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#1 chuckles79

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:15 PM

Now that we've reached the point where the game is more or less functional greater than 95% of the time; we have to look at how/when/if additional content is being distributed.

What we currently have is small "installments" of expanded content that is being distributed monthly.  These typically involve some new scenery, events, an instance or two; and an exotic goody or two for your time and trouble.

However, when you look past the yearly events (Halloween and Wintersday will be ongoing and repeated variations on what we have seen already), everything has centered around an aquatic themed lvl 80 area with giant crabs.

Yes, Flame and Frost was technically in low-level areas; but that was all just prelude for the dungeon and the continuing Southsun Saga.


To get to the point, is this better than the larger expansion strategy of GW1?

GW1 saw 1 mini expansion like we had with Southsun (though work on Southsun was clearly done pre-launch) at 6 months then an expansion at ~ the 1 year mark; and 2 more large expansions over the course of the proceeding 16 months.  Followed by 2 mini-expansions (more on the nature of the Flame and Frost) that started in 2009-2010.

Now, I know from asking an ANET member directly, that the F&F, Southsun,etc stuff was all planned before launch and was to be distributed in this manner.

HOWEVER, the focus on these little soap operas has led to little to few permanent changes in the game (Sonic periscopes now knock me down all over Ascalon...I'm tickled pink) and little value to the game or for the player.

WvW updates have been few and slipshod.  PvP has gotten a couple of newer maps; but still lags behind the expectations set before launch.

Without the announcement of any large expansions, we're left to assume such expansions will be rare, and small in scale since both ANet and NCSoft will have trouble justifying that much work without a noticeable return on investment (even a $10 DLC add-on would justify a great deal of quality work).

I'm hoping that after this Canach event goes away, that we'll be done with Southsun for a while and we might see some other areas open up.  The former D'Alessio Seaboard seems a ripe place for new content, not to mention the other traditional areas deep Maguuma (with Majesty's Rest and the Falls) Far Shiverpeaks, Charr Homelands, Deldrimor Front, Crystal Desert, and the Ring of Fire.

TL;DR The question is, do you think these parcelled out mini-expansions are bringing any value to your gameplay experience; or would you prefer the traditional model of large expansions every 9-12 months?  Keeping in mind that we'd just be now seeing the first expansion now.

#2 Cube

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:32 PM

Large expansions, is currently what I prefer.

Of course I don't mind these small updates, I just do not get much out of them. They are only enough for one day of stuff and then it's over. If they focused less about the gemstore(i.e skins u can get from lottery) and put that into some sort of quests etc, that would probably make it a bit better.

If they would do more with these mini-"expansions", give more content. Something like how War in Kryta was, with rewards at the end like weapon skins, that would be awesome.

I think my problem has been so far that I feel it's been a bit of a let down. So little has been done over such a big time and then for F&F the climax was a dungeon that lasted for 4(i think it was) days where the only reward was some kind of super rare chest backpiece - while they could have made it all token based. And for everything you did with Rox and Braham eventually gave you enough tokens to purchase one of the weapons that they INSTEAD decided to add to the Black Lion Chest... You know the new fiery ones... It just felt like such a let down. I loved the missions you did with Rox and Braham and enjoyed it tons. Shame it was just so incredibly little and the reward for participating was so little.

Who wouldn't want to do the content over again if you could purchase one of those weps? I really like them but I DON'T want to be rewarded for money, I wanna be rewarded for play :(

#3 MazingerZ

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:37 PM

View Postchuckles79, on 23 May 2013 - 06:15 PM, said:

TL;DR The question is, do you think these parcelled out mini-expansions are bringing any value to your gameplay experience; or would you prefer the traditional model of large expansions every 9-12 months?  Keeping in mind that we'd just be now seeing the first expansion now.

You can release mini-expansions or whatever, if you do it right.  But I never get the feeling that the way F&F was handled was planned before launch.  It does not have that sensation at all.  Mini-expansions need to have some story-punch to them, as much as a real expansion does.

The Living Story that was Cataclysm's Firelands patch was more engaging and seemed to show way more development, from a pure story perspective.

You can do content packs.  Apparently, the STO 'seasons' or whatever were very engaging to people.

I really think they need to hire better writers and better production staff.  Not the people screwing on the nuts and bolts, but the people envisioning it.  Because it comes off as phoned in.  It lacks emotional punch.  I have felt zero attachment to the story since my Order mentor was killed off.

I usually consider larger expansions are for when you need to raise levels (tho this game should in theory never have to do this), open up new areas (really the only reason to raise levels, to provide a challenge to exploring the new areas, in the old style at least, and provide a path of progression), introducing new mechanics, revamping old mechanics, new races, new class.  Really just a glut of work that is worth charging 40 bucks.

The problem with charging for mini-expansions is running the risk of consumer fatigue.  If you cannot maintain a high level of quality (much like now), people are less inclined to pay even 10 bucks for work.

Edited by MazingerZ, 23 May 2013 - 06:39 PM.

It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#4 KlaatuZu

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:50 PM

Well, I would prefer expansions, BY FAR.  

Apart from Fractals, the best changes were all adjustments, fixes, minor details added (WvW stuff for example), and mostly polishing the game: all of which, are part of what is expected from a MMO developer, during their game's life cycle.
The game sorely lacks End Game content, since their main current focus: The Living Story, is like a typical MMO starting area, hand-holding-facerub.

All I wanted really was GW2 game play, look and feel, with richer features, like housing, Guild Halls, harder and way more skill-demanding dungeons (also more :P), in-game LFG tool, Raids, a crafting system with a lot more possibilities and importance, new WvW maps,better WvW scoring system to prevent it from becoming stale, invest more into getting ppl to play WvW,
NO MAGIC FIND, no DR.

Also, please let me get the game's most important loot through struggle and accomplishment instead of RNG.
Make precursors have a bigger chance to drop in the harder content ---> give me incentive to go to Fractals 50+, like a 5% chance from MAW at those levels, I could go on forever...... oh, I just did :P

I would mostly like to feel progression, that I'm playing towards something!!!

Edited by KlaatuZu, 23 May 2013 - 06:58 PM.


#5 beadnbutter32

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 10:26 PM

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I think Southsun in its current state is a massive improvement.  Finally some mobs that offer a challenge, and the free MF buffs give a pretty nice income for the first hour.  I will be sad to see May 28th roll by, as it will go back to being just a challenge with very low drops.

I am not a 100% fan boy of the Living Story, and the mini-instance missions for that were rather cheaply done, and very thin story wise.

I have no idea where Anet thinks they are headed or what exactly they think their strategy is, but  I do hope they continue down the path of harder mobs where hard does not just mean big health bars and focus them down as fast as possible non-action.  I like the emphasis on having condition countermeasures and the inverse which is having your own conditions to cast on them to shut down their attacks is a welcome change.

They need to take this further so that classes that are good at conditions and other forms of combat, like underwater, become more important in dungeons so that Warrior, Mesmer, Guardian is no longer a requirement.

But to get back on expansions, GW2 is looking more and more like your typical asian cash shop based grinder.  Typically, they contract out the initial game design and do not employ lots of developers, instead the design they paid for is expected to have a number of easy point and click tools that allow non-developers to create new 'content' that simply re-uses various in game items and scripts and arranges them in slightly different configurations.  I think that is what we are seeing with the Living Story content streamed min expansions.  There is nothing there that is built from scratch, it's all  slightly different scenarios using all the same re-skinned resources, models etc.  The Living Story instance/missions were just glorified re-use of the mechanics unper-pinning the personal story missions.

This type of arrangement is also why some things are never going to change or get fixed.  They do not have the expertise in house to do it.  All that staff there can do is flip switches on this custom MMO administration system.

Edited by beadnbutter32, 23 May 2013 - 10:39 PM.


#6 MazingerZ

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 10:41 PM

View Postbeadnbutter32, on 23 May 2013 - 10:26 PM, said:

But to get back on expansions, GW2 is looking more and more like your typical asian cash shop based grinder.  Typically, they contract out the initial game design and do not employ lots of developers, instead the design they paid for is expected to have a number of easy point and click tools that allow non-developers to create new 'content' that simply re-uses various in game items and scripts and arranges them in slightly different configurations.  I think that is what we are seeing with the Living Story content streamed min expansions.  There is nothing there that is built from scratch, it's all  slightly different scenarios using all the same re-skinned resources, models etc.

I disagree with this mostly because the mechanics introduced in MF were something never seen before.  A dodge-able, highly visible shockwave.  The fire cyclones.  That's new artwork.

The fact that it takes so long to get that kind of thing out makes me thing that dev time is an issue.  They want to have a consistent release cycle to stimulate interest and gem sales, so they seriously undercut what they are going to put out so it actually works.

I think their turn around time would be much better if they had a PTR, but again, PTRs are people not investing in their production economy, nor spending gems, and also getting exposed to content prematurely and ruining the hype.
It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#7 NerfHerder

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 07:19 AM

Yeah, the latest update was worth it. If we get content like that about every month including a steady flow of balances, bug fixes, polish, and optimizations, I'll be happy. Honestly, I wish this update would last longer than 2 weeks. The updates are actually coming in too fast for me. The zerg between instgators is a fun and profitable way to level the couple of toons that still need leveling. And I'll miss that.

I want to explore new terrain as much as everyone else, and we would mostly get that through an expansion. I also want the other things that come with expansions, like skills, weapons, and guild halls. But, things like the tengu area(dominion?) would be perfect for a living story update down the road, becasue its bigger than regular patches, but smaller than an expansion.

Overall, I think Anet has learned alot, and they are really starting to find thier groove with Living Story. Sure, I wish PvP and Endgame were more robust. But, I think I fit too much into the "casual" field to really use up an expansion every 8 months.

#8 chuckles79

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:17 PM

Let me clarify, I'm pleased with the volume of updates and work being done.
I just don't feel it's on par with the quality standards they have set.  Also, I find the neglect of WvW to be very regrettable.

What I really want to see is new WvW maps, and new world bosses that actually provide a challenge instead of standing there and letting you wail on them for cheap ectos.

Right now, the most challenging champion opponent in the game is Siegerazer.

I have a whole wishlist that's pages long; but they NEED guild halls, a true home instance, and new WvW maps in order to keep interest in this game high.

#9 ScorpioSpork

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:42 PM

First off, I really didn't mind the Flame and Frost stuff. I do regret missing the dungeon, since everyone seemed to like it. But it was only available for 4 days or so, right? I just didn't get the chance to log on, and I feel like I missed out on the best part about Flame and Frost.

I do like that I got to bring my low-level alts somewhere different this month. I also liked seeing a PvE area actually full for once (excluding dragon events at prime time). And all of the new weapons/armor/back pieces look really good.

All of this has been nice. But I can't help but think all of the time and resources Anet put into it will have been wasted. The voice acting, writing, dungeon development, etc. won't matter for much longer. If the goal was to bring new, free content to players, there are much better ways, permanent ways, to do so.

What if instead of Flame and Frost, we got some of the following:

- Guild Halls
- Guild Alliances
- PvP maps
- WvW balancing
- New Fractals
- Dungeon improvements
- "Hardmode" in Dungeons
- World Boss improvements
- Home Instance improvements and/or player housing
- The ability to save and share builds, like in GW1
- More LFG options

These are all things players have been asking for. Why did Anet choose to develop some temporary story instead?

I really appreciate free, new content. But will I even care about Flame and Frost next month? I would have preferred an expansion that I could enjoy at my pace with all of my characters at least once.

#10 Sheepski

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 01:21 AM

View PostMazingerZ, on 23 May 2013 - 06:37 PM, said:

I have felt zero attachment to the story since my Order mentor was killed off.

I refuse to believe that Tybalt's really gone! You fiend!

Question, feedback or issue? Pm me!


#11 Eon Lilu

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 02:04 AM

View PostScorpioSpork, on 24 May 2013 - 11:42 PM, said:

All of this has been nice. But I can't help but think all of the time and resources Anet put into it will have been wasted. The voice acting, writing, dungeon development, etc. won't matter for much longer. If the goal was to bring new, free content to players, there are much better ways, permanent ways, to do so.

What if instead of Flame and Frost, we got some of the following:

- Guild Halls
- Guild Alliances
- PvP maps
- WvW balancing
- New Fractals
- Dungeon improvements
- "Hardmode" in Dungeons
- World Boss improvements
- Home Instance improvements and/or player housing
- The ability to save and share builds, like in GW1
- More LFG options

These are all things players have been asking for. Why did Anet choose to develop some temporary story instead?

This is exactly how I see it aswell, I just see the living story and temp content mini patches as a complete waste of resources and when I ask myself what could we have had instead of this mini temp content, it really bugs the hell out of me on how much of the game they could of improved on and expanded on and how they have mostly focused on the gem store and these mini temp patches instead of working on more of the core aspects of the game. Such a waste of potential and I think that sucks and sums up GW2 as a whole in a nut shell, ok game but so much potential wasted, could of been so much better. That's the feeling I get from most people anyway.

Edited by Eon Lilu, 25 May 2013 - 02:06 AM.


#12 lollasaurus

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 02:22 AM

Well, I'm glad sPvP finally has observer mode and custom rooms.  I wouldn't say theres much lacking there, new maps couldn't hurt... But I tend to prefer the original ones more still.  WvW maps need to be changed, doubling the space between objectives and adding more natural obstacles and shifts in terrain would be great.

#13 lmaonade

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:56 AM

they currently add no value to my personal gameplay.

but that is not to say that Anet cannot do anything with these monthly mini expansions, the major problems lie in implementation and perhaps even design of the content itself. (not going to count halloween or christmas because holidays)

-Lost shores was a disappointment, sure the zone is permanent but there was no incentive to go there besides the rich orichalcum and maybe the jumping puzzle for people who like those, the newer mobs were hard to fight with the exact same reward as those of other regions, and introduced no new or interesting mechanics in combat or AI. The single day events were okay. Fractals was a good piece of content, but I don't really see it as part of the Lost shores "mini-expansion"
-Flame and Frost:Prelude introduced very little, the most exciting thing in that update had nothing to do with the living story at all actually (Laurels and maybe the Quaggan backpack for some)
-Flame and Frost:The Gathering Storm introduced little, best part was Guild Missions
-Flame and Frost:The Razing was (relatively) decent, had more real content that previous chapters.
-Super Adventure Box was great tbh, was not enough content on its own to sustain a whole month since you could finish the thing in a day or 2, the rest of the month was for grinding skins... But nevertheless content is excellent, loved my first run through it.
-Flame and Frost: Retribution was great also imo, I enjoyed the new dungeon, the testing room was something new and interesting, and dual bosses is a good idea. (and frankly rewards were great too, new food is always welcome, I personally liked the infused guantlets, and the jetpack is something i was luckily able to get and love, drop rate for the jetpack was too low though imo)

So as you can see from my standards, the monthly updates are getting better bit by bit, Anet is starting to add some interesting content. But one thing that shatters all that goodness: nothing is permanent, all the content feels far less significant than it can or should be because it doesn't change the world in some meaningful way. The fact that you can go see Braham and Rox for the aftermath of their respective areas is pretty cool, but those places are instanced.

As for this month's content, it's alright, they're making good use of the empty space that is Southsun Cove, I have to admit it's livened up quite a bit (though that's using the terrible standard of vanilla Southsun), and the rewards are good too, the flower back piece is really pretty and well designed, and I know the tentacles appeal to some people (who may or may not enjoy schoolgirls). I'd say they have a solid rewards incentive here for Secret of the Southsun.
The major problem with it lies in the content itself, mostly of how it's presented. You arrive on Southsun and are thrown into a cluster♥♥♥♥ of who-knows-what is going on. Talking to Kiel helps you understand what is going on as much as reading a dictionary gives you insight on quantum mechanics. You just get a loose overview of what's happening but you really don't get directed anywhere, some people might see this as a good thing (free-roam and all), but honestly it's a bit too directionless, since GW2 is inherently a game where you constantly stumble upon things to do or events to complete, you don't need to emphasize that by giving us players no direction at all, they should've added a cutscene (or several throughout the island) to explain to me why I should give a damn about what's going on at all. Secret of the Southsun could have been directed a lot better and turned into a decent story piece, but instead it's a game of "follow the achievements" since that's the only direction you get.
Hopefully they'll learn from this for their next update.

Wow that turned into a massive wall of text, sorry guys.
TL;DR: nothing permanent is sad life, updates getting better bit by bit, but Secret of the Southsun gives me no reason to care about what's going on at all.

Edited by lmaonade, 25 May 2013 - 07:03 AM.





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