With barely a day remaining until Guild Wars 2 finally launches, I’m actually struggling to concentrate. Something I have begun to wonder though, after Guild Wars 2 vs. Metacritic, was what people feel Guild Wars 2 will fall down on when it does actually come to being reviewed.
I’ll freely admit that I’ve found it incredibly difficult to think of what to criticize Guild Wars 2 for, especially in the face of other MMOG's actually on the market. When I did sit down to write out a list of issues, I stared at a blank page for an hour before writing “minus icon on trait screen”. Not quite what I had in mind when really attempting to find fault.
Having thought about this topic for a little longer (all week actually) I’ve barely added anything additional to the list as most are so incredibly minor or have already been acknowledged by ArenaNet I’m unsure if they are even worth mentioning.
There are some complaints I here regularly so I’ve decided to list them below and include my own thoughts. In the grand scheme of things however these appear tragically minor in comparison to what I’ve encountered in other MMOG’s. The key difference here is I don’t feel most of these issues, because they are so minor, would see me reduce my mark for Guild Wars 2.
Field of View
What I find most interesting about this is how far do people actually want to zoom out or how much do they want to see? ArenaNet have already stated this won’t ever change, to ensure the game feels “actiony”. I personally think the camera is great and provides a plentiful viewing angle while allowing the action the really feel punchy though I appreciate that this is entirely personal preference. I know of many players who love to play with a fish-eye type viewing angle with the camera zoomed completely out.
Only one PvP mode
I can appreciate that some people might feel aggrieved about this, based on the fact they are used to differing types in other MMOG’s (such as Capture the Flag) but what ArenaNet are attempting to create is a balanced PvP system that they can build on. With 4 structured PvP maps for launch, all of which are brilliant, they will no doubt expand from here but with how much fun Control Point matches are (it really does add much needed focus) I’m happy to have just this. Saying that, I am a fan of murder-ball type matches where an individual has to hold onto an object for a large period of time that damages them the longer they hold it, in order to score points.
No “-“on the trait window
This speaks for itself really, but it can be annoying to experiment with builds only having to reset all of them because you’ve gone one point too far. If we’ve got a plus, why not a minus?
This has improved vastly in the last couple of patches but I still feel that more information could be provided to the player. Casting times, total damage or healing figures updated based on your attributes as well as clearer range notification (blacking the skill out when out of range would be much more useful) would be a welcome addition.
I can be frustrating in structured PvP to not be able to quickly change and save your builds. ArenaNet have already clarified this position stating they are working on it, but for the mean time it is tedious having to reset traits and gear during every change.
Guild Wars 2 isn’t friendly to MMOG beginners. My brother will merrily attest to that as a virgin to the genre. It’s confusing, absolutely overwhelming and lacks even a simple tutorial (the starter area really isn’t one). What I find interesting here though, is in spite of generic tips that appear to help the player, ArenaNet chose to implement an excellent starting area for the Mists and yet chose not to for the game. Considering new players will have no idea what the Mists is or even how to get there, why isn’t there the equivalent at the beginning of the game before you even get to a starting area? This to me is Guild Wars 2’s biggest floor and I’m hoping that come launch they’ve rectified this if they are truly wanting to reach out to a wider audience.
Lack of First Person View
There’s little more I could add to this. ArenaNet, please implement it! Screenshots demand it!
No Custom Addons
I praise the old gods every time I hear anyone complaining about the lack of addons in Guild Wars 2. I absolutely cannot stand them in any form and I consider that if addons are necessary, the developers have failed in their jobs at creating a workable and intuitive user interface. With changes still being added to the UI (such as the recent screen splash when you are dazed or stunned) it can only continue to improve though it is already great. An ability to move existing windows and independent resize them, similar to Warhammer Online would however be very welcome.
Ranger Pet Woes
In over 12 months I’ve seen only incremental improvements to the pet AI. It has gotten better in recent weeks but is still far, far below where it should be. If a profession is entirely reliant on AI to function it has to be absolutely perfect (or not far from) and yet despite ArenaNet’s polish in so many other areas and as a relatively old profession in terms of development it’s disappointing to be one day away from launch and it still have issues.
The guild interface really isn’t a pleasure to use and isn’t intuitive. A complete overhaul would be more than welcome and a return to Guild Wars 1’s simplicity really wouldn’t do it any harm. Removing unnecessary information and making key tools easily accessible would be very welcome.
This list might look rather frightening (there are many more) but the nature of MMOG's and vast investment needed means they have to launch at some stage and if it takes only a couple of patches to rectify all the above (which I've no doubt it will) we would surely be on for a record of some sort.
What I am keen to hear however is what are your biggest concerns and do you think your rating of Guild Wars 2 would be harmed because of them?