A while ago now I posted an article on matchmaking in MMOs in which I described how, much to my personal chagrin, my longtime partner and I are incompatible when it comes to our questing “mode”. This has always been something I eyed with resignation, since I’m the reason he started playing MMOs in the first place. How nice would it have been to explore and level up together peacefully? Well, in WoW we only ever managed this so often.
I’ve explained and no doubt unnerved a few of my readers with all the ways I believe cooperation in GW2 to be different, with a potential for much better than in MMOs past, recently on this blog. Alas, I have to inform you that I am not quite done yet and won’t be for a while when it comes to analyzing this particularly fascinating topic. Now that we’ve begun to immmerse ourselves in the real Tyria, this will be an aspect to revisit and re-examine, to see where expectations were adequate and where I set my hopes too high. I know that especially longterm things will probably look quite different from right now, now that everybody has just started off and quest and event areas are crowded with new folk. This very real issue applies to all MMOs I’ve ever played.
And then we didn’t fight anymore
Back on topic, one thing I did not dream of was for GW2’s questing experience to not only prove generally more enjoyable for myself, but more enjoyable for myself plus my partner! When the borked overflow mechanics actually allowed us to, we’ve given exploring together several shots over this last weekend. Lo and behold, not only did we not bicker the way we used to but enjoyed killing things together (oh, the romantic moments among gamers!). I could actually run off and gather that “peacebloom” (formerly known as warbloom…) without calling things to a halt. He did not wait impatiently or worse, keep pulling and killing himself while I trailed off somewhere else entirely (and yeah…I do that). There is no such coordination and focus needed to constantly do the one thing at the correct time; there are no roles and hence co-dependencies, so when one of us is off to gather or sell items, the other one simply continues to look after himself. Or in other words: if you die, it’s your own bloody fault, pal!
|“Ohh, teh harmony!”|
Looting too is no topic anymore: “do we choose group loot or FFA?”, “you still need to loot that corpse over there!” and “how many more do you need??” are non issues. These may seem trivial changes and petty issues to somebody else, but for me our past questing experiences together were constantly disrupted by things like that. Now, loot is something that just “happens” while you’re off exploring – just as leveling up is. As an explorer, I love for the focus to have shifted thus.
More recent, unexpected revelations
Another thing I sure did not expect to happen, is that I actually choose to switch to water spec with my Elementalist quite often to spare allies some healing during bigger and tougher events. I’ve declared quite publicly before how fed up I am with the healer role since WoW – and I still am. Only, in GW2 it’s not a role and more importantly: it’s not a role I’m expected to have. And that is probably precisely why I enjoy to include some healing in my greater rotation again – because I am not expected to! Nobody is taking it for granted and I will sure as hell not get a hard time for not healing anybody. I believe every or most GW2 classes have an area heal like that (for example Engineers have a healing turret) and while CDs are long and it’s nowhere near an all-powerful tool, it gives you a sense of support and versatility. It’s fun!
…See how I am reacting towards this lack of “pressure” or rather entitlement? Now don’t get me wrong – I know if you play a healer in WoW you should want to play a healer and can be expected to heal (demanded to too?), that’s natural. However, having played a holy priest for years myself, I got really fed up with the way my role was treated by many, especially public groups; the way blame was usually appointed and how it was just a given that priests are heal, buff and ress-machines. In GW2 healing is appreciated more for its sparseness instead of being “your job after all”. Or as the ever-insightful Tesh recently commented in my topic on individualism vs. collectivism:
I have a feeling we’ll see a lot more of that over the coming weeks. I am excited to see what else will reveal itself over time as I level my character in GW2. At this point, technical aspects aside on which I fully agree with Klepsacovic, I got no reason for complaints.