Welcome to Milden Gaming, an adjunct blog of ArenaNet.
The second part of the Guild Wars 2 combat system series from Eric Flannum, lead designer of Guild Wars 2, released today. The first part was released yesterday. In concert, the two articles detail a lot of the high-level concepts behind the combat system in Guild Wars 2, bringing some exciting and fundamental changes to the system.
First of all, the skill system has expanded from eight to ten skills available in a character load-out. Interestingly, five skills are determined by the weapons and class of the character itself. Weapons range from the sets that existed in the first game, and add new ranged options such as the single-handed pistol, double-handed rifle, and a new two-handed melee weapon, the greatsword. The choice of weapon then determines which skills fill out the first half of the skill bar. The other five can be chosen by the player.
Elite skills seem to be even more serious than the previous game. Still limited to one on the skill bar, the elite skills will likely have even greater impact on the game, but used less frequently, to make them seem more special.
Along with the changes to skills, the use of physical space and motion seems to be increasingly important in GW2. The designer uses an example of an attack that causes a character to leap up in the air after a team-mate used a skill to launch it skyward. There are also possibilities for environmental weapons. A character might pick up a boulder with a skill, or man a siege weapon, modifying the skill bar in a manner seen when assuming different forms in Eye of the North. Along with area-of-effect and flanking maneuvering, the use of space in Guild Wars 2 is light years beyond most games, even single-player titles.
The changes seem like great evolutionary steps in refining and bringing more options to the table in Guild Wars 2. I'm excited to see what more changes bring to the overall framework.