I’m sorry everyone. I was content with completing avoiding all talk about the recent Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns news because it doesn’t really doesn’t interest me anymore. I was happy for those getting whatever they were getting in the new maps and achievement grind but now… now they seem to have tickled that little rage duct residing deep inside me that for some reason is still triggered by certain facets of gw2.
It’s funny but I thought I was still interested in gw2 going into this expansion as well. When the initial announcement came out I was mildly interested and keen to see what sort of content it would hold and then with more and more getting revealed that interest has disappeared.
Nothing mattered. It was all the same achievement focused funhouse I became bored with long ago. And then they announced raids and for some reason that rage duct became active again. Seriously raids – in Guild wars 2. That just runs so counter to the original idea and design focus that I was completely surprised by it. I seem to remember a talk about there being no endgame – just the game. A philosophy around creating similar content to enjoy throughout the entire game.
Raiding creates a new endgame. A game around a singular focus and goal state with most activities leading towards that. I’ve done that many times before. I still enjoy such things in games that are designed around it but for GW2 my response is something like this.
There are many reasons behind that response. Many reasons that have been brought from experience and watching the genre these last several years. From watching Guild Wars begin, and still to an extent create its own existence as something unique within the mmo industry. The one game to stand itself apart from the same, raid/dungeon grind themepark design as the rest. There was more to help it stand apart but even now there is a certain amount left but I guess they wanted to excise that last piece as well.
I understand when people say that you don’t have to play it, and that kind of content but such a statement is a little naive and neglects many of the underlying facets that go with such things.
First is that Raiding naturally takes up an inordinate amount of development time compared to other types. This has been a known and talked about aspect from players and developers for a long time now. The completion of raids doesn’t tend to last that long, yet takes so much time to develop and of course once such things are done with new content needs to be regularly created to satisfy this playerbase. This is time and resources not being spent on the rest of the game. To create new areas. New events. New cosmetics and random activitiesall so what.. 5% of the players will play and complete it. Yeh, great trade-off.
Then there is the effect on the community with a focus on a more static, elite group style. Why I game details some of the effects this could have on the other elements of the game and I can’t help but see this as well. Right now the hardcore players are the ones often leading a lot of the larger open world content. Something that is rather inclusive of newer players. What happens when those people quit to focus on these new raids. Considering how unfriendly the dungeon running crowd is now I don’t see raiding ever appealing… or being accessible to the more casual playerbase… the playerbase I thought this game was designed around.
And finally – it is this kitchen sink style development that worries me the most. GW2 had a certain focus before, a broad one yes but something with a similar aim that tied it all together. The addition of raiding as well is continuing this feature creep and the more you develop the harder it is to keep developing, and maintaining for what you do have. I saw this happening with Wildstar and knew it was doomed to failure and COME ON – Anet has a terrible track record with the content they have added. Dungeons are still a mess. Much of the open world boss content buggy, broken and unbalanced. WvW barely gets any decent constant updates. Spvp goes through long periods of being completely forgotten. Oh yeh, and fractals. That went well didn’t it. I think the longest they ever stuck with a new feature was the living story so.. YAY?
The one thing I noticed through all this too is that once a new feature gets unveiled and released, the rest of them receive minimal to no attention in terms of development. That is until they get bored with it and move on again. I see raiding doing this as well. It will be the complete focus for many months with the rest of the game being mostly forgotten. Sure the new expansion content will be there as well so that will keep busy but once that’s been finished… what then?
And even when there is feedback and complaints about that Anet won’t give a shit. Remember all the negative press around living story – yeh that changed a hell of a lot didn’t it. Anet have their own Ideas, their own incontestable vision for the game and everything is white noise.
So for the next few months I guess there will be a new manifesto
And RAIDS.. in Guild Wars 2. Fucking seriously. There couldn’t possible be a worse MMO out there for them to be designed for right now. With the broken trinity combat system it just isn’t something designed around structured instanced content. They have done reasonably well creating large open content but once it gets smaller and what they call “challenging” it just becomes a chaotic, frustrating mess. Initially it was content designed around res rushing, dying over and over and running back to keep the fight going. After the changes it became gameplay that revolved around exploits.
These dungeons are an abomination. The design around them is an unfocused, unrefined mess and other than a few tricks to keep it interesting that they recycle, and get old pretty quick there is really nothing redeemable about them. I just can’t envision these raids being anything different from my previous experience.
I just don’t understand this and the one reason I could possibly understand behind it is that they’re desperate. Every move lately is that of a company, and an MMO that is desperate for more players. Desperate to keep current players. Desperate for attention and of course, desperate for money. An expansion after three years might have been an indicator. Jumping on the raiding bandwagon after all these years another. And then there’s going free – because that’s the mark of an MMO success right?
I just don’t get why they keep feeling the need to change their game further and further away from the original vision. The vision I, and many other people fell in love with. A design that was unique and a breath of fresh air within the industry. And with that, I guess my Final message to Anet is ….