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Captain Bulldozer

Member Since 07 Dec 2009
Offline Last Active Feb 15 2015 11:47 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Can we talk seriously about the Lunar New Year event?

12 February 2015 - 04:07 PM

Even from the start, the Lunar New Year in GW2 has been nothing more than a very poor shadow of the Canthan New Year event in GW1.  Why should this year be any different? ;)

It's really just another instance of the fact that, when GW2 did away with quests in favor of events, they didn't really know how to make that work long term.  They also have largely failed to put interesting event content in the game to accompany the festivals, which only makes the situation worse.  Activities like roller ball can be fun for a while, but without a decent reward structure (either reliable quick and constant rewards for playing or super exclusive rewards for winning) anet's relying on the activity being "fun" for people to actually want to do it.  No repetitive activity stays fun over a long period of time.

In Topic: I’ve been playing GW2 wrong, and loving it.

28 January 2015 - 08:18 PM

I might argue that "build wars" is actually good and engaging design, though it certainly tends towards power-struggles and elitism. Pinging builds could certainly be annoying, but at least for many players it was more about making sure your team worked well together than it was about forcing someone else to run a particular skill bar.  There were plenty of times I was asked to ping a bar , did so, and had no issues, even if I was not running a meta build.  Hell, if a W/Mo ever joined my group, I wanted to be sure s/he wasn't going to be casting mending on himself and everyone else in the party.  The difficulty in at least some parts of GW1 was certainly high enough that random people, even with singularly effective skill bars could often not complete the content.  This changed somewhat with PVE-only skills, but only because anet let the power of those get out of control, presumably to encourage grouping.  But again, I think that the design there was excellent; you needed team-work and complementary skills to be able to have a better chance at success; positioning was important (front-line/mid-line/back-line oh yeah!) in subtle but important ways and player skill/reflexes mattered and made the difference.  Equipment was important; you'd notice pretty fast if you forgot your +20% enchantment mod or your sup runes. I know people in GW2 who have never upgraded past green equipment and can still do the content quite effectively.

GW2's "DPS Wars" on the other hand is not particularly good or engaging design in my opinion.  Its more an over-reaction to the problems of "Build Wars".  Maybe GW1 required TOO much team-work and scrutiny for success in some places for the average gamer, but a measured response to those problems should not have been to essentially throw all of those concepts out the window.  Yet, that's basically what Anet did, and to hear them talk about it, it was the smartest thing they ever did.  Yet, by going to such another extreme, they took the fun out of the game by and large.

In Topic: I’ve been playing GW2 wrong, and loving it.

28 January 2015 - 03:27 AM

View PostKrazzar, on 27 January 2015 - 09:42 PM, said:

Anet does have a history of that, though.  2/2 on their games so far.  First we had build wars now we have DPS wars.  The reality seems to be the problem is too hard to fix (or just easier not to), or at least it's not feasible in business terms.

It's a fair point.  Back in GW1 I used to think Anet was a great company because they had somehow managed to design and refine GW1 into a really fun game.  What's more likely to be true though, is that the game was fun at least ion part because players found ways to break the game which didn't really upset the designers and yet still resulted in some pretty crazy but really fun ideas.  Things like running people though areas/missions/dungeons could be a lot of fun, even for the people not doing the work; 55 or 600/smite farming was way to powerful really but again, lots of fun; Ursan facerolling was the same.  Anet let that stuff slide for a long time because players loved it, not because it was good for game balance or design. I guess the really sad part is that the stupid stuff they let slide in GW2 has a tendency to make the game LESS fun rather than how it worked in GW1, at least for me. At any rate, it does seem like the people running anet just really either don't know how to manage these things or don't care to, so long as the money keeps flowing... and that last part sorta does make sense from a business perspective.

Sometimes we forget a key ingredient in these discussions.  As players, we want to game to be basically an amazing experience, a work of gaming art.  We see flaws that can be fixed to increase the game quality from the perspective of a gamer.  Anet, (or at least the leadership at any rate) on the other hand, sees a revenue stream.  When what we see as flaws don't obviously subtract from the revenue stream, they don't see a problem.  When the revenue stream is steady or increasing Anet's sees themselves as delivering what people want, regardless of players leaving or screaming about it on forums. While I wish they'd try a little harder to see it from our perspective, I guess they can't be faulted much for seeing it from theirs more often.

In Topic: I’ve been playing GW2 wrong, and loving it.

27 January 2015 - 06:23 PM

One simple, easy truth that's very easy to overlook here is that many (perhaps even most) players find it fun to be successful easily, even if it leads them to getting excessively bored with a game.  How many gamers can honestly say they've never used a cheat code or an exploit when there was no real penalty to doing so?  Well designed games have ways of discouraging the quick and easy approaches, or at least ways of making them less successful/rewarding over time.  By and large, GW2 isn't designed that way... GW1 was in some ways, as are plenty of other games (though perhaps not plenty of other MMOs).

     When so many players of MMOs are reward motivated (and when MMO game design is almost exclusively trying to promote and exploit that aspect of the players) the natural consequence is players seeking to get more rewards, and for some to literally try to maximize their rewards (often within certain other constraints, like play-time).  GW2 is designed in a way so that anyone participating in events and fights essentially gets the same rewards (sure, the gold/silver/bronze parts applies here, but the difference are mostly in things that matter less to the players than drops).  There is no additional in game reward for smart, skillful or tactical play and at the same time, easy, dumb and mindless play works every bit as well (sometimes even better) than the alternatives.  As such, the primary way for players to get the extra dopamine rush is to complete reward granting activities as quickly as possible, then moving on to the next activity. Clearly not all players are as addicted to that rush as others, but Anet certainly knows about that effect, and designed a lot of systems to take advantage of it.

The game lacks any real system for easy communication between players, making it clear that team-work, synergy and strategy are not considered to be important parts of the game by the designers. The AI barely reacts to what players do, frequently being willing to stand in damage fields, making no effort to avoid player attacks.  That AI is typically less strategic than Kilroy Stonekin was in GW1, yet somehow also manages to feel less alive and dynamic. Many encounters are clearly designed against a "need X people to beat it" criteria rather than a "these tactics will work" idea, and zerging has no real draw-back in the game other than player boredom.  Many of these would be easy to design around; for example, how about a boss whose attacks got stronger and more frequent for each players hitting them?  That would encourage players to buff a small groups of attacker rather than all standing around using autoattacks.  If Anet was against stacking or exploiting bad AI pathing, they could design maps so that the AI would not engage players who are positions which would be bad tactically for the AI.  They could also design maps better so that these locations were not as common place.  There are plenty of things that could have been differently to prevent or discourage what the OP calls the meta, but Anet didn't do it that way, nor have they tried with anything particularly effectual to curb that behavior. As such, saying that it's the players fault really does seem to be an unsupported claim.

In Topic: Is GW2 dead now or is it just the forums?

19 December 2014 - 12:51 AM

I think some of you have missed the mark... by quite a bit in fact.  Why did GW never attain the popularity of WoW?  There are a few basic points that pretty much sum it up:

1)  No one had ever heard of Arena.net when GW1 was released.  On the other hand, Blizzard was a very well established company even back then due to it's massively popular RTS games.  GW1 was Arenanet's first game of note.

2)  Marketing.  GW1 had a very small marketing budget, most gamers who would have loved GW never heard about it, or heard about it AFTER they had already invested themselves in WoW.

3)  Playing GW1 was more challenging than playing WoW (or many other MMOs to this point).  Being successful often required synergy, teamwork and intelligence on a level that WoW has never really matched. While this is one of the things that made the game great, it's also something that turned off a lot of players.  PvP was difficult to enter because of this, and even PvE (at least for a while) could be massively challenging.

4)  Budget and business plan..  WoW's budget allowed for a real usable z-axis, something GW1 did not pay for. WoW was supported by a subscription model that isn't so different from a drug habit.  You don't have to sell the best quality coke to keep people coming back for more.  GW on the other hand required massive new content releases to make money, driving the quality of those releases up, but also making the game feel less accessible to new players (how many people said, "I can't get into it on an equal footing when there are already 2 expansions out there..." and din't buy it for that reason?)

I don't think GW2 is like Soviet Russian.  GW1 is basically Germany: tight, efficient, creative and well thought out.  Wow is like the USA: big, dumbed down and full of fat stupid people with more money than intelligence. I guess that makes GW2 something like the USA in the movie Idiocracy:  bigger, stupider and less likely to get better.