Lots of game designers like to talk about innovation. And then the game comes out and it’s another space marine shooter. And the innovative bit is that the horrible vehicle section is a hovertank instead of just a regular tank.
But when the folks at ArenaNet talk about making something new, I think they really mean it. Just about every other MMO developer out there is spending their funding on tickets to the “Be the Next World of Warcraft” lottery. But these people have scorned that well-traveled path and have basically walked off the edge of the map. I have no idea where they’ll end up.
Their design manifesto plagiarizes the secret design document I have written in my heart, in which I enumerate all the things I wish an online game could give me. It’s an MMO game without a monthly fee. You just buy it, and own it. They’re promising to get rid of the grind. More action-oriented combat. The ability for a lone character to impact the perceived gameworld. Seamless cooperation with other players without needing to form groups and share quests. Ongoing, dynamic events in the open world. And a distinct art style.
I realize it sounds like I’ve gone all hype and fanboy on you. I apologize for my complete lack of bitter cynicism. To be fair, I didn’t even like the original Guild Wars all that much. But these are unprecedented times. It’s been years since anyone has really rolled the dice like this, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Shamus Young is the guy behind Twenty Sided, DM of the Rings, and Stolen Pixels, Shamus Plays, and Spoiler Warning. And none of that is his day job.