While I haven’t gotten the chance to see the new skill acquisition system in action, it already sounds like a vast improvement from what we’ve seen throughout the past year of event appearances. When I spoke with ArenaNet last month, one thing that crept into most conversations is how much iteration we’ve seen buy guild wars 2 gold since the first playable public demo appearance a year ago. Gamescom 2011 has given us another dose of seemingly small changes that amount to major differences in gameplay.
A perfect example is the change to how weapon skills are obtained. In the new system, as you use a specific weapon you will unlock the other skills associated with that weapon fairly early in the game. These will unlock somewhat rapidly at first, for example in the new demo we’ve seen a charr engineer unlock its second rifle skill, Net Shot, within the first minute of gameplay. Successive skills will take a bit longer than that to unlock, but regardless of how long it takes, weapon skill acquisition is all part of the combat experience rather than one that forces you to leave combat areas to train.
This new system also extends to aquatic weapons. Underwater weapons will be acquired and crafted in the same way normal weapons will, and you will also unlock the skills associated with those weapons through normal gameplay as you would with your other weapon sets.
It will be interesting to see what changes have been made to traits. Knowing that the traits being shown in previous builds were considered placeholders, combined with some less definitive explanations of how new traits are earned, I knew it was only a matter of time until a revamped version of that system would appear. While it may not have made it into the demo build for gamescom, it’s another major gameplay reveal we have to look forward to in the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime, I’m personally very pleased with the changes made to skill acquisition overall. In traditional MMOs, skill trainers may indeed help serve a very important secondary function; giving players another reason to gather in social hubs. However, given the way that gameplay in Guild Wars 2 is structured, I don’t think that will be an issue.