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#2244467 What Happened to the Direction of ANet?

Posted Captain Bulldozer on 14 October 2013 - 10:48 PM

I hope I'm not too late to join in this discussion!  I've been on yet another long break from GW2 (quite happily in fact) and only just saw this thread.  

So, the question is what happened?  I'll ask you to go here:


and read some of the employer reviews of Anet from its own past and current employees.  It's not a hughe number of reviews, but what's there speaks volumes about the company.  

Arenanet started off with three founders, all former blizzard employees who helped design WoW, but left a little bit before the game released because they were unsatisfied with certain things about WoW.  They founded a small studio and build a game, Guild Wars.  The game was to be based around PvP, with a PvE component to train players how to be effective in PvP.  The game was a success, but released after WoW and so was heavily overshadowed and never achieved the same numbers.

Fast forward a few years:  two of the founders leave the company a year or two into the development of GW2, leaving the sole founder, Mike O'brien (who seems to be the most lacking of the three in terms of leadership), in charge of a company that had grown to more than 10 times its original size in a short time.  Translation: massive leadership vacuum.  Add to that the fact that the sole remaining founder seems to have changed his mind about some of the things he didn't like about WoW  (like vertical progression), throw in massive outside of house contracting for making the game, add in a touch of pressure on the monetization front from corporate and the result is GW2.  

The original manifesto was almost certainly a hold-over from the GW1 days.  It had been repeated in house a lot, I suspect, to the point that it became little more than words.  Arenanet's left hand didn't know what its right hand was doing, but the mouth kept saying the same stuff as it had been saying.  Based on the design of the game, its clear that they did not follow some of the core of the manifesto even from the start, though I think in their minds they were.  They, even to this day, can point to certain aspects of the game and say, "see! just like we promised!" but in doing so they ignore plenty of other parts than contradict those philosophies.  DOes this mean they set out to "dupe" people into buying the game?  I don't think so.  I rather think that they bought in to their own hype and were not objective about it.  

Today, they've started shutting down the avenues for feedback (the official forums are full of threads with no official comment, even to important questions/suggestions; employees are acting with vitriol towards players both in and out of the game) while at the same time adopting a "dart-board" method of planning for future content releases (lovingly called the living story, but something which is too often lazy, tired and bloated in practice) and pursued increasing monetization of the game.  I hesitate to say GW2 is on its deathbed, because it still seems to have plenty of regular players, but from a creative perspective the game has stymied. The lack of in house leadership and communication becomes apparent.

So many things have gone wrong with the process, its hard to say what is left to happen.  The current direction seems to be intended to put a little story back in to a pretty (though shallow) sandbox, but with no good story-telling devices, few interesting characters and poor overall narrative design, I'm not sure what they'll come up with.  So, I don't think its so much that they've changed their philosophy, I think its more than they weren't honest with themselves about what they had created, and have since been struggling to understand why people are finding that creation lackluster in many ways.  They're floundering at doing so, because they're not being very receptive about feedback and their group think design practices leave little room for true innovation.  

Ok. Back to having fun outside GW2 for the time being ;)

#2231196 is Arena Net losing it?

Posted Bloggi on 04 September 2013 - 11:02 PM

Somebody must have thought that releasing temporary content in a [nearly] fortnightly fashion would encourage more people to play. In reality, it's created a situation where the more keen/ hardcore players (or those simply with boatloads of spare time) buckle down and get all their achievements done before getting down to farming again, while the less keen/ casual (or those willing to allocate less time to the game) may have decided to give up altogether on the LS content, or at the very best only get the achievements if they complete as a matter of course.

TBH sometimes I look at GW2 and think it's becoming way too complicated for me and that I should quit, and this is coming from somebody who only plays ONE game, and has played it virtually daily since headstart. I actually pity newcomers to the scene because I take a look at things from this perspective and wonder how they are ever going to keep up with it. A game should never reach the point when it starts to look like a job, because, you know, I'd rather grind my daily job for real money I can use, instead of just pixels for show to a small population that would actually care.

I think GW2 had such great potential and a good backbone to start with...part of that backbone being numerous fans from the days of GW1, graphics, music...but somewhere along the line they just lost the plot. I do not see how they can maintain both quality and quantity of content on a fortnightly cycle. As a consumer, this has me worried, because it's simply not realistic IMO.

#2231197 is Arena Net losing it?

Posted Captain Bulldozer on 04 September 2013 - 11:02 PM

View PostLordkrall, on 04 September 2013 - 10:11 PM, said:

And if they did that people would complain about the lack of stuff to do if they didn't like grinding.
They can't really win.

Personally I like the fact that there is always fresh content in the game, rather than having the same old content for 1 year and then get new content that you burn through in a month or two and then have to wait another year and so on.

Sorry, but that makes you sound like some kind of locust: consuming all there is and then moving on to consume more.  When good permenant content is added it makes the whole game richer.  When DoA was added to GW1, you didn't want it to go away after you'd completed it because it was so good that you wanted to REPLAY it.  UW, FoW, dungeons, even the story missions were fun to replay from time to time. When Anet releases temp content, so far most of it is stuff we've all been happy to see go away.  The only reason people put up with it is because they're promised something else coming.  Most of the new content has been short, bad and you'd never want to replay it except because they made it crazy farm grind in game that otherwise has very little way to make good money outside of playing the TP.  

By making temp content in the first place, its almost like Anet is saying "we don't need to get it perfect, or even that great... players will just move on to the next stuff soon anyway and forget this one."  It's like they're supposing the player base is the kind of people that would exclusively eat at McDonalds because its cheap and they eventually bring back the McRib;  they're treating us like we don't really want quality nearly as much as quantity... and that's something every failed MMO has done as well.