Guild Wars 2 One Year On

There’s a image going round the internet to mark the one year anniversary of the release of GW2. I’ll include it in the bottom of this blog if you want a closer look, just click on it to enlarge. I’ll probably refer to it in other blog posts as it contains quite a few fascinating pieces of info on how the community and game have developed over time. I’d especially like to compare it to info which Anet released in September 2012.

So, what if anything has changed over the year? Overall it seems like the picture is pretty similar. Here’s some headlines based on the raw numbers (what you experience in game might be very different!):

  • Warriors and Rangers remain the most popular profession 1 year on
  • Mesmers and Engineers remain the least popular professions 1 year on
  • Guardians have seen the largest drop in character numbers over the year
  • Humans remain by far the most popular character race, although their huge lead is falling
  • Norns continue to be the most popular non-human race, although closer to Asura and Sylvari than before (suggesting more of all these races across the board)
  • Charrs remain the most unloved race in GW2, with by far the fewest number of characters

The data isn’t exactly fantastic and crystal clear, and I know my own experiences in game go against several of the headlines, but they provide an interesting overall picture. It seems that the GW2 community by and large remains unadventurous in their characters, creating human warriors in droves compared to neglected Charr mesmers, as two extreme examples. Is that the fault of the community as Anet seem to be suggesting, bemoaning the fact that nobody is playing as the exciting non-human races they put so much effort in to? Essentially, whilst there is an element of laziness, not in a negative way but in a way that many gamers will simply want to stay with what they know they will like and enjoy – the fantasy staple human warrior – there is a definite responsibility of Anet on this.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, anybody who plays as a Charr main will be quick to tell you how painful jumping puzzles can be for them. Sylvaris have the so called ‘Bubble Butt Syndrome’ and Asura are plagued with weapon models so tiny that they look ridiculous. I’ll do a separate blog post for all of the Charr, Sylvari and Asura problems in the future so you really can see how bad it is for these races. The point is is that none of the non-human races are anywhere near as polished as humans. The real killer on this has to be armour. Approach a player who’s main character is any of these races and they will more than likely have a story of horrible armours (Charr are especially infamous for this) which were made for human models and just stretch to fit a Charr, often with laughable results.

Why do people not play as Charrs, Asuras and Sylvari as much as Humans? Firstly, because the majority will always favour humans, so the emphasis is on the game developer to make non-human races really shine and be attractive to a new player. GW2 has failed on that on several levels and clearly continues to do so, that is the real headline of the year one data.

Aside from all that, Happy Birthday GW2. I’ll continue to play and have fun as my Sylvari’s (and one or two Norns) for years to come I hope! Whilst I might often moan, I still enjoy the core game of guild wars. What I really am trying to get at with these posts is what is missing from GW2 that could make it even more fantastic, and truly deliver on all the promises of a year ago.



Digital Salad –


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