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Comic for: May 6th, 2004
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Guild Wars: "Ostracizing the Community"
Posted: Thursday May 6th, 2004 by

No. Not really. I was more implying that 3/5 of the mmog community thrives on the leveling treadmill, whether they like it or not. Basically I'm saying, our skill has been bred out of us, to an extent.

Our skill, the very thing that made us gamers, has been replaced by a need to achieve. That need to achieve finds us grinding out levels in an endless attempt to be uber.

That's not true of all people (notice the 3/5), so try not to get too offended.

It's just that, when I read Gamespot's recent visit to the Guild Wars game, my first response to the words "skill-based" made me say "Uh oh!"

For those of you that are somewhat confused, a "skill-based" game is one where you are reliant soully on your ability to make tactical decisions and actually PLAY the game. The game does not press you to kill a non stop flood of creatures in order to acquire level and lewt.

Imagine if you will picking one of 6 "professions" where each profession has its own individual strengths and weaknesses. Now you, knowing that you're going to fight one class, rather than one of the others, must pick and choose a handful of skills, out of you vast array of abilities, to use against that foe. When fighting one profession, you may choose one group of abilities. When you're fighting a different profession, you may choose seperate set of abilities. The whole game henges on YOUR ability to choose the proper skills for each situation.

Sure, treadmill games like everquest have certain similarities wherein you're somwhat limited in the number of abilties you can truly use in combat. But the truth of the matter is, if you've got sufficient level, and uber goodies, you can survive the conflict despite coming with the absolute WRONG spells memmed.

Hell, games that didn't start off that way, have pretty much ended that way. And even my new favorite game, World of Warcraft, is built on the same premice. Lewt and level = the power to own.

All that being said, imagine coming face to face with another intellgient individual, not an NPC but a real person on the other end of that graphical facade. You have but a moment to pick 8 skills out of 40 to wage war against this person. Do you grab your most powerful? Or do you load up on fast effective skills? Or do you know the very skills that will exploit every weakness you can think of for your opponents class?

Skill based games are GREAT when they're handled correctly. But I give the game about 5 days after release before the vast majority of their player base begins crying foul (read: whining about class balance). I'd be willing to bet that response will be evident long before release. You'll see it scattered all over the web as soon as the doors to beta are open.

Beyond all my supposition and blather, I'd like to comment on the absolute beauty of the game, based on what I've seen so far. It's caught somewhere between the 3D realism of EQ2 and the vivid color, interesting models, and exquisite landscapes of WoW. Meaning? It really has my attention.

The game info, and hints at playing innovation has me intrigued as well. I encourage you all to head over to the Guild Wars website, if you haven't already, to give it a look.


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Sidebar:

Since someone asked what happened to the Gamer Girls, I was inspired to use them rather than doing another comic with Woody and Ted this week or drawing random devs in a variation of the joke.

Other than that, the gamer chick in the hat is wearing yet another nifty little number I saw at Split Reason: the Mushroom Hat

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