Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Games: Guild Wars 2, First Impressions


In a previous post I mentioned that I would talk about Guild Wars 2. But I figured I would do that a little early, and go a little beyond the game as well. Maybe explain a few things about these games in general and my perspective around them as a casual girl gamer.
If nothing else, for the off chance that I give a little insight to people who simply don't understand girl gamers and what we really like in a game. And I don't mean 'gamer' girls. Which I'll explain later.

First, I would like to mention that a very dear friend has patiently taught me the ropes on a number of games since the beginning of this year. Only the latest of which has been Guild Wars 2. He got me playing it in the beta form, on up to the time of this posting after release.

His understanding on exactly how to introduce me to a game has come both from knowing how I think, and trial and error. (He would like me to point out here that I was not forced into being a healer on any game he introduced me to, just because he needed one. Which is a good point, selfish reasons are not how you keep someone interested in a game.. or otherwise.)

So some of this post, or future posts, will be a little insight on how to bring a none 'gamer' friend into a 'gamers' game, which is typically the mmo type.
Also to go along with that, I'll have a little information on the Guild Wars 2 and my experience with it so far. Obviously.

A Gamer 'Gamer' Perspective.

I have always considered myself a gamer. Yet I know that I am not a 'gamer'.
And 'gamers' know the difference between the two. So maybe I am a 'gamer' after all...
Lets just say I'm a work in progress.

I'm not exactly new to games, I grew up playing Zelda as mentioned in previous posts. So in that sense, yes, I am a gamer. But my goal is simply to play them and relax, have fun, or to get lost in a story I can really get into. And a world that translates well into that story. Or to run away from chickens... yeah.
And that is with no serious effort behind it. No killing hundreds of monsters just to get to some uninteresting side story that really has no basis in the plot at all, just for some trinket item. I do not find any value in that at all. So I'm not a 'gamer' girl.
If that makes sense.

Playing MMO feels like...

In contrast to this blog post, I typically do not find mmo's interesting enough to keep me playing for very long. I have tried a few out on my own, and others with a friend to guide me. Such as Star Wars both of them, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings (I still play that sometimes), and a number of smaller free to play mmo's.
In either case, very few hold my interest. Usually the reasons for that overshadow any benefits or enjoyment I get from the game.

Don't get me wrong, It's not that I don't like the idea of mmo's. In fact the most fun I have in a game like this is when I am doing things with people I care about. And that makes the effort of playing a bit more worth it. It puts the work in context and provides that sense of collaboration and group dynamics. And then it clicks for me.. almost.

With Guild Wars 2, there we're some distractions at first, At the beginning there was a short introduction that got a bit crazy for me. Apparently the goal is trying to throw players into a story plot with conflict being a theme that introduces characters in the story. And teach players how to do combat stuff. Which is fine for what it is.

The first battle was a lot of enemies doing things I didn't understand, at all.
And then giant hands doing things I understood even less. Meanwhile having to fight popups that are supposed to be helping, but only getting in the way. As if I can read that while I'm being hit by flying things. So I just shook my head and pressed my skill buttons and hoped it helped.
I learned nothing from that short experience really. Except that giant hands exist under ground. For no apparent reason.

After that however, things calm down a bit. There are less distractions taking away from actually learning how things work. But it still doesn't hurt to have a friend that explains things along the way.

On the plus side there are a few good things about the world that really helps keep me interested.

One reason being that you don't have quests like some mmo's. Well you do, but it's more like events that just happen in the world that everyone interacts with. And you can choose to help other players near that area, or not.
So the work seems more fluid and it feels closer to roaming a world and exploring it.
Very different from checking boxes and accepting rewards at preset locations. Like other games.

Another nice thing about the game is that there are no over complications with the story.
You have story plots that go into an area that is only for your character. But you can still invite friends if they are in the same party, and area, at the same time. They also get benefits for helping, like.. I'll call them purple points because I forgot the name. What matters is they typically buy really good items at special locations. (lol This isn't some pro review, this is just my perspective. So hush :P)

Social Aspects.

One problem I find with a lot of mmo games is that I don't get a sense of social control.
I don't mean friend lists. Rather I'm talking about visuals, clothing, things that set your personality without effecting how you play the game. Some mmo games have more options than others, but most leave me wanting more. But not delivering on that front.

Guild Wars 2 is no exception here. The basic character creation is good to start with. I could actually make a character close enough to myself. But I think I got lucky with that. I was still expected more options after getting into the game. Which I'm sure there are, eventually, maybe.
If so it isn't obvious to me, which effect how I see the game on a first impression.

In this Guild Wars we are given 2 sets of clothing. One for towns, and one for playing the game and venturing out in the world. Which is 90% of the game. But in order to change clothing you have to go through a menu or two, and click a button each time you enter a door.
So when you choose to wear something, it's obvious it's just showing off.
Defeats the purpose entirely.

What really irks me is that I can buy visual clothing that I payed for in the shop, with paypal, but even then I am not able to use it 90% of the time. Because it's only visible in towns. That is completely useless since we spend very little time there anyhow. At least so far. And that is only if you remember to turn it on. So it is at most a type of special event clothing. I don't know if I'll spend money on something I'll rarely use.

However from what I'm told, there are eventually ways you can make your armor take another visual shape using a tool you can buy in the shop. But I'm told this does not apply to town clothing.

I'll put it in a real world perspective.
To me this is like going to a Kohl's clothing store, finding a cute outfit, and being told I can only wear it in my house. Although I can pay another free to change my outdoor clothing into another outdoor clothing style. Only I'll soon be needing better outdoor clothing anyway. So I'll have to either buy them again, or die in style because I refuse to use new armor after just paying for a certain look.

This makes no sense from a business aspect either. But I won't go into too much detail there.
Except to say that it turns into less sales. Because it feels like a scam instead of more sales because I want that new outfit.

So I'm hoping that changes soon. Or perhaps my understanding of it is limited. I am still early in the game after all. Still, even this soon, it's dropping the game's fun points.

And yes I know 'gamers' don't really care about that stuff. But that's the point of this post, I'm not a 'gamer'. I'm just a girl who would like to find one of these games that makes me happy to play for various reasons. Not just because a friend or two play it. And I think there are a lot of people like that out there.

Overall Thoughts on Guild Wars 2.

In the end, Guild Wars 2 is still fun, even for me.
I plan on playing, and blogging, about it more in the future.
And again it's still early on in the game for me.
It's the first impression that matters sometimes. And that is the impression I got.

1 comment:

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