Guild Wars 2 Beta: A new and refreshing take on MMORPGs
Innovation is hard to find in games; taking a risk is even harder to find. ‘Guild Wars 2’ finds a way to do both successfully, creating something unique and, more importantly, a ton of fun.
While still rough around the edges for its first beta weekend event, the idea and foundation are very solid.
The “Guild Wars 2” beta allows the choice between three out of the five playable races in the main game. One immediate difference from other MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying games) is that every race can be any of the eight different classes in game. The race that you pick will determine your personal story, starting area and a few race specific skills.
What “Guild Wars 2” does really well is give players a world they’ll want to explore. You’ll find hidden skill points to unlock new skills, or unique dynamic events. Dynamic events are best explained as random quests that everyone in the world can take part in, and sometimes have pass or fail options. Maybe a town will be under an attack, or a high-level creature will spawn and will take a ton of people to kill.
Combat is another thing that is different than other games in its genre. There aren’t tanks, healers or DPS (damage per second) like you would see in “World of Warcraft.” Instead, everyone has their own ability to heal and you get a dodge roll that will help you avoid damage. Combat is very frantic and dodging and using the right skills at the right time are the only way you’ll be able to defeat some of the stronger enemies in the game.
The one issue with combat is that using range weapons seems to be favorable over melee combat. Standing close to an enemy is always a risk, and you can be taken out so fast. Hopefully, they’ll be able to balance this better and everyone is not forced to use range weapons. This would break the ability to choose how you play, on which the game is focused heavily.
Another disappointing thing about the beta is that many high-end PCs were having trouble playing it. While ArenaNet promises that optimization for frame rate is on the list to be fixed, it was a little disheartening that the big battles with 50 or more people would make the game slow to a crawl.
“Guild Wars 2” is looking very promising, especially for the first beta weekend. It’ll be up to ArenaNet to respond to fan feedback and make sure the game delivers on its lofty promises.
But if you’re looking for something new and unique, keep an eye out for “Guild Wars 2.”
T FOR TEEN
Diablo 3: A slice of heaven and hell
Among PC gamers, Blizzard Entertainment is known for its extremely popular role-playing games. “Diablo 3” is the sequel to one of the fastest-selling PC games in history and will be released soon. An open beta weekend was held near the end of April and provided fans with a lot to be happy with, despite a few niggling issues.
When the game is available on May 15, players will have a choice between five different classes, each with their own unique style. The monk can move quickly and strike multiple foes with martial arts, while the wizard prefers to stay at range using elemental magic. They all feel well-balanced and will keep players wanting to increase their character’s level far past beta caps, which is only level 13.
Maybe one of the biggest concerns from longtime fans was the removal of many of the complex systems from “Diablo 2,” which included stats and skill points while leveling. Instead, everything is streamlined with automatic stat increases and the ability to gain every skill in the game. This puts the emphasis on what skills you want to use, the runes that modify each skill and how well you use them. It works great; skills are fun to use and combat is fast and fluid.
The few issues the beta had related to the ability to get into the game with the mass amount of people logging onto the server. This also extended to playing when massive frame drops would sometimes hit at certain areas in the game. Blizzard has said that the open beta was designed to see the stress on the servers, to help ensure a smoother release.
One thing players should keep in mind if they are big PvP (player vs. player) fans: “Diablo 3” will not launch with any form of it. The arena for PvP will not launch until a later date, so if this is a reason for wanting “Diablo 3,” some fans will be sorely disappointed
But “Diablo 3” does have a lot going for it. The combat feels great, enemies are varied and it’s fun to play with friends. The streamlined approach gets rid of many of the frustrating mechanics from “Diablo 2,” and everything just feels good.
GENRE ACTION RPG (INTERNET REQUIRED)
M FOR MATURE
PLATFORM PC, MAC
DEVELOPER BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT
And the winner is…
Both “Diablo 3” and “Guild Wars 2” have fantastic ideas and gameplay.
They are both very streamlined RPGs that provide the idea of playing with others, both combat systems are really fun and they both have frame-rate issues that have yet to be optimized for high-end PCs.
If you could only choose one, go with the more innovative and unique game: “Guild Wars 2.”