Guild Wars 2 Strengths
- More free form skills: Skills look like they will have more of a feel to them. As in a physicality. They behave in certain ways and respond to the environment. The marketing probably boasts this up to be more so than it really will be, but it's a very cool idea.
Guild Wars 2 Weaknesses
- Destroyed dual class system: Two classes to choose from, and two sets of skills, makes for a very cool system. This is what made me try Guild Wars 1. Races don't make up for this. Not even a little. Having A (class) and B (race) is not equal to having A (class) and A (class) to choose from. The ways you could combine two classes to make a character theme you wanted was amazing. You could make a death knight with a W/N. A paladin with a W/Mo. And assassin with a W/Me. A dark priest with a N/Mo. This was a very fun piece of the game. Even if it was only in my head. Plus, theme aside, this made for interesting skill combos. You could always access any skill for any character. You just couldn't access them from more than two branches (classes) at a time. Amazing harmony of freedom and restriction.
- 3 Skill slots: You get 2 more skills at one (10 total), but far less freedom. 5 are defined by the items in your 2 hands. To change these skills you can change weapons, and class may effect the skills provided. But it's nowhere near the equivalent of a few skills that can be anything the character knows. Then 1 has to be a heal, and 1 has to be an elite. There were unique occasions where no elite was preferable in GW1. And just the idea of elite optional was fun. So what does this boil down to? 3 skills. You choose THREE skills. And you choose them from one class/race. A class and race you chose at character creation and can't change. Not even 3 skills from 2 classes (your main and a secondary for that extra utility unique to a specific class you want to tap into). I'm sorry, 3 truly free skills is a lot less then 8. They spin this as a positive to make game balance easier. It's a huge negative for me.
- Bad Gear: It's nice, real nice that any class can use any hand held piece of gear in GW1. This is where the dual class system shines also. Cause you can be proficient with any handheld gear if you dedicate the points towards it. GW2 limits gear to your class. This is such a backwards D&D way of doing things. Reverse evolution. Bad. Having skills populate based on what your holding, and in which hand is a really cool idea (to supplement your chosen skills, not replace them). But not letting a monk swing an axe is just dumb. They shouldn't be as good, but they should be able to do something with it. Here's where GW2 could have taken the high road. They could have made any armor type wearable by anyone. Make the light armor better for recovering energy, or able to channel energy better. Make the heavy armor more durable. Make the medium armor more nimble. Regardless, design a system where normally you'd want the stereotypical gear for your stereotypical class. But create it in ways so that there are some unique, effective strategies to thinking outside the box.
- Silly Minions: Silly to spawn minions without corpses. Just conceptually. Make them demons if they're just summoned out of nothing. Animated undead should originate from the dead. Mechanically this may be a great hassle free way to get minions. But thematically it's silly. This is a minor gripe. All other weaknesses listed are pretty major.
These are just my opinions. I feel strongly about them, but you don't have to agree. Few do.
GW2 has announced many cool things. The free form skills really taking the cake. But once they announced the new skill / class system, I lost all excitement for the game. Refute me if you will. Gripe to me about how I'm missing the point, or how I should be quiet cause I don't have to play it if I don't want it. Well, I'm not petty enough to completely boycott GW2. But at the same time, I've lost all excitement. And without excitement for a game, I have to be pretty bored to give it a try. So who knows. I'm not worried about it. Just formally putting my opinion up somewhere, even if only for my own sake.
Funny thing is, the single class announcement actually got me into an older game, Titan Quest (a dual class game). Honestly, they're doing me a favor. GW1 consumed far too large a chunk of my life. I don't really want to allow a game to do that to me again. Good time to step away from MMO's (GW being the only one that drew me in with their skill/class system), and to something more strictly match based.