I keep changing my mind over what I like most in GW2. This morning it was the combat that really captured my interest. I made a quick video showing off a newbie Warrior’s attacks. You’ll see in the video that GW2 has a very traditional “Lock on” and hotkey combat system. While still not quite at WoW’s level of polish in terms of ‘feel’, since there are times when combat feels clunky, ArenaNet has definitely created a good looking visual experience. Auto attacks with weapons aren’t simple swings — in the video you’ll notice my mace auto attack looked very stylish. It also ‘feels’ like I’m connecting with my opponent because of the camera shake and proximity of weapon swings.
Combat abilities themselves are very different from weapon to weapon. I use a 2handed hammer in the video and crack the ground, jump in the air to stun, knock opponents back with a mighty smash, and send out shockwave attacks that make me feel like a tough son of a Norn.
I love weapon swapping. I can use a Greatsword for one weapon which has a great distance closer then switch to another weapon when I’m in melee range to begin slicing people up. This entire system is made possible by combat abilities being tied to weapons. It takes only ~20 minutes to gain all of your abilities with a weapon, which may need to change since it almost feels like you should just get them right away.
Two aspects of GW2 combat have me on edge. First, you can always move while using any abilities — at least those that I have tried. Auto attacking, spell casting, channeling, etc., can all be done while moving which makes combat much quicker and requires you to actively dodge. This puts melee characters at a disadvantage since there is never a since not to kite people. Second, GW2 combat is extremely AOE centric. In WvW it’s nothing but massive AOE attacks with dozens of circles on the ground indicating that you’re going to be affected by some sort of AOE. More on this to come in a post I’ll publish tomorrow.
As I mentioned earlier, combat can feel clunky. I notice this most in PvP when latency vs. moving targets becomes an issue. Abilities not firing or connecting with my enemy when on my screen he’s in range give the system a ‘wonky’ feel. I would like to see those issues fixed before launch.