Targeting and the single Guild Wars 2 player

Upcoming games fall into four categories for me:

  1. DO WANT. Already sold on the game, just waiting for it to be released. Will probably follow the hype, start thinking about the lore and what sort of character I might want to play, friend the game on facebook etc. (This would be where SWTOR and DA2 and Diablo 3 fit in.)
  2. NOT INTERESTED. Not if it was the last game in the world. Maybe just not my style (shooter), not my genre (military) or has managed to irritate me with screenshots or hype already (TERA).
  3. NEED TO KNOW MORE. Could be interesting. Good chance I will try it when available, if I have time. Probably planning to wait for reviews or beta impressions from other people. Not really bothering to read all the hype for a line by line interpretation though.
  4. UNDER THE RADAR. Don’t know much but could be a sleeper hit.

Guild Wars 2 is a solid #3 for me. Everything I have heard or seen of it sounds interesting, but GW never really grabbed me and I have a few reservations about the sequel. So I’m moderately interested but not enough to follow the hype.

Still, occasionally something comes up that catches my eye (and it won’t be the class descriptions.)

Removing allied targeting

In the latest GW2 dev blog, Jon Peters discussed combat in the game. There’s a lot to catch the eye, including emphasis on mobility and encouraging everyone to take a good mix of support skills.

But it was removing allied targeting that caught my eye. This means that any buffs or heals or resses will be done using ground targeting or some similar approach.

There are no skills that specifically target allies. Everything must be done using positioning, ground targeting or other unconventional methods.

What I like about this is that it forces players to be aware of their environment and what everyone else is doing. In particular, it takes healers away from staring at little green bars on raid frames. There is no doubt this is going to be tough on people who like to stand at the back and target their heals with laser precision. Although I have no idea how tricky it might be to balance. Presumably all friendly effects will be auras, AE effects or some kind of cone targeted concept. There will be no single target healing or buffing in this game.

This is going to make support classes rather different in scope to what people will be used to. I’m not sure if the overall effect will be dumbing down support  but there is a precision to making sure a specific person gets exactly the right heal/ buff at the right time that won’t be in this game.

I am also curious as to how they will display group health/ buffs on the UI. If you have all these interesting AE supportive abilities, how will you see where they are needed? It’ll be interesting to see how they go with this.

The other thing I wonder is why, having done that, they decided to leave in enemy targeting. My guess is that it’s connected with crowd control which is supposed to require careful targeting, especially in PvP.

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4 thoughts on “Targeting and the single Guild Wars 2 player

  1. It’s interesting and different enough to make this one to watch.

    The problem is time. As Van Hemlock once joked “A new MMO? I haven’t finished the last one yet.”

  2. I liked a lot of the ideas from GW 1 but I never actually liked the execution. Hopefully GW2 will be different. I love all the unique ideas for it, I just have to wait to see if they’re fun and work well.

  3. Yea this is an interesting playstyle which i kinda like i.e. “not targeting” .

    You can already get a sniff of this in DCUO [DC Universe] in an extremely simplistic form. I guess the main reason this happened in DCUO is to make it console friendly [where you can’t click on avatars] .

    So in DCUO, a single target heal is always “heal most injured member in your group [or yourself] who is within range” .

    AOE buffs/heals is again “everyone within range” of either YOU or the stationary object [i.e. like a healing fountain which is summoned] .

    The “range” part is the most important, because a healer are now forced to actually make sure they are in range of enough group members to pull off the AOE , and ensure they have a member with lowest HP in range for a single heal. (So a melee “spike” healer next to the tank while the DPS are further out of range can be considered a tactical advantage).

    Yes this is not really very precise, GW2 looks to make the concept quite more tangible. However the advantage already noted in DCUO is the fact that as a healer you can now play like a DPS and forced to be more aware where everyone is physically.

  4. i really like where they’re going with this…

    they’re trying to find a happy medium between more action oriented games where there is no targeting and you only hit what your blades/projectiles hit (think God of War or Devil May Cry) and more traditional MMO combat.

    Personally i’d rather see it move even more toward action combat with no enemy targeting either, but i think this is definitely a step in the right direction.

    i just hope they allow complete keybind customization, because i’m not a big fan of the double tap to roll… i’ve been playing the Korean game Continent of the Ninth (check it out on Youtube, far and away the best combat of any online game ever made).. and they handle directional rolls with Shift+direction, and it’s so much quicker and smoother than trying to double tap… i just hope i can modify the keybindings to suit my style.

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