Thoughts on the Guild Wars 2 Gameplay Footage

There’s a bad habit amongst MMO providers of having a lot of very fancy-looking footage in the early video promotional materials, which turns out to be not at all reflective of the way things look in the actual game. I’m not just talking about cinematic footage versus gameplay footage, either: contrast the spell effects in Warhammer Online’s spectacular cinematic trailer with what we actually get in-game, for example.

This is what struck me while watching the batch of Guild Wars 2 gameplay footage over on, filmed at GamesCom over in Germany; the effects in the game look basically just like those in the trailer. I like this.

The original Guild Wars is one of those games I respect but don’t really like and have never managed to really get into, and I fear that GW2 may fall into the same category. Nevertheless, it’s looking extremely promising, and I think it has a much larger chance to shake up the current state of MMO design than, say, Star Wars: The Old Republic does. SWTOR will be a big hit, make no mistake, and I have faith that it will be a very well-done game, but everything we’ve seen for it so far looks utterly pedestrian, if elaborate – WoW gameplay with Mass Effect-style dialogue laid on top. I have faith that it will be solid, but there’s nothing about it that excites me.

Guild Wars 2 looks fresh, with a whole new content model to explore that, by implication at least, takes the WAR public quest idea about three steps farther. There’s a lot of places where this could fail, of course, starting with failing to live up to expectations, but it’s got promise. And at the very least, somebody appears to be finally trying something really new.

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