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Member Since 22 Nov 2012
Offline Last Active Feb 17 2013 11:24 AM

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Guild Wars 2: From Excitement to Frustration

22 November 2012 - 09:43 AM

This will be a long post. There is a TL;DR at the bottom if you're not invested in reading a lot.


I am a hardcore MMO player, as I'm sure some of you are as well. I hold this title because I believe it suits me best -- not because I believe I am better than anyone else at MMOs, or because I have an elitest complex about it, but because I spend many, many hours on MMOs trying to accomplish everything I possible can. I have played quite a few MMOs, the biggest of which were probably Guild Wars 1 with over 2700 logged hours, World of Warcraft for at least 8 years, and Ragnarok Online for a couple years, which is an old style MMO that I'm sure that some of you know about, but there's probably quite a few that don't.

You're probably wondering now, "Who are you and why should I even care?" at this point. To be honest, I'm sure most of you won't care in the end, ultimately, but I felt the need to write about my views on GW2 because I feel amiss. I had high hopes for GW2, and to some extent, I still do. It was a phenominal game at early levels, and it was shaping up to be everything I wanted from an MMO -- the step up from WoW, RO, GW1, and everything else I played beforehand.

But, sadly, as much as I want GW2 to succeed and be everything I wished, it just isn't.

That isn't to say everyone should conform to my idea of what I think a good MMO should be, but I still think there is some validity in my questioning and statements. At this point though, I'm rambling, so let me get to what I want to say about GW2.

Originally, when I started GW2, this game turned out to be phenominal. It contained an interesting development set for characters, picking paths, finding ways to enjoy the game before even playing it, delving into lore and making your character your own from the very start. At the launch of the game, there was a mass of people everywhere to play with, and it was fun and interesting watching people run around like chickens with their heads cut off because it was all about experiencing the game -- getting used to it, learning everything that you hadn't seen before, and finding ways to work with the stuff previously seen in the beta.

It was new. It was fun. And, it was well worth the $60 just to be allowed to play during that time (Even though I did pay $150 for the Collector's Edition cause I saved up a long time for it :P).

Leveling and going through the story was fun, and while it wasn't an oscar-winning story, and had plenty of plot holes and silly things, it was about the story I'd expect from Arenanet and NCsoft -- something like Guild Wars 1, where the lore was interesting, but you could poke holes in it if you were really picky. Honestly, I encountered few bugs in lower levels that didn't get fixed quick, and even as I progressed upward, there was still little to complain about aside from maybe a bit of repetition occasionally -- but, that's MMOs for ya, no matter where you go!

As I got higher level, I noticed a higher increase in bugs as I went. Honestly, this didn't keep me down, either bypassing them or finding some way to get to them eventually, but I made it to level 80 with relative ease in about two to two and a half weeks of what I consider causual play (Though some might think me more hardcore for it, and others might think me slow for it. To each their own). Finally, when I got to the final bit of the story, I went back to go do all the story modes of the dungeons in order. In this process, I got myself some nice-looking gear for transmog and made all my exotics in about a weeks worth of time.

By the time three weeks to a month rolled by, I had gotten all exotics on my character (Which is a Guardian), completed the story, and started on my legendary. It took me another week or so to get my full map exploration done.

So what was I to do then? I had my fun in WvW for a bit (Went in every day for a few hours), and tried out some PvP (Which, granted, was fun, but not nearly as diverse or as involving as, say, GW1 PvP). I did some work at Orr to get mats, did some dungeons to get my tokens, did WvW to get my badges. I got about 20% or so done with my Legendary.

Then I hit the wall.

While there was some stuff for me to do, I found that I just couldn't justify some of it anymore. At that point, the exotic precursor for my legendary was running upwards of over 150 gold and still rising. I tried a lot at crafting my own rares to make it, but to no avail. I tried farming for many hours a day in Orr, but given rising prices, it would still take me months of -just- grinding gold to get it. I got a bit disheartened by the fact that my legendary, which I spent so much time working on, became so out of reach by the fact that RNG seems to not favor me, and I don't have the time or money to just buy it, even as someone who is a hardcore gamer who can spend upwards of 6-12+ hours a day on the game.

So I turned to everything else in the game that I could do in order to pass the time. I took a look first at PvP. There was WvW, which was fun, but there was really only so much I could take. There was sPvP, which was also fun, but I could get better PvP experiences in other games (Such as League of Legends or Call of Duty). It wasn't that it wasn't fun and interesting, it's just that I couldn't seem to find myself to invest the time in it as I could in GW1 because it was missing that diversity.

Next, I went to PvE. I considered that there was dungeoning available, which I had already done, so I moved on from it. Next was Grind, and I was so grinded out from Orr that I couldn't bring myself to do it anymore. Other than that, there was making alts, but aside from just leveling for the sake of leveling, I had already done it all in PvE -- maybe not every single dynamic event, and maybe not every exact story line, but one character was enough for me because I had already explored and completed everything in the world map. I wanted to play the character I put the most time into, not have to continuously make alts to justify playing the game.

So what was left? I was a month and a half into the game, and I couldn't find anything to do aside from the options I said above. All of those options, especially grinding, I had either done to death or couldn't really be bothered to do it because I felt no sense of progression in it. Either that, or it felt like there was a better alternative to it.

A month and a half. That's all it took for me to complete everything and experience nearly everything, save for completing my legendary. For a $60 game, that's amazing. For an MMO, that's tradgic.

Perhaps I am expecting too much to do from a game that's still so new on the market (Even now that it's been 3 months). I found myself enough interest to come back for all the halloween events, but so far, that's been it. Now-a-days I log in occasionally to see if I can find something that can hold my interest, then log off after a few minutes because really, nothing has changed. I have considered the fractals, though my attempts at finding groups have been pretty abysmal after a few hours of trying, and grind isn't what I want. I find the idea of Ascendant armor to be a wonderful idea, and I like the idea of having to work for something and be tested on my skill and merrit, but another grind similar to that of the legendary just isn't enough to bring me back to the game.

See, here's the thing: What I want out of this game is not necessarily a gear treadmill. What I want out of this game is not necessarily raiding. What I want out of this game is not necessarily for it to be a WoW clone.

What I do want out of the game is this: I want something that I can accomplish, and I want something in this game that I can become good at.

The successful thing about WoW as a game (Not as a social device, mind you, since that is a whole seperate thing) was not that it was grindy, nor was it the fact that it had an infinite gear treadmill that kept climbing upwards. The successful thing about it was that in the way raids and dungeons worked, in the way that you defeated bosses through strategy and effort, and in the way you learned the ins and outs of your class by trying different specs, gear (Even if it was a bit of a numbers game), and team comps. It made you feel not only like you accomplished something, but that you became good at something -- skilled to where you could teach others what to do, but at the same time, with enough variable that people could be successful in ways other than how you do it.

With Guild Wars 1, it was similar. You mixed and matched skills and classes to find the right way to get things done, even if it wasn't the -only- right way to get things done. However, in Guild Wars 2, it's kinda more just "Throw 5 people together and go. It doesn't matter what classes you are, just hack and slash your way through it to win."

To be honest, there's some value in being able to take anyone you want into a dungeon too, but without any form of creating strategy, without really a chance of failure and success based on real skill (Not talking about numbers and gear checks, but more the fights that are intricate and require effort with positioning and teamwork), then the replay value is lost really easily. GW2 is not really an MMO that requires a lot of strategy and effort as GW1 did, or WoW did at certain points, but it seems like more of a hack and slash MMO, which has its own merits.

I don't have any demands for Anet that I can ever expect to be fulfilled, as much as I would like them to be. As a player, I have hopes for them, but I cannot truly demand anything because I am just a player, just as I cannot expect to deserve anything from them. But, I want Guild Wars 2 to have more for it -- especially in PvE. If I were to allowed to make demands, it would be this: Make me feel like I accomplished something other than just grinding. Make me feel like by playing, like I'm gaining skill and knowledge to become good at my class, rather than just feeling like another faceless person amongst the crowd. As silly as it sounds, make me, as a player, feel special. And I'm not necessarily just talking about -me- specificially, but I feel they should do that for every player.

It's silly, I know. The thing is, as a diehard fan of Guild Wars that I was back in the day and was before GW2 came out, I desperately want Guild Wars 2 to succeed as an MMO. I honestly don't really care much about their manifesto, whether they go one way or the other, I just want GW2 to succeed. And it's saddening to watch it fall apart because there's nothing to do anymore except PvP that can get tiresome and PvE Grind, since that is all I have left to experience.

I want something more, and I'm sure others do to -- surely there is no-one here who thinks that Guild Wars 2 is perfect the way it is, and who doesn't wish there would be more to this game. Perhaps my expectations are too high for GW2, but I just see that they made it happen in their last game, and it feels like this one is just lacking where it could be succeeding brilliantly. If I were to speak what I consider the truth of the game, GW2 is an amazing RPG game with online capabilities, but GW2 is not succeeding as an MMO. A month and a half worth of investment before running out of things to do is wonderous for a $60 RPG, but for an MMO, it is a small amount of time (for me) for something that could easily be much more than that (Given I played through every expansion of GW1 and have 8 years worth of WoW experience).


I played Guild Wars 2 extensively as a hardcore player, and aside from getting my legendary and the new fractals (which is just another form of grind), I have done everything in this game (Save for the whole "Every Dynamic Event" thing. Don't get started on that).

I have done WvW and PvP, and they're fun, but it wears on me after a while and I just don't get the entertainment out of it like I do for GW1 PvP, WoW PvP, League of Legends PvP, and other games.

Guild Wars 2 needs something in this game to make it's draw much more interesting. What I want in GW2 is something that I can accomplish that isn't just through grind, but is through effort and merit. I want to be able to feel like I'm getting good at something like I did when I learned how to play my monk well in GW1, or how I did when I strategized and worked with a team in raiding in WoW.

This does not mean I want more grind, or gear treadmill, or for the game to be a WoW clone even. But level 80 is vastly lacking in a game that could easily have so much more available to it, and has the potential for it. Guild Wars 2 could be so much better than just a hack and slash RPG, and I hope someday it will be.

But enough about me, what do you all think? Does anyone agree? Disagree? Am I just crazy? Am I really demanding too much? Please, comment and explain your reasonings.