Digital Salad: The Guild Wars 2 I Dream Of [Part 2]

The vision I have for Guild Wars 2 went down really well, with some great responses. That was just part 1 though, because there’s so much to say it would’ve been way too overwhelming to lump it all together. This is part 2 of that vision, with some other ideas and suggestion for what I think Guild Wars 2 is missing or otherwise needs to have a look at to be the truly awesome game of my dreams. While this post pretty much assumes Guild Wars 2 isn’t quite living up to what I hoped of it, this is meant to be a post slagging it off – its a post about all the ways I think a game with great potential that it’s wasting can really live up to that potential and make something awesome. Enough of this waffle though, onwards!

GW2-logo

6) World Versus World Meets Player Versus Player

That kind of title will immediately cause screams of agony from most of the GW2 player base. Its pretty well known that GW2’s pvp has failed, and pretty spectacularly at that. Hardcore pvpers do not like its system, there’s far better pvp modes on more pvp orientated games. GW2 can’t really compete with those games.

That doesn’t mean that PvP doesn’t have some lessons for other game modes on GW2. Particularly WvW, the other major way in which players combat other players in GW2 currently (pending any potential GvG in the far future).

The thing that PvP did was to level the playing field, all characters are essentially the same level and will always have the same stats – victory lies on your choice of build and your skill with that build, not with the tiny extra stats that you’ve grinded towards.

I want to see WvW take on that model.

WvW currently exists in a strange limbo. You can up level your character to level 80 and play with the big boys on WvW, but your equipment stats stay the same. In other words, in many ways you are still massively under-leveled, even skills you haven’t yet unlocked will not be unlocked. That doesn’t really make sense, and there’s two solutions. One is to put a level 80 minimum requirement on WvW, so there’s some type of level playing field. That would be a poor solution when it comes to WvW participation though.

The other solution I see is that your PvE shouldn’t affect your WvW, like PvP does. Many will scream and shout at this idea, but for me it would be the greatest way of balancing WvW combat. I think everybody playing on a WvW map should have exactly the same chance to win as each other; the only decider is the way that you play and how you coordinate – not your stats.

7) World Versus World Maps

The second thing that I have always felt needed to change with WvW is the maps.

Arena Net seemed to share this concern, with the new EOTM map due to release any time soon and an update to all the borderlands. None of these really get to the crux of the problem though, although EOTM is a step in the right direction.

When it comes to the WvW maps, Arena Net dealt themselves a bad hand with the three identical borderlands. It could only be laziness or a poor decision that meant that there was three identical maps. There’s no variety, in a game mode that should thrive on it.

After over a year of experience almost everybody knows every inch of the maps, and the tactics are repeated again and again across all three borderlands. It’s leading to a really stale game mode, and it all stems back to the three identical maps.

Before the EOTM releases I would love to see each borderland have a separate design, based around the standard version we have now, adapted differently for each server’s borderland. Variety is the spice of life they say; it needs to be the life blood of WvW again!

Self-help GW2 style
Self-help GW2 style – apparently this is a real book!

8) Rediscover A Purpose

That sounds like a chapter heading in a self-help book. Maybe that’s apt though, because these 12 points are supposed to be something of a self-help book for Arena Net.

What do I mean by that though?

Well, I look at the way the game has developed with recently releases. The Origins Of Madness Living Story release this week is a good example, requiring hours of waiting around. These are not releases targeted at the time pressed gamers amongst us. That’s fine with me, I’m a time pressed gamer so I just pass it by.

The thing is, is that many of the time pressed gamers are those who keep Arena Net afloat financially. I’m a time pressed gamer because I have a 9-5 job these days, which with all the chores in an evening, only leaves me a couple of hours spare time per day – time that I’d much rather spend in other ways than waiting around for the Marionette to spawn on GW2. But, I have disposable income that I could use to buy gem cards, a really crucial money spinner for Arena Net.

GW2 definitely alienates the more time pressed gamers, requiring huge time dedication in chunks to make any serious progress. Releases need to be a bit quicker and faster in several ways. World events intervals could really do with being reduced. A whole range of things to get the time pressed gamers back on; and hopefully buying gem cards!

Depressing how few would know Snaff (right) compared to Logan Thackery (left). Both important story characters.
Depressing how few would know Snaff (right) compared to Logan Thackery (left). Both important story characters.

10) Quit With The Human Obsession

Humans, there’s too much focus on them!

Who do the new armours always fit best on? Humans! Its even worse than that in fact. Armours designed specifically for non-humanoids, such as the Sylvari culturals and especially the Charr culturals, have horrendous clipping problems. There’s no excuse for that, and it almost would be forgivable if the Humans weren’t always so picture perfect. Jealousy? Maybe. I’m not free of human emotions!

It makes me wonder why they included all the other fantastic races to play in GW2. It was a good selling point, and one that really got me interested. Is that all these wonderful races are to Arena Net, a selling point? That’s how it feels, and it really shouldn’t. I care about my Salads, but I don’t feel that they do. I know that cakeboxfox is the same with her Charrs, she loves them, but feels that the developers just don’t share that love.

Essentially, GW2 needs to quit with the human obsession. I’m not saying give the humans some ugly armours or ignore them from story lines, what they have is good! It just needs to be the same for all races. Some of the Sylvari and Charr cultural armours in particular need a complete redesign.

Most of all though, when it comes to the Living Story we’re always picking up the pieces of the human problems, mix it up with a Norn festival Living Story, something to do with the Pale Tree, something to with Snaff and maybe something to do with the Black Citadel. So many options, yet it’s human focus after human focus. Enough of it!

Scarlett - figure of hate and symbol of failure?
Scarlett – figure of hate and symbol of failure?

11) Living Story

That leads me pretty neatly on to a key point; the Living Story.

The Living Story, for me at least, has failed. I’m being pretty blunt there, the reality is far more complicated of course. I really liked the Bazaar of the Four Winds that came for a few weeks and then disappeared off, but other than that nothing released in the Living Story “season 1” has made me excited. I haven’t even patched for the latest release yet, now a couple of days ago. I don’t care for most of the Living Story, perhaps rooted in a deeper apathy for the game for me.

The trouble is, judging from the near universal Scarlett hate that you can find on all manner of GW2 forums, most people haven’t clicked with the Living Story so far either.

The Living Story feels, most of all, like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Tyria is a beautiful digital world, but it was meant to be a ‘living’ beautiful world. It didn’t quite work out that way, and the Living Story feels like Arena Net’s last ditch attempt to salvage an aspect of that. Just like the deck chairs on the Titanic though, its still very obvious that the ship is sinking – that the world is not ‘living’ and dynamic unless they really work hard to change it and plug those gaping holes in its Digital hull.

GW2 shouldn’t need the Living Story, GW2 needs high quality content releases every month or two, slowly but surely expanding the world to new and exciting places, introducing new characters and new stories – perhaps totally new plot lines.

What did helping Farmer Eda kill some spiders have to do with killing Zhaitan?
What did helping Farmer Eda kill some spiders have to do with killing Zhaitan?

12) Story & An Interactive World

And that also leads me very neatly on to my final point, a story that links in to a truly interactive world.

Everyone has helped Farmer Eda protect her Orchard from spiders at some point. You got the satisfying ‘ding’ and tick in the box when the heart was completed and you went merrily on your way, in the case of most people, never to meet her again. What was the point? We’re meant to be a hero, not a farm handyman.

I think to the Fable franchise with this part, where your actions out in the world affected how townsfolk reacted to you. What Fable 3 did fairly well (I know, it wasn’t the most popular of Fables!) was to make every last mission have consequences onwards. What I think GW2 needs to learn from Fable is that the hearts, hundreds of them out in the vast world of Tyria, must have consequences for the story. Otherwise there’s no point in them, you might as well do away with them!

I would love for Farmer Eda to turn up later in the story, having discovered that Dragon’s hate Apple Juice, and is now supplying the Pact with Apple Juice weapons. A silly story, certainly, but you get the idea. I dream of a Tyria where every heart matters.

The End

You’re probably grateful to find this at an end now, but I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my 12 points that would make GW2 the game that I dream of, the game that would meet all my expectations which were so high pre-release. What do you think of these points and my previous 6? Let me know and let’s have a discussion!

 

Digital Salad – https://lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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One thought on “Digital Salad: The Guild Wars 2 I Dream Of [Part 2]

  1. C. T. Murphy January 25, 2014 / 8:37 pm

    It makes sense, but more and more, I hate how separate MMOs make their systems. WvW felt like its own game entirely. That’s cool for people who only like to do one thing, but I prefer my games to be fully integrated, realized worlds. Not a set of systems meant to cater to specific tastes, one at a time.

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