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.