Every week the guys from GetBonkd release a short Guild Wars 2 feature on youtube. I generally really enjoy their clips, they’re informative sneak-peeks with nice footage and the quality and editing of the videos is very high for youtube standards. While watching, it gets very obvious how hyped Scylol & Co. are for this upcoming MMO, but then it’s not as if what they’re presenting was untrue and I can appreciate the excitement for something new. If you’re looking for some good quality GW2 introductions to various topics, be it class overviews, combat, pvp, questing or other nifty features such as mini-games (did you know there will be bar fights in GW2?) or the home instances, I recommend you browse their channel sometime (by now 23 episodes).
However, just last week’s episode 23 was one that brought up two topics I personally feel very reluctant about: the waypoints and repair system in GW2. I think the episode would have benefited from a more critical eye there, but maybe I am just drawing pre-mature conclusions. Three weeks ago I asked where might be the “orcs” in GW2 – aspects that players currently eye with worry. One that stood out to me when reading closed beta reviews at the time, was the mention of waypoints all over the zones in GW2. Frequent teleports that are not only easily accessible but cheap. Or as one reviewer came to praise them –
That information really took me by surprise. Had ArenaNet not announced early into development that they wanted travel to be an essential part of GW2? Didn’t they praise their large scale maps and point out that there wouldn’t be flying mounts in the game, so players wouldn’t skip content and get easy short-cuts?
Well then, why so many teleports? As much as I appreciate the effort of making gameplay and questing more fluent and grouping up easier in GW2, I don’t quite understand why they needed to give players so many waypoints per zone. Not just that, I wonder how motivated players will really be to re-conquer those controlled by an opposing faction, if there are so many to begin with? And should you really be able to use them while dead?
The only thing I could imagine influencing this decision, is the dynamic leveling and side-kicking feature of GW2; for one thing, there won’t be the traditional low-level and high-level zones, but zone mobs and quests actually scale with the player’s level. What’s more, your own level will be downgraded when grouping with lowbies (and upgraded in WvW). The benefits of that are quite clear: not only can you keep experiencing the content of any zone as a challenge (even large events scale dynamically), you can group up with anybody no matter the level differences between players (see side-kicking @ 03:20). So just maybe ArenaNet decided it would be too bothersome for players having to constantly fight their way through to anywhere, on any map, always being attacked and dismounted by every mob.
Still, I am sad; even if you chose to ignore waypoints and play the game entirely on foot, I can imagine just how “voluntary” using them will be if you’re grouped up with other players in an awful hurry to get somewhere. The explorer in me is eying this with a clear “MEH” for now.
The repair system
No less surprising was the information on GW2 featuring gear repairs as an attrition mechanic, when initially there was talk of death penalties and similar being a boring, out-dated concept. To clarify, I’m not exactly a fan of not having death penalties in MMOs; in fact, I’m a sucker for punishment where it serves a purpose. But….repairs? Really?
What probably cracks me up the most about this, is how the repair system in GW2 is supposed to be so fresh and different, when it’s mostly just a washed up, more complicated version of WoW’s durability system (or other MMOs for that matter). Judge for yourself –
We like this system for several reasons. Unlike most other armor durability systems, it doesn’t start becoming a factor just through normal play but only kicks in when a player is defeated. This means that it’s not a tax on playing and can be avoided through skillful or careful play. With every piece of armor needing to be damaged before any of them are broken, it also provides ample warning for the player before any real penalty is incurred.”
I fail to see how this is essentially different or more meaningful? It sounds rather ineffective to me – something you will hardly have to care about much. And if you do, well then it’s just the usual trade money for repairs-deal we already know so well. What does it matter if you only need repairs after X deaths and due to X items damaged, or due to a more constant stream of overall damage? I can also in fact not recall having to repair much in WoW unless I died; and then I could still easily die some more before requiring that repair service (the joy of not being a tank).
There’s also a much more important, general question to be asked here: if repairs are easy to come by and cheap enough in an MMO, then what’s the point anyway?
Who cares how the system works?