Guild Wars 2: Combat evolved

by manylaughs on September 29, 2012

Do you feel as if you have to map your entire keyboard every time you play a new MMO? Those 10 starter skill slots most MMOs give you are a joke, right?

Yeah, it’s pretty much that way with every MMO: They overload you with skills.  Some even give you player-versus-player (PvP) and player-versus-environment (PvE) skills.

And what do the MMO developers do to let you use all the skills they’ve given you? They give you more skill bars. So you end up loading up your screen with so many skill bars you can barely see to play.

But you had to do it, didn’t you? Well, you had to do it if you wanted to be better than most, and you absolutely had to do it if you were going to be one of the leet. You had to map your keyboard and use the alt and control keys for alternate mappings. Oh, and for good measure, you probably added a few macros and mouse button mappings, too. If you did all of that, you could probably make good use of all your skills.

If you got really good at this, your keyboard and map skills would make a concert pianist weep with envy.

Star Wars: The Old Republic screen clutter

But most players didn’t get good at this. Maybe you were one of those who didn’t. You mapped a few keys, enough to get by. Everything else you’d just point-and-click. Hey, it wasn’t optimal, but you got by and your screen was free of skill bar clutter, so you could see to play the game. (Hmm, maybe that was an advantage in its own way.)

It’s insane when you think about, having all those skills to map, but players just sorta rolled with it and pretty much every MMO on the planet went along with the insanity. But it wasn’t necessary, was it?

Guild Wars, the original Guild Wars, had shown the MMO world another way, many years ago. The MMO world didn’t listen, though. The original Guild Wars gave you lots of skills, probably more than most MMOs, but you were only allowed to use 8 on your skill bar and you only had the one skill bar. That’s it. Lots of skills to choose from, but only 8 you can slot for usage.

Guild Wars skill bar

Guild Wars 2 ‘s (GW2) combat is the next evolutionary step from Guild Wars and an evolution in MMO combat. GW2 still gives you lots of skills, but it doesn’t overload your keyboard. You have 5 core combat skills that are dependent on your weapon set, plus you get 5 utility skills you can slot for use during combat. While you have several weapon sets you can use, in combat you’re restricted to two weapon sets. You use the tilde to switch between your two weapon sets in combat, but you’ll still only have the 5 combat skills and the 5 utility skills. Adding in the 4 secondary skills some classes have – for pets, for example – combat in Guild Wars 2 never requires more than the number keys, the tilde and the first four function keys.

Guild Wars 2 skill bar

Same skill bar toggled to secondary weapon set

There are plenty of skills to play with, both utility skills and weapon set skills, so you’ll never feel restricted. You just don’t have access to your entire skill set every time you go into battle. Your game play is smoother, you don’t have to map your entire keyboard and you don’t have skill bars blocking your view of the pretty Guild Wars world.

Welcome to an evolutionary leap forward for MMOs. Enjoy the view.

Guild Wars 2 eliminates most of the typical screen clutter allowing you to admire the world and your character.



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