So right now I’m doing a lot of playing in Guild Wars 2. As of this writing, I’ve got an Asura Necromancer up to nearly level 24.
Specifically, the build I’m running (I think? I dunno, the whole way traits work now is weird as hell) is about conditions and slow hurty. So, I’ve got a staff when I’m in large group actions and an axe and focus when I’m tumbling around solo. The weird thing is, though, that when I’m using the axe it operates at range. The whole thing just feels…disjointed.
I suppose it’s my own fault for not having a malleable enough mind to comprehend that a weapon meant for chopping faces is now just a magic wand, but it still just misses a lot of impact for me. Neverminding the fact that certain debuffs don’t actually stay around for longer than three seconds, the feeling I get while playing this character is not one of any real sense of domination or “thump”, for lack of a better word. It’s all kite-y and weird…but then when I played using a staff solo, I was at my best when I planted my feet, laid down Marks and worked point-blank.
Yanno what? That felt good. I felt like I was the epicenter of a noxious cloud. It felt good.
I was also thinking a lot about how the Elementalist in GW2 with a pair of daggers felt. I was reminded how cool that whole thing was–being a flurry of fire and death with magic spells at melee range. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. It kind of made me want to re-roll, except for the fact that this game’s new player experience is one of the most awful things I’ve seen, and I don’t really wanna do all of this stuff in the open world again.
I like being in the mix. Taking an enemy’s assault in the mush and looking for more, or crashing in to a group of people to destroy them, or being able to stand my ground and watch foes wither around me. Being at distance in MMO’s just doesn’t have that same level of engagement for me. Yea, you’re just clicking buttons and making things fall over in either combat style, but with melee at least there’s a sense of commitment and maybe a bit of risk. When I work at range, I feel like I’m clicking a button to click a button. It feels lazy.
The one exception of this sensation was only with City of Heroes, and my Archery Blaster in specific. Somehow that game made working at any range feel like it was really doing some damage. However even that game and that character made me a bit removed from the action. When I ticked off my three little boosts from the /Energy secondary set and unleashed a Rain of Arrows to make a large cluster of distant mobs fall, it was boring. Cool-looking but boring. It’s probably why the majority of my alts in that game were all melee characters. It’s also probably why I didn’t like Masterminds.
A lot of my time in most MMO’s is spent looking at an enemy’s toes, but then I’m not really paying rapt attention to the animations of the baddies anyway. Not really. I mean, I notice if an enemy’s movements are herky-jerky…but that doesn’t annoy me nearly as much as if my own character feels weird. So that’s probably why I’m having a hard time connecting to my Guild Wars 2 character.
Thing is, though, come Heart of Thorns I’ll be able to use a broadsword–my all-time favorite melee weapon. Seriously, I adore these things. Give me a big-ass treecleavin’ sword of ridiculous proportions in any MMO and make it fun, and you will have my heart. So I’m in this arms race between my want to get to that point and my annoyance at what Guild Wars 2 feels like for me now.
Perhaps I’m thinking this whole thing wrong. I suppose I could just…stop kiting enemies. Or use my staff full-time if that feels better. But then I don’t think I stand up nearly as well than if I use this axe/focus combo. The synergy is unmistakable and I have so many levels to get through. I’d be a fool to throw away what works.
But then, mechanics and feel have always trumped build efficiency. Or efficiency in general. MMO’s are a journey not a destination for me most of the time. Guild Wars 2 is no different, and since its content kind of rewards just ambling around and doing stuff, I should be pretty damn enamored. But I’m not. I mean I’m not having a horrible time but I’m not really engaged.
Maybe Heart of Thorns will be the salve. Maybe having a broadsword as my Ultimate Goal should be the motivation. I’m still gonna peek around, but things right now just don’t….
I dunno, it’s hard to put in to words. And I’ve wasted nearly 900 of them trying to verbalize what’s missing. But I’ll keep trying. Because maybe that end goal will be enough. And maybe I’m gonna feel motivated.