or: That in which Tigerfeet goes all moony-eyed over heavily speculated game design concepts.
I was reading an article recently when a sentence jumped out at me:
How the hell are we supposed to know where to go unless someone with the necessary qualifications (ie. an exclamation mark) shoves us in the right direction? ‘Explore,’ whispers the new-wave MMO developer exotically.
I immediately had flashbacks to the ‘olden days’ in vanilla WoW when I was leveling my first-ish character, Coal the Druid. I was moving along at a pretty decent clip until I got into my twenties. This, for all you non-WoW-druid players is when the baby druid is blessed with cat form.
Cat form comes with a new, exciting, and (for someone like me) dangerous ability: Stealth. I could now sneak through the bushes, slip past guards, and generally get into places in which I had no business being. Inevitably this resulted in hours spent sneaking around mobs half again my level to see how far into enemy territory I could get or to see what exactly was on the top of that mountain and weather or not I could reach it.
Remember where I said hours? My gaming time for an evening would usually end with me dying in a hail of fury at the hands of an enemy whose level I could not see (on account of my in-game eyes being too inexperienced to accurately judge skill), resurrecting, limping back to an inn, and logging off for the night with no added experience, gold, or items to my name.
This urge for exploration, this noodling around and getting into places that I shouldn’t is something I can’t ignore. It’s like I’m under a geis to get no progressive gameplay done until every nook and cranny has been investigated.
Thus I come to the promise of Guild Wars 2. The only bread crumb trail we have is our personal storyline. While I’m confident that it will offer players as much hand-holding as anyone could wish, I also know that it won’t take me long to become distracted and wander off. One moment I’m helping round up some victims for a charr cattlepult, and the next Krallkatorik is wondering what this flea is doing wandering about lost in his Crystal Desert.
It’s inevitable. I will get into an area that I shouldn’t. In Guild Wars 2, as opposed to a more traditional game like World of Warcraft, all will not be lost.
Now, this is where some speculation comes into play so bear with me.
Thanks to the sidekicking system, when I do wander into that ‘higher-than-thou’ area, I won’t be instantly consigned to a fate that ends with me a red spatter on the ground. I will be at a definite disadvantage as I lack the traits and the gear that I would have were I level-appropriate for the area, but in terms of my base stats I would still have a fighting chance. Additionally, I would still be getting experience, and an evening’s adventure would net me more tangible rewards than only a feeling of comfort that every rock has been peeked under would afford.
Thinking about possibilities like this kindles anew my excitement for Guild Wars 2. I, like I’m sure many of the other people eagerly awaiting this game, have suffered from burnout and general malaise. When such a feeling hits I don’t try to fight it, I just turn away and do something else (lately I’ve been playing League of Legends). It is, however, a real treat when something crops up that reminds me why I’m looking forward to this game with such starry-eyed anticipation.
What about you? Have you suffered from when-is-it-coming-out-itis? What has snapped you out of it, even temporarily?