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Reddit X-Post CDI: Character Progression Dev Responses


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#1 Featherman

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 08:07 AM

A bit of a formatting nightmare so I'm just going to steal from Reddit.

What are your thoughts on the responses? Are they as thorough and informative as you'd have hoped?

IMO, there's a surprising lack of mention of things and their position relative to a table, considering where these statements are coming from.

Edited by Featherman, 16 December 2013 - 09:50 AM.


#2 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 09:25 AM

This CDI does not make sense because A.Net does not know what it wants to do with its game, or at least, they aren't honest about it. GW2, in its core is a horizontal progression game: levelling stops making sense at 20/30 (there's absolutely nothing intriguing about the levelling process from there on), the whole combat is based around dodge invincibility frames (meaning that it completely invalidates the hunt for gear because you either dodge or you die) and the down-levelling process negates the point of grinding gear (as long as the game's endgame will be zerging Larry in Queensdale, you really don't need to move beyond rares at 80). Mix that with sPvP being completely separated from PvE and even WvW upscalling you and you end up with a game that's really horizontally based.
That's the reality of the game. And the problem is that as long as this stays the reality of the game, adding vertical progression goes against the design of the game. It doesn't mean that vertical progression is bad, it just means that vertical progression is bad for THIS game. If vertical progression will be the name of the game, then they need to completely rework combat (you need to start taking hits so that your armour matters) and they need to move the end-game into lvl 80+ areas that they will newly add to the game, ... And since I really doubt that this is what they will do - then GW2 will stay a horizontal progression based game and including vertical progression as its end-game makes the game weaker.

And the problem with the CDI is that they are basically open to everything and everything, even completely contradicting ideas, are "Good idea!"s. This game absolutely needs borders: they need to understand that they can't please everyone. And until they define those borders, and by that I mean once they accept what they'll need to DO once those borders are set (as I said, if they go with VP then combat, downscalling need to be reworked and if they go with HP, then ascended needs to be removed), this is a waste of time for everyone.

#3 Culture Shock

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 12:32 PM

"This is why for GW2 our goals from the start were using Vertical progression for teaching and clarity and then have a common understandable end point at that point switch to a more horizontal progression system which is easy to add too. We’ll still have to overcome some of the downsides with horizontal progression and it’s something we are continuing to work on."

Hmm sounds like they know exactly what they want to do ?  

Edited by Culture Shock, 16 December 2013 - 12:33 PM.


#4 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 12:44 PM

View PostCulture Shock, on 16 December 2013 - 12:32 PM, said:

"This is why for GW2 our goals from the start were using Vertical progression for teaching and clarity and then have a common understandable end point at that point switch to a more horizontal progression system which is easy to add too. We’ll still have to overcome some of the downsides with horizontal progression and it’s something we are continuing to work on."

Hmm sounds like they know exactly what they want to do ?  


Not only does the game stop teaching you at lvl 20/30 (once vertical progression moves onto traits, outside of a few cases, you are basically just stuck with +% damage boosts every few levels), it seriously doesn't teach you ANYTHING at 80 with ascended. One could argue that ascended gear had a teaching element as long as it was only obtainable in Fraks, but these days ascended gear is about throwing materials at crafting stations or killing 50 ambient creatures for the daily and that's something you learn at lvl 1.

#5 Feathermoore

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 01:51 PM

View PostCulture Shock, on 16 December 2013 - 12:32 PM, said:

"This is why for GW2 our goals from the start were using Vertical progression for teaching and clarity and then have a common understandable end point at that point switch to a more horizontal progression system which is easy to add too. We’ll still have to overcome some of the downsides with horizontal progression and it’s something we are continuing to work on."

Hmm sounds like they know exactly what they want to do ?  


That in no way contradicts Baron's statement. In fact, it validates his analysis of a potential reason for some of the perceived issues in game. Vertical progression effectively stops after the game stops teaching you the game system (at level 30). And vertical progression si GREAT for this purpose. But after that, the game is pretty much entirely horizontal.

The fact that Anet acknowledges this is confusing as they do not seem to be making decisions that coincide with their own analysis of the game or with their stated goals. Their stated goal is to start with vertical progression and switch to horizontal progression, but they have added vertical progression back in at the end despite saying that they didn't want the downsides inherent with that decision. The stated reasoning for Ascended makes no sense since the initial vertical progression ends at 30 and you don't start building Ascended till 80, long after you have been fully submerged in horizontal systems.

I personally don't think you can fix the downsides of horizontal progression by suddenly adding vertical progression. One of them will invalidate the other in most circumstances and suddenly you add in the downsides of a vertical progression system. Fixing the issues of a system shouldn't be done with a band-aid solution. I think this is more of Anet not knowing how to do this (I don't know either so don't go after me for saying that) and they are doing what they already know since they view it as safe.

Edited by Feathermoore, 16 December 2013 - 02:02 PM.

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#6 Featherman

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 01:59 PM

I know this discussion is centered around the two concepts, but Horizontal and Vertical progression seem to have become buzzwords. That is to say I know they're important, but their definitions and their implications have become obtuse due to the amount of concepts people are trying to tack onto them (cosmetics are apparently horizontal progression now. Who knew!). I'm certainly not satisfied with Whiteside's definition of either vertical or horizontal progression, especially considering the fact that the very little to teach that requires UI elements or gating. If anything the problem with UI elements is that they're often wrong or misleading. Progression isn't the only form of gating they can use either. For instance they can copy the the games of yore and actually make it so that content teaches players concept to use in more difficult content, gating access with earned items or not at all. It's rather disappointing hearing this come from a lead designer.

Edited by Featherman, 16 December 2013 - 02:19 PM.


#7 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 02:18 PM

View PostFeathermoore, on 16 December 2013 - 01:51 PM, said:

And vertical progression is GREAT for this purpose.

A few months ago, RJ also pointed out how vertical progression also makes sense if you tie the progression to a story. That would be another reason to give meaning to vertical progression.
And then A.Net goes and makes all story elements completely optional in GW2.

Their infamous Eurogamer quote:
"Everyone, including casual gamers, by level 80 should have the best statistical loot in the game. We want everyone on an equal power base. The rare stuff becomes the really awesome looking armours. It's all about collecting the unique looking stuff and collecting all the other rare collectable items in the game: armour pieces, potentially different potions - a lot of that is still up in the air and we'll finalise a lot of those reward systems as we get closer to release. And those come off of things like the bosses at the end of dungeons - the raids."

shows that all of this couldn't have been a mistake: horizontal progression really is the core of the game. And as long as this core stays in the game, adding vertical progression on top of it is not the best way to expend on the game: who is going to play a vertical progression end-game in a horizontal progression game? Why not just play a vertical progression end-game in a game that is built, from the ground up, for it?

#8 Gyre

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 04:49 PM

"So then why did we add ascended gear, well the reason is we wanted sometime between the transition and what we shipped with was very little time turns out global trading post has a lot more effect on this then we had original thought which made us need a non-tradable gear step." (emphasis mine)

What??  So they introduced vertical grind because players actually used the trade post/gear crafting as designed in the hunt for best in slot equipment...my mind is blown.  Did it occur to them to make crafted exotics non-tradeable at any point in the process like dungeon exotics already are I wonder.  The cynic in me says it was done for retention rather than letting the content speak for itself and do the retaining.

#9 El Duderino

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 07:27 PM

View PostBaron von Scrufflebutt, on 16 December 2013 - 09:25 AM, said:

This CDI does not make sense because A.Net does not know what it wants to do with its game, or at least, they aren't honest about it. GW2, in its core is a horizontal progression game: levelling stops making sense at 20/30 (there's absolutely nothing intriguing about the levelling process from there on), the whole combat is based around dodge invincibility frames (meaning that it completely invalidates the hunt for gear because you either dodge or you die) and the down-levelling process negates the point of grinding gear (as long as the game's endgame will be zerging Larry in Queensdale, you really don't need to move beyond rares at 80). Mix that with sPvP being completely separated from PvE and even WvW upscalling you and you end up with a game that's really horizontally based.
That's the reality of the game. And the problem is that as long as this stays the reality of the game, adding vertical progression goes against the design of the game. It doesn't mean that vertical progression is bad, it just means that vertical progression is bad for THIS game. If vertical progression will be the name of the game, then they need to completely rework combat (you need to start taking hits so that your armour matters) and they need to move the end-game into lvl 80+ areas that they will newly add to the game, ... And since I really doubt that this is what they will do - then GW2 will stay a horizontal progression based game and including vertical progression as its end-game makes the game weaker.

And the problem with the CDI is that they are basically open to everything and everything, even completely contradicting ideas, are "Good idea!"s. This game absolutely needs borders: they need to understand that they can't please everyone. And until they define those borders, and by that I mean once they accept what they'll need to DO once those borders are set (as I said, if they go with VP then combat, downscalling need to be reworked and if they go with HP, then ascended needs to be removed), this is a waste of time for everyone.

This is a really good point. The game certainly looks like it was designed with the intention of promoting a horizontal approach to the game. The whole thing is just very off-putting.

#10 MazingerZ

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 07:51 PM

View PostBaron von Scrufflebutt, on 16 December 2013 - 09:25 AM, said:

This game absolutely needs borders: they need to understand that they can't please everyone.

Here lies the problem.  They're probably unwilling (and perhaps outright scared) to define this stuff because they have absolutely no idea how it'll affect the bottom line.  They cannot risk people walking away from the game, for any reason, which is why they're stuck in this weird dimension of bi-weekly content releases, but at the same time, anyone who stops playing for 3-4 months is probably going be vastly disinterested when they come back.

Considering the competition coming up in the following year, that's even more incentive to not rock the boat.

Edited by MazingerZ, 16 December 2013 - 07:51 PM.

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#11 MazingerZ

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 07:56 PM

View PostFeatherman, on 16 December 2013 - 01:59 PM, said:

I know this discussion is centered around the two concepts, but Horizontal and Vertical progression seem to have become buzzwords. That is to say I know they're important, but their definitions and their implications have become obtuse due to the amount of concepts people are trying to tack onto them (cosmetics are apparently horizontal progression now. Who knew!). I'm certainly not satisfied with Whiteside's definition of either vertical or horizontal progression, especially considering the fact that the very little to teach that requires UI elements or gating. If anything the problem with UI elements is that they're often wrong or misleading. Progression isn't the only form of gating they can use either. For instance they can copy the the games of yore and actually make it so that content teaches players concept to use in more difficult content, gating access with earned items or not at all. It's rather disappointing hearing this come from a lead designer.

I've always viewed horizontal progression as the 'side-grade' system.  You don't necessarily get 'better' but you have more options to play how you want.  Cosmetics are horizontal in that they're not raising the ceiling... they're there for people who want to look a particular way without being mathematically better.  Vertical progression implies a straight up increase.  Such as getting an extra slot on your utility bar or loot changing from two stats to three stats on a piece of armor or a tier increase at level 80 brings mathematically superior numbers.  Shallow or not, they are mathematically superior numbers and if having mathematically superior numbers doesn't matter, as many people like to posit, then why have a stat system in the first place and why bother making another tier that's mathematically superior?

Chris Whiteside said:

The Tokens idea is interesting and I am sure you are noting that with our Mega Boss update Tequatl players can earn Ascended Weapons with Unique skins (Sunless) and that we will be moving forward with that paradigm. The idea of more challenging zone meta events was raised in the Living World CDI and a good idea. More to follow on that. I also agree that there is a huge amount of awesome progression to be found in guilds. ‘It has moderate to good horizontal progression for dungeon gear looks and WvW gear looks. Now it’s time to start introducing some new ways of horizontal progression.’ I agree.

This is horrible.  Basically... we're putting top-end weaponry on a mega boss, because hey, that's a challenge.  But its pretty much been proven that this boss requires quite a bit of coordination, not to mention manpower, to actually do.  So we're going to drop it in an open-world environment and you have to pray to the Gods of Murphy that PUGs and stuff won't screw up your attempts during the window you and whatever group you pull together (be it guild or PUG) can manage to make it when Taco spawns.

This is a step backwards from WoW raiding.  There's a reason stuff in WoW was instanced and everyone coming from EQ was like 'Hallelujah!'  Because open world single-spawns were horrible and grief-able.  Even WoW's Green Dragons and Azuregos were a serious PITA to do and essentially required a Gentleman's Agreement between raid guilds to take turns or something and now screw up execution of a complicated fight.

Edited by MazingerZ, 16 December 2013 - 08:03 PM.

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#12 Featherman

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:27 AM

View PostMazingerZ, on 16 December 2013 - 07:56 PM, said:

I've always viewed horizontal progression as the 'side-grade' system.  You don't necessarily get 'better' but you have more options to play how you want.  Cosmetics are horizontal in that they're not raising the ceiling... they're there for people who want to look a particular way without being mathematically better.  Vertical progression implies a straight up increase.  Such as getting an extra slot on your utility bar or loot changing from two stats to three stats on a piece of armor or a tier increase at level 80 brings mathematically superior numbers.  Shallow or not, they are mathematically superior numbers and if having mathematically superior numbers doesn't matter, as many people like to posit, then why have a stat system in the first place and why bother making another tier that's mathematically superior?

That's similar to my general definition, and I'm pretty sure the general consensus isn't all that different. However, it's always best to be precise in formal discussions like this, and that means defining the topic thoroughly to avoid or cull confusion that would inevitably occur due differences in understanding of those terms. I think it's especially important to be thorough when specialized game designer terms like "gating" and "learning" are being used in the definitions. No explanations or examples were given for gating or learning. Instead Whiteside seems to jump from topic to topic giving his personal feelings and perceptions. So much for being objective.

I suppose what's disappointing is that the thread doesn't seem to encourage learning, but rather venting of ideas. I agree with with Baron that the ideas are too chaotic and contradictory, and it's obvious to me that this is due to how poorly structured the discussion is.

Edited by Featherman, 17 December 2013 - 02:28 AM.


#13 El Duderino

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:31 AM

View PostFeatherman, on 17 December 2013 - 12:27 AM, said:

That's similar to my general definition, and I'm pretty sure the consensus isn't of those terms isn't all that different. However, it's always best to be precise in formal discussions like this, and that means defining the topic thoroughly to avoid or cull confusion that would inevitably occur due differences in understanding of those terms. I think it's especially important to be thorough when specialized game designer terms like "gating" and "learning" are being used to the definitions. No such explanation or examples were given gating or learning. Instead Whiteside seems to jump from topic to topic giving his personal feelings and perceptions. So much for being objective.

That's how I felt too. Although, i think that might have been Izzy. A lot of it doesn't make sens to me and seems to be personal ramblings. Plus, why are we trying to do this whole "gating" thing anyway? I never understood that part. If you expect people to play much longer than it takes for them to overcome the "gate" why not just remove it to begin with. I'll never understand the argument that there needs to be some fundamental reason to hold players back so they don't complete content too quickly or get max gear too quickly. There simply isn't a way to prevent these things from happening. Instead, why not make a game fun to play and to repeat content?

#14 Featherman

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 05:36 AM

Quote

Quote

Still no Dev comment that I’ve seen on Time Gates, something that many players brought up early in this thread. Sort of disappointed by that.

So I know time gates is a pretty hot topical overall as I've had some pretty heated debates in the past over it. So here is my view on them.

*Summary*
Overall I think time gates are important for an MMO, while they have pro’s and con’s for sure, in my opinion the overall gains come out ahead. That said I think there is diminishing returns to the number of time gates in a game. This brings up a core design philosophy which is “it’s always easier to add to then it is to take away” (while in this example it is a bit inverse, as adding a time gate is “adding” but it’s really taking away the players ability to repeat the action as much as they want). Meaning, we error on the side of time gating as we can always remove a time gate if needed but it’s really hard to add one. One clarification I would like to make is there are two different time gates: One time and repeatable. I think most of the complaints about time gates are all on the repeatable end, so I’ll focus my thoughts on that one.

*Con’s*
- Time gates hurt players with more time (by this I mean players with more time run up against time gates more and their time becomes less rewarded over time.)
- Repeatable time gates add “pressure” to complete the content before the gate resets, this can add fatigue to players play experience (If I have 15 things I need to do every time I log in, I never feel like I get to do what I want to do.)
- Time gates are very calculable (You know how many dailies you need to get x reward.) It’s hard to say how many days it takes to hit level 80 as it’s very dependent on too many factors. Knowing the time can sometimes make it feel more daunting or tedious.

*Pro’s*
- Time gates help players with less time (If I can only play an hour a day, my time is more rewarded.)
- Repeatable time gates add “pressure” to log in which helps create possible reward loops and play patterns (I want to log in every day, which often can become play experiences, talk with friends, strengthen relationships and get players into a pattern of seeing what’s going on.)
- Time gates equalize players by bringing the hardcore and the causal players closer together. (Players play at an variety of different times and intensities. This makes balancing wealth disparity and play times/progression much harder without actual gates.)
- Time gates help group players up (guilds 1 week timer helps group a large amount of play times into the same time frame.)

*Reasons for time gating*
- Exploits (Many time gates are there to avoid exploits)
- Overflow issues (the way our tech works without a time gate, you can use overflows to reset your timer)
- Reward Equalization (keep the time to do something more even between hardcore and causal)
- Character vs Account (some things we want to reward the account and thus an account time gated reward allows us to do that cleanly, which stops people from deleting characters and renaming in order to acquire a large number of things)

Overall I feel like time gating is important for an MMO because it’s important to close the gap between the causal and hardcore group so you can make sure your future rewards and content are useful for a wider variety of players. For example if there was no level cap and everyone could level as much as they want, hardcore players would be at level 4561 and a causal player would be at like 100. Once that happens, it would be very hard to make anything that both of those players would be happy about getting. MMO’s also have what I like to call “mass” to them, the more people playing and logging on, the more fun they are and systems which encourage people to log in often help create that mass. People see their friends regularly even just to say “hey there is an event this Sunday with the guild” or “hey lets set aside some time Friday so we can do fractals”. Now this doesn’t mean I feel like we can just add time gates everywhere. In fact I think you need either a very large amount of time gated stuff so a player can play for ever and never run out of things to do (which is a bit unrealistic) or you need non-time gated rewards and game play. This is why we create places for people to farm for all types of things. We like people who farm a lot, we are just always trying to make sure farming doesn’t blow out an item so much it’s no longer worth farming as it sort of defeats the whole reason to farm. A nice mix of time gates and non-gates is important. I think there are some valid complaints that we have over time gated some areas of the game and we should do some reviews of our time gates to see if adjustments should be made, but the game needs time gates for many reasons and if they were not there the game would be way less fun for any type of player.

Quote on time gates from Izzy.

What's interesting about this, I think, is that it's written from a perspective where rewards are driving factor for gameplay, but that probably makes sense because he's talking about the importance of spacing out rewards and power. It's a shame that MMOs in general have to go through so much hassle to prevent saturation of power and assets to retain players. Given GW2's the level and hard power cap, though, I personally don't think it would have been much of an issue for the players (not necessarily the game) if they were allowed get ascended as quickly as possible.

This is just me speaking, but I don't think that "mass" should be so highly rated when the amount of interaction between its constituents is low. I also dislike his reasoning that more mass equals more fun, or at least not in the manner he's saying it. Aside from maybe map zerging (for those who enjoy it) what activities are more fun after you've gotten a full party anyway?

Edited by Featherman, 17 December 2013 - 05:51 AM.


#15 Feathermoore

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:51 PM

View PostFeatherman, on 17 December 2013 - 05:36 AM, said:

Quote on time gates from Izzy.

What's interesting about this, I think, is that it's written from a perspective where rewards are driving factor for gameplay, but that probably makes sense because he's talking about the importance of spacing out rewards and power. It's a shame that MMOs in general have to go through so much hassle to prevent saturation of power and assets to retain players. Given GW2's the level and hard power cap, though, I personally don't think it would have been much of an issue for the players (not necessarily the game) if they were allowed get ascended as quickly as possible.

This is just me speaking, but I don't think that "mass" should be so highly rated when the amount of interaction between its constituents is low. I also dislike his reasoning that more mass equals more fun, or at least not in the manner he's saying it. Aside from maybe map zerging (for those who enjoy it) what activities are more fun after you've gotten a full party anyway?

0.o How can the pressure to complete a time gate be a negative for people who have a lot of time because it feels like they never get to what they want to do, and a positive to the people with less time because it encourages them to log-in every day and might turn into playing with friends? If the people with lots of time feel like they don't get to the gameplay they want to, there is no way the people with less time who log in for the time gates would ever get to do anything other than the time gates.

This is why I completely ignore all the time gated material. I can't participate in it. I don't have the time to do that even though I would do it if it wasn't gated. I don't know if he just has the statements backwards (with respect to which group of people it is a pro/con for) or if it is an attempt to spin time gate as being friendly to people with limited play time. Because it definitely isn't.

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#16 Gyre

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:25 PM

If he's referring to t7 I've seen a full set of ascended heavy armor in game already.  Apparently throwing money at the problem clears that hurdle nicely (isn't that how we got into this in the first place?).  I don't see how it's meant to function as a retention mechanism either when the, let's say, top 5% who want this will just buy it.  Seems to me they are only squeezing the middle if they contemplate more of this and that's got to be their most vulnerable demographic of players.

#17 MazingerZ

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:28 PM

View PostFeathermoore, on 17 December 2013 - 01:51 PM, said:

/snip

I just like how every time they come down from the mount because silence is causing them damage and unrest, when they open their mouths, it just kind of ultimately works against them if you actually read what they're saying, once the glow of actually opening a dialogue with them wears off.

Edited by MazingerZ, 17 December 2013 - 02:29 PM.

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#18 El Duderino

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:08 PM

View PostFeatherman, on 17 December 2013 - 05:36 AM, said:

Quote on time gates from Izzy.

What's interesting about this, I think, is that it's written from a perspective where rewards are driving factor for gameplay, but that probably makes sense because he's talking about the importance of spacing out rewards and power. It's a shame that MMOs in general have to go through so much hassle to prevent saturation of power and assets to retain players. Given GW2's the level and hard power cap, though, I personally don't think it would have been much of an issue for the players (not necessarily the game) if they were allowed get ascended as quickly as possible.

This is just me speaking, but I don't think that "mass" should be so highly rated when the amount of interaction between its constituents is low. I also dislike his reasoning that more mass equals more fun, or at least not in the manner he's saying it. Aside from maybe map zerging (for those who enjoy it) what activities are more fun after you've gotten a full party anyway?

Yup, this pretty much confirms to me that this company has no idea how to make an MMO past the typical MMO philosophies. They certainly don't have any of the creative ideas of their predecessors. I mean Izzy basically relates time gating to keeping people playing - it's as if there isn't even the concept that people will play just for fun if you make mechanics that make the game fun. Furthermore, I can't even believe he is talking about farming for items. You simply cannot farm for items in this game in the normal sense of the word. First, there aren't many viable farming spots. Seconds, the best items aren't really farmable - because they don't drop. I literally don't understand the following quote in the context of how they implemented acquisition of BiS gear:

Quote

This is why we create places for people to farm for all types of things. We like people who farm a lot, we are just always trying to make sure farming doesn’t blow out an item so much it’s no longer worth farming as it sort of defeats the whole reason to farm.

Basically, I think all of these posts reiterate, to me, that the game is being designed by people that know how to design a game like WoW and not a game like GW1. Everything is being viewed in terms of progression and rewards.

#19 MazingerZ

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:21 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 17 December 2013 - 03:08 PM, said:

Basically, I think all of these posts reiterate, to me, that the game is being designed by people that know how to design a game like WoW and not a game like GW1. Everything is being viewed in terms of progression and rewards.

WoW's mechanics do a better job of hiding the skinner box however and 99.9% of their cosmetics are available in-game (the helms in the cash shop ruin it) and can be transmogrified.  While you may have to repeat content, you can do Raid Finder ez mode if you're going for a look, or do the challenging raid content for the stats.  If anything, WoW's risen to the occasion against GW2 and GW2's done nothing to widen the gulf between them.  They made the game more cosmetic focused (tho they didn't turn down the stat-focus), they added scenarios which act much in the same vein as dynamic events and pushed raiding down to an even more casual level.

The only thing WoW can't do is the action-combat and that's because of the age of its engine and systems.  The only time WoW bores me is when I'm going through an a button-pressing sequence on a boss (Gorefiend or Vaelastrasz fight), not usually in fights that require mobility and other mechanics.

Edited by MazingerZ, 17 December 2013 - 03:23 PM.

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#20 El Duderino

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:33 PM

View PostMazingerZ, on 17 December 2013 - 03:21 PM, said:

WoW's mechanics do a better job of hiding the skinner box however and 99.9% of their cosmetics are available in-game (the helms in the cash shop ruin it) and can be transmogrified.  While you may have to repeat content, you can do Raid Finder ez mode if you're going for a look, or do the challenging raid content for the stats.  If anything, WoW's risen to the occasion against GW2 and GW2's done nothing to widen the gulf between them.  They made the game more cosmetic focused (tho they didn't turn down the stat-focus), they added scenarios which act much in the same vein as dynamic events and pushed raiding down to an even more casual level.

The only thing WoW can't do is the action-combat and that's because of the age of its engine and systems.  The only time WoW bores me is when I'm going through an a button-pressing sequence on a boss (Gorefiend or Vaelastrasz fight), not usually in fights that require mobility and other mechanics.

I don't doubt this at all. Blizzard has the wherewithal to compete in aspect they want. And, I think they have the money to hire a crew that is most likely more talented than any other MMO crew out there. I should have said "traditional MMO" mindet instead of a WoW mindset.

View PostFeathermoore, on 17 December 2013 - 01:51 PM, said:

0.o How can the pressure to complete a time gate be a negative for people who have a lot of time because it feels like they never get to what they want to do, and a positive to the people with less time because it encourages them to log-in every day and might turn into playing with friends? If the people with lots of time feel like they don't get to the gameplay they want to, there is no way the people with less time who log in for the time gates would ever get to do anything other than the time gates.

This is why I completely ignore all the time gated material. I can't participate in it. I don't have the time to do that even though I would do it if it wasn't gated. I don't know if he just has the statements backwards (with respect to which group of people it is a pro/con for) or if it is an attempt to spin time gate as being friendly to people with limited play time. Because it definitely isn't.

I don't understand it either. The idea that time-gating content somehow bridges a gap between people with time and people without time just doesn't make sense to me either. The people with more time will always be ahead of people with less time. I think most people understand that. That is why I think so many people looked forward to a game without the gear treadmill. High level caps and gear treadmills do more to widen the gap between those two sets of players than time gating will do to close that gap.

#21 MazingerZ

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:51 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 17 December 2013 - 03:33 PM, said:

I don't understand it either. The idea that time-gating content somehow bridges a gap between people with time and people without time just doesn't make sense to me either. The people with more time will always be ahead of people with less time. I think most people understand that. That is why I think so many people looked forward to a game without the gear treadmill. High level caps and gear treadmills do more to widen the gap between those two sets of players than time gating will do to close that gap.

Because they're model requires players to be logging in constantly.  The problem is that they're catering to too wide of an audience.  There are plenty of other successful F2P titles that do well enough.  Look at Warframe.  Look at Planetside 2.  Neverwinter.

These are games that knew their target audience and the players they wanted to retain and they don't apologize for it.  There'd probably be more respect for the game if it just came out and said 'Yeah, we're basically Maple Story 1.5, take it or leave it.'  Tribes: Ascend lost momentum when the first two major updates came out with IMBA weapons and devs were accused of releasing them IMBA and then nerfing them into balance once RMT had peaked on the new toys.

The justifications would not be necessary and make a lot more sense if they just came out and said 'We do this to retain player activity because it increases our income.'  But they skirt around the monetary issues driving design, so when they have to defend themselves, their points come out as totally idiotic and incongruous.  This isn't an issue of them not knowing their game or design, but rather an inability to craft their message because their monetization scheme forces them maintain an image of not coming across as money-grubbers when they can.

I wish Blizzard's old forums were up because I remember there being a massive debate about the raid lockout justification and I can't remember how they handled it, but I don't think anyone was fooling themselves.  At least Blizzard's had some justification, because it basically kept them from re-killing bosses on farm for enchanting materials and gearing people out of the bosses' loot table and the random trash drops that were of equal power as boss loot, where increasing the group's overall ability to perform would make it that much easier to move onto the next boss or raid dungeon in short order.

Edited by MazingerZ, 17 December 2013 - 03:52 PM.

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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!"

#22 Featherman

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 04:05 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 17 December 2013 - 03:33 PM, said:

I don't understand it either. The idea that time-gating content somehow bridges a gap between people with time and people without time just doesn't make sense to me either. The people with more time will always be ahead of people with less time. I think most people understand that. That is why I think so many people looked forward to a game without the gear treadmill. High level caps and gear treadmills do more to widen the gap between those two sets of players than time gating will do to close that gap.

I don't see any scenarios where anyone wins with this kind of implementation. If progression is held behind time gates then players who haven't started ascended crafting will always be a set number of days behind those who have ascended gear, unless they get lucky at world bosses. These players can't realistically grind to catch up and play on the same level of veteran players. The gap right now isn't that much of a a problem right now as it is about a 15-17% difference offensive power (very significant but not entirely gamebreaking), but as more and more VP is added this gap and the amount of time required to close it will continuously increase.

If somewhere down the road ANet sees that new players can't compete with veterans due to this gap and it becomes a problem for their game, they'll be forced to ease the requirements by lowering the cost or removing time gates. This will upset both the players who had to work hard for their set and the market.

The recent implementation of ascended has me thinking that ANet is keeping the power curse as low as possible to ride this out as long as possible, but they walking a very fine line be doing. If the increase proves to be too low the players won't both to log in for it and contribute to Izzy's superlative "mass." They can increase the stats on the fly but it'd  bring them a bit closer to when they'll have to deal with the repercussions of VP, and not to mention rouse more ire from the anti VP camp.

Edited by Featherman, 17 December 2013 - 04:09 PM.


#23 MazingerZ

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 04:17 PM

View PostFeatherman, on 17 December 2013 - 04:05 PM, said:

I don't see any scenarios where anyone wins with this kind of implementation. If progression is held behind time gates then players who haven't started ascended crafting will always be a set number of days behind those who have ascended gear, unless they get lucky at world bosses. These players can't realistically grind to catch up and play on the same level of veteran players. The gap right now isn't that much of a a problem right now as it is about a 15-17% difference offensive power (very significant but not entirely gamebreaking), but as more and more VP is added this gap and the amount of time required to close it will continuously increase.

If somewhere down the road ANet sees that new players can't compete with veterans due to this gap and it becomes a problem for their game, they'll be forced to ease the requirements by lowering the cost or removing time gates. This will upset both the players who had to work hard for their set and the market.

The recent implementation of ascended has me thinking that ANet is keeping the power curse as low as possible to ride this out as long as possible, but they walking a very fine line be doing. If the increase proves to be too low the players won't both to log in for it and contribute to Izzy's superlative "mass." They can increase but then they'd rouse the ire of anti VP players, and not to mention it'd bring them a bit closer to when they'll have to deal with the repercussions of VP.

This is part of the reason why when Blizzard advances to the next tier, they make getting gear equitable to the previous tier easy to get while leaving the unique rewards and achievements in the previous raid instance locked behind the timer.  They realized any players hitting end-game would not only have a hard time finding groups for the old content (though I'm not sure if LFR replaced adding new loot) but would be forever behind due to raid lockouts.

As far as the second point, ArenaNet can do this one of two ways... Raise the level cap and invalidate the desire fore crafting level 80 Ascended gear (the 'expansion reset button') or they'll lift the restrictions at a point where it doesn't matter (though without a level cap increase, I can't see any other way they can retain players in the current environment).  And when they lift the restrictions, it'll be heralded as 'ArenaNet is listening!' rather than the money-driven retention policy it was.

A lot of people have already written Ascended off and a subset of those stopped playing the instant they did.  There's honestly nothing but entropic decay on the current path.

Edited by MazingerZ, 17 December 2013 - 04:23 PM.

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#24 nerfandderf

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 09:02 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 17 December 2013 - 12:31 AM, said:

That's how I felt too. Although, i think that might have been Izzy. A lot of it doesn't make sens to me and seems to be personal ramblings. Plus, why are we trying to do this whole "gating" thing anyway? I never understood that part. If you expect people to play much longer than it takes for them to overcome the "gate" why not just remove it to begin with. I'll never understand the argument that there needs to be some fundamental reason to hold players back so they don't complete content too quickly or get max gear too quickly. There simply isn't a way to prevent these things from happening. Instead, why not make a game fun to play and to repeat content?
because they cant see. All they know is what was done in other games they played. Apparently most of them grew up and learnt VP as the model and since the light that is shining in their eyes is so bright - they cant see.
It explains the contempt for GW and the complete transition of what was good. That usually gets codified into a company but it seems that the new people simply have little regard for those we came before and the lessons they learned.

So they are left without boundaries and a bright light in their eyes. They only know VP and what their gaming experience taught them.
That is my explanation : they simply cant see.

#25 El Duderino

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:37 PM

View Postnerfandderf, on 17 December 2013 - 09:02 PM, said:


because they cant see. All they know is what was done in other games they played. Apparently most of them grew up and learnt VP as the model and since the light that is shining in their eyes is so bright - they cant see.
It explains the contempt for GW and the complete transition of what was good. That usually gets codified into a company but it seems that the new people simply have little regard for those we came before and the lessons they learned.

So they are left without boundaries and a bright light in their eyes. They only know VP and what their gaming experience taught them.
That is my explanation : they simply cant see.

I definitely agree about the contempt for GW1. I mean, how did we go from "If you love GW1, you're going to love GW2" to "If you love GW1, go play GW1"? Clearly they don't care to follow up on the strides made from their predecessors.

#26 Featherman

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 02:06 PM

View PostMazingerZ, on 17 December 2013 - 04:17 PM, said:

This is part of the reason why when Blizzard advances to the next tier, they make getting gear equitable to the previous tier easy to get while leaving the unique rewards and achievements in the previous raid instance locked behind the timer.  They realized any players hitting end-game would not only have a hard time finding groups for the old content (though I'm not sure if LFR replaced adding new loot) but would be forever behind due to raid lockouts.

As far as the second point, ArenaNet can do this one of two ways... Raise the level cap and invalidate the desire fore crafting level 80 Ascended gear (the 'expansion reset button') or they'll lift the restrictions at a point where it doesn't matter (though without a level cap increase, I can't see any other way they can retain players in the current environment).  And when they lift the restrictions, it'll be heralded as 'ArenaNet is listening!' rather than the money-driven retention policy it was.

A lot of people have already written Ascended off and a subset of those stopped playing the instant they did.  There's honestly nothing but entropic decay on the current path.

A level increase would be more likely then because it'll defeat the purpose of ascended gear being the gap between exotics and legendaries, and also make them lose regular player log ins, if they lift the restriction to it.  With a level cap increase they can make multitude of excuses to quell the dissent. Like players needing to learn biggers numbers of the same thing or something in a new zone... I can never understand how WoW pulls that off.

Although a lot of people have already wirtten off Ascended and I'm sure there are still many left who are on the fence. Moreover, ANet have not amended their Manifesto and their Oath Campaign has me thinking that they'll continue to advertise the same ideas they marketed before launch. This means that many new players will join the game under the impression that ascended gear, and their method of acquisition, doesn't exist in GW2.

View Postnerfandderf, on 17 December 2013 - 09:02 PM, said:

because they cant see. All they know is what was done in other games they played. Apparently most of them grew up and learnt VP as the model and since the light that is shining in their eyes is so bright - they cant see.
It explains the contempt for GW and the complete transition of what was good. That usually gets codified into a company but it seems that the new people simply have little regard for those we came before and the lessons they learned.

So they are left without boundaries and a bright light in their eyes. They only know VP and what their gaming experience taught them.
That is my explanation : they simply cant see.
Balancing via scaling numbers was probably a wet dream for Izzy and the PvE designers because it boils down to changing numbers or the frequency of skills. It's low risk design that gives an impression of change. That's why nearly all of the class rebalance patches have mostly been tweaking numbers rather than fixing skills that are fundamentally broken (stealth, conditions, and pets for instance). Conquest mode reflects this in that its game mode is a dps/sustain race. That is to say, the only thing that matters about most skills is how their numbers relate to success, not the method of application nor the active counters (It seems that ANet believes counters are best left as passive abilities that completely nullify).  

I might be presumptuous in saying that but I'm sure anyone who's taken the lower classes of advanced math can pull off this level balancing just as well. It beggers belief that the apparent cost of rebalancing is reason enough so little about their broken PvP.

When you think about it the only thing the players "learn" through their leveling is that numbers get bigger. The enemy design doesn't evolve or change as you level up, but they do more damage and have higher health. This might by why combat in the open world feels so samey, though it ends up moot because of how worthwile content devolves into zergfests because of the player "mass." Even in dungeons enemies feel like progressively bigger DPS sponges.

Edited by Featherman, 18 December 2013 - 02:25 PM.


#27 MazingerZ

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 03:47 PM

View PostFeatherman, on 18 December 2013 - 02:06 PM, said:

A level increase would be more likely then because it'll defeat the purpose of ascended gear being the gap between exotics and legendaries, and also make them lose regular player log ins, if they lift the restriction to it.  With a level cap increase they can make multitude of excuses to quell the dissent. Like players needing to learn biggers numbers of the same thing or something in a new zone... I can never understand how WoW pulls that off.

Because bigger numbers make the previous content easy to farm and the max-level open world content easier to farm as well, but makes the latest raid tier just as challenging and exciting as the previous tier.  This is where the down-scaling and horizontal progression fails here, because even in greens at 80, is a noticeable difference from greens at 35, and its probably  more broken at the Ascended level.  But they have to make all content accessible, so while they can keep raising their 'shallow power curve' it still ends up affecting combat and their ability to create challenging encounters.
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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!"

#28 Kymeric

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:24 PM

View PostGyre, on 17 December 2013 - 02:25 PM, said:

Seems to me they are only squeezing the middle if they contemplate more of this and that's got to be their most vulnerable demographic of players.

That fits me to a tee.  I just recently gave up and stopped playing.  I'm in that middle where I'm not so casual as to ignore BiS, but not so hardcore that I'll happily farm/grind or throw hundreds of gold at the gear.  I made a stab at Ascended, crafted my first greatsword, realized I wasn't having fun anymore, and decided to stop playing.

I was a consistent, though not lavish, user of the gem store, and one of the sub-group of players who actually spent time in mid-level zones doing something other than world bosses.




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