Carlos (tallon29) wrote,

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Guild Wars Free World Preview Event this weekend.

Gamespy has a huge preview up.

In my opinion, many of the ideas in place in Guild Wars make the concept of "level grinding" feel obsolete; since you can max out your character, level-wise, relatively quickly, the focus is on actually playing the game, instead of going through repeated processes that may or may not make it enjoyable in the long run.

And an excerpt from an older preview:

In short, the game isn't about how buffed your character is or how much armor and lewt you've collected. It's a game about fast tactics and teamplay, either against computer-controlled monsters or other players. As a result, intense games of guild-vs.-guild combat feel a little more like games of Quake clan arena, old-school TeamFortress, or Counter-Strike: matches move quickly and the teams with a plan quickly overcome uncoordinated mobs of players.

We saw this in action by testing one of the new guild-vs.-guild maps the team had just created using the new beach and jungle environment. High above a turbulent shore where waves exploded against rocky cliffs, two stone fortresses faced one another with a narrow strip of land and a couple of bridges between them. The object was to kill the other team's Lord, who lurked in the back of the fortress. A few NPCs added a little flavor to the mix. In the center of the map sat a forge and a grove: if you brought your team's armorer to the forge, he'd boost your team's armor for as long as he remained there. If you grabbed your team's druid and took her to the grove, she would boost your team's magical regeneration rate. The two teams also had a couple of NPC thieves who were used to open the enemy's gates if you could get them that close. The stage thus set, the red guild and the blue guild (naturally) fought to the death!

Team tactics ruled the day. Establishing control of the center of the map so you could enjoy armor and magic bonuses was the first order of business. Teams that held back until they could attack en masse were also way more successful than those who charged forward in ones and twos. A couple of strong fighters, backed by a healer and a necromancer or two and boosted with beneficial spells, were absolutely devastating when working together.

Team tactics were also augmented by individual decisions. My test character was a necromancer/warrior, but given the composition of my team, prior to the fight I chose to go into battle with mostly warrior skills and stats and only a few necromancer spells. Depending on the battlefield situation I could adjust my tactics accordingly -- if we were on the defensive while waiting for reinforcements I used my longbow to attack while casting slowing spells on the attackers, sometimes from within the safety of our own walls. When we went on the offensive I switched to melee weapons where I could use a couple devastating fighter skills to finish off opponents. Because warrior was only my subclass and I was as good as dogmeat if outnumbered, I would often linger just behind the main attack wave then split off to single out an enemy healer to remove her from play.

Decisions like this were made in the heat of battle, during intense combat that ebbed and flowed across the map. Guild Wars is more of an action or strategy game than your typical slow-moving online RPG. It's going to attract a whole new audience. And it's a breath of fresh air -- a new type of game in an industry that's glutted by sequels.

You can download the installer (90kb) here.

In other news, as a Cardinals fan, the </season> couldn't have been more disappointing.
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