So if you have been reading my previous post, you know by now that I had a blast this weekend with the GW2 BWE2. The second area where GW2 is really doing it to me (on top of Content/Leveling, which is covered in the previous post) is the combat system. Just like with the leveling experience, I had a lot to learn before getting to fully appreciate it. And I believe that I am still far from utilizing all of its promise yet.
In GW2 you have a mix of dynamic elements to combat which makes it suitable for the intelligent player (not necessarily me ;)). Sure you can jump into the game and win. But to master it you will need to apply strategy and coordination. Here is why.
1. Weapon, profession and racial skills
Skills allow you to play in various ways. There is definitely thought behind the skills, and just striking your keys whenever a skill is available is not quite the optimum path for win. There are situations where your skills will provide a better tool during a fight, and as described below they depend a ton on position and cooperation! Moreover, each profession has a different mechanics unique just for it. As a guardian it took me a whole weekend to understand the proper use and thus the great benefit of invoking my virtues in the proper timing.
2. Alternate weapon
Another interesting aspect of the combat system is how much you get better as a player when you start utilizing both weapons during a fight (where most professions get that capability). Just because weapon skills are so different in concept and intent, having both available (with some cool-down) is a tremendous advantage if you are skilled enough to use it. For instance you may find in one weapon set a port-to-enemy skill that could be saving you a support skill slot. Then you may find a great opener in one of your weapons sets with a long timer, after which you may be switching to your main set for that scenario. Moreover, as described below, you can even use combos that way (haven’t tried that myself though).
3. Enemy ground area markings
Then there are the positional elements of the combat. This is very straight forward as you will notice where NOT to stand when the enemy is targeting a mass of land below your feet. I found this element great as often I had to be alert during combat. Yet I didn’t have to move all of the time, as action combat may take me in other games. So it was a good mix – without the frantic movement. Being alert constantly gave at least me the right sensation of difficulty.
5. Skill combos-
And the cream of the crop are the cross profession combos (see link). This is how GW2 is reinventing the combat system for me. Its positional and cooperative to the max. I think that its just that people have not really dived into it and experimented enough with it. Heck I haven’t either. But from the minimal experience I have – this is a great new system.
As a player you can initiate an opener field (one of 9 types) and either me or another player if standing inside that area, can use a finisher (one of 5 types) that interacts with my field. With different skills for both fields and finishers for each class, and different types of interactions/results. It makes you think, coordinate and strategize. Now even if you are with a bunch of strangers, you are going to be a ton more effective if you pay attention to the ground, evade as detailed above, but also land where it could benefit the group.
Overall, with all of the above, GW2 has a great balance of innovative action combat which rely on timing, situations, position and cooperation! Please leave here your insights and opinions, as we all have a ton to learn here.