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What Happened to the Direction of ANet?


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#1 El Duderino

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:06 PM

Kymeric hit on something that I wanted to respond to, but felt it needed it's own thread. Here is the quote and the source is here: http://www.guildwars...ve-development/

View PostKymeric, on 11 October 2013 - 07:39 PM, said:

Yes.  In this Collaborative Development thread I ran into how twisted that has become.

ArenaNet was extremely clear on what kind of game they thought was awesome and that they wanted to make.  They said death penalties weren't fun, that people should get to the best gear quickly, that players should get rewarded playing whichever part of the game suits them.

A year later, they've reversed all of that.  It looks a great deal like they decided they couldn't stick to their guns, and caved to what they thought the players were saying shortly after launch.

Yet in that Collaborative Development thread, there are posters saying that ArenaNet should not listen to people complaining about Ascended Gear and pushing people into certain parts of the game to get rewards, because they are the developers and should stick to their guns.

It's kinda mindboggling.  Which is it?  Was the original vision the game ArenaNet wants to make and they caved to financial pressure?  Or did they have a massive epiphany that they wanted to make a completely different game, and need to resist caving to "forum whining" to restore the original vision?

Which all comes down to something that is (unfortunately only occasionally) being repeated on the forums recently.  What is the current vision for this game?  We have roadmaps about things that will be implemented in the near to farther future, but no sense of what ArenaNet's core principles are anymore.

Unfortunately, the Collaborative Development thread got derailed for quite a while on how to poll the players for info.  Which is bizarre, really.  There's a ton of feedback for the developers.  The problem is that they aren't adequately communicating back.  In order to feel like we are being heard, we don't need more venues to share our thoughts with ArenaNet.  We need ArenaNet completing the other half of the conversation and saying, "We've specifically heard concern A, B, and C, as well as suggestion X, Y, and Z.  We want to address each of those concerns.  Here is specifically why X won't work, we have an idea of how to make Y happen, and would like to alter Z to Z.5 to really make it address concern C in a way that is fair for the entire player base and viable for us as a company that needs to make a profit for our investors."

I honestly think that GW2 was the unfortunate game that was closest to release when NCSoft needed a new game to pull them out of some financial issues. If you look at their financial statements from right before GW2 was release, you will see that they were close to going from black to red and their stock was tanking.

I think we all know that GW2 wasn't ready for release when it was released. Everything was hastily put together - and it showed.

Knowing that the payment model for GW2 was going to be the same as GW1, NCSoft needed to make sure that they could profit from micro-transactions. Hence, we see Kristin Cox get involved. Also, we see Nexon become a large shareholder of NCSoft stock - a company that is based on micro-transactions.

So, what does this have to do with the direction of ANet? Well, I think that GW2, much like GW1, was always going to be a niche game. It wasn't made to cater to hardcore MMO players. It was designed to take some of the best parts of GW1 and merge them with a persistent world where, in my opinion, Dynamic Events were supposed to play a major role in the game. And they did, at least in the beginning.

However, if we accept that NCSoft has already targeted GW2 as a profit center, then we may assume that NCSoft also had to protect that profit center from any issues that might arise. One of those issues could clearly be the fact that GW2 wasn't designed to be like a traditional MMO. Was that something that NCSoft felt safe with? Who knows? But, it is certainly safer to design an MMO that feels more like an MMO than like a niche game.

So, and I know this is all just a theory on my part, but I think that in order to make sure they could profit the most, NCSoft directed ANet to make the game more like a normal MMO. This is why we see the change in philosophy. Not because the players wanted it, or ANet wanted it, but because it was the safest way for NCSoft to protect its investment.

I'm sure I'm gonna get crucified with sarcastic and snide comment for this post...

#2 ChuyDog08

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:21 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 11 October 2013 - 08:06 PM, said:

Snip  I'm sure I'm gonna get crucified with sarcastic and snide comment for this post...

OK,HERE IT GOES.........

I agree!  For those not in business, that is the way it goes some times.  Every move a company makes is a "business decision" for publicly held companies.  You may have an awsome team that want to "make a difference", but they are always funded by top executives that have to answer to a Board of Directors and stockholders.  The days of independant development houses making games for the "art" of their craft is over.  The new company models are based around providing the minimum entertainment for the maximum profit.  Each decision is weighed on how profitable the company thinks it will be.  Anet is doing the same.  I wish we had the game that was promised in the legendary mission statement, but we don't.   The game still provides me a certain level of entertainment, and does not require me to pay a fee. I wish Anet would just admit the direction they are going and that the past promises are really not still "on the table".

Edited by ChuyDog08, 11 October 2013 - 08:50 PM.


#3 Nabuko Darayon

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:13 PM

The thing that really saddens me is the fact that ANet doesn't seem to pull any strings and the fact that our money, GW2 money is going to other NCSoft games. If I wanted to sponsor other games I would play them.
Nexus as a company really stinks. I've played few of their other games and they're just vultures. I remember when I read about them buying some shares I knew we'd have problems.

I do want to salute all the ANet people for an exceptional work they have put for this game although they've returned to their past. I still remember how they've said in many interviews when GW1 was out how they were a bunch of gamers wanting to make gaming experience better. And they did that with GW1 (Mainly because they had more space to breathe), but now since they've been soldout they're right back at the same place, minus the sub-fee.

As much as I hate WoW, Blizzard as a company/kleaders showed that they're smart and pushed their game to the top. I don't have a feeling NCSoft wants to be better/make a change/grow as much as they want to have a different variety of games where in the end all their money is going to them.

If I had any sayings I would definitely buy a good marketing team to push out GW2 to all other NCSoft Gamers that play different games, and slowly shut them down (give them some benefits for playing those games in GW2 as they did with HoM). Because Guild Wars is the successful series and recognized one, and as much as develop team is strained it has the greatest playing mechanics, really inovative playstyle and that's something I'm in love with.
Does it still need more work? Yes. Are ANet smart enough to make it even better? Hell yes! But something isn't allowing them to rise to the occasion and that's what's bothering me.

Like I've said countless times, after GW2 mechanics I can't really bother playing any other games. Their strength lies in the DE's and fun way to level up, swimming, jumping, dodging and the beautiful scenery of Tyria with so much lore. Why are they not focusing on the Mysteries in Tyria, and push out some new Lore, I do not know.
There was a post on reddit, How to get players interested in the Lore. I actually think developers need to get interested in the Lore. I haven't met anyone who wasn't interested in GW2's lore, but there are so many mysteries that they're not focusing on that I just don't get the need to add more and more of new lore when there's so much unexplored lore already there.

And just to point their weakness: no-support for so many different gear stats (zergs only, which is the smartest choice), no real farming (people want to be able to farm t6 materials more frequently from mobs), no variety to current "farm" (it basically just revolves around making gold to buy this material, that lodestone,etc..). The truth is people want to farm their way to Legendaries. GW1 had great places to farm (whether it was a Boss greenie, ectos in UW, shards in FoW, Faction's Elite Arenas, DoA and they were very popular and ungrindy). Those types of farming places is what we miss in GW2.

Also "WvW" (read Alliance battles) in GW1 was more important to PvE as the winning guilds/teams  gained access to opponents territory and access to Merchants and Blessings. This type of competitive play is what we need. A REAL feel and reason why to go and compete, for land, and just not few bonuses to MF, Crafting,etc...

If they would fix their Weakness this game would really make all those trolls and QQers busy.

Edited by Nabuko Darayon, 11 October 2013 - 09:14 PM.


#4 Alex Dimitri

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 12:21 AM

Blaming NCSoft for current direction of GW2 is not right thing to do, for one we don`t have a clue how they operate or if they on any way influence the way of development. In my personal opinion no "sane" company would renounce steady income and growth of player base to some stinky micro transaction income, this is just not wise from economic standpoint.

Biggest problem i see with GW2 and it`s "development" would be that is given to wrong people to lead, inexperienced and young people are full of goals and great ideas but when faced with problems they usually crumble and due to their stubbornness get to hang on to bad ideas seeing criticism of they work as just "angry crowd" out to get them.
Job of this size ($) is not for people that want "my way or the highway" to succeed in this person needs to be a good salesman and wise enough to listen to customer !

GW2 sold 3 million copies right ? I think so, but the problem is they sold that in like first couple of months of game going live (and good amount even before release) which basically means they didn`t sell anything worth mentioning last six months !
Is there a pattern ? I believe so, and to be honest i personally wouldn`t recommend game in this state to any of my friends......

Problem with GW2 is that they promised too much, delivered only small portion and then head out in the direction that nobody wanted or even could imagine......if we recall old announcements for game there was not a single hint of "Living Story" and that being guiding light for the future of the game......
So if we track back emergence of "Living Story" and it`s first show at that exact point something changed, something very important that turned the game 180 degrees. Instead of expanding world, relaying on wonderful lore and discovering NEW Tyria zones, maps we started getting some strange new stuff that simply feels out of place and time, it`s like bunch of raw ideas piled up was just thrown in game without even trying to find place for them !

Maybe i am wrong, i just can`t be 100% sure but about same time that Living Story was first mentioned one guy got promoted in Anet and we all know him.....mr.I Swung a sword (again and again and again) Colin Johanson......is he maybe the guy that swingin` Living Story again and again to us and in process forgets what Guild Wars should be all about, is he the driving force behind this new path that Anet took ?

#5 Graka

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 01:18 AM

View PostEl Duderino, on 11 October 2013 - 08:06 PM, said:

Kymeric hit on something that I wanted to respond to, but felt it needed it's own thread. Here is the quote and the source is here: http://www.guildwars...ve-development/



I honestly think that GW2 was the unfortunate game that was closest to release when NCSoft needed a new game to pull them out of some financial issues. If you look at their financial statements from right before GW2 was release, you will see that they were close to going from black to red and their stock was tanking.

I think we all know that GW2 wasn't ready for release when it was released. Everything was hastily put together - and it showed.

Knowing that the payment model for GW2 was going to be the same as GW1, NCSoft needed to make sure that they could profit from micro-transactions. Hence, we see Kristin Cox get involved. Also, we see Nexon become a large shareholder of NCSoft stock - a company that is based on micro-transactions.

So, what does this have to do with the direction of ANet? Well, I think that GW2, much like GW1, was always going to be a niche game. It wasn't made to cater to hardcore MMO players. It was designed to take some of the best parts of GW1 and merge them with a persistent world where, in my opinion, Dynamic Events were supposed to play a major role in the game. And they did, at least in the beginning.

However, if we accept that NCSoft has already targeted GW2 as a profit center, then we may assume that NCSoft also had to protect that profit center from any issues that might arise. One of those issues could clearly be the fact that GW2 wasn't designed to be like a traditional MMO. Was that something that NCSoft felt safe with? Who knows? But, it is certainly safer to design an MMO that feels more like an MMO than like a niche game.

So, and I know this is all just a theory on my part, but I think that in order to make sure they could profit the most, NCSoft directed ANet to make the game more like a normal MMO. This is why we see the change in philosophy. Not because the players wanted it, or ANet wanted it, but because it was the safest way for NCSoft to protect its investment.

I'm sure I'm gonna get crucified with sarcastic and snide comment for this post...

To be honest most people here see me as a White Knighter, constantly making excuses or defending what is seen as stupid decisions by Anet, this topic actually in a strange way gives me a chance to voice my personal thoughts on the entire Anet issue.

I think the game had a certain direction, which was laid out in the Manifesto, I myself know that many times dreams do not survive the face of reality in the design and programing of games, and some of their dreams had to be put to the wayside. Some of the changes in game design I equate to this, but some I do equate to them hiring staff. They wanted GW2 to be a new type of game, and were delving into areas they had never gone to before so they got outside help from designers and staff of other mmos, Christine Cox was one of these, her involvement can be seen in the changes to Dyes, and the addition of Boxes, this mainly started in december of last year, and if you watch the changes you can see how Anet listened to her advice then started moving back to their own method of doing things. Stuff came out of the black lion chest, and was tradable, then there were the Southsun boxes, were only some stuff was tradable, then Wintersday where you could buy the weapons, but anything from the boxes was offlimits excepting the Perm Hairstyle kit, Fire and frost, everything was in the boxes and not tradable, second southsun, things were in the lockboxes not tradable, but the boxes were now farmable. Then we get to Dragonbash, items came ONLY from the black lion chest, but were still not tradable, but the boxes now dropped everywhere from all mobs. Finally Zepher Sanctum, all weapons became tradable and they only came out of the black lion chests. I know this sounds like rambling on this issue, but if you look at  it, they basically did a full circle from halloween to now, listening to the advice of someone they thought knew what they were doing and screwed up and so they went back to what they wanted.

This also happened with Ascended gear, they seemed to want something mroe after exotic, to give people a kind of oomph for gear, like the old school Fissure armor, and his name escapes me, but one of the designers they had was from World of Warcraft and a little while after he came on board this Ascended armor idea was floated around, they released it, ran with it, and from their reactions I think they know it was a big mistake, but it was already too late to get rid of it. So they have been slowly rolling out the rest of it such as the Weapons now, and most likely the armor in November, and want ot expand into more ways of getting the armor, like jewelcrafting making the neckpieces, rings, accessories, armor dropping in dungeons or purchasable with tokens etc. It seems they listened to the advice of a Blizzard guy who was like "a small gear grind wont be taht bad" instead of just sticking to what they knew.

I know it seems like I'm still making excuses for Anet, but I personally think they hired some of the wrong people for the task and listened to these 'experts' cause they were supposedly knowledgable in this field, instead of staying true to their beliefs. The last year has really been Anet starting off a great game, and trying some dumb, and some awesome ideas and coming back to now where I think they are finally doing what they wanted to in the beginning, releasing persistant new content, making a living world and expanding upon what is already in the game. People will always complain about things like the gemstore, (which I personally think certain items like the armors, once bought should be accessable awlays like in GW1).

In conclusion, I think they should fire, or at the minimum not listen to ideas from people from other companies, stick to what they want the game to be, trying new things isnt bad, but trying old stuff from other games, which lets be honest, is the reason people switched to playing GW1, is not hte way to go. I have personally been impressed that they are getting better, and have had some stumbles along the way, I think they are finally finding their heading and moving into a direction which I will continue to play their game long into the future.

#6 El Duderino

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 01:29 AM

Thanks Graka and everyone else for keeping this civil. I don't think there are any right or wrong ideas, just wanted to share mine.

#7 MazingerZ

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 01:45 AM

So after giving this a bit of thought, here is my take on the situation.

The problem is ArenaNet has no clue.  It has no conviction in its vision.  It really does not.

If you recall from the Eurogamer Expo when Mike Zadorojiny spoke on that live stream, what stood out amongst all the other players?

"Nothing is off the table."

This has been its problem since launch.

It tried to go along with the concept of no gear grind, of having a ceiling and sticking to it.  That cosmetics would be the end-game.

That didn't work, and we got Ascended.

It tried a massive in-game event with the Lost Shores with the Karka Event.

What happened?  It didn't work, and we got the Living World.

They have no conviction in the direction that the game is going so "nothing is off the table."  Because if everything is on the table, then no one has a reason to stop playing the game, which has been the entire point of the game so far.

And this seems to frame it for me.

Quote

Unfortunately, the Collaborative Development thread got derailed for quite a while on how to poll the players for info.  Which is bizarre, really.  There's a ton of feedback for the developers.  The problem is that they aren't adequately communicating back.  In order to feel like we are being heard, we don't need more venues to share our thoughts with ArenaNet.  We need ArenaNet completing the other half of the conversation and saying, "We've specifically heard concern A, B, and C, as well as suggestion X, Y, and Z.  We want to address each of those concerns.  Here is specifically why X won't work, we have an idea of how to make Y happen, and would like to alter Z to Z.5 to really make it address concern C in a way that is fair for the entire player base and viable for us as a company that needs to make a profit for our investors."

People have been giving them feedback, as stated.  And as stated, we need ArenaNet to actually let us know what is going on.  But they damned if they do and damned if they don't in this case.  The question becomes which way they jump being is more damning than the other.

They can play it close to the vest and string people along until they stumble upon whatever magical formula they need to succeed.  Or they can pick a decision, stand by it with conviction, and continue on.

Frankly, I'd have more respect for them if they were very open about it.  A majority of us would just leave at that point.  But they cannot because they make more money stringing people along until they figure out what will actually grow the game.

WoW had conviction.  The game never really changed in Vanilla despite a lot of heat they got for the raids.  Every single 40-man raid was hard.  They had no changes in design philosophy regarding what Vanilla 'endgame' was.  You had to raid.  But at this point in the game's history, they had also released Zul'Gurub, which was a 15-man raid that offered upgrades for people who had maxed out getting the class sets in 5-man dungeons.  They realized not everyone was going to pursue end-game, but made sure it didn't run short on challenges for those people.  And that's how the game managed to grow (albeit with help from such a small market of games at the time).

Ultimately it comes down to them not having much in the way of integrity and just trying to make a cash cow.  Hence why we get no statements of conviction from them.  Hence why the game's direction seems to be all over the place.  Hence not a single thing coming out from them other than ideas that are 'sure winners' like a LFG tool.  Because they're afraid of, as Josh says, committing to anything as some sort of contract.  And frankly, what's wrong with that?

People commit to things all the time.  Things can occur that force a change in expectations, but AFAIK, as long as you provide ample and valid reasoning... Like the reason you change an entire zone vs adding phased areas is because you didn't design it for 'phasing' when you originally created it, is a perfectly valid response.

Once they start treating the player-base as contributors to the game who should be included in the creative process (not necessarily providing input on specific decisions, but included) and not as revenue streams will there be more respect.

ArenaNet ultimately has two choices, and that's the willingness to be open and risk a few potential revenue sources as the price for some integrity and actually accepting some culpability in why the game sucks in areas or continue with this wishy-washy "nothing is off the table" crap that's openly mocked along with all their other behind-the-scenes efforts because they can't show a real vision on how to advance the game to their customers.
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!"

#8 FoxBat

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 02:20 AM

View PostEl Duderino, on 11 October 2013 - 08:06 PM, said:

So, and I know this is all just a theory on my part, but I think that in order to make sure they could profit the most, NCSoft directed ANet to make the game more like a normal MMO. This is why we see the change in philosophy. Not because the players wanted it, or ANet wanted it, but because it was the safest way for NCSoft to protect its investment.

Devs didn't invest 5 years worth of money into making a game that would be just as "niche" as GW1. This is something they've repeated over and over. Even the early hype made clear that people who LIKE MMOs should sit up and take notice this time around.

They said straight up that they were not going to repeat GW1 style frequent full-price campaigns. That automatically necessitates a more aggressive cash shop strategy just to match the money they made with GW1, let alone vastly surpass it like you'd expect for a 5-year investment.

Whether you think it squares with their manifesto or not, a stat tier beyond exotic was always in the plans, you could see remnants of this on the legendary stats from beta data mining. There is a reason PvP gear is totally separate, because PvE max gear is not intended to be grind-free.

The only thing they might have "learned" on ascended is to avoid the backpack/+5 infusion type money sink, in favor of time gating. Ascendeds have been key to making the daily/guild mission grind work, and they've been used recently to combat inflation in the economy, put exotics and high-value mats into newbies hands more easily, and push high-level players into multiplayer content.

Can you accuse Anet of duping some people, that there's a big gap between the hype and the reality, sure. That makes alot more sense than conspiracy theories that ignore the very structure of the game that's been there since release. Around that time there was so much "well I'm 80 - now what?" type posts, that is a logical expectation of extending what has been a substantial grind to that point. Now Anet looks to have that answer fully in place just in time for Asia launch.

Edited by FoxBat, 12 October 2013 - 02:23 AM.


#9 El Duderino

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 03:21 AM

View PostFoxBat, on 12 October 2013 - 02:20 AM, said:

snip

So you're basically saying that they never changed their philosophy, they just duped everyone in to thinking their philosophy was different and now we are getting the real game that they intended to make.

Seems like a good way to make a toxic environment and alienate players - much like we are seeing now.

#10 El Duderino

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 03:44 AM

View PostMazingerZ, on 12 October 2013 - 01:45 AM, said:

Snip

I think you have a point. I don't think they ever had a direction to begin with. They wanted to please everyone, except you just can't do that. It doesn't work. It ends up pissing off everyone and we can see that by the vitriol with which people attack each other about the direction of the game.



#11 Butcher

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 07:25 AM

It's not just the direction of ANet, but of many MMO devs since Blizz set the standard with WotLK. The problem with MMOs is "streamlining" and "emulation".

For instance....ESO has taken the core aspects of class creation from previous ES titles and summed it up to "you're this race, thus you only get to play these classes". That's stupid... I have no interest in ESO because it doesn't deliver the core interest of every other ES title, which is to...MAKE A CLASS YOUR WAY. Then, of course, there's EverQuest Next (EQN), which botches their game on gimmicks like a fully destructible world (whoopdy ♥♥♥♥in doo), and heroic movement. Then when you look at the combat, it looks more unpromising than ANet's claims toward a "grind-free MMO". I can't believe in them over what's shown.

If ANet has taught me anything, they've taught me to have no trust or confidence in any MMO developer for as long as I live. Or at least until I see the product. And any sensible MMO player would feel the same way.

#12 PBScott

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 08:17 AM

Although things like ascended gear are proving there is a farming, gear driven part to this game, that Anet said would not be in it, I am enjoying my time in Guild Wars 2 still, I do not blame Anet for any of their decisions, and believe NCSoft to be the ones pushing them to be more profitable, something that Anet needs to do for their boss.

Nothing really bothers me about Guild Wars 2 at all, I have paid more money in subscriptions to play far inferior games. I wish for a meaty paid expansion to come out though, the two week mini expansions are OK, but I want more.

I am not a fan of the decisions NCsoft makes, I have been playing their games for about nine years now and have had great problems with their customer service, as well as them closing down City Of Heroes (while it was still making a profit, imagine losing your 8 year old characters) and other such actions that prove they are all about money, and have no greater purpose in the industry. Having said that, without the money, there would be no game.

Edited by PBScott, 12 October 2013 - 08:30 AM.


#13 Tranquility

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:35 AM

I'm actually quite surprised this game hasn't shutdown yet.

It's a half-assed wishy washy pile of crap. It's basically the result of someone wanting to make something different than an MMO but being absolutely terrified of making something other than an MMO. There's specklings of deviation from the norm, but the core of the game is still just an MMO...except with even more shallow combat which is truly astounding.

#14 txlatino

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 02:27 PM

Money changed their direction....

Their meetings don't go like "Ok, we need to focus on making a "living world with lots of possibilities for players, introduce more class', more skills, more land mass, more armor, more end dungeons, and more end game areas"  no instead it's "how much should we charge for pumpkin juice"  Or "what kind of content can we tack on so that players spend gems"  

ANET has really lost there way....they have also managed to break class' within a year which is a joke. This game is a joke

Edited by txlatino, 12 October 2013 - 02:28 PM.


#15 Alex Dimitri

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 03:00 PM

I don`t really blame them for Ascended gear, carrot on the stick needs to be present in any MMO or there is nothing to do before new content shows up (this is a fact). But their philosophy "easy to get" combined with surely not needed crafting component (that just sinks your gold) all due to give chance to casuals to be on pair with more active people is wrong !
I invested 2.5k hrs so far and if for nothing else this dedication should translate to better looking more equipped more complete character then someone who invested 500 hrs (this is same as paychecks go in RL, more hours more cash) at lest this should be for PvE !!!

Their general idea to not allow people to stand out is one of biggest flaws they made in GW2 !

If you played any MMO and become addicted to genre (you simply know that everything is about one thing) stronger, faster, better and more shiny ! If you don`t provide this and regular REAL expansion, story, maps etc. you loose players. Let`s face it do you want to be part of the world where you don`t have anything to do or show of.....this is fantasy world, and if we can`t get that "heroic" version of us wondering around, what`s the point ?

I understand they wanted something fresh but guys/girls missing the core of people`s interest is no way to do it, they could have gone the way of fixing general flaws of MMO genre and by that make new improved version of it. By ignoring postulates and building blocks of it they made something that is not classic MMO or even an MMO (in way recognized by majority of MMO players) !

#16 Tranquility

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 04:22 PM

View PostAlex Dimitri, on 12 October 2013 - 03:00 PM, said:

I don`t really blame them for Ascended gear, carrot on the stick needs to be present in any MMO or there is nothing to do before new content shows up (this is a fact).

Except, you know, ANet's MMO that was pretty successful that shared the same name as this abomination didn't have gear progression.

Don't let that get in the way of your "facts" though.

Edited by Tranquility, 12 October 2013 - 04:22 PM.


#17 Nabuko Darayon

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 04:31 PM

I also have no problem with Ascended gear. Matter of fact I can see Ascended gear being needed in the future if they release a plot revolving around Mursaat's new homeland and we'd need some crazy infusions to survive the Champions/Legendary Bosses that inhibit that place. I'm all good for ascended like that. But where's the explanation on why they're putting it out? It can't be just because of FoM. FoM is not rewarding enough or important enough to get a full set of Ascended. So I do not see any transparency here and I think this is what bothers people.

If they gave a solid reason for releasing ascended people would've accepted it.

#18 Swoopeh

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 04:56 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 11 October 2013 - 08:06 PM, said:

So, what does this have to do with the direction of ANet? Well, I think that GW2, much like GW1, was always going to be a niche game. It wasn't made to cater to hardcore MMO players. It was designed to take some of the best parts of GW1 and merge them with a persistent world where, in my opinion, Dynamic Events were supposed to play a major role in the game. And they did, at least in the beginning.

However, if we accept that NCSoft has already targeted GW2 as a profit center, then we may assume that NCSoft also had to protect that profit center from any issues that might arise. One of those issues could clearly be the fact that GW2 wasn't designed to be like a traditional MMO. Was that something that NCSoft felt safe with? Who knows? But, it is certainly safer to design an MMO that feels more like an MMO than like a niche game.

View PostMazingerZ, on 12 October 2013 - 01:45 AM, said:

Ultimately it comes down to them not having much in the way of integrity and just trying to make a cash cow.  Hence why we get no statements of conviction from them.  Hence why the game's direction seems to be all over the place.  Hence not a single thing coming out from them other than ideas that are 'sure winners' like a LFG tool.  Because they're afraid of, as Josh says, committing to anything as some sort of contract.  And frankly, what's wrong with that?

I have to agree with these sentiments; I do think that Anet really believes in making something awesome but they are held back and they might even be struggling to keep their heads above water. They know that if they take a risk in their development direction they could lose players, ironically though by their inaction they might be losing players anyway. It's difficult enough because, as we all know, you can't please everyone, and they do need a certain amount of revenue to stay afloat. I'm sure they have a lot of bold ideas of where to take the game, but they know that if they alienate too many players the entire thing will go down so they're playing it safe. I'm fairly certain that NCSoft is to blame financially, even that is understandable because they invested in the game and want their money's worth. NCSoft just seems to lack any kind of future vision and empathy towards their customers, not unlike Zynga, and that really is a shame.

But I really don't believe that Anet is purposefully duping customers and milking the game for all that it's worth, you see that in the way that a lot of their original philosophy is still intact and that they're still implementing fun little touches in their releases (like the two half naked lover Aetherblades in TA).

The living story development cycle is clever in that they can quickly churn out random content. If one part of the player base doesn't like it then they might like the next update and so they can maximize the amount of people coming back. Personally I don't mind this sort of fast food content, but it really is time for them to open up something bigger, more satisfying.

I do wish they would communicate a bit better but that's a really difficult subject. I've followed Blizzard for years and while they do stand by their decisions they also cave to community pressure from time to time. Things like dungeon difficulty, how easy it is to get epic loot, how hard it should be to gear up alts, what should be account bound and what shouldn't, etc have all gone up and down since 2005, partly to experiment with what works and what doesn't, and partly just to try and satisfy customers (which never happens).
Class balance is an especially difficult subject; a blue responds in the warrior forums and immediately people who play (for example) hunters start making posts that their class never gets attention and that Blizzard isn't listening. Then they reply to hunter "concerns" and the warlock forums explode. So they stop making posts in class balance topics altogether as not to derail the discussion between players and still people complain about lack of input from the devs. Then during WotLK Ghostcrawler (lead dev) starts responding and discussing a lot, giving people insight into the development process but those posts get seen as promises, so cue hyperbole and drama about broken promises and lies when those ideas never make it into the final game or simply didn't work out. Then GC stops responding and it's back to the old situation. A blue CM replies to a fun post by joining in and gets accused of not doing their job; that they should be listening to player feedback instead of making useless posts. Blizzard tried making blog posts and development updates called watercooler chats (coffee with the blues in EU) but that lead to complaint after complaint about promises and lazy developers and people generally not understanding what they're reading, jumping to conclusions, assuming those conclusions must be true because that's the only reason they can think of and generally getting pissed off over nothing.

I'm mentioning this because even Blizzard struggles to balance their communication with the player base, so Anet might just be in over their heads and, knowing this, adopt a more silent approach. Players on one end and NCSoft on the other pressuring Anet to produce two very different types of content, so they're trying to make the best of it.

Edited by Swoopeh, 12 October 2013 - 04:58 PM.


#19 davadude

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 05:00 PM

View PostTranquility, on 12 October 2013 - 04:22 PM, said:

Except, you know, ANet's MMO that was pretty successful that shared the same name as this abomination didn't have gear progression.
GW1 didn't have gear progression, but it sure as hell had some other, far worse abominations...  Titles:
  • Heroes Ascent
  • Codex Arena
  • Lightbringer and Sunspear
  • Faction titles in Eye of the North
  • Zaishen title track
All of these were, save for the last one, crucial to performing well in GW1 in both PVP and PVE.  I'll save you the embarrassment of saying "BUT ITS ONLY A SMALL ADVANTAGE," so is ascended armor, which (for the record), is only required in Fractals.  It provides no serious benefits in PvE, PvP (as everyone is equalized through PVP armor), and a almost negotiable bonus in WvWvW (if it even mattered at all, considering it's all just one circlejerk of zergs).

View PostTranquility, on 12 October 2013 - 09:35 AM, said:

I'm actually quite surprised this game hasn't shutdown yet.

Haha, good one.

View PostEl Duderino, on 12 October 2013 - 03:44 AM, said:

I think you have a point. I don't think they ever had a direction to begin with. They wanted to please everyone, except you just can't do that. It doesn't work. It ends up pissing off everyone and we can see that by the vitriol with which people attack each other about the direction of the game.

I must say, they've tried this hard, but it usually won't work.  Like any other game, there are restrictions, and although we're seeing how capable the event system is (works in open-world, instances, dungeons, mini-games that are different, towns, MOBA in the form of that Halloween game), it obviously has its limits.  I don't believe the problem is as much keeping separate groups pleased (PVE/PVP/WVW split is just one example of what they're trying), I believe it's, once again, technical limitations.
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#20 StormDragonZ

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 08:46 PM

Everyone should be thankful ANet hasn't resorted to putting ads between loading screens.

#21 Nabuko Darayon

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 08:50 PM

View PostStormDragonZ, on 12 October 2013 - 08:46 PM, said:

Everyone should be thankful ANet hasn't resorted to putting ads between loading screens.

SHush! Bite your tongue now before Google hears ya!

#22 Alex Dimitri

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:25 PM

View PostTranquility, on 12 October 2013 - 04:22 PM, said:

Except, you know, ANet's MMO that was pretty successful that shared the same name as this abomination didn't have gear progression.

Don't let that get in the way of your "facts" though.

Heheh i played the hell out of that game, but really GW1 was never a real MMO to be honest i was talkin` about classic MMO games when i said about carrot on the stick. Also even there you could go for prestige in form of Fissure armor and Torment weapons.....besides that game was huge compared to this new Tyria, and you had achievements that really meant something unlike this new approach Anet took !

No addictive (yet grindy) endgame and you don`t have chance to succeed as full flagged MMO, that`s how it is and believe me when i say this i`ve been playing MMO games for so long now....

#23 typographie

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:42 PM

The idea that NCSoft have influenced the direction of one of their developers is not really a very controversial one to me. That's what all publishers do, and very often to rather insidious ends. See also: SimCity.

Where I disagree is the nature of the problem that has so far caused in GW2. I think its a lot easier to accuse the game of being "like a traditional MMO" than to actually break it down into the individual reasons why. A year of probable NCSoft prodding has not produced a subscription fee. We still have nothing of real practical value in the gem store—and when was the last time we saw a Cox Box? They've apparently stuck with the living story model, which I maintain is more expensive for them in the long run since they could very easily charge us for expansions while still soliciting related gem store purchases from us.

All we've gotten that even arguably nudges us in that direction is ascended gear, which is a 5% stat increase that is required for precisely one piece of content. And that piece of content gives the player ascended items itself as the difficulty ramps up to require them. The "traditional MMO" gear treadmill not only adds the new gear tiers, it also typically requires them to complete content. We're missing half of that equation, and that's generous as ascended items are about half a tier.

Edited by typographie, 12 October 2013 - 09:43 PM.


#24 ExplosivePinata

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 12:45 AM

Possibly ANet as well as listening to the wrong people have had key people leave and have replaced them with less talented/experienced people. I mean look at this years Halloween item, imagine getting that (how I get hat?) in GW1, there would probably be hell. It's just boring and absolutely zero originality. It's like someone snipped the edges off the Baroque HoM mask and flattened it.

That mask is pretty much what GW2 is atm. Just sub par overall. The potential is there but they are either chasing their tails, squabbling over legit things with us or letting the wrong people include things to the game.

Edited by ExplosivePinata, 13 October 2013 - 01:08 AM.


#25 FoxBat

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 12:56 AM

Re "duping." If you want to be charitable, As I see it, Anet had an image they presented of GW2. Being an image it was of course very incomplete. This let GW1 fans fill in the blanks with "how GW1 did it." At the least I fault Anet for not jumping in and clearing up those misconceptions, particularly with ascended gear. They came clear on gem/gold trade quite early which many people saw as a betrayal of principles, they should have been up front with the ascended stuff in the same manner as they had in fact been planning it for a good while.

Whatever you want to think about what how they communicated, what I can tell you is that the best GW1 fans are no-where to be found on the GW2 dev team. Yes many are proud of what they created, but they aren't "stuck" there. It's in the past, now they are making a new game. (albiet one that is hardly a sequel) And they often lamented how dead GW1 could be, which was a big part of making GW2 so different. Keep also in mind that people working on an AAA game with those hours necessarily have less time to play the game than many of their most hardcore fans; they aren't really making a game to be enjoyed just by themselves, and making a work of art no-one appreciates (particuarly an MMO) is not necessarily in their interest even leaving aside money grubbing.

The balance line they are walking is to give active players something to work towards every day, without having newcomers or lapsed players feel like they can never catch up. It is not to placate people that want to treat dungeons or wvw as a finely tuned and strictly level playing field, even if that impression came from crafted exotics being cheap and the time gates on their further tiers were not finished yet.

They will now tell you the process towards these rewards is not "grind" because most of this is gated behind daily activities. (They define grind as consecutive repetition, but fail to clarify that when making the hype points that leaves some people feeling betrayed.)

The store was promised to not be P2W, and what P2W elements there are have been in since release. We were not promised "no coxboxes" aside from people reading that from a vague statement once made that store items would be "like gw1." And really things like the power and armor boosters have been trapped inside that BLC from day one so it's not even something that new.

For whatever reason players may have got the impression something different from what they intended was in store and I'm not going to try and defend anet from that, but if anything is crooked it is how it was marketed, not a major internal change in philosophy post release. They've been adding more time gates, more temporary story content, temporary skins, cash shop items, ascended gear for an entire year now. Players might have been confused early on but they have a pretty clear track record at this point. I don't know what you people even think to mean by "future direction" aside from lack of expansion plans, the "new" schedule for those seems to be 2 years now anyway so this is not something strange the company is doing. What you see is what you get, there is not going to be an epiphany tommorow where they backpedal to the GW1 way of doing things, take it or leave it.

Edited by FoxBat, 13 October 2013 - 01:28 AM.


#26 ExplosivePinata

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 12:58 AM

Quote

For whatever reason players may have got the impression something different from what they intended was in store and I'm not going to try and defend anet from that, but it's not because the devs had some crooked change of heart after release

I don't think they did, I get the impression it was forced upon them somehow.

Edited by ExplosivePinata, 13 October 2013 - 12:59 AM.


#27 El Duderino

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 03:37 AM

View Postdavadude, on 12 October 2013 - 05:00 PM, said:

GW1 didn't have gear progression, but it sure as hell had some other, far worse abominations...  Titles:
  • Heroes Ascent
  • Codex Arena
  • Lightbringer and Sunspear
  • Faction titles in Eye of the North
  • Zaishen title track
All of these were, save for the last one, crucial to performing well in GW1 in both PVP and PVE.  I'll save you the embarrassment of saying "BUT ITS ONLY A SMALL ADVANTAGE," so is ascended armor, which (for the record), is only required in Fractals.  It provides no serious benefits in PvE, PvP (as everyone is equalized through PVP armor), and a almost negotiable bonus in WvWvW (if it even mattered at all, considering it's all just one circlejerk of zergs).

We all agree titles, and the benefits they brought, were a bad idea. However, at no point in time did titles ever have any effect whatsoever on performance in PvP. Furthermore, titles also had very little effect on PvE in more than 90% of the game.

That being said, this thread is about the direction of GW2 and if/how it has changed. Not the differences between GW1 and GW2. There is a difference between horizontal and vertical progression - and that philosophy has changed. Whether or not one is worse or better than the other has little to do with it. The philosophy changing is the point.

#28 El Duderino

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 03:50 AM

View PostFoxBat, on 13 October 2013 - 12:56 AM, said:

snip

That's the thing, I don't think they tried to dupe anyone. It was your post that made it sound like that was the case. What I do think they did was try to make a little something for everyone. And, in doing that, they lost their sense of direction.

You see things that you think were clearly intended to be part of the game - whereas, other people never saw that coming. I mean, most of the toxicity of the playerbase, in my opinion, is that EVERYONE had a different idea of what the game was supposed to be - and I think we are all wrong. Why? Because, there isn't much vision past, try to make it like an MMO for MMO players, try to make it unlike an MMO for non-MMO players, try to make it like GW1 for GW1 players, etc. How do you do that? Well, ANet kinda threw a bunch of mechanics from each one in without taking those mechanics to the full strength of their potential so as not to piss off another niche of players.

I'm not sure if I'm saying this right, but basically, I think there is a lack of direction. And I think that lack of direction come more from the philosophy of trying to make money than trying to create something from the heart. That's not to say that the devs don't love what they do - but there is a lot of them - and it seems like there isn't a lot of leadership. There is a constant "trying" of things, of "everything is on the table" - isn't that indicative of no direction?

I think a lot of people would be happy, for better or worse, if ANet made another manifesto. Something concrete. Something tangible. And stuck to it, everyone else be damned. Because, I really don't think you can make a game for everyone. Every game needs a niche - and a niche-less game is one that is too generic and blasé to really be a success. Let's not forget that GW1 and WoW were both very niche games at one point - and they were both very successful. So was EVE. I would challenge you or anyone to show me a game that has done well in an already defined genre that has tried to play to the multitudes like GW2 has. I don't think it exists.

#29 davadude

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 07:13 AM

View PostEl Duderino, on 13 October 2013 - 03:37 AM, said:

We all agree titles, and the benefits they brought, were a bad idea. However, at no point in time did titles ever have any effect whatsoever on performance in PvP. Furthermore, titles also had very little effect on PvE in more than 90% of the game.

Ascended armor, just like in GW1, is only required for less than 1% of the game.  Titles in PvP were, just like ascended is now, a measuring device for your "capability," which players used to measure the likelihood that they would succeed, and, especially with Heroes Ascent, it became required.  If not, you should have tried playing as a rank under 5 and try getting a team, just as Ascended Armor here acts as a gatekeeper into Fractals.

View PostEl Duderino, on 13 October 2013 - 03:37 AM, said:

That being said, this thread is about the direction of GW2 and if/how it has changed. Not the differences between GW1 and GW2. There is a difference between horizontal and vertical progression - and that philosophy has changed. Whether or not one is worse or better than the other has little to do with it. The philosophy changing is the point.

I believe my point in the original point was unclear.  The direction of Arenanet has not changed whatsoever, as titles and ascended armor could be considered parallels.  Although changed, look at the similarities in both games that are different from standard MMOs:
  • GW1 levels and GW2 levels features a close to linear progression (where x is last level, each next level is x * 1.2.  GW1 had this, and GW2 has it, too).
  • Both games have the usable and decent weapons unlocked by completing the campaign.
  • Both games have armor which is decent to the highest available by completing the story (karma earned completing PS is enough to get temple armor, money earned in GW1 campaign is enough for elite armor).
  • The best upcoming/available armor is earned through an extreme or high grind (GW1's obsidian armor, GW2's ascended armor).
  • Both games had in-game stores that provided statistical or luxury benefits (GW2s gem store v.s GW1s in-game store with PVP, PVE, skill, summon stone, and armor unlocks)
I feel the philosophy has not changed, only the way in which they implement it (GW2 is a bit more obvious in the implementation than GW1 was, see above), but both are still here.  If you find the implementation part to be a change in direction (which I could understand), then I guess I simply don't find it big enough to be worth worrying about.  I feel there is no change, as the gem store and the money making part that NC/Nexon are pushing upon Arenanet is no different then the in-game store.  The change for me is that they put it in-game instead of in-client.
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#30 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:01 AM

View Postdavadude, on 13 October 2013 - 07:13 AM, said:

Ascended armor, just like in GW1, is only required for less than 1% of the game.  Titles in PvP were, just like ascended is now, a measuring device for your "capability," which players used to measure the likelihood that they would succeed, and, especially with Heroes Ascent, it became required.  If not, you should have tried playing as a rank under 5 and try getting a team, just as Ascended Armor here acts as a gatekeeper into Fractals.

The reason PvP titles were used as a means of separating the "good" from the "bad" was because the game lacked better means to separate the players. It wasn't an optimal solution, but it was the best the game offered.

In GW2 though, ascended gear ACTUALLY makes you better. Gear doesn't just have a perceived value, the way PvP titles had in GW1, it actually has a game-affecting value. And let's not even get started on the fact that this game-affecting value actually also affects PvP. As shitty as WvW is, it's still enough PvP for this to simply not be acceptable.
On top of that, power stemming from titles, while being an absolutely moronic idea, was something that A.Net actually recognized as moronic and we later saw A.Net limiting this power: skills now reach their maximum power halfway through the title grind. In GW2 though: we already had a massive increase in the grind for power (more gear tier, more levels, more gear ...) and they expanded on that with ascended gear. In GW1, grind for power ultimately felt like a mistake, whereas it feels like part of the design in GW2.


While GW1 wasn't perfect when it came to grinding for power, far from it, actually, GW2 is simply worse.


EDIT:
Did you just really compare FoW to ascended? A piece of gear that is visually "better" to a piece of gear that is numerically better?

Edited by Baron von Scrufflebutt, 13 October 2013 - 05:57 PM.





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