The Scrying Pool: First-Personing

The Scrying Pool is back, this time asking What if we had a First-Person View?


The Scrying Pool is a Guild Wars 2 column where I simply ask what if? Nothing is off the table as we dive into possible features and future content, looking at what currently exists in Guild Wars 2 before I answer my own what if question with how I think the feature and content should be implemented.

Earlier this week some fansites started to slowly trickle out their interviews from Gamescom. Some of the answers that the developers gave, such as no Super Adventure Box in the near future, sent the community into a fury. For this article, I wanted to pick out one of the topics metioned in GuildMag’s interview and ask:

What if Guild Wars 2 had a First-Person View?

This topic is something that has actually been on the Scrying Pool’s list of possible topics for a long time, as the community has been asking for this feature for even longer. Guild Wars 2 is a beautiful game, and sometimes you want to capture an amazing screenshot without your character photobombing the view.

That said, after reading some of the community’s comments about a first-person camera I am more inclined to side with the developers view on the subject.

Matt Wuerffel is an end-game designer who answered the question talking about how they like to play around with different camera views. With the designers in control of the camera, you get those awesome experiences where you run up to your first big boss fight and the camera slowly zooms out to give you a better look at the massive enemy in front of you. Even now, after almost two years, that zoom still makes world bosses feel incredibly epic.

Devon Carver, on the other hand, is a designer on the competitive team and immediately looked at how a first-person camera would affect combat, especially in PvP and World vs World. He talked about how in a first-person camera you would lose perspective on what is around you, making it difficult to understand what is happening during combat.

Devon’s comment has sparked some responses from the community saying that players are smart enough to be able to police themselves and that the players know better than to try to fight while in a first-person view. I agree that most of the community would indeed know that it is better not trying to fight like this.

I also know that Guild Wars 2 is constantly getting in new players that don’t know better. A couple weeks ago I witnessed a map chat of a player completely confused trying to figure out how to fight in first-person, because his first MMO had been The Elder Scrolls Online and he thought that all MMOs played with a first-person camera.

I would like to see a first-person camera implemented much like the Town Clothes system worked. Town Clothes were an alternate costume set that the player could wear, but not while in combat. The moment a player took damage from any source, the game would toggle the player’s outfit back to their original armor and weapon loadout.

The first-person camera could work the same way. You toggle into an actual mode that gives the first-person view, but if you take any damage it snaps you back to the default view. You can run around, jump, and cast swiftness granting skills all while in first-person mode, but will be taken out of it and won’t be able to enter the mode while in combat.

This setup would give players that just want the camera for things like screenshots to be able to get that screenshot, while also removing the ability for players to inadvertently switch to first-person while fighting.

To further support this, first-person wouldn’t be entered by continually zooming in with the mouse’s scroll wheel (preventing accidental first-personing) but by a hotkey that players could set up in the control options. The biggest worry I have with this setup is that snapping out of first-person whenever damage is taken could be a bit jarring and immersion breaking for new players. However, having the setting not be bound to any key until a player assigned one themselves would probably make them not realize it was an option until they get past those first cases of noobness. Town Clothes, for example, had a hotkey option to toggle in and out of the clothes, an option that I didn’t find out about until quite a while after it had been implemented.

A first-person camera falls into the category that if enough players want it then I think it should be seriously looked at for implementation, but just because we don’t have it now and ArenaNet isn’t talking about it doesn’t mean we will never have it. As Matt Wuerffel said, “[a first-person view] is not something that we would rule out.”

So let the developers know you want this and get the community together for awesome things like #OccupySAB2014, but remember to be civil. Tons of people yelling tends to only get attention to the tons of people that are yelling, not the point they are trying to say. Get your point across, be nice and remember, Devs are friends, not food.

Matt "Mattsta" Adams loves the Halloween season and can't wait to see a return of the Mad King and Bloody Prince.

I am sad that Super Adventure Box isn't coming back anytime soon. I really enjoyed it and it has already been too long. I do, however, like that it is something that comes and goes. It makes its inevitable return so much sweeter and it is awesome to look down the member list of my guild and see everyone's location is inside the box.

If you have a question for me or a topic you would like to see talked about here, leave a comment below. You can also tweet your question and topics to me on twitter @MattstaNinja.

Also, check out my new site Mattsta.Ninja where I will be putting up guides for Guild Wars 2 as well as some other stuff that I'm working on.


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You would be suprised
# Aug 23 2014 at 7:38 AM Rating: Decent
17 posts
The devs are clueless. During beta they were like "we've found out that there was an overwhelming demand for player jumping, so we're being awesome and implementing it in the game". Not having first-person view is just lame and bad game design. There's a few things that are also missing:

- FOV slider
- View distance slider - all backgrounds are just a foggy blurred mess. I want to extend the view distance all the way to the end of the zone. My pc can take it.
- Force dodge - often my skills root me in place and refuse to let me dodge out of an attack, killing me in the process. First they need to fix that, second they need to let me dodge out of the stuff. Same thing when im activating or gathering something in the world.
- Mounts. My friend was going to play with me and i was explaining her the game and she asked me "ok, show me the mounts" and i told her there are no mounts and the responce was "lol no mounts? lame game" and didn't care about gw2 anymore.
- No endgame pve. Legendary farming isn't my type of content. Seasonal halloween crap is useless.
It is spelled surprised.
# Aug 23 2014 at 4:31 PM Rating: Decent
7 posts
Hi! Thanks for your comment. I think you are thinking of way before beta with developers commenting on players jumping, and that was entirely a joke with them making fun of how GW1 never had jumping in it (like "we figured out how to make our characters jump! lol"). As for first-person view, I didn't mention this in the article but it is actually good game design not to have first-person in GW2. Some games are better in first-person and some are better in third-person. GW2 is most definitely the later. Having first-person view isn't something needed for good game design, it is just a quality of life addition for those players who want the view the scenery in that way.

- I'll add FOV slider to talk about in another article, as it isn't as simple as just adding a slider.
- View distance slider would be nice. Not much to talk about other than your PC most definitely won't be able to handle viewing across an entire map.
- Force dodge would be a nice option to toggle, because really it is annoying either way. It is annoying to die because I'm stuck in an animation, but also annoying to accidentally throw my big cast skill on cooldown. But an option to choose what you believe is the lesser of two evils would be nice.
- You can read what I think about mounts in GW2 here: http://www.zam.com/story.html?story=31684
Also, you mentioned bad game design before. Mounts are actually a sign of bad level design and gameplay pacing. That GW2 doesn't need mounts is actually a good thing. This is another QoL addition just for players, like your friend, who like that sort of thing.
- There is quite a lot to do at endgame, as everything is pretty much endgame. Dungeons, Fractals, Exploring, World Bosses, Tequatl and the Three-headed Wurm, PvP, WvW. If legendary farming isn't your type of content, I don't know what you mean by endgame PvE as the only thing that is missing is raiding which is worse than legendary farming. Legendary farming in GW2 is do whatever you want to farm towards materials. Raiding in other games is hitting your head against the same thing over and over again (something you can experience with bosses like Tequatl and Wurm) to grind out better gear for your character. Not to mention systems like WildStar's raid attunement process.
All of that is in addition to GW2's 2 week cadence, delivering even more PvE story and content for you to explore.
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