MMORPGs can be fulfilling, engrossing, and fiendishly addicting. They can also be physically uncomfortable. For gamers with thousands of hours logged on a DualShock controller, the rare heavy usage of a keyboard and mouse can be daunting. And nothing demands 'heavy usage' like an MMO.
I've owned every PlayStation console and handheld to date, and the DualShock controller design is far and away the most comfortable means of gaming for me. However, I also enjoy the occasional PC adventure. A couple years ago, I retired from World of Warcraft after two-and-a-half years of playing - a career that has tempered my fingers and wrists to stand up to long hours tapping away at a keyboard and making rapid mouse movements. So, when I picked up Guild Wars 2 (the latest MMO from developer ArenaNet) a couple weeks ago, I thought I was ready to return to that format. It was comfortable at first, sitting at my 17-inch laptop while my 40-inch HDTV played Netflix in the background. Then, I looked up, and realized how it could be so much better.
Playing PC games on a living room TV is nothing new for most people, and I was eager to play Guild Wars 2 from the comfort of my couch. However, without a wireless keyboard and mouse, all my effort would be for naught. I scrambled for a solution, toying with the idea of playing the game with a controller. 'It would never work,' I thought. 'There's no way a DualShock 3 could play an MMORPG without making serious sacrifices.' Still, I had to give it a try - my couch was calling, and my controller was the only option.
What I've discovered is a revelation. Guild Wars 2 not only plays well with a controller, it plays like a dream. By using L1 and R1 to swap the functions of the face buttons and D-pad, I have access to all of my skills, free movement and camera control, and more targeting options than I ever bothered using on my keyboard. Sure, the control scheme is more complicated than the setup of Assassin's Creed, but after a short learning curve, I was playing this fantastic MMO on my big-screen. No longer do I have to suffer being hunched over my laptop, or battle the inevitable carpal tunnel that develops in my right wrist. I can play Guild Wars 2 with a PS3 controller, I can play it well, and it feels as comfortable as a console game.
Now, I'm not saying that this will work with every MMO out there; Guild Wars 2 has a greater focus on movement and positioning than on an innumerable number of skills. I'm also not saying that comfortable keyboard-and-mouse gaming is impossible; with a nice desktop monitor, or a wireless setup for your living room, you can certainly enjoy the PC gems out there. What I'm saying is this: In my situation, with my fondness for the PS3 controller, I wanted to play Guild Wars 2 with one. It worked tremendously.
So, how exactly does this matter to PlayStation gaming? Well, it's pretty simple. My experience playing Guild Wars 2 with a DualShock controller has showed me that the game would be a perfect fit on PS3. Developer ArenaNet seems to think so too; the studio has expressed interest in releasing console versions of the game, and work on the game even showed up in a Gamescom employee's LinkedIn profile a couple months back. Suffice it to say, Guild Wars 2 on PS3 is a possibility, and I'm here to proclaim that it would work like a charm.
To help out our community of PSU readers, I've written a tutorial on how to set up your DualShock 3 to work with Guild Wars 2, using the control scheme I've settled on. I've since refined and updated my controls (as you'll see in the tutorial, there's plenty of room to do the same), but I encourage anyone who's interested to click on the link below and give it a try.
Please sound off in the comments if you like this idea, and drop me some feedback on how playing Guild Wars 2 with a controller feels for you.