Starting out in GW2 with WoW as a reference point – 2

More random combat-related snippets.

Auto-targeting.

“I need to target something first” – I can still hear that annoyed female voice saying this (and I can still remember the relief upon finding the “turn off voice error messages” option). In WoW, using a melee ability with no target selected makes you target a mob in melee range if one is available, but ranged abilities require having a target before using them. Not the case in GW2: if you don’t have a target selected (for example, if your target has just died), any targeted ability will fire into the closest available mob. Which can very well be that neutral dolyak behind you. Or that aggressive guy from that pack over there. Have you ever used Tab to cycle through the pack of trash mobs your dungeon group is fighting, and wound up pulling, because the current ones were suddenly all dead (I have)? You don’t have to tab to do this in GW2.

Postfactum out-of-range.

In WoW, you can tell from the icons on your action bar if your target is out of range of a targeted ability, and the spell itself won’t fire if the target is out of range. Not the case in GW2: the spell will be used and will trigger the cooldown, it will just fall short. So many whiffed initiations.

Aggro.

Is based by proximity. And damage, too, but proximity weights a lot. You can pull a mob past an afk player, and it can choose to attack that player instead. Need more observation to confirm, but if this is the case, isn’t there a possibility for griefing? I thought GW2 was pointedly against these things (one more discrepancy with WoW right here).

No numbers.

WoW is very good  at giving you lots of information about the fight through the UI. Everyone’s health and mana, buffs and debuffs (with timers), the spell that your target is casting. GW2 tells you the damage that your abilities do (useful when choosing between different weapons), then, for some reason, the damage that each of your hits actually inflicts on your target (the usual “kicking a mob like you would kick a broken vending machine and having numbers spill out” routine), but not the total amount of hp the target has left. You only see the percentage of the health bar left, no numbers. Accordingly, there is no way to estimate how tough a mob will be except the level on it and previous knowledge (basically, “veteran anything” = elite). You can also see the buffs and debuffs currently on your target, but you can’t see whether it is casting a spell, so no interrupts for you (unless you learn the animations maybe). Also, a lot of AoE effects have the same visual effect (a circle on the ground that tells either “something is going to happen here in a second” or “some effect is placed upon those who enter the area”), and in a group fight you don’t even know if it is a friendly or a hostile spell unless you manage to notice who placed it (maybe I am just inexperienced here though). Granted, the latter is probably directed at players who don’t want to “watch the bars” and for whom paying attention to what exactly each of the dozen people around them is doing  is preferable to paying attention to the UI, and I am, in a sense, the opposite way (*), so I feel disoriented. Just running by “don’t stand in ANYTHING” rule at the moment.

(*) When I healed LFR during MoP (which was the most technically challenging activity I’ve done in MMOs so far), I used the Healbot addon, so with 25 people in the raid half of my screen was covered in semi-transparent bars, and I did everything by these bars (healbot allows you both to target a chosen, ahem, bar to proceed to heal them with action keys, or to throw a spell their way without targeting them), only paying as much attention to my surroundings as to not stand in bad. Most of the time I wouldn’t know the tank I was focusing from the rest of the melee crowd if they were lined up in front of me. For me, it felt good, like operating a complicated machine with lots of meters and controls, but I’ve seen players say that’s not what they were looking for.

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