Thursday, 27 September 2012

Guild Wars 2 is finally my complaint free mmo

My adventures in GW2 are continuing, so I thought I would give you an update. My necromancer Charr is now level 40 and I have now seen good chunks of a dozen areas. To date all the areas have been uniformly gorgeous, however one really stands out, the city of Divinity's Reach. I wasn't even looking for it, I was passing and saw it far off the distance and thought "there are structures on a plateau over in the distance, lets check it out.". This is one of the reasons I love this game, a lot of the content is clearly laid out for you, but much of the joy is exploring. Anyway if you haven't been, please check it out, it is spectacular.

I also tried my first dungeon with a group from my guild, including a max level character. In other mmo's this is called boosting, a high level character blasting through the mobs so the others can get through the dungeon. However GW2 automatically drops your level to the mobs of whatever you are fighting, give or take a level. This means you can happily explore low level areas and still be challenged. We got the group into the dungeon and I found myself wondering if a dungeon with no fixed tank/healer/dps mechanic would be chaos, and from what I played I would be right. This is not to say it wasn't fun, as it was, and also refreshingly challenging with many a death.Though again ArenaNet show their efforts to reduce grind, with in dungeon way-points and a repair bloke at the entrance. It was also fun to be running around with the famous in game character in the dungeon, two of the five from Destiny's Edge. A disbanded 5 man team with one hero from each race, effectively GW2's Avengers.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Steam BIG PICTURE - Best idea ever?

Today I opened steam to be greeted with a banner telling me to opt-into the Steam Big picture update. I clicked the banner to see the below YouTube video. I watched the trailer twice before opting into the Beta. Steam Big Picture is an optimised version of steam designed for arm chair gaming. For many users (like me) this is a firm step in the direction we want to go. My massive PC gaming collection is now part of my living room gaming experience.

(Click read more to continue)

Sunday, 23 September 2012

GW2, still in love.

Guildwars 2 has taken quite a bit of my time. Its a game that I have instantly taken to and so far I haven't encountered anything that irritates me. This is a highly subjective thing to say but so far it's close to a perfect game for me. So much so that I haven't even logged into another MMO (LotRO) since GW2 was launched (Something I intend to correct this weekend)

There are lots of thing about GW2 that I could praise but one thing that just sticks as a stroke of genius is that the game has no structured quests past a main story line. As you explore the content there are event that can happen at any time (kill the thing, collect the thing, save the thing) as tasks to complete (help the villager by  killing enemies, gathering resources or destroying stuff for them)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

I want my film to be interactive

The other day I found myself wondering if video games would be the last medium to be created. It is certainly the youngest by far, with comics being just over a 100 years old (this is very debatable, I know), and the oldest recorded being written fiction, though I would guess music far predates this. I was trying to think of what would possibly supersede games, but be it 3D goggles or holographic rooms, they would still be games.

Then I played Dear Esther, and it occurred to me that the next medium will be an offshoot of games, in much the same way that comics is an offshoot of art and novels. Dear Esther is a “game” in which you traverse a hauntingly beautiful island, whilst the character you are playing monologues the journey. It is left the the player to piece together the story from visual clues and what the character says. Let me be clear, there are no gameplay mechanic, aside from being able to move about (the game is view in first person). No puzzles to solve, no enemies to shoot, heh no blocks to move, hell you can’t even jump.

He is not the hero to save us, which is good

I have just finished Fallout New Vegas, and I have come to the conclusion that being the hero is boring.I really liked New Vegas because, even if you are being a good guy, which I was, it is still full of backstabbing, double crossing seedy character. And thats why I liked it. Hell I prefer Mass Effect 2 to 3, as in 3 you are the hero everyone is pinning your hopes on, whereas in 2 nobody trusts you, and you are essentially working for the bad guys. Looking back this is true of most of my favourite games.

Perhaps this is why I never took to Fallout 3, the game starts you off with pure intentions, the search for your father. Whereas New Vegas starts (minor spoiler) with you getting shot in the head. Of course there have been games I have loved were the story hasn’t been, humm murky, but I enjoy them for the game play not the story, Halo being a good example. Even something like Half-Life 2 has you fighting with the downtrodden against a totalitarian alien influenced government in a crumbling world. Compare these tales to Mass Effect 3’s alien invasion, and ME3 comes off for the worse.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Guildwars Vs Guildwars 2: screen shots

I have played very little of Guildwars 2 since launch. so far I can tell you that Guildwars 2 is everything I expected it to be and is a true sequel in every way. It's a very good game. The joy of the game has been overshadowed so far as I have spent most of my time going back and forth between GW1 and GW2 comparing locations, thankfully you can log into both a once so its been quite easy. This passing distraction has brought a real sense of place to some of the locations. I've been able to get to places like Lions Arch with relative ease making the gratification quite instant.

Each picture below is linked to a full resolution version if you click. GW1 will always be on top and GW2 below (unless stated otherwise.) Without further introduction I present for your viewing pleasure the new and old worlds of Guildwars.

Firstly the character select menu, not a massive innovation here but they both match the look and feel of the respective games and both a are clean and functional. Notice the GW2 menu shows progression and achievement detail of the upper right where GW1 shows a shop link. I have substantially more Character slots in GW1 but this is after four expansions so I can't really complain.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Is it too soon to declare a mmo winner?

I suppose I better write about Guild Wars 2 then. I have had the game a few days now so I am happy to say that, for the most part, it seems to fulfills my hopes. They seem to have done a fantastic job of going through mmo's with a fine tooth comb and removing or significantly diminishing all the little things about mmo's that annoy you. You can quick travel as much as you want, your character is very customisable, you never need to return the a person once an event is done, hell you can send mail at any point. All this makes for a very smooth enjoyable game, with little to nothing to stop you from having fun.

That is not to say it is not without some of the expected trappings. The combat is active, fun and varied, but you are still essentially pressing number keys to activate skills. Where it differences itself, is that it gives you more an more options. Each weapon sets have 6 skills, and you can swap between the two more or less any time you want. Every class must have a healing spell and as you level you get up to 4 more abilities to put on your bar. However there are dozens of skills you could put on the bar so there is plenty of scope to build your character. There is a dodge mechanic, and a knocked down mechanic similar to Borderland’s. All this adds up to an enjoyable, if not quite original, experience.