dynamics in their game?

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