My main purpose for writing today was originally to simply share a screenshot from Rift that I thought was pretty cool.Â This is the Guardian starting area and I’m playing my dwarf paladin who was something like level 5 at the time.Â You can see a faux-rift in the background which is actually just part of the quest that kills you so that you can be reborn outside of the newbie experience and some castle that you can’t reach but looms nicely over a town that is also not accessible.
My reason for sharing this, other than it looks neat, is because I like the scope it represents (although it fakes it).Â They have this neat castle fortress thing looming over a city with a big open field and mountains surrounding them.Â Many games are very flat.Â Look at WoW and you have a game that is very good at using the floor and doesn’t really give you this immense sense of what I feel is realistic scope.Â I can picture in my mind a dozen or so pictures of castles on hills overlooking cities from both real life images and ones from tv shows like Merlin.
The fake scenes are great, and I appreciate them as someone who appreciates scope, but I would love to see a castle on a hill and know that I could go there to a fully realized place.Â I’d like to come down into a valley and see a medieval city and know that I can go down into that valley and visit.Â Some games do a great job of giving you vistas and letting you go there, but few create fully realized environments or ones that are more than fields with trees.Â I’d love it to be more realistic in its design because I know that I am someone that can truly appreciate the visual part of how a game immerses the player.
My appreciation for these scenes is not recent.Â I can recall my first visit to Albion’s Camelot in the aptly named Dark Age of Camelot.Â Â Back then it was nothing like the great visuals we have today.Â It was a rather blocky looking castle on not much of an incline with a small hamlet just outside.Â The castle loomed though, and it stood there in all its majestic glory capable of being entered and explored by the players as a capital city. (Screenshot: Camelot from WAR”s easter egg)
Guild Wars 2 is obviously going this route.Â Just look at the various concept drawings or their CGI teaser trailers.Â Seeing what appears to be in-game graphics (shown to the right) is a total nerd-out moment for me.Â Can I go into that city in the distance or is it just the skybox teasing me? I regretfully assume the latter but still hope for the ability to explore and use that space; usable space is just so important to me.Â GW2 definitely has the monopoly on awesome city pictures (google image Guild Wars 2 city).
I’m not sure where I wanted to go with this other than just sharing something I really like and appreciate in games as well as my hope for the future that it will become something more than just atmosphere.Â I’d love to see that city in the background of a screenshot like the GW2 one and say “see that tower, 3rd window down? Yeah, I live there.”