This is the second of what I expect to be three posts about three games that I’m not playing, each for another reason.
Reading blogs at the moment, it seems everybody is preparing for the next big event this year. It feels a bit like being a child at the start of the big summer holidays. Everybody’s packing to leave for vacation. For some reason, I stay at home, though. It turned out that Greenland is all the rage this year, and I don’t like shivering in June, so I’d rather stay here anyway, on my own. Collecting keys for all the houses, so I can water the plants, feed the fish, empty the mailboxes, et cetera, until they’ll all be back and show me long slide shows of glaciers, or whatever there is to see on Greenland.
Getting off on the wrong foot
The first time I heard of Guild Wars was shortly after I started playing WoW in 2005. Some guild mates on Ventrilo talked about this game they enjoyed on the side. When I asked what it was about, they told me it was awesome because it was “all instances” and “totally PvP-focused!”.
I don’t think I ever lost interest in a game faster. “All instances” and “all PvP” thenceforth were burned into my brain as description of Guild Wars, and it was neatly filed under “games you don’t care for and are not interested in”. And let me tell you, once I decided something is not for me, I have an impressive ability to ignore it. I literally never so much as heard from Guild Wars again until a couple of months ago, when I started reading blogs that talked about it, and a successor.
The first thing I was surprised about was that the game still existed. The second thing was that, supposedly, it had become much more PvE-focused. The problem was that still, nothing that I read made me really yearn for the game. I had a lot of other games I enjoyed at that time. And let’s face it, it’s not a UO or EQ: games that feel I need to have tried out just because of their name and influence, regardless of whether I think I’ll like them or not.
Continuing on the wrong foot?
What I read about GW2 so far is the following: It will have Dynamic Events, just like Rift. Wasn’t a big fan of them there, either. Especially if you do them on your own because everybody else is in other areas. And I like somewhat empty areas, so it’s bound to happen to me in dynamic event games.
It will be the same “select monster, hit actions on your bar, loot” model that almost every other game has had in the last years. And don’t tell me about “dynamic dodging” and such, we’ve already had that couple of times, too (TERA and TSW are the ones just from this year that spring to mind). Now, being just like the others is not a fault. (I actually still like the target-and-use-abilities system.) It just means that you don’t set yourself apart in a positive way, either.
Finally, PvP. Yeah… well. I heard it’s mostly WvWvW. And the way I understood it, it will be a large battleground, WoW-style (as in AV 1.0, when battles could take days), capped at a certain number of people per side, to encourage “fair battles”.
I’ll let you in on a secret: I don’t like fair PvP. Actually, I don’t like PvP much at all, but if it happens, I like it with 5:1 odds, preferably more. Why? Simple. I suck at PvP. I don’t win 1vs1. It’s one of the things EVE does right: you rarely fight at even odds. You fight when you think you outnumber or outgun your enemy. And you fight back when you think you have people ready to tilt the odds in your favor. It feels a lot more natural to me. Maybe it’s because I don’t like fighting other people much to start with. I’m more of a cooperative person. Add to that the fact that PvP seems to bring out the worst in people. So if I fight, I don’t fight for fun, but to win and get it over with. And I don’t care whether it’s fair or not.
Compelled to stay on the wrong foot
Also, there’s a certain… attitude to a very, VERY vocal minority among the soon-to-be GW2 players. I’ve seen rabid fanboyism before, but not at this scale: descending on every argument against their game. A game that, in their mind, will open the seventh seal, signal the second coming of Christ Almighty (minus those pesky riders), and deliver us all from the Evil that is every other game. But only for true believers, of course. If you dare question any of the dogmas, all you’ll get is a “shun the non-believer! shuuuuuuuun!“. If you’re lucky. If not, something like this happens. (From there on down, pretty much.)
Oh my. This is just… I’m at a loss for words. And all of this to a person who actually has preordered the game, so decided that it’s worth playing for him. The one thing we can all hope for is that those people will soon start playing their game, then promptly descend on the forums to spew all their hate towards the GW2 developers for developing what is only *gasp* a game! No game could seriously fulfill the inflated expectations by this point.
Will I ever get back on the other foot?
GW2 has one thing going for them: You buy the box, and from then on it’s F2P right out of the door. I will glance over the inevitable avalanche of posts about the game, starting from next week. If I like what I see there, I might pick it up later. That will have another huge advantage: the vast majority of the toxic fanboys that descend like locusts on blogs right now will have stopped playing by then. They’ll realize that, in the end GW2 is a game, not eternal salvation and deliverance from evil. It will probably make for a much better community and chat channels that you don’t have to leave immediately for fear of eye cancer, stomach ulcers, or fits of rage. I really feel for those who will have to wade through this in the coming weeks once the game goes live to enjoy the game they’re looking forward to. I hope all the nice bloggers will find some fun in the game, I really do! After all, it’s probably not a bad game. Just one that didn’t perk my interest when I heard of it, and then spoiled by the attitude of a minority that I think would make it impossible for me to enjoy the game at this point in time.