[GW2] I want to be under the sea ..

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I am always taken aback when players rant about how much they hate underwater zones and underwater fighting.

Some of my favourite times in MMOs have been spent happily adventuring underwater. I have fond memories of DaoC’s Trials of Atlantis underwater areas, I liked swimming around and opening lobster traps in WoW’s desolace, I’ve enjoyed underwater questing in Rift, and I absolutely loved Cataclysm’s Vash’jir. For me they combine the fun of ‘flying’ with brightly coloured strange and alien landscapes, and of course fish. It’s an alien world where the ‘mountaintops’ are safe sunlit havens, and the ‘valleys’ are dark depths, full of danger.

I even enjoy the more 3D aspects of fighting, and having to keep an eye on what’s going on above and below you as well as straight ahead.

So imagine my excitement at the latest GW2 dev blog, which is all about their plans to make fighting underwater a big element (sic) of the game. I’ve been wary about following the game too closely because they’ve been making some very expansive claims about how it’s going to shake things up, but …. special underwater combat moves, harpoons, a nod to 3D fighting, sea-monsters, fish, exploration …

And I approve of their decision not to make breathing underwater an issue. Many of the games which emphasised underwater zones gave you a way to breathe underwater to save having to surface every few minutes. This is just another route to the same end.

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11 thoughts on “[GW2] I want to be under the sea ..

  1. Ugh. I have never enjoyed any videogame that took you underwater, aside from perhaps Echo the Dolphin. Vash’jir was a terrible experience IMO as there was essentially a zone-wide movement speed debuff (the seahorse moved slower than a flying mount, so I frequently broke the surface and flew there faster) and it’s painfully obvious WoW combat was not designed with a Z axis in mind. Anything with a targeting reticule was/is impossible to use anywhere other than the sea floor, and at that point, why are we bothering with underwater zones again? If targeting circles turned into spheres and mobs/you could actually pivot in place when attacking, maybe it’d be better.

    I do find it odd that GW2 sounds like it will be pushing water exploration so heavily (“[...] most dungeons have underwater content [...]” “We’re not kidding when we say that the underwater experience in Guild Wars 2 is going to be a vital, important part of the game.”). It’s Guild Wars, not Water Wars, right? I am just not sure exactly who all gets excited about underwater anything, present company excluded of course. Will they put that on the box, you think? “Fully developed underwater fighting system! Swimming in most every dungeon!”

    • Agreed with all points.

      Besides, underwater combat as a whole doesn’t work as a concept. Magic really shouldn’t work there in most cases, guns and arrows shouldn’t work at all. Armour would drown you instantly, and the whole idea of combat being anything other than an ugly, unwanted affair is odd to me.

      • I don’t really see why magic wouldn’t work underwater. And the idea behind having special underwater weapons (ie. harpoon gun) is that guns and arrows don’t work at all there.

        The armour is a good point though :)

      • Well, I was thinking primarily about magic that uses the basic elements (on reflection a lot of magic could work, but, well, I still want to nitpick :P)

        Fire spells would be instantly extinguished, frost spells would be…interesting,electricity spells would be certain death and spells based on “force” (PWS for instance) would have trouble with water (does the bubble trap water inside it? does it create a pocket of air? if it lets water in, why does it stop other things?)

        Underwater is just…blech. No me gusta.

  2. I’m not necessarily for or against underwater combat. However, I know that underwater combat can be iffy depending on how it’s designed. If it’s well done in every respect, I have absolutely no problems.

    I was torn on Vash’jr. On an aesthetic level? Gorgeous. Really they did a good job with it, and I’ve been a little cold on some of WoW’s aesthetics lately. On an actual adventuring standpoint? IMO it was annoying as hell. I do think WoW functions better on the X-Y axis. I mean, I thought some of the flying stuff was annoying(AA P3 got easier over time but it’s still not a favorite) and so on. I just did not like adventuring or combat there. Which was a shame since it, again, was beautiful. If they create a very fun underwater environment, then I’m all for it, by all means.

    GW2 is one of those games that’s on my radar, but approached with cautious optimism(well-I use cautious optimism a lot these days.) I think they’re onto something, but I’m also one of those people who don’t care if a game has the holy trinity. If it does, but the game is awesome? Great! If it doesn’t, and the game is awesome? Great! If it does/doesn’t but the game is not good? Not great. I’m cautious of GW2 because I sometimes get the impression they’re trying different for different’s sake and that it might backfire on them if they aren’t careful.

  3. There’s a great video showing off underwater combat with a dev narrating it.

    A few of the things that really grabbed my attention is that many of the enemy attacks seemed to be avoidable and are clearly broadcasted, when the necromancer is on land fighting against a centaur, she seems to be able to side step the spear thrusts, well a few of them at least. In the water when the broodmother attacks she has an animation where she pulls back before each attack, and has a special attack where she swims away before charging back and stunning the player. Later on the player has enough skills to keep that grouper fish at a distance. Though it seems a bit laggy in the video, it does seem to be even more action-orientated combat than I was expecting.

    They’ve really put a lot of effort into it, putting in special skills including those to sink or float the enemy or players. It must be to do with the story, there’s one elder dragon still in the depths, and the kingdom of Orr was underwater until recently, parts of it may still be. Old Lion’s Arch is underwater, I think they made the conscious decision that they wanted the player to explore and see these old areas submerged to show the impact of the emergence of the Elder Dragons. Which is as good as reason as any because I’m quite excited being able to explore the depths.

    • Cool video. I love that creatures that breathe fire can’t do that underwater cos it wouldn’t make sense and have different underwater attacks instead. Also quaggans are cute.

  4. Short duration underwater breathing spells (that only a few classes have) and drowning during lag or GTFO. EQ1 forever!

  5. Yeah I think the move to give you all new skills when you move underwater is interesting.

    Not sure why all the negativity, some people just don’t have open minds.

  6. Almost nobody in WoW will do Vash’jir now since you have to do Mount Hyjal to get access to all the patch 4.2 dailies.
    Hopefully they will do something similar in Vash’jir, otherwise it will be a dead zone.

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