Guild Wars 2 Looks To Redefine MMO Mechanics
If you’ve played any MMOs at all, you know that one of the most important things to consider when forming a group is whether or not you have the ‘Holy Trinity’ filled.
If you’ve never played MMOs, I should explain that the ‘Holy Trinity’ is DPS, Tank, and Healer. You pretty much need one (or more) of each of these to be successful, especially in higher level content.
Well, you do in most MMOs. Guild Wars 2 is looking to break that paradigm. In a recent developer article on the official Guild Wars 2 site, game designer Jon Peters kicks off his discussion of the new mechanics with this provocative statement:
“Guild Wars 2 does not have a dedicated healing class. Everyone take a deep breath. It’s going to be OK.”
While this article doesn’t go into massive detail on the mechanics behind the new implementation Guild Wars 2 is using, it does give a good luck at the philosophy behind it. Says Peters,
“Frankly, we don’t like sitting around spamming “looking for healer” to global chat. That feels an awful lot like preparing to have fun instead of having fun.”
So, every class will have the ability to heal. Every class will also be able to resurrect fallen allies, and do so from level 1. There will also be buffs that every class can bestow.
They’ve given tanks a similar treatment, renaming the role to ‘Control.’ In discussing control, they mention spells, roots, knockdowns, and other forms of controlling enemy movement. Nowhere are mechanics like aggro or hate mentioned.
All of this is intended to alleviate the difficulty in forming the “perfect” group, and allow players to get into the action that much quicker. I wonder if this will lead to players deciphering the “best” build that creates the most powerful character,and then forming groups comprised of nothing but that character. We’ll have to wait and see on that.
Another design decision that follows this same intent is the removal of any type of death penalty from the game. There are no debuffs, experience loss, ghost runs, or anything else. If you are dropped in combat, you’ll remain conscious, through prone. You’ll also have access to a few skills, called ‘Downed Skills.’
These skills allow you to continue to fight for your life while you hover at the edge of death. If you kill an enemy while in this state, you’ll rally and return to your feet to continue the fight, much like the “Fight For Your Life” mechanic in Borderlands. Still, if you fail to rally, you can release to a waypoint that you have already discovered on the map.
It’s a far cry from XP loss and losing levels, but the MMO market is far more casual oriented now than it was when Everquest dominated it years ago. It remains to be seen how well this will catch on with MMO players, but one thing is certain: Guild Wars 2 will be a MMO that will be quite different from any we’ve tried before.
If you’re interested, you can read the whole discourse over at the official Guild Wars 2 site.