Friday, August 19, 2011

Guild Wars 2, Gamescom 2011

Here's the latest commented gameplay video of Guild Wars 2. Nice graphics, I think. Generally, a rather innovative game in a lot of ways, too. So I continue to plan to have a look into it when it is eventually released.

I won't say much about the gameplay, because the presentation was unable to tell me anything about how it feels to play GW2! Which leads me to what I want to say.

The commenter is a complete disaster. When you want to convince somebody about a product you don't compare yourself directly. You don't say "Isn't THIS awesome!? No other MMO does this!".
That's like saying: "I am richer than most guys you have ever met, which is why I am qualified to spend time with you this evening".

It's wrong for two reasons.
First, you want the audience to draw its own conclusions. To tell them what they have to think doesn't work. ... Unless you have the game magazine press in front of you and want to make it especially easy for them to "analyze" your product.
With customers that are not interested in writing about the game to make a living, but rather interested in playing the game, this just doesn't work.

Secondly, you want to behave as if extraordinary things are completely normal to you. To say "This really big dragon is actually one of our smaller ones", is like telling the job interview guy "Actually, I am even more awesome than I have just proven!".

Even ignoring the commenter, the whole presentation is set up the wrong way. I didn't get the feeling as if I were on some kind of adventure, instead I felt like a tourist and not really interested in anything. That's an inherent problem with current gameplay-presentations.

Generally, this kind of presentation is like showing one-minute-long snapshots of 20 different soccer games to prove to me how great soccer is at building tension.
Don't say what you want to prove, instead prove it! Or, at least, send an emotional message. Make me understand what playing Guild Wars 2 feels like.

Have a look at TV ads. For instance, if they want to sell you a car, they don't say "The new steering technology makes the car more dynamic. No other car company does it this way". Instead, they show you stuff like that*.
Now, you know that they are overexaggerating, of course. But they get an emotion across, instead of just bragging about it.

While a MMORPG TV ad should be similar to the linked one, a 45 minute presentation should, of course, be more truthful.

Current MMORPG presentations are set up as if by game designers for game designers, while cutting all the stuff game designers would actually be interested in.

The perfect MMORPG presentation feels as if your big brother plays this fascinating game that you don't really understand. Yet.

* Notice how this ad is about a succession of interesting decisions. More specifically, evading ground effects. Notice how you wonder how it will end. This curiosity makes you watch it until the end.

** Of course, if this ad were a MMORPG ad, the car would be showered in lightning effects and destroy the clouds with two-mile-long nuclear missiles that appear out of nowhere.


  1. Not fighting rats!!! Now that is the best thing I've heard today, lol! :D

    seriously, I loved this video and zomg@ character creation! I don't know Nils, I didn't find the commenter nearly as bad as you, or maybe I didn't care, hehe! I get tons of info I am personally interested in (okay, I am not the average customer probably) and you can tell he's enthused about what he's showing. I don't mind the ad-hoc approach personally, rehearsed demos can be horribly dull. as for "feeling it"; I probably don't, but that's not what I would expect at this stage of development, from such a demo?

    btw, in the field I am working in, marketing is all about "look how great we are" and lines like "never been done before" can be truly overbearing stuff, but I didn't get that feeling watching the demo.

  2. I guess people are different, Syl ;).

    To me, the presenter didn't seem enthused at all. He seemed like working through a bullet points list. And he has gone through that list many times before.

    Was he in awe of that dragon? I think not. I think he wanted to tell me that I should be in awe, but even he himself was not.

    And look at what the character does in the gameplay video! He walks left and right, like a tourist. Doesn't at all felt like he was part of the breathtaking action.

    I am not saying this presention is worse than no presentation. I am just saying that it could be done much, much better.

    They should either make a presentation for game designers: Then, please, answer the question about the energy system! Is it pure GCD-based, no resource management?

    Or they should make a presentation for players. Then they should not go through the bullet point list, but rather try to sell a convincing emotion.

  3. I guess. I just didn't think of a well-oiled presentation in the first place here, more as a commentary on more sneakpeeks. he certainly doesn't come across as well-prepared or trying to win a crowd.
    I will happily admit that my own enthusiasm for the contents of this demo makes everything else slightly secondary! ;)

  4. Hm, I guess this just reaffirms that I'm not really interested in Guild Wars 2, as I couldn't even make it through the entire video before giving up due to boredom.

    Like you said, the presenter spends a lot of time talking about how impressive everything is supposed to be, without actually having much to show for it. Whenever he talked about the awesomeness of the dynamic events for example, I couldn't help thinking "ok, what I'm actually seeing looks a lot like a public quest like they have them in other games". Maybe these dynamic events aren't like that at all, or maybe they are and it doesn't have to be a problem, but since he constantly emphasised how different everything was supposed to be "compared to other MMOs", I only found myself seeing more and more similarities, heh.

    Also, I just can't get a feel for the Guild Wars world at all. I've never touched Everquest either but still know that it's set in a world called Norrath and have a bit of an idea about it. In any material about Guild Wars, I only ever see random races fighting in random environments, with no context to put it all in.

  5. > Not fighting rats!!! Now that is the best
    > thing I've heard today, lol! :D

    The best thing would be if they would guarantee that you don't have to collect dung. I don't opose against killing 10 rats but collecting dung, come on...

    > Nils, I didn't find the commenter nearly as bad as you

    Did you already forget that Nils is the pessimistic glass half full person? :-p

  6. Go away, Kring :)

    You wouldn't want to read how enthused I am and how I sooo much look forward to jump around left and right in front of that particular dragon, do you ? ;)

  7. To be honest I'm really enthusiastic about GW2. It looks like it does include the feature I'd like to see most in an MMO: NO RAIDS. As soon as raids are included the remaining content is considered "not the real endgame" and will be neglected.

    But I have to agree. The dragon looks amazing until he lands. After that it was... meh, I can be present to get... some kind of reward I guess?

    And being able to rezz in combat. Hooray, you'll be able to waste time on the most useles players so they can die again.