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Quality in GW2?


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#1 Haggus

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 04:19 PM

I was reading posts on the usual Trahearn-hate threads, and one person said "Quality is relative."  So I thought, what is good quality in an MMO; and where does GW2 lie in that sphere?

In my opinion, the quality of an MMO can be judged in a simple way: if enough people log in to the game to keep it viable after three years of release, the game is of good quality.  If it's collapsing servers, and towns are looking deserted after a year or two, it's of low quality.  To do this, developers have a few options to get the bucks to roll in over a long period.  You can either create a world with a good background, but make enough open-ended options and size for people to create their own content(sandbox); you can create a game with a great story and progression to have players want to re-read that story and come back for additions to that story(expansions); or you can have a good mix of both.  You also have to go down one of two lines.  You either make your game appeal to a broad group of people; or you make it appeal to one group so much, that they will be a dedicated group who will always sub/pay for stuff to keep you in the black.

On one extreme, the best sandbox example, that appeals to a certain group, would be EVE Online.  They have an open world, with 300,000 to 500,000 subs every month.  They have a good enough storyline; but the players are the ones who create the content that matters most.  On the other side(gets ready to hear the groans)...is, yes, World of Warcraft.  They created a good, slightly open theme park, with a good option of PvE or PvP choices for players to sub.  You want a story? They have that.  You're a casual player?  They have enough to have you paying for a sub, but satisfying enough for you to not feel the need to be on every day.  You like raids?  They have that, too.  Even though they are on the decline, after ten years, they still have 6-7 MILLION subs, and are considered the gold standard of success in MMOs, whatever your opinion may be.

Now, there are many details which go into making a good quality game.  Graphics isn't one.  I say again: bleeding edge graphics do NOT relate to quality.  A car can have a nice paint job, and have great performance.  If you are taking it into the mechanic more often for stuff that's broken than for an oil change, that car is not worth the price.  The same goes for MMOs.  There were plenty of MMOs which came out looking very shiny, that dropped off in three months(or less), because the quality wasn't there(Hi, Age of Conan).

I think, in the case of Guild Wars 2, the game relies on a good story.  It's chosen this path just through the use of personal story and living story.  For whatever reasons, they gave up ambitions for PvP other than WvW(which gives a discount version of open-world PvP), and decided to focus on their concept of a changing world.  The background story and PS were enough for the first year:  Despite a few flaws, the PS is fine for one or two play-thrus: though after that, many choose other options to level up.  The level zone system gives enough replay, through allowing high level characters to play in lower level zones, yet not being too dominant; and a looting system/accomplishment system not reliant on who started an event.   There is just enough crafting attraction, through ascended/legendary options, to keep some focused on that aspect.   As for game mechanics, class and fighting mechanics, whatever your opinion may be, win just from the perspective of allowing any class to excel in any role.  Yes, there will always be some who can do things a bit better than others; but would you rather hear complaining about DPS ruling, or sitting around AC and CoF hearing "LFG HEALZ/TANK" over and over?  

I think Anet focused on the LS to keep that replayability going.  I'm sure they didn't think the game as it was at release would keep people going throughout the game's life.  To do this, they have to think long-term.  They aren't rolling in gold ala Scrooge McDuck.  With a FTP game with a gold shop, you have less than ten percent of the players paying the devs' salaries.  Game sales only go so far.   They set things up with the first LS: introducing characters, setting up the story thread, changing the persistent world, and climaxing with wiping out an area that had been a fulcrum of the Guild Wars universe for 9 years.  Yes, we aren't dealing with Lord of the Rings quality writing, here.  There are limitations, in time frame and mechanics, to what they can do.  It is enough, I think, to give a good quality to keep enough people playing, and paying, for the game.

So, what are your opinions about what makes GW2 a good, or bad, quality game overall?  Yes, whatever you think, there are always things that could be improved.   What do people think overall about it?

#2 astroreaping

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 04:53 PM

as a player gw1 2006/20012 and gw2 2012/2014
long time players will tell you both games have there flaws but when i played gw1 there was always
something to do, dungeons, missions, HM, underworld ect so many skills you had to choose wisely
loved the buying selling in la/kam such a shame thats gone, it brought hundreds of people together
in those 2 areas talking about game, thats all gone, no halls, poor skills.

gw2 has a better superior look but inferior game play and longevity to gw1
this game destroyed the community it didnt bring it together, by making the game so simple
a 2yr old could play it those of us who enjoyed the challenge of gw1 where left with a hollow game
probably why theres so few of us left from the older game.

i still login 3/4 times a week but with little to do other than daily's and finishing ascended armor
in gw1 after 6 yrs and1 game+3 expansions always something to do, just dont get that with gw2
and lack of new zones doesnt help. opening dry top in tiny pieces so small its over in a few hrs.

we need open zones with content, fire islands , desert , something. because when it all comes
down, LS will not hold the game together, people wanna explore new places zones and 2 yrs
in we have the same stuff.

also not impressed at the cash grab from new players, making them pay for LS1 is wrong.
people who played this game from launch got the content free, so why should a guy who
buys gw2 today have to pay for LS1 when for everyone else it was free....

#3 dakka dakka

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 05:18 PM

Anet is progressively learning how to develop GW2. The team working on this game is completely different from the GW1 devs and are taking the game into a new direction.

I feel the the devs have got their feet under them now and we should start seeing a sharp uptick in new areas real soon as the story unfolds.

As for why new players paying for the content that old players got for free. Anet has to make money somehow, additionally the game has been out for two years as you previously pointed out so expecting a lot of new box purchases is pretty slim to none so I feel that is a moot point honestly. the players who have been active and semi active are rewarded for playing by getting the content free and i see that as a good thing.

#4 dakka dakka

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:55 PM

people still play GW1?

face it, at this point GW1 is dead, only reason to log in is to do dailies

GW2 still has a large playerbase that actively plays for more than dailies, I consistently see large amounts of players in all areas and especially when a major event occurs. GW2 is far from dead and with the promise of the redone LS it won't be dead for a long time coming.

Edited by Feathermoore, 30 July 2014 - 02:56 PM.
Quoted a flamebait post but the response does contribute so I left it.


#5 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 08:33 PM

View Postdakka dakka, on 28 July 2014 - 05:18 PM, said:

The team working on this game is completely different from the GW1 devs and are taking the game into a new direction.

And that's actually part of the problem: not because the game would be different from GW1, but because, in its core, it's not that different. A.Net is implementing solutions that are in direct contradiction with the core of the game and it is making the game weaker. For instance, look at the issue of power. A.Net is currently using power as a reward of progression. The problem is that GW2, in its core, does not have an intriguing concept of power: gear is incredibly shallow, as are traits and skills, ... power wasn't designed to be something that keeps players interested. And as long as that core stays in the game, everything is going to be held back by these core rules.

Ultimately, that's the problem here: A.Net still does not understand their own game.

#6 Kymeric

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:00 PM

View PostHaggus, on 28 July 2014 - 04:19 PM, said:

In my opinion, the quality of an MMO can be judged in a simple way: if enough people log in to the game to keep it viable after three years of release, the game is of good quality.  If it's collapsing servers, and towns are looking deserted after a year or two, it's of low quality.  

Popularity can't be the judge of quality.

McDonald's hamburger chain is the proof.  They've spread across this planet while hawking cheap, nutritionally-questionable "food".  It's a rare person who would call McDonald's "quality", but it has served "billions" of customers.

Having said that, I'm not sure exactly what the criteria for quality are in an MMORPG.  I would definitely expect different answers depending on types of players.

I suppose I would personally identify a consistent immersive experience as a marker of quality in anything calling itself an RPG, MMO or otherwise, but that's a pretty subjective matter, so it would take a lot of thought and elaboration to really pin it down.

#7 Konzacelt

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:59 AM

View Postdakka dakka, on 28 July 2014 - 06:55 PM, said:

People still play GW1?
Yeup.  Pre Ascalon City had an overflow district yesterday if that tells you anything.

View PostKymeric, on 28 July 2014 - 09:00 PM, said:

Popularity can't be the judge of quality.
Werd.

Quality is subjective, not objective like population numbers.  And it does involve graphics I would say...everything in a game matters.  It's all those things put together that gives you a good picture of a game's quality.  Here's a post I made over a year ago about it:

Graphics: A- I would have given it a solid A, it’s friggin gorgeous, but it’s that sheer beauty that contributes to lag and culling issues…especially in W3. I applaud them for wanting the game to be playable on mid-range systems, but the graphical clarity lends itself to higher-end systems. Turning the graphics down to a minimum is kind of a bummer. Also, the pyrotechnics from a lot of skills are too gaudy.
Character Customization: C+ If I had to rate this on visual appearance alone, I’d give it a B+ or maybe A-, but how you look is only part of it. The trait system alone is not nearly enough for players to have solid customization of their characters. There are no attribute adjustments, and no real 2ndary abilities and talents(do the personality options do anything?). Add to this the fact that you can’t choose your first 5 skills(your weapon does) and you’re left with 5 utilities for variety. Crafting is very nice, although it doesn’t feel unique to your character really. And no mounts(yes…I know that’s what the waypoints are for). What’s up with all the pirate clothes? o.0
General Gameplay: A- I’m talking mostly PvE here. The maps are well thought-out, waypoints are logically placed, npc’s are easy to find, map icons simple and concise, it runs smooth unless you’re in a large DE. Moving while attacking has got to be the single biggest “omg this is so simple but awesome!” improvement. DE’s are pretty cool, even if they repeat often. Scaling is also very nice. Would have given it a A if they had fixed right-click targeting…or even addressed it. Y u no like mouse options ANet?!
User Interface: A Love these guys for this. Controls are easy to understand, the Options Menu is practical, and the “deposit all” option is a godsend. Basically, they’ve eliminated almost all of the annoyances in navigating menus. It’s easy as pie.
Combat: B The high value placed on mobility in this game is, I think, a great feature. Dodging, cross-profession combo’s, blocking, condition effects all lend themselves towards a very active combat environment. The skills themselves are pretty cool mechanically. Dungeon mob/boss mechanics can cross the line from challenging to annoying though. PvP is too zerg-dominated from a W3 point of view, and I think in general damage is a touch too high…you shouldn’t die in 2 seconds flat with 3 people on you(guardians and bunker ele’s notwithstanding :P). And stealth?…I’ll just mention it and leave it at that.Posted Image
Personal Story: C- I don’t like saying it because I really liked the GW1 storyline, but I just can’t find much to like with it here. It’s whimsical, un-engaging, and rather childish. The 3 Orders don’t really mean anything, and the Zhaitan fight was a big let-down. I can tell they put a lot of work into incorporating the non-human races into the fold, but it felt contrived and forced. They should have stayed with the cinematics instead of the 2-person conversation screen. The mentors were meh(I haven’t tried with Tybalt yet), and dead before you get to know em really. I think I actually miss Koss…


To update this I would probably give the combat a downgrade to B- or C+ based solely on the downed-state: not bad for pve but absolutely horrible for pvp.

The LS, since I didn't mention it above, I would give a D- for season 1, and a C- so far with season 2.  I still think this game was made for children...

Edited by Konzacelt, 29 July 2014 - 02:02 AM.


#8 Haggus

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:45 AM

View PostKonzacelt, on 29 July 2014 - 01:59 AM, said:

snip

They hit a high point with the cinematic scenes in Nightfall and EotN.  It just breaks the whole story up, when you stop every ten minutes for two characters who look like they are reading from a teleprompter.  Badly.  They had some nice humor, as well("Two-legs", "Bookah", Livia sounding like Jessica Rabbit).  Plus, the plot line was consistent.  I won't go into Avocado Boy here.  Part of the problem with the PS is the way it's broken up at Claw Island.  All the story before Claw Island is irrelevant after it.  You get so much development before then, then none after it.  They went to the Brett Rattner school of story telling.  And yeah, it does feel like it was written for a twelve-year-old.  Not in the Harry Potter way, but in the f*$king Twilight way.

When I said popularity, I meant enduring interest by a dedicated fan base.  If you maintain a consistent, strong community, that cares for the game, that shows the makers took their time to make a quality game.  If you don't have that, in one way or another depending on what you are aiming for, the game won't keep a good size fan base.   People will always run for whatever's new and shiny, and it helps that Anet has a built-in fan base willing to give the benefit of the doubt.  If they don't improve in some key areas, though, it won't last.  

I said recently that people complaining about the game so passionately means they care about the game.   I'd say now that isn't true.  Most of the people here played Guild Wars.  The Guru crowd remembers what they did right with that game, and how, even today, they still pop in for more than just birthday presents.  It showed that, with good writing, good mechanics, and great artwork, you don't even need a z-axis or persistent world to have a great, involving game.  

As von Scrufflebutt said, they didn't ever design this game to be about power or gear.  Remember skill>time played?  If it isn't about gear, and you've given up anything meaningful for PvP, you better get the mechanics and the story perfect.  In other words, nothing game-wise, other than the graphics, maybe, was done with high quality...especially the writing.

#9 Krazzar

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:29 PM

There are two main ways to talk about quality.  The first is comparative quality; comparing a game to others in the genre or series.  The second is individual quality; the game on its own.  Both are subjective and both are required to get a good idea of the game.

Comparatively there is really nothing that plays like GW2, which has been a major strength.  There really isn't another MMO I would play because they're all full of busy work and crap I don't have time to deal with, whereas GW2 was fun from the start.  On it's own there are flaws that are still present from beta.

#10 Feathermoore

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 06:02 PM

Even a steady fan base is difficult to use as a sign of quality. Twilight has a fan base and it would be considered low in the quality department. And while quality is subjective to a degree, it isn't really true to say there is no objective way to view it. I mean, we do it all the time with works of art, which video games fall into. Literature, paintings, movies, and music are evaluated in relatively non-subjective ways with regard to quality. A product is made well or it isn't, that isn't a subjective argument. Whether an individual likes or dislikes something is really not determined by quality; though it can be used as an indicator as to the number of people that will like it.

As for McDonalds, you have to take it in context. No, the grade of food you get is not the same level as at a steakhouse, but the decision isn't made from quality. You get quality, speed, and price as options and have to choose two. McDonalds sacrifices quality to be good at the other two categories.

MMOs are a different beast with the vast amount of things they have going. WvW is different from PvE, even different parts of PvE are different. We have a story and gameplay as two separate design entities and therefor get to choose 2 of the 3 options multiple times. GW2 picks the fast food approach, sacrifices quality in order to offer a product at low cost that comes to you quickly (and that isn't a negative thing, just the product goal). Now, they do a good job at that, but the game is what it is. Without Anet spending more money (which necessitates higher income) or more time (delaying releases) it really isn't possible to increase the quality of the releases beyond the natural benefit of learning from past mistakes. Releases will get better over time as each release benefits from the time spent on past ones, artificially increasing the time spent on the product. This is a byproduct of the nature of MMOs since they are a constant, long term product.

The quality of the living story releases is separate from the base game though as they are really two different products.

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#11 lazyharry

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 07:01 AM

For me, measuring the quality of the game is directly linked to what was promised, what was made, how it was intended, and how much the developer is taking it seriously.

For Guild Wars 2, this equals to being promised a grind free game with lots of interactivity in the world, getting a product that's 75% finished, which was then 'finished' by adding gear grind (ascended) with the intention of appealing more to the generic MMO expectations.

The ingredients for making the game great are all there: they _can_ make the environment interactive, they _can_ make guild PvP leagues, they _can_ make non-dps builds viable in PvE.

But they chose not to. Instead, they add time gates to force players to spend more time. The story missions are good, don't get me wrong. But making achievements that require you to replay missions several times, adding time-gated, expensive backitems and not making proper use of their awesome combat system results in a game that has much potential, but is ultimately just another stale WoW clone.

#12 I post stuff

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 09:59 AM

Keeps me playing, doesn't make me feel like I absolutely have to log in every day for a few hours to stay relevant.

This game looks amazing, the world is so interesting and full of detail. It tells a story all on its own.

The story itself has some derp writing here and there, occasional cheesy dialogues and the characters make a handful of decisions that make no sense at all. Overall though it keeps me interested enough to log in to check it out. At its core the story is quite compelling; enough so to make me disregard that its poorly executed on occasion.

Combat? Meh! At least I don't have to stand in front of a mob, mindlessly mashing buttons. They promised to split combat into DPS/control/support, which they have done except in PvE control options are rather limited.

They also promised that healing won't feel like whack-a-mole. As someone who's been playing a healer since the start, I can confirm it (though, it feels like herding cats sometimes). Sadly, the content is generally easy enough to make do with DPS + support + minimal control only.

That being said, every dungeon and boss in this game is viable farming material. To me that's huge. Even though, some of these are completely brainless, they give good enough reward to make heaps of people come to the area to slay them. In other MMOs I was always bothered by how certain dungeons and bosses were completely ignored, making it impossible to get fancy skins or complete quests for them. GW2 solved this problem masterfully with its reward system.

Dailies are easy enough not to feel like a chore too. Most can be easily completed just by playing the game normally. Like you know, farming and stuff.

I'd say it's a high quality MMO.




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