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A Charr, A Tank: Illusions of a Slow Running Speed

I’ve decided to make my main character a Charr Warrior; what can I say, I’m a cat guy (quiet you dog lovers!). The class is fun, stands up to some damage, and now that I can swap weapons on the fly, dishes out a fair deal too. And what better race for a warrior than a big, hulking Charr! Like the Norn, they just look like warriors. To the point, even, where it feels slightly wrong to play them as any other profession. They are, in short, tanks — especially when you put a rifle in their hands.

That said, they both share a downside with a tank: They’re slow. Well, not really, but they sure do feel slow and that’s a problem. And let’s cut Norn out now, I’m a Charr. While ANet has already made clear that all races run at exactly the same speed, the size and animations just make them feel lumbering. While running on all fours certainly looks cool, it doesn’t actually feel like running at all. It’s more like one of those dreams where you’re trying to run but the door at the end of the hallway just keeps getting further away. It drives me crazy. I even re-rolled a human thief to feel a little relief from these issues. Anecdotally, it’s helped me to discover that I want to play each class; they really are plain fun to experiment with.

I’ve narrowed the problem down to the all-fours animation simply being too slow. We need more bounds  across dem dere hills! It’s counter-intuitive, really, because naturally youwould need less bounds to cover the same distance… if this were real life. But then again, if this were real life Asura wouldn’t jump as high as a Norn either (and they probably would have learned to tie their ears back too, all that flapping has got to be annoying). But we extend our disbelief because sometimes games shouldn’t be logical; they should feel natural and fun. There is no reason a Charr or Norn should feel slower than a Human, if anything they should be faster. But again, we sacrifice in the name of game play.

Until the moment comes when bounding feels natural, I’ll be running on two legs instead of four. It solves the problem — at least for Charr, sorry Norn. As it happens, unsheathing your weapon forces your character to run like a humanoid instead of a direwolf. If you’re interested, there’s an option to bind sheathing towards the bottom of your keybind list. There are also speed buffs available to certain classes (warriors get one with their war horn), so keeping a one-hander and a horn in your swap slots might also be a good idea, meat shields.

5 comments

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  1. Telwyn

    Sounds like a similar problem to other games. Like ponies in Lotro having to run like crazy because they’re smaller but go the same speed as the larger horse models. Also in WoW Draenei and Tauren had a loping gate as they had to move at the same speed as gnomes or dwarves…

  2. Jon

    Hey, are you still liking the game play? I’ve been pretty curious about the game.. and a few of my friends are trying it out. I’m fighting the urge to splurge!

    1. Chris

      Hey Jono!

      Definitely. It has a bit of a learning curve compared to normal MMOs but once you know how the flow goes, it’s a lot of fun.

      Some of the big things I like:

      - Letting exploration be my guide. When you get huge chunks of XP from everything but combat, playing by your own interest takes the forefront. The majority of XP I get is from finding things on my map (waypoints, vista), gathering/crafting, doing the daily achievements, and hitting events and tasks on the way. It’s similar to questing but really puts you in charge of that first run through a zone.

      - The scope and detail is incredible. You will be impressed by how many small details are in this game. It’s hard to describe but really awe inspiring when coupled with the general art direction. Each race gets its own capital city at least as large as Stormwind and usually much bigger. I nabbed a full level last night just from exploring the Charr and Human cities.

      - Each class is fun and different in its own way. I’m not much of an alt guy, but I’ve been playing a thief along with my main just because it’s so distinct.

      - World vs. World vs. World: It’s big, epic, and incredible. There is nothing quite like setting up a siege weapon outside a fort for the first time.

      - Instanced PvP levels you to 80 and gives you a full PvP set and total choice. It’s a level playing field right from the start.

      - Graphics. GW2 is one of the most beautiful games I’ve seen and not just in MMOs. That they could create a game that looks this good while also performing so well really makes you wonder what other companies are doing wrong.

      - Personal story. Each class has a fully voiced story line to carry it through to the level cap. As a human thief, I also get a big chunk of the city that is all my own and reflects the decisions I make going through. Those decisions also have consequences down the line.

      - No subscription fee. This is huge and one of the biggest reasons to own the game. Even with an unproven endgame design (see below), this point kind of makes it moot. The quality level is AAA+ and has every right to charge monthly. Since they don’t, I’m happy to get to cap, enjoy the heck out of it, leave when I’m bored, and come back when new content is added.

      Things I don’t like:

      - It needs a better tutorial. It is easy to feel a bit aimless when you start.

      - LAG. They turned off sales in their store because the newbie zones are just terrible. With my warrior, I will commonly outright miss. Because combat is based on location (you need to be in range and facing the right way… you can also dodge, which should be in the ‘plus’ column), lagging out means I’ll often “bull’s charge” right past my target and miss on my big opener. It also causes ability delay which makes combat feel sluggish. When lag is removed (like in PvP which has less people) the game is very, very responsive, so this issue stands out.

      - Bugs. The auction house has been down for a week because of possible exploits. There are also issues where certain events won’t trigger, like in the Charr tutorial. Logging out and back in usually fixes these. Joining and talking in guilds (you can belong to multiple and are account wide) is also hit or miss, though I haven’t actually had any problems myself.

      - Overflow servers. They make for no queue but they are also buggy. Lots of people report that it’s hard to join up with friends, though others have no issues whatsoever. I haven’t.

      - Server limitations/Name Choices. Essentially, the server you choose from the start is your home for good. You can’t make characters on other servers. This is because of WvWvW and makes a certain amount of sense from the competition standpoint. Still, it’s annoying. Also related to this, the name you choose must be unique across all servers which can make it hard to find a unique one. I had to choose a surname to get what I wanted.

      - Endgame is questionable. While the game levels you down when you return to low-level zones and provides loot drops for your actual level (this is awesome), there is no real “endgame” as you’d find in other games. There are no loot based raids, which makes me wonder how much people will actually run the “raids” that get put in. Instead they’ll provide cosmetic items, mini-pets, elite skills, skill points, and other motivators. That may be enough for some but I don’t know if it will keep many raid guilds around long-term. That said, there is also the pvp endgame and 5-man dungeons, of which the game is flush.

      If you get in, let me know! At some point they will be adding a “guesting” feature which lets you play on a friend’s server. I am on Ehmry Bay but if you join your friend, I’ll just guest over with you sometime!

  3. Jon

    Wow that is a very thorough recap, that’s a post in its own right! I am getting more and more interested the more i hear about it, thanks for doing this write up. The idea of over-flow servers is pretty intriguing, an awesome idea if they can get it working 100% right.

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