Invisible Walls

David Sirlin tried Guild Wars once and absolutely hated it. For someone who argues that skill should outweigh time investment, I would have thought that Guild Wars would be his ideal game, since Guild Wars is all about rewarding player skill. Most of his critiques are leveled at the user interface, and in my opinion, he was just having problems adjusting from World of Warcraft to Guild Wars.

The only criticism that I agreed with fully is:

There are weird invisible walls all over the place in levels. Makes it feel very restricted…

Why can’t I take Path A up this little hill? The game forces me to take the long way round, Path B.

Invisible Walls
In WOW, I could walk up that hill, no problem. I can even jump up the hill. I’m not saying that jumping is a requirement for this sort of game; it’s not meant to be a platformer. However, there are numerous situations where “I should be able to walk up that hill, but I can’t!” or examples of “Why can’t I go directly from here to there; why must I go around?” in the game. It’s frustrating, and I feel constrained by the “invisible walls” that Sirlin mentions. The walls seem arbitrary to me. In some places, where the incline is obviously too steep to climb (e.g. cliff faces), I can understand, however this little hill right here? I should be able go directly up, rather than around.

  7 comments for “Invisible Walls

  1. 24 February 2006 at 02:51

    “All over the place” is a bit extreme but yeah, it’s a bit random. The bits that really wind me up are on the edges of bridges and top of stairs when you have to walk back a few metres and approach the bridge from the right place or you’ll just bounce off or get bumped under it.

    What’s wrong with the user interface? You can move everything anywhere and make it bigger or smaller as you wish – would have thought it was the last place someone could find criticism!

  2. 24 February 2006 at 08:43

    This was my biggest turn-off about guildwars, and it is seriously an immersion-breaker. Nothing makes me think “oh gee, I’m in a game” more than invisible walls, or not being able to make a short hop off a cliff, or stuff like that. I like a fully 3D world that lets you go anywhere or do anything, and WoW is pretty damn close to that. GW became very hard for me to get into because of this flaw. I like some aspects of the game but GW is definitely MMORPG-lite compared to WoW.

  3. 24 February 2006 at 09:40

    Yeah, it’s definately an immersion breaker. A bit annoying at times to not have a logical reason why your inhumanly strong warrior can’t just hop down a hill.

    But, I can see the justifiction. A lot of GW PvE is based on pathing and aggro, so giving players shortcuts would start to defeat that. Seems more of a design issue than a gameplay one, to me.

  4. 24 February 2006 at 16:59

    It’s definitely an irritation but not one that I regard as a deal-breaker.

    On immersion, I don’t really feel “immersed” in 3rd person games anyway. For example, I don’t have any recollection of being scared by a 3rd person game but (e.g.) being the marine in AvP2 I remember as making me pretty jumpy.

    It seems that a lot of his complaints are due to being used to another game (WoW) and not being able to customize absolutely everything so it works the same way.

    In any event, here’s the telling quote from Sirlin’s in his comments section:

    >I much prefer games where you don’t have to rely on anyone else.

    Sounds like he didn’t want to play a team-based game in the first place then – doesn’t matter whether he likes the interface or not at that point.

  5. 24 February 2006 at 17:35

    That quote is also reflected in his recent rant about WOW on Gamasutra. He’s a Street Fighter tournament champion — there is no co-op in SF, so naturally he’s more in his element in that context, rather than in online RPGs, where co-op/grouping is an attraction for a bulk of players.

  6. bigwig
    7 March 2006 at 22:05

    sounds more like people have trouble with having their immersion in WoW being broken by GW, than actual problems with the game.

  7. 11 October 2006 at 09:50

    Man, one of the bests games I have seen in a long time. I advocate player skill and strategic building. I wish there were more levels and such, but I have not seen such good rpg mechnics for combat before. The nice thing is it lacks the unnecessary time sinks all mmos have and the shallow combat in the rpgs I have played. I just wish it had more character devolopment :( . It had me hooked from beta until four or so months after release which is very rare for me. I’ll probably check out the new xpacks once I have more free time.

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