Nothing much to say about the last day of the semi-vacation. Oh, wait! Yes, there is! (Totally faked you out there, I know.) In a moment of self-destructive and irresponsible impulsive consumerist nerd glee, Spooky and I bought copies of Guild Wars 2 at GameStop.
And, as we loaded the game onto our laptops, discovered almost immediately that there's a (deep breath) 6.6 gig post-release patch (exhale). We spent the evening finishing up Season One of House M.D. while our internet connection (which is slow and somewhat crappy) sucked watermelons through a drinking straw.
So, I haven't played very much. But here are some quick thoughts: Looking past the superficial ways in which this game bears resemblance to WoW and Rift, well, it's different. It will take me quite some time to adapt to a system that differs so much from anything I'm used to, but we'll see. What I found most interesting were the visuals. One must keep in mind, games sell me on their visuals. Remember, constant reader, text-based MUDs and tabletop AD&D always left me unsatisfied. I need a stunning virtual world with which my mind and and my eyes can interact. Now, I've actually had a few people who were idiotic enough to say this was indicative of a lack of imagination on my part. Okay, yeah. Whatever. Anyway...
I've said, repeatedly, I found the graphics I'd seen for GW2 strange, goofy, aesthetically unappealing, and so forth. Once the game had loaded, and I could begin the character creation process, and then as I played Level 1, it all sort of gelled. I "got it." It's not at all an ugly game. It's actually quite beautiful. It's also very bizarre. Since I began WoW in 2008, I've become accustomed to MMOs (by the way, until I see some serious fucking RP in a game, it's only an MMO, or I could call it an MMOG) in which the visuals – environment, characters, creatures, etc. – have been integrated into a single dimension. This explanation could get very complicated, with digressions into parallax and my having no depth perception and all sorts of crap, but I'll spare you that. At least for now.
GW2 has what is, at first, an unsettling photomontage or collage effect. The character often seems to exist on a different plane than her environment, and so forth. I've never seen anything like this in an MMO, though I have seen it in console games. In fact, if I had to try (and it's not easy) to describe the visual style of GW2, I'd say it's a lot like Ōkami , and a little like Rise of the Kasai, and that it even has certain flourishes reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus (Best. Game. Ever.) and some installments of the Final Fantasy series. Which is to say, it's a major visual departure from other fantasy MMOs, such as Rift and World of Warcraft, by way of a somewhat Eastern flavor, primarily Japanese. Which is interesting, especially when playing an obviously Nordic race (I've rolled a Norn ranger). I will say, I don't like the incredibly stiff, non-animatd cut scenes or the "choose your own adventure" elements.
Anyway, the jury is still out, as THEY are won't to say. It's going to take a lot of getting used to, the mechanics of the game, and I only hope they are nowhere as complicated and counterintuitive as those of City of Heroes (the comparison being apt, since both are from NCSoft). Also, I have to manage to balance three (and, actually, temporarily) four games – winding up Cox, the upcoming Mists of Padaria WoW expansion, Rift (to which I am most loyal), and, now, GW2.
I'm supposed to read books, you know?
And now, I brush my teeth, exercise, and then face the CEM (id est, copyedited manuscript) for Blood Oranges. Argh. But, I will allot them only a single day. Tomorrow, they go back into the gorram mail. Also, very disappointed and baffled that the Chicon 7/WoldCon business meeting voted – 68-51 (!!!) – against adding a YA Hugo. We call this moronic, kittens. Some of the best speculative fiction is currently coming from YA. Can we say "insecure"?