Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire™ was released a little over week ago, and since then…
3. The World of Tyria is Your Oyster (Guild Wars 2) – Part 3
PLEASE NOTE: SOME OF THE LINKS BELOW MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS.
So we’ve talked about story and setting (Read Part 2 Here) , now to discuss the action of the game, because there wouldn’t be a game without gameplay.
Imagine controlling a character in combat that moves and reacts with the other combatants. Your friend is an Elementalist and they love fire. They start a raging fire between you and the enemy. You’re a Ranger, and you immediately fire a volley of arrows through the flames, which catch fire and inflict burning damage along with the piercing damage. Nearby is a random Guardian player, and they stand behind you and raise a shield that blocks the enemies’ projectiles, guarding you as you keep firing.
The combat plays out just like the player expects it to. The cause and effect makes perfect sense, and the group uses each other’s strengths and weaknesses to full effect. The combat is no longer hack and slash, but a skillful use of the utilities you’re given.
The way you acquire skills has changed in GW2. Instead of chasing down a hundred skills and trying to patch together the best of them, you unlock skills as you play. There are two kinds of “skills” in the game. The weapon skills you unlock automatically as you play, and the skills the player can buy for skill points and swap out for character customization.
Weapon skills are determined for each class and weapon. A ranger’s “greatsword” skillset is different than a warrior’s. Think of these skills (which occupy 5 skill slots on your action bar) as your “fighting style”. Each character class has a set of weapons they can use, and each of these weapons has a style defined for that class. The skills are unlocked as you use the weapon, so with each kill you make, you can do more stylish moves. At level 7 you also unlock the ability to swap weapons during combat, allowing for even more versatility.
The skills you buy with skill points are a little different. They’re called utility skills. As you gather skill points throughout the world you can purchase the utility skills for your class from a tiered list in the interface. The 5 utility skill slots on the action bar are unlocked as your character gains levels, starting with the dedicated “healing” utility slot unlocked at the start, then more unlocking for use at levels 5, 10, 20 and finally an elite at 30. These skills can be mixed and matched to customize your style of play and changed any time you aren’t directly in combat.
There is one more gameplay customization feature, and that’s traits. These are bonuses that make your character lean toward certain “specialties” within their own class. You gain one trait point for each level starting at level 11, and can spend them to increase the attributes of your character’s class. Buying trait books will allow you to unlock the tiers of traits: adept, master, and grandmaster.
This is where the “builds” for each class are really defined. Each trait attribute gives certain bonuses and special “always active” effects. There are many combinations and options, and each will help you create a truly unique character, with their own strengths and weaknesses.
With our next post we’ll be talking about scaling and how it benefits gameplay, as well as the differences between playing with groups or playing solo in a game that’s designed as a community play experience.
Continue onto Part 4 of our Guild Wars 2 extended review.