Observation the second: ArenaNet has made the look of Guild Wars 2 — especially its UI — so elegant and attractive that the competition looks downright shoddy in comparison.
Observation the third: I think I’m going to like GW2’s character growth system, AKA “traits.” Not prepared to say LOVE it, but it got my attention.
ArenaNet posted an overview of how you’ll be able to modify your character as he or she levels up. In a nutshell: Every level you get a point to spend in one of five trait lines for your class. Each point increases two stats for your class. Every fifth point unlocks a fixed, minor trait ability, and every tenth point gives you the choice of a major trait ability from a list. It’s not terribly complicated, which is good, and it’s not quite a talent tree, which is probably also good at this point.
My initial impressions after looking at this was “Warhammer Online”, although EverQuest II’s AA system looked somewhat similar. But it’s definitely more focused with just a few juicy rewards instead of loads of modifying ones. Due to the number of points you’ll ultimately end up with, you’ll be able to max out two trait lines with some left over (or settle for a lesser amount across a greater range). This should be pretty familiar to Guild Wars 1 players, since you’d be able to max out two lines there per class as well.
I can’t see spending gobs of time obsessing over the trait page, but it certainly opens up choice without seeming like it’s going to pigeonhole us into specific builds (although, give the community time on that, I know). I really do like that we’ll get to CHOOSE a major trait ability from a list versus just having one handed to us. Every ten levels promises to be a major event in your character’s life.
Can this game come out already? I can make room in my gaming schedule, promise.