It really has been a colossal disappointment.
I was hoping for a game which was a natural evolution of Champions Online. I'm looking for fun, kinetic gameplay which allows and requires people to zip around and be mobile, I was hoping for character building which is similar to CO and Guild Wars 1, where you could truly build your character. I was hoping for fun.
Valid points, although utterly and completely subjective. You wanted an evolution of Champions Online, that's fine, but who led you to believe that this game was going to be like CO?
On that count? They failed. The engineer isn't anything like what I would have hoped. It's an incredibly dull class. The design of it is just so timid, it's like they were soiling themselves over the thought of a small-minded minority screamig but this isn't fantasy. How you can make a flamethrower unfun is beyond me. And then you have chainsaws. Why do the engineers not have them as a melee option? The engineer could have been a melee class in steampunk, heavy armour, with a chainsaw and a good (crowd control-oriented) flamethrower as their primary weapon. They could have been backed up by robots with different roles.
And they could have had laser beams! And guardians could ride ponies! And, and, and, thieves could have been Aquaman underwater! All of my friends who have played the engineer utterly enjoyed it. Yes, sometimes you have to fight the mechanics just to get what you want, and sometimes you get carpel-tunnel because holy-cow-I-can't-throw-grenades-any-faster, but hey, fun is subjective. Just because you wanted a steampunk warrior doesn't mean they should have one. You want a melee weapon? Use a kit. Where would a chainsaw come in? What other class can use a chainsaw without completely breaking immersion? If you wanted to say "Hey, they could have a chainsaw kit!" Well then, that is productive, that is a great idea, that is a constructive remark that can make the game better!" Again, you base your arguments on what you want, and state them as fact.
We could have had a flamethrower that did things like casting an 'I AM ON FIRE!!!' debuff on foes, which would make them run around screaming, flailing, as if they were actually on fire until one of their companions actually used water or healing on them to deal with it. Or until the debuff timed out on its own. But none of this is there. The flamethrower is just a condition damage device that barely hits, and this touches upon another issue.
There is being realistic, and then there's being realistic in context of a game. Why doesn't cripple last forever? How come longbows don't make you bleed? How the hell does a warrior shoot two arrows sequentially in one draw? It is a game. If you have a splendid idea for how you can make the game realistic and balanced, please, by all means, suggest ideas. That is another way to be productive instead of purely negative and opinionated. As for flamethrower, what did you expect aside from point-and-shoot? What can possibly be done other than aim it in a general direction and home for the best?
Mobs are dumb. In Guild Wars 1, you're used to smart mobs. It's a glorious sight. Melee mobs will body block you to keep you away from ranged and support mobs. There will be some mobs which are good at healing (like the Guardian), who would help with buffing, healing, and resurrecting downed foes in GW1. But GW2 doesn't have this. The combat is an endless zerg. The foe runs at you, and it's a sterile trading of blows back and forth.
There isn't a transitive property of gameplay. You can't have warriors play as if they were snipers in GW2. Likewise, you can't design gameplay that is aimed at a core group of eight players when the world is open, not instanced. You can make a mob as intelligent as possible, but in an open persistent world, it's impossible to upscale that system for more or less people. There was no such thing as "soloing" in GW1: you at the very least left town with henchmen. Soloing is a very real scenario in an open world MMORPG. You can't just extrapolate one system and place it in the other. In GW1, mobs didn't intelligently attack. You had melee mobs that just rushed you, and monks that would use Infuse Health and nearly kill themselves despite being focused by the player party. This is what comes with being an MMO instead of an instanced multiplayer. I agree that the combat is an endless zerg, and that makes things really dull at times. However, harking to the days of GW1 isn't the right solution.
In CO, when a foe is about to die, they make a mad dash for a group of allied foes to try and draw you into another fight. In GW2 foes continue to kamikaze-rush you until they die. What this means is that the game is all about the numbers of you versus the numbers of your foe. You swing, they swing. This goes against the more skill-based game that they promised us, and now there's a new tier of items, meaning things are even more number based.
Show me the wonderful list of ground-targeted skill shots that CO has. Show me how mobs telegraph their moves, so you have to play active defense, and not thank-god-I-had-more-health. Show me the cross profession combos that work to extreme effect in a coordinated group. Show me how in CO, you blocked and dodged, rather than facetanked. Show me how in CO, you didn't just have a healer keep the tank's red-bar up as he generated threat. Hell, you even chose what role you wanted to be in CO, a role that gave boosts to tanking or DPSing, while throttling every other stat. If you want to talk about skill, show us the whole picture, not just "the mob aggros more mobs! Fun and dynamic gameplay!"
They promised us grandiose cities, they didn't deliver. The cities are tiny when you compare them with truly impressive cities in MMOs. Look at how Champions Online or Everquest II does a city and you'll be impressed. They really have an incredible sense of scale, there's even content in the cities. We were promised that, too, and they didn't deliver. Do you know what else we were promised? Content in the home instances for all races. They didn't deliver on that, either.
I liked the part where CO had vistas and jump challenges to keep you entertained in cities, all while having persistent voiceovers to try to generate a sense of immersion. Oh, wait. Just because something is big doesn't mean it's better. I was utterly blown away when I entered Divinity's Reach the first time. I was blown away when I entered the Black Citadel. Yes, the Sylvari home city is a mess and much smaller than the other cities, but Anet was going for the aesthetics of a tree. Do I wish there was more to do in a city? Yes. Have I ever played a beer brawl yet? Nope. Why haven't I had the opportunity to do so, especially when Anet promised me greater attractions in cities? That is a great point and something Anet should address. However, stating your opinion that grandiose cities does not deliver is not the right way to do it. Besides being utterly and completely subjective yet again, your "arguments" do not bring up solutions.
So most of the time we spend our time out in the field dealing with zerging mobs in copy-pasted dynamic events. This is a game that could have used another two or three years in the pot, to be honest, because most of it is terrible. But it gets worse. They took out body blocking, thus removing one of a mob's most tactical abilities, same for the player. Being able to physically block a foe (for you or the mob) is a handy tactical maneuver, and that's just not there.
Agreed, I don't know why this is the case. See? This is a productive argument, not just an opinion.
We were promised a companion, because that would be fun. Someone we could take around with us on content to add to the tactical feel of the game. But apparently this would have made things too easy due to the kamikaze, zerging mobs. So what do they do? They take out the companion, they don't deliver on that, eiither. They promise us account-wide dyes, and they backpedal on that and make it per character instead.
Yeah, I hated when they released the game, and I suddenly realized that there were no companions. THE NERVE. Oh, wait, that was announced at least a year before release. Hum. If that was such a deal breaker for you, you should have lost interest a year before the game even came out, saving you all of this trouble and grief. The change in dyes was a logistical change. They also promised a giant dye system filled with numerous colors, with armor that had different dyeable regions. THEY LIE-. Oh wait, never mind.
They promise us a lack of grind, but the game was grind-heavy in beta 1. And every option that seemed to alleviate the grind was 'rebalanced.' People were even banned for taking advantage of low-priced armour, just because ArenaNet clearly wants you to grind. This sounded alarm bells in my head, and this was one of the things that made me sit back and really look at this game and how much it fails to deliver on every front.
People were banned because they bought the low price armor, chucked it into the forge, and was thus able to sell the new non-soulbound armor for great profits. They weren't even permanently banned. This is called bug exploitation. People who thought they were just getting a great deal were not banned or even reprimanded; Anet admitted it was their fault. Anet's philosophy for removing grind was for you to be able to choose the reward you wanted, to not be at the mercy of a RNG. Well, look, you get tokens which you trade for the piece you want! Promise maintained! Even you must admit that if every time you ran through a dungeon you got the loot you want, there would be next to no replayability. Grind to a degree is necessary in any type of game. When you sit back and look for the negative, of course you're only going to find negative things.
They promised us 'our story,' and our story starts off with us working with Destiny's Edge. Instead we get bait & switched with this Trahearne sylvari who's Universally hated (look for the threads here, on the official forums, on just about every forum, or anywhere on the Internet, and I'm sure you already hate him yourself). Instead of taking orders from our racial Destiny's Edge coordinator, we had him.
I agree. I hated, absolutely hated how they did this in Nightfall. Trahearne is even worse than that. I feel like an observer in "my story". I killed the dragon, Trahearne gets the credit. I saved the city, Trahearne gets a press conference. This is an utterly valid point, and I'm sure that community feedback regarding this will help shape Anet's decision in future story choices.
And we had him hogging the limelight and attending every mission he shouldn't have. He came with us when he should have been back at base, planning. And then, on the final fight, where his presence as backup might have been helpful? He was completely absent! Now imagine the inverse of this, Destiny's Edge - they stay out of your way and simply give you information to act on. But at the end, in the final fight, they're there to provide backup against Zhaitan. Wouldn't that be amazing?
So they completely failed to deliver on content in the post 50 zones. Then you have the potential of the races. The charr could have had chainsaws, and jetpacks. They could have had races involving their cars as a city activity. They could have used helicopters to get around their large city (if it was large), they could have had a city that looked like the concept art. Instead, it was tame, and quite frankly crap. They completely failed to capitalise on their potential, and in the end, the charr feel like a cheap dollar store knock-off of what they could have been.
Opinion, and see above. Game balance, stuff...
Then you have the asura. The asura are stuck with asthetics stolen from games like Phantasy Star Online and Star Ocean 2, they could have had a brilliant uniqueness to them, as they did in Guild Wars 1. But instead they just became the clumsy gnomes of GW2, along with the sparkly, colourful technology that accompanies gnomes. Between GW1 and GW2, apparently the asura became gnomes. Look at their animations, I need say no more.
Sure, if you say the animations are stolen, I haven't got the evidence to say otherwise. Did the animations come out badly? You wanted GW1 Asura, that's not what we got. Point taken, but this isn't an argument.
I could go on, but in general I just feel that they failed to deliver on the artistic front, too. As someone who knows a lot about various forms of forest and jungle life, like even the myriad kinds of mushrooms and such you can find in the real world, I was utterly disappointed by the Disneyland copy-pasta going on, instead of having truly exotic and strange looking plants, they went for this one-dimensional, flat thing that was just so creatively bankrupt that I found it genuinely galling and unsettling.
Oh yes, let me just animate the 375,000 species of beetle we currently know of on Earth to create a more realistic environment for Tyria. What did you expect, the most detailed painting harking back to the days of the Renaissance? The art style is wonderful to me. Again, just because you didn't get what you wanted doesn't mean Anet was being "Creatively bankrupt". Saying that you were galled and unsettled by this is just absurd. This. Is. A. Game.
Oh, and what about armour? It was clearly designed for humans, but then they got lazy. The clipping on the sylvari, asura, and charr is atrocious. We were promised armour that would look good on our races, but instead they decided to go down the cheap route, because we're easy money, we're not going to care, right? Except that I do. That there's so much clipping on every armour piece for charr, sylvari, and asura really bothers me. This laziness is endemic of the game. The game in some areas of its aesthetics just feels completely phoned in.
Agreed, clipping is a huge problem. I hope that Anet can address this with patches in the future.
So yes, I think they failed to deliver on aesthetics, too.
And they failed to deliver on fun gameplay. They could have had the gameplay be fast and vicious, versus intelligent mobs (which I have touched on a little), they could have had a lot more character options for decent tactics (which I have also touched on a little), and it could have looked more like their profession preview videos. Instead, they slowed it down so much. Combat feels as slow as molasses, it takes forever to get anywhere, and it just puts a hamper on the enjoyment of the game.
I have also touched on this. Combo fields. Dodging. Mostly AoE based game. Reactive gameplay. Knowledge of game mechanics. These are all things that play into what makes GW2 fun and dynamic for me. Could it have been even better? Yes. Does it beat the pants off of cooldown rotation gameplay seen in games like CO and WoW? Yup, to me it does.
What Guild Wars 2 failed to deliver on in this regard was flow. In games like GW1 and Champions Online, they dealt with this by providing trash mobs along with tough, tactical mobs. So you'd mop up the trash surrounding the more difficult mobs. And the more difficult mobs would then work together to provide you with a worthy fight, so you go into it with this feeling of building challenge. But GW1 mobs are all trash mobs, except with massive bags of HP, so you just sit around hammering at their massive amounts of HP until they die.
They couldn't make it so that the fights are difficult because they require tactics, instead, mobs have massive amounts of HP. And if their numbers are significantly bigger than yours, they can one-shot you. So it stops being about tactics and it just becomes WoW, where you grind for bigger numbers, so you can take on their numbers. You swing your number-sword, they swing theirs. It's just one sack of HP (you) versus another, with your numbers and their determines who loses what HP on what swing.
GW1 != MMORPG That design philosophy can't translate directly. Never were you promised GW1 2.0, and I feel that that is the core problem. Also, I've been running dungeons with greens. Does that mean I'm this wonderful player? No, and that's not what I intend it to mean. Sure, if I had some better gear, I could be just that much more efficient. However, all of the exotics in the world can't save you from a burst from Subject Alpha in Crucible of Eternity if you don't know when to dodge or block. That isn't a numbers game, that is a skill and familiarity game.
The feel of the game just... fails at flow. When you couple this with things like the movement tax (the cost of waypoints), and the mind-meltingly slow movement speed of the characters, it's like they wanted to draw out everything. It's like... it feels like it was meant to be a faster pace game, the game that they promised us. Then they went back on that promise too and slowed the game down to a snail's pace. Look at player movement and tell me you don't feel that that's a thing. That reeks of Nexon's involvement.
So it's just a slow, grindy, shallow, hollow game. Far, far closer to WoW than it was to GW1 or CO. That's how it is, for me. Nothing like what it could have been. I'm still in love with the game it could have been - with the aesthetics, the mechanics, the races. It's just the actual game fails to deliver on all these fronts, and I'd sooner forget it because it's painful for me on that level. I know cognitive dissonance will allow some to delude themselves, but eventually it'll set in and they'll realise what I did.
This isn't the game we were promised. It's the ultimate antithesis of the game we were promised.
When you look at the negatives, it does look that way. However, you can go through a dungeon with all thieves. Or all elementalists. Or all warriors. Anet promised to first and foremost delineate the holy trinity. While not completely achieved, they made strides towards this. They kept in line with the aesthetics of GW1, so that you can instantly tell it was made by the same company with a sense of continuation. I've talked about how GW2 works to deliver gameplay that is vastly different from other MMO's currently in the market. So yes, when you only look for the bad, it is the ultimate antithesis. However, your tunnel visioning also keeps out aspects that Anet did deliver.
And that's what upsets me about the mess that is GW2. It's an exercise in trickery, manipulation, Asian-grinder ideals, an dmost importantly... broken promises. I can't think of one, sole promise they managed to keep. Not one. Every promise that mattered to me is something that was either never true in the first place, or something they've backpedaled on in their efforts to create WoW 2.0. And do we honestly think that this WoW 2.0 is going to fare any better than TOR or WAR? I don't. People will get sick of it and leave.
A design philosophy isn't a promise. It's a loose set of guidelines that drives the direction for a game. If the philosophy fits well with an aspect, that's how it's going to be implemented. If not, then it's time to get creative. Tell me of how this game plays like WoW, and I'll tell you how it does not.
Those who're openly WoW haters (like me) who're sick of the grind will just leave it out of disgust, out of how much it's ended up like WoW. Those who love WoW will realise that GW2 isd not as good at being WoW as WoW is. So they'll just go back to that. At the end of the day the game is going to see a mass exodus, because it went for the fool's gold. It tried to take a slice from the WoW money-pie. And haven't we learned what idiocy that is?
Haven't we learned, ArenaNet?
I was hoping, hoping it would be more like the less cynical modern games that I enjoy, like Champions Online, like Guild Wars 1. I feel that CO and GW1 do way more to deliver on their promises, their Manifesto, than their own game does! In CO I can see the fast paced combat, the flow, the fun, the lack of grind. In GW1 I can see all of this, too. In GW2 I see the exact opposite. If this could have been the evolution of games like CO and GW1, I would have been the happiest person alive. But as it is? WoW 2.0. I didn't sign up for that. I bought into the idea that this game wouldn't be WoW 2.0.
Oh yes, fast paced combat! I love how my Gunslinger in CO just spams one move for maximum DPS. So dynamic!
I bought passionately into that idea. You all know this. And I feel so utterly betrayed.
You read into things that weren't there. You saw an idea, and took it as a promise. Not only that, the things you feel betrayed about are based on opinion. If ANet said there wasn't going to be sub-fees, but there were in the game, that is a broken promise. If Anet said their game was going to be pretty, but you don't think it is, that isn't a broken promise. That's a difference in opinion.
And ultimately that's what upsets me about GW2, it's the greatest exercise I know of in broken promises. I don't think I've ever felt so let down by a company or product before. Nothing has even come close to the base betrayal I feel. I know some people will say 'EVERYTHING IS FINE!!!' and that the game hasn't already lost most of its playerbase, but hey, TOR fans said that too, as did WAR fans. Didn't change a thing, did it?
Oh, oh, and everyone said it was ok to appease Hitler! Look where that got us?! No, everything is not fine, but not for the reasons you bring up. I agree with you one-hundred percent on some things, which I mentioned above. But, most of your post is just opinionated fluff and that isn't the best way to approach what you are talking about here.
And I know that some people will want to call me a liar or make personal attacks, just for speaking the truth. I know that there are people who can't wait to do that. I've seen them in other threads when I've brought these things up. And to be honest? That's kind of pathetic. But tell me that for you this doesn't sense. Tell me that most of this post doesn't ring true for you. Tell me that you haven't suffered these nagging feelings, and that recent choices have just brought them to a head.
Your. Opinion. Is. Not. The. Truth.
I'm still in love with the GW2 that could have been, but the GW2 that is? Utter disappointment, feelings of betrayal, and endless broken promises. I can't bring myself to look at it any more. And you'd be surprised at how big of a deal that is. Normally I can overlook a lot, and for a race like the charr? I could overlook a lot more. But this game is just such a heart-rending disappointment that not even the charr can make me login now.
I'm really sad about all this. I'm sad for the GW2 that could have been.
Coulda woulda shoulda, I know. But if there's any hope that the ArenaNet of yore is still out there, and still listening, I need to voice my thoughts. Maybe there's some chance to gather up the scraps of this shambles and pull it together into something resembling the brilliant experience it deserves to be. That's all I want. I want GW2 to be a great game. The sad truth is is that right now it's not. So many broken promises, just as the OP points out. So many.