I’ve been fascinated with NC Soft’s Guild Wars MMORPG series, the world of Ascalon and its many characters since the original was released several years ago (its ‘free-to-play’ shtick didn’t hurt either). I can happily say that I own the core game and it’s final expansion, and that I’ve really enjoyed the occasions when I’ve been able to sit back and spend a few hours exploring. Sadly, the time for me to do that is always at a premium these days it seems, but that certainly doesn’t stop me from anticipating Guild Wars 2, particularly if the innovations it’s making might be helpful for the player, like me, that’s forced to take things a little more casually.
To that end, what they’re attempting to accomplish sounds exactly like what I’m looking for:
Our goal with Guild Wars 2 is to flatten out the leveling curve, keeping progression simple and straightforward. We expect everyone to make a reasonable amount of progression with each play session. It shouldn’t take days of playing before you feel like you have made any progress, and you definitely shouldn’t have to kill a bunch of creatures or do a bunch of repetitive tasks just to see what’s over that next hill. We want our progression to keep up with your play style. If you’re a casual gamer who plays for a few hours here and there, why should you feel like it’s going to take you a decade to finish your character? If you’re a hardcore player, why shouldn’t you be able to blast through the game with skill and speed, trying to experience every last bit of content?
…overall, we expect our content to be the driving force behind how long it takes to do things in-game. Anyone can increase the length of an experience bar and call it content, but our world is filled with an almost endless stream of things to do. We expect content—not long, grindy progression—to be the deciding factor that keeps people playing our game. We want everyone to stick with Guild Wars 2 because our content is fun and enjoyable, not out of some dogged determination to slowly, slowly advance. And because our world is ever-changing and dynamic, you can play our content again and again! Two characters journeying through the game will have two different experiences, which means the game will remain fresh for all you out there who enjoy making a million characters.
So, if you’re tired of the size of your experience bar controlling the pace of your progression, and you’re looking for a simple, content-focused progression system with endless potential for enjoyment, Guild Wars 2 is for you.
Anyone else in the same boat? Speaking for myself, this is very welcome news and I love the idea of simply starting all over if by some miraculous chance I get through everything I had hoped to experience the first time around. And, yes, as Dragon Quest IX; Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS) has recently reinforced, apparently I am one of those people that likes creating a million characters.
Then, of course, there’s Kekai Kotaki’s art that comes to life throughout the game (literally from the ground up), which is reason enough for me to be anticipating this one as much!
[GW2 concept art from Kotaki’s Cake Mix blog.]