Guild Wars 2, Sidekicks, Skill Challenges

So last week Eric Flannum posted another Guild Wars 2 update. Besides the obvious, there is some stuff that it’s not in the post.

First, something the people on MMOrpg forums found in the Hero panel: If you look closely, you’ll notice that the attributes have green numbers next to them. And, right below the character name, there is a “Effective level 3”. That’s the sidekicking kicking in. Although this is a level 48 ranger, he’s probably near a level 3 event (like, for example, the “farm is under attack”, which we saw a long time ago, when the gameplay videos start appearing). One thing pointed was that the total health didn’t change, but I guess that’s only ’cause they forgot about this bit in the hero panel, as we can’t see the health orb in the shot.

Also, we can see how the points are not even per level. For example, if the player is level 50 and it’s sidekicked to level 5, one could expect that the new attributes would be 10% of the actual attributes. But, in the shot, from level 48 to level 3, attributes would be around 6% of the actual values but they are around 10%. Again, as I am guessing, the points are somewhat distributed inversely of the required experience points to level: You earn more in the lower levels and then it flattens.

The second point Eric brought was the acquisition of the heal, utility and elite skills. What they describe is what before was the trait acquisition system: For every profession, there would be challenges around the map, which you’d need to complete to get new traits. Eric makes a good point saying that this would split the community, as the warrior challenge won’t be the same as the elementalist challenge and, thus, one would simply tag around without getting a proper reward. This way, both warriors and elementalists can tag along and both will be rewarded for doing it.

But not everything is nice and dandy, as some people found some flaws. Kill Ten Rats saw the skill challenges as a return of classic quests. I somewhat agree with them. First, it’s not a classic quest per se, as it will be pretty much tied to the dynamic event system. But I guess you can’t simply stay around, wait for it to reset and do it again for more points: once you complete the challenge, you’ll have to search for a new one to get more points. So, even if the quest is just another event, there will be a way to prevent you to do it again. But that’s the only difference between normal dynamic events and challenge events I can see.

The other point brought came from Reddit is how this will affect those who level through PvP. Sure, there are two different things we must realize here: People who play in PvP and people who level in PvP. For the first group, there is no real problem, as every time you join a PvP match, you get all the traits, weapons and skills; if you plan to keep doing PvP, you’ll still have all skills and traits. Now, if you plan only to level through PvP, then you may have a problem, ’cause you’ll be level 80 without your heal, utility and elite skills. But, at the same time, you’ll probably have enough gold/karma to buy nice gear and weapons and then explore the world to find the skill challenges. And your weapon skills would be maxed already, so you won’t be completely lost.

Overall, the changes aren’t that bad in any shape or form — Actually, I think they are pretty nice. Again, ArenaNet shows how focused in making a social game they are.