Every new MMO evolves the genre, progressing the game-play bit by bit, trying new approaches and new mechanics. Some may argue that MMOs have been evolving rather slowly since WoW but we should still take a moment to appreciate the changes made in Guild Wars 2.
After all it expanded on quite a few areas without fundamentally changing the core MMO mechanics.
I'd like to hear what your thoughts are on the following design-concepts and whether or not they may find themselves in future MMOs.
-No holy trinity
-Skills defined by Weapons
-Downed State (probably connected to "no holy trinity")
-GW2s take on RvR
-Skill and Build system
feel free to add more if you can think of any. Just make sure it is an actual concept, not just something isolated.
Dynamic Events are something that really sets GW2 apart from other MMOs. While your aren't really doing anything different on a fundamental level I do find them a lot more engaging and natural than grinding quests. I love just being able to wonder about and participate in content without having to chase down NPCs. For me they are a definite step up from classic quests and much more suitable for an MMO.
Verdict: Great, hope to see more in the future.
I believe the Holy Trinity is something that was never fundamentally flawed. it had pros and cons. GW2 showed that you can make a great and engaging game even without it. I will admit that it seemingly makes combat a bit more shallow and less tactical but that's no necessarily due to the absence of the holy trinity. What I will say though that it did add a lair of class interdependence which is sadly missing in GW2.
Verdict: Works, but combat feels shallower.
Dodging is a core mechanic of GW2's combat. And I think it's great. It makes combat feel a lot more dynamic and "skillful" despite the relatively few number of combat skills. It adds a lair of "twitch" reflexes which more statics MMOs are sadly lacking.
Verdict: Great fun, hope to see more games with dynamic combat.
Downleveling is a great way to keep all the content relevant. Imagine how much content WoW would have if it had such a downleveling system in place. Sure, some people like to solo outdated stuff but I find that a real niche activity and a poor argument for withholding such a system. It also makes playing with friends a lot more engaging since you're not massively overpowered.
Verdict: Will hopefully become a de facto standard in future MMOs.
Maybe not a real innovation but and interesting take on a skill system having your weapon define a part of your skill set. It also makes more sense that a weapon would use different attacks than another. I could easily see future MMOs adapt similar systems although they may not make it such an integral part of the game.
Verdict: Nice and I could easily see it in future games.
Combo fields were supposed to be the "group play" mechanic in game and the main way in which people could support each other. It was supposed to give the rather accessible combat some much needed depth. And while the system works, the effects aren't meaningful enough to add anything to the game. It's a good idea...just poorly implemented.
Verdict: Conceptually good but requires significant improvement.
Downed State is a mechanic directly tied to the removal of a the holy trinity. Unfortunately it turns the entire game into something of a rezz war as well as having some questionable design choices. Players having three times their normal HP in downed state , the speed at which people can heal each other, the "fun factor" and the implications on both PvP and PvE are just bad. This is a feature I would not miss and I think GW2 would be a better game without it.
Verdict: I can see why they implemented it, but pretty much everything about it is wrong.
Multi-Guilds are largely a failed concept because they don't understand the concept of a guild. A guild is a social commitment (or is supposed to be) and as such goes against the idea of having multiple guilds at once. The reward system doesn't play well into it either. This as well as the lack of overall guild features shows the Devs never really "got" guilds in MMOs.
Verdict: Proves lack of understanding of guilds as a whole in MMOs.
World vs. World is GW2's take on large scale RvR combat. As such it has only really succeeded in one area, and that's it's appeal to more casual players. While that's quite a feat in itself, the WvW combat is rather stale and repetitive. Maps are too small, zerging to prevalent and Player vs. Door seems to be 80% of the combat. It feels more akin to Battlefield 3 than RvR.
Verdict: Well meant but simply not "epic".
I like the interchangeability and inherent flexibility of the skill system. It also makes balancing easier as it's easy to switch out underpowered abilities. However it also means your build hardly matters in PvE as long as you adapt. Knowing what skills are useful in which encounter becomes more important than actual skillful play. I'm not sure.....but nothing really stands out here.
Verdict: Nothing special really as the flexibility has upsides and down-sides.