I've been waiting for Guild Wars 2 for a long, long time. I've never waited for anything as long and anxiously as I have Guild Wars 2. For me, Guild Wars 2 was a godsend, a game made with me in mind. If I could make a game all by myself (that couldn't include future technologies like a holodeck) it would be Guild Wars 2. Although, to be honest, the name is kind of cheesy. I hate it when people just add 2 onto a title. It feels lazy. I'm looking at you as well Borderlands 2. For that matter, practically every sequel ever made.
I am not implying it's the PERFECT game for YOU. This game is perfect for me. Maybe, you happen to like what I like. You can figure that part out on your own. I will definitely be talking more about Guild Wars 2 in future blogs, but for now, let me escort you through my feelings on character Aesthetics.
I have this beautiful character. She is, as you will see in screenshot I offer, a goddess of loveliness. I'm sure she'll just spam skills that visually look pretty similar to each other right? I mean, a lot of games give you a generic animation for casting or swinging a certain type of weapon, and that just follows through, a lot of that in the MMO world. For instance, the original Guild Wars. Yup if my ritualist was creating a spirit the animation for every spirit was the same animation,every time I fired my wand it looked the same. Swinging a sword while using a sword skill looked like swinging a sword while not using a sword skill. At least in most cases. Surely, Guild Wars 2 will follow this same convention.
WRONG. Every animation for each skill is carefully crafted to be a visual masterpiece of the skills intent. If I cast a healing spell as my mesmer it's going to look entirely different based on the specific healing skill used. There's a reason for this, Guild Wars 2 is far more active and mobile, and in the moment. They also changed up the party bar, so that you aren't able to watch your friends health in tiny little bars. You cannot play Guild Wars 2 and micromanage stats at the same time. You'll be needing those hands, to you know, actually do something. Cooperation, because of this, requires a lot of visual communication. If you throw down a wall of fire, people need to know it. So what you get are some beautiful animations showing just that sort of thing.
Here's a tiny little detail I found to be simply charming with the animations too. When you're running alongside someone, and you click on their character, if they go to the side or behind you, your character will look over their should slightly for a few moments as they come in and out of a certain range. Your character actually checks on your friends, just the way you might look behind you to make sure one of your friends is keeping up as you run from the neighbor who's house you just toilet papered. It's such a small detail, and it took me nearly two weeks to actually notice it. There's tons of instances of this kind of detail going into Guild Wars 2.
Let's move on to beauty and fashion. I'm a girly girl on the inside where I'm not so much on the out. I want pretty hair, cute clothes, I want the whole aesthetically pleasing package in my video games. Let me say that I am both delighted and a bit disappointed by the options in this range. All the races have their own ways to make them unique and a decent variety of that too for the overall body. The thing that got me a little bummed? The sylvari race, a plant people with a very mystical side, has very few options for hair styles, at least on the female end. It's not that they aren't well done, but compared to other classes options, and how big of a difference hair can make to your character's look, I was disappointed, and the head options weren't as expansive as the human race by any means. Most of the sylvari I could make look like cutouts of other sylvari characters I see. It made me feel less individual while playing this unique race.
As a result, the race I'd hoped to have many, many character slots filled with instead only got one, and I did a lot of facial-slider work to try and make her less homogeneous. Still, hell, lots of games have much weaker character creation systems. Expectations and hopes be damned, it's still pretty impressive.
Pretty clothes? Well that took me a while. Level appropriate specialty gear was, for me at least, until level 30ish, a mismatch of the same three options. considering the leveling curve of GW2, that's not very steep. You level at a pretty even rate. And the dye system, incredibly extensive, can help you keep things looking fresh if you're looking for variety like me. Still, waiting was hard. Once I did get there though, I found so many options I liked, that it seemed impossible to decide on just one. And then, mixing and matching those leads to even more possibilities. Your character can look pretty damn unique, and Guild Wars 2's exceptional artwork cannot be overlooked. At level 71, I look like a Luis Royo painting walking and breathing on the screen. Yeah, I'm hot.
Basically, what I'm saying here, is that Guild Wars 2 goes out of it's way to treat you to a visual fantasy that on it's own is worth every moment of playing the game. Well, at least for me. I can spend hours staring off into the painted skies, muse over
the delicacy of an upward twisting flower staircase. Most of all, I can look at my character and see an expression of myself. She is mine, I made her using the tools given to me by Arena Net. This makes me all the more invested in her, and the other characters I have. This is a part of my enjoyment of the game, because what a lot of people forget in an MMORPG is the RPG element, you can say a lot about who that character is with physical appearance and style. In the process, you'll say a lot about who you are. This is the beauty of a roleplaying game. Temporarily leaving your reality behind to embrace a new one. And the ambitions of this darling girl I've created? Well, to quote Dr. Horrible:
"The world is a mess, and I just... need to.. rule it."
I'll be using her as my launching point for future blogs about my adventures and observations in Guild Wars 2. Maybe if you play, you could drop me a line sometime. She might enter a dangerous dungeon or explore the depths of an underwater river, and since Guild Wars 2 is a social game, I'd love to have you along. Just give Alcyone Chimera a whisper in her ear. First she'll blush, then she'll kick ass.