GW2 is the best MMO I have ever played. It is visually stunning, has amazing gameplay, includes great and diverse story elements and is all around a lot of fun. However, I didn't create this topic to discuss the things that make GW2 a great game, as these things cannot be improved upon. I wanted to talk about the progression in GW2 from level 1 - 80, or rather lack thereof. Like the majority of players, I don't care about "endgame" (beyond level 80) I am only talking specifically about levelling from 1 - 80.
In this topic, I am going to be talking about the two main forms of progression in GW2, skill progression and cosmetic progression. Keep in mind, GW2 isn't about power, so in no way am I referring to players acquiring more power from gear; but I will talk about the progression of power for a player, in terms of skills, from level 1 - 80.
GW2 was built on the principle that players would not differ in gear power to induce a gear grind. This known, one would think than, that the game would focus much more on cosmetic progression; giving players a huge array of different and unique looking apparel and weapons to choose from. However, this is clearly not the case.
Don't get me wrong, there are quite a few different looking pieces of gear around in the game. However, this is about progression, and when you find that a level 1 piece of gear aesthetics can also be seen at level 80, you notice something isn't right. A large amount of the gear you use from level 1 - 80 has the same old basic default skin, with only a few pieces of gear found while levelling, that look different. If it wasn't for transmutation stones, the feeling of progression of cosmetic gear would go from barely noticeable to non-existent.
It is very disheartening to see that the cosmetics of the gear at level 1 are still present as you level up throughout the game. No other game that I know of, has such a mediocre cosmetic system where dull and generic basic gear is still present at higher levels. From level 1-80, from memory, I have only found approximately 10 different looking gear while questing and levelling up. But don't be mistaken, these differing pieces are drowned out by the same old looking gear you see time and time again.
I have not had much experience with GW1, but from what I have heard, it seemed to include many different class builds and skill combinations for characters to choose from, even if pigeon-holed builds still persisted. In GW2, by the time you have hit level 20, you've essentially experienced 90% of the skills that you will be using for the next 60 levels, beside the very few skills that you gain through skill points. There is no mix and matching with weapon skills, you cannot customise your own build, you get a weapon with 2, 3 or 5 skills and that's it. For the next 60 levels you are using the same old skills over and over. If it wasn't for the amazingly fun gameplay, this would not have been able to be ignored.
You are given no stat points in GW2 to make your character unique and stand out and you are stuck with a very restrictive set of skills from each weapon. Although you can begin to gain some differentiation as you polish the very limited amount of builds you can experiment with beyond level 80, it still isn't enough and the progression from 1-80 becomes very monotonous.
On another note, the power progression within this game is also barely noticeable. At level 1 you feel almost as powerful as you do at level 80. Now, I know that this has been designed on purpose to facilitate the up-levelling and down-levelling system, but this restriction of feeling powerful really emphasises the lack of progression in the skill system even more.
Now it is not enough for me to just lay out the problems, which many of you may already know, so I will go a step further and provide some solutions that I believe can remedy this lack of progression.
Cosmetic Progression Solution:
This one is pretty simple. Give us more cosmetic options while levelling, reduce the rarity of different looking gear while you level to allow for a better feel of progression in terms of looks. I propose a system much like Diablo 3. Have cosmetics be level specific. Essentially, you would have a certain tier of cosmetic gear from levels 1-10, another tier for levels 11-20, another tier for levels 21-30, and so on. This will remove the fact that level 1 looking gear is still obtainable at higher levels, and I believe will drastically improve the feeling of progression in the game.
Skill Progression Solution:
This one is more complex and would be harder to implement. Simply allow for more skills per weapon. Instead of the usual 2,3 or 5 skills acquired with each weapon, give us the opportunity to gain weapon levels as we use specific weapons. Each weapon level we gain, we can then put choose an extra skill to use for that weapon that will take over one of the current skill slots. For example, there are 1-20 levels for a two-handed sword. At level 1, the player has the 5 "default" skills available for that weapon. There are say 5 different skills for each skill slot for that weapon, making 25 different skills for that weapon + the 5 "default" ones. At level 2 of that weapon, the player can choose one of the 25 other skills to gain access to, whether it be an auto-attack skill, a slot 2 skill, a slot 3 skill, up to a slot 5 skill.
This system will give players customisable builds far beyond what is currently available. No two players will be alike, as build diversity for each weapon would be enormous. For a two-handed weapon it would be 30 skills times 5 slots (as slot 2 skills cannot go into slot 1 and vice versa, this is the same for all the slots). One-handed weapons will have 18 skills times 3 slots. Off-hand weapons will have 12 skills times 2 slots.
However, this system will be hard to implement, as managing the balancing of all these skills would be very difficult. If a class can use 5 different weapons, that would be a lot of skills that would have to be balanced, now times that with the 8 classes in the game. As for the "power" progression, if this system is implemented, well who the hell cares about that lol, all these options would keep players captivated without even thinking about not feeling much more powerful than they did at level 1! =)
TL;DR - Read it, it involves you. =)
Thank you for reading that large wall of text, please feel free to discuss what I have typed.
Edited by unraveled, 29 December 2012 - 03:55 AM.
Fixed title and moved to PV.