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.