SWTOR, GW2: A game trailer is not a film trailer

You know that you have seen a really good piece of game hype when your reaction is not, “Ooo, pretty,” “I want to see more of that,” “great music, I’ll be humming that all night,” or even “I wonder how they’ll balance that?” but instead, “I want to PLAY that!”

It’s a very visceral reaction. It can be illogical. It can be unexpected. But to me that’s how a game trailer should be different from any other kind of trailer. Sure, interest me in the world, the background, the story, and the mechanics. But if I don’t end up thinking, “Yeah! I want to play that!” then it hasn’t hit the spot.

Bioware released a new trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic last week to show off some of the combat moves in the game. I think it’s a fascinating trailer to watch because the graphics are not exceptional. There’s nothing unexpected in there and no real indication of how the game will play. Very likely it’ll be a minor adaptation of current MMO mechanics. You’ll press buttons and use cooldowns. Even the fights they they showed were fairly predictable: jedi with a lightsaber, some cool acrobatics, dual wielding, a cool bit with a big gun, someone casting lightning bolts like the emperor in return of the jedi, some flashy tech gadgets and yet … when that trailer came to an end I thought “Hell yeah! That looked fun! I want to play that.”

The current MMO player is exactly who they are trying to attract with this trailer. They’re showing that their game will offer your favourite current combat type. You like dual wielding? How about dual wielding lightsabers? You like ranged? How about a massive gun? Whatever you like right now do not fret because the SWTOR team thought of YOU.

The only curious exception so far is the lack of any pet class. I wonder if a more active use of NPC sidekicks will just mean that everyone effectively has pets.

The Guild Wars Manifesto

We are still mid-election rush over here, so it’s certainly the right season for a manifesto. Arena.net have opened the floodgates on the Guild Wars 2 information with a new blog and a new design manifesto.

This is another document that is aimed at current MMO players. Read it with the thought, “like your current MMO but better” in the back of your mind and you will get the full hype effect.

Main points:

  • It’s an enormous, persistent, living, social world
  • You fill out a biography at character creation time that defines your background and your place within the world.
  • GW2 tells story by allowing the player < to >adventure with key characters, by presenting him with moral dilemmas <…> and by having him live through world-changing events
  • With GW2 <…> you can just naturally play with all the people around you
  • When someone kills a monster, not just that player’s party but everyone who was seriously involved in the fight gets 100% of the XP and loot for the kill.
  • worlds can compete against each other, through the mists that separate them, for scarce resources that benefit an entire world. ((I think this means some kind of server vs server competition))
  • So much of traditional MMO combat is rote and repetitive. <…> we’ve put a huge focus on strengthening our combat, giving the player limitless choices, and providing the thrill and joy of being in combat.

The combat discussion isn’t easy to sum up in bullet points. One of the great strengths of Guild Wars is the combat system. Each character has a large selection of abilities, but must select only 8 before leaving town and going out to adventure. You can freely change which 8 you want any time you are in a town. So players are encouraged to adapt their skills towards each encounter. There is a lot of choice. And this is something arena.net plans to build on for GW2.

There is more on the combat system and skills, if you are curious to delve more deeply into the design.

Again, reading through the documents leaves me keen to actually play the game myself and try it out. I wonder if I am some kind of easy sell with these things … and I’m staying tuned to the GW2 blog to hear more about their plans.

If this talk of Guild Wars mechanics has intrigued you, Steam is having a sale on GW at the moment. You could either get the whole trilogy and start from the beginning, or do what was recommended to me and just grab Nightfall.


10 thoughts on “SWTOR, GW2: A game trailer is not a film trailer

  1. What scared me a little about the SW preview (and I had the same reaction as you btw) was when they said “whats heroic about lots of guys beating up one enemy? The heroic part would be one guy beating terrible odds” .. or something along those lines.
    To me, that basically was them saying: no PvE, whatsoever.

    • I think I’d wait and see before coming to any conclusions. I definitely remember some very very fun raid encounters in DaoC which involved our group clearing out an enemy fortress full of elite mobs and catapults, and whatever.

      Players really seemed to enjoy committing genocide on enemy encampments, especially when they were laid out as working towns, forts, etc.

  2. Apparently Guild Wars 2 will have 5+5 (10) skills on a bar:

    The first five are determined by the weapon you are wielding and your primary class.
    The second five are apparently up to you.
    Plus every player now has a self-heal, unlike GW1 which was team based (henchmen filled the party up) GW2 seems to allow solo adventuring.

    Regarding the “worlds”, it indeed sounds a lot like servers or battlegroups fighting each other.
    Which scares me a bit, as no-servers, one world and only a seperation to improve latency into US, EU, Asian and “International” districts which people could switch between was a big plus of GW for me, just like STO’s or CO’s one universe server model.

  3. Both games look exciting, and I like the ideas the developers have. But after Champs and Aion both failed me, I’m skeptical. I don’t really *want* more of the same, and Kotor is coming off as a lot less revolutionary than they first claimed it would be. It looks like star wars wow. Guild Wars 2 just might be different enough to hold my interest though.

    Though I would like to play a smuggler…

    • My desktop background has a picture of the smuggler on it at the moment 😉 If it’s Star Wars WoW with a strong touch of Dragon Age, then it’ll keep me happily occupied for a few months at least.

  4. Early on, when they revealed that GW2 would be a persistent world, ArenaNet said that there would be different servers, and open PvP would be between ‘worlds’ (servers). That’s where you would have events like random arenas, competitive missions like Fort Aspenwood and such. GvG would still be against any other guild, whichever server they are on.

    I think ArenaNet also said at the time that moving characters from server to server would be free and fairly quick, so you can get together with your friends wherever they have characters.

    As far as SW:TOR, I took the comment about beating terrible odds to mean that instead of gigantic bosses to cap off instances, it would be more like taking on wave after wave of droids or stormtroopers or such, not that there would be no PvE at all.

  5. I really like the idea of facing waves of bad dudes, possible with a few mini-boss types.

    Few vs Many in true Seven Samurai stylee is just toooo cool.

  6. I basically had these exact same thoughts about GW 2 this week, it inspired me to pick up GW on steam (since it’s on sale like you said.)

    Guild Wars 2 sounds like it has so much potential to be awesome, but many MMOs do before we ever see gameplay. I really hope it pans out.

    I’m going to take your advice and jump right to Nightfall. I tried the original GW a long time ago and although I want to give it a second chance I would like to play a different aspect. How is Nightfall better than Factions?

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