Ok, enough corny shenanigans. Let’s get down to business, I’ve waited too long to post this. Thanks to the powers that be (aka Arenanet, aka the provider for our Guild Wars 2 info addiction) have graciously dropped the embargo on the leaked GDC videos containing gameplay for the norn intro, the guardian and the thief professions.
The Guardian has been a released profession for months now, but the most we’ve seen or heard, gameplay-wise, is from the skill videos, leaving most of the feel of the profession to our imagination.
Now, for those who know me, well…at all, know I am a big purveyor of anything guardian or Norn. No, I did not play monk in GW1 and I’m not now looking for an alternative to the loss of the profession (in fact I played a ranger primarily). No I’m not someone who necessarily needs to feel “Lawful Good” (not that I mind, it is valiant in its own right). I’m just a guy who wants to help people, bust through the front lines and control the battlefield. I like the idea of the warrior, what with his high armor and high damage, but don’t feel like just merely wading into battle hacking-and-slashing to get people’s attention and gain aggro. I find that limitation grabs the attention better (speaking of wards). If you CAN’T do something when you normally should, you want to find out why.
With this said, I was a tad disappointed with the guardian showoff, mostly due to my unrealistic expectation that they would be able to show me everything I dreamed of. I understand now that 1)they had limited time and were showing all of the norn intro stuff, which I still thoroughly enjoyed, and 2) They were starting at low level areas where any character would have limited skills/skill bar. I get it, its fine. But this means I’ll just have to wait for PAX East to roll around and for gameplay videos to pop up on youtube (which I will promptly post some, should there be any exquisite gems out there). Hopefully they will have a higher level area for the norn, like the charr area in other videos that were around the mid 40s.
I did enjoy the whole norn intro and beginning Norn personal story. At this point, I feel the norn are a bit predictable in attitude. What with Norn Week over with and that whole tidbit concerning the norn and legacy and how a norn would pick a totem spirit, should they want to choose a specific path. That article also gave an excellent view of norn society as a whole and how its not necessarily tolerance of others’ viewpoints that exists, but rather respecting one to follow one’s own virtues and be consistent with their beliefs, given they aren’t viewed as a threat to the norn race as a whole, the totem spirits, or any lodge. Anyway, back to the video. It showed us an aspect of the norn I do not believe we have seen before: what basically is a rite of passage. This is the perfect beginning to a racial story that relies entirely on earning glory and esteem. Period.
The 2 Thief videos were pretty standard. They did a good job of showing off different aspects of the general combat, such as being downed, as well as some of the more “thief-y” aspects, such as certain skills (Leaping Death Blossom), the initiative mechanic, and the stealing mechanic (no, there’s no need to take up a space on your skill bar). Initiative combined with the free movement system, where you can even cast while moving, that allows motion and dodging to be a major part of combat, along with the subterfuge of stealth (with backstab) and sneaking around, give you many paths to defeating your foe, all of which encompass the true iteration of what it means to be a thief and was what a true assassin would be able to do. No longer do you have to just trust you are “blocking” the attacks.
Thieving. Now thats an interesting idea. This allows you to steal a set of powers (via using the stolen item) and use them against the enemy. Some heal, some blind, some deal damage. There are endless possibilities for various situations, since theres no telling what possible items you could get or what you will be able to do with them. This allows the thief to be more than just an assassin descendant.
Thieving may prompt you to ask, “Does this mean thieves will be able to farm easier/more productively than other professions?” Fret not, you don’t seem to be able to keep items nor do they seem to effect you more than just your skills/temporary abilities. Thus, all items are not really “items” that go in your inventory. It works more like when you drop a carried ritualist item and it carries out its dropped effects.